BROOKLYN_BORN's SparkPeople Blog BROOKLYN_BORN's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community The Streak I'm Most Proud of and What I’m Most Grateful for Today is the 1000th day straight that I have logged into Spark. It's also DH's 72nd birthday. <BR> <BR> How appropriate that they should coincide. I begin every day with a cup of coffee that Joe made for me, just as he has done every morning for nearly 50 years, except for those times when circumstances kept us apart. <BR> <BR> I'm grateful that: <BR> 2 high school sweethearts beat the marriage statistics <BR> I am beating the dismal weight maintenance statistics by following Spark princi... Wed, 18 Jan 2017 07:50:35 EST Challenge, Who needs a challenge? Oops, I guess I do! Challenges are a big part of the spark world. We get invitations when we first join, on the start page, in email, through team activities or even through the posts of friends. <BR> <BR> In 8 years I think I've done 3. <BR> 30 days of fiber - check, I'm fine <BR> 30 days of healthy eating - healthy yes, but I can overeat healthy food too. Can't give away my food scale or ignore the tracker indefinitely <BR> <BR> I'm in maintenance now for 7 years, so the 5% challenges, valuable for so many... Fri, 13 Jan 2017 08:40:30 EST Following advice (or not) sometimes depends on the source My daughter, who recognized that I needed to make some changes, gave me a food scale for Christmas a decade ago. <BR> Eh, who needs it! I eat healthy food <BR> <BR> Then she gave me a set of dumbbells. <BR> Eh, who needs those! Look how fit I am. <BR> <BR> Then she told me about Spark and I joined and OTHER people told me to use that food scale and pick up those dumbbells and I DID. <BR> <BR> For months now DD#1 suggested that I download Runkeeper Go . I had lost my SPAT during the... Wed, 11 Jan 2017 11:02:08 EST "Off to See the Wizard" - Following the Spark Road It may not be made of yellow bricks and it doesn't end at the Land of Oz, but it is a path well worth following. <BR> <BR> There are general directions posted. There are guidelines for nutrition and calorie ranges, tracking tools, and articles to read. Then there are teams and challenges to join. These are like the side roads or "paths to overlooks" that I travel in reality on the Blue Ridge Parkway here in Virginia. They lead me to a view of the entire countryside. I can see where I've... Sun, 8 Jan 2017 08:56:39 EST The Road not Taken...The Pie not Eaten With apologies to Robert Frost who poetically described: <BR> "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,. And sorry I could not travel both" <BR> <BR> I'm thinking about the 2 roads I have traveled. <BR> One was smooth sailing with lots of billboards for all kinds of food and excuses for more and more eating. It ended at the weight that did not make me happy. <BR> <BR> The other was harder to traverse, many obstacles, potholes, situations and people who implied the journey was not worth the e... Wed, 4 Jan 2017 07:32:53 EST The Comfort of a Comforter During this holiday we had a full house one night which required getting out some extra blankets from the plastic storage bags in the closet. <BR> <BR> After everyone left I was preparing to pack things away when suddenly this triggered some memories. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Yeah, I must be very nostalgic to reminisce over a blanket. It's a 60 year old quilt on a 60 year old bed. <BR> <BR> Neither ... Tue, 3 Jan 2017 08:12:31 EST What Would Grandma Think of My Excuses? I always find motivation by logging into Spark. Sometimes it hits close to home. <BR> <BR> My DD#1 Hayburner1969 is BACK to Spark after 15 months of going it alone! <BR> <BR> Her blog this morning was a nice surprise that got me thinking too. <BR> <BR> "It's Not Like You Have to Saddle Up the Horse" <BR> <BR> <link><BR>urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=6289282 </link> <BR> <BR> Check it out. <BR> <BR> I hope she finds the motivation and support here o... Mon, 2 Jan 2017 08:34:37 EST What the World Needs Now is... <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I posted my status about taking our 6 grandkids to a photo session to recreate a 2004 picture. <BR> <BR> This is NOT it, but on the walk back to our cars after