MCJULIEO's SparkPeople Blog MCJULIEO's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Bureaucracy Did NOT Stomp Me This Time Oh, I am flying SO HIGH! <BR> <BR> Long story: I needed a scheduled interview with the Customs and Border Patrol to get a certain form for a trip I'm making this summer... I had made the application, and been approved for the interview, but they had no slots available for MONTHS in ADVANCE (and the paperwork said that IF I DIDN'T have the interview in 30 DAYS, they would cancel my application, not just SCHEDULE the interview, but actually HAVE it) <BR> <BR> NONE of the three other offices... Wed, 27 Apr 2016 22:25:13 EST A Few More Words of Wisdom <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> How is YOUR Scenery today? Tue, 26 Apr 2016 23:55:33 EST A Few Words of Wisdom <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> We need to let the music inside us out!!!! And SHARE IT! Mon, 25 Apr 2016 21:04:09 EST My Kind of Police Car Well, the local police department caught a drug dealer and shut down his network, and after many legal battles, was awarded his 2007 Corvette Z06, worth about $80,000... <BR> <BR> I saw a Facebook post with a picture of what I thought was the car photoshopped to look like a police car.... well, yesterday I actually saw it driving around town, and that was NO PHOTOSHOP!!! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> They ha... Sun, 24 Apr 2016 23:52:45 EST That Time of Year I made another trip up to Austin today, this time to rendezvous with a young relative just home from the mission field in French equatorial Africa, and since she had many friends there where she attended college that she wanted to see before leaving the country again, she chose Mozart's Roasted Coffee place on Lake Austin, which is right close to downtown but down a twisty, windy road which makes it seem like it's a long way from anything... <BR> <BR> The place, with lots and lots of picnic ... Sat, 23 Apr 2016 22:57:51 EST Day Well Spent I spent most of the day in a waiting room while a friend was having outpatient surgery for a shunt to facilitate cancer treatment....I had a book, and armed with prayer, I had a perfectly pleasant time...and even though the traffic was awful in Austin as it usually is, I was glad to provide her transportation for the hour long drive home, and get her situated ... <BR> <BR> It's wonderful to have friends, but it's even better to BE a friend.... Fri, 22 Apr 2016 23:06:19 EST TWO Days in a Row Both yesterday AND today I woke up to spectacular thunderstorms, but by noon the storms had passed and the skies were totally cloud free and brimming over with sunshine.... TWO days in a row! But oh boy! I am not tired of water falling from the sky.... this has been perfect temperatures and rain for our summer crops around here, and yesterday I watched one of my (formerly anti-home gardening when he was a kid at home) sons proudly take his 3 year old out into his backyard to pick a nice bowlf... Fri, 22 Apr 2016 00:54:13 EST It's Always Something Grandchildren are the greatest things EVER... <BR> <BR> Except when they are sick, which they were today as I watched them until their parents got back....not hungry, but needing to eat.... not feeling well enough to play, but not sick enough to fall into a deep restorative sleep.... <BR> <BR> Maybe even a wee bit grouchy... <BR> <BR> But they love to be read to, even the baby... <BR> <BR> And I love to read to them.... <BR> <BR> Life is GOOD! Wed, 20 Apr 2016 23:45:44 EST SO Grateful!!! A couple weeks ago I received an email from Discover Card saying that there had been some suspicious activity on my card account, and had I used it in the previous couple of hours?.... I hadn't, and so they cancelled the Old Card, and sent me a new one.... so I was already super security conscious.. <BR> <BR> While I was waiting for the new one to arrive, I managed to misplace my Mastercard, the credit card I use most often as a back-up.... Had it been stolen? Had I left it somewhere? Was I ... Tue, 19 Apr 2016 21:50:33 EST Resistance Does Not Have to Be Futile For SOME reason, a lot of companies were running special IRS Day sales, both in their brick-and-mortar