MCJULIEO's SparkPeople Blog MCJULIEO's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Oh What Music! I'm visiting my mother in Houston and she wanted to go to a special concert given by a collaboration of three churches, one Baptist, one Methodist, and one Presbyterian. With a full orchestra, and a combined choir of more than 200, it was glorious! <BR> <BR> They even let the congregation join in on three hymns, and they went accapella for every third verse... the voices alone were unlike almost anything on earth....their sheer beauty could almost make you tear up. <BR> <BR> Words fail me. Sun, 14 Sep 2014 23:23:51 EST Campus Fun I spent the day on the Texas A&M University campus WITHOUT planning on attending their evening football game tonight.....I was there for a scholarship reception that brings scholarship recipients together with their specific scholarship donors, and A&M provides a delicious and beautiful brunch /dessert buffet so that schmoozing can go on for hours without impediment... It's always great fun, but, oh my goodness, the students just get younger and younger looking every year!!! <BR> <BR> Fortun... Sat, 13 Sep 2014 18:57:26 EST Fresh Incentive Yesterday I saw a photo that had been taken of me when I wasn't looking...... ACK! <BR> <BR> Not a pretty sight.... and it gives me an extra kick in the pants as far as making short term wise decisions, like foregoing the offer of an ice cream dessert, or choosing to walk around the neighborhood instead of vegging out on the sofa with a good book.... <BR> <BR> <BR> Sometimes you (i) need that extra kick in the pants... Fri, 12 Sep 2014 09:36:02 EST Out of My Control The next few days I'm going to have quite a few meals that will be out of my control- basically only 2 choices- Take it.... or Leave it..... <BR> <BR> Here's hoping that I remember to carry some good options with me... <BR> <BR> And that I CHOOSE wisely... <BR> <BR> So far, so good. Thu, 11 Sep 2014 22:56:49 EST Busy I never want to be so busy that I don't take time for what is important.... <BR> <BR> People are important. Wed, 10 Sep 2014 17:06:48 EST Caution <BR> Caution: <BR> Dates on Calendar Are <BR> Closer Than They Appear Tue, 9 Sep 2014 23:24:33 EST Better Thanks to all of you who sent encouraging messages over the weekend... it's just going to take some time to adjust to my New Normal.... I don't much care for being a widow... but I know that the Lord is in control, whatever happens. <BR> <BR> Beautiful sight tonight: <BR> lightning nearby and far off.. <BR> <BR> it's a double blessing in that the lightning is beautiful in itself, but the possibility of rain that it portends in this dry and weary land (it has been months since we had any rai... Sun, 7 Sep 2014 22:12:58 EST Grief I didn't think it would affect me so profoundly. <BR> <BR> I didn't even want to get out of bed. I just wanted to stay there and just grieve. <BR> <BR> Today would have been my DH's birthday. <BR> <BR> I'm reminding myself that the Lord has been faithful in the past, and that He continues to be so, that He loves me even more than I love myself, that His peace surpasses understanding,... <BR> <BR> So I'm giving myself permission to weep for a little while, and then, in God's grace, I can d... Fri, 5 Sep 2014 10:04:14 EST Scrapbooking Conference I volunteered at a CKC Scrapbooking Conference today in a nearby city (volunteering gets you in free, with a few other perks)....I've never been to one before, and I found myself staring in awe at all the STUFF and paraphernalia that all these attendees lug around with themselves, and then they buy MORE... <BR> <BR> And it's not inexpensive either... $50 here and $80 there, and $35 dollars here and $100 there, and pretty soon you're talking Real Money! <BR> <BR> I'm reacting just the oppos... Thu, 4 Sep 2014 21:57:53 EST Dream I woke up this morning in the middle of an enchanting dream, and managed to coax myself back to sleep in order to find out more of what happened....apparently two HOURS later I woke up for good, <BR> <BR> And foolishly, I didn't write any of it down.... and POOF! It's all gone.... <BR> <BR> So all I'm left with is a general feeling of satisfaction and possibly a little euphoria from whatever was accomplished in the dream.. <BR> <BR> It certainly could have been worse, but I am renewed and... Wed, 3 Sep 2014 12:50:12 EST Easing Into Austin I know that Austin Texas prides itself on being "different", and that the most popular bumper sticker seen around town proclaims "KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD", but I never cease to marvel at just what "weird" looks like.... yes, there are strange people in even stranger clothes, and a reputation fueled by wild college students at the most liberal university in the state, and some of that "tuned in, turned on, and dropped out" hippie