BROOKLYN_BORN's SparkPeople Blog BROOKLYN_BORN's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Competition vs Cooperation Thank you once again for your comments and good wishes on Joe's continued recovery. He's doing remarkably well although I will still be holding my breath until CT scans show all residual blood and swelling completely gone. They say that will take a long time. I'm just grateful that we do have time. At age 71 subdural hematomas of that size could have killed him. Being "in good shape" to begin with was key to recovery. <BR> <BR> I posted my status that we are almost back to normal. That... Fri, 7 Oct 2016 08:11:04 EST Four weeks after brain surgery DH update: Joe continues to do very well. He looks and acts the same as before. He's even back to doing the dishes and scrubbing the pots. The scabs are gone from his head. The surgeon did a great job. The scars are almost invisible. <BR> <BR> A few changes: <BR> <BR> He's eating less food. In the hospital they would not allow him to order more than 1 dessert per meal. He lost 7 pounds and decided he likes being 190. He actually said that there is NO NEED to haul around 200 pounds... Fri, 30 Sep 2016 07:32:37 EST 2 Pieces of Good News First of all, thank you everyone for your prayers and good wishes for Joe's recovery. His follow-up CT scan confirmed what I've been observing. He's doing REALLY well! Except for the 4 incision scabs on his head you wouldn't know that he had brain surgery 3 weeks ago. <BR> <BR> The swelling and residual blood continues to go down. This is an expected slow process, but he was even given permission to swim again. No, he will not be doing that! Not yet! Walking will be our main form of ... Fri, 23 Sep 2016 06:53:28 EST Sparking in trying times - update on DH It's been 13 days since DH had brain surgery for a subdural hematoma. <BR> <BR> First the good news - Joe is doing quite well. He came home on Thursday and is right now sitting at his computer answering email after making a pot of coffee for us as he has done for the last 50 years. <BR> <BR> Of all the things I worried about happening to him like: <BR> Getting hit by a jet ski as he swam his mile each day in the lake. <BR> Getting capsized and run over by a power boat as he sailed his litt... Tue, 13 Sep 2016 09:03:55 EST Final thoughts of sedemdesiatnici (70 year olds) I learned that new Slovak word when watching the director of our summer program in Bratislava being interviewed by a TV reporter. She said that 31 countries were represented in the 13 levels of the course. There were over 150 students including two "sedemdesiatnici" from the USA. LOL - That's Joe and me. <BR> <BR> This was the closing ceremony where we got our certificates. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> He... Mon, 29 Aug 2016 10:46:36 EST Searching for roots and finding new branches In 2008 I set out to find my roots in Eastern Europe - the hazy history behind the immigration of my grandparents to America. Grandma was 17 when she came alone in 1900. My grandfather was a widower and arrived in 1907. <BR> <BR> I had 2 documents, grandma's birth certificate from the village of Sambron and grandfather's death certificate from his home village (Habura). He died there on a visit in 1935. <BR> <BR> Over the next 8 years we have returned to Slovakia many times touring th... Fri, 26 Aug 2016 08:38:01 EST Exploring the "Big Little Country" - Slovakia - Day 3 The final day of our excursion took us from the heights to the depths and to the northern border with Poland. <BR> <BR> Day 2 ended in the high Tatra Mountains <BR> <BR> Day 3 we explored one of Slovakia's many caves. This one is known for the discovery of a complete skeleton of a ice age bear which stood 3 meters tall and weighed up to 2000 pounds <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I have other photos but can't... Mon, 22 Aug 2016 03:04:18 EST Exploring the "Big Little Country" - Slovakia - Day 2 All 4 excursion buses from the university met for the night at the same hotel in the city of Proprad in the Vysoke Tatry (High Tatra Mountains). This was the view from our window. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> After a buffet breakfast we set off again in 4 different directions. <BR> <BR> First stop was a "historical reservation" - a collection of buildings tracing the evolution of the area since prehistoric times.... Fri, 19 Aug 2016 09:52:34 EST Exploring the "Big Little Country" - Slovakia That slogan of the Slovak tourist bureau refers to the variety of geographic landscapes, and historic locations and ethic traditions within this small country. <BR> <BR> Our course in Slovak Language and Culture includes 4 separate 3 day excursions from which we choose one. Joe and I have traveled around the country on our own many times and toured 13 castles. So we chose the excursion which included the northernmost region and castle that we were never able to reach on our own. <BR> <B... Thu, 18 Aug 2016 07:33:11 EST 150+ international students and me in the Slovak countryside We returned from our 3 day excursion at 11 pm last night. <BR> I've got a ton of photos to sort through but this will give you a snapshot of my traveling companions. <BR> <BR> Our group of 40 are visiting a "skanzen" an open air historical museum with buildings of cultural significance. This is a 1950s era village schoolhouse complete with photos of comrade Stalin. <BR> DH (Joe) is standing in the back with a Belgian classmate, an interpreter who can speak 4 or 5 languages and is here bru... Sun, 14 Aug 2016 13:57:29 EST Sites of Bratislava On Saturday all the students went on an all day walking tour of the city. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> We gathered in front of the National Theater. It was a short walk for us. Our apartment is a few buildings away. <BR> <BR> Across the square is the National Philharmonic Orchestra. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> August i... Wed, 10 Aug 2016 01:18:11 EST Every morning in Bratislava, Slovakia I walk about 1/4 mile to the Danube River and along the path there until I come to this bridge. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It's called the Novy Most (new bridge) or Most UFO (UFO Bridge because of the shape of the restaurant on top. You can get a good meal up there or as an alternative, they will give you a bungee cable and you can jump off. <BR> <BR> I run along the path being careful to stay in the walker/run... Tue, 9 Aug 2016 11:39:00 EST Singers don't dance & dancers don't sing? That was the situation in our community theater group in Ohio. Not true in Slovakia! <BR> <BR> After Friday's classes were done for the day, at 4:30 we went to a folk singing workshop. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It was optional, but everyone was there. The words were on the screen and we sang along with a traditional band. The leader had a great voice and was very enthusiastic acting out the text for tho... Sat, 6 Aug 2016 01:39:39 EST Living as a student in a foreign country DH and I like to travel, but this trip is a very different experience. <BR> Our usual plan is to research countries and travel on our own or with children and grandchildren. We also enjoy river cruises where our floating hotel takes us to major cities and interesting towns without any effort on our part. <BR> <BR> This, however, is very different. For 3 weeks we are students at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia. <BR> Slovakia is the eastern half of the old Czechoslovakia which... Thu, 4 Aug 2016 19:04:42 EST Our "palace" in Slovakia DH and I are in Bratislava studying Slovak language and culture. Last time we took this course we lived in the dorm. The students were very nice to their old classmates but this time we rented an apartment in "old town" close to the university and the Danube where I can run every morning before class. <BR> <BR> This building was once a palace and now renovated into individual apartments. There are huge doors which swing open upon card entry with an ancient creaking noise. <BR> <BR> <img... Sun, 31 Jul 2016 04:05:22 EST Searching for a new suit with Spark help A few months ago I decided to start swimming again and posted this picture in a blog. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> After 5 years in a drawer the elastic had deteriorated and I wasn't sure how long I would have before it gave out completely. <BR> <BR> So began the search for a new bathing suit - one I could actually swim in - one that would stay in place without tugging on all parts of it. <BR> <BR> I we... Fri, 8 Jul 2016 06:32:45 EST My weird hand injury Thank you for the good wishes for recovery. Day 4 and I am almost back to normal but still trying to do as much as possible with my left hand. <BR> <BR> That's not easy. I'm strongly right handed. My left hand and arm just coast through life. <BR> <BR> One positive - holding my fork in my left hand really slowed down my food consumption. Have I discovered a new weight loss technique? <BR> <BR> I realized the cause of the injury. After my 2 weeks of exciting travels/music experiences... Wed, 6 Jul 2016 06:31:01 EST Look! We have twins! Not children, just matching kayaks <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Exactly one month ago I blogged that I had an immediate need to make 3 purchases. <BR> <BR> The first was a new kayak. 