GRACEOMALLEY's SparkPeople Blog GRACEOMALLEY's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Benefits Derived in spite of loss The home belonging to my beloved neighbors is going on the market this week. She passed away June 2nd at age 92 and he, age 95, has moved to an assisted living facility nearer 2 of their daughters about 6 hours drive west of here. <BR> <BR> The girls were here most of last week, until yesterday, getting the last of the household items cleared out and had a painter in to paint and someone to refinish the hardwood floors. I got to spend a little time with them - very bitter sweet. This i... Wed, 17 Aug 2016 02:13:52 EST The end of the cactus and so on The prickly pear cactus is removed from the flower bed and resides in the bottom of my compost bin that comes with my participation in the Denver Composts program. The last of the tiny thorns (I think it was the last) was removed from my thigh where it went in through my sweat pants the other day. <BR> <BR> I was out at 8:00 this morning, pulling weeds in my yard and in the alley behind my neighbor's house and watering another neighbor's gardens and lawn (they're away) for over 2 hours, By ... Tue, 26 Jul 2016 00:29:12 EST Retirement, Feral Kittens and Prickly Pear Cactus I retired May 31st. My lovely 92 year old neighbor, Rita, passed away June 2nd. <em>46</em> <BR> <BR> The late arrival of spring weather this year put me behind in getting my gardening done on time - so I'm still at it. Been trying to do at least 1/2 hour of cardio dancing or jazzercize pretty much first thing, right after I clean litter boxes and feed the critters. Then I go work in the yard and gardens until it gets too hot to be outside. Then I come in and work on getting rid ... Thu, 21 Jul 2016 00:28:01 EST A winter recipe I had To Share! I got a recipe from a friend - its Moroccan Vegetarian Stew from the Moosewood cookbook and it is FABULOUS! (you can also find it on the internet - just google it) The spices are a perfect combination. I've been giving the recipe away at work because people smell it when I'm heating the portion I brought for lunch and want to know what it is that smells so good. So - I'll share it here. <BR> <BR> Moosewood Moroccan Stew <BR> Serving Size : 6 - 8 <BR> -------- ... Wed, 18 Nov 2015 18:55:59 EST Enjoying a warm sunny weekend -just before the next snow & cold It was a gorgeous day of sun and up to mid-sixties temperatures. I did some housework and decluttering early, while it warmed up outside. I was supposed to take my newest kitty for shots, even brought the cat carrier inside 2 days ago to keep them from getting nervous, but to no avail. The cats all hid under furniture and I finally, after nearly an hour trying to catch little Bridget kitty, had to call the Vet's and cancel the appointment. <BR> <BR> Soon after, a friend who'd offered se... Sun, 15 Nov 2015 00:33:07 EST Sliding into Fall Boy - time sure does fly past! One minute I was heading for the San Luis Valley and Taos, the next . . . . <BR> <BR> My friends, the artists in Jaroso, Colorado, are some of the most delightful folks I know. I love being with them and around them and doing what I can to be useful. I spent a few days with them, then a few days in Taos with an old friend I hadn't seen since 1978. He was widowed last year and invited me to join him in a house he was renting in Taos. We had a fabulous time... Mon, 19 Oct 2015 18:43:19 EST What the Hail? Finally got my tomatoes planted, along with leeks, zucchini, purple potatoes, dill, marigolds and Purple Prairie pole beans a week ago. We did have some small hail in one thunderstorm a few days ago, but the plants came through relatively intact and yesterday I saw the tomatoes were blooming! Yipee! There had apparently been a run on Sweet Basil and they were out last weekend, but I was able to purchase several plants and another Sweet 100 cherry tomato plant yesterday on my way home from ... Fri, 5 Jun 2015 14:08:54 EST In memoriam I know I didn't get this done in a truly timely manner, but didn't have this photo available on computer at home yesterday. <BR> <BR> We remember those who served, with us and no longer with us, for all we have that they protected and preserved, including my father. