MADAMES's SparkPeople Blog http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal.asp?id=MADAMES MADAMES's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community SparkPeople.com http://assets2.sparkpeople.com/assets/nav/logo_spark.gif http://www.sparkpeople.com/ Hospice: An Update http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5736914 Those of you who shared with me the positive side of hospice were all correct. Although there are difficult moments, there are also many sweet moments to savor. Sunday was my father's 90th birthday, and a joyous day it was. Thankfully, he was lucid and in a good mood most of the day. He ate well of the foods that we kids, grandkids and great grandkids had prepared. He tearfully remarked that "This was my best July 6th ever". He sang "It Had to be You" to my mom, his bride of 67 years... Fri, 11 Jul 2014 19:25:32 EST June in a Nutshell http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5730226 The month of June has surely been a tough one for me. My dad was in the hospital for 2 weeks, and he has been home with 24 hour caregivers these past 2 weeks. Tomorrow the hospice nurse will meet with the family. <BR> <BR> Understandably, I have not been on SparkPeople much at all. I try to track my food, but some days that just can't happen. I log my fitness minutes thanks in large part to my Fitbit. <BR> <BR> Socially, I have not been on the boards or the friend feeds. To all my... Wed, 2 Jul 2014 00:25:01 EST Hospice http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5727398 My dad will be 90 years old on July 6th. He is now home from the hospital, but his doctor has recommended that we call in hospice care. He suffers from severe dementia, and we hope to be able to keep him at home and keep him comfortable for his remaining days, weeks or months. This is both a sad time and an exhausting time for the family. Fri, 27 Jun 2014 22:14:53 EST Two Happy Doctors http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5704714 This morning I had my yearly physical, and my doctor was happy with what he saw. The nurse commented on my weight loss and congratulated me. Weight was good, blood pressure was good, and we expect that the lab work will yield good results. Thank you, Spark People! <BR> <BR> This afternoon my eye surgeon was happy with my 90 days of progress since my cataract surgery. My vision in that eye has gone from 20/80 to 20/30 since the cataract was removed. How nice to receive two glowing repor... Tue, 27 May 2014 21:49:07 EST Maintenance...41 weeks in a row http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5702238 Today I weighed in a bit below my goal weight for the 41st week in a row, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I'm not sure why the official weigh in makes me nervous, but it does. I do weigh each morning, but I always wonder if somehow my scale is suddenly out of sync with the scale at the Weight Watcher meeting place. Pretty silly of me, or is it? <BR> <em>192</em> <BR> <BR> Like so many Spark friends, I have gained and lost weight over the years. Reading and following The Spark So... Sat, 24 May 2014 15:38:24 EST Spring Cleaning for Stress Management http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5681808 My hubby and I are really struggling with control issues right now. As the oldest children in our respective families we have taken over "eldercare" worries regarding our parents. Dealing with our parents' strong personalities, fierce independence, states of denial and lack of sound judgment ...these conditions are all causing a lot of anxiety on our part. <em>40</em> <BR> <BR> One way we seek to pretend that we are in control of something is to clean our house! This week we have t... Sun, 27 Apr 2014 18:31:09 EST Spring Fever http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5672265 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/6/6/l665884101.jpg"> <BR> <BR> We just returned from five days of very nice springtime activities. Last Wednesday we left home and traveled to Madison, Georgia. Springtime is one of the best times to enjoy the small town that boasts one of the largest historic districts in Georgia. We walked a lot earning those fitness minutes! I have added a few links below so that you can peruse some antebellum homes from the area. <BR> <BR> <link>www.... Mon, 14 Apr 2014 18:46:34 EST We are expecting... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5635244 daffodil blossoms! Last fall we planted 100 bulbs, and I can count 20 some green spouts that have poked their little heads out of the earth so far! I check the yard each day with anticipation...how I love Spring! Many of our neighbors have daffodils that are in full bloom already, but I am thrilled that we have little green shoots making themselves known in the yard. