MCJULIEO's SparkPeople Blog MCJULIEO's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Christmas Eve Surprise I bought gasoline at $2.059 per gallon! and in one gas station in town it was under $2.00 per gallon!!! <BR> <BR> <BR> What a nice unexpected surprise! Wed, 24 Dec 2014 23:57:11 EST I Love My Family I get to spend the day with my family, or at least part of it, today. <BR> <BR> My mom, my siblings, and my kids and grandkids will be there, (most of them)... <BR> <BR> I'm taking roasted root vegetables, fresh pineapple, and a smoked ham. <BR> <BR> A good time will be had by all. Mon, 22 Dec 2014 10:36:12 EST Family Time My niece was married this afternoon, one of those rare Sunday afternoon weddings, and it was held in an old farm house way out in the country outside Austin. The bride was beautiful, and the groom wore tennis shoes with his tux. They wrote their own vows, and they were spectacularly moving.... <BR> <BR> Appetizers were organic and healthy, and I tried a variety of them and was full... If you eat slowly, you get fuller faster, I think.... PLUS, I had had a big salad for lunch before going to ... Sun, 21 Dec 2014 22:46:05 EST Milestone I just passed the 200,000 Spark point barrier! <BR> <BR> And I'm still overweight. <BR> <BR> But less overweight. <BR> <BR> But I've now, after previous years of yo-yo dieting, got a plan, and I now know that whatever choices I make, I am still the one who makes the choices, not my circumstances, not my relatives, not anyone but me. <BR> <BR> And it gives me hope. <BR> And confidence. Sat, 20 Dec 2014 09:45:06 EST Hardly Anything Cuter We attended a pre-school Christmas program last night, and those 2, 3, 4, and 5 year olds were criminally adorable.... The audience had been warned that some of the "performers" might get stage fright and run to sit with parents in the pews, but that was OK, so we were all cool with that, though it didn't actually happen that way... <BR> <BR> The youngster portraying the star of Bethlehem totally balked, but he managed to sling the gold lame' star shape around effectively....there were a fe... Fri, 19 Dec 2014 14:47:18 EST Dither Mode Holiday Season. <BR> <BR> So much to do. <BR> <BR> Mother is coming. <BR> <BR> It's time to stop dithering! Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:00:05 EST Still Wondering Saw a real live SWAT team, or as close to it as I've ever been, in action today, but I don't know what was going on.... maybe will find out on the news tonight... <BR> <BR> Flashing lighted police cars blockaded I-35 as headed south through our town today, and they had pulled over a tractor-trailer rig (just the cab, there was no trailer attached), and uniformed personnel had one perp kneeling on the road while other officers sneaked around furtively while carrying machine guns at the ready.... Wed, 17 Dec 2014 22:32:12 EST Luncheon, then Other Activities My beloved buddies from our Craft Play Day group decided to go out to lunch today, rather than actually doing some crafts...I am so grateful to have friends who accept me the way I am... it was a good time, and even though we DID have a hot spinach-artichoke appetizer, I ate less than half my delicious pork tenderloin with peach sauce, and brought the rest home for another meal... <BR> <BR> Especially at holiday times, I consider "If you HALVE it, you can HAVE it!" as a maxim that I can live... Tue, 16 Dec 2014 23:58:21 EST Yikes! Mom is Coming! I have one week to get ready for my mother and her best friend coming to spend the night for two nights! <BR> <BR> If I become scarce around SP, it's for a good reason! Mon, 15 Dec 2014 20:53:56 EST 'Tis the Season! Went to a Christmas program at a big Baptist church here in Houston this afternoon, with a full choir (probably about 200 voices, and a full orchestra, though there was no harp, but they DID have timpani!!!), and it was perfectly wonderful! The orchestra sounded fabulous and the choir was out of this world! <BR> <BR> I've decided that if I ever get the chance, I would LOVE to try to play some timpani sometime... the percussionist playing them today looked like a normal person, not too high b... Mon, 15 Dec 2014 00:15:11 EST Along for the Ride My older brother was driving today (in Houston) in his new car, a fancy one with all sorts of fancy special features, as we were trying to get to the Houston Museum of Natural Science... He dictated the address and the super smart GPS guided us through the typical Houston Christmas traffic, and when we had arrived at the absolute worst area ever, the GPS announced that we had arrived at our destination... <BR> <BR> Needless to say, there was no museum, no Herrmann Park, no anything that look... Sat, 13 Dec 2014 22:43:30 EST Win Some, Lose Some, Win Some Brought ALL of my Cookie Swap cookies