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And we should remember that all the time, not just on Memorial Day. <BR> Tue, 26 May 2015 16:41:10 EST Gardening a new way. A week and a half ago, I had minor surgery to deal with a problem toenail. I've been unable to wear regular shoes on that foot, so wore a post-surgical sandal type thing I had that doesn't enclose the toes. <BR> <BR> It has rained (or snowed on Mother's Day) at some point every day for two weeks. My grass was getting WAY too tall, so Friday after work I forced my foot into a shoe to mow the lawn out front. It took over and hour - usually takes 30 minutes tops. Saturday morning I went o... Sun, 17 May 2015 23:44:01 EST Spicing up your life (and food) in ways that are GOOD FOR YOU! 7 Spices with Major Health Benefits <BR> by: Jordyn Cormier <BR> <BR> 120 Spices are a great thing to have in your pantry. They have the ability to turn a healthy, slightly bland meal into a nutritious flavor explosion. What’s even better, many spices are really great for your health, with loads of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Here are 9 everyday, super spices that you should use more of. <BR> <BR> Oregano. Vitamin K is a hard-to-find nutrient for many people, but a te... Mon, 4 May 2015 18:59:10 EST The cat that wasn't A week and a half ago I found out about a Maine Coon cat in an animal shelter about 20 miles away. Since my Maine Coon cat, Mulligan, died last fall I've been thinking I need another Maine Coon cat. They have wonderful personalities and are more interactive than your average cat. I had my first Maine Coon, Finn, for 18-1/2 years and Mulligan for 11-1/2 years, so I've had lots of experience with them among my other cats. I finally got to the shelter early Saturday afternoon, only to be to... Tue, 21 Apr 2015 23:28:23 EST Spring has sprung - for a few days Busy weekend - mowing the lawn, cleaning out garden beds - still so much dead stuff and weeds coming up to clear out. Filled a 5 gallon bucket 4 times between Saturday & Sunday just with dandelions and ground ivy and other nasty weeds. Two loads of laundry, visiting with my elderly neighbors for a while, cleaning in the house, but not much because I was so busy outside. Back to the office tomorrow. <BR> <BR> Can't plant here until Mother's Day to protect plants from our late frosts, but I... Sun, 12 Apr 2015 23:55:11 EST Care to challenge yourself? For those of you reading this who haven't participated in a 5% challenge - think about it! <BR> <BR> I've done several of these and they are a fantastic way to be involved and do great things for yourself on SPARK. You are part of a team, working toward similar ends with your team mates and competing against other teams. You will be getting lots of support and encouragement from the rest of your team and you get lots of useful information along the way. It helps keep you dedicated and focus... Thu, 12 Mar 2015 14:26:39 EST Craziness at work They are putting in new carpet in my office this weekend and preparing for that on Friday was nuts. LONG day with lots of packing up books and removing everything from our desks. Our computers were non-functional for much of the day and it was a lot of physical work. I put in a very long day and got home exhausted. I fell asleep on the couch around 9:00 p.m. and woke around midnight just long enough to let the dog out quickly, put on my nightie and get into my bed. I must have been wiped ... Sun, 1 Mar 2015 02:12:47 EST Just another manic Monday - Had to shovel snow for me and a few neighbors twice yesterday and again this morning. They are saying we'll be getting a similar storm with less snow fall on Wednesday intoThursday. I am definitely getting in strength and cardio workouts! Also getting REALLY tired of winter. <BR> <BR> The medications I got to treat the allergies/asthma seem to be working, which is good news. The breathing is better and the coughing almost completely gone - even when I was out in 13 degrees F to shovel ... Mon, 23 Feb 2015 16:32:56 EST And so it goes . . . The allergist was pleased today and the asthma seems to be under control for now - with medication. The inhalant he prescribed - $203.00! YUCKO! <BR> <BR> Tomorrow morning I go for a lung CT scan. There's something in my right lung that concerned