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/4/l1433650209.jpg"> <BR> Perhaps our yard will look like th... Thu, 27 Feb 2014 12:09:27 EST Vacationing...Spark style http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5626877 My dear husband and I just returned from a dreamy twelve day trip to Colorado. We ate very well at some very nice restaurants. This was the honeymoon that we never had, the trip to Europe that didn't happen, and the trip to California that was dashed by my accident. In other words, we really indulged ourselves. We couldn't prepare any Spark recipes...we ate several special appetizers, and we ate several wonderful desserts. We sampled warm bread and real butter with some of our dinners. ... Mon, 17 Feb 2014 22:23:25 EST Pampered Me…Our Anniversary Trip to Colorado http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5617185 My husband and I are enjoying a memorable trip to Colorado for our anniversary. We are pampering ourselves for a few days in Colorado Springs before heading to his conference in Denver. We arrived Tuesday, and it was snowing heavily. I drove with great trepidation the 88 miles on icy roads in order to reach our hotel. Thankfully, we arrived safely , and the heavy snow was just beautiful! We enjoyed a relaxing meal…trout for me and short ribs for DH. <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeo... Thu, 6 Feb 2014 18:38:03 EST A chicken in every pot... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5589518 Today I stewed a whole chicken, strained 5 containers of healthy chicken stock for the freezer and picked the bones clean. I have enough pulled chicken for a couple of recipes. <BR> <BR> While a full time teacher i had resorted to buying chicken parts and commercially prepared chicken broth. One of my goals for 2014 is to prepare more chicken and stock from scratch. DH just sort of rolled his eyes, not wanting to believe how much time I was willing to spend to do this. Let's see how we... Fri, 10 Jan 2014 19:11:34 EST Some Good & Healthy Things Happened in 2013 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5576749 With the help of Spark People, I have made progress. <BR> DH and I walked our first 5K in March..tee-shirts, race numbers and all! <BR> Our entire family walked a 5K for multiple sclerosis in honor of my sister <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/8/4/l847210940.jpg"> <BR> DH and I have become members of the Fitbit community. <BR> I achieved a "healthy weight" once again, and I have maintained it for 5 months. <BR> My granddaughter competed in the state swim meet, and my ot... Tue, 31 Dec 2013 13:40:25 EST Emotional Holidays http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5573415 I haven't been on Spark People very often during the month of December. This has been a rather difficult year for celebrations. This is our first Christmas without my father-in-law and without several of our very closest friends who have recently died. Many spouses we hold dear to our hearts are spending their first season with that empty chair, and all of the memories and the emotions come tumbling out with a cherished ornament, a shared tradition or a favorite carol. My father's demen... Fri, 27 Dec 2013 23:19:33 EST Progress Report on my November Goals http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5530359 Here is a recap of my goals for November along with my daily progress report. <BR> <BR> 1) Practice healthy habits of eating and exercise. <BR> * I stayed within my calorie goals, and I allowed myself only ONE tiny slice of freshly baked Italian bread at our favorite Italian restaurant. <BR> * I completed the Coach Nicole video: 12 minute seated core workout <BR> <BR> 2) Find ways to build more positive relationships with friends and family. <BR> * I ran errands with DH ... Sat, 2 Nov 2013 20:48:14 EST November Goals http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5529053 The beginning of a new months is always a good time to take stock of your life. I like to ask myself, "Where am I right now?" <BR> <BR> We are enjoying a really beautiful fall season here in north Georgia. DH and I are finally getting around to doing some improvements in the yard this month, and that makes us both happy. We are getting some plants moved to better locations, installing some new plantings and creating a pretty walkway. <BR> <BR> I had a phenomenal report from my checkup w... Fri, 1 Nov 2013 09:20:33 EST Non Scale Victory Today http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5508319 We were going out to a meeting this afternoon, and the temperatures were noticeably cooler. Capris were not really in order today. I pulled