5 of our 6 grandchildren were visiting and the 18 year old at 6'2" had a tough time getting his legs into a comfortable position. <BR> <BR> <img src="">... Sat, 2 Jul 2016 07:25:04 EST How did the 2 of us create HER? That was DH's comment at the conclusion of DD's semi-final performance at the Cliburn International Piano Competition on Thursday. We watched the live stream broadcast of the field of 12, down from the original 68 competitors invited to Fort Worth by recorded audition. <BR> <BR> Thank you sparkers who followed and supported her journey (and me). <BR> <BR> I hinted that there was a backstory to all this and I've been asked to tell it. <BR> <BR> Subtitles to this blog could be: <BR> "Ho... Mon, 27 Jun 2016 06:46:44 EST Sparker Hayburner1969 finishing her semi-final performance at the Cliburn International Piano Compet <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I LOVE this picture. At 2am Jeannie (my DD) posted the following on Facebook. <BR> "Hey everyone, I'm totally pooped and crawling into bed, but I wanted to say thank you for being such a great audience and support system. I had a good run here and got to play three times for a jury of world-class pianists. I got bravos and a standing ovation and I'm cool with that! Goodnight and see you soo... Fri, 24 Jun 2016 08:28:41 EST "Several Amateur Pianists Stand Out in the Quarterfinals of the Cliburn" And one of them is my DD#1 - Sparker Hayburner1969 <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> She was pleased with her performance in the round of 30 (down from the 68 International competitors whose recorded auditions earned an invitation to the preliminaries in Fort Worth, TX). Being featured in the web story and in the newspaper the next day was fantastic <BR> <BR> <img src=" Thu, 23 Jun 2016 08:54:32 EST The Medical Benefits of Sparking by Association I've written about DH a lot in the past 7 years. <BR> I've called him the "junk food king of the world" <BR> <BR> For those who have only known me only a short time, this was my kitchen table in 2010. It was not a staged photo. It really looked like that. At that time I wanted to document that I reached MY goal while living in this environment. <BR> (Confession, the Pringles were mine!) <BR> <BR> <img src="">... Thu, 16 Jun 2016 06:57:35 EST It's Spark Guy's fault that my laundry isn't folded It's DH's fault that I burned my toast this morning. <BR> It's my friend's fault for retiring so that so much tempting food was right in front of me today <BR> It's the wind's fault that I couldn't kayak longer. <BR> Which are true? Definitely not the first 3. <BR> <BR> For quite awhile Spark Guy blogged about the Ultimate Spark Challenge - extending spark principles to our daily lives beyond the food/exercise thing. I jumped right in and whenever I washed clothes, I folded them and put the... Sun, 5 Jun 2016 15:16:12 EST The Way We Were Since I've finished my "old spark friends" project, here's one of my oldest real life friends. <BR> Joe and Me in '63 - our first date at Rockaway Beach, Long Island, NY. <BR> He was 18. I was almost 16. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> We started "going steady" 4 months later. <BR> I still wear the ankle bracelet, but now it's part of a necklace. <BR> <BR> We were married 4 years later - 49 years ago today. <... Fri, 3 Jun 2016 10:07:51 EST Three purchases needed - immediately Tomorrow DH & I will be married for 49 years. There isn't much we NEED to buy anymore. You acquire a lot of stuff over a half century. In the beginning all our worldly possessions fit into the back of a 1961 station wagon. We didn't downsize after retirement. Actually our lake house has more space than we once raised 3 children in. This works out well since where we once were only 2, over time we grew to 5 then 8 and finally 14. All except my son and the oldest grandson live nearby. <B... Thu, 2 Jun 2016 06:48:26 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 24 Today's group of 18 are the end of the line. <BR> <BR> One last post is significant, something we say to ourselves and each other all the time. <BR> "Today is the first day of the rest of my life." That's a true statement. However, since she disappeared, we have no idea how she is spending those days. I hope in a happy, successful environment. <BR> <BR> The final results: <BR> 267 out of 448 friends are