MEADSBAY's SparkPeople Blog MEADSBAY's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Spring must be coming soon! Look at this randy Tom, who was following one special hen around my yard all morning! <BR> He was all puffed up everywhere showing his stuff. <BR> No luck, that I witnessed anyway, but they did wander off into the woods. <BR> <em>334</em> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeop... Wed, 21 Feb 2018 15:27:02 EST Life can change in a minute One of those adorable five month old boys, my sister’s great GS, I mentioned in my last blog about our big family party last Sunday ...the happy baby, not the cranky born with a slight lung issue and spent a few weeks in the hospital when he was born. <BR> Since then, no problems and he is a chunky monkey, indeed. <BR> Well, he picked up a respiratory illness somewhere, mom took him to his pediatrician and got some meds and a nebulizer, but by the time he woke up Wednesday he ... Mon, 19 Feb 2018 13:15:57 EST Shame on me! For not blogging, that is. <BR> Life has been a whirlwind lately...I am sure you understand. <BR> <em>334</em> <BR> Last weekend we had our HUGE family get together (usually the Sunday after Xmas but had two weather related delays this year so we changed the format). <BR> My family of origin included 7 boys and 7 girls...I am number 6. <BR> Here’s a few of them...I am the little veiled angel in the middle on my First Communion day. <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sat, 17 Feb 2018 15:34:30 EST The best team won (said the Patriot’s fan)! Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles and all their happy fans for a well played season and amazing Super Bowl victory! <BR> Watching the celebrations in Philadelphia today, where they actually closed schools and government offices, made me very happy. <BR> They have waited a long time for this! <BR> <em>244</em> Thu, 8 Feb 2018 18:17:46 EST Sweet William Just a few pix of my grandson, who has my dear man, Papa, wrapped around his little 7 year old finger. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> ... Mon, 5 Feb 2018 22:26:40 EST Just a little friendly competition SP put together a little challenge ahead of the Super Bowl between the New England Patriots sparking fans and the poor Eagles SP fans, who will not even know what hit them this Sunday. <BR> <em>211</em> <BR> Please consider far the Eagles fans are ahead in exercise minutes. <BR> <BR><BR>competition-about.asp <BR> <BR> <em>281</em> Tue, 30 Jan 2018 09:30:01 EST Water, water everywhere! Yes, it is raining here today but only for the morning they say so I may get out for a Sunday walk later...should be our warmest day in months! <BR> <em>244</em> <BR> But I was going to say I have no problem at all getting in my 8 cups of water, plus plenty more every day and I will tell you how. <BR> I take a morning pill with a full 8 oz. of water when I wake up. <BR> Since ending my ten year affair with coffee I have reunited with my first love, tea, and I drink my first 12 oz mug afte... Sun, 28 Jan 2018 10:33:34 EST Enjoying the 5% Winter Challenge As I have said before, I have ZERO competitive bones in my body. <BR> But I needed something, anything, to change things up in this, my ninth year on SP. <BR> After several friends invited me to the challenge I decided to give it a try. <BR> We are in the third week and, while I have only lost two lbs, I did not find it as difficult to do as I feared, and I am learning a lot and making some new friends along the way. <BR> We earn miles for the team by exercising and completing weekly challeng... Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:51:48 EST Really? Two weeks since I blogged? Shame on me! <em>2</em> <BR> Not that anything huge is happening in my life. <BR> I am the opposite of a competitive person (what would that be anyway?) but I am trying to change things up a bit so I joined the 5% Winter Callenge (I am a Shooting Star!) and have spent a lot of time learning the ropes over there. <em>40</em> <BR> <BR> I rejoined my gym a month or so ago and have enjoyed spending an hour or two there almost every day. <em>344</em> <BR> I am feeling stronger and have ... Sat, 13 Jan 2018 23:30:02 EST A few things need to change in 2018! I weighed in this morning...177. <BR> Last year, 12/31/16...178. <BR> I noticed my weight reports graph was zig-zagging slowly down the first six months of the year to a low of 170. <BR> Then I didn’t weigh in as often and it slowly zigzagged back up, actually to 180 in August after my summer vacation. <em>15</em> <BR> I am not quite 5’4” <BR> 65 years old. <BR> 🤨 <BR> So, what does this mean to me? <BR> Some things must change. <BR> I have joined the Winter 5% Challenge, Shooting Stars ... Sun, 31 Dec 2017 11:55:01 EST Thank you, Disneyland! I am so happy everything has been working out for my favorite family on their great adventure to California. (See my last few blogs to see why this is so huge.) <BR> We FaceTimed last night and the kids were beside themselves