BE-THE-CHANGE's SparkPeople Blog BE-THE-CHANGE's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Change of Plans I am off today, which I did not plan. I decided to roll with it, though. A little organizing at home this morning, then lunch with a friend, then grocery shopping at Costco this afternoon. <BR> <BR> My friend called a little after 9, saying her work schedule had changed and we have to postpone lunch. I was disappointed, as I have not seen her in several months, but OK, I will roll with this one too. I'll work at home a bit longer and then go out shopping. <BR> <BR> I just got another ca... Thu, 18 Sep 2014 10:51:43 EST Thirteen Years Ago I work for a nonprofit whose members are organizations and individuals who are interested in the development of innovative alternatives for youth and families in high-risk situations. We are a national organization and we just held an event for our members, featuring various speakers who addressed various issues in the field. One of the speakers was Tina Kelley. She works for Covenant House and co-authored the book, "Almost Home: Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope”, which is why s... Thu, 11 Sep 2014 08:02:13 EST Childhood Obesity - The Other Side of the Coin I am not making light of childhood obesity. I know it is a huge problem and I've had personal experience with my own. But I am afraid that in our zeal to solve the problem we are creating new ones. <BR> <BR> This is my nephew, Nelson. I watch him for an hour or so every morning and then take him to school. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> He is going to be 9 in November. He is about 4'9", which makes him tall for his age. He weighs 80 pound... Fri, 5 Sep 2014 08:14:51 EST Last Day of Vacation I took off from Thursday to Wednesday for vacation. We got back from Florida on Monday late afternoon. DH went back to work Tuesday and I got my usual weekend errands done. Then on Wednesday DD and I went to a Pirates game. She took this picture of us. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This was the view from our seats. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And the Pirates won, so ... Fri, 29 Aug 2014 22:30:39 EST Sunday with Gino I got to spend most of the day just hanging out with my grandson and his parents. Since I live in Pittsburgh PA and they live in Florida, we don't get much time like this. Even when we do see each other, it is an "occasion" and I am sharing time with a lot of other people. So for me this was just great. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://p... Sun, 24 Aug 2014 23:26:13 EST Grandson Yesterday was my grandson's 2nd birthday. Today I get him all to myself! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> I took this picture before Gino realized I had a camera. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> This is Gino after he saw camera - he loves to have his picture taken! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> This is my mom and my son, Vinnie, holdin... Sun, 24 Aug 2014 09:18:26 EST Home Again Thanks to all of you who responded to my last blog. It helped knowing you were all rooting for me. <BR> <BR> The visit went better than I expected but it was not without its moments. The drive home was exhausting. We left later than planned, hit a torrential rainstorm, and then massive construction delays. I am beyond tired and so will post more tomorrow. <BR> <BR> Thanks for being there! Sun, 27 Jul 2014 22:21:37 EST The Trip I am making the trip to my sister's. We are leaving around noon and it's a 5 hour drive without stops. <BR> <BR> To say I am anxious would be an understatement. My DH convinced me that I would most likely regret not going more than I may regret going. I am not sure if he is right but I am willing to find out. I have not written any letters yet. I can't seem to manage cohesive thoughts right now. I guess if things don't go well, I will just mail them later. <BR> <BR> Below is a pictu... Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:42:37 EST Stress "Remember that stress doesn't come from what's going on in your life. It comes from your thoughts about what's going on in your life." ~ Andrew Bernstein <BR> <BR> I posted this as my status yesterday and it got a lot of 'likes', both here and on Facebook. I have to admit, I have been stressing myself a lot lately. I have not been dealing well with anything since my dad died last month. His passing brought out some things in my siblings that I still haven't dealt with. It's also made me... Mon, 30 Jun 2014 22:15:17 EST Getting to know you (from my friend Connie) Your go-to chewing gum flavor… Peppermint <BR> <BR> Best time of the year… Fall <BR> <BR> If you were a toe nail polish what color would you be…. OPI Samoan