GAILANN48's SparkPeople Blog GAILANN48's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Can't take a good picture to save my life! This past summer, I discovered that the activity I dearly love is outdoor project work - the more difficult, the better. :) Some SP friends asked me to post pictures when they were mostly complete, so I'm following through. I admit it - my photography is abominable, but I promised. <BR> <BR> First, the cleaned and renovated pond, "re-rocked" with a stone waterfall (not running in pic), and a retaining wall for what I planted - spring bulbs, iris, daylilies, black-eyed Susans, comfrey, Echi... Tue, 4 Nov 2014 18:50:56 EST Courage to try again. June 24, 2014: <BR> <BR> A Spark article I read yesterday suggested that starting over might be a good idea for someone who's been stuck for a while. I've been losing and gaining the same 10 pounds for eight months now, and I think that qualifies me as "stuck". I've resisted, believing perseverance, not starting over, is what I needed to do because STARTING is something I do really well, but finishing has been more elusive. <BR> <BR> Then came the "messages." My new team leader posted a... Tue, 24 Jun 2014 08:53:47 EST First chick of the summer! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> As promised! Auntie Reba on the left, Mama Ruby on the right, and the newest edition...well, it's obvious. :) If you look really closely, you can see the second one peeking out from Mama's feathers, but it's really hard to see. I don't think the rest of the eggs are going to hatch, so this might be it for this "generation" - good thing because the coop isn't huge. :) <BR> <BR> Isn't new life amazing? Have a great d... Sun, 1 Jun 2014 10:44:41 EST There are challenges, and then there are challenges. :) I'm quite late in "submitting" my promised report following week #4 of my 30 Days of Fit Food challenge - oops. But this update will be a bit more than just that - I've been doing a lot of thinking, and am owning up to some faults, kind of thinking out loud about future this is longer than usual. <BR> <BR> Challenges have not been my forte here - I don't think I'm a great team member because I...well, I'm not sure why. Whatever the reasons, I find myself doing the challenge, but ... Sat, 3 May 2014 09:33:07 EST Week #3 - Challenge Report :) Okay, so what if it's not going exactly as I expected...or more precisely, so what if the blessed SCALE isn't going in the direction I expected. But there IS progress nonetheless! <BR> <BR> With 22 of the 30 days done, I'm frankly feeling more healthy than when I started, but the greater effect seems to be in my attitude. I'm frankly "engaged" in my day to day life, feeling more connected to myself than in a long while. I know that must sound odd... <BR> <BR> I've added a qigong class (Drag... Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:10:39 EST Week #2 - Challenge Report :) “The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.” <BR> ~ Robert Louis Stevenson <BR> <BR> So with that reminder before me, I'm resolved to stay the course...despite no weight loss "rewards" as yet. but I DO feel more present, and I... Thu, 10 Apr 2014 10:51:06 EST Week #1 - Challenge Report :) I promised myself that I'd blog at least once a week during this 30-day challenge, so here I am at the end of week #1. <BR> <em>224</em> <BR> I haven't rocked the world with ALL my choices this week, but the bottom line is that I feel like I'm paying attention again, am in better in control of what goes into my mouth, and I'm saying nicer things to myself. As for the latter, I KNOW those messages shouldn't be performance based....but lets work on one thing at a time, lol! <BR> <BR> It's... Tue, 1 Apr 2014 11:31:00 EST Hibernation? Yawnnnnn....stretch....WHAT month is it?! <BR> <BR> Wonder if this is what hibernating bears feel like in the spring? Seems like it was JUST January, and suddenly April is peeking through the snow clouds (yes, it's snowing again). I feel as if I've been mentally somewhere else while at the same time going through the motions that day to day living requires - quite happy, very busy, but not really present, if you know what I mean. <BR> <BR> I'm pretty sure bears lose a lot of weight during h... Tue, 25 Mar 2014 09:04:51 EST Reboot, Refocus, Refine Yup, I'm right there with some of my other friends who feel as if they've sort of fallen through the ice since the holiday