stores, and online as well... (I mean, as much as I love a good sale, spending MORE money on a day that the government got a bite out of me just seems a bit extravagant) <BR> <BR> It was hard, but I resisted the good buys, I really didn't need a THING! <BR> <BR> AND I even resisted the very reduced shipping rates!!!!! <BR> <BR> I just had to mention it because I don't know when I can demo... Tue, 19 Apr 2016 00:35:35 EST Geezerette-hood The wedding I attended last night was lovely.... the bride was resplendent in a gorgeous lace covered gown, the groom's smile was so wide and non-stopping that MY face hurt in sympathy.... I have known these two since they were wee children, and watched them grow up through college and careers (the bride is a civil engineer, while the groom served in the USAF after graduation from the AF Academy, and is now in merger and acquisitions in the oil business) <BR> <BR> The wedding was fabulous, b... Sun, 17 Apr 2016 22:36:05 EST TWO New Grandchildren at Once! The family (including my wonderful 94 year old mother- the new Great grandmother) all got together to celebrate two new additions to the family yesterday.... yes, TWO! We are doubly blessed! <BR> <BR> Not twins, but sibling foster kids officially and legally adopted under all the laws of the state of Texas.... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em! <BR> <BR> The whole idea is a reminder of th... Sat, 16 Apr 2016 01:10:05 EST Great Time So Far My mother is a perfect guest.... she is so appreciative of every effort I make on her behalf... she thinks my children (and grandchildren) are all adorable AND brilliant... and she paid for dinner when we went out to dinner at the Grist Mill last night... <BR> <BR> She apologizes for any inconveniences she might have caused, even if they are truly trivial She models what a gracious woman should be like, <BR> <BR> When I grow up I want to be just like her! Thu, 14 Apr 2016 23:41:58 EST Not Time to Panic! My mother and her best friend have come for a little visit, and even though I'm thrilled to have them..... It's my Mom!!!!!! No pressure, right? <BR> <BR> The beds are clean, the bathroom is clean, and it's too late to do anything else.... <BR> <BR> We are going to enjoy being together... Wed, 13 Apr 2016 23:59:05 EST Remember the Segway! And the Alamo! The great battle cry of the Texas revolution was "Remember the Alamo!".... and the Alamo, an ex-Mission turned into a fort, is now located in downtown San Antonio... it hasn't moved, but the city has grown up all around it, so its a downtown historical site and battlefield.... <BR> <BR> I've always thought the Alamo was a cool place... <BR> <BR> But it's especially cool when you get to it by using a Segway.... <BR> <img src=" Tue, 12 Apr 2016 20:42:56 EST Wowsers! I have GOT to get one of those! "My name is Julie, and I can DO THIS!" is what my instructor told me to say as I stepped onto one of those very cool, very dangerous-seeming Segway people movers, for my very first Segway tour this morning... and I kept it up for 2.5 hours! It was a tour of downtown San Antonio, and we covered a LOT of territory, including, of course, the Alamo... <BR> <BR> it's not quite like any other kind of vehicle, NOT like a bicycle, NOT like a skateboard, ....maybe it's a bit like waterskiing...but wi... Mon, 11 Apr 2016 19:42:04 EST Best Time to Drive is at 5 AM!!! My good friend had to fly out of San Antonio to return home this morning, but her flight necessitated driving the 40 or so miles to the airport in the dark to get her to her early check-in.... aside from having to get up pretty early, it was a fabulous experience! <BR> <BR> There WERE some cars on the interstate, but they were well behaved, and we got to the airport in record time, and all went according to plan (unlike the day she flew IN to San Antonio last week and her arrival coincided ... Sat, 9 Apr 2016 22:59:01 EST Feeling of Accomplishment Well, it may not be absolutely finished, but today I took all my IRS data to my accountant... I feel like a huge load has been lifted off my shoulders, making it possible for me to enjoy the rest of the fabulous day... <BR> <BR> Am taking my own medicine (posted in conspicuous