MCJULIEO's SparkPeople Blog MCJULIEO's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Virtuous-ish... I had to bring a dessert to a church lunch today, and so made an angel food cake (and some truffles- which I did not eat even one until today, and then ONLY one) and a huge bag of grapes.... others brought the sandwich fixings, which included croissants (no whole wheat, so I completely skipped the bread) <BR> <BR> Instead of a sandwich, I filled a bowl with green tossed salad (no dressing), and filled my plate with vegetable crudites, and grapes.... For dessert, to be sociable, I had plain ... Sun, 25 Sep 2016 18:42:45 EST Let's Eat Grandma! It's National Punctuation Day! <BR> <BR> Let's eat Grandma! <BR> <BR> Let's eat, Grandma! <BR> <BR> Punctuation SAVES LIVES! Sat, 24 Sep 2016 11:11:14 EST Eating Consciously I am trying to follow Spark advice and listen carefully to my body's signals, to eat when I'm hungry, to stop when I'm not, and to reward my victories with something other than food. <BR> <BR> So far, so good. <BR> <BR> In other news, I made PEACH sorbet tonight: 3 Cups frozen peaches + 2 T sweetened condensed milk whirred in the food processor until smooth... Mmmmmmmmm, good! So creamy! And so acceptable! Fri, 23 Sep 2016 21:53:23 EST First Day of Fall- HA! No matter what the officials say, it's still summer here in beautiful, but hot, south-central Texas... and if THIS year's county fair is typical, we should get at least a WET front through here, even if it isn't COOL... <BR> <BR> The heat index this week soared up above 110, and we are getting tired of this! <BR> <BR> County fair parade will be tomorrow morning, and it's a school holiday, so of course everybody in town participates.... when we first moved here, someone explained it to me a... Thu, 22 Sep 2016 23:54:55 EST Choosing the Lesser Stress Since I already have plenty of obligations going on right now, I decided against entering anything in the county fair, even though it's really fun.... <BR> <BR> I mean, you can't do EVERYTHING you might want to do! At least, not all the time! <BR> <BR> I WILL see if I can attend for at least a little while, and check out all the entries (I used to enter something in the baking and something in the canned goods sections every year, with occasional forays into sewing and gardening) . The kids... Wed, 21 Sep 2016 23:30:19 EST So Much Going On! I spent the day pretty much in meetings, and laying the groundwork for some projects that need some intense mental gyrations right now.... But as all the loose ends seemed to be falling into place, I was relieved to "make do" with a rich smoothie for lunch... <BR> <BR> There just wasn't time to fix a real meal, but I had Greek yogurt and strawberries and banana and it was only moments before I had It in a cup and out in the car on my way to another meeting, and Boy! Was it ever good! <BR> ... Tue, 20 Sep 2016 23:49:55 EST ITLAP- International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Ahoy, Mateys! and Shiver me Timbers! It's that special day of the year again, International Talk Like a Pirate Day! <BR> <BR> <link> </link> <BR> <BR> Time magazine actually posted THIS article tracing what we call Pirate speech to Disney's first all real live actors movie, Treasure Island.. <link><BR>like-pirate-day/ </link> <BR> <BR> I had no idea! <BR> <BR> Howsomever, Here be me favorite day, ye landlubbers! <BR>... Mon, 19 Sep 2016 14:40:52 EST Last Day of Collage Art Class My goodness! Though I missed being with church friends this morning, I had a GREAT day in my art collage class with Internet Art Maven, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. Though I had never met any of the other students, I feel that we connected and wouldn't be surprised if we got together on other occasions.... A great group of fun gals... <BR> <BR> I DID take pictures of parts of our experience, and am looking forward to detangling whatever is bugging my computer... Suffice it to say that I brought hom... Sun, 18 Sep 2016 23:52:29 EST My Art Class As Microbiology major, I never really considered ever taking an art class, even if I had had time for it, so I'm apparently trying to make up for lost time.... Internet maven Julie Fei-Fan Balzer is teaching classes in Austin this weekend (she lives in Boston) and I've spent the last two days under her direction, slinging paint and having a grand time with like minded new