out a pair of jeans that I loved wearing last year, but they hung loosely on me and looked very unattractive. How about the new pair of khaki slacks I bought in May and haven't yet worn? I put them on, zipped them up and realized that I looked just like the Saggy Baggy Elephant. The good news is that my weight loss is now noticeable; the bad news is... Tue, 8 Oct 2013 20:35:21 EST Bittersweet Farewell to My 92 Year Old Father-in-law http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5477979 The world lost a wonderful man yesterday as my dear father-in-law slipped away during his sleep. He was one of those rare people who never was heard saying an unkind word about anyone or anything. Whenever life dealt him a challenging blow, he shrugged and smiled and worked his way through the hard times. For 92 years on this earth he was a devoted son, a special brother, a loving husband, and a supportive father. He delighted in delivering an honest day's work, carrying his lunch box o... Fri, 6 Sep 2013 16:39:57 EST My Pledge http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5443113 My Pledge: <BR> <BR> Today, I promise I will not quit. <BR> <BR> I pledge that no matter how many ups and downs I pass through, I will continue on my journey. <BR> <BR> I pledge to make a NEW START today, and forgive myself for my past, and to stop being so critical of myself. <BR> <BR> I pledge to take control of myself, to stop making excuses, and stop blaming other people or situations. <BR> <BR> I pledge to treat myself as I would my best friend, because that is who I am. <BR>... Sat, 3 Aug 2013 10:07:20 EST Working the Plan: July Progress Report http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5417112 I'm not really sure what clicked, but after a couple of years I have found the resolve to truly follow the Spark Solution. Here are some results that I see: <BR> <BR> 1) I am fixing most of our food from scratch, using Spark recipes. Today I was on my feet for hours with two labor intensive recipes, but it was worth it. I chose recipes that I hoped my husband would enjoy, and he really did like them! I will be sharing food with my parents in the morning. By the way, I thought they wer... Wed, 10 Jul 2013 20:12:12 EST Spark Summary...just discovered this! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5407630 There are so many helpful things here on the Sparkpeople website... perhaps you are like me, and you enjoy finding something new. Today was the first day that I looked at the Spark Summary report which is found under "reports" under "My Trackers". You can pull up one month at a time and see at a glance how many calories you ate each day, how many fitness minutes you accrued each day and how many Spark Points you earned each day. I love this! When I want to know why a month was successfu... Mon, 1 Jul 2013 15:49:08 EST Today's Spark Funny http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5405221 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/5/1/l51543778.jpg"> Sat, 29 Jun 2013 06:57:38 EST Is It Working? http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5389275 What are some of the ways that I know the Spark Solution is working for me? <BR> <em>38</em> <BR> <BR> <BR> Clothes ordered online arrived yesterday; instead of fitting snugly, they fit with room to spare! <BR> <em>9</em> <BR> <BR> <BR> I build my entire schedule around my Monday, Wednesday, Friday water aerobics classes. <BR> <em>237</em> I do this joyfully. <BR> <BR> <BR> I automatically look over a restaurant menu for the healthiest options available. I don't want to... Fri, 14 Jun 2013 16:39:43 EST Streaking: Day 10 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5382641 Most things in life seem to ebb and flow if you have been around as long as I have. My motivation to be healthy is at a very high peak at this point in my life. I started dabbling with the Spark Solution the day it was released, and I have been a Spark Solution true believer for ten days now. The Spark Solution and those new recipes have helped me more than I would have expected. I have really enjoyed fixing something different yet healthy for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have really ... Sat, 8 Jun 2013 17:09:09 EST My New Jobs in Retirement http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5374462 Exactly one year ago today I retired from teaching. Although I loved teaching and had barely turned 62, there were reasons to call it quits last year. My husband had been home alone for 5 years, having lost his vision to macular degeneration. I pictured myself in his place, and I couldn't imagine how lonely some of those days must have been. Our four parents, ages 85-92, were beginning to need more of our time and