places) <BR> <BR> What can you do <BR> TODAY <BR> to bring you <BR> ONE STEP CLOSER <BR> to your goal? <BR> <BR> Thu, 7 Apr 2016 23:35:39 EST Kick in the Pants- Just What I Needed Do you go over the section of Sparkpeople that has the Inspirational quotes in it? I USED to when they were a little bit easier to find on the website... but not so much any more... <BR> <BR> But this one I ran across in an old Sparkblog today; <BR> <BR> "What can you do TODAY to bring you ONE STEP CLOSER to your goal?" <BR> <BR> I'm going to post it in a couple of conspicuous places to keep it ever in the forefront of my mind..... Bathroom Mirror, here it comes! Wed, 6 Apr 2016 23:53:30 EST To Do List I need to make my To Do List up, and actually follow it!!! <BR> <BR> Slowly I'm going through my closets and getting rid of STUFF ... every other week or so I get a notice from a charity group asking for donations of household goods, and they will even COME PICK THEM UP... so I usually have at least a box of clothing or other items.... <BR> <BR> Not to mention that as I am working my way through boxes of stuff, I'm actually finding items of interest that had been lost for some time! <BR> <... Tue, 5 Apr 2016 22:56:32 EST Sweetest Little Wildflower Ever Yesterday I mentioned the five petaled wildflower that the smartphone couldn't identify, except just kind of generically.... but not only do I keep a variety of naturalist field guidebooks (birds, trees, wildflowers) ready to look up these puzzles of nature, I also went straight to the internet with my photo of the sweet little blossoms... <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Yes!!! They WERE Baby Blue Eyes, just what I ha... Mon, 4 Apr 2016 22:59:58 EST Absolutely Breathtaking This was a glorious day... cool without being cold, sunshiny without being glaring, surrounded by friends, new and old, without being stifling or complicated.... A great day! <BR> <BR> I got to see the bluebonnets with fresh eyes since Friday, and my friend, who is a native Texan, and flew back for a visit from Georgia, arrived, hungry for some vintage Texas roadside views.... The bluebonnets are still quite robust, though almost ready to concede their spots to the next wave of beautiful nat... Mon, 4 Apr 2016 00:34:05 EST Way Behind in Blogging I'm so far behind, and this is still going to be short.... <BR> <BR> Ate out twice today with friends and had lovely salads both times, making wise choices and skimping on the high calorie stuff (unless I really wanted it!) with no snacking!!! <BR> <BR> So why can't I function without snacks EVERY day???? <BR> <BR> Having a dear old friend for a houseguest has been a real treat! Sun, 3 Apr 2016 00:12:30 EST A First and a Startling Refresher Course Yesterday was our actual realization of the present my oldest child gave me for Christmas: a session at the Puzzle Room of Austin, where you, and up to 9 others are locked into a room filled with a bunch of clues to unravel a series of more clues which ultimately lead to vanquishing a nefarious foe, and ESCAPE! Oh, I forgot to mention that you have exactly one hour before your time is up, and the villain(s) supposedly annihilates you!!!! <link> </link> <BR> <BR> ... Fri, 18 Mar 2016 11:58:30 EST I'm Wearing Green, Are You? Happy St. Patrick's Day! <BR> <BR> Back in th eOld Days when we had kids at home still, our standard celebration of St. Patrick's Day always included my DH getting up early and cooking green eggs and ham for our breakfast..... A little bit of green food color in the eggs was quite effective, and later on, as they grew older, when they grew suspicious, we managed to get some Araucana chicken eggs which are often green as can be on the outside (sometimes blue, too) from a friend who loved our ... Thu, 17 Mar 2016 11:50:57 EST Everything You Do Is Right! Today! Today is Everything You Do is Right Day...... I have no idea Who is was who declared it so, but am willing to enjoy it... at least for today! <BR> <BR> It is also my eldest brother's birthday, which seems appropriate somehow, since he was a ring-tailed tooter as a child, and became even more of a handful as he reached his teen years and then college, but fortunately met the girl