friends... <BR> <BR> Julie has a breezy, fun teaching style which is super fun, and the days have just FLOWN by! I actua... Sat, 17 Sep 2016 23:21:52 EST O Frabjous Day! Strictly for my own fun and edification, I signed up to take an art course with Internet Art Guru, Julie Fei Fan Balzer, and TODAY was the first day of three! I had to get up early and brave the Austin traffic in order to get there in time, and in fact, was the first one to arrive.... About 20 others from places far and wide including Dallas, Waco, Kerrville, and even out of state came in later... And it was perfectly FABULOUS! <BR> <BR> I learned a lot about dealing with paints and foam st... Fri, 16 Sep 2016 22:08:53 EST Back to BSF Bible Study Fellowship is a non denominational Bible study with ~1300 classes meeting around the world....I've been in classes for many years, but today we started a new year... Last year we studied the very interesting book of Revelation. This year we are studying another book written by the same apostle John, the Gospel of John... I've studied it before, but like much of the Bible, it reveals more truth every time I study it... <BR> <BR> The discipline involved with studying the passages ... Fri, 16 Sep 2016 00:09:44 EST Strategy The next several days should be really busy, so I'm trying to plan for healthy meals on the run, and to make sure that I have everything that I need under a variety of circumstances... <BR> <BR> And I've been so virtuous with my eating this week I am seeing the scale move at least a little...Woo Hoo! <BR> <BR> Almost every day I make home made grape sorbet (grapes were on sale last week) and so I've automatically upped my fruit consumption ... Nothing could be more delightful than a humongo... Wed, 14 Sep 2016 23:23:37 EST Excellent Accidental Lunch I didn't remember that I needed a sack lunch today until pretty much the last minute, and I didn't really have any lunch-y type stuff on hand so I tossed a generous portion of some frozen mixed vegetables into a plastic yogurt container (quart size), and then measured a generous amount (4.5 oz) of steamed shrimp that I had peeled yesterday to nestle on top, closed the container, and when it was time for lunch.... <BR> <BR> Voila! Everything was thawed and delicious! <BR> <BR> I need to re... Tue, 13 Sep 2016 23:12:34 EST Summer to Fall It's still hot here in south central Texas, not as hot as it usually is, but still pretty hot and the night time temperatures are still well above 70 degrees.... everybody seems to have settled into their fall schedules, with kids in school, and weekends dedicated to either high school or college football (or BOTH) <BR> <BR> I find myself trying to get my fall all set out and planned, with schedules for travelling, and clothes I want to sew (or fit into, and projects I want to finish by Chri... Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:23:39 EST September 11, A Day That Will Live in Infamy I wasn't around for many historical dates (my parents were newlyweds when Pearl Harbor happened, so I pretty much missed everything before The First Man in Space- John Glenn... or, as some will aver, Yuri Gagarin), but I clearly remember September 11... <BR> <BR> The shock... <BR> <BR> The fear... <BR> <BR> The anger... <BR> <BR> The ache... <BR> <BR> The ache remains... Those poor people.... those shattered families... Can it be fifteen years already? Mon, 12 Sep 2016 00:25:05 EST Bloom of Butterflies Driving across central Texas yesterday, I noticed a lot of butterflies running amok across the landscape, actually FLUTTERING amok across the landscape.... Mile after mile way out in the country, surrounded by fields and scrub brush, and a veritable snowstorm of whatever species was revived by the recent rains.... <BR> <BR> I remember a few years ago having kids playing soccer under similar circumstances.... Everything went swimmingly until one girl swallowed a butterfly while dribbling, sto... Sat, 10 Sep 2016 23:02:09 EST Not Gonna Let This Get Me Down I weighed this morning after a virtuous week, and.... <BR> <BR> Nothing! No progress, no success, no weight loss! <BR> <BR> And, besides giving myself 15 seconds to wail and gnash my teeth, I'm not going to let it color my day.... <BR> <BR> I will keep on making wise choices. <BR> <BR> I will continue to drink my water. <BR> <BR> I will see if I can step up my movements and exercise (within reason) <BR> <BR> I will not