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Truth in Tracking

Saturday, September 28, 2013

emoticon emoticon emoticon I've been back to tracking my food on SP this month and have been doing well about 80% of the time. As I think I mentioned in an earlier post, I do well at the beginning of the week because I plan and prep meals on the weekend. Pretty simple strategy that just involves making a big batch of something, portioning it out, and eating the "leftovers" for packed lunches and/or dinner. emoticon

Towards the end of the week, though, around Thursday when my stash of little boxes starts to run out, I tend to get off track. Solution? Increase that stash of little boxes! As I get back in the big batch habit, this will happen, but I'm also thinking of investing part of my tax refund in a small freezer, something I've been thinking of getting for a long time. My tiny fridge's tiny freezer doesn't hold much! I think it would also be a money-saver in the long run because not only can I freeze casseroles and portions of soup, I can stock up on things when they're on sale.
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Along with just plain ol' tracking, I've also started measuring again. emoticon With some of my go-to meals, I had gotten in the habit of just eye-balling the ingredients. My burritos (the meal, not the little donkey, Deeva!) were getting bigger and bigger: just a leeetle more avocado, what was supposed to be 20 grams of cheese was probably more like 30 or 40, you get the idea.
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That was OK back when I reached goal and actually needed to increase calories a bit for maintenance. But that was a couple of years ago, hello!?
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On the BLC this weekend, we've been challenged to track every BLT - Bite, Lick and Taste - of the food we eat, so this is good encouragement to me to be honest with myself and with my best buddies, the Spark trackers.
Good weekend, all!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DMSPEER93 10/2/2013 10:09AM

    Tracking is a great way to know what you are and are not eating. Keep up the good work and may your 80% become 90! emoticon emoticon

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DDOORN 10/1/2013 9:39PM

    Tracking...always my weakest link...argh! Kudos to your efforts! Love big batch cooking...get's me through the week. My two favs for big batches are soups and hummus.


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SEAJESS 10/1/2013 2:04AM

    This sounds like an emoticon plan! I commend you for going back to measuring. I, too, suffer from portion creep but hey, it's a preventable condition! Sounds like you have that one licked. (Not that kind of lick!) emoticon

Freezer is a BRILLIANT idea! You'll be able to benefit from cost savings on the large-sized frozen freggies and sales on other items like the gorgeous sockeye salmon fillets that come in sometimes at Trader Joe's only when TJ's buyers can get a really good deal. Your health is worth a freezer. emoticon

emoticon blog!

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GRANDMABABA 9/30/2013 11:26PM

    Sounds like you are doing great!

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PARASELENIC 9/30/2013 1:46PM

    Tracking everything can get tiresome, and getting lazy is sooooo easy. The problem is that we don't get lazy with carrots or lettuce or cucumbers on the salad, we get lazy with the dressing. Not the cups of air popped popcorn, the oil on top of it.

I'm at the point now in my tracking that when I can, I weigh EVERYTHING in grams. It's the only way that I know I'm being consistent.

But that gets EXHAUSTING. To save myself from crazy, there are now things that I am willing to flub on. Essentially-- ANY fresh veg is a natural flub-- (not fruit-- no avocados). I can eyeball 6 cups of lettuce and 1/4 cup of chopped onion-- because the calorie difference in those things is less that 15 calories total. Mushrooms-- 1/2 cup to 1 cup is less than 7 calories difference. Finding those things that I can cook with and eat by dumping them in is very liberating-- I still measure out the dressing, but the other things-- that's fine.

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 9/30/2013 11:52AM

    Sounds like you are on the right track with your plan. Good luck!

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ZANNACHAN 9/29/2013 11:09PM

    I think getting a small freezer is a great idea! I really want one but we can't have one in our apartment, so it will have to wait until we can get a house. I have a friend who has one though and it wasn't terribly expensive but it lets her not only batch cook things like soups and stews, but she does the same thing with things like stock and sauces, which makes for *really* easy meals. She also blanches (which if I recall correctly is when you dip a veggie into really hot water and quickly dip it into cold water--don't take my word for it though) vegetables like kale and then dries them off and freezes them flat in cookie sheets--and then, once frozen, transfers them to bags. She also does this with some herbs. It means that she can have a wide variety of vegetables on hand to throw into soups, stews, sauces, etc. It also lets her take advantage of sales--so if a staple like chicken breasts goes on sale, she can buy a bunch and thaw it as she needs it.