of his dreams and married her before he finished law school.... <BR> <BR> In short, he's an upright citizen these... Wed, 16 Mar 2016 17:47:15 EST Mom Time I have just one more night here visiting with my mother in Houston.... we've accomplished all the list of things she had for us to do, and had great times visiting with 2 of my 3 brothers (and Face Timed with the missing brother) What great fun it has been! My mother is still in excellent health, especially for a 94 year old, and always a treat to be around... <BR> <BR> She always feels so sorry for the other residents of her senior apartment complex because they don't have family to visit t... Wed, 16 Mar 2016 00:34:33 EST Happy Pi Day!!!! Yes, Pi! The mathematical symbol important if you do anything with circles.... or Math..... <BR> <BR> Celebrated on March 14, because March 14 is often represented as 3.14, the first 3 significant digits of Pi.... <BR> <BR> We celebrated Pi Day by eating pie, but I ate only a small portion of a key lime pie.... it was GOOD! <BR> <BR> And I know that there will be a lot of people looking forward to Star Wars Day, May 4th ("May the Fourth Be with you") Tue, 15 Mar 2016 00:39:28 EST Whoa! This Is Going to Take Some Getting Used To.... Daylight Savings Time- I thought I was ready for it, but the sky was awfully dark when I rolled out of bed at 7:10, which really isn't VERY early...I even went to bed at a fairly reasonable time last night.... <BR> <BR> But I was wondering if my phone could make the jump to Daylight Savings on its own... I couldn't remember whether it made it by itself or if I had to help the last time we made this transition, and so, since my wake alarm is on my phone, I set a Back-Up... <BR> <BR> Not to w... Sun, 13 Mar 2016 09:23:58 EST Spring Break and Daylight Savings Time... Together! Gruene Hall is hopping tonight with loud music wafting over my house, and the tourists seem to have migrated back to my regularly sleepy neighborhood attracted by promises of cold beer and hot bands and rocking opportunities to forget their usual obligations... Final exams looming, anyone??? <BR> <BR> But I've already set my clocks ahead for tonight's switch to Daylight Savings Time, and I'm not planning on being late to church in the morning... and I'm sufficiently fatigued to head to bed o... Sat, 12 Mar 2016 22:56:40 EST NSV- I'll Take It! Though I haven't been feelingl so terribly victorious lately, my clothes seem to be fitting a little looser, which is in itself a great encouragement to eat smaller portions, and spend a little more time on the treadmill... <BR> <BR> I might even WEIGH myself tomorrow, and see if it could possibly be not just a Non Scale Victory, but an actual Scale Victory, too! Thu, 10 Mar 2016 21:52:00 EST Encouragement Do you make a point to read other peoples' Sparkblogs?? I do, and they usually have great words of encouragement..... whether colorful photos with funny sayings or personal testimonies, they make me glad that I clicked on them... <BR> <BR> And some of them provide real kicks-in-the-pants! <BR> <BR> I recommend going to your "Friend feed" and scrolling down to see what other Sparkers are saying.... <BR> <BR> Or, if you are reading this, you ALREADY know how to find Sparkblogs... Carry On! Wed, 9 Mar 2016 18:01:43 EST I Need to Take Photos It was overcast today and the forecast is for storms and rain and cooler weather.... so it may be a while yet before I can get some bluebonnet photos.... <BR> <BR> But even if it DOES storm, it will not deter the blooming...while riding on a bus to Dallas over the weekend, we saw healthy spreads of wildflowers even on the freeway slopes in Austin, but not much farther north right now.... <BR> <BR> Hold on, it's coming! Wed, 9 Mar 2016 00:13:15 EST BSF Leaders Retreat- Spiritual Fitness I just got home from a marvelous weekend with 6000 other BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) leaders in a downtown Dallas hotel (this was just for Texas classes) and the study of the book of Paul's letter to the church of the Colossians was the main text, describing spiritual fitness, and how that we, as believers and followers of Jesus Christ, need to be progressing to spiritual