MCJULIEO's SparkPeople Blog MCJULIEO's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Lots to be Grateful For I had an unusual opportunity to bless a friend which also blessed me (Gotta love A TWO-FER!) <BR> <BR> You see (and that's where the problem started) I have this friend with increasingly impaired vision (she says she can drive easily where she knows a place, but can't really read the signs very well- YIKES!) <BR> <BR> And she needed to go to Houston for a meeting... in a place very near where my mother lives, and which also can be very challenging directions-wise.... <BR> <BR> It was a No... Wed, 26 Jul 2017 23:55:19 EST Eureka! Ask a Librarian! The Human Search Engines! For those of you who read my blog last week asking what in the world THIS was (seen somewhere over the mountainous desert between Salt Lake City and Houston, roughly a distance of about 1200 miles, so, a VERY large area) <BR> <BR> This is the photo that I took from the window of my plane at about 35,000 feet: <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I carefully tried to figure out where I was in the sky, and approximately wh... Tue, 25 Jul 2017 01:43:07 EST Good Reasons to Like a Church Covered Dish Social I USED to like Church covered dish socials because they were great food, and a wide variety of tasty delights. <BR> <BR> THEN, I loathed church covered dish suppers because there was TOO MUCH tempting food, and eating at one might derail me for an uncomfortable length of time. <BR> <BR> THEN, I started LIKING church covered dish socials again because I planned ahead, and always took food that I COULD eat, and so could navigate what HAD BEEN a diet minefield... <BR> <BR> TONIGHT was another... Sun, 23 Jul 2017 23:39:30 EST I Itch I'm itching, <BR> Because I'm sweaty. <BR> <BR> I'm sweaty because I spent much of the day helping a friend do some ranch chores.... <BR> moving hay to where the cows could get to it... <BR> feeding and watering the chickens <BR> chasing the goats back into their pen <BR> watering the herb garden <BR> chasing the neighbor's horses back to their land <BR> <BR> How she manages to hold it all together is amazing, but I'm so glad that she normally has good help around (who knows what they are ... Sat, 22 Jul 2017 22:27:20 EST Plumb Tuckered Out The plumbers came this morning to replace my water heater (MAJOR) and fix the leaky faucets and toilet that wouldn't re-fill (MINOR)... It's a good thing they came early, because apparently to bring my water heater up to code, it necessitated some construction and pipe modifications, and they are still working on it right now.... <BR> <BR> I am SO GLAD that the previous heater didn't wait until I left town before it started leaking and leaving a lake out in the garage...... that would have b... Fri, 21 Jul 2017 14:29:33 EST HOME There's no place like home! <BR> <BR> I know what to order at the restaurants I frequent for maximum nutrition and minimum calories, not to mention good deals..... <BR> <BR> My washing machine is always available, and I can easily pre-treat spots, and even SOAK something if necessary... <BR> <BR> I have fruit frozen in the freezer ready for me to make fruit sorbet .... (which I did almost immediately after that long hot drive home from Houston, even though the car HAS air conditioning... I... Fri, 21 Jul 2017 00:09:55 EST What in the World is This??? Here's the deal: I was on an airplane flying from Salt Lake City to Houston yesterday, and as I gazed out the window at 35,000 feet I spotted what MUST have been The Grand Canyon (it was so large)and just about 10 minutes later I spotted this strange BLUE design on the ground... <BR> <BR> It turns out that the canyon I saw, could NOT have been the Grand Canyon, but instead is probably the Rio Grande Gorge in northern New Mexico, which if our plane was flying about 500 miles per hour, puts m... Wed, 19 Jul 2017 22:26:43 EST Not Quite Home, But Close I still have another 200 miles before I get to sleep in my own bed, but we managed to fly from Salt Lake City to Houston without incident, arriving at just about the worst part of Rush Hour, and my sister-in-law's good friend who offered to pick us up at the airport took us to a Mexican restaurant so we could let the worst of the traffic die down before the last leg of our journey in Houston.... <BR> <BR> And so I get to spend just a couple days in Houston with my sweet mother regaling her w... Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:00:32 EST The Active People Well, we bought passes to do all the summer activities at Snowbird, a snow skiing resort that re-purposes itself for summer tourists just about 25 minutes outside of Salt Lake City.... it's only a few miles, but the road is very windy, that is, it WINDS about A LOT, so it takes longer to get there, BUT you can see a lot of the city from your lofty vantage point.... <BR> <BR> Most of the people here were WAY more active than I wanted to be, especially when I tried to act normally (it's at 900... Mon, 17 Jul 2017 22:48:35 EST The Beautiful People Today we left Logan Utah, home of the UFO (Utah Festival of Opera and Musical Theater), and headed back to alt Lake City, but we detoured through Park City, UT, where the Beautiful People go to See and Be Seen (it's also where the Winter Olympics ski venues were based) <BR> <BR> That quaint mountain city was PACKED with all sorts of people, not all of whom would I categorize as "beautiful", though many DID seem to be accompanied by their dogs, so I'd like to promote them to at least "Nice".... Sun, 16 Jul 2017 22:24:58 EST Never Seen Anything Like It We are visiting Logan, Utah and the Utah Festival of Opera and Musical Theater, and yesterday we watched two very different productions in the same theater (or perhaps it's called a theatre)... <BR> <BR> Anyhow, we arrived an hour early for the Pirates of Penzance production and the director gave us an "Informance", a very personable introduction to Gilbert and Sullivan, what they wrote and how their collaboration came to being produced in a theater far from its origin... Then the show itsel... Sat, 15 Jul 2017 21:27:32 EST Napolean Dynamite Revisited Did you see the 2004 (now) cult film, Napoleon Dynamite? <BR> <BR> My kids LOVED it! <BR> <BR> I LOATHED it! <BR> <BR> My kids explained: Yes, you think it's dumb when you first watch it, but after about the third time, you'll think it is ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS! <BR> <BR> I responded: WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD I EVER WATCH SOMETHING AS DUMB AS THIS MORE THAN ONCE????? <BR> <BR> So we have agreed to peacefully coexist on the matter of this movie for these more than 10 years.. <BR> <img src="h... Fri, 14 Jul 2017 01:48:05 EST I Love Segway Tours! Have you ever ridden on a Segway? The tour we took of Salt Lake City was my third and it was wonderfully fun (AGAIN!) <BR> <BR> I know, I first thought it might be too difficult to learn how, and that I might injure myself (or others) <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> but I really wanted to take a night tour of Rome when we went there last summer.... <BR> So I got a Groupon and scheduled a Segway tour of San An... Fri, 14 Jul 2017 00:39:27 EST Arrived: Salt Lake City! Our flight was just a bit late leaving Houston but we arrived in Salt Lake City fine, the little snack packets on the plane had pretzels and little else but only 60 calories! (And I didn't feel guilty for eating more than one packet!) <BR> <BR> We visited with fellow travellers from SLC in the airport and they suggested a few exciting activities in the area.... We are already scheduled for a Segway tour tomorrow, and later in the week will be attending some musicals at the Utah Festival of O... Wed, 12 Jul 2017 01:00:50 EST Ack! Be Sure, Your Sins Will Find You Out! One of the fun things that comes from visiting my mother is reading all the odds and ends of literature and information that comes to her just naturally as a Student Of Life (she's 95, and is a wise and astute observer of what goes on around her, but she also gets an alarming amount of health propaganda in the mail) <BR> <BR> ANYHOW... <BR> <BR> Remember that Five Guys burger that I ate while we were traveling in South Carolina? Well, I ran across a little newsletter that related that that... Tue, 11 Jul 2017 00:28:14 EST So Far, So Good The water heater for my house is duly drained and disconnected, and most of the areas affected are drained and dry... <BR> <BR> I