Comment edited on: 9/29/2013 11:09:59 PM

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CHERIRIDDELL 9/29/2013 12:08AM

    Sounds like a brilliant plan!

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ANGORA4 9/28/2013 1:39PM

    Very good point! I have a little freezer that fits under the counter, but does an amazing job. Even a small house or apartment can have a freezer.

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1HAPPYSPIRIT 9/28/2013 11:44AM


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CHOCOHOLIC2276 9/28/2013 11:35AM

    Sounds like you've got a good handle on the challenge and I like your idea of increasing your batch cooking. The little freezer might be a good investment for you.

I too find that weighing my foods and actually measuring things out is important. If I'm extra hungry my "eye-balling" tends to be on the higher end. So this is something we both need to work on;)

I love the enthusiasm you've got going - emoticon

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EJOY-EVELYN 9/28/2013 11:11AM

    Great strategy!

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LUCYGODDESS 9/28/2013 11:11AM

    I have always tried to be honest in my tracking because it doesn't matter if I "fool" the other sparkers out there...what matters is you can't "fool" yourself...you might eat it and not track it but it's going to take it's toil, if not on your tracker on your waist and your health.

I have just started this journey again. Tried to start last week and my flipping internet got messed up and had to wait a week for them to come straighten it out. Then yesterday, I tracked everything and ended up going out to dinner with a friend and eating and drinking badly so when I got home I was too tired to track dinner and figured I had blown it anyway. Not my usual style to not take accountability regardless. So today is a new day. Going to track my food and get my exercise in too.

Wish I had room for a freezer. I live in a nice condo, but no extra/spare room for a freezer. Washer dryer is simply a closet type thing and I don't have a garage. So 10 year plan down the road is to get a nice house with a garage that has room for a freezer. Just got divorced recently and I miss the extra storage for big stuff and the garage.

We are in this thing together. Have a great weekend.

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VISUALLYRICS 9/28/2013 11:11AM

    emoticon on tracking every BLT!! Me too! emoticon ...and I DO love my deep freezer.

emoticon Go for it, Michelle! emoticon emoticon

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Cruise Goals for BLC 23

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Posting again to add my BLC Cruise Goals: Where do I see myself in 12 weeks?

I would like to be 8 pounds lighter. 12 would be nice but 8 is probably more realistic because of travel plans for October and November, and because of the plantar fasciitis that is cramping my exercise style.

I would like to be able to go shopping in my own closet for my size 6's!

I would like to have my good, healthy habits back in place consistently including sleep, tracking food and exercise, music practice, and regular Bible study.

I would like my home to be more welcoming and be able to entertain friends at home over the holidays. There is talk of starting a new home group and I would like to be able to host it at least once a month.

I would like to be mentally lighter as well with all paperwork concerning my father's estate caught up and --- God willing --- the condo sale completed.

I would like to be in a place where writing long term goals is not as difficult as it is right now! There are an awful lot of "ifs" and "whens" going on at the moment!

emoticon P.S. Thanks to those who suggested that I break these goals down into manageable bites. I am doing that as well, but the purpose of this post was to try to envision where I'd like to be in 12 weeks. "Getting there" goals are in another post! (See September Goals!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUSANELAINE1956 9/28/2013 4:48PM

    I also like your goals. Some things, like the condo selling, are not really in your control other than having it ready to show. Most of your goals are very much in your control. Good luck, and I hope your feet cooperate. I hope you make that size 6 goal, but more importantly I hope you are happy with where you are in all ways in 12 weeks. emoticon

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HAKAPES 9/27/2013 8:54AM

    I like your goals!
I have the experience that when I formulate my goals, they tend to become reality.
What is BLC?

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EJOY-EVELYN 9/26/2013 11:12PM

    Good getting these goals in writing. This alone is a great way towards making them a reality. Admirable goals I'm confident you can succeed at. Hug, hug -- Evelyn

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 9/26/2013 7:07PM

    You have such wonderful dreams for where you want to be. They seem very achievable. I agree that you might want to set down some steps to get you there too. I'm sure you have ideas on what you want to/can do to make these dreams and where you see yourself come true.

