MCJULIEO's SparkPeople Blog MCJULIEO's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Back to School Well, all of the schools are back in session again, even the private schools, and students are settling back into some semblance of normalcy.... Texas high school football has already started around here, too, with all its pageantry and hoopla. <BR> <BR> I just want to dedicate this short moment to school times. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Tue, 1 Sep 2015 22:45:48 EST A Few Thoughts to End the Summer Just thinking that September starts tomorrow! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> It's just a slippery slope from here ..... to Christmas! Tue, 1 Sep 2015 00:43:07 EST Worst Combination Ever A dear friend lost his wife to cancer about 10 years ago and we all grieved with him. Then about two years ago he started dating a very nice lady, whom he married about almost a year ago. They are a lovely couple. <BR> <BR> But just yesterday his son proposed to a girl he's been dating for several years, and we all rejoiced. I have watched both of these young people grow up and they are in their mid 20s and out of college and working and just precious. Both sets of parents are ecstatic, exce... Sun, 30 Aug 2015 21:59:13 EST Strange Meals Do you have corners of your cupboards and refrigerator that are stocked with mystery food? I do, and freely admit that excavation must be done before I realize just what all I have... <BR> <BR> SO, I'm making an effort to eat up the things that have been filling up the freezer and the pantry, or get rid of them altogether. <BR> <BR> But it can surely make for some strange combinations.... not so much now, but I can see that as I work my way through the larder, not all things are going to... Sun, 30 Aug 2015 00:34:15 EST Back to Being a Morning Person I used to be a morning person. I loved mornings! <BR> <BR> But then I got married.... and my DH was a Night Person, which was hard for him, since he worked long hours and had to get up early in the morning anyway.... and even though he was just getting revved up in the evening, by about 10 pm I was zoning out, and could never stay awake past about 11. This went on for more than 40 years. <BR> <BR> Then, since he died, I've had trouble going to bed at what I considered my Ideal Time, and o... Fri, 28 Aug 2015 10:22:21 EST Miniscule Progress is Still Progress Woke up late after getting to bed late last night.... <BR> <BR> BUT <BR> <BR> I ate my usual breakfast, even though it was almost time for my usual lunch (I DID mention that I had gotten to bed super late, didn't I?) <BR> <BR> And then when it became time to eat lunch late I fixed a smoothie from yogurt and fruit, and was plenty full until a regular dinner that I enjoyed with a friend. <BR> <BR> And I have plenty of room on my tracker for some grapes/ or fresh pineapple for an evening sn... Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:20:34 EST What Happened to Our Start Page??? Something has happened to our Start Page! <BR> <BR> And I had just gotten SO comfortable with it, too! <BR> <BR> It doesn't look the same, and some things have disappeared altogether! Many things are still there, but I can't find my Review Goals graphic for anything! <BR> <BR> Is Sparkpeople trying to illustrate a point? Is this a Metaphor for life??? Are they saying that just when your pathway starts getting easier that it's time to change things up??? <BR> <BR> Enquiring minds want to K... Wed, 26 Aug 2015 10:49:46 EST Catching Up Being gone to visit my mother left me a bunch of stuff that needed attention when I got back home again.... <BR> <BR> <BR> But reading so many sparkblogs has left me newly encouraged about my eating and exercising and positive lifestyle changes, and all that good stuff.... My grocery trip today was a long one but involved a lot of walking (it's AIR CONDITIONED!) and I filled my cart with produce in its prime... the cantaloupe looked especially good, as did the pineapples, and strawberries, ... Wed, 26 Aug 2015 00:00:08 EST Baby Smiles My brother's 2 month old granddaughter had to have surgery on her skull last Friday, and it went so well that I got to see her at home today... <BR> <BR> And she was a darling! I've never seen such a smiley baby! Not one so young! <BR> <BR> There's just Something about a baby's smile! It makes you feel so wonderful! I wish that it could be bottled and saved up for gloomy times.... Tue, 25 Aug 2015 