to my mom, except ONE which I did eat and enjoy... so it was a great victory.... <BR> <BR> BUT, for dinner tonight, we went to eat at a Mexican restaurant, and though it certainly COULD have been worse, I ate past the point of fullness, and wish that I had stopped eating earlier.... <BR> <BR> On the Other Hand, I spent a large part of the day walking through one of the largest malls in Houston, so there was some really good cardio today, too! Nice to ge... Fri, 12 Dec 2014 22:47:10 EST Cookie Swap Danger! Danger! Christmasl Cookie Swap Ahead! <BR> <BR> Today is the annual church ladies cookie swap.... Everybody brings 4 dozen cookies. Everybody goes home with cookies, lots of cookies... I used to love it, but this year, after losing the DH, I'm just a little melancholy (It comes and goes ... but I'm anticipating the holidays to be memory filled) <BR> <BR> But I've decided to go and take my famous shortbread cookies.... the recipe makes oodles, and I've cut the shortbread into smalle... Thu, 11 Dec 2014 10:27:05 EST How to Deal With Stress This seemed particularly timely just now... <BR> <BR> <link><BR>wtmTbVg </link> <BR> <BR> <BR> Edit: I don't know why the link doesn't work, but try searching Youtube for "Stress kittens" <BR> or maybe copying and pasting<BR>g might work.. Wed, 10 Dec 2014 10:05:25 EST Best Birthday Present Ever! I had a birthday last week, and my grown kids offered to take me out to eat (that's a story in itself) but I drove up to Austin to rendezvous with them early, and at one point I got to hold the baby, born 7 weeks ago. <BR> <BR> As I held him so we could have a face to face chat, the corners of his mouth began to curl up, first one side, then the other in kind of a little baby smirk,....and then, after a few seconds he put both sides up at the same time.... a SMILE!!! <BR> <BR> At first I ju... Mon, 8 Dec 2014 11:32:04 EST No Place Like Home I live in the heart of Texas, a beautiful tourist destination between San Antonio and Austin.... and this place is full of "colorful" characters, not just MY little part of The Great State, but the whole darn landscape....and by "colorful", I mean I need to tell someone what I saw, just to see if it's as weird as I think it is... <BR> <BR> And Christmas is big here, Texas big.... I live just down the street from the oldest continuously operating dance hall in Texas, and the community aroun... Sat, 6 Dec 2014 16:11:06 EST More on Technology “I know there's a proverb which that says 'To err is human,' but a human error is nothing to what a computer can do if it tries.” <BR> &#8213; Agatha Christie, Hallowe'en Party <BR> <BR> If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger. <BR> Frank Lloyd Wright <BR> <BR> “1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. <BR> 2. The on... Thu, 4 Dec 2014 12:05:15 EST A Few More on Technology The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do. <BR> B. F. Skinner <BR> <BR> Television has changed the American child from an irresistible force to an immovable object. <BR> Laurence J. Peter <BR> <BR> Men have become the tools of their tools. <BR> Henry David Thoreau <BR> <BR> One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man. <BR> Elbert Hubbard <BR> <BR> Tue, 2 Dec 2014 14:30:38 EST Cyber Monday Well, ITRIED to take advantage of Cyber Monday, and I carefully scanned lots of websites looking for stuff that I couldn't live without , but came up empty handed... <BR> <BR> EXCEPT I did try to buy some software that I could download on my new-ish computer (since this new computer doesn't even have a CD drive for downloading)... allI can say is that it may or may NOT have been purchased, and it may or may NOT be actually downloaded onto the computer, but I can't figure out how to access it... Mon, 1 Dec 2014 23:46:35 EST Small Progress Small progress is still PROGRESS, right??? <BR> <BR> For once, I had the right kind of light bulbs in the right size in the right wattage and a ladder just tall enough to get the important light bulbs replaced in my life. Who knew there could be so many variables???? Appliance bulbs! Ceiling fan vibration bulbs? Spotlights!!! <BR> <BR> Most of the darkness is vanquished! (Which could be a metaphor for my life, I guess... I see the LIGHT!!!) Since I have had the responsibility of replacing ... Mon, 1 Dec 2014 00:09:06 EST Decision Time Do I eat the holiday treats, or do I not? <BR> <BR> Do I sleep in, or do I get up and get outside for some active time? <BR> <BR> Do I brave the crowds in a massive shopping frenzy, or do I thoughtfully consider the stash of gifts that I have been purchasing throughout the year, and resist impulse buying? <BR> <BR> So far, so good....... but my willpower is ebbing even as I declare victory... <BR> <BR> What it all boils down to is , it's up to ME to