the session they ran over to this sculpture and posed for this impromptu photo. <BR> <BR> Left to right: <BR> Billy (age 20), his brother Andy in the 'O' (17) <BR> Jacob (15) and Steven (18) brothers bracketing the 'V' <BR> Carrie (... Sun, 1 Jan 2017 07:44:39 EST I'm number 11! - I'm number 11! - and it only took 8 years! Tomorrow, January 1, 2017 is my Spark Anniversary. It was 8 years ago, New Year's Day 2009, that I joined Spark. I made up some meaningless username to get started. I only intended to use the trackers not get involved in anything else. <BR> <BR> By summer I was halfway to my goal and I was getting daily email with links to resources and blogs. I began to read them, learn and secretly connect with others. I was aware of them. They did not know that I, a "stealth sparker" was following t... Sat, 31 Dec 2016 07:44:17 EST 45 years of continuous gym memberships - done! Here's my replacement. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I understand the theory behind changing up our fitness routine (challenging our body, combating boredom etc.) <BR> <BR> I agree that changing "time or manner of the routine" is what we should strive for. <BR> I just have to remember to temper my enthusiasm with caution when trying something totally different. <BR> <BR> For example: <BR> I hurt my knee with the q... Wed, 28 Dec 2016 09:43:49 EST 5 Billion SparkPoints! Our Cumulative Effort Toward a Healthy Lifestyle At 11:52 pm last night the counter reached that milestone. <BR> <BR> No, I didn't stay up to watch it. Something jarred me awake at 11:40 and I decided to see how accurate my prediction had been. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The cumulative points of the tracker represent the efforts of like-minded people all over the world. <BR> <BR> It feels good to be part of something larger than yourself. <BR> I w... Tue, 20 Dec 2016 08:52:25 EST One Billion Spark Points Ago - Nov 4, 2014 On that date I posted a blog as I watched the Spark counter tallying in real time the spark points of the total membership all over the world. I was fascinated as it approached 4 Billion points. <BR> <BR> As I watched the changing total, I typed my feelings about Spark People and the changes this community has produced in my life. I posted the blog at the exact moment the counter hit 4,000,000,000. <BR> <BR> The counter is located at the very bottom of our Spark Points page. I seem to ... Sun, 18 Dec 2016 17:56:42 EST My Up and Down Spirit Mind + Body + Environment = the state of my spirit. <BR> My mathematical mind tends to quantify everything. <BR> <BR> Over time I've discovered that I need 2 of the 3 to be positive or at least neutral or my spirit gets really down. <BR> <BR> After my Dad died (and Mom blamed me), the counselor I saw told me that I had situational depression. Mom moved in with us and I had a series of health issues. <BR> <BR> 47 years ago an army doctor told me that my mental state was unwarranted. I to... Fri, 16 Dec 2016 09:49:06 EST My 47 year old tree How long does an artificial tree last? I have read opinions and comments on this topic quite a lot recently. <BR> <BR> This is Christmas 1969. Can you see the baby under the tree? Baby Jeannie was 3 months old and I sent this photo to DH who left for Vietnam right after she was born. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Here's the same tree this morning ready for Christmas 2016 <BR> <BR> <img src="http://phot... Sun, 11 Dec 2016 08:53:41 EST Minutes Needed to Burn Off ONE Chocolate Chip Cookie Yes, tis the season when cookies are everywhere <BR> Yes, people tend to overindulge <BR> No, I rarely stop at just one, although I admire those who can just "have a taste" <BR> No, my active lifestyle and love of fitness activities will NOT allow me to balance an overindulgence of food. Not easily. <BR> <BR> So, my data driven mind calculated the title of this blog. <BR> Calories Burned vs Time and Effort Needed <BR> <BR> My medium size chocolate chip cookie contains 105 calories. <BR> My... Fri, 9 Dec 2016 11:17:48 EST Mind games and shoe games in a 5k My streak is intact. I have won some age group award every year that I've run in our town's annual Christmas Classic 5k including 10 straight since retiring in 2007 <BR> . <BR> It's been