culture, not to mention the very lively music scene and the SXSW Festi... Tue, 2 Sep 2014 22:42:04 EST Comparative Translations The Bible is probably the MOST translated book in the world, that is, it is the book translated into the most languages (both the Old Testament from Hebrew, and the New Testament, originally written in Greek)... <BR> <BR> And in English, there are several versions in print, and sometimes I like to compare the different versions to try to get a better, or broader, or more applicable to my life understanding. <BR> <BR> 1 Corinthians 13, verses 4- 7 is one of the best loved passages in the Bib... Mon, 1 Sep 2014 12:45:55 EST Long Distance Friends We had a gathering tonight after church to eat dinner with some friends who will be moving to Chihuahua, Mexico tomorrow.... I will miss them a lot, but they actually have a phone number that should be reachable easily from here so it isn't as if they are moving to the moon, or Antarctica. <BR> <BR> We will see each other again. Mon, 1 Sep 2014 00:27:38 EST Look! No Socks! Last night, I had a close encounter of the live kind... <BR> <BR> I picked up a pile of dirty clothes and a little wiggly live thing jumped out of the material and slithered off under the cabinetry in the bathroom... it was a tiny gecko, only about two inches long, from the top of its nose to the tip of its tail, but having something jump out and take off scared the SOCKS off of me..... there was no way I could catch it, it was so small and fast, and I like geckos, generally... <BR> <BR> So... Sat, 30 Aug 2014 15:18:04 EST Playing With Grandchildren I got to play with some of the grandchildren today, ages 3 and almost 2..... one things for sure, they play hard... <BR> <BR> And therefore I'm pooped... <BR> <BR> But one of the victories: the family had arranged for us to eat at Maggiano's in the Domain... they said it was excellent food, and lots of it.. I had no vote (maybe I did but didn't want to be a sourpuss)... <BR> <BR> THEN I found out that this restaurant offers a delicious meal for about $15.... <BR> <BR> BUT, it turns out th... Fri, 29 Aug 2014 23:49:19 EST Whew! My beloved Aggies of Texas A&M survived their first football game of the season against the explosive U of SouthCarolina tonight.... The game was in SC and the home crowd was ready for blood, but not only did the surprising Aggies NOT roll over and play dead, they rolled to an early lead, and then, <BR> <BR> Wonder of Wonders! <BR> <BR> The Aggies managed to hold on to the lead, and persevere right up to the last second. <BR> <BR> Whew! My heart was pounding but I don't think I can count i... Thu, 28 Aug 2014 22:56:08 EST The Lighter Side of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge I've seen celebrities take the ALS Ice bucket Challenge to raise money for ALS research... and I've had friends and family take it in honor of my DH, who passed away just about 6 months ago from ALS. <BR> <BR> But I have to be amused at these cartoon/entertainment figures who have undertaken the challenge, too.. <BR> <BR> Sandra Boynton;s Hippo: <BR> <link><BR>v45AxD0 </link> <BR> <BR> Kermit, everybody's favorite frog: <BR> <link>https://www.youtub... Wed, 27 Aug 2014 17:21:26 EST Losing a Friend A good friend died over the weekend, and all of her friends are grieving... it just doesn't seem right that she's gone... I ache for her husband, who looks as if his soul has been drained from him... Married 42 years, they had no children to comfort him in his grief. <BR> <BR> Then ANOTHER friend's husband died, and I attended the funeral this afternoon. I didn't know him very well but i wanted to encourage her by being there for her.... <BR> <BR> Sometimes life is hard, .....but you know ... Tue, 26 Aug 2014 22:26:32 EST Not Off Scot Free You know, I mentioned how great I felt yesterday about my kayaking, and how it had seemed to get easier??? <BR> <BR> Well, after a few hours it became apparent that my exultation was perhaps, a bit premature... <BR> <BR> I discovered where I had missed putting that 50 SPF and 110 SPF sunscreen. It's a small area, and I don't know how I missed it in all my conscientiousness, but I did... and that 1.5 hours in the sun would have fried ALL of me if I hadn't slathered the stuff on myself... <B... Sun, 24 Aug 2014 23:15:19 EST Getting Better At It We went kayaking today, and it was wonderful! Although the sun was high in the sky, I had plenty of sunscreen on, and the wind never got so high that paddling was too hard. <BR> <BR> I feel great! Not even sore! <BR> <BR> I must be getting better! ... Getting stronger! <BR> <BR> Yay, Me! Sat, 23 Aug 2014 21:01:30 EST Bittersweet The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is sweeping the country, and I wouldn't have believed it except that it's all over ESPN and college football sites ad Youtube.... <BR> <BR> Designed to raise ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) awareness, a person agrees (or maybe not, apparently) to let a bucket of ice water be dumped on them for donations to go to ALS research. There are some folks who are enjoying the limelight, who confess that they know nothing about ALS, but maybe this will lead them to some info...... Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:43:06 EST Triple Digits Hot! <BR> <BR> It's going to be 100 or more every day in the near forecast, going up around 105, which is plenty hot enough. <BR> <BR> Instead of cranking the air conditioning down really cold, I've set up fans wherever I plan to spend time, especially near where I play with the Wii.... <BR> <BR> We can do this..... We CAN! Wed, 20 Aug 2014 23:37:22 EST Lost the Earlier Blog I hate it when I so carefully compose a blog , and then it disappears into the cyber-ether... <BR> <BR> Earlier I wrote about the adorable pink pearlized motor scooter/ moped I saw while out and about this morning.... <BR> <BR> It made me fantasize about getting one and what life would be like on a pink pearlized moped.... very fun, I'd guess... Tue, 19 Aug 2014 22:05:10 EST Wii Fit Time I got my Wii out last week, and spent several days chasing down instructions and trouble shooting and replacing batteries (!!!), but this morning I got it working.... <BR> <BR> It welcomed me back, and said that it had been 1136 days since I had been on it... <BR> <BR> Well, needless to say, I'm having to relearn all the skills that I had done fairly well on before... I'm lousy right now... <BR> <BR> But I should get better with practice. <BR> <BR> It's WAY too hot to spend time outside, ... Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:51:24 EST Encouraged by Spark Blogs I've been running on auto pilot lately, going through the motions, but often without a lot of enthusiasm (sometimes I really miss my usual enthusiasm!)... <BR> <BR> But I am always encouraged by reading other people's blogs that they post on SP. <BR> <BR> The funny pictures, the deep profound thoughts, and even the tales of messing up and cries for help give me the will to continue, to re-examine, to reach out to others, and to take control of my own choices and choose responsibly.. <BR> <... Sun, 17 Aug 2014 09:50:28 EST Big Weekend? In a tourist town there's always a lot going on, especially on a summer weekend, ESPECIALLY on a weekend late in August just before school starts and everything shifts into a different schedule... <BR> <BR> This weekend is no exception, with all kinds of busy activities happening around us... <BR> <BR> But, regardless of all the things available, I'm looking forward to an old friend from college days coming for a visit.... the best kind of weekend activity... <BR> <BR> I praise the Lord fo... Fri, 15 Aug 2014 17:23:26 EST Small Things Make for Happy Attitude It's hot around here.... and dry.... <BR> <BR> And the weatherman said a cool front came in, dropping our high temperature to the mid 90s and our low temperature to the low 70s, and you know what??? I could actually feel cooler!!! <BR> <BR> Tonight I left home to go to a meeting, and surprised two deer right near my house... I stopped to watch them for a while, they were cautious and a little jumpy, but graceful, and when I pulled out leaving them, I spotted a bunny just by the side of the ... Fri, 15 Aug 2014 00:49:58 EST Dumb Thing I Did One thing I really, REALLY don't care for is snakes in the garage. <BR> <BR> Ideally, NO garage should ever have a snake in it....but I left the garage door open this morning when I was working on a project, and scared the bejeebers out of myself when stepping out of the house and watching a great big fat lizard scurry across the floor and take a hiding place amidst some garage debris/junk/good stuff. <BR> <BR> I know it was a lizard, one of those spiny, scary looking Texas Alligator lizar... Wed, 13 Aug 2014 19:55:21 EST Perseid Meteor Shower It's that time of year again..... when the Perseid Meteor Shower shows off its celestial fireworks.... we may not have had rain for months, but a nasty cloud cover kept me from watching LAST night, but in a minute I'm going outside to see (hopefully) some shooting stars. <BR> <BR> If you are in the Northern hemisphere and it's not cloudy where you are, I recommend checking it out. <BR> <BR> Meteors are cool., and the Perseids are the best chance we get to see them, now through about August ... Tue, 12 Aug 2014 23:29:37 EST This Day August 11, a pivotal date for me.... <BR> <BR> If my DH had lived we would have celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary today. This is my first anniversary without him, and I was surprised at what a visceral reaction I had just glimpsing the date this morning. <BR> <BR> I thought I was OK. <BR> <BR> I