make the decisions.... nobody else can ... Fri, 28 Nov 2014 13:06:49 EST How'd You Do This Thanksgiving? There were lots of kinds of food, and lots of each kind, too, but I took small portions of ONLY the things that I knew I liked..... No mashed potatoes, no sweet potato casserole, no dessert... <BR> <BR> But I was perfectly content, and able even to have a little pie with our evening meal later in the day.... And I'm more thankful, WAY more thankful that I didn't eat myself into oblivion... <BR> <BR> And that's on top of all the thankfulness that I was already feeling... <BR> <BR> I'm real... Thu, 27 Nov 2014 21:27:24 EST CRRRAAZY! Traffic in Austin today was Crazy.... Or as the radio traffic reporter said, "Really bad, even by Austin standards." <BR> <BR> Supposedly Austin has the second worst holiday traffic in the country ... <BR> <BR> And I'm really glad that I don't live there, and can avoid the worst of it usually... <BR> <BR> So thankful!!!! <BR> <BR> Have a great Thanksgiving! Wed, 26 Nov 2014 22:54:24 EST THIS Close I got out early this morning to enjoy the beautiful day and take advantage of the Ross Dress for Less Senior Discount (on Tuesdays), and did a LOT of Christmas shopping, and quite a bit of shopping for myself.... <BR> <BR> Actually it was kind of scary..... Hardly ANYTHING was too expensive! I found gifts for grandchildren.... and children..... and friends..... I bought all kinds of things, including some exercise equipment, SUCH A DEAL on a jumprope and 2 different sizes of kettlebells!! ... Tue, 25 Nov 2014 12:42:22 EST Day of the Bible Today is the International Day of the Bible! And I am glad to celebrate it... the Bible is dear to me, and since my DH died it has encouraged, sustained, and comforted me beyond measure. <BR> <BR> With the Psalmist in Psalm 92 I can say, "It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to His name..." and with the Psalmist of Psalm 34, "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit". <BR> <BR> And there's an APP for it, too! <BR> <BR> Youversio... Mon, 24 Nov 2014 09:48:11 EST Not Yet I saw my first Christmas tree of the year up in a house today.... the stores have had them for months, but this was in a home and it took me by surprise... <BR> <BR> I guess I had better start getting used to it... Sun, 23 Nov 2014 23:04:09 EST A Good Day Though it rained most of the day, and I hardly went outside at all, I STILL managed to get a lot done, not only discovering that I had seasonings that had been sitting WAY too long in my cabinet, but actually getting RID of them, AND finding some that needing discovering.... <BR> <BR> Tomorrow will be a good day to clean out the refrigerator! <BR> <BR> Or maybe PART of the refrigerator (let's be realistic here...) <BR> <BR> AND the rain was nice and slow, JUST what we needed... Fri, 21 Nov 2014 22:56:16 EST TEN I slept ten hours last night!!!! TEN!! Went to bed early, and conked out, and woke up refreshed ready for a new day, albeit with a phlegm-y cough (but hey! It's PRODUCTIVE, which is more than I can say for the rest of me these last few days) <BR> <BR> Nose running? Check! Rest of me running? Not so much.... <em>211</em> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:16:06 EST Thanks Thank you for all your good wishes with my feeling under the weather... <BR> <BR> You know, I have observed that my normal resistance to bad choices is impaired when I'm sick... I look at some chocolate covered peanuts and think, "Oh crud, those look awfully good, and just think of all that protein in the peanuts!" And then I cave. <BR> <BR> What a wimp I am!!!! All that I'm looking for is COMFORT!!! <BR> <BR> Anyhow, I've laid in a stock of healthy snacks, like 40 calories per cup Boom Ch... Wed, 19 Nov 2014 20:48:25 EST Hunkering Down I'm sick... <BR> <BR> With a cold... <BR> <BR> A sloppy, coughing, wheezing, juicy eyes-watering nose-dripping cold.... <BR> <BR> And since I got home from my mom's and am sleeping in my own bed, I just want to sleep. <BR> <BR> And so I will. <BR> <BR> I've got Mucinex DM on hand, and healthy canned soup, and vitamin C, and I'm going to rest while I can. <BR> <BR> Carry on without me.... Tue, 18 Nov 2014 17:06:06 EST A Realist's Prayer "Lord, Thou knowest I am growing older. Keep me from becoming talkative and possessed with the idea that I must express myself on every subject. <BR> <BR> Release me from the craving to straighten out everyone's affairs. <BR> <BR> Keep me from the recital of endless detail. Give me wings to get to the point. <BR> <BR> Seal my lips when I am inclined to tell of my aches and pains. They are increasing with the years and my love to speak of them grows sweeter as time goes by. <BR> <BR> Te... Fri, 14 Nov 2014 23:16:12 EST Have You Got a Book in You? Na No Wri Mo! <link> </link> <BR> <BR> I