still actively sparking - a nice round 60% <BR> <BR> Here are the day by day statis... Tue, 31 May 2016 07:17:13 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 23 "I thought we were already friends" Today's group is a recent addition to my friends list since I'm proceeding chronologically through it. Yet many are long term spark veterans whose presence I've always noticed. Through this project we are now friends. <BR> <BR> Research often leads to other questions. <BR> How did we meet our spark friends? <BR> Through teams? <BR> Through blogs or comments on blogs or message boards? <BR> Or my very favorite image (from OneKidsMom) <BR> "Did I foll... Mon, 30 May 2016 07:08:29 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 22 The Spark World and my gym have several things in common. <BR> As I analyze and synthesize what I've learned during this project I've noticed several similarities. <BR> <BR> Some people are regulars in the fitness classes - something for everyone. <BR> Some sparkers are active on teams - quite a variety of options here too. <BR> <BR> Some people workout individually making use of different resources and focusing on their own goals with minimal interaction with others. <BR> I myself experie... Sun, 29 May 2016 11:06:49 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 21 Three weeks along in this project and the finish line is in sight. I expected it to take much longer checking out 10 old friends per day, but I doubled that early on. It was like bumping into old friends on the street and catching up. I even made a few new friends along the way. <BR> <BR> Today's group is a remarkable bunch. <BR> <BR> 17 Active & 3 Inactive/Missing - That's 85% <BR> <BR> Summary so far: <BR> <BR> 221 out of 390 are still active - 57% <BR> <BR> Here's the day by day s... Sat, 28 May 2016 06:46:33 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 20 "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." <BR> For Sparkers either can be true. Sometimes sequentially and occasionally at the same time. <BR> Congrats to Watermellen who identified my last literary reference. <BR> <BR> Along with the basics stats, I'm taking the time to read about each of my old friends, especially the last posts of those no longer active. Aside from reconnecting, my goal here is to get some sense of why people leave or give up and the events leading up to... Fri, 27 May 2016 06:45:14 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 19 "In Times of Change, Learners Inherit the Earth while the Learned are Perfectly Prepared for a World that No Longer Exists" <BR> <BR> That was one of the quotations displayed prominently in the front of my classroom. It's also the title of my personal website - the one I continue to update and maintain even after my retirement. <BR> <BR> During my 7 years here I've changed in many ways. Because I'm the "Queen of Gradualism" many were not visible day to day, but when viewed from a long r... Thu, 26 May 2016 06:44:45 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 18 "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way" <BR> Anyone get my reference? Yes, even Math majors read the classics. <BR> In the context of my project, substitute "sparkers" for "families" <BR> <BR> I'm looking at unhappy results right now. <BR> Today's group includes 2/3 with status "inactive or missing" <BR> <BR> One case is understandable. Over the years I've known her and even seen her blog featured, she has gone dark and then returned several times.... Wed, 25 May 2016 06:23:05 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 17 "It's not our old Brooklyn anymore" That's what an old friend told me 2 years ago when I was planning to attend my 50th high school reunion. It's also the comment I got from a spark friend about this community as she returned after a long break. <BR> <BR> No community is static. People change. Their needs change. Communities change, both real and online. I'm not naive enough to claim that all change is beneficial, but just because it's not how I remember it doesn't mean it's all bad ... Tue, 24 May 2016 08:04:41 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 16 Hopefulness and Discouragement - Our attitude makes a difference in our ability to stick with a plan. That's the reason for all those inspirational quotes on spark pages. I believe they help, but it's not enough just to say it. We have to really believe it. We have to act on our hopeful, positive quotes. <BR> <BR> I was sad today to find the last post of an inactive spark friend to include: <BR> "I'm discouraged but not