season. By easing up on my resolve to maintain the healthier habits, the old ones have sneaked back in and brought a few extra pounds with them. The placard I'm carrying right now says, "Okay, okay, I get it. You were right!" I know what to do, I just need to DO those things consistently and persistently. <BR> <BR> Anyhow, as of yesterday I've put the mistakes behind me ... Sun, 26 Jan 2014 11:39:20 EST "What are you doing?" Running errands yesterday, I saw a question painted across the back window of a Jeep, "What are you doing?" There was no context, no clue about what the question had to do with, and as I drove by, I wondered. <BR> <BR> I'm still not sure why it hit me so hard, but as I headed home and mulled the strange message over, it occurred to me that it made a difference how I read the question. It could be WHAT are you doing? What ARE you doing? What are YOU doing? or What are you DOING? And I think ... Thu, 5 Dec 2013 12:16:50 EST The ENGINE, not the caboose! :) When I see myself as the little train that could, I have to remember that the character in that story was an ENGINE, not a rail car in the middle, and not the caboose! <BR> <BR> I have to remember that to climb those hills in my life, and to keep going in the right direction no matter how I feel in the moment, I'M the one who has the power. Because of that, the results are not only my responsibility, but within my control. God provides the fuel, but it's me who needs to keep pushing. If I g... Thu, 14 Nov 2013 08:20:06 EST Still pinching myself about this NSV! When I first joined SP almost exactly a year ago, I thought I was here "just" to lose weight and get healthier. I signed up for SparkCoach - one of the BEST choices I've made - and heard Chris D. describe the story of a woman who fulfilled a dream by getting a book published. Something about the way he told the story resonated with my decades-long dream of doing the same thing, and I thought, "You know, maybe I could do that, too..." <BR> <BR> So here we are, a year later, a few pounds light... Fri, 8 Nov 2013 08:36:13 EST Timing Isn't that pretty much the whole issue most of the time, the timing? <BR> <BR> I was in a funny place for a while, trying to figure out why I felt lost, so I just did what my father told me to do if (when!) I got lost in the woods. He told me to resist the urge to wander around, but just stay where I was until either I figured out for sure which way to go or someone found me. That long ago advice was right for this SP journey, too, because both things happened, and I'm not feeling lost anymo... Sat, 21 Sep 2013 11:14:37 EST Funny place to be ...well, not funny so much as odd, I guess, at loose ends and uncomfortable, kind of like moving into a new home and not feeling "all there" yet. Please, if you were hoping to hear positive in this, please stop reading here? <BR> <BR> I've really hesitated blogging in this funny place - don't know quite what's going on, and don't want to be negative. But this morning I realized that it always means something to me when others here share the truth of where they are, even when it's dark, and t... Fri, 30 Aug 2013 07:37:15 EST "Abnormal, but Not Suspicious" <BR> <em>20</em> LOL, Okay, so I get it that this phrase pretty well describes me in a nutshell (no pun intended), but it's ALSO the formal diagnosis of my breast scan! WHOOP!!! They told me earlier that I'd have to wait another whole week, but I was emailed results just a few minutes ago! <BR> <BR> <em>458</em> From the look on the technician's face (and her overly calm demeanor), it apparently had the look of something really awful, but I've been told it's "not suspicious." I'm advis... Sun, 21 Jul 2013 14:41:18 EST Chickens (with pictures!) Well, the planets finally aligned, and both the chicken coop and the chickens have arrived safely! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> They're a year old - got them from a friend who raises chickens - and they came with names. :) <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Left to right, they're Rudy, Reba, Ruby and Roxie (my friend names chickens that she keeps from the same year with names that begins with the same ... Thu, 4 Jul 2013 10:42:59 EST Okay, so it's not a plateau... Just when I think I know all the answers...well, you know how THAT ends. <BR> <BR> For the past 2 months, I've been stuck, and couldn't seem to figure out what I was doing wrong. I've kept plodding along within a pound of the same weight, mystified, until I finally asked for help. (I know, imagine that!) One of the wonderful friends here suggested that I investigate my calorie deficit. Since "Reports" was part of the site I'd never used, it took me a while to find it, but what an eye opener!... Sat, 29 Jun 2013 08:09:50 EST My dog is confused. I'm pretty sure my German Shepherd would have me committed if she could, citing recent unexplainable actions on the part of her owner, me: <BR> <BR> <em>324</em> She watches me pedal a bike in the living room, but the bike doesn't go anywhere, and I’m pedaling so hard that I don’t seem to notice I haven’t moved! She cocks her head. <BR> <BR> <em>417</em> She sees me on the floor on a foam mat making funny motions (and noises), but I’m apparently not playing because she’s not allowe... Wed, 26 Jun 2013 10:05:23 EST My 65th birthday - oh, my goodness! :) Yup, somehow it's happened - I'm 65 today. <em>40</em> <BR> No deep thoughts, I'm afraid, just frankly surprised to have been on this Earth that seems like more than one lifetime. All I can say is, "I guess I'm not done." <BR> <BR> I'm grateful to have been allowed to come to a place of greater gentleness and calm, more laughter, and more honest caring - each of these at least SOME of the time! <BR> <em>211</em> <BR> A little weight loss, more intentional acti... Sun, 9 Jun 2013 11:09:01 EST Home again, home again, jiggedy jig! My mom used to say that as we drove up to our house after every long trip when we were little, and it ran through my mind as we got home yesterday. :) <BR> <BR> So, we made it home safe and sound, thousands of miles traveled. It was a wonderful trip...I'm tired, and very grateful. There were some 23 tornadoes and one major flood that we "just missed," and actually seeing the devastation is so much different from viewing it on a little TV screen. I'm both thankful for our travel mercies, an... Tue, 28 May 2013 10:29:13 EST Khaki Eggs All this change in me has gotten me thinking... about color. <BR> <BR> Art teachers have assured me that all colors of paint make black, and physics teachers taught me that all colors of light make white. I beg to differ, at least with the art teachers; Easter egg dying with my family taught me long ago that mixing all colors gives you dark khaki. All of Dad's Easter eggs came out khaki. However his egg began, whatever color or pattern, he always kept adding and adding, re-dipping and evalua... Sun, 5 May 2013 18:51:54 EST Yikes... Milestone day. I'm excited...and a little scared. <BR> <BR> 10 years ago, I retired after 30+ teaching, and kept working at other jobs. Today I finally retired...totally...I think. <BR> <BR> Wow, is this scary, but I think it's the right thing. We've prayed, and we've saved, and I HOPE it's the right thing. Like a lot of you, I've had writing aspirations, and have had a little success. But at this point, it seems there are more stories that need telling than I think I have time to write. An... Sat, 27 Apr 2013 12:07:27 EST Perspective What's something I always think I have until I find out I haven't? Perspective. The degree to which I'm able to understand events and people in this life seems to depend completely on the "angle" from which I view them. <BR> <BR> I know that's a really obvious thing to say, and common to all creatures (I'm reminded of the kitten who looks behind the mirror looking for the OTHER kitten), but I think the car trip last week gave me greater insight. As the scenery sped by, some simple truths em... Thu, 11 Apr 2013 08:16:27 EST Courage As my brother, sister and I were cleaning out Mom's house after she passed away last May, we found a small wooden sign next to her mirror with just one word on it - COURAGE. We all looked at each other, then my brother left the room for a moment and my sister and I cried. We cried with realization, empathy, and pride - our mother had been amazingly brave and resolute in her battle, gentle and kind throughout. We wondered how perhaps that one thought, seen and contemplated daily, helped her m... Sat, 30 Mar 2013 10:20:59 EST Paralysis of Analysis My weight goes up a little, and suddenly my brain is in overdrive. I examine myriad possibilities - could have been this, or this, or that, or...or...or? And then I get so stuck in the "whys" that I forget the simple things - the "whats." Whatever else might be involved, the truth is that for the past 10 days or so, I've eaten a little too much and been a little less active. My brain knows all the rest, water, emotions, season change, sleep, etc. etc. But really all I have to do is the simple... Sun, 24 Mar 2013 09:10:20 EST You people! Spark Friends are pretty special. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> They look out for each other, <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> They listen when we need to vent, <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> They reassure us that it really IS going to be okay, <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> They someti... Wed, 20 Mar 2013 12:54:48 EST Nothing dramatic Just completed Week #3 of my 28-day self challenge to limit evening eating to only planned snacks....and I committed to checking in on my progress once a week, so here I am! <BR> <BR> Week #1 was super, week #2 not so super (both already blogged), and now week #3 is done. It was, well, not bad... actually pretty good! "Pretty good" is brand new territory for this person formerly known as Miss All or Nothing, and that's amazing all by itself. <BR> <em>20</em> <BR> <BR> So, this week I fi... Sun, 17 Mar 2013 17:14:03 EST Wow... I don't mean, "WOW!!" in the excited giddy way (although I sometimes am), I mean, "Wow..." in the hippie/amazed/gratified and reflective way. <BR> <BR> Wow. This really works - this really works, and I've been almost afraid to acknowledge or believe that. <BR> <BR> Wow. I've only been here four months now, but I'm stronger, I'm down a few pounds, I've got actual muscles you can see, I found my hip bones and my collar bone (they were still right where I last saw them decades ago!), I unders... Wed, 13 Mar 2013 12:29:34 EST Accountable Accountability. The image that calls up makes me sort of squirm, but being accountable is ultimately what life is all about, I think, so here I am. <BR> <em>211</em> <BR> <BR> When I decided to change my habit of evening eating - the one that was making all the day's good choices almost moot - I promised to report back here each week. The first week was glorious, the second one - this week - less so...but actually I think I learned MUCH more from this "bad" week than I did from the first ... Sat, 9 Mar 2013 10:00:25 EST Flat on my ever-loving face Funny how I seem to have more trouble handling success than failure, at least as far as food issues in my life go... <BR> <BR> Self challenged myself to 28 days of a new snack control eating regime, had a GREAT first week, lost a pound, and found out I was down a pants size. Wonderful, right? So what do I do? Yup, fell flat on my ever-loving face with 3 days over calories and snacking my way from dinner to bed. RATS! At least I kept logging... <BR> <BR> Sooooo, rolled out of bed this mornin... Mon, 4 Mar 2013 20:12:36 EST MARVELOUS taste Last week I wrote: "Okay, been around a few months, doing okay, but...well...a nasty pattern keeps rearing its ugly head and gobbling up the joy." The pattern was evening eating, and I publicly committed to 28 days of changing that habit...and to checking in once a week with my progress. <BR> <BR> Well, I've been treated to a MARVELOUS taste in these 7 days, one that's pretty unfamiliar to me in my food world. It's the sweetness of following through on something I said I'd do. Yup, so far s... Fri, 1 Mar 2013 10:38:09 EST ...and AWAY we go! Okay, been around a few months, doing okay, but...well...a nasty pattern keeps rearing its ugly head and gobbling up the joy. <BR> <BR> I'm okay till the late afternoon, maybe even till, GREAT until then...but between dinner and bedtime, it's just war. Water doesn't help much, distracting myself only lasts a chunk at a time, and I feel like it shouldn't be this hard. And I'm all done with the "why do I always do this...what is it that I'm trying to feed" discussion with myself. ... Thu, 21 Feb 2013 19:20:29 EST The real goals...what??? SP Chris said this on a SparkCoach "lesson," and it's really had me thinking. He said, "Healthy habits aren't the goal. They're the tools to reach your life goals." Though I think my BRAIN knew that, my struggling inner girl said, "????" <BR> <BR> But he's right. Other members have added similar thoughts that make me realize my focus on "weight loss" has been way too narrow. My ongoing wrestling match with what I think I want to eat (instead of what I planned) and with what I don't want to d... Wed, 