wish that I were less distracted.... November is National Novel Writing Month (sometimes called NaNoWriMo) and thousands of aspiring authors use it as a springboard to getting that book nestled deep in their brains out into the light of day... <BR> <BR> In their own words: <BR> National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a ... Wed, 12 Nov 2014 10:28:05 EST Veterans Day November 11 <BR> <BR> Armistice Day <BR> <BR> My Aunt Lois' birthday <BR> <BR> Ruth and Ernie Teske's anniversary <BR> <BR> I honor them all, and am particularly grateful to our veterans. <BR> <BR> Thank you. Tue, 11 Nov 2014 23:46:28 EST Glorious Weather, Delightful Scenery We've had extended days of beautiful weather, and even though it is deer season all around us, the deer have decided to "urbanize" themselves (no hunting inside city limits).... we live on the edge of town, but have deer everywhere... in our neighborhood, in the church parking lot, everywhere... <BR> <BR> And while I really begrudge the deer eating my shrubbery and garden, I love to watch them graze along the yards on my street.... they are welcome to as many of my acorns as they can eat! P... Mon, 10 Nov 2014 23:17:44 EST Do You Speak Oom Pah Pah? It's Wurstfest time of the year, and our town goes Polka and Sausage Crazy for a week and two weekends. There's lots of German music, and German heritage, and German food, and all other things German, and it's also a lot of fun, but usually pretty high calorie fun... <BR> <BR> Yes, I know that we can eat sausage in moderation, as well as everything else BUT even MODERATE amounts of potato pancakes, streusel, funnel cake, sausage balls, beer, and soda add up, and add up BIG.... <BR> <BR> So ... Sun, 9 Nov 2014 22:20:12 EST Highs and Lows Life is full of highs and lows, and I guess the best perspective is one that recognizes that without the lows, we probably wouldn't fully appreciate the highs, and that lows are naturally inevitable..... <BR> <BR> I'm not talking about FEELING low, or maybe I am..... regardless, the SCALE often provokes a natural "low", which it did for me this morning. <BR> <BR> "Crud, crud, crud!", I thought to myself, and then I examined my activities of the last week, my menus, and my exercise , or la... Sat, 8 Nov 2014 12:16:48 EST New Day Sparkpeople is so good about keeping me going.... even if I seem to have colossally flubbed a day, I can have complete expectation of not letting it totally de-rail me, <BR> <BR> That even though it might have been better if I had remained bad decision free, the past is past, and it is still up to me whether I choose to make good decisions ......or not.... right now. <BR> <BR> Knowing that I am fully responsible for my own decisions is actually pretty motivating to me... as well as indicti... Tue, 4 Nov 2014 22:19:52 EST Sleep Talking Well, apparently I talk in my sleep, or I have STARTED talking in my sleep since my husband passed away and I just haven't had any witnesses until now..... <BR> <BR> Twice in the last week have I waked up family with sleep talking.... once at my son's while I was playing grandmother to the newborn, I waked myself up with a particularly vivid dream.. the other time was this weekend when I was spending the night with my mom, and she woke up to a conversation I was having with myself!!!! <BR> ... Mon, 3 Nov 2014 21:57:03 EST Still A Good Day While I didn't have quite the accomplishments of yesterday, it was still a very good day, even if I DID sit in Austin traffic for an hour.... but traffic was moving and it was a beautiful day and I had an exciting James Patterson audio book to listen to while I watched vehicles around me inch slowly along... <BR> <BR> Yes, it could have been a much worse day... <BR> <BR> It's all in your perspective, right? Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:38:11 EST Day of Accomplishments Oh, how I love getting a lot done from my To Do list! <BR> <BR> Today I: <BR> <BR> VOTED EARLY (major accomplishment!) <BR> <BR> Found just the right gift wrap for a niece's wedding shower.. <BR> <BR> Got the laundry done... <BR> <BR> Walked all of the aisles of a store recently opened in town (and it was huge) <BR> <BR> Stopped at the grocery and got what I was looking for, but ALSO some lovely salmon fillets, AND Honeycrisp apples for $1/ pound... <BR> <BR> Had lengthy long distance ... Wed, 29 Oct 2014 23:18:48 EST Asian Market I had some extra time in Austin today and so, since I had a two year old with me, I went to the area's biggest Asian grocery store, and it provided all kinds of inexpensive entertainment, especially the live fish and lobsters, which the two year old kept calling "fish grasshoppers". <BR> <BR> As mystified as I was about almost everything (there wasn't a whole lot of bilingualism going