giving up. This is going to be a good week for me" <BR> Then nothin... Mon, 23 May 2016 08:01:13 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 15 "Let the Haters Be Your Motivation" - Persistence and Resilience <BR> <BR> Yesterday we attended the HS graduation of grandson #3. He is class valedictorian and made a speech at the ceremony. He's known as "Math Guy" since he enrolled in Calculus at the local Community College at age 12. All his math courses during HS were taken at a local university. <BR> <BR> His speech included interesting as well as whimsical statistics and equations. He thanked his teachers and coaches. I particu... Sun, 22 May 2016 07:44:42 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 14 Today's group of 20 friends deserves a gold star from Spark. <BR> 18 are still active. That's a remarkable 90% <BR> <BR> I didn't have to remind myself of who they are because they are active here regularly and I "see" them here all the time even if they are not specifically interacting with me. <BR> <BR> At some point I may look more closely to see if they have anything in common that would indicate persistence. Nothing jumps out immediately. My friends list is ordered chronologicall... Sat, 21 May 2016 05:46:51 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 13 Suddenly, recognizing old friends became a bit more difficult. Heck, when I logged in on Wednesday for my 654th consecutive day, I hardly recognized myself. My profile picture, where I proudly display my Spark T-Shirt, was a tiny little "postage stamp" amid a sea of blue. <BR> <BR> The new format of the spark pages right in the middle of my project tested my perseverance. I may not have remembered everything about friends I haven't heard from in a long time, but I remembered their pag... Fri, 20 May 2016 07:44:22 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 12 "My live-in BF calls me fat chick" - That was one line of the last blog of an old spark friend. It was no surprise then that she became inactive before reaching her goal. The blog didn't say she was leaving, so that wasn't her intention at the moment she last blogged, but living in that atmosphere must have been toxic. <BR> <BR> Personally I would have stayed on SP and gotten rid of the BF. I am very much aware of the negative effect of hurtful words. Sadly, hurtful words are everywhere.... Thu, 19 May 2016 07:36:20 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 11 The law of unintended consequences is usually invoked when describing an unexpected outcome of a project. My original goal was to check in on old friends, reconnect with those still active and maybe discover why others had disappeared. <BR> <BR> Yesterday I read about a friend's swimming activities. This ignited something in me. I know how to swim. I think I'm actually better than average, at least for my age, but I don't do it because I don't like being cold and wet or having to ga... Wed, 18 May 2016 08:05:16 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 10 Each day of this project a new question pops into my head. Of course, I still want to know the results - active vs inactive/missing, but today I was wondering about the "old timers." <BR> <BR> Some sparkers have been here longer than I have and I consider myself a real veteran. <BR> <BR> At this point my "Longevity Award" goes to a sparker who just passed his 11th Spark Anniversary. <BR> He joined in April 2005. We haven't interacted in a long time so I won't include his name. He hasn... Tue, 17 May 2016 08:15:37 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 9 DH calls my spark friends my "imaginary friends." I envy those who are able to meet in real life after sharing experiences online. So far in real life I've meet exactly ONE spark friend (Teri-rific) when we realized we would both be participating in the VA 10 Miler which attracts thousands of runners each September. That's the race title but we both had chosen the 4 miler option. So we were able to meet at the finish line while waiting for our daughters who were running the full 10 miles.... Mon, 16 May 2016 07:28:39 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 8 Each day I look forward to this project. I'm glad I have the time to do it. I'm retired so there is no boss (principal or superintendent in my case) to demand something be done immediately if not sooner. I was a math/computer science teacher and later Technology Coordinator. <BR> <BR> My time is my own and I have the flexibility to fill and organize it as I see fit. Our 6 grandchildren are 14-21 and while we see them often