with joy. <BR> They are only spending two days in Disney so they were cramming in all the fun. <BR> They spent last night in a Disney hotel and were upgraded to a suite as it was their first time at Disney...which made everyone happy, especially the two bathrooms! <BR> (... Fri, 29 Dec 2017 17:00:15 EST A few more pix of California trip My three grands are out west with mommy and daddy on their first true family vacation; airplane ride; Disneyland; visiting family. <BR> <em>244</em> <BR> As many of you know, my dear son, 47, has been fighting stage IV colon cancer and has had a pretty harrowing year and a half... his wonderful wife has been a true angel. <BR> That family has been through a lot and truly deserve some fun. <BR> When I think back to last Christmas my heart aches at the memory. <em>39</em> <BR> But here we... Thu, 28 Dec 2017 10:23:49 EST And they’re off! So happy to report that my son and amazing DIL pulled it themselves and three kids out of bed at 3:30 in the morning on Christmas night, drove almost two hours to Boston, parked the car, checked a car seat and made it on the 7:10 flight to California for their first ever family vacation on their own and the first time flying for the kids, 8,7, and 4. <BR> <em>244</em> <BR> I asked them to take good pix for us and to check in by FaceTime at some point. <BR> So far, this is all I... Wed, 27 Dec 2017 11:05:18 EST Gingerbread houses Making gingerbread houses with children takes a lot of planning and preparation (and clean-up!) but this tradition is so much fun, plus it gives the children’s families a full day off right before Christmas to get some crucial things done. <em>407</em> <BR> I used to do it with an entire classroom of third graders when I still taught, but surely relied on a LOT of parental help and donations. <BR> We invite our fave same-age cousin, Sophia (the dark haired beauty) over for the day, play l... Sun, 24 Dec 2017 09:13:01 EST No surprises at Dana Farber My son, Patrick, went to Boston for his post-op appointment yesterday to hear the results of the biopsy on the lump they removed from his lung. <BR> It was indeed cancer but tiny and localized, they got all of it and it was ‘just’ a piece of his colon/liver cancer that was all removed earlier this year. <BR> This, believe it or not, is good news...why? they explained it, if it had been a new kind of cancer, like lung cancer, that would call for a whole ‘nother battle. <BR> So he will ... Thu, 21 Dec 2017 10:07:01 EST Happy Sunday! I have picked up a respiratory infection and have been laid low for a few days.🤧 <BR> Very drippy and with an horrendous cough, but at least I am feeling a bit better today. <BR> I managed to wrap all the gifts I have bought so far and write up all my Xmas cards, until I ran out of cards, about ten short! <em>407</em> <BR> I also organized my kiddy arts and crafts closet...a big job. <BR> I need some file folder labels to label the drawers on the new organizer I bought. <BR> After a show... Sun, 17 Dec 2017 14:23:14 EST Life goes on I have always been a glass-half-full person (maybe too often with champagne!) and good at appreciating the beauty of the moment and living life to the fullest. <em>334</em> <BR> Maybe because I had lost two younger siblings by the time I was 30. <BR> This attitude has gotten me through many difficult times in my life without wallowing in pity or sorrow and just getting on with life. <BR> I recognize the things I cannot change and accept them fairly serenely. <em>414</em> <BR> My son is he... Sat, 2 Dec 2017 18:26:56 EST Postmodern Jukebox Most people have heard that wonderful song ‘It’s All about the Base’ <BR> <BR> (Shoot! Can’t copy the link on my iPad... google it or go to YouTube) <BR> 😟 <BR> Anyway, they started out as a few music student in NY in Scott Bradlee’s basement (the early videos are so amateurish) and they posted a new video on YouTube every week for a few years as the group grew and they got better and better. <BR> They do variations of other artists songs in unique ways, with great costumes, settings and ev... Sun, 19 Nov 2017 09:36:52 EST I’m baaaaaaaaack! Wow, nothing like a good storm and losing power for a few days to show us how dependent we are on our devices! <em>40</em> <BR> It was some rain but mostly wind that tore into New England on Sunday night, knocking down trees and bringing down wires, stealing power from thousands of people. <BR> We live out in the middle of nowhere so it took until 4 this morning for those amazing linemen to get us back up (2 1/2 days). <em>304</em> <BR> We are so fortunate to have a generator in our ga... Wed, 1 Nov 2017 17:31:48 EST Aaahhhhh...a good night’s sleep Last night at my wonderful book group get-together, <BR> which I hosted for the first time in several years due to family illnesses and selling two homes and then moving, someone brought up the topic of sleep, 💤😴💤 <BR> which it seems like every single one of us struggles with (all young grandmother age).