thought wrong. <BR> <BR> They say that milestones are the hardest, and I guess they're right. <BR> <BR> Fortunately, friends came along and kept me busy all day.. took me to an herb talk, ... Mon, 11 Aug 2014 22:59:15 EST Wrinkles of the Soul Saw this Spark motivational quote: <BR> "Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul." <BR> <BR> It hit me hard since I had just recently discovered that sunscreen is manufactured with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 110, which, if I understand it correctly, means that if I wear this sunscreen I would have to stay out in the sun 110 times as long as I normally would in order to get the same amount of sun damage... <BR> <BR> So I got to thinking, "What would be the ... Sun, 10 Aug 2014 16:56:42 EST Lots to See Went shopping at one of the nicer malls today in San Antonio, and since it's the big tax free weekend , there were LOTS of people to watch and things to see. I haven't been much of a fashionista lately, nor have I done much shopping in the last two years, but I saw some styles I liked and even tried on a few things, none of which I bought... But I DID see some interesting messages on tee shirts, and I was impressed with a child's backpack that looked like a turtle's shell, made out of some vi... Sat, 9 Aug 2014 22:10:18 EST I Need Some Practice! I went kayaking with a friend today on a lake... we had been on the water for about 30 minutes and made it almost to the end of the lake, but when we turned around, lo and behold, the wind had come up, and I DO mean UP! It took considerably more effort to get back to our launching spot, and I was thoroughly beat (my shoulders are a bit sore, and so are my hands). <BR> <BR> The really good news is that I think I'm getting stronger. <BR> <BR> And the really REALLY good news is that I apparent... Sat, 9 Aug 2014 00:56:49 EST Houston! What a city! My husband used to always say that everyone should visit Houston once a year, particularly at Christmastime, so that they could properly appreciate living wherever they normally live. While there are lots and LOTS of wonderful things to see and do in Houston, there are also a LOT of people, and a LOT of crazed drivers.... <BR> <BR> It's all OK though... today we visited both IKEA and Trader Joe's, and SURVIVED.... not only survived, but THRIVED! <BR> <BR> All the same, I think I'll dream of... Wed, 6 Aug 2014 17:13:11 EST Travelling Again I'm in Houston. <BR> With family. <BR> I am SO grateful that I get to have times like this... (I really REALLY like them) <BR> Am counting my blessings tonight. Tue, 5 Aug 2014 23:17:46 EST Chicken Without Its Head That's what I feel like today... a chicken with its head cut off.... crashing mindlessly into things and not able to pull myself together... <BR> <BR> I lack FOCUS... <BR> <BR> Solution 1: I will set an alarm for 15 minutes on one task and force myself to work on just THAT task for 15 minutes (I should be able to do ANYTHING for 15 minutes, right? That's what Fly Lady says) at the end of 15 minutes I will evaluate how well it's working... and probably go for another 15 minute session.. <BR... Mon, 4 Aug 2014 15:58:24 EST First Time for Everything! Today for the first time ever, I bought something on Ebay from another country, in another currency... I surely hope I did it correctly!!! Apparently Paypal will let you buy something in Pounds (I don't even have a Pounds symbol on my keyboard!!), and Paypal will pay for it in Pounds converted from Dollars..... at least I hope so... <BR> <BR> Isn't technology wonderful?!?!?!? <BR> <BR> Or, if I've goobered it something awful, isn't technology AWFUL??!?? <BR> <BR> I'm hoping for the former.... Sun, 3 Aug 2014 23:27:27 EST Made It! The Mini Makers Faire started with my unloading my boxes at 7:15, and when they opened the doors, I was ready for countless participants, ready to make their own paper flowers from old discarded books... <BR> <BR> I wasn't enthusiastic when we started, but as soon as the attendees arrived, somehow I felt a rush of excitement, and totally enjoyed myself all day.... as more and more people made their own flowers and wore them, more and more got interested in making them themselves, and showed... Sat, 2 Aug 2014 23:38:34 EST Mini Maker Faire With the growth of the Do It Yourself Industry has come the growth of places where you can learn all kinds of DIY projects, and our local library is sponsoring a makers fair tomorrow.... somehow, when they first announced this, I thought it would be a good idea to have a booth to show many of the ways that I have re-cycled books... <BR> <BR> So I signed up. <BR> <BR> What was I thinking!!?? <BR> <BR> I've got plenty of samples of recycled books, and recycled books, and book purses, but to... Fri, 1 Aug 2014 20:16:42 EST Good, Good, Good, Good, Bad, Really Good