00:55:47 EST 50s Party My mother's apartment complex is for Senior Citizens, but though their years are many (Mom is almost 94), they still think young. Last night they had a Fifties Sock Hop, with music from the 50s, food from the 50s, an Elvis impersonator, hula hoops, and a lot of fun. <BR> <BR> Volunteers from a local Big Church (Second Baptist of Houston) flocked in , dressed in poodle skirts and other 50s fashions, to provide extra enthusiasm and extra dancers to make sure that EVERYBODY, even those on walke... Sun, 23 Aug 2015 18:31:02 EST Glad I Went Yesterday afternoon Winston Churchill's great grandson, Jonathan Sandys, spoke here at my mother's senior housing complex, and we sat on the second row. <BR> <BR> An excellent speaker, he kept our attention as he regaled us with story after story of his great grandfather's life, and gave us a teaser from his new book, "God and Churchill". <BR> <BR> Oh, and he told how he met a Texas girl and married her, and now lives just outside Houston with her and their 18 month old, who is the first Ch... Sat, 22 Aug 2015 16:21:48 EST Rainy Day Houston is wet today, and so all the things that I wanted to do are not as appealing to my mother as they were. We ARE planning on hearing Winston Churchill's great grandson speak here this afternoon, but in the meantime, we have a rainy day to enjoy... <BR> <BR> READING! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR>... Fri, 21 Aug 2015 11:57:50 EST Pouring Down Rain The skies opened up on me, but possibly not on my house, which needs rain badly... Well, not necessarily the house but the yard.... Typical summer in Texas, hot and dry. <BR> <BR> I left home near San Antonio and headed for Houston and had rain the WHOLE way there, much of it really HARD, and I was surely hoping that it was heading the opposite direction from me, right for home... And so some of it did! Yay! <BR> <BR> Only about a half inch... So far... <BR> <BR> I'll take it! Thu, 20 Aug 2015 22:08:35 EST Library, Sweet Library It is so good to have the local library accessible again..... Libraries are a little bit like Book Stores, only a lot cheaper! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.spar... Wed, 19 Aug 2015 17:44:46 EST Being Useful Well, guess what! <BR> <BR> One of the side effects of the library having been closed is that all the books and other materials that had been checked out for the almost three weeks were all due on Monday!!! And MOST people brought their materials in, and it totally absorbed several staff members to check in all the stuff.... <BR> <BR> But, of course, the books, movies, etc. STILL needed to be shelved so all the carts were full, and they were so crunched that the library allowed even volunte... Wed, 19 Aug 2015 00:44:01 EST Friends are the Best! One of my dearest friends came for a visit over the weekend, and we had a great time... she went back home today, but I feel that it won't be long before we get together again... <BR> <BR> Then, this afternoon, my Local friends got together for another Craft Play Day, which we've had a rough time arranging for most of the summer.... today's projects included re-purposing some old books into various items for the upcoming Friends of the Library booksale scheduled for late October... One of us... Mon, 17 Aug 2015 22:53:02 EST 3-2-1... Open, Open, Open! The public library reopens tomorrow after a very rough 2 weeks for us bibliophiles... <BR> <BR> I can hardly wait! <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Mon, 17 Aug 2015 00:47:04 EST Pleasant, Though Short Lived, Surprise I woke up this morning to rain dripping from the roof. Actually it wasn't RAINING, but it HAD rained enough to wet the streets and drip from the eaves .... for a very short while.... not even enough to show in my rain gauge, less than half of a tenth of an inch... <BR> <BR> But I'm glad! It has been officially 43 days since we had any measurable precipitation.... <BR> <BR> Our local library is still closed for maintenance, until MOnday... so I'm still holding on... <BR> <BR> Something to ... Sat, 15 Aug 2015 10:21:04 EST Those BONUS Spark Points Really Add Up!!! Once you get in the swing of Spark things, you discover just how many opportunities there are to earn extra spark points. <BR> <BR> For example, I manage to get extra spark points every day at the bottom of the Spark START page for my various Spark teams. Ever since they instituted the Start page, it's been a goldmine for