Sand <BR> <BR> Favorite pie... Eat’n’Park Strawberry Pie <BR> <BR> First record you ever bought… I honestly don’t remember <BR> <BR> Current perfume you use...Clinique’s Happy Heart <BR> <BR> Do you have any trophies or awards…all are from when I was a kid…some bowling trophies, a forensics plaque, and math and business awards <BR> ... Sun, 29 Jun 2014 21:54:36 EST Time... You always think there is more time. We’ll do it another time. Tomorrow is another day. <BR> <BR> Until it isn’t. <BR> <BR> Your dad is going to be 80 on March 2nd. You think about going to visit, but it’s just so crazy right now. You are busy at work. Your husband is working long hours, still getting used to the new job. You learn from your stepmom that he fell right before his birthday (darned Parkinson’s) and doesn’t want to celebrate or see anyone right now. You think it’s a good... Mon, 12 May 2014 23:12:44 EST Great Weekend This weekend my DD, Angie, graduated from Pitt with her MSW. As a surprise, we flew my DS, DIL and GS, Gino, up for the weekend. I haven't seen them in person in 8 months, and it has been even longer for Angie. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> This is Angie and the cake a friend of mine made for her. Angie's undergrad degree is in Psychology and the cake has a Rorschach inkblot on top. It was a big hit! <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos... Sun, 27 Apr 2014 21:30:10 EST Another year gone… Another year gone…but somehow this year I am looking forward more than back. Today I am 56 years old, but I don’t feel “old”, even though a friend told me I am getting there. I usually spend my birthday thinking about all the things I haven’t done, living in the past and in regret. Not today. <BR> <BR> It started yesterday, when I received an unexpected birthday card from a Spark Friend. It really made my day that she took the time to pick out a card and send it. I just spent a week w... Wed, 26 Mar 2014 23:04:56 EST Happy My boss had a death in the family and just returned from the funeral. She was telling us that her uncle wanted a celebration of his life and although you often hear that, this was the first time she attended a funeral that really was a celebration. In one room they were playing "Celebrate" and in the other room, they were playing "Happy" by Pharrell Williams. I had heard the song before but I decided to check out the video. I really enjoyed it and want to share it with you - it's just ove... Thu, 27 Feb 2014 23:11:50 EST Food Addiction I have to come to terms with the fact that I am a food addict. I will never be able to eat "normally". I cannot eat treats in moderation. There are some foods I have to give up and never eat again if I am going to gain control of this beast. <BR> <BR> According to Authority Nutrition, the signs of food addiction are: <BR> 1. You frequently get cravings for certain foods, despite feeling full and having just finished a nutritious meal. <BR> 2. When you give in and start eating a food you... Tue, 25 Feb 2014 08:25:48 EST One Small Step Forward This is sparked by an email I received today: <BR> <BR> Many of us believe that the past is prologue. We think that things can never change - however they are now is how they will always be. <BR> <BR> It is hard to maintain a positive attitude when negative things happen or we've just had a negative outlook for a long time. <BR> <BR> It's hard to become active when you think you are lazy or unworthy of good things. <BR> <BR> It's hard to move out of our comfort zones and into uncharted t... Sun, 23 Feb 2014 21:06:44 EST Long Day My great-nephew, Nelson, came over at 8 AM today, so I could watch him while his mom attended a meeting at her new job. He is 8 years old and boy, can he talk! She got back at around 1:30 but she wanted my DH to look at her car. Long story short, they just left an hour ago at 9 PM and they are returning at 8 AM for him to finish the job. Nelson was quite grouchy by the time they left and he doesn't want to come back tomorrow. It should be interesting. <BR> <BR> My DD did come over for a... Sat, 22 Feb 2014 22:11:26 EST TGIF We received our draft audit this week and I spent a good part of the day reviewing it and tying our reports to theirs. Part of my performance evaluation is a clean audit so I've been nervous but everything was fine. No adjusting findings. I am one relieved and happy camper. <BR> <BR> I did bring some work home, and I have a tax return to finish and a new one to complete. Add to that some babysitting, and hopefully a visit with my daughter, and there's my weekend! Fri, 21 Feb 2014 22:30:31 EST Uncertainty I am not a person who deals well with uncertainty. For several months, my organization was under a cloud of funding uncertainty. We pretty much went about our