started my big trip (to northern Utah) by driving to Houston straight down Interstate !0, along with a LOT of other cars (apparently many, MANY Houstonions go to the Texas Hill Country where I live for the weekend, and ALL of them drive back on Sunday afternoon- SO crowded) <BR> <BR> Made it to my mother's in Houston with no incident except a dashboard light wink... Sun, 9 Jul 2017 22:41:36 EST No Matter What Happens No matter what our circumstances, we can do this... <BR> <BR> I woke up this morning and discovered a lake in my utility room.... I thought there must be some dripping from an air conditioning blockage somewhere, but after a number of efforts to relieve any blockage, I found further complications.... <BR> <BR> As usual, my messed up situation deepened! <BR> <BR> Even though there WAS some sort of blockage in my air conditioners condensation drainage, the bulk of the water on my floor was f... Sat, 8 Jul 2017 23:21:43 EST Yikes! Pretty Pony Birthday for a 6 Year Old I need to get a birthday present for a six year old who is going through a girly girly phase.... she's into My Little Pony right now, and she loves reading.... <BR> <BR> And she has 2 little brothers who are very lively... <BR> <BR> Any suggestions? Fri, 7 Jul 2017 11:34:00 EST The Weekend That Never Stops Just when I thought the last of our weekend family visitors had gone, my doorbell rang, and it was one of my sisters-in-law, alone and travelling back to Houston after all the crowd had left her summer place out west of here.... <BR> <BR> After my astonishment wore off I realized how little we get to see each other unaccompanied by at least a few random extra siblings, children, or grandchildren.... What a lovely opportunity to be together... <BR> <BR> So I took her out to eat at a reasonab... Thu, 6 Jul 2017 22:59:38 EST Historic Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams In a letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams about the Declaration of Independence, John Adams wrote: <BR> <BR> "It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty; it ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great a... Tue, 4 Jul 2017 22:45:21 EST One Last Hoo-Rah Tomorrow Well, my hometown has a 4th of July parade every year, and it's very small town-ish, but fun... patriotic and old-timey, and lots of red, white and blue with antique cars and antique bicycles, and it has kind of a Do It Yourself feel to it, not commercial at all.... and there's a patriotic sing along at the end, too, on the town square where the parade circles! <BR> <BR> So, of course, my daughter visiting from the Washington, DC area wants her kids to see what a small town does for a homema... Mon, 3 Jul 2017 22:34:48 EST Family Mostly Gone About all that's left of the Family Reunion is quite a collection of photographs, and also quite a few sunburns.... the kids enjoyed each other (Praise the Lord!) and they really enjoyed swimming together and playing in the water. (and the older ones tended to "mother" the toddlers- all the older kids are girls and both the 2 year olds are boys)... The food was calorie laden, but I brought chicken for fajitas (a nice safe choice) and there were lots of healthy alternatives to the high calorie... Mon, 3 Jul 2017 00:26:56 EST Family Reunion Success Various members of the family from far flung places (Malaysia, Maryland, Austin, Houston, etc) all arrived for a wonderful day for a family reunion.... several generations comingled beautifully and harmoniously for a lovely day.... <BR> <BR> <BR> And ALL of the little kids got along so well, it was unbelievable! 10 under age 8! Amazing! <BR> <BR> I'm tired. Sat, 1 Jul 2017 23:17:30 EST I Am Not Making This Up! So I received an email from church which illumined why my friend couldn't come over to help me clean house yesterday (It was a family emergency, she explained when she called , that her husband had been at work and she wasn't sure but that he had said that he was having trouble breathing and was on the way to the hospital) Well, there's MORE.... (there's always more!) <BR> <BR> He was working on a ladder working on a cable connection (he's a cable guy) and he was SHOT! In the abdomen! With a... Fri, 30 Jun 2017 11:52:48 EST Overly Fatigued- Running