CASEYTALK's SparkPeople Blog CASEYTALK's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community On being furniture In spring of 2002, our family adopted two cats. My daughter chose Beck, a tuxedo cat, and my son chose Angel, a black cat. This is the story of Beck. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> This was typical. <BR> <BR> We lived in Virginia at the time. The cats were indoor cats and quickly displayed their quirky personalities. Beck was the goofy, lumbering one who was very friendly and always looking for human furniture, ... Sun, 22 May 2016 12:12:31 EST Three successes! The WooHoo jar lounge group focuses on reminding ourselves of the positive things we do. Heck, we all KNOW what we're doing wrong and beat ourselves up for it all the time. Today, I am posting three things I've done recently that are good for my journey: <BR> <BR> 1) I've started working with a personal trainer. If I have an appointment and I've paid for it, I'll get my backside there and do the workout! <BR> <BR> 2) I've held another meet-up coffee with the Santa Rosa Spark Team. It wa... Sat, 9 Apr 2016 17:24:52 EST Just wing it What has been happening? <BR> <BR> Nutshell since last blog: <BR> <BR> Dating: <BR> The guy I met in the city and I had two dates. No spark there, so that's fine. We tried. Then I met another man I've been seeing from time to time. I'm not in love and I'm pretty sure he isn't, either, but we go wine tasting and things like that and enjoy each other's company a lot. He has frequently said he'd like us to travel together, which I wouldn't mind. I'm actually fairly content with my roman... Tue, 8 Mar 2016 10:52:53 EST I don't like reality sometimes. I'm starting to get out there to try to meet people. I'm on a couple of on line dating sites. I try very hard to be honest because I'm tired of not getting second dates. If they don't like me as I am, then let's not even get started, right? <BR> <BR> Today I was chatting on line for the first time with someone who sounds very promising. We like a lot of the same things, we get the same cultural references, we're making each other laugh. He has seen the head shot I have on the site. He a... Sat, 18 Apr 2015 22:54:17 EST You are not alone And neither am I! <BR> <BR> The SP team for my area has been inactive for a very long time. I finally broke down and decided to offer to lead the team figuring I couldn't do any damage to it. There are thousands of members, yet no activity on the team page. <BR> <BR> I posted, sent e-mails, tried to stir up some interest, and was happy to see a couple of posts now and then. We finally arranged a meet up and today was the day. <BR> <BR> EvilDuckie, Amerkrebs and I met for coffee thi... Sat, 21 Feb 2015 20:19:28 EST Interim goal achieved! I had gained so much weight that I was over my previous highest weight. When I started again this time, I made my first goal to reach my previous highest weight by my birthday, which was yesterday. <BR> <BR> I made it! <BR> <BR> I hadn't adjusted my little tracker turtle, so he wasn't budging even though I was losing some weight. Not a lot. . . I wasn't that far over my previous top. <BR> <BR> My little turtle has started his journey again. That tiny tiny tiny amount there means a l... Tue, 3 Feb 2015 11:57:33 EST Baby step day For the last three nights, I have had very frequently interrupted sleep. I'm exhausted. It should be fine soon, but today, I have no energy. I stayed home all day and my fitbit is showing a meagre 1,237 steps. <BR> <BR> It is STILL a good spark day. I drank loads of tea (oh, thank goodness for tea) and I stayed within my calorie range. I made the SP cookbook creamy broccoli soup and omitted the butter and cheese. I tracked as if I had made it according to the directions, though, and s... Mon, 26 Jan 2015 21:23:53 EST What I want to tell myself My challenge today is to write down a letter of encouragement to myself. I'm to think how I would encourage a friend and say those things to myself. I know I'm very critical of myself and I will rewrite several of these lines to make sure that I keep that out and keep the positive in. <BR> <BR> Casey -- <BR> <BR> I know you are facing a difficult road ahead and I want to write you a few words of encouragement. <BR> <BR> You can do this. You