my doctor in xrays from December when I had either pneumonia or a severe asthma attack (what the allergist believes it was). I know my right lung was collapsed in the accident I was in many years ago and it was re-inflated with a tube inserted f... Tue, 17 Feb 2015 23:32:56 EST Allergies stink I've been coughing and a runny nose for weeks. My breathing was feeling tight and I feared the pneumonia had returned. No fever, but not feeling normal. Finally went to the doctor today and found out my lungs are clear; no sinus infection, no pneumonia, no fever, good blood pressure and heart rate. I am, however, allergic to my cats and dog. I already had them when they determined I was allergic and it isn't sever allergy, so I figured I'd just take the allergy medicine and be fine. Ap... Sat, 31 Jan 2015 00:09:45 EST Just a thought “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” <BR> <BR> ¯ Helen Keller Tue, 9 Dec 2014 14:21:33 EST Down - but not out Well, my friends, the rotten head cold was not going away, so I went to the doctor this afternoon. Turns out I have pneumonia! She threatened to call an ambulance and send me to the hospital if I wouldn't promise to stay home from work for the next 2 days! I agreed to her terms and came home. Stopped to pick up the medicines - expensive and a few groceries! My sense of taste is pretty limited right now, so food isn't really an issue. I am forbidden to do any exercise and was told to be... Thu, 4 Dec 2014 00:59:06 EST What a week it has been! My 84 year old aunt, who lives 20 minutes from me and whom I am very close with wound up in the hospital with pneumonia. Her husband also has pneumonia, although not as serious, and he's 87. One of their daughters moved back home to help out - arriving less than a week before her mom went into the hospital. Now she has come down with a cold and can't go visit her mother, who had over a liter of fluid drained from around her lungs yesterday. <BR> <BR> Friday night/Saturday morning I was aw... Sun, 13 Jul 2014 16:59:51 EST I made it to SPARK Level 20! I had to share, because I can barely believe I accomplished this! It took a lot of time and effort - but I did it! I am VERY PLEASED with myself about this accomplishment ! Mon, 30 Jun 2014 19:06:00 EST Weather issues - AGAIN! Here I sit, ready to leave to attend a barbecue party for my niece who just graduated from college and maintained a full scholarship throughout! We are all very proud of her, of course, and have been anticipating celebrating her success and getting the family together with friends to do that. Well - ten minutes ago the grey skies opened and it began to rain pretty heavily! <BR> <BR> I suspect that all the tables and such that were set up outside are drenched and who knows how long this r... Sat, 14 Jun 2014 17:44:11 EST What is it with LONG weekends? Yes - you had three days off instead of two. Yes, you got to do some things that were productive or useful or fun or all of the above. <BR> <BR> So - why does a long weekend usually feel like it went by even faster than usual weekends? Why does the shorter week after a long weekend usually feel like a longer week than normal? <BR> <BR> See what happens when you goof up the time/space continuum? <BR> <BR> <em>128</em> Tue, 27 May 2014 13:09:53 EST And it continues . . . . Today is the 5th day in a row with rain, hail and tornado warnings. As far as I've heard no tornadoes touched down in Colorado, but it was intense. I did get out and mow the lawn and clean a bunch of weeds out of an elderly neighbor's garden before the weather turned. I also had to put together my new lawn mower before I could cut the grass and I was outside being busy for 5 hours. I covered the tomato and basil plants before the hail hit - again - and for now I still have the vegetable ... Sun, 25 May 2014 00:44:00 EST Enough with the severe weather, already! Tuesday through Thursday Denver and the front range had severe weather. Thunderstorms, hail, tornadoes. My trees have plenty of shredded leaves, but I managed to cover my tomato and basil plants and they came through it okay. Sigh. I worked so hard getting that vegetable garden prepared and planted . . . <BR> <BR> Yesterday my office had arranged for a blood donation bus to be across the street from