attention. So, it was time to leave the classroom; I couldn't continue to ... Sat, 1 Jun 2013 10:37:33 EST Week One of the Spark Solution http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5361223 What made you decide to try The Spark Solution Program? <BR> It was a great deal, especially with the free CDs and the free Spark Coaching! <BR> <BR> • Have you seen or felt any results in this first week? <BR> The scale does show a loss, but more importantly, I feel satisfied for hours after these meals. <BR> <BR> • What do you like the most about the program? <BR> I love the organized approach where the program is all laid out for you. Just open the book and follow the directions! <... Sun, 19 May 2013 15:18:55 EST The Spark Solution http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5334418 I just pre-ordered the Spark Solution which will be released on May 7th. Right now you can get free gifts including 2 exercise CDs from Coach Nicole and 3 months worth of Spark Coach. I ordered the Kindle version from Amazon for only $11.89, so I don't know how I can go wrong! My program needs a good kick start for spring...I have been hovering at the same weight for entirely too long! Cannot wait! <BR> <em>347</em> <em>381</em> <BR> Wed, 24 Apr 2013 17:25:57 EST Difficult Travel Ahead http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5318933 Just checked the weather for Wisconsin for the next few days...snow showers, flurries, freezing rain, etc. Saturday we fly north where we are going to spend a few days with the in laws...DH's. dad is 92 and has been in and out of the hospital. These are trying times for us ; I just lost my BFF from grade school to cancer, and DH just lost one of his oldest and dearest friends to ALS. I hope there will be a glimmer of hope in this gloomy trip. At any rate, it will be good to visit and s... Wed, 10 Apr 2013 21:34:27 EST Healthy Ways to Cope http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5301071 Some of you know that this has been a very trying week for me emotionally. I blogged about it a few days ago, and then I removed the blog later that night when I decided that it was too personal and too painful. Happily, I have turned to exercise to help me deal with the stress. I have also forced myself to choose healthy foods even when I didn't much feel like it. I count those two steps of exercising and eating healthy foods as positive ones for myself....a few years ago (pre-Spark) ... Tue, 26 Mar 2013 17:19:45 EST Couch to 5K: My story http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5285729 I’m not sure exactly when I began to think about participating in a 5K race, but I know that it came from my relationship with my wonderful Spark friends. Reading about what other people are doing here on Spark People is very inspiring! <BR> <BR> I have not been physically active my entire life. When I was in school there were virtually no athletic activities for women. I went to a parochial high school that had no gymnasium, and we didn’t even have physical education classes. In colle... Wed, 13 Mar 2013 20:34:12 EST Daffodils http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5284127 On March 2, my husband and I walked through the daffodil gardens of Gibbs Gardens to see the early blooms and to renew our membership. We also renewed my parents' membership as an anniversary gift to them. I think I remember the temperature being about 37 degrees that day, but we bundled up and walked about the gardens. (Rather, I bundled up while my husband wore his walking shorts and said that Georgia doesn't get as cold as the Midwest :) )The daffodils will bloom until mid April with ... Tue, 12 Mar 2013 15:39:13 EST Where am I now after two years on Spark People? http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5266446 A Spark friend mentioned in her blog recently that Spark People had adjusted her caloric goals based on her increased level of exercise. I realized that my caloric goals have not budged one bit since I began my journey in earnest two years ago. Why, I wondered? My goals in February 2011 were to get healthy again after my accident, and I didn't need to lose weight. I was at my goal weight, and I had been at goal for several years. As a result, I set up my Spark People trackers for mainte... Wed, 27 Feb 2013 20:28:25 EST New Beginnings http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5254474 I have always loved Mondays and today is no exception. We are given new blessings each day but Monday's blessings seem to me to be doubly good because we have not only a new day but also a new week! Included in my blessings today: a new finch feeder and seed that DH bought me last week... I have already seen my first breakfast customer this