and attend their sports and music events, it's not like I'm the... Sun, 15 May 2016 07:20:21 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 7 Today I'm thinking about my "class" - those who joined the same week that I did. I know that we are supposed to be automatically assigned to a team when we sign up, but somehow that did not happen to me. I know I didn't have any friends or any teams for a very long time. I just tracked and occasionally read some articles. I didn't even spin the wheel. I was the invisible sparker. <BR> <BR> Years later when I realized that class teams existed, I joined mine. I figured that would confus... Sat, 14 May 2016 07:27:41 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 6 Perhaps there should be a subtitle today? Why did they leave? <BR> I'm learning a lot both from my stroll down the memory lane of old friends and also from the comments. <BR> <BR> Is the efficiency of the website a reason to leave? <BR> <BR> In the beginning I used to have trouble with the trackers. Then veteran sparkers introduced me to shortcuts that reduced data entry to just minutes. It helps that after 7 years here, every imaginable food item or form of workout is already in "favori... Fri, 13 May 2016 07:02:06 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 5 I used to be a fan of the "Survivor" TV show. I remember that on the day before the finale the 4 last "survivors" would walk down a path lined with the torches of those who had not survived and would say a few words about each one of them. This is a bit how I feel with this project. <BR> <BR> While I'm glad to see those still active even if they have not been interacting with me, seeing the pages of those inactive brings back memories of their time here. Sometimes their last posts give a... Thu, 12 May 2016 07:58:17 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 4 Another reminder from my project. Some sparkers return with a new screen name. Either they left for a while and returned with a brand new persona and outlook or like me they just deleted their old page and joined again without a spark break. <BR> <BR> My spark start date is listed as 8/20/2009, but I really joined on 1/1/2009 after my worst 5k time ever produced my "aha moment." I was a spark hermit in the beginning only using the trackers. However, I was being successful with slow and ... Wed, 11 May 2016 07:45:07 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 3 I'm working on this project gradually, checking in on 10 old friends per day. <BR> That's my mindset about most things - gradual, slow and steady progress. It's worked so far for weight loss, increasing fitness/strength training/steps per day, cutting down on sugar etc. <BR> <BR> The lesson learned today is that sparkers are not inactive just because they are not communicating with me. They may not be blogging and have a private feed, but they are posting on teams and/or message boards... Tue, 10 May 2016 07:48:16 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Day 2 Before I post the data for today, I want to clarify something because of a comment posted on yesterday's blog. It ended with this statement. <BR> "I am not one of those people who feel the need to have hundreds and hundreds of friends. For me, that is totally ridiculous." <BR> <BR> I believe: <BR> <BR> We are all an experiment of one seeking the path to a healthy lifestyle that works best for us. <BR> <BR> There are many different attitudes toward the appropriate level of interaction with... Mon, 9 May 2016 07:22:40 EST Where have all my old friends gone? Today I decided to find out. <BR> Over my 7+ years on Spark I've made hundreds of friends, followed their journeys, celebrated their successes and sympathized with their problems. Perhaps it's the recent losses in my life as members of my own generation pass away, or maybe it's my 70th birthday coming up next year, but I've been wondering about the people who once were a part of my real life with whom I've lost track. Facebook helps me keep in touch, but so many of my generation never beca... Sun, 8 May 2016 08:01:41 EST Some heavy and totally unexpected race hardware <img src=""> <BR> <BR> With all the excitement about music events lately, I've neglected to mention that I've been rehabbing another one of my freak yoga (over-stretching) injuries which occurred on April 7th. DH calls my approach to this activity "competitive yoga" - not competing with anyone else only myself. <BR> <BR> I was really mad at myself for being so stupid AGAIN since I had registered for a half ma... Sun, 1 May 2016 18:32:29 EST