on, or at least not two of any language that I speak) and most of the food products were a bit cryptic in th... Tue, 28 Oct 2014 23:48:16 EST Wish I'd Made a Video I live in a tourist destination, and this weekend was a busy one since the Texas Clay Festival (all things related to pottery and pottery crafts) attracted a lot of out of towners... <BR> <BR> But I had a chance to watch a wonderful example of civic authority demonstrating grace under pressure while having fun.... <BR> <BR> You see, there was this traffic policeman... <BR> <BR> At a very busy, non-controlled intersection right in front of Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas, and t... Sun, 26 Oct 2014 23:37:29 EST My Current Go To Meal Even though I have a couple of really excellent Eat Out Meals (like the healthy choices at Panda Express, and salads at Freebirds or Chipotle), the no brainer-keep-everything-on-hand-so-it's-re<BR>ady-to-go meal has become a large salad at home... <BR> <BR> This salad usually has greens, usually romaine lettuce with spinach or maybe mixed greens, and kalamata olives, and usually red sweet peppers and maybe some green peppers.. add in some cherry tomatoes and cucumber chunks, and then toss s... Sat, 25 Oct 2014 16:04:04 EST Priorities My computer is acting up again, Freezing up when I least expect it, and least want it... <BR> <BR> But I'm okay with it because I got to hold my grandbaby today, and hold him and hold him and hold him..... When you are holding a sleeping baby certain things just don't seem as important anymore! <BR> <BR> "Having my baby fall asleep in my arms takes away all my worries and stresses. A sense of complete and total peace comes over me." <BR> Jose Maria Ovalle <BR> <BR> On the other hand: <... Sat, 25 Oct 2014 00:53:11 EST Useful It feels SO GOOD to be useful to someone who really needs it! <BR> <BR> I spent the afternoon with my daughter in law, the one who just had the baby a week ago... One toddler was having a meltdown when I got there, and I was able to distract the young drama queen and calm her down. I took the other grandmother to the airport to get her back home. I fixed dinner, using what we had on hand, and made a grocery store run with the non-napping toddler for fresh veggies and fruit... <BR> <BR> Afte... Wed, 22 Oct 2014 22:07:36 EST Brain Plan With the arrival of this latest grandchild, I am finding it hard to concentrate..... and while I don't actually have any real responsibility in raising him, I am distracted. <BR> <BR> I'm having to make notes to myself on my phone so that I won't forget any important appointments, or documents, or bills to pay, or other things... papers are piling up.. <BR> <BR> I got to hold him (the grandbaby) today as he slept. He's a real snuggle bunny... at least right now he is.... <BR> <BR> It was g... Mon, 20 Oct 2014 22:48:59 EST It's A Baby!! Grandbaby born this morning..... mother and child doing well, as are daddy and assorted family and friends. <BR> <BR> When you hold your baby in your arms the first time, and you think of all the things you can say and do to influence him, it's a tremendous responsibility. What you do with him can influence not only him, but everyone he meets and not for a day or a month or a year but for time and eternity. <BR> Rose Kennedy <BR> <BR> “This is a place where grandmothers hold babies on their... Thu, 16 Oct 2014 23:24:37 EST Still Waiting The grandbaby has not arrived yet, though his momma is still having contractioms, and they ARE stronger now and more regular.... the other grandmother arrived by plane this afternoon and has settled in with the other children... <BR> <BR> So we wait. Thu, 16 Oct 2014 00:03:39 EST Agreeing with Piglet “Piglet was so excited at the idea of being Useful that he forgot to be frightened any more, and when Rabbit went on to say that Kangas were only Fierce during the winter months, being at other times of an Affectionate Disposition, he could hardly sit still, he was so eager to begin being useful at once.” <BR> &#8213; A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh <BR> <BR> This afternoon I offered to drive up to my son's house an hour away from my home, since my daughter in law is great with child (due date ... Tue, 14 Oct 2014 22:36:20 EST High Points and Low Points What a wonderful weekend! I got to spend time with an old friend, whose birthday it was, and there were high points to contrast with low points (or rather, points to contemplate) <BR> <BR> First of all, old friends, friends that have known you a long time and still love you, are precious gifts from was so great to get to be together, and pick up where we left off the last time we were together. <BR> <BR> Bad news: my friend's cat had killed a hummingbird ( a HUMMINGBIRD!) and its ... Mon, 13 Oct 2014 22:27:28 EST