morning! Secondly, I have a new week of water aerobics classes to attend. WooHoo!! Thirdly, the days are getting longer...I saw light coming in aroun... Mon, 18 Feb 2013 08:11:57 EST Healthier partners http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5204599 My husband has very low vision and can't read the numbers on a pedometer unless he uses a lighted magnifying glass. When Spark People teamed up with Fitbit last fall I convinced him that we should order this little device for him that automatically sends data to your fitness tracker on Spark People. He was very skeptical, but he relented. He has always liked walking, so that was a plus. <BR> <BR> Well, he is now totally hooked on his device, and he even asked Santa to put a Fitbit i... Sun, 13 Jan 2013 07:13:02 EST Thank you, Santa http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5179214 Thank you for my new pink Fitbit! While I have owned many pedometers in the past, this is my all time favorite! Why, you ask? <BR> 1. ) I love how it syncs automatically to Spark People and enters my steps on my fitness tracker for me. Even if I forget to log my steps, Fitbit doesn't forget. <BR> 2.) I love the clip for my Fitbit Zip. Unlike other pedometers, it really stays put! <BR> 3.) I love how it motivates me to park farther away from the stores, walk around the house more than... Fri, 28 Dec 2012 20:47:19 EST Love those vegetables! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5144282 Yesterday we had a lovely meal...the turkey, dressing, potatoes and gravy were prepared from scratch by my son-in-law. He grows a lot of their own produce and herbs in their back yard, and he is a phenomenal cook! The rest of us carried side dishes...my mother made her pumpkin pies and cinnamon apples; my sister made her apple pie. I brought fruit and veggies for roasting and for raw consumption. A good mix of healthy and not so healthy fare! <BR> One of my granddaughters was feelin... Fri, 23 Nov 2012 13:40:03 EST There's Gold in Those Hills! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=4591548 An hour north of Atlanta is the town of Dahlonega which can be translated as" hills of gold." This is the site of the first gold rush in the United States in the early 1800s, and it remains a charming small college town in north Georgia. My husband and I walked through the town and around the campus of North Georgia College, enjoying a lovely November day. I love the shops and the homes on the square. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/7/3/l730670420.jpg"> <BR> <B... Sat, 19 Nov 2011 17:10:05 EST My Six Month Sparkversary http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=4581210 I will admit that I have been depressed this week. Back in May I really began in earnest to be a Spark Person. As I thought about that this week, I have been frustrated that I haven't done a better job meeting some of my Spark goals. My weight isn't where I would like it to be, and my fitness level isn't where I would like it to be. I havebeen concentrating way too much on my failures instead of on my successes. <BR> <BR> After a lot of careful thought, I realize that indeed there ARE r... Sat, 12 Nov 2011 18:39:22 EST If you love flowers... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=4549968 A friend of mine sent me this link in an e-mail, and I think it is beautiful! <BR> <BR> <link>player.vimeo.com/video/27920977?titl<BR>e=0&%3bbyline=0&%3bportrait=0href= </link> <BR> Sun, 23 Oct 2011 23:08:43 EST A walk on Pawley's Island, South Carolina http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=4543869 As you know, my husband and I drove to South Carolina this weekend to visit some good friends we have known for thirty years. They live in a beautiful part of the country, and their idyllic surroundings exude peace and serenity. I thought I would share a few photos of a morning walk around their neighborhood. <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/2/4/l246884600.jpg"> <BR> <BR> There are tiny lakes or lagoons throughout their neighborhood. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-... Wed, 19 Oct 2011 19:30:57 EST Walking and talking http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=4502650 Last Saturday I had the pleasure of showing my two granddaughters the Alpine town of Helen in north Georgia. The architecture was revamped in the 1970s to resemble an Alpine village. <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/2/4/l242810385.jpg"> <BR> <BR> There are many interesting sights to see. The teacher in me loves to share how things were done in the past. Our first stop was a grist mill on the river where they have been grinding grains since 1876. <BR> <img src="htt... Sun, 25 Sep 2011 07:29:39 EST