know you can. You've learned what works for ... Sat, 17 Jan 2015 13:27:32 EST Mushrooms! My daughter gave me a mushroom farm and it has been producing gorgeous fresh shiitakes. I have made mushrooms with brown and wild rice, a mushroom omelette, Thai soup with mushrooms. . . I will let you know when I start to be tired of mushrooms. I don't expect it any time soon. <BR> <BR> On the WOO HOO! front, I have stayed within my calorie range for two weeks now. The loss isn't showing on my ticker because I didn't adjust my ticker to show my new top weight. I am fine with that. I w... Fri, 16 Jan 2015 13:29:54 EST I'm NOT starting again If you go through my blog, there's definitely a theme . . . starting again. Starting over. Not giving up. <BR> <BR> That last, fortunately, is the one that applies today. I have been tracking my food for over a week and I stayed within my calorie range all but one of the days. Therefore, I have already started and now I get to CONTINUE doing well. <BR> <BR> It feels good to be able to look over the last week and be pleased with my progress. I know this process. There's a long road ... Fri, 9 Jan 2015 10:43:17 EST Fine dining This post is inspired by ADARKARA. <BR> <BR> I love to eat. I think that is obvious, don't you? I love to eat so much that I eat too quickly to feel full and start looking for more to eat and then become overfull by the time the brain kicks in to tell me I've had enough. I need to slow down my eating. <BR> <BR> Easier said than done, right? I mean, I expect none of this is new to you. It's clearly a common problem among us. <BR> <BR> Adarkara posted her menu for the week. It's very ... Sun, 4 Jan 2015 11:54:46 EST It has been forever It seems that while I was losing weight, I was blogging. Perhaps I should listen to that. Today SP will be swamped with the annual resolutions and that's great. Yes, a lot of people don't keep them, but I did keep mine one year and lost a lot of weight, so why not do it again? <BR> <BR> Any day is a good day to get healthy. <BR> <BR> I've logged into SP. I've logged my breakfast. I'm signed up for a hike today. It feels good. <BR> <BR> Thank you all for not giving up on me as I st... Thu, 1 Jan 2015 11:10:55 EST "She has a great personality" One of today's daily Spark videos is this: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>ark-videos-detail.asp?video=54 </link> <BR> <BR> (This is a gender normative post because I'm straight and these are my experiences. I understand that people in other situations have other or similar experiences, but I'm using 'men' and 'women' to reflect my own experiences only. ) I never played with Barbie when I was growing up, but I was surrounded, as we all are, with impossible beau... Thu, 20 Mar 2014 14:32:43 EST Cosmos and me I'm a nerd. I looked forward to Neil Degrasse Tyson's revamp of Sagan's Cosmos and watched it excitedly last night. While I hope future shows in the series tone down the whiz-bang effects of the space ship, it was a fun ride. I'll keep watching. <BR> <BR> I want to think about how I fit into the cosmos. We are all star dust, after all, right? <BR> <BR> It's so pretty here. I live in California's redwood forest. The trees, the Russian River, the hills, the wine country, it's all so bea... Mon, 10 Mar 2014 11:47:12 EST Struggling with the daemon Yesterday afternoon, I was hungry. I looked at my plan and saw hard boiled egg and spinach salad. Sounds good and I have the hb egg already in the fridge, so it will be pretty easy. <BR> <BR> I pealed the egg and thought, I would really rather have this with mustard. That's no problem, so I ate it that way and then got to thinking I had some calories left over, so I could eat some more. That is when the daemon came. <BR> <BR> He won the first battle. I had a slice of bread and salsa a... Sun, 23 Feb 2014 10:48:50 EST Four and more! Four days following the SP menu plan. I really like this. By shopping only once a week, I am not being tempted to buy foods I shouldn't eat. I have everything I need to make good food. I am learning how I will modify the menu next week, too. I am going to add in some of my favourite spark recipes and make up a batch that I freeze in portions. It will save money and I do love to eat the spark cookbook recipes. <BR> <BR> On life -- <BR> <BR> I've started volunteering at the local scho... Sat, 22 Feb 2014 13:01:07 EST Back to the basics Before I regain ALL the weight I had lost, I know I have to change. Madness, as they say, is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Waking up every morning and saying "this is the day!" and then continuing to make poor food choices was clearly a failed policy. <BR> <BR> Now that I am living in the States, I have been seeing adverts for Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem. I don't want to spend the money for those, but wouldn't it be nice to have the planning done and one simply eat... Thu, 20 Feb 2014 11:23:11 EST A lot has happened Major life changes in the last six months: <BR> <BR> Retired. <BR> Empty Nest. <BR> Decided to divorce. <BR> Moved house from Quito, Ecuador to Guerneville, California <BR> (Includes purchase of a house, packing, unpacking, etc.) <BR> <BR> I knew these were all coming, so I tried to prepare myself and to warn myself against eating for stress reasons. It didn't work. I gained back a lot of weight. No more excuses now, though. I'm nearly settled into the new house, the family have departe... Sun, 12 Jan 2014 16:21:40 EST I sparked a colleague! I have been walking to work every day. As my workplace is two miles from my home, that's four miles a day. One of my colleagues just told me that inspired him to go for a bike ride after work. What a nice thing to tell me! <BR> <BR> The bad news is that I have really fallen off the nutrition wagon in the last two weeks. I have been doing stress and boredom eating. I don't have a scale here, but I do not need one to know that I have gained. <BR> <BR> Plan: <BR> <BR> Stop eating betw... Wed, 14 Aug 2013 07:30:20 EST Anticipating body aches and soreness. :) I went to my do jiang today. For an hour and a half I trained with the advanced class. I expect I will be sore tomorrow, but I feel great today. <BR> <BR> I love tae kwan do. I'm glad I'll be able to take it up again now that I'm retiring. I've missed it! My instructor said I was looking pretty good out there. He said it's strange, but I seem to be doing even better than when I was training with them every day. I pointed out that it's a lot easier to do this stuff when I weigh so mu... Sat, 3 Aug 2013 16:36:23 EST Back and blogging Since I was last here, I've packed up all my belongings and sent them off with the shippers. I don't know when I'll see them again as I can't take possession until I have a house to put them in. That won't happen until after I have been here in Washington, DC for a month or so. I do so detest DC in August. It's hot and sticky and just not 'home'. I'll go to Northern California in September to house hunt and, once I have a place, I can have my things delivered and unpack. I won't be sett... Wed, 31 Jul 2013 08:35:22 EST What do I fear? My Spark Coach challenge today is to do something I'm afraid of doing. SparkGuy, as we all know, has worked hard to overcome his fear of public speaking, which is one of the most common fears out there. I don't happen to share it, which is a good thing as public speaking has been a significant part of my professional life. I get butterflies and all, but in general public speaking is something I do well and I seek out opportunities to speak or perform. <BR> <BR> I went skydiving with my d... Sun, 14 Jul 2013 11:27:39 EST Out, Damned Clot! About three or four months ago, I posted that I had a blood clot in my left leg. Serious stuff -- my mother has clots, her father had clots, and her brother died of an embolism caused by a clot when he was 29, before I was born. <BR> <BR> <em>230</em> <BR> <BR> During a recent trip to Mindo, I was eaten alive by bugs. I had 54 bites on the left leg and 29 on the right. The Monday after that, I noticed that my left leg, the one with the clot, was swollen. Our health care provider,... Mon, 1 Jul 2013 12:39:14 EST SiXTY down -- again! At the end of August, I posted my SIXTY down! blog. Here it is: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=5038410 </link> <BR> <BR> I lost another two pounds after that and made it to 185. I have a photo in my gallery commemorating that. I then gained back close to 20 pounds, which I am happy to say, are GONE again. <BR> <BR> I didn't give up. I just