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ZANNACHAN 9/26/2013 1:28PM

    I really like your BLC goals--and boy I can identify with some of them (like the wanting to shopping in your own closet for smaller sizes, LOL. Though I did off-load a bunch of my old size 6's because I told my husband if I ever got back to that size, I deserved new clothes, and he agreed with me. And wanting your home to be more welcoming.... oy that one sounds so familiar. Our apartment is such a disaster--my husband promised to help with the household chores since I'm studying/editing so much, but... he works full time, too, and only has so much energy, so we have a bunch of chores only half done. *sigh* And I remember all too well dealing with my FIL's estate... *hugs*

You might find it helpful now that you know what you want to lay out specific plans of attack on how to get there.... like an exercise program that will let you accommodate your plantar fasciitis (like the seated workouts on sparks, for example) for x number of minutes y days a week. Or goals for sleep (like being in bed by a certain time or getting so many hours minimum etc.) That makes it easier for you to not only see how you can get from where you are now to where you want to be, but also to measure how well you are doing in any given week. If you are like me, your plans need to be flexible, but having plans--and sometimes back up plans--really helps me stay on track, especially when I'm juggling a ton of different things at once. Otherwise months pass and I can't figure out where my time went or why my living room is still a disaster, LOL.

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CAROLYN0107 9/26/2013 1:01PM

    You're doing BLC AND the 5% Challenge at the same time??!!??!!

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I signed up for the 5% Challenge. Haven't done it since I broke my knee. Hopefully I'll be able to keep up. I need to lose weight though!!

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DDOORN 9/26/2013 11:50AM

    Goal setting has always been such a weak point for myself. Mostly I just have ideas "percolating" and when an opportunity such as my recent Cape Cod trip falls in my lap I spring to action.

I like the idea of making the home-base more inviting for folks...need to focus on that as well.


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CHOCOHOLIC2276 9/26/2013 7:52AM

    Size 6? That is my dream:)

You've listed out the roadblocks and it's time to set these in motion. emoticon

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Fly-by Post and BLC 23

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Gearing up for my first BLC as a member of the Azure Destinations team, and feeling a mix of trepidation and excitement. I'm sticking with my September goals but adding the 3-post-a-week requirement to the list.

Now, I'm on my way to bed after a very long work day. Today's summery weather was lovely but also made me tired, I think. These temperature ups and downs are hard on the system sometimes!

Looking forward to trying out my new insoles tomorrow and hoping that they promote the healing of the plantar fasciitis I've been dealing with the past couple of months.

AND writing myself a sign to hang in the bathroom so I won't forget the first BLC weigh-in tomorrow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOULDSGRANITE 9/26/2013 11:37AM

    Best of luck with your weigh in and the insoles. emoticon

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JENSHAINES 9/25/2013 12:11PM

    Did your sign help, Michelle?! And I SO hope the insoles start the healing process for you. I hope you had sweet dreams.

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    Good Morning Island Sister! emoticon is here and do not let the emoticon OR most especially Azure make you anxious. emoticon Soon it will ALL be old "news" (did you read your newsletter?) and you will be a seasoned veteran. No matter what team you were assigned, there would have been new things to learn - consider it an adventure!

Keep us posted on the plantar fasciitis and how the insoles work for you. Hoping for relief SOON!

You CAN and you WILL! Together we CAN! emoticon

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CAROLYN0107 9/25/2013 1:21AM

    I've used insets in my shoes off and on for the same heal problems. It usually helps. Now though I'm not walking enough to have problems. That's not good, only a reality. Best wishes on the BLC challenge.

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CHERIRIDDELL 9/25/2013 12:36AM

    I hope your insoles help !

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ZANNACHAN 9/24/2013 11:46PM

    Good luck on your weigh in tomorrow! I remember well that combination of nervousness and excitement, first when I first joined the BLC and then again when I changed to Azure. In now time at all you'll get the hang of it, I'm sure! It does help to check in/post regularly--the posts will slow down once we get going. Azure is a chatty team, but it doesn't stay as chatty as it is at first!