business, but there was always that black cloud hanging around. A few weeks ago, the uncertainty became a reality. We did not get the funding we were hoping for and cutbacks had to be made. As the director of finance, I was very involved in all the various calculations to try to keep as many people as possible. That in itself was ... Thu, 20 Feb 2014 22:05:43 EST Down to Business I have spent the past several days going over my old blogs, trying to figure out why things worked back in 2009-2010 and haven't since then. You know what I found out? Things weren't working so well back then. My blogs were full of family problems, issues at work, procrastination and frustration... <BR> <BR> The only difference was that I just refused to let these things interfere with my program...until I stopped. Some things happened that made me see that losing weight was not going to... Wed, 19 Feb 2014 21:40:41 EST My Boss My boss, Megan, often gets little things for her staff to show her appreciation and Valentine's Day is no exception. She came in today with a treat for each of us. Wanting to give the traditional candy, but knowing I am counting my calories, this is what I received: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I have never worked for someone who was so thoughtful of her staff! Fri, 14 Feb 2014 10:33:42 EST Finally After 9 weeks, DH is starting a new job today. I know in this economy, being unemployed for 9 weeks after a layoff is not nearly as bad as it could have been. However, having him home has been driving me crazy and wreaking havoc with my routine. This was one of my two biggest worries, so things should be a bit better. He is switching industries and is very anxious about making the change, especially at this point in his life. I am sure he will continue to be anxious for the next couple o... Mon, 20 Jan 2014 08:40:19 EST Put the Glass Down A friend of mine posted this on Facebook today: <BR> <BR> "A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?” Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz. She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’... Sun, 12 Jan 2014 14:39:11 EST Kindness A couple of people have started something that I think is really great - the Pittsburgh Kindness Initiative. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> We moved here from New York almost 20 years ago. It was a job relocation and DH's company brought us out to see the area before making the move. One of the biggest things we noticed was that people in Pittsburgh w... Fri, 3 Jan 2014 22:32:44 EST MIL and Me Today is my MIL's birthday. She would have been 89, but unfortunately she passed away 26 years ago, just 5 days after her birthday. This was taken a couple of years before that. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> She was a wonderful lady and I can only hope that my DILs feel about me the way that I felt about her. She was one of the most caring and open-minded people I have ever known. <BR> <BR> Part of the reason I originally came ... Thu, 2 Jan 2014 21:54:58 EST Goals for 2014 Goal 1: Take care of my health <BR> <BR> My first tool for this is SparkPeople. I will track all food every day. If I can’t log on I do have the app on my phone so I have no excuse. I will track all food, no matter what, instead of stopping when it gets ugly. I will also do cardio and strength work each day and I am going to start doing 5Ks again, starting with JASR at the end of March. <BR> <BR> I have my FitBit and with this I have made two additional connections. I have my activity ... Wed, 1 Jan 2014 15:45:38 EST SparktheSeason - Day 31 - Celebration Happy New Year! <BR> <BR> We always celebrate with a glass of pink champagne at midnight after watching the ball drop in Times Square! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This year we switched to local TV as soon as the ball was done and watched fireworks, because every holiday calls for fireworks in Pittsburgh. I took this picture at Light Up Night in 2009. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> A... Wed, 1 Jan 2014 08:08:05 EST SparktheSeason - Day 30 - Resolution I have boiled down my resolutions into 3 goals for 2014: <BR> <BR> Goal 1: Take care of my health <BR> Goal 2: Prioritize tasks and take care of them in that order <BR> Goal 3: Be kind to myself and others. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Tue, 31 Dec 2013 23:53:26 EST SparktheSeason - Day 29 - Warmth I have been thinking about this one all day, not sure really where I wanted to go with it. I finally came back to that little boy who just warms my heart with his smile and his laugh. <BR> <BR> We Skype with my son, DIL, and grandson Gino just about every Sunday. As he gets older, it is harder to get him to sit still for very long but tonight he sat for a bit. However, as he usually does, he stole my son's hat off his head. Today was different though, in that Gino put the hat on himself ... Sun, 29 Dec 2013 22:48:56 EST SparktheSeason - Day 28 - It's Cold Outside This title is pretty funny, considering it was up in the mid-50's today in Pittsburgh and I was walking around without a jacket. <BR> <BR> So I dug into my photos and found this from a few winters past: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> We had so much snow that DH had to shovel a path in the backyard for Toby to go out and do his thing. The poor dog didn't know what to make of it! Sat, 28 Dec 2013 17:41:53 EST SparktheSeason - Day 27 - Favorite Holiday Food My favorite holiday dish comes from my husband's Italian relatives. We all love this, but it can be expensive and a bit time intensive, so we save it for holidays and special occasions. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This is zuppa di pesce, or fish stew. It has a marinara base and pounds of seafood. Generally recipes call for 4 pounds but with the size of our family we usually have twice that much. We always have scallops and shr... Fri, 27 Dec 2013 17:11:16 EST SparktheSeason - Day 26 - Gift My gift this year is the gift of family at our home. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> This is my great-nephew Nelson, my great-niece Reyann, my great-nephew Merrill (siblings) and my niece, Tina. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> This is my great-niece Lydia (Tina is her mom) with Lydia's dad Andy. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Here is L... Thu, 26 Dec 2013 22:26:18 EST SparktheSeason - Day 25 - Gratitude Although we are having a tough season, there is still a lot to be grateful for. I am grateful for my husband, my children and their spouses/significant others, and my grandson. I am also grateful for my Spark family. I don't know what I would do without any of you. <BR> <BR> I wish I could see this adorable face in person but thanks to the wonders of technology, we will "see" him on Skype later today. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <B... Wed, 25 Dec 2013 06:50:56 EST Sadness So I've missed a few days of entries on here. On Friday our dog stopped eating. He had been doing poorly for a while. First arthritis, then kidney problems and a diminishing appetite. He had lost a lot of weight in the past months. All weekend we tried to entice him with treats but he wasn't interested in anything. We made one of the toughest decisions we have had to make and Monday morning Toby passed peacefully. <BR> <BR> I thought I was prepared but I had no idea just how hard this... Tue, 24 Dec 2013 01:05:45 EST SparktheSeason - Day 20 - Workout Now that winter has set in, workouts are pretty much treadmill and free weights. My treadmill is set up in my office. That's a file cabinet in front of it. The large picture on the right is my daughter, to the left of it is my "Spark" patch from JASR a few years ago, and the picture at the bottom is me and DH over 30 years ago, taken during the brief minutes (months) that I was a normal weight. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Fri, 20 Dec 2013 22:25:08 EST SparktheSeason - Day 19 - Dinner Forgot to post this last night! Dinner most night is chicken. I bake a bunch of breasts and then eat them for lunch or dinner several days after that. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I bake them with the skin on and then take it off right before I eat it. It stays a bit moister that way. Fri, 20 Dec 2013 22:19:16 EST SparktheSeason - Day 18 - Goal of the Day My goal today was to get some "gift" cards in the mail to my nieces and nephews so that they got there in time for Christmas. <BR> <BR> I printed out labels/postage this morning for 7 packages - that would take care of 14 nieces and nephews. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> I love being able to do this online. <BR> <BR> So I printed out the labels around 7:30 this morning and I finally got the packages to the post office at about 4:45 PM. But... Wed, 18 Dec 2013 23:03:16 EST SparktheSeason - Day 17 - Lunch Today is the last day the boss was going to be in the office until after the holidays, so we all had lunch together. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> So this was lunch. I had two slices of plain pizza - not really too bad considering the other options. Tue, 17 Dec 2013 21:23:00 EST SparktheSeason - Day 16 - Decorations This is the tree in our living room. It is artificial but after seeing my boss' live tree this year, we pretty much decided that this is the last year of the artificial tree. It looks decent with the lights on. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> At my old job, I decorated my office with lots of things but I cannot find them this year. The only thing I could find was this: <BR> <img src=" Mon, 16 Dec 2013 22:15:10 EST SparktheSeason - Day 15 - Memories Memories of a Christmas many, many years ago... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> My children - Vinnie will be 28 at the end of the month, Angela will be 25 in January, and Michael was 30 this year. Time goes by so fast... Sun, 15 Dec 2013 20:59:13 EST SparktheSeason - Day 14 - Relaxation I honestly could not do this one. I realized I don't know how to just relax. I am either multi-tasking or sleeping. I need to fix this. Sun, 15 Dec 2013 20:51:53 EST SparktheSeason - Day 13 - Someone You Love Anyone who knows me has probably guessed whose picture I am posting today. <BR> <BR> This is my grandson, Gino. He is 1 year old and lives in Florida. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> We were supposed to be going to visit during the Christmas break but now that DH is laid off that plan has been shelved. It is breaking my heart that we won't be seeing him in person for Christmas. I am glad we can Skype but it's just not the same as ge... Fri, 13 Dec 2013 10:17:03 EST SparktheSeason - Day 12 - Cookies Hmmm....cookies....I guess it's not Christmas without them. <BR> <BR> My husband is descended from Italians on both of his parents' sides of the family. When everyone gathers for the holiday, a cookie tray is definitely a welcome addition to the table. However, I would not even attempt to make these myself - this is definitely a bakery purchase in this household. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Last night, we had our office holiday ... Thu, 12 Dec 2013 23:31:30 EST SparktheSeason - Day 11 - Breakfast Right now I have two "go-to" breakfast meals. <BR> <BR> When I have time, I make eggs with tomatoes and a bit of shredded cheddar mixed in. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> When I don't have time, I grab one of these oatmeal cups. The peach and almond is my favorite. <BR> <img src=""> Thu, 12 Dec 2013 23:18:43 EST SparktheSeason - Day 10 - Home Two nights out and I am so far behind.... <BR> <BR> Home is just a house without family. This is one of my favorite pictures. It was taken at our house at Christmas 2010. With the exception of the young lady who is 3rd from the left in the back, it is all family. (She was the girlfriend of my nephew, Alex, standing 4th from the left.) <BR> <BR> Things have changed since this picture was taken. Alex's dad, Richie (3rd from the right in the back), passed away last summer. Alex is away a... Thu, 12 Dec 2013 23:07:49 EST SparktheSeason - Day 9 - Snack Fruit salad really is one of my favorite snacks. However, I can't be bothered to take the time to make a salad like this one! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I would eat this every day if someone else would make it for me. Mon, 9 Dec 2013 21:07:17 EST SparktheSeason - Day 8 - Best Part of Winter Honestly, I don't like winter very much. My favorite season is autumn, followed by spring. I love "sweater weather". I can handle the cold, but I would be happy if I never saw snow and icy roads again. It's nice if you can just stay in, but these days, there is always someone I know who needs to be on the road for work. And I really hate it when the weather interferes with family gatherings around the holidays. <BR> <BR> I really had to think about the best part of winter and I think fo... Sun, 8 Dec 2013 17:21:07 EST SparktheSeason - Day 7 - Best Part of the Day The best part of my day today was talking to my son, Vinnie, on the phone. He called "just to talk". He is such a sweetheart. <BR> <BR> This is a picture of Vinnie and his wife, Deanna, at the family reunion in May. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Here is Vinnie with his son, Gino. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Sat, 7 Dec 2013 22:31:02 EST SparktheSeason - Day 6 - To-Do List I finally got one thing completed tonight and off my to-do list. It was partially done all week: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Our tree is simple - no themes - nothing fancy. The ornaments have been collected over the years. One tradition that I have always kept, no matter what else was going on, is to buy one ornament each year for each of my children and my husband. As each child moved into their own home, they got their ornam... Fri, 6 Dec 2013 23:05:38 EST SparktheSeason - Day 5 - Homemade This is the cheesecake (or what was left of it) that I made for Thanksgiving. It is always a big hit with the family. I plan on making another for our office party, as we need a gluten-free dessert. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Thu, 5 Dec 2013 22:09:22 EST