points, with a place to check off goals and review motivations, but the REAL bonus are those TEAM spins, and the more points that you have earned in a day earns you more sp... Fri, 14 Aug 2015 12:54:26 EST Takin' It Easy Summertime.... and the livin' is easy.... <BR> <BR> Or you ROAST! <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> So I'm takin' it EASY! Thu, 13 Aug 2015 22:37:11 EST He Acts Like a "Boogie" Went to the Children's Museum with a passle of grandchildren, and discovered that the youngest at 10 months has gotten a nickname..... his almost 3 year old brother calls him "Boogie".... <BR> <BR> None of the others respond to anything but their given names, but somehow THIS one is Boogie, as in "Let's Boogie!". His mother is mystified and has no idea where it came from... His given name is nowhere near Boogie, or even Booger... <BR> <BR> But he's a lively one! Crawling and Climbing and Ch... Wed, 12 Aug 2015 20:44:02 EST Anniversary Today would have been my 43rd anniversary, my second one since my DH died from ALS. <BR> <BR> I miss him, but rejoice in his graduation to the golden streets and eternity with Christ...we were blessed to have 40 years together, and we continue to be blessed with the confidence that the Lord is in control. <BR> <BR> In memory: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Tue, 11 Aug 2015 14:20:41 EST An Oldie But a Goodie In honor of the twelve hours I slept last night (I don't think I'm sick, I just felt compelled to go to bed early last night, and woke amazingly refreshed 11.5 hours later) <BR> <BR> My brother used to have this taped to the side of his first computer, back in the early 80s: <BR> <BR> The original: <BR> <BR> ACHTUNG! ALLES LOOKENSPEEPERS! <BR> <BR> Das computermachine ist nicht fuer gefingerpoken und mitten grabben. <BR> <BR> Ist easy schnappen der springen werk, blowenfusen und poppenco... Mon, 10 Aug 2015 12:52:13 EST Good Advice I know! I know! I cannot resist offering unsolicited advice...... it's the Mom in me, I guess! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sun, 9 Aug 2015 18:19:41 EST Great Expectations- NOT! Well, this weekend marks the annual Back to School Tax Free Weekend for Texas, which really challenged my shopping impulse, but, virtuously I decided that I didn't need anything and that I would stay at home, enjoying reading, or sewing, or cleaning house (I just threw that last one in just to see if you were really paying attention) <BR> <BR> When Lo And Behold! My sister in Law called from Houston suggesting that we do something fun for lunch and that she was on her way and would be here i... Sat, 8 Aug 2015 12:04:33 EST Reality is Sometimes Way Overrated <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Fri, 7 Aug 2015 12:14:21 EST I Didn't Listen <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I know! I know! I COULD have done just THAT! <BR> <BR> But I didn't succumb to the temptation.... I got a mile and a quarter of lap swimming in this morning! And I have too much to do to sit down and indulge my favorite pasttime, but I'm looking forward to that perfect opportunity.... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR>... Thu, 6 Aug 2015 13:02:53 EST Summer Reading <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> My summer reading is including some new to me mysteries by Jeff Abbott, and listening... Wed, 5 Aug 2015 10:31:16 EST Making the Most of It The library is well and truly closed for renovations for the next 2 weeks (I admit that I doubted that it would really happen until I saw the empty parking lot today).... <BR> <BR> But there's still time to read!!! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Tue, 4 Aug 2015 23:12:20 EST The End of the World As I Know It (Sort of) Our city library is closing for the next 3 weeks or so to do maintenance (replace carpet, etc.) and I'm sure that my life without it will not be the same....Just imagine! No access to the books and movies that I have become accustomed to! No Home Away From Home! <BR> <BR> Fortunately, like the settlers facing a long and arduous winter, I have laid in a stock of books and movies to enjoy while my favorite destination is undergoing renovation.... I almost feel a little guilty.... almost... <B... Mon, 3 Aug 2015 22:56:02 EST Attitude Check <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Sun, 2 Aug 2015 08:54:31 EST August??!?!! Aaughhh! How did it ever get to be August already? <BR> <BR> The summer has