dwell on it, a mere speed bump on the road of life... <BR> <BR> I w... Fri, 9 Sep 2016 10:31:57 EST It's A SIGN!!! When standing at the major crossroads of life, so many people ask for a sign for the direction they should go,... plead, even... <BR> <BR> My personality usually doesn't....Being of the type of person who shouts, "Darn the torpedoes, FULL SPEED AHEAD!", I generally have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to do.... which can be a problem when it's not the best choice and I still want to do it anyway... <BR> <BR> So, yesterday, when my less than 5 years old TV stopped working, I paused, an... Thu, 8 Sep 2016 00:53:22 EST Didn't Need an Excuse To Snack, I Was Busy! I am finding that the very best way to avoid mindless snacking is to be actively doing something else that requires my time, my attention, .... and my hands.... <BR> <BR> And the reason I know that is because I was busy today, and didn't have time to snack....I didn't realize how virtuous I had been until I was filling out my Food Tracker! I will certainly keep that Tracker in mind every time something crosses my lips. <BR> <BR> Oh Snackables! Oh, Snackables! <BR> You make me pause when You... Wed, 7 Sep 2016 00:33:35 EST Not Poor Pitiful Me, But Better, Blessed Me Today would have been my husband's birthday, the third since he died.... and ALL of my children made a special effort either to contact me or invite me over.... <BR> <BR> And I am counting my blessings that they are sensitive to these calendar landmarks, and don't want me to be alone.... very, very sweet... <BR> <BR> So I drove up to where a couple of them are, and played with grandchildren (who can be pretty LOUD, ages 7, 5, 3, 2, and 20 months) and came home when the real work of getting ... Tue, 6 Sep 2016 00:32:35 EST Back Home Again Oh! The loose ends one must deal with when returning home after a few days away! There was mail, and a package from Amazon, and a number of details for the week ahead, not to mention unpacking and doing the laundry... <BR> <BR> I DID get my computer unpacked, obviously, but this week will be my last one without all my fall obligations, so I'm cramming in some art projects.... AND sewing.... <BR> <BR> Will I get them all done? I don't think so, but I want to have all the ingredients (items ... Sun, 4 Sep 2016 23:59:40 EST Texas A&M Won in Overtime Honest to goodness, being a spectator at a college football game MUST burn SOME calories, what with vicariously living each sprint, pass, and tackle... <BR> <BR> I'm exhausted! Sun, 4 Sep 2016 00:55:25 EST More Aggietime! My old college friend from as far back as sophomore organic chemistry.... and I have had another exciting day together here in College Station, home of Texas A&M University, and we've just had so much fun walking all over the place, shopping for Aggie "stuff"..... and my friend's great weakness, SHOES..... <BR> <BR> TOMORROW, THE CAMPUS! <BR> <BR> There will be plenty more walking.... and seeing lots to see...and, of course, the GAME (Texas A&M vs UCLA)... <BR> <BR> I will sle... Fri, 2 Sep 2016 23:08:20 EST What a Great Day With an Old Friend I'm visiting one of my best old friends who lives in the town where we both attended college oh-so-many years ago, and she greeted me with a pot of hot herbal tea this morning to start the day off right..... <BR> <BR> From there we hiked a trail she had never been on in her neighborhood that snaked, er, curved through the woods which surround her house, and we easily passed 2+ miles before finding a path which led back to her house.... We did NOT see any snakes, but found many a burrow, bot... Fri, 2 Sep 2016 00:12:21 EST Can't Stop Giggling I like to laugh. <BR> <BR> And I really like college football. <BR> <BR> And I LOVE Texas A&M! <BR> <BR> So when, a website dedicated to All ThingsAggie, produced a video on Youtube on Texas A&M football in the age of the internet, I dutifully watched it..... <BR> <BR> <link><BR>gie-football-since-the-internet </link> <BR> <BR> Oh, my! It has all of My Favorite Things wrapped up in the Maroon and White glasses and enthusiastic sophomoric ... Wed, 31 Aug 2016 15:20:43 EST Slogging On, As Usual I have a handful of details to take care of before leaving town for a few days..... for a quick visit to the Texas A&M campus.... there will be a lot of interesting activities in addition to the season's first home football game, and I hope to soak up