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    HI Michelle !!! YOU CAN DO THIS !!! There's NO DOUBT YOU CAN hon !!!! This will also GR8LY Help you on the Dawggies also !! I did belong to the BLC22, but I can't be on my feet enough,,,,so I had to drop off. I ALSO found it CONFUSING, but I than wrote it out,,,,, and it was MUCH Easier to do,,, also I was posting daily and that ALSO helped me out. HOpe this "tip" helps ya out.

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RUNNERRACHEL 9/24/2013 8:05PM

    emoticon Thanks for checking in. Hope your weigh in goes well tomorrow.

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CHOCOHOLIC2276 9/24/2013 7:49PM

    No need to have concerns, beautiful Sparkly friend emoticon

I know the first round can be kind of daunting but I have to say that BLC has been the best support system I've found for my weight loss. WE are here for you and I know once you fall into the groove of things you'll enjoy it too emoticon

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STONECOT 9/24/2013 5:20PM

    I hope the scale is kind to you, but if not, don't worry. The BLC is a great motivator, we'll help you as much as we can.

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LADYOLIVER 9/24/2013 5:09PM

    Let me know how the insoles work. Saw Dr yesterday for follow up of PF. Mine started about this time last year. Was on and off but got worst over time. First visit cortisone shots which gave significant relief...this time I got a 6day therapy medication...with PT and some cream that I'm not sure insurance cover emoticon

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JOANNKW 9/24/2013 4:52PM

    I thought Azure destinations had to post daily? I am so confused anyway, it is likely I got that wrong! I know that feeling about the note! I need to do all my stuff - pushups, etc. still. Yikes! I'm feeling a bit like that moment in hide and seek when the seeker calls out 'ready or not, here I come' and I still haven't found a good hiding place! I knew I should have done some of it this weekend!

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VISUALLYRICS 9/24/2013 4:44PM

    weather ups and downs are hard! ...being from Texas...i know! emoticon
....:::praying for healing, Michelle, of your plantar fasciitis. emoticon

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CYCLINGSANDY 9/24/2013 4:22PM

    I am praying you rest well tonight, and that your new insoles do the trick to lessen your pain. I love this weather too lately. I am appreciating it at long at it lasts.

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I don't know what to think...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

...so I'm not going to think about it too much. Pray some instead.

I just got a call from the director of the Bible school where I taught some 15 years ago asking me if I could imagine coming back to teach in the spring 2014 semester. I won't go into details, but this is rather amazing when you consider the circumstances surrounding the end of my time there. I said yes...but the details will still need to be worked out. It would be a chance to teach in my field of study - missiology. Of course, this being a Bible school, it would also involve working in the office part-time. And maybe teach some music courses as well.

Like I say, this is so out-of-the-blue...but not really when you think of it...so I don't know what to think. Oh, I already said that!

In the meantime, I'm procrastinating on a project that you can see here:

This phone call has shocked me just enough that I might have to go work on decluttering just to keep my mind occupied and burn off some of this nervous energy!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EBLOOMING 9/23/2013 2:22AM

    I like the way you think and act!! When in doubt, pray and while waiting for God to show you declutter. I love it!!! emoticon God is good!!!

Comment edited on: 9/23/2013 2:24:34 AM

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    Sometimes live leads us to where we go. :) I teach the bible to some on a one to one basis,,,, this is how we do it, so that they all understand it,,,and have all their ?s answered. I've had 8 personal studies with people,,,and 5 of them have lead them to be baptized. WHAT A THRILL !!! So look back to where you were b4,,,if you enjoyed it, when it was very good,,,,, b4 things went warey. Did you enjoy it? What did you enjoy the most/least,,, improvements you can do etc. Also think about "if you are a believer in what it is ur saying to others". That's a large part also. If the answer is yes,,,,, then I hope you will enjoy it. We can't EVER stop learning and studying the bible enough !