13 Feb 2013 14:21:40 EST "Ice cream" revelation! I'm afraid this isn't one of those insightful blogs full of wisdom and perspective...just so you know. <BR> <em>211</em> <BR> <BR> My greatest temptation to overdo is ice cream, and often it's the entree into more overdoing, so I've been avoiding it. <em>46</em> <BR> <BR> But today I found something that scratches whatever that itch is JUST as well as the full fat premium denizon of the freezer case, at least for me. It's super simple, just good Greek yogurt (I used non-fat) and fr... Sun, 10 Feb 2013 10:19:04 EST Personal experience proved the rule...again... You know how it goes when you KNOW a "rule" but don't seem to be able to apply it until you try it the other way yourself and learn the painful way? ...or is that just me? Well, seems like I've read five or six blogs lately about how being tired can lead to extra hunger... or whatever that feeling is in the pit of the tired belly that just will not be denied. <BR> <BR> So, information acknowledged. But then today was a bit difficult, with a tough day at work, not much sleep for the last cou... Tue, 29 Jan 2013 20:30:49 EST Baby steps... ...taking a look at what I've learned in this first 2 months on SP - the ideas are so simple, but eluded me for so long before this: <BR> <BR> My baby steps: <BR> 1. Record everything, even when I'd rather not see how the little tastes add up, even when I'd like a do-over. If I "cheat" in recording, who am I kidding! Remember that the next moment, whenever that occurs, GIVES ME a do-over. <BR> 2. Be more active, knowing that I CAN make progress with 10 or 15 minutes at a time. <B... Thu, 24 Jan 2013 11:31:48 EST WOOHOO, Turtle Power! I've always really liked turtles - even have a small collection of turtle figurines, each with its own story - and finding box turtles in the yard makes me smile. But I never planned to BE one, and never would have thought I'd be DELIGHTED that a turtle is exactly what I am. <BR> <BR> No black magic or funny mushrooms involved here, just a weight loss metaphor. After years of yoyoing by 5+ pounds a week, losing and gaining 20-40 pounds at a time and torturing my body with those swings, SP ... Sun, 20 Jan 2013 08:49:33 EST A little bump... My sister and two of her daughters flew in to spend three days with us this past week. <BR> <BR> 1. I love them dearly, and haven't seen them since Mom passed away last spring <BR> 2. We all love to cook and one of them is a chef <BR> 3. I'm the only one with a weight issue that ISN'T weighing too little <BR> <BR> My hard-charging resolve came to a screeching halt and I found myself eating at least some of the time the OLD way...a bump in the road of my weight loss journey. The good news i... Mon, 14 Jan 2013 16:48:41 EST The winter of our...content! Funny thing about Shakespeare - sometimes I've just missed the point and didn't know it! For years (read "decades") I've thought the often quoted words from Richard III, "Now is the winter of our discontent," meant just that - sadness, melancholy, discontent. I just learned that the quote goes on to talk about how those days have turned to glorious summer - and it really means that the sadness is past! <BR> <BR> I know, it's taken me a long time to get to the point... that today I feel like... Sat, 12 Jan 2013 11:11:49 EST From now on... I'm in kind of a "sweet spot" right now, so maybe I need to take myself with a grain of salt or two :), but I'm wondering how I'd feel in a year if I actually managed to speak kindly to myself (while still being accountable for my choices) for that whole time. I guess I'm nowhere near as bright as I thought I was, because it's never occurred to me before that the kindness I believe we're meant to show others is the same kindness we need most from ourselves. I mean, the THOUGHT of that crossed... Tue, 8 Jan 2013 19:19:04 EST All or nothing has never worked for long... The Spark Coach discussion concerning moderation in all and the avoidance of extremes - the all or nothing I realize I so easily find - really has me thinking. It seems to apply to so many areas of my life, and I wonder where it came from. But I also realize that doesn't really matter. Instead, it's the "how do I do it differently" that is the biggest question, and the one with the most important answer. I know that "baby steps, and doing "better" are parts of my answer. Anyone have any other... Fri, 4 Jan 2013 18:37:08 EST