kept sparking, kept starting each day, kept reading articles, talking to YOU, my spark fr... Thu, 13 Jun 2013 05:37:44 EST That . . . urgh . . . feeling in my stomach I have a zillion things to do. I'm steadily working through them, but I still have more to do. My son's graduation is a week from Thursday and the fiesta dinner (they don't have a 'prom', exactly. The families participate) is the Friday after. I have loads of things to do for those. I have loads of things to do for leaving Ecuador late July. Transporting the cats, selling things, packing up things, etc. There seems to be no end of things I have to do. <BR> <BR> In the meantime, I h... Tue, 11 Jun 2013 14:59:55 EST I like to play with my food. <img src=""> <BR> <BR> My Quito Sparkies and I have a healthful foods potluck where we share ideas for tasty, nutritious, and low calorie dishes every Wednesday. Today I made my penguins. The picture here shows them with cream cheese in the lower olive, but now I make them with yogurt cheese. There's so little of it that the slightly tart taste of the yogurt cheese is not noticible, it's less expensive, and it has fewer calories. <... Wed, 5 Jun 2013 14:12:15 EST It's about to hit the fan. DUCK! In the next few months: <BR> <BR> My son graduates <BR> Seven people in the house for the graduation <BR> Sell the car and some of my furniture <BR> Pack everything and ship it <BR> Fly to the USA <BR> Find a house and buy it <BR> Unpack everything <BR> Find a new job <BR> Send my youngest away to uni and go through empty nest <BR> <BR> I'm probably missing something. Still, that's enough, surely? Fri, 31 May 2013 11:13:13 EST Drawbacks to the life of a nomad I have lived in many countries around the world. I currently live in Ecuador and before that it was Uzbekistan. Before that, the USA, before that Germany, before that Korea, before that Sri Lanka, before that Ukraine. . . You get the idea. <BR> <BR> I love it. I learn languages, I meet fascinating people, I learn history, and I visit places others dream of. For example, the Galapagos are part of Ecuador, so I've visited them and the Amazon while I have been here. <BR> <BR> There are dr... Fri, 24 May 2013 10:22:13 EST Pep Talk My Spark Coach challenge yesterday was to focus on the positive and to give myself a pep talk. <BR> <BR> I did and it feels good. I strongly recommend it. <BR> <BR> One. I have taken off and, more importantly kept off 50 pounds. I started this process over a year ago. Keeping it up so long is creating new habits replacing the bad ones. <BR> <BR> Two. I am breaking through the plateau at last. That shows perseverance. I won't give up on myself. It also shows I do know what I n... Fri, 17 May 2013 07:38:47 EST Nothing. . . and everything My daughter called me for Mother's Day. It was a great call. I called my mom, too, and we also had a great call. We're three amazing women, we are, and it's good to chat. <BR> <BR> My son lives with me. He never even said, "Happy Mother's Day, Mom", let alone made a card or anything. And that, my friends, is beautiful in its own way. <BR> <BR> We spend a lot of time together. We laugh, we cook together, we talk about the Big Issues, and, a lot of the time we're together, we're silen... Sun, 12 May 2013 20:10:55 EST So much to do. . . We've lived in Ecuador nearly 4 years. We're leaving in July. The less I own, the less I have to pack and ship and unpack on the other end. As the kids are both going to be at uni, we're looking to find a retirement property that's smaller than our current place, too. <BR> <BR> With that in mind, we held our second yard sale today. We rid ourselves of a lot of stuff. Even with moving every few years, we still manage to accumulate things and it's good to be shedding them. We made a f... Sat, 11 May 2013 16:47:52 EST It's What's For Lunch! I wrote recently about my laptop lunches. I thought today I would share a photo: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> yum! I already have the sushi roll with ginger as a grouping, so tracking will be easy. Fri, 10 May 2013 07:50:58 EST Warning -- This Will Break Your Heart History: <BR> <BR> When my son had his 7th birthday, he invited all the children in his class to come to a party at our house. We had all the balloons and serpentine, cake, ice cream, party games -- all ready. The time for the party came and went. No guests. Fifteen minutes later, no guests. A half hour later. . . I went out into the neighborhood where we lived and gathered in every child I could find of any age to come eat the cake and ice cream and play the games. Not one invited g... Fri, 3 May 2013 22:23:15 EST Vote! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I have joined the Woo Hoo jar team. I decided not to make a new container for the purpose as I have these two perfectly functional and currently unused ones available. So - should I use the tea caddy or the biscuit barrel (cookie jar in the American dialect)? <BR> <BR> Wed, 1 May 2013 09:19:54 EST Yes, this is my smug face. My son has been accepted to the culinary school he wants to go to in California. <BR> <BR> He's graduating from the British School here in Quito with International Baccalaureate certificates. In the last few years, we've found how much he loves cooking. His grandfather (my father) is a very good cook and I'm not too shabby. With just the two of us living here in Ecuador, one way we've found to share time and interests together is to cook. <BR> <BR> He has been loving the recipes in t... Sat, 27 Apr 2013 10:17:13 EST I have conquered LUNCH! I thought I'd pass this along. <BR> <BR> I used to eat at the office cafeteria every day. The nutritional value varied and, as I was hungry while in line, the treats would call to me. The cost adds up, too. <BR> <BR> So, I bought myself a Laptop Lunch bento system and started taking my lunch to work. I get it out when I'm putting away dinner, so I can put in leftovers and all. I buy canned veggies (asparagus, artichoke hearts, green beans, hearts of palm, whatever) and plop one of th... Tue, 23 Apr 2013 13:33:07 EST Moving. SUCH a pain. <em>432</em> <BR> <BR> I am a professional nomad. I move house every few years. The Ukrainians have a saying that one move is like two fires and they are right. The good side of it all is that I do go through my belongings regularly and get rid of loads of things I don't need any more. I remember going through my grandfather's things after he lived in the same house for over 50 years and the clutter and accumulation was incredible. My heirs won't have that, at least. <BR> <BR> <em... Wed, 17 Apr 2013 11:59:02 EST The English Patient (and the Dinosaur) If you've read my previous blog entry, you know I was recently the guest of the Ecuadorian health care system. Before you read the following, you should know that health care in Ecuador is generally pretty good. You hear griping about health care no matter where you are in the world and Ecuador is no different. Here is my experience. <BR> <BR> I had my ultrasound that discovered the blood clots at about noon. I was in the emergency room immediately after. They admitted me without askin... Wed, 3 Apr 2013 14:37:45 EST Clots and Clods I haven't blogged in a bit. I've . . . well. . . fallen down on the Spark job. I haven't given up, though. Here's the not-so-skinny: <BR> <BR> A while back, my left calf started to hurt. I couldn't figure out why as I hadn't done anything particularly strenuous with it, nor had I injured it. Hmmm. A few days later, I noticed that leg was a bit swollen, too. I had a blood clot a few years back and I knew not to ignore the signs. I went to our physician who sent me for a blood test and... Mon, 1 Apr 2013 12:03:44 EST I climbed an active volcano today! I am knackered. Details to follow. The tracker says I burned over 2,800 calories for a 4.5 hour hike and it sure feels like it. Sat, 16 Mar 2013 17:47:09 EST The plateau I seem to be starting through my plateau. I cannot say for certain as I thought so once or twice before, but it is feeling different this time and I am very positive about it. Most encouraging is that I have stayed about where I was and haven't gained back what I lost. When I have lost a lot of weight in the past, it never stayed off so long. <BR> <BR> Thank you to my wonderful spark friends for not letting me give up on myself! Fri, 1 Mar 2013 20:49:25 EST Hah! The nurse practitioner took me off one of my meds today. <BR> <BR> I'm going to keep going until I'm off ALL of them. Today, Lipitor. Tomorrow, the world! <BR> <BR> Nyah-ha-ha! <BR> <BR> <em>208</em> Fri, 1 