On the clean out,, I WISH I COULD DO THAT !! For I ADORE IT ! But, I did it when I moved out of ME last Sept,, than I collected quite a few things in CO, just to LEAVE THEM There !!! GRRR Still a sore spot with me,,,,for my "family" NO DOUBT is LOVIN using them,,, and/or selling things that I HAD BOUGHT ! I am NOT thrilled since they stole so much from me $$$ wise, but what GOES AROUND,, COMES AROUND !!! if they THINK that God was NOT watching,,,for they "CLAIM" to be "Very much so "CHristians" ,, he DOES SEE IT !!! If you steal,,you DO LOSE his favor, unless your sorry for it,, they are NOT !! they were ALL SMILES about this. SIGH and me? I LEARNED A HUGE LESSON !! U NEVER EVAH move in with family who are poor unless they are HONEST ! For eventually I'll prob have to move in with GD or her Mom,,, as my health continues to go downhill as much as I FIGHT IT !! Walking is now harder and harder to do. It'll only take ONE GOOD fall,,,and I KNOW they WILL INSIST !! As it is,, when GD see's me trying to walk,, SHE FREAKS OUT ! She was living w/me in thepast,,,and knows I "wobble" a lot.

So on the clean out,,,,I can't do,,,I have not much yet. I wish you well. When I did have things,, my rule was "if it's NOT Used in the past yr,,,,,, OUT IT GOES !! Unless it was very expensive and I knew I"d really need it again. and of course being honest with myself on that ! LOL !!!

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JOYLJL 9/22/2013 7:49PM

    What a cool way to get a job.. have them call you instead of painstakingly looking for one. Sounds like God opened that door for you. He must need you in place.

You might consider checking out flylady.net frun by Marla Ciley to help you get your closet/house organized. She has some great ideas
. And another one is Make it fun it will get done by Pam Young.l emoticon

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CHERIRIDDELL 9/22/2013 1:20AM

    Viel Gluck !

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LADYOLIVER 9/21/2013 12:48PM

    Donít worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Phil 4:6

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RUNNERRACHEL 9/21/2013 12:33PM

    Keep it in prayer and you will know what to do. Sounds like a great opportunity. emoticon

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CAROLYN0107 9/21/2013 11:00AM

    De-cluttering is good. On what country is the School where you will teach?

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JENSHAINES 9/21/2013 10:16AM

    I find decluttering to be something that can really free my mind for more important things. Reach into your heart and you'll know what to do. emoticon

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KNYAGENYA 9/21/2013 10:07AM


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VISUALLYRICS 9/21/2013 9:41AM

    Lol! . . . love to "hear" your creative original thoughts. Michelle! emoticon
What an opportunity you have....and good luck on your project! emoticon

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GOULDSGRANITE 9/21/2013 9:37AM

    Life comes fast - Hang on and be ready! Weren't we just talking about going with the flow and then Wow! Congratulations on your new direction.

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ZANNACHAN 9/21/2013 9:21AM

    Sounds like it's a really stunning proposal, but exciting as well! Congratulations!

Good luck cleaning out your closet!

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    Ah! The dreaded closet cleaning project. That is something I keep putting off but with two people libving in a five bedroom house, we have lots of extra closets to put stuff in! LOL

Make Today nthe Greatest Day of Your Life!

emoticon Until Tomorrow!

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KESTRYLL 9/21/2013 9:13AM

    Good luck with your new job!

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CSKIES1 9/21/2013 9:13AM


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I love Germany

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

So, this morning I left my groovy, neoprene, imported-from-the-USA, BUILT lunch bag on the train. Funny, because I usually have so much to carry and I remember to gather all my things before I get off. But today, I only had my shoulder bag and the lunch bag and somehow left the latter at my seat. I didn't notice till I got to work because there was some kind of technical problem with the trains and I had to make a different connection, using the underground.

Losing the bag made me sad. I reeeaaaalllly love this lunch bag - it's really practical and I love the colors. They make me smile. My forgetfulness also frustrated me. Life is hectic enough these days without my creating more problems, even small ones.

HOWEVER, in Germany the train system has a pretty efficient lost-and-found system. (Ask me how I know!) So I called this morning, gave them a complete description of the bag and registered my loss. The woman gave me a "Verlustmeldungsnummer" (loss registration number).She also told me, without any humor at all in her voice, that I could not expect to get the turkey chili back that was packed in the bag for my lunch. She was pleasant enough, very efficient and what the Germans would call "sachlich."