That is how my day went today... <BR> <BR> Good: I was early to my rendezvous and had a delightful nutritious lunch, which contributed to the <BR> <BR> Second Good: I was early to my appointment and got through early, <BR> <BR> Third Good: My car was due for its annual state inspection, and I just happened to be driving by a brand new oil change place that did inspections, and I was in and out in 15 minutes! Yay! I won't be getting arrested for an expired inspection sticker! <BR> <BR> ... Thu, 31 Jul 2014 23:31:57 EST Last Day for Coldwater Creek Man! Am I ever going to miss Coldwater Creek and their well made, well designed clothes. Today was the outlet's last day, and what was left was marked down to 90% off....I resisted as best I could, but still brought home a knit skirt that I hope will be too big by this fall.... <BR> <BR> This SHOULD give me the incentive to sew again.... so that I can get clothes that I like in colors that I like, and styles that I like, and sizes that I fit... I may not be a coutourier, but I think that I c... Wed, 30 Jul 2014 22:56:29 EST YES! Dead Air-conditioner is now fixed! <BR> Dead computer is replaced (Mercy! I'm wrestling w/ Windows 8) <BR> Woo Hoo! I checked off some biggies from my To Do list!! <BR> And strawberries are particularly delicious in a salad with romaine and black oives and balsamic vinegar dressing! <BR> And I have NO overdue library books! <BR> <BR> Life is good! Tue, 29 Jul 2014 23:05:21 EST Coping It's hot in Texas right now, and today my house air conditioning died. <BR> <BR> What a surprise! <BR> <BR> I'm so glad that my AC repairman is a friend, and will be coming first thing tomorrow to look at it. <BR> <BR> In the meantime, I'm sleeping with a fan blowing on me... I can survive this by God's grace. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 23:04:27 EST Big Day Celebrated Peruvian Independence Day yesterday by gathering at a Peruvian restaurant and eating Peruvian food and listening to a lively Peruvian band....I can only guess at what it was that I ate, but it was good! And a good time was had by all! <BR> <BR> But surprise! Though Peru is supposedly the No. 1 exporter of asparagus in the world, I didn't see any asparagus on the menu.... Sun, 27 Jul 2014 23:01:11 EST Bananagrams Have you ever played the game Bananagrams? <BR> <BR> I don't get to play it very much, but I enjoy it a lot, and so a bunch of us from church got together and had what we called games night. We had chess, Jenga, Apples to Apples, dominoes, and a few other games, as well as Bananagrams, which is a little like free range Scrabble. You use tiles and try to use them up on a grid of your own design.... The night flew and I didn't even eat the refreshments! <BR> <BR> Yay, Me! Fri, 25 Jul 2014 23:21:52 EST Peru Independence Day This weekend is Peru independence day, and since I have developed a fondness for all things Peruvian I am going to go to the celebration that the Austin Peruvians will be hosting... <BR> <BR> Peruvian people are very very very nice and friendly. <BR> Peruvian music is wonderful! <BR> <BR> And so far, all the Peruvian food that I have eaten has been very tasty! <BR> <BR> As long as I don't have to eat any alpaca, I should be okay! <BR> <BR> (did you know that almost all of the asparagus ea... Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:32:46 EST Surrounded by Romance The Romance Writers of America are having their annual meeting in San Antonio, one of the most romantic cities in the country, and I had the chance to attend with a bunch of library people today. I don't know just what I was expecting, but it was great fun, and the speakers/writers/publishers I heard speak were fascinating. <BR> <BR> And do you know what?? <BR> <BR> Instead of these professional romantics being all over the top and crazy different, they just seemed normal looking and norma... Wed, 23 Jul 2014 23:30:29 EST Getting along Tthere's a group of volunteers that I spend time with, and so Somehow I have become the peacemaker of the group. I Don't think it's because of any innate ability that I may have, although as a mother of three I spent a lot of time as a referee, and I'm not afraid to jump in before fisticuffs occur, but maybe I'm better at expressing my appreciation for each and everyone of them, so they listen to me when I have something to say or something to mediate. <BR> <BR> If you have been watching any... Wed, 23 Jul 2014 00:14:35 EST Texas Woman Quotes (More 7) Molly Ivins (1944-2007) <BR> <BR> " If Texas were a sane place, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun. " Sun, 20 Jul 2014 23:00:08 EST Texas Woman Quotes (More 6) Betty Sue Flowers <BR> <BR> " Somewhere deep down, I really feel that every Texas woman ought to own a pair of red boots - even if she never wears them. " Sat, 19 Jul 2014 21:55:21 EST