our building in downtown Denver all day and many of us employees had appointments to dona... Fri, 23 May 2014 13:32:04 EST The fates are cantankerous What a 24 hours it has been. Found out last night that my darling next door neighbors home had been robbed during the day while we were all at work! They've only lived there for 4 months and it is very distressing to them and the rest of the neighborhood. I was up until nearly 1:00 a.m. talking to them and trying to be a calming influence. It is very unnerving when you realize your home isn't as safe as you thought. <BR> <BR> Had to be up by 7:30 am. Taking care of another neighbors' hou... Sun, 27 Apr 2014 00:41:44 EST Mother Nature strikes again Yesterday (Saturday) was hazy and in the 70s. I fertilized the lawn and some of my next door neighbor's lawn. (They just moved in from an apartment in December and have no experience with yard work and no tools.) I pruned shrubs and racked up a lot of steps and exercise. LOVED IT! <BR> <BR> However, a cold front brought in cooler temps and rain overnight, whch is now turning to snow as the temperature continues to drop. Obviously I can't get out in the yard today, unless I want to tur... Sun, 13 Apr 2014 13:15:57 EST Resistance Bands To the Rescue! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> My brother sent me this picture from St. Thomas, USVI (where he lives). Look closely above the Beware of Dogs sign and note what is on the fence. Tee-Hee! <BR> <BR> The torn ligament in my right foot combined with the necessity of wearing the post-surgical boot to immobilize my foot/ankle is cutting way down on my exercise options, but then I remembered my resistance bands. Haven't done much with them in a wh... Wed, 26 Feb 2014 18:47:45 EST Some people . . . . I'm just doing a quick little entry here. The HIGH today was 7 degrees farenheit! I have to walk over a quarter mile in this across iced up pavement from the light rail train to where I had to park my car, in a post-surgical boot on my right foot, because we had about 1/4 of snow last night and lazy creeps use that as an excuse to park in handicap spots by saying they couldn't see the symbol painted on the pavement. I have the permit tags to allow me to park there, but it is only 6 or 7 sp... Thu, 6 Feb 2014 19:07:07 EST Just another weekend in paradise . . . ? What a weekend. Lots of running around to get things done outside my house on Saturday - after spending over an hour shovelling snow. Came home and washed and dried clothes. Sunday I spent 90 minutes outside with a very sturdy old snow shovel breaking up ice on a sidewalk. I live on a corner, which gives me lots of extra sidewalk to clear of snow. The long portion is on the north side of my house and the stockade fence around the back yard, so it's in shade a lot at this time of year whe... Mon, 3 Feb 2014 18:04:08 EST To make your day a little happier - Puppy Love! Thu, 30 Jan 2014 15:06:07 EST Heading into I am trying to REALLY get myself into the spirit of the 5% Winter Challenge and doing quite well, I think. Wanted to share a few images with you because they make me think - or smile - or both. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> I'm managing to keep active, but am not expecting any great revelations at the weigh in for this week. I'll just keep doing my best. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> I grow c... Fri, 24 Jan 2014 15:22:08 EST Yoga . . . . They offered a 1/2 hour yoga session free for workers on Mondays at lunchtime, in our building. I was delighted. Brought in my yoga mat - and discovered virtually everything the instructor was doing required two working arms. I have nerve damage in my left brachioplexus that means I have only 20 to 25 per cent of the use of that arm. I have NO triceps and only about 20% of my biceps. I have no feeling in most of my left arm and hand. I can't support myself on two arms, because my left a... Mon, 25 Nov 2013 17:37:19 EST Physiological frustrations I did something to my lower back moving heavy boxes for an attorney at work yesterday. By late in the afternoon I was coping with bouts of pain flowing into my left leg and making it feel as if my knee was going to give out. Pain in my back woke me several times last night and has kept