Out of Steam Stayed up way late last night trying to clear spaces for my company due in this weekend, and I expected a friend to come over to help me clean this afternoon, so I worked hard to get rid of clutter so that actual CLEANING could be done.... <BR> <BR> And then just before she was due to come over, she had a family emergency and so could n't come... so I kept on for several hours more... but Fatigue is beginning to set in.... <BR> <BR> My back aches and I decided a quick Spark break might help... Thu, 29 Jun 2017 16:29:50 EST Baby Steps I'm still trying to get ready for company coming this weekend (and the family reunion) and I still have a lot to do.... <BR> <BR> But I AM making some progress ... <BR> <BR> And I AM plowing through audio books like a maniac..... Clive Cussler, Louis L'Amour, Rick Riordan, and so on, are keeping me entertained while I work.... <BR> <BR> Slowly, step by step...... I will get there... Wed, 28 Jun 2017 23:11:24 EST Laugh, or Smile Really Big I just have to smile at this restaurant's signs..... <BR> <BR> sometimes even Laugh Out Loud: <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Wed, 28 Jun 2017 00:34:11 EST Hidden Treasures MCJLIEO is continuing her slog through all the stuff, cleaning house, and clearing a space for a bunch of guests (Including her MOTHER!) coming over the weekend.... <BR> <BR> And so I'm throwing away Stuff, or giving it away (I have boxes for each of my grown kids, for the Friends of the Library, and for Goodwill and Salvation Army) as I work my way through piles that have lain undisturbed for at least a couple of years.... <BR> <BR> Oh, the BOOKS that I have found, for both reading and for... Tue, 27 Jun 2017 00:35:13 EST Mind Game- Only Six Months Until Christmas! If I dedicate myself and stay focussed, how much can I get done in my health efforts between now and (six months from now) Christmas??!!?!? <BR> <BR> Sparkpal IRISHEI posed this very provocative question in her blog today <link><BR>urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=6379028 </link> <BR> <BR> The challenge can be issued in all areas of my life actually: <BR> How much weight can I lose? <BR> How much stuff can I get rid of? <BR> How much of my book can I get ... Sat, 24 Jun 2017 10:29:19 EST How in the WORLD Did I Ever Amass So Much Stuff???? And then, after I have accumulated Stuff, I hold on to it tightly and rarely ever get rid of it, even if it is Junk! <BR> <BR> I mean! It's about a bajillion degrees outside and I spent several hours in the hot garage (which has not housed a car in years because it is so full of STUFF) <BR> <BR> Stuff, Stuff, and MORE Stuff!!! This is crazy unbalanced behavior to save strands of Christmas lights (that don't work) because I might need the parts for OTHER strands which MIGHT need parts som... Sat, 24 Jun 2017 00:10:45 EST Progress The charity pick up people came and carried away 2 boxes of stuff today... but I need to get rid of SO MUCH MORE.... <BR> <BR> Started out the day working in the garage (it's cooler in the morning and IMPOSSIBLE once the heat of the day kicks in ) and found a few more things that needed discarding, and a number of things that just were spread all over the place, NOT where they should be... <BR> <BR> This is slow going... <BR> <BR> And very sweaty business.... <BR> <BR> Ah, I tell myself t... Thu, 22 Jun 2017 23:22:30 EST Aggie Hero Story <link><BR>5859/aggies-daring-rescue-of-young-gir<BR>l-caught-on-video/?utm_source=newslett<BR>er&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Aggie%<BR>27s%20Daring%20Rescue%20of%20Young%20G<BR>irl%20Caught%20on%20Video&utm_campaign<BR>=ENEWS%202017-06%20AggieNews%20June%20Newsletter%20-%20V5 </link> <BR> <BR> I am an insufferably proud graduate of Texas A&M University, which, up until about the time I got there, was traditionally an all male, all military school, so i... Wed, 21 Jun 2017 15:17:00 EST The Stars We take for granted so many things... <BR> <BR> I happened to be out late and after I had parked the car, I glanced up and my breath caught at the beauty of the night sky, so clear and star-filled. <BR> <BR> It made my heart ache it was so beautiful! Wed, 21 Jun 2017 00:56:22 EST 1077+ Word Blog (or the