some of the college atmosphere before tailgaters invade on Friday afternoon. <BR> <BR> But before I go, I still have to run a few errands which didn't get done today....and I need to pack, including a package for a friend's daughter who is a st... Tue, 30 Aug 2016 23:15:06 EST When Things Don't Go Smoothly Today is the day that all the things that fell into place LAST week.... didn't.... <BR> <BR> Necessity #1 didn't get done, because Necessity #2 needed to be done FIRST....which I didn't find out until after... <BR> <BR> Office "A" closed early. <BR> <BR> Person "B" didn't answer his phone. <BR> <BR> Situation "C" didn't get resolved. <BR> <BR> Inspiration to finish Project "D" has evaporated, but I'm slogging on, and even if Nothing else gets done today, I WILL finish it. <BR> <BR> BUT ... Mon, 29 Aug 2016 19:10:21 EST Change of Season A few years ago, a friend told me of the entrance exam that her elementary aged son had taken when starting at a new private school.... the boy was not a bad student, but he confessed to being stumped by one of the questions... "Name the four seasons." <BR> <BR> In recounting the dilemma to his mother, he explained, "The only seasons that I could think of were Football, Basketball, and Baseball!!! How much do you think they will count off for not knowing the other season?" True story. <BR> ... Sun, 28 Aug 2016 23:56:22 EST I Can't Do Everything, But I CAN Do SOMETHING What a blessing to be able to help a young family in our church to move across town.... <BR> <BR> I really debated as to how much help I could be, since I'm not the greatest weight-lifter or coordinated box carrier, but I CAN go through cabinets, and pack breakables in padding and boxes.... and I can empty out the space under the sink and wipe down windowsills.... and I can chase and scoop up the cat who loves to slip out of the house and hide... <BR> <BR> And I brought my wheelchair van w... Sat, 27 Aug 2016 22:48:51 EST To Crunch or Not To Crunch, That Is the Question This was in a daily Spark: <BR> "According to Men's Health a few years ago, it takes 22,000 crunches to lose a pound of fat from your midsection," <BR> <BR> That statement just froze me in my tracks.... do you have any idea how long it would take me to do 22,000 crunches? <BR> <BR> Fortunately, since I am apparently not the only Sparker who loathes doing crunches, or their pre-enlightenment incarnation known as Sit-ups, there are plenty of OTHER exercises for abdominal workouts in Spark's ... Sat, 27 Aug 2016 00:34:36 EST Victory? I'll Take It! A lot of things on my To Do list got done today..... a LOT! <BR> <BR> Finding something really important that I thought I had lost for good made my day sing for joy, <BR> <BR> And THEN, I excavated ANOTHER something important that I was sure was also lost, which saved me a trip to the Safe Deposit box... <BR> <BR> And then, even when I made a phone call which went unanswered and I left a message, the special person called me right back within minutes! <BR> <BR> It went like that almost al... Thu, 25 Aug 2016 23:21:51 EST Creative Cooking I need to go to the grocery store. <BR> <BR> The only fresh vegetables I have are cucumbers and onions. <BR> <BR> I had a Ziploc bag of chicken breasts of less than perfect quality.... but I needed to use them up. <BR> <BR> It was not ideal, but I sauteed the mountain of chopped onions I prepped, and squeezed in a dollop of garlic paste in a tube (had some garlic paste-what a concept!- in the fridge but had not used it before- it was GREAT and SO SIMPLE to use), <BR> <BR> Then added my ra... Thu, 25 Aug 2016 00:13:29 EST My Opinion Must Count! I received another survey in the mail today, except THIS one was ENORMOUS, 2 brochures totalling almost 200 pages in questions.... I've never seen anything like it! <BR> <BR> Oh, and it had a ten dollar bill enclosed, with a note offering $40 MORE if I returned the surveys by the second week in September (I wouldn't be surprised if it took that long to fill it all out!) <BR> <BR> Just glancing at it, I feel like it covers a LOT of territory, from how much tv I watch, and what exactly I watc... Tue, 23 Aug 2016 23:48:22 EST Texas Aggie Football- More of Why I Love It Long I have been an Aggie football fan, through thick and thin, good and (really really) bad seasons, but even despite the embarrassing antics of Johnny Manziel, the last Aggie Heisman winner, Texas A&M manages to