me relatively inactive today. I tried to do my exercise video today, but couldn't do it for the pain. I'm doing my crunches and straight leg raises tonight, the best correcting action for this type of probl... Sun, 17 Feb 2013 01:06:38 EST Christmas is NOT about how much you buy, dangit! <em>460</em> <em>445</em> <em>460</em> <em>445</em> <em>460</em> <em>445</em> <em>460</em> <em>445</em> <BR> <BR> I am appalled and disgusted at the behavior of my fellow citizens (I hesitate to use the word humans - connotes a higher being than what I saw on the news reports) bashing each other and grabbing at things on THANKSGIVING NIGHT and Black Friday. What the heck is wrong with people that they buy into all this commercialization garbage? <BR> <BR> I am sadden... Mon, 26 Nov 2012 19:48:05 EST Planning ahead - I've gotten things in order, modified my exercise, have all the ingredients for my contributions to Thanksgiving Dinner and know how I'll be dividing my plate into much more substantial servings of vegetables and less of the "other" side dishes. No worries. It is all good and I can have a bite or two of everything. So can you, as long as you keep it to a bite or two. Don't suffer or feel deprived, but don't over-do either. <BR> <BR> A Blessed Thanksgiving to us all. <em>429</em> Tue, 20 Nov 2012 14:49:46 EST Looking at the horror of SANDY My heart is heavy for all those that nasty storm has impacted. My childhood memories are on the New Jersey shore, where I grew up. My first everything is there, on the beaches, the rivers, the sailing, fishing, sunrises and sunsets over the sea. My first loves, first kisses, learning to swim, to drive, Easter Sunday on the boardwalk after church, saltwater taffy from Criterion which was then on the boardwalk in Asbury Park. Sea Bright was where we hung out, learned to surf (sort of) playe... Sun, 4 Nov 2012 16:50:34 EST Moving into the changing seasons Yes - the weather grows cooler and the daylight diminishes and soon it will be necessary to do more of my exercise inside. What am I doing to work toward that and to prepare for 2013? <BR> <BR> This weekend I will make a definite effort to re-arrange some furniture and create appropriate spaces inside the house to accommodate me working out more to DVDs in the living room. <BR> <BR> I am going to commit to tracking more thoroughly - every day, and see if I can make that work over the nex... Fri, 19 Oct 2012 19:09:10 EST Fall comes floating in . . . <em>465</em> <em>465</em> <em>465</em> <em>465</em> <em>465</em> <em>465</em> <em>465</em> <em>465</em> <em>465</em> <em>465</em> <em>465</em> <BR> <BR> Where did the summer go? It seemed interminable during the heat and drought (still in a drought) of July and August, like summer would NEVER END! Then suddenly September is almost over and it is FALL! I'm enjoying my squashes and the cherry tomatoes I grew are FABULOUSLY GOOD - but it's not long before a fros... Tue, 25 Sep 2012 14:31:52 EST Hot Stuff - and not in a good sense It is HOT outside. The temperature is breaking records for the individual dates and now it is probably going to break the record for the number of consecutive days of 100 or over. Not precisely the best environment for exercise and working out. <BR> <BR> It does cause my appetite to be diminished, but it also is just too darned hot. Temperatures of 100 or higher are just a little too warm for my taste. The heat sort of sucks all of your energy away in a matter of minutes outside. Sleep ... Tue, 26 Jun 2012 15:00:46 EST Fire and smoke There are several fires in the Colorado mountains that are really serious in so many ways. The air quality up in the mountains and down here on the plains with all the smoke is pretty rotten to horrible, although the ash and particulates make for lovely red sunsets, if the sun can get through the smoke. Bothers allergies & asthma and is just nasty. The weather vreports said 50% chance of thundershowers on Saturday and I guess some folks got something, but not on the fire area and not at m... Mon, 18 Jun 2012 16:20:57 EST SUMMERTIME Summer is time for gardens and flowers and not wearing heavy clothes. Weeding gardens, mowing lawns, hiking, riding my bicycle, swimming, visiting with friends at barbecues, seeing neighbors when everyone gets