Equivalent) <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Remember that Seared Tilapia from Yia Yia Mary's that I was trying to describe the other day?? <BR> <BR> Well I went BACK to Yia Yia Mary's and ordered it again, it was SO GOOD, <BR> <BR> But this time I took a photo... <BR> <BR> Notice all that chopped garlic heaped lovingly across the tilapia filet? That's probably what makes it taste so good! (I'm not THAT big a fan of garlic either, b... Mon, 19 Jun 2017 17:55:15 EST Yia Yia Mary's Pronounced "Yah-Yah Mary's", this Greek/seafood restaurant in the booming Post Oak/Westheimer area of Houston is part of the Pappas family of delicious eateries... Nestled in the shade of the skyscrapers around it, Yia Yia Mary's is always busy, and often PACKED, because their food is GOOD, really good... <BR> <BR> During the week it fills with Texas' elite business Shakers and Movers, and on weekends it fills with families, especially BIG families. There are at least 2 giant tables (seating... Sat, 17 Jun 2017 15:56:00 EST Texas, Looking Good! Since I had the opportunity to go visit my mother in Houston again this weekend, I drove back across the miles stretching between San Antonio and the Bayou City, and since I had waked up and gotten myself out the door EARLY, I was able to leisurely observe the speed limit (traffic was moving pretty quickly!) and I arrived in Houston way ahead of my expected arrival. <BR> <BR> So then the family rendezvoused at the wonderful Taste of Texas Steak restaurant and I DID NOT pig out, but was comfo... Sat, 17 Jun 2017 00:08:31 EST Maybe Not THE Shortest Blog Ever, But ONE of Them You know how it is when you want to write a blog .... but you don't really have anything much of consequence to say .... <BR> <BR> Well, this is one of those days... Fri, 16 Jun 2017 00:39:39 EST Domestic Archaeology I got out early to work in the garden and then worked in the house the rest of the day.... There is STILL a LOT of STUFF that I really need to get rid of, but I'm making slow progress. <BR> <BR> AND I DID find something that had been missing for a while, that I had just about given up for lost! <BR> <BR> Unfortunately cleaning my house is a little bit like what an archaeologist does, unearthing various strata, and figuring out what happened when.... and organizing it so that I can find it a... Wed, 14 Jun 2017 23:49:17 EST Strange Ship Sighting It is undeniable that Travel certainly broadens one's horizons, what with going places we've never been before, and seeing things that we;ve never seen before.... Yesterday I showed an airplane that caught my eye at the Charleston (SC) airport, but today I want to show an unusual (and HUGE) ship that was docked at the port of Charleston.... <BR> <BR> So odd looking: (And it's HUGE!) <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It... Tue, 13 Jun 2017 16:20:41 EST Strange Airplane Sighting I know that there are strange looking airplanes around, and I know that there are LARGE airplanes around (I've actually been in the cockpit of a massive C-5, the enormous military cargo plane!) <BR> <BR> But while we were waiting in the Charleston, SC airport, I saw an enormous, yet strange plane that apparently the Boeing company uses for shuttling huge airplane parts around the world.. <BR> <BR> The plane has kind of a misshapen nose, and a bulbous body, and it's hard to get a perspective... Tue, 13 Jun 2017 00:07:14 EST One Airport Observation Airports are the best place to people watch.... <BR> <BR> And having spent some time in airports in the last week, I have observed more than a few... and especially what they wore.... <BR> <BR> It's amazing to me how travellers dress these days, and sometimes not too wisely.... What magazine was it that used to post fashion faux pas pictures? Was it Glamour? <BR> <BR> Anyhow, while I gave a lot of folks the benefit of the doubt sartorially speaking, I DID make a note to myself to 1) NOT w... Sun, 11 Jun 2017 23:21:43 EST Post Vacation Fatigue Slept well last night in my own bed, but am up too late tonight..... <BR> <BR> Heading for bed. <BR> <BR> There's no place like home! Sun, 11 Jun 2017 00:54:42 EST Sitting in the Airport Got up at 5 to drive the 2 hours back to Charleston to catch a 10:15 flight only to find that our flight has been