A little while later, I got an email telling me that the bag hadn't been found yet, but that I would be notified when/if it was. After work, I decided to stop by the office at the train station on the way home, on the off chance that someone had turned it in there.

HA! They had it! I almost didn't get it back because the description the woman had entered said it was a "handbag" instead of a "shoulder-strap" bag. But the civil servant released it to me anyway because my description (blue neoprene with multi-colored dots and the brand name BUILT) SOMEHOW convinced him that it was indeed my bag. I even got back the plastic freezer container - without the chili but rinsed out!

Sometimes German bureaucracy can be frustrating but on days like this I'm grateful for it!

Here's a picture - and no, I don't work for BUILT, I'm just a fan of their lunch bags!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CYCLINGSANDY 9/24/2013 4:26PM

    I do love the lunch bags, and the German train system. I can almost hear the tone of voice from the first person that assisted you. I might have spoke to her too. At least I think I did when you refused to let me get off the train at my stop. I had to ride to the next stop and double back.

I am glad you were reconnect with your prize possession.

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EBLOOMING 9/23/2013 2:33AM

    I like this blog!!! Receiving the bag back builds faith. Happy bag, happy you!!! emoticon I think that is true about having a mental note of how many items you are carrying. If I walk out the door carrying three items which is my usual number than on the day I would take four items I walk out the door with out my purse because I have three items. emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/23/2013 2:34:19 AM

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ZANNACHAN 9/19/2013 2:11PM

    I'm so glad that you got it back!

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MTNGRL 9/18/2013 3:18PM

    Very nice bag and what a pleasant surprise it was returned. I won't ask how you knew they were very efficient at finding lost items lol!
Once my son lost his Goofy Dog at a park ride in Disney. We went back to the ride and someone had turned it in. The day was saved as far as I was concerned.
Yeah for the kind people all over the world.

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GOULDSGRANITE 9/18/2013 12:34PM

    What you go thru to share your healthy lunch!!! Faith restored in humankind!!! CUTE Bag!

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CAROLYN0107 9/18/2013 9:05AM

    Nice bag! I'm glad you got it back.

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DLG0505 9/18/2013 3:21AM

    That's so awesome! I love that lunch bag - it's so cute. No wonder you wanted it back so bad. Glad it all worked out good for you.

Have a happy Wednesday!

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CHERIRIDDELL 9/18/2013 1:00AM

    Lovely bag! I lived in Baden-Baden for three years .I love Germany!

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RUNNERRACHEL 9/17/2013 4:43PM

    That is so great! What a wonderful story.

Thank you for sharing.

What an amazing, honest, efficient way of being.

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LOOKINGUP2012 9/17/2013 4:14PM

    That's one beautiful bag. So glad you got it back!

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JANETELIZABETH1 9/17/2013 3:50PM

    I think it somehow restores our faith in mankind when we get something returned that was special to us...glad it was given in at the station so you the bag could continue to make you emoticon

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RURAL3 9/17/2013 3:20PM

    That is amazing. Wonder if the grumpy lady ate the chili? lol It is a very nice looking bag.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 9/17/2013 2:54PM

My mom once left her wallet at a restaurant along the autobahn. There was a fair amount of money in it. She got it mailed to her a week later, with the money still there!

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VISUALLYRICS 9/17/2013 2:25PM

    emoticon completely GrOoVy shoulder bag! ....so glad you found it!

I agree with you, Michelle: "Wie fantastisch dieser Tag ist!" emoticon

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JOANNKW 9/17/2013 2:24PM

    So glad you got it back. I have a theory about carrying stuff hither and yon. I used to frequently forget my Thermos on Wednesdays. I finally figured out that I had a mental number of items to take home from work (purse, thermos and lunch bag). On Wednesdays, I was taking Pilates, so I also had my exercise bag (I'd change at work before leaving). I would leave w/ work clothes, purse and lunch bag - no Thermos. I never stopped to count, it was all muscle memory almost. I suspect you left your lunch for the very same reason - you knew you didn't have that much stuff, and you didn't automatically get everything as a result!

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    So happy you got your lunch bag back. It's so frustrating to lose special items.

It is a very cute little bag. I have never heard of Built before. I am going to google them now.

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