Mar 2013 14:33:29 EST Yes, it DOES work! You've heard that even some progress to your weight loss goal can improve your health dramatically -- you don't have to lose all the excess weight you're carrying in order to receive health benefits. <BR> <BR> In January or February 2012, I had a blood test to measure my blood sugars and cholesterol. It is now a year later, and we've done it again. I've only lost about half the weight I need to lose, but look at this: <BR> <BR> <... Wed, 27 Feb 2013 12:25:33 EST What a COOL birthday! Saturday was my birthday. The kids and I went to the cloud forest in Mindo. Google images for Mindo cloud forest -- it's beautiful. <BR> <BR> We stayed in an eco-friendly lodge that you get to by being pulled across a river on a 'cable car' (essentially a board on ropes). We went to a butterfly farm and saw loads of birds including toucans, tanagers, a potoo, countless hummingbirds, etc. Ecuador is a birder's paradise as it has the most bird species of any country. I'm not a birder, b... Tue, 5 Feb 2013 14:46:41 EST Volcano climb, attempt number two Last summer, I was very excited at the chance to climb Pichincha, an active volcano that rises from the city of Quito. Here is my post about that, along with the stats on the mountain, and other bits of info: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4965218 </link> <BR> <BR> The Quito Sparkies and I are now planning to climb it March 16. I'm SO excited! This time, I'm going to make it to the summit! <BR> <BR> <em>358</em> <BR> (no, clim... Wed, 30 Jan 2013 23:00:54 EST Five things that made me laugh yesterday Yesterday, I said that one way I'd try to focus on living in the moment was to find five things that made me laugh. <BR> <BR> I did! I really enjoyed looking for things that were amusing, too. It put me in a very good mood all day. <BR> <BR> 1) Chris's comment to the blog that I could laugh at him if he were funny. Well, I did and he is. <BR> 2) There was a comment at work that would require far too much explanation here for you to find it funny, but it made everyone who was there laugh... Fri, 11 Jan 2013 11:22:23 EST It's a new day -- live it! Today is a day very like so many others. I have work. I'm covering for my supervisor. I have more work on my desk than I have time to complete today. I've scheduled in my exercise, I've planned (and made!) my meals for the day. My kids are busy, too. <BR> <BR> But. . . there's only one today. My whole life, only now will I be able to live TODAY. I can go through the motions and forget it forever, or I can see if I can make it memorable. <BR> <BR> I'd rather live today rather than ... Thu, 10 Jan 2013 08:48:18 EST I did it. I did it!! I've been avoiding the scale for some time now. I knew I gained over the hols and I didn't want to see the damage. I'm back on track with my health, though, and when I was losing weight I was weighing myself every day. I know that weight fluctuates day to day and I never was too bothered by the little changes up or down because the general trend was down and down and down. <BR> <BR> So, if that worked for me when I was losing weight, shouldn't I be doing it now again? When I'm overeati... Wed, 9 Jan 2013 14:20:58 EST Set medium range goals More navel gazing based on The Spark <BR> <BR> I know what my total weight loss goal is, but I need to set some milestones that will help me go towards those long term goals. <BR> <BR> The last post gave me some sense of what motivates me and why I want to do this. By intertwining that with my goals, I should reasonably be able to achieve them. <BR> <BR> Goal one: Reach a weight below 185, which was the lowest I have hit on my Spark journey so far. In other words, remove the gain of the... Fri, 4 Jan 2013 09:05:21 EST Thinking on purpose This is navel gazing applicable only to me. My friends are welcome to ignore this post and I won't feel slighted. <BR> <BR> I bought "The Spark" and read it over the summer, but it didn't get me out of my plateau just to read it. So, now I'm going through it again and I'm going to do some of the assignments. DOING is always more effective than 'THINKING ABOUT', right? So, let's start doing. One of the early assignments is to design my goals with a purpose. It's not enough just to wan... Thu, 3 Jan 2013 14:49:38 EST