just started, it seems! And the Back-to-School sales have already started... <BR> <BR> What next? Christmas decorations up in the stores???? Aaughhh! <BR> <BR> I can hardly bear it! The summer has flown by! <BR> <BR> I guess that just shows that we need to live in the NOW.... we can't do anything about the past, and we cannot waste the now on worrying about the future.... <BR> <BR> Bil Keane, creator of the Family Circus ... Sat, 1 Aug 2015 22:54:52 EST Dog Days of Texas Summary of what life is like in Texas right now: It's HOT! But not as hot as it has been in the past! <BR> <BR> But there's plenty to keep us amused: <BR> Somebody is making a documentary on Molly Ivins, the late Texas veteran political pundit, who made us laugh, even when we didn't agree with her viewpoints... and here are some quotes... <BR> <BR> "I believe politics is the finest form of entertainment in the state of Texas: better than the zoo, better than the circus, rougher than footbal... Fri, 31 Jul 2015 14:05:09 EST Five Thousand!! I don't think I ever have before, but this month I've earned over 5000 Sparkpoints! <BR> <BR> I'm not much of an exerciser, but That represents a lot of swimming minutes..... And a whole lot of articles read.... And a lot of tracking...of all sorts... <BR> <BR> And I still have a day to go in July!!! <BR> <BR> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 23:36:58 EST Getting Pretty Hot It's getting too hot to do anythinh outside except swim, and I really OUGHT to be trying to catch up on my reading... The To Be Read pile just keeps getting taller and taller... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR... Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:17:04 EST Will Do Vs. Want To I did NOT want to get out and swim laps this morning....My excuses included: I wouldn't have time to get a full mile in, much less my goal of two miles.... my breakfast oatmeal was too hot and needed cooling... I knew that after my morning meeting I needed to go to the grocery store before the sale prices went back up... <BR> <BR> I didn't want to go, but I put on my bathing bag with towel and snorkel was already in the car, but even THEN, I was groping for a good excuse to stay h... Tue, 28 Jul 2015 15:29:32 EST Sheer Perfection! Salmon was on sale at the local HEB, and I bought a large filet to bake in the oven, and since I was going to bake at 425 degrees anyway, I chopped up a huge amount of carrots, onions, peppers, calabacita squash, and celery to roast at the same time so as to make the most from the kitchen being heated up. The vegetables had their own pan and a much longer bake time. <BR> <BR> Here's the big hint ...... when baking salmon, bake at 425-450 for 6 minutes for every half inch of thickness of the ... Mon, 27 Jul 2015 23:56:22 EST Larry Gatlin Larry Gatlin, country and western composer and performer (sometimes with his brothers- The Gatlin Brothers) was in town last night for a concert, and a friend called excitedly to see if I'd go with her.... pretty much spur of the moment for me, but Oh! It was a lot of fun.. <BR> <BR> Gatlin has a string of Grammy winners, and a number of what he calls Grammy losers (We lost the Grammy on THAT one, he'd say...) and his stage presence, honed over 40 years in the business, was both congenial an... Sun, 26 Jul 2015 23:48:41 EST Deceitful Appearance I had to drive up to cross the Blanco River today in the city of Blanco, Texas.... and the river was more beautiful than I have ever seen it before, beautiful green and clear and clean. <BR> <BR> To look at it today, one would never imagine that only a few weeks ago, its rampaging floodwaters over Memorial Day weekend claimed so many lives (and they STILL haven't found all the bodies)... <BR> <BR> One could never guess how different these Texas hill country rivers look after one of those cl... Sun, 26 Jul 2015 00:35:51 EST Friends are the Best! FINALLY.... after receiving and receiving and receiving help from so many dear friends.... <BR> <BR> I was able to help a couple of them... AT THE SAME TIME!!!! <BR> <BR> It was so great.... <BR> <BR> To be asked! My friends felt comfortable enough to ask for help... <BR> <BR> To be available! I wasn't booked for some other project or plan... <BR> <BR> To be able to actually help! I knew how to do what was needed, and got it done! <BR> <BR> I am blessed to have friends who let me demons... Fri, 24 Jul 2015 22:59:22 EST Best Watermelon Finally not able to stand it any more, I bought a watermelon, even though I am by myself.... <BR> <BR> And Boy! Am I ever glad that I did! <BR> <BR> Best! Watermelon! EVER!!!!!!! <BR> <BR> So sweet! <BR> <BR> So crisp! <BR> <BR> So delicious! <BR> <BR> So WORTH IT! Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:33:19 EST Local Weatherman On the radio this morning, the weatherman announced that there was Zero chance of rain, <BR> <BR> That he would be really surprised if it rained, and ... <BR> <BR> That if it DID rain he SHOULD be looking for another line of work!!! <BR> <BR> Finally, a weatherman who didn't hedge his bets! Wed, 22 Jul 2015 23:14:04 EST Einstein on Creativity I like these: <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 21:24:01 EST Long Day I know that my tooth (or at least the place from which it was extracted) must be bothering me at least a little bit today..... I didn't take any of the prescription pain medication, but DID take some Tylenol.... <BR> <BR> Though I think I'm feeling pretty good, I STILL am a little edgy.... not really cranky, but just a little less patient than I usually am.... so therefore I'm heading to bed .... before I decide to eat something I ought not.... and then regret it... <BR> <BR> Ahhhhh! Sweet ... Sun, 19 Jul 2015 23:26:20 EST Long Day I know that my tooth (or at least the place from which it was extracted) must be bothering me at least a little bit today..... I didn't take any of the prescription pain medication, but DID take some Tylenol.... <BR> <BR> Though I think I'm feeling pretty good, I STILL am a little edgy.... not really cranky, but just a little less patient than I usually am.... so therefore I'm heading to bed .... before I decide to eat something I ought not.... and then regret it... <BR> <BR> Ahhhhh! Sweet ... Sun, 19 Jul 2015 23:25:48 EST Much Better Than I Thought Slept almost 10 hours last night! (I think that the pain medication for my pulled tooth from yesterday may have contributed) The ice pack that I had gone to bed with was completely melted, but my mouth felt good, maybe swollen a little bit, but not nearly as ache-y as I expected. <BR> <BR> I'm supposed to have soft-ish food today so oatmeal for breakfast, and maybe soup for lunch..... maybe some banana soft serve ice cream..... after the 800 calories of Haagen Daz ice cream yesterday, I'm re... Sat, 18 Jul 2015 10:53:38 EST Day of Accomplishment Swam a mile this morning. Finished early enough to not get sunburned. <BR> <BR> Watered the yard for the first time this year. <BR> <BR> Picked the last of the tomatoes. <BR> <BR> Had an abcessed tooth pulled (not a great option, but the infection was bad.... and could have been worse) The good news was that I got to indulge my ice cream desire.... <BR> Soft? Check! <BR> Cold? Check! <BR> The perfect food for a mouth in pain..... and fit into my tracker! <BR> <BR> Caught up with my emails... Fri, 17 Jul 2015 23:26:06 EST It Wasn't Just Me! Yesterday was the BIG Amazon Prime sale that was SUPPOSED to be the equivalent of Black Friday for Bargain Shoppers..... <BR> <BR> So I carefully set aside some time for checking out Amazon's super great buys... and came up pretty much empty handed .... <BR> <BR> There I was ready to boost the economy, and Poof! Nothing appealed to me! <BR> <BR> But according to the news accounts, Amazon shoppers across the board were significantly unimpressed, calling it little better than a "garage sale"... Thu, 16 Jul 2015 22:57:51 EST Butterfly Herding Do you ever have days when everything you touch makes you feel like you are herding butterflies? <BR> <BR> Phone tag, and waiting for other peoples' decisions, and feeling like a nap is a good idea.... <BR> <BR> I really don't mind.... it makes me especially grateful for the days when I accomplish a LOT... <BR> <BR> I guess we all need an occasional day of herding butterflies to keep our perspective clear... Wed, 15 Jul 2015 22:16:34 EST Spark Tracker in Swimming I have a Spark Tracker and it goes with me wherever I go, except when I forget and change shoes or something, and I have understood that sometimes it can actually discern between TYPES of exercise.... like it can tell whether you are walking or bicycling... <BR> <BR> But it apparently doesn't do as well when I'm swimming laps.... but it IS waterproof! Yay! <BR> <BR> For example, I've clipped it to my bathing suit and it doesn't exactly register precisely,..... stopping at some moments that ... Tue, 14 Jul 2015 22:45:27 EST