my good fortune to share the course and my age group with some very competitive women from a nearby city. Years ago I blogged that even if I could not dream of catching the fastest of the "energizer bunnies," my goal was to at least keep them in sight. I gave them that title once when I watched them power ... Sat, 3 Dec 2016 14:16:46 EST Anime and Me - Finding Inspiration in the Strangest Places "Remaining individual and unique is the true way to achieve your dream" <BR> (Miki - Anime character in "Universal Lady Justice, Vol 1) <BR> <BR> I know that I'm not the target demographic audience for Anime, but every time I expand my horizons I'm surprised to see, hear, read or experience something that goes beyond what a nearly 70 year old woman should enjoy and find meaningful. <BR> <BR> Background: <BR> "Anime is a diverse art form with distinctive production methods and techniques t... Fri, 25 Nov 2016 08:55:21 EST A Surprise in Walmart After my run yesterday, I stopped at Walmart to buy Christmas presents for a local charity drive. As I was pondering the many varieties of Barbie Dolls, I heard "Eileen?" The woman looked vaguely familiar. She continued "you don't remember me, do you?" <BR> <BR> I had to admit that I did not. When she said her name, I remembered the Masters in Educational Technology program in which I was enrolled 18 years ago. I recognized her as the director. <BR> <BR> What a memory she had! He... Wed, 23 Nov 2016 07:19:15 EST Beware the "feel good" treadmill My data driven mind knew it was wrong - very wrong. Still, I wanted to believe it. <BR> <BR> DH & I are in Tennessee visiting his mother in the nursing home. Although I'm thankful he was finally given permission to travel (10 weeks after brain surgery), this was our most depressing visit yet. While at 96, some confusion may be expected, yesterday there were very few lucid moments. There wasn't much to do except listen to her ramble on about things that made no sense at all. At least ... Sat, 19 Nov 2016 11:10:04 EST Trivia Question - Maybe I have a Dirty House? I play Spark trivia every day. I've learned a lot. Today I missed the question about how many calories are burned yearly through house cleaning. <BR> <BR> "A 2005 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that Brits burn more than 50,000 calories a year - nearly 15 pounds of fat--just by cleaning their homes" <BR> <BR> While my house will never be featured in "Better Homes and Gardens" I don't expect to be condemned by the Board of Health either. The same is true of ever... Sat, 12 Nov 2016 07:19:15 EST RESOLVED! What a beautiful word! 8 weeks past DH's brain surgery for 2 huge subdural hematomas and the latest CT report is that the scan is "unremarkable." The problem (residual blood and swelling) has RESOLVED! <BR> <BR> He has been discharged from PT and given the OK by the neurologist to drive, travel, swim and even mow the lawn. I DO NOT want him mowing the lawn. We have grandsons who can do that. <BR> <BR> The one caution is to avoid any further bumps on the head. He does have 4 "burr holes" where only skin covers... Sat, 5 Nov 2016 11:35:31 EST Very Happy with my "Benchmark" 5K I recently began running again as a way to reduce the stress in my life as Joe recovers from brain surgery. As I posted in my status, I decided to run the "I Am Woman" 5K this morning for a benchmark time to improve on and also because: <BR> <BR> It is sponsored by the hospital that saved his life <BR> It's for a great cause (Children's Miracle Network) <BR> It's so great to see 600 women all out there together running and walking and celebrating fitness. <BR> (Note, men can enter and a few... Sat, 29 Oct 2016 12:51:38 EST My Cocoon I spark, I run, I sing and I play scrabble <BR> <BR> Monday will be 2 months since Joe's brain surgery. We have so much to be thankful for. For all daily activities our life is back to normal except he is supposed to avoid stress and anything that would cause vibrations in his head. <BR> So, <BR> No TV at least for the next 13 days (Netflix is working out very well) <BR> No mowing the lawn (We've got grandsons for that) <BR> No sitting on bleachers in the cold (I'll go alone to see the gra... Thu, 27 Oct 2016 07:47:57 EST 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