delayed to 11:35!!!! Fortunately we don't have a tight turnaround to catch our flight home from Houston, but I confess that in all the years that I've flown on Southwest Airlines, I have never had a delayed flight, but this is the second one on this this trip alone.... Such a surprise!! Seriously, Southwest has done such a good job for so long, I must have started taking them for ... Fri, 9 Jun 2017 10:35:48 EST Last Day in South Carolina After three ventures to the beach in the last 4 days, today we ventured to Brookgreen Gardens, a lovely ex-rice plantation which has re-invented itself as an educational agri-tourism spot. <BR> <BR> So much to see, and we barely covered a fraction of it, but the kids had lots of room to play and run, and we all had a great time (lots of walking, too) <BR> <BR> It will be so hard to leave this branch of the family to return to Texas tomorrow, but I look forward to sleeping in my own bed tomo... Thu, 8 Jun 2017 23:04:33 EST Another Stretch at the (Myrtle) Beach Every day the weatherman says there will be 100% CHANCE OF RAIN, and then everyday for the last three days, we go down to the beach and we have a lovely time, even though there may be some slight rain that squalls over us for a short while.... I mean, we're WET ALREADY <BR> <BR> The thing that intrigues me is how much the beach itself changes from day to day, and even hour to hour, admittedly as we have been there at various times of day and at different tide levels..... since my family live... Wed, 7 Jun 2017 23:05:43 EST Ate Well, Good Vacation Food For a Change While the kids and grandkids were off gallivanting, I had lunch with my brother in law at a place he recommended, Blueberry's Grill of Myrtle Beach, and he had the Mediterraneum Salad (like a Greek salad, feta, and olives with a blueberry vinaigrette dressing), but I had a curry chicken salad on a wedge of bib lettuce which was terrific.... I felt so virtuous that I didn't even consider a dessert or sweet snack.... <BR> <BR> Then, for dinner, we ordered Take-Out from JimmyZ Hibachi, and ever... Tue, 6 Jun 2017 22:15:07 EST Playing In the Surf Burns Calories I couldn't find a listing for it, but I firmly believe that staying upright while the surf on Myrtle Beach crashes on and around you burns plenty of calories.... <BR> <BR> My legs and core readjusted constantly while I was in the water, and I got plenty of steps chasing a 2 year old and a 7 year old while on the sandy beach itself... <BR> <BR> It was a very good time... <BR> <BR> And my sunscreen worked great! Mon, 5 Jun 2017 23:48:30 EST Five Guys Hamburger!!?! We travelled from Charleston, SC to Myrtle Beach today, and we stopped at a Five Guys burger place, and, not ever having been in one before, I ordered a hamburger with everything on it except mayonnaise, ... <BR> <BR> What I didn't know was the Five Guys regular burger is HUGE, and has TWO patties! It was delicious, but if I had known I would have ordered the Small burger (which the 7 yr old ordered) <BR> <BR> Next time... if there is ever a NEXT time.... I will know better... <BR> <BR> Th... Sun, 4 Jun 2017 23:12:34 EST Automatic Button Pushing Machine Perhaps not ALL 2 year olds are maniacal about pushing buttons, but I know one who is...and I'm on vacation with him.... In a hotel room with a microwave, telephone, clock-radio, and all sorts of other temptations.... <BR> <BR> He swaggers through life at full speed careening through rooms like a drunken sailor changing directions only when he spies something that calls for exploration (and sometimes disassembly-and he is unusually adept at disassembling things without actually breaking the... Sat, 3 Jun 2017 15:34:26 EST The World Looked Like a Giant Washing Machine! We flew from San Antonio to Charleston, South Carolina today, and almost the entire United States looked like a layer of frothy suds with cumulus clouds stretched from horizon to horizon... eventually we came down to earth and the clouds must have burned off to produce a brilliant sunny afternoon. <BR> <BR> Forecast calls for storms, though, and the kids DID get into the pool at the hotel this afternoon and we'll hit the beach later in the week in Myrtle Beach, but tomorrow (Saturday may be ... Fri, 2 Jun 2017 21:54:31 EST