produce some pretty nice and pretty fascinating characters. <BR> <BR> For example, the Super Bowl MVP, Von Miller, is an Aggie and a real sweetheart, except of course, to any opposing football player..Bespectacled in real life, he exudes fun and goodwill, as seen on Dancing With th... Mon, 22 Aug 2016 12:08:05 EST Frustrated I just wrote the longest, most fascinating (Would I ever LIE to YOU??) Sparkblog complete with photos and humorous comments.... <BR> <BR> And the cyber ether just reached out and swallowed it into oblivion... <BR> <BR> Maybe I can reproduce it at a later time (don't have the heart for it as of this moment) <BR> <BR> Maybe it wan't as good as I thought it was.... Sun, 21 Aug 2016 00:07:21 EST Going With the Flow I managed to get in one last mile in my lap-swimming this morning, and exchanged phone numbers with the lady who often swims at the same time I do.... so we don't have to be strangers until next year's swim season... <BR> <BR> <em>40</em> Most embarrassing moment: I can remember meeting other lap swimmers in past years away from the pool and both of us exclaiming at the same time, "I didn't recognize you with your clothes on!" <BR> <BR> Then I almost missed an appointment (had it down a... Fri, 19 Aug 2016 23:53:48 EST Made It Today! Yesterday was a bust as far as swimming laps in the city pool, because it was unexpectedly closed for rain... apparently they opened later in the morning after I had given up, but I missed it...the pool is open only in the morning, and ONLY for swimming laps this week... <BR> <BR> TODAY was a different story! <BR> <BR> I arrived and only one family of three kids was there to swim laps, but after I had swum a half mile another familiar lapswimmer arrived and greet me warmly.... she was so gl... Thu, 18 Aug 2016 17:45:25 EST Good Intentions Well, I KNOW that intentions don't count for a whole lot but this morning I really TRIED to go swimming laps... I was dressed in my swimming suit and had everything I needed to get that mile in before facing the day... and drove all the way down to the city park to find..... <BR> <BR> I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT.... THE POOL WAS CLOSED!!!! Lap swimming should have been available at 8am! <BR> <BR> Just because we had had an inch of rain overnight should not have impacted my morning swim! It wasn'... Wed, 17 Aug 2016 23:09:37 EST Wonderful / Dangerous Rain We had the most glorious rain today, about 4 inches, and it is still raining..... Perfect for drought ridden Texas, but awfully dangerous for parts of Louisiana... <BR> <BR> We lived in that same part of south Louisiana when I was a child and frequent downpours were not uncommon.... The bayous/flat part of the state has a very high water table and it averages over 60 inches of rain per year, but usually in smaller doses than the 30 inches that they received over the weekend... <BR> <BR> Ye... Tue, 16 Aug 2016 01:01:31 EST So Grateful I know that I should really cultivate an attitude of gratefulness,... it is in all the literature, and there are several Spark articles about how healthy being grateful makes you.. <BR> <BR> But I find that all I need to feel grateful is to just open my eyes and look around me... there's nothing like a healthy dose of Other Peoples' problems to make me glad that the ones I have pale in comparison.... In fact, I don't think I know of anyone whose problems I would rather have than my own. That... Sun, 14 Aug 2016 23:25:57 EST Still Nuthin' Well, I went out again last night to catch sight of some of the supposedly extravagant-this-year Perseid meteors and was disappointed that a very high light cloud cover veiled most of the sky, and not only did it obscure slightly the stars bt somehow it managed to trap or reflect quite a bit of moonlight.. <BR> <BR> So I was disappointed.... but the wonderful thing is that next year I can check it out again.... not to mention the other predictable meteor showers during the year.... <BR> <BR... Sat, 13 Aug 2016 09:58:27 EST Zero Zip Nada... I'm Doing It Wrong! The Perseid Meteor Shower was supposed to be at its peak last night when I went outside to watch them but I did not see a single one!!! Sky watchers who are In-the-Know have been saying that there should have been double the usual activity for the Perseids, around 200 per hour, but I saw not a one.... <BR> <BR> Now, here's the problem.... I live on the edge of town with