😕 <BR> Seems like we all follow the ‘good sleep hygeine rules’ of bathing, soothing tea or warm milk, dark cool room, no screens, etc. but still we are struggling to fall asleep or to stay... Thu, 26 Oct 2017 09:47:19 EST Hip-hip-hooray! When we upsized back to a house from our condo with a pool, which I loved, part of the deal was that we would get a hot tub. <BR> Took a while but here it is! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Isn’t she a beauty? <BR> We spent a half hour in there after dinner and it was heavenly! <BR> The chemicals are a bit high because we just filled it today and I have to fiddle with all that but I think we are going to love it. <BR> Th... Mon, 16 Oct 2017 20:47:30 EST Wooo-hooooo! My dear man and I have built the base for our new hot tub, to be delivered on Monday. <BR> Didn’t we do a good job? <BR> <img src="">. <BR> We also had to create a landing at the bottom of the deck stairs (the bluestone). <BR> Still not sure if my hubby was punishing me for wanting a hot tub or he just wanted to do a project or if he just wanted the excuse to buy a bunch of new tools (one never knows when one may n... Thu, 12 Oct 2017 21:32:23 EST Oh, my...looking at the big, please!?! I was looking to freshen up my SP page... <BR> scrolled down and all around and found a summary of my weight loss journey. <BR> If I hadn’t seen it in my own eyes, <BR> on my own page, <BR> in my own writing, <BR> I wouldn’t have believed it. <BR> <em>40</em> <BR> Briefly, I joined in 1/2009 after 30 years of yo-yo-ing my way up to 195 lbs (I am 5’3ish) and lost almost 30lbs pronto, <em>9</em> <BR> due to consistency, SP support and increased exercise (I always was a gym rat). <BR... Mon, 9 Oct 2017 09:41:56 EST Another update Things are slowly coming along on Anguilla in recovering from the devastating hurricane Irma. <BR> The Brits finally arrived, six days later! with some men and equipment to start rebuilding, although still no relief supplies for the people since the desalination ship arrived a few days ago. <BR> They need construction supplies, plywood, tools, gasoline, not to mention food and water! <BR> Anyway, one of the grocery stores reopened quickly as they had a generator for their frozen goods and onl... Wed, 13 Sep 2017 09:53:20 EST Anguilla-Irma update My beloved Caribbean island of Anguilla has suffered catastrophic damage from Irma. <BR> Anguilla is 10 miles across the sea from St. Martin, which has been all over the news for the devastation there. <BR> Thousands of people live on these two islands and they have been without water and electricity for almost a week now. <BR> There are also thousands of tourists who are stranded there (on St. M). <BR> The US, British, French, Canadian, and Dutch governments are sending relief ships there as... Mon, 11 Sep 2017 21:33:29 EST My heart aches... Hurricane Irma, category 5, the strongest hurricane ever recorded, is heading almost directly to the beautiful island of Anguilla, where I have spent many happy times for over 20 years. <BR> 😓 <BR> In fact, we just sold our second home there, Jasmine Villa, this last November. <BR> One meteorologist said those Leeward islands may be decimated. <BR> My heart actually hurts when I think about all the wonderful people I know who live there and are facing this horrendous storm. <BR> Here are a... Tue, 5 Sep 2017 20:40:07 EST Monarch butterfly time! Every year my grandkids and I search for milkweed and look for little caterpillars to bring home to observe for a few weeks as they go through their life cycle into adult Monarch butterflies. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> It is a wonderful science activity that I did for years with my third grade students to introduce them to life science, the life cycle, and to talk about environmental issues, like pesticide use and clim... Fri, 1 Sep 2017 19:49:27 EST Need a smile? Here is Miss Pearl at the beach. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <em>334</em> Mon, 28 Aug 2017 14:12:28 EST FORTY NINE YEARS! Then (we were teenagers): <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And now, 49 years later: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And still having fun! <BR> ❤️ Sat, 26 Aug 2017 11:24:11 EST William Jack Let us not neglect my sweet William...a smart, funny and quiet boy who loves his Papa to the moon and loves me well enough.❤️ <BR> He doesn't get as much attention as he should because Lucy has always been in charge of the world and Miss Pearl is ...well, Miss Pearl! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Will is going through a hard time right to be some sort of delayed reaction to the family stress, I he... Fri, 18 Aug 2017 13:35:46 EST Lucy and her gang My oldest granddaughter, Lucy, rocked our world when she was born 8 years ago. <BR> Then she was followed by William the next year, and Pearl a few years later. <BR> Quite the motley crew...all smart and beautiful and funny and, oh, my, so energetic! <BR> Lucy is most definitely the leader of this gang! <BR> <BR> I always start a photo session with goofy faces: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Then pretty faces:... Wed, 9 Aug 2017 09:31:54 EST Lesson learned and relearned First of all, my dear man and I had a wonderful much-needed vacation this past week on the beautiful island of Anguilla which we have been visiting for well over 20 years and love it so much we even built a home there in 2003 (sold last year). <BR> It was quite warm but always breezy and delightful. <BR> The bedroom had a/c and the mattress was divine! <BR> The ocean is so warm (a few teeny jellyfish larva stings...about like a mosquito bite). <BR> I had the best snorkeling in some years..saw... Sat, 5 Aug 2017 10:06:18 EST Happy me I am learning how to take a panoramique photo. <BR> Can you see the difference? <BR> It comes in handy sometimes. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> So, breakfast, beach, swim, lunch, beach, swim, nap, beach, happy hour, sunset, dinner, unwind on the front porch and enjoy the breeze. <BR> Get the picture? <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src="htt... Sat, 29 Jul 2017 08:46:46 EST We made it! Well, it's no Jasmine Villa but this is fine and dandy! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This is Carimar...a small property right on the beach where our travels to Anguilla began some twenty years ago (before we built the villa). <BR> It is old, basic, but they have updated a bit, most importantly (to us) added a/c in the bedrooms and there is an a king size bed with a wonderful mattress. <BR> <BR> And there is this: ... Thu, 27 Jul 2017 08:13:33 EST Miami sunset Had a pretty easy travel day yesterday.... <BR> Good thing as my dear man's back is not well and last week we were not sure we would be able to take this vacation at all. <BR> We took the train to Boston then flew to Miami. <BR> We pack very lightly and sit in business, which is much much more comfortable. <BR> We arrived in time for me to get a nice pool workout ...he would not come, although I knew he would have felt better if he had. <BR> We were able to find a decent Cuban restaurant with... Wed, 26 Jul 2017 08:35:09 EST All is well! My dear man and I are heading down to Anguilla (the quiet and beautiful island near St Martin in the Caribbean where we owned our second home until this past November) in two more days. <BR> <em>47</em> <BR> Yes...Our Farewell Tour! <BR> <em>334</em> <BR> We will be going to the condos on the beach where our journey there began 20 years ago. <BR> <em>298</em> <BR> We will say good-bye to the folks we have come to know down there, friends and former employees, our property manager,... Sun, 23 Jul 2017 22:49:56 EST I am ALL that! I am inordinately proud of myself for walking for over two hours today (almost 12k steps, just under 5 miles for me), although it was almost by accident. <BR> I brought my car in for an oil change to the place I usually use (and trust) near my old house and planned on visiting a few old neighbors and going for a walk while waiting for my car but none of my old friends were available for a visit so I just walked. <BR> And walked. <BR> And walked. <BR> My longest walk in a looooong time! <BR> T... Mon, 17 Jul 2017 21:23:27 EST Better and better! My son is nine days post-op today, home after six days in the hospital after life saving and life changing surgery. <BR> Every day he is feeling better and doing more. <BR> Thank you, visiting nurses!!! <BR> Yesterday he got his first shower and shave and that did so much for his morale. <BR> He cannot sit up for two weeks but he can lay on the couch, stand and walk short distances. <BR> We put one of the tiny kiddy chairs next to him and his wee ones take turns 'visiting him'. <BR> It is so ... Wed, 12 Jul 2017 09:03:47 EST One day at a time My dear son, Patrick, is home, where he will continue to recuperate from his major surgery. <BR> The latest scan shows no cancer anywhere in his body. <BR> (He lost several body parts to get to this goal.) <BR> What more can we ask for? <BR> <em>38</em> <BR> I saw him last night and again today. <BR> He is exhausted, managing his pain as per his doctor's orders (still suffering, of course) but so happy to be in his own home with his beloved family. <BR> We kept the kids here last night, h... Mon, 10 Jul 2017 19:21:57 EST Good news After a tough first few days, my son has had a few good ones and has been eating more and walking a bit more. <BR> Jean said he is like a new man this morning and is off several meds. <BR> If a few technical medical issues resolve in the next 24 hours, he may go home tomorrow afternoon. <BR> <em>244</em> <em>334</em> <em>345</em> Sat, 8 Jul 2017 12:35:57 EST Much better, thank you! Patrick had a much better day yesterday, getting up for a few short walks and one longer one, getting adequate pain and nausea medication management. <BR> He still has a long road ahead of him but he knows it will only get easier from now on. <BR> The worst is over. <BR> He is pushing to get home tomorrow or Sunday. <BR> I hope not, to