maturity, just as an athlete trains and submits his body for a purposeful progression. <BR> <BR> It was good stuff. (I t... Sun, 6 Mar 2016 22:18:48 EST Phooey! Remember all those political phone calls that were driving me crazy before the election on Tuesday? <BR> <BR> Well, the race that engendered the lion's share of all those calls resulted in no candidate receiving more than 50% of the vote..... which means... <BR> <BR> A RUN OFF ELECTION!!!! <BR> <BR> Which means, even more phone calls, and with it, probably more name calling and more mud slinging, and more of me avoiding answering the phone.. <BR> <BR> I really OUGHT to get caller ID. <BR>... Thu, 3 Mar 2016 10:03:18 EST SPROINNNGGG! As it is the nature of these things at this time of year, Spring Has Sprung! <BR> <BR> I saw my first bluebonnets of the season yesterday, and they are well on their way to blanketing the roadside that I frequent almost every day.... For Texans this is Big, REALLY BIG.... and it won't be long before we gather up our families, including pets, and our cameras, and head out to take the Annual Families in Bluebonnets pictures.... <BR> <BR> One of my neighbors had no wife and no children and no... Wed, 2 Mar 2016 09:41:06 EST Ta DA! I voted! Since my philosophy has always been, "If you don't vote, you don't have the right to complain..." <BR> <BR> So, I went down and voted today on this Super Tuesday, and I will head back to my precinct for our precinct convention tonight....maybe I can help by providing some common sense and a calm demeanor... even if my own candidate doesn't prevail... <BR> <BR> It can't hurt. Tue, 1 Mar 2016 14:29:13 EST Heh-Heh-Heh So since I FINALLY realized that all my home phone calls were political in nature, and since tomorrow is primary election day, I have stopped answering my home phone, at least until AFTER tomorrow.... <BR> <BR> It rings until the answering machine kicks in and if it's a real person and they want to talk to ME, then they can leave a message, or I can still pick up the receiver and talk.... such a simple decision has saved ALL KINDS of aggravation... <BR> <BR> It just makes me chuckle.... Mon, 29 Feb 2016 23:15:19 EST Gearing Up for Action... by Reading the Book I guess that I really SHOULD be referring to gearing up for the action of LIFE, by reading THE BOOK, ... you know, The Bible, it being Sunday especially I mean.... and I firmly believe that;s the way to address LIFE.... <BR> <BR> But actually I'm just now referring to ANOTHER book, that I was listening to and from church today, roughly an hour of travelling altogether.... on how to deal with CLUTTER.... <BR> The life changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizi... Mon, 29 Feb 2016 00:30:38 EST Today Woke up with a headache. <BR> Not going to let it get me down..... took some Tylenol. <BR> Glorious sunshine! Yay! <BR> Counting my blessings.... <BR> And counting.... <BR> And counting... Sat, 27 Feb 2016 09:03:28 EST Aaaaagggh! So Sick of Politics! The Texas Primary is next Tuesday and even though I am registered for the Do Not Call list, I am still inundated with phone call after phone call, many masquerading as polls.... <BR> <BR> Though I'm politically active and alert, I am SO SICK of this propaganda, name calling, mud-slinging, and holier-than-thou rhetoric.... <BR> <BR> I'm not answering the phone from here on until next week! <BR> <BR> In better news, I get to go to a women's retreat this weekend.... I will wash my mind clean ... Fri, 26 Feb 2016 15:10:15 EST Night at the Theater Yes! We have live theater where I live.... and a friend drafted me to go with her when her husband had minor leg surgery and didn't want to get out.... <BR> <BR> It was a one woman show by historian/ re-enactor/ storyteller/ playwright Melissa Waddy-Thibodeaux... The first part was about runaway slave Lavinia Bell, who managed to escape from near Galveston, Texas and wound up in Montreal Canada through many terrible awful set-backs. The actress made Lavinia come alive... <BR> <BR> The secon... Wed, 24 Feb 2016 11:34:45 EST Weather Can't Make Up Its Mind When I woke up this morning, we had had a complete weather shift... <BR> <BR> Yes, it was still quite cool outside (high