fields less than 2 blocks away, but even where I live, the light pollution is considerable (my neighbor's porch light was o... Fri, 12 Aug 2016 09:56:26 EST Celestial Fireworks It's that time of year again! <BR> <BR> My anniversary, AND the Perseid meteor shower! I am going outside right now to see if I can catch the great fireworks in the sky.... <BR> <BR> Forecasters say they will be exceptionally good this year, but the essence of the scientific mentality is observation, observation, observation... <BR> <BR> I'll let you know tomorrow if I see anything good.... and the night of the 12th is supposed to be good, too! Fri, 12 Aug 2016 00:40:22 EST Small Town Texas In order to get home (near San Antonio) we once again took Alternate US Highway 90, which is also an interesting alternate to Interstate 10, barrelling across some of Texas tiniest towns, including the aptly named Sublime, Texas..... <BR> <BR> Since we had had such an excellent time earlier in the week, we decided to eat at the autentico Mexican food restaurant in Shiner, and it was good that we got there early because this was the sign on the door: <BR> <BR> <img src=" Wed, 10 Aug 2016 21:46:36 EST Impending Doom- I Can See the End of Summer From Here All of a sudden I am receiving notes and emails regarding the end of summer!!!! <BR> <BR> WAIT! I am not ready yet for summer's end! I still have a lot that I want to do! <BR> <BR> Including Reading! Where did the summer go? Can I possibly read double FAST to squeeze in as much as possible? <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Tue, 9 Aug 2016 18:44:01 EST Long Day Even While Having Fun We took my 95 year old mother out shopping today, and since she's in a wheelchair, it meant a lot of loading and unloading, and loading and unloading..... but she loved it, especially the part about shopping under her own power (sort of- they have electric shopping carts at Costco)... I pretty much followed her around lifting things into and out of her cart... <BR> <BR> Then we had lunch at the premier steak place in Houston, Taste of Texas, where I got the salad bar for lunch.... they reall... Tue, 9 Aug 2016 00:08:53 EST Taking an Alternate Route I'm back in Houston visiting my mother, since my brother (the OLDEST brother) offered to drive, and, in order to miss the crowds streaming back to Houston from the Texas hill country on I-10, we took one of the smaller highways, the Alternate Hwy 90, which had us going through some towns I don't know very well.... <BR> <BR> Did you know that Seguin, Texas has the world's largest pecan? That Gonzales, Texas still calls its high school team the Apaches? That the tiny Czech community of Shiner,... Sun, 7 Aug 2016 22:03:11 EST Modern Gladiator- Tax Free Weekend! Texas offers one weekend per year right before school starts when they allow businesses to sell most clothing and all school supplies without charging the 8% sales tax they normally do. This is that weekend. <BR> <BR> And I TOLD myself that I would be crazy to get out there and do battle with all the other savvy shoppers competing for a series of finite commodities..... much like Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving (the news people are saying that this is comparable in volume of sale... Sat, 6 Aug 2016 09:37:08 EST Creamy Mango Sorbet I don't have a lot of experience with mangoes, but I like them when I think to buy them, and small amounts of mango are particularly yummy when mixed in with other fruits..... They kind of remind me of peaches in flavor.... <BR> <BR> So, with that in mind I tried my sorbet recipe using frozen mangoes (2 Cups mango+ 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk, and whizz in a food processor until smooth), but when it was all done, I tasted the concoction and thought it was a little bland!! <BR>... Fri, 5 Aug 2016 22:04:58 EST Natural Color, Natural Flavor, Natural High I'm still experimenting with sorbet recipes, and this time I just used the frozen grapes that I had, from grapes being on sale last week.... I used seedless black grapes (seeds are not welcome in this recipe!) and when 2 cups of black seedless grapes are processed with 2 tablespoons of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk, it really DOES turn deep purple... <BR> <BR> I don't know why I'm surprised, but it is really Really REALLY GOOD! <BR> <BR> Fresh fruit has hardly ever tasted better! Thu, 4 Aug 2016 23:50:57 EST