tell the truth, as his wife is spread thin with three young demanding children and they have a tiny one bathroom house. <BR> The little one often crawls into ... Fri, 7 Jul 2017 07:49:12 EST A difficult day Oh. My. Goodness. <BR> That was so hard. <BR> My son was in such pain when we got up to the hospital in Boston to visit him late this morning. <BR> He cried talking about his pain, which made him start coughing, which caused awful pain,which made him vomit, which caused more pain... <BR> He kept apologizing! <BR> They had taken him off his IV pain meds (he said the doc explained why that was a good idea but he could not really remember the explanation) a few hours earlier and he was sufferi... Wed, 5 Jul 2017 21:42:36 EST Three more days I know it is a cliche, but I am in awe of my son's grace and bravery in the face of his battle with stage four colon cancer. <BR> He has already undergone months of chemo and then lost half his liver, then radiation and now will have surgery on Monday to lose his entire colon. <BR> There is no other way to possible to save his life. <BR> He is just 46 and has three small children who he wants to see grow up. <BR> He is dreading the surgery, the hospitalization, the recuperation, and the life ... Fri, 30 Jun 2017 10:53:17 EST Another dreaded countdown My son Patrick's next surgery, the big one (see previous blogs), will be in ten days.😕 <BR> We all understand that this surgery is life-saving and there is no avoiding it. <BR> That does not make it any less scary and life altering (losing his entire colon permanently) for all of us...especially Pat and my amazing DIL, Jean, who will live with those changes forever. <BR> He is getting truly scared of the actual ordeal and the long recovery period. <em>40</em> <BR> He goes to Dana Farber, ... Fri, 23 Jun 2017 11:46:53 EST Hahahahaha! Funny story! <BR> Today was a busy family day... <BR> it definitely took a village! <BR> <em>41</em> <BR> My dear man took number one son to the airport for a quick trip home (he lives in FL but works in RI in the summer) so we could use his pick-up for a few days. <BR> My wonderful DIL took a day off from teaching. <BR> We all met up at ten at the elementary school for William's end-of-year K concert. <BR> (Got some nice family pics afterwards but they are on my good camera.) <BR> The ki... Tue, 13 Jun 2017 22:34:44 EST More heartache for my family As always, I am trying to stay grounded and positive but now we have more to worry about <BR> 😕 <BR> My sweet grandchild Lucy, 8, has been having some strange spells lately...spacing out and then speaking gibberish...then coming out of it gasping for air and confused. <BR> An EEG shows abnormalities on the left temporal lobe. <BR> Complex partial seizures. <BR> Epilepsy. <BR> She will have an MRI next week to confirm and rule out anything else (can't even think about that). <BR> <img src="h... Fri, 9 Jun 2017 17:29:39 EST Kids' b-day party My niece has just one daughter and she goes somewhat over the top every year for her birthday party. <BR> Today Sophia, whom I adore, turned 7. <BR> 🎂 <BR> They invited all of her first grade classmates, <BR> plus her many cousins...probably 30 kids altogether, <BR> and then many of the parents stayed. <BR> Luckily, the weather was fine and they have a nice big yard. <BR> There was a trampoline, a nice jungle gym, a big swinging bench, a fire pit, lawn games, two hammocks, tons of food, cup... Sat, 3 Jun 2017 21:41:30 EST Lucy's First Communion What a lovely event. <BR> I am not a believer but the service was so nice, with a young vivacious priest in a church right next door to a university campus. <BR> Lucy took it seriously and was nervous but very happy. <BR> All her family was there and then we had a nice get together at her other grandmother's nearby house. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> *Doesn't my son look great? He had been out for a boat ride the d... Mon, 22 May 2017 13:53:33 EST Just love flowers! Any flowers. <BR> Any time. <BR> Inside or out. <BR> I started buying myself fresh flowers many years ago...probably about when supermarkets started carrying them so cheaply (long before the buy local movement). <BR> But I guess I fell in love with flowers long before that. <BR> I used to get in trouble as a child picking our neighbors' flowers to bring home to momma. <BR> I worked at a florist for five years, all through college. <BR> Here are some lilacs I found on the side of the road (lit... Sat, 20 May 2017 13:56:39 EST Happy 8th birthday to our first grandchild, Lucy! Boy, did this little baby girl change the lives of so many people...she has no idea! <BR> Here she is with her beloved Daddy. <BR> They even look alike! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Today she is a smart and curious 2nd grader who reads and writes beautifully, loves science and is a happy, sunny, funny girl (suffering a bit through these hard times in our family, but getting help for it) and the most amazingly mate... Mon, 15 May 2017 09:29:26 EST