of 66 degrees), but the sunshine was brilliant, and the wind SO brisk that I needed a sweater! <BR> <BR> I LOVED it! <BR> <BR> But it really IS enticing me to get some young tomato plants into the ground..... if I were smart. I would resist.... <BR> <BR> Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm..... <BR> <BR> Will decide tomorrow! Tue, 23 Feb 2016 22:10:18 EST Cold Front!?!? When we woke up this morning, it was pouring down rain in Houston, and we needed to pack up to return to the San Antonio area, but I was acutely aware of my need for a sweater... my short sleeve cotton tee shirt just wasn't warm enough! <BR> <BR> I think that the temperature rose only to about 70 degrees today!!!! <BR> <BR> I know, I know, ... our winters are pretty pathetic.. <BR> <BR> But on the flip side, I totally noticed backyard after backyard in San Antonio with big old orange trees... Mon, 22 Feb 2016 23:37:45 EST Holy Smokes! Shopping in Houston! One sister-in-law and I headed out to Memorial City Shopping Mall this afternoon to run an errand for my mother, and while we had fun looking, we came out pretty much empty handed, and almost shell shocked from all the commotion!!!! Thousands of people were out flocking to the mall and inspecting not only the merchandise, but also each other.... <BR> <BR> If I were more nearly accustomed to it, I'm sure that I would have just parked myself somewhere just to watch the people...and watch the p... Mon, 22 Feb 2016 00:34:40 EST Precious Times All my siblings were available to be together with my 94 year old mother this evening....the food was absolutely delicious (Texas barbecue at its finest- pork ribs, beef brisket, & sausage), but the time together was absolutely precious... <BR> <BR> Since we've reached adulthood, there have been so few times when we have all been together, when one or more of us has lived outside the US, or been travelling or working outside the country, it makes the times when we CAN be together that much... Sat, 20 Feb 2016 22:42:04 EST Such Potential for Disaster! Family time is great, don't get me wrong, but today I ate out twice in a couple of Houston's finest restaurants...... And the potential for eating myself into a coma was astronomical!! <BR> <BR> The first was Taste of Texas, the beefiest of old time premium steakhouses, and I managed to be totally satisfied with just their salad bar, which is stellar in itself, and even though I DID have a roll with butter, I skipped the salad dressing and the cheeses, and I stopped before I got uncomfortabl... Fri, 19 Feb 2016 22:21:52 EST Smiles Across Texas We set off from San Antonio this afternoon right after Bible study (BSF Revelation class- Fantastic study!) and headed for Houston..... the skies were not cloudy all day... but traffic on Interstate 10 was lively and FAST... <BR> <BR> It was almost 80 degrees and spring is knocking at winter's door, and demanding its chance to shine..... plenty of greenery along the roadside, but no color is showing... YET! <BR> <BR> In less than a month these same roads will be ablaze with Texas Bluebonnet... Fri, 19 Feb 2016 00:14:45 EST Ready for "Hoarders" I know that you have to interview, and be accepted, for Antique Roadshow, but do you have to apply for and be accepted for "Hoarders"? <BR> <BR> My guest bedroom closet is in itself the perfect subject....I still don't know the quantitative depths of my storage in that space, but I have already pulled 24 LARGE oatmeal boxes out of it, and that was just the topmost layer ....I figure that I must be consuming about one box of oatmeal per month, and have been doing so for almost three years, so... Wed, 17 Feb 2016 22:43:46 EST Moment of Weakness You would think that I would be better at resisting Temptation by now, but I talked myself out of resisting and managed to down a Reese's peanut butter cup with hardly a qualm ... <BR> <BR> And then Another! <BR> <BR> Fortunately, I had some lean chicken and some lovely zucchini, onion, and carrots to roast so that I could enjoy those Reese's cups within my calorie allotment ... <BR> <BR> And it was another beautiful day in south Texas.... At 80 degrees it is unusually warm, but I find ... Tue, 16 Feb 2016 23:32:24 EST