outside, birds singing in the yards in the morning, butterflies . . . <BR> <BR> Summer is when my desire to be outside and also to make things grow automatically makes me more active without really trying. The majority of my exercise is just part of my every day routine and require... Wed, 13 Jun 2012 18:42:29 EST My New Exercise Buddy A week and a half ago I adopted a dog - a 2 year old spayed female blue heeler mix - from the City Animal Shelter. Her name is Nalla. She was in some other animal shelter before the one where I got her, so she's been on her own for a while. She's very sweet and she loves my cats and vice versa (the cats grew up with my last dog, Annie). She definitely gets me out and about more than occurred when I didn't have a dog. I'm still working on getting a photo of her I can share with everyone h... Thu, 15 Mar 2012 18:06:22 EST "You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late."R.W. Emerson "You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late." <BR> Ralph Waldo Emerson <BR> <BR> I read the above and thought to myself how incredibly true it is. I post it here because I was reminded today that February 13-19 is RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS WEEK. I hope this will serve to remind a number of other people who will then do an extra act of kindness just because. <BR> <em>224</em> Fri, 17 Feb 2012 16:03:27 EST February Blahs! The hours of daylight are increasing, but the cold is still around and the February Blahs just won't go away. Not sad, not depressed, not unhappy - just blah! No excitement, limited energy, feel as if I'm waiting for something that is becoming, but isn't yet. Hope this fades into the past rapidly. Thu, 9 Feb 2012 19:05:19 EST Reinventing me! It's been a lot of up and down for me as far as total commitment and following through and all that sort of thing. I stay in the same weight area without a significant amount of change these days and I am not please about that, so I've decided to try a slightly different path. I'm going to pull together a very definite and very DO-able plan that I am willing to commit to for the next 5 weeks until Ash Wednesday and I am really going to DO IT! <BR> <BR> I'm hoping once I see the result I ... Wed, 25 Jan 2012 19:02:01 EST Once more into the abyss Not really - but there are moments when it feels like that. So much to do, so little time and no mater how I try to reora=ganize to create less stress or conflict, it never really seems to get better. I think part of the problem is that as soon as I get one aspect of things under control or completed, I immediately fill the "space" with something else that was sort of lurking in the wings, waiting for an opening. There is so much I'd like to do in my life and not quite enough time to fit i... Wed, 11 Jan 2012 19:25:57 EST T'was the Tuesday before Christmas . . . . . . . <img src=""> <BR> This is my Mom a couple of years ago, standing out beyond the sign that said "DO NOT GO BEYOND THIS POINT" when I took her to see the Grand Canyon. She was 83 then. <BR> <BR> This is what I have before me to live up to. I'm definitely going to try! Tue, 20 Dec 2011 16:05:07 EST And so it goes, I guess . . . . . This week is not pleasant. The weather has been all over the place - snow, COLD (a high of 11 degrees farenheit on Monday!), warmer but windy. I still have a head cold or sinus infection or some such thing that has a negative impact on how I feel, but I have no fever and I don't feel sick enough to stay home. Exercise feels like more of a challenge than usual and I find am really having to force myself to do just about anything at all. I'm getting it done and making sure I can checkit off... Thu, 8 Dec 2011 15:32:23 EST Another month begins and . . . . I hate this time of year with the long hours of dark and short hours of daylight. I always end up feeling sort of blue. I've tried lights and try to get outside when there is natural light and my vitamin D levels are fabulous according to my doctor - but my energy levels go right down the toilet for the most part from the end of November until pretty much the beginning of March. I'm working out (Coach Nicole's workout) with resistance bands and I enjoy the workouts, but I really want to ge... Thu, 1 Dec 2011 18:46:08 EST