MERILYNN1's SparkPeople Blog MERILYNN1's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community I Just Can't Help Myself ! <BR> Today I found a wealth of low sodium recipes (after I typed low sodium into the search box) and all sorts of other interesting recipes on a web site - really - INSANITY IS NOT AN OPTION ! I have enjoyed it so much, marked things I want to try that I just have to share it. Have fun !! Fri, 13 Feb 2015 17:21:56 EST Another reference Another quick one – on find “ Genius salt-slashing tips and recipes.” Fun and profitable reading. I’ve pretty much stopped reading all recipes that appeal and then have to modify them to lower the salt content. Years ago, that was the only way but today – low sodium easy to find. Just – be sure to check the nutritional ingredients. I have found that “low sodium” often doesn’t meet my idea of low sodium. Thu, 12 Feb 2015 13:27:26 EST A Happy Discovery This is just a short one to tell you about Trader Joe's Just surfing on line and put in the search box "Trader Joe's Low Sodium". A pages long list of low sodium products in his stores popped up! Those of you who are stuck with low sodium as I am and LOVE Trader Joe's as I do - go check it out - have fun! <BR> . Wed, 11 Feb 2015 17:30:47 EST Report to Update Friends Christmas Eve <BR> Can¡'t believe Christmas is here so SOON! I have never been so behind¨ before but life got in the way. The cumaden and my INR got out of balance and I made the mistake of blowing my nose one evening. When after a couple of hours and a glorious mess I couldn't get it to stop I had to call 911. Had a nosebleed 15 years ago almost as bad (that from med I was given too) so it was a little scary. To make a long story short, since last Thursday I have had 4 ambulance rides ,... Wed, 24 Dec 2014 17:43:12 EST HOLIDAY IMPOSSIBLE <BR> I just finished watching Robert Irvine on the Food Network. He usually hosts the show the show Restaurant Impossible, but today he spent his time and the money provided to him to help the wonderful camp in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, the Double H Ranch for children who are severely handicapped in so many life threatening ways. Watching the children, their joy, their enthusiasm. the way they join in the many activities is inspiring. The volunteers who work at the Ranch an... Mon, 8 Dec 2014 23:17:46 EST CORN CAKES - AREPAS A while ago I came across the word “arepa”. “Arepa” ?? I went on a search and have been delighted at what I found. Arepas, a staple food in both Venezuela and Columbia are made from a special precooked corn flour (Masarepa – I ordered mine from Amazon as I don’t get out to shop). They can be simply made without salt. I used Mrs. Dash salt free French Onion Soup powder (about ½ the little package) in place of the salt. These crispy goodies provide me with “crackers” without the salt and a... Sun, 7 Dec 2014 08:21:15 EST A QUICK ONE Life and age have been getting in my way lately but I am beginning to get back to activities I enjoy - and this blog is one of them. Just got a newsletter from one of my favorite low sodium authors whom I highly recommend to you who are on this low sodium journey with me. Web address is If this doesn't work it's because I got it wrong. You have my permission to shout insults and I will try again!!Hope your Thanksgiving was a happy one (did you know that calories are free o... Mon, 1 Dec 2014 17:26:06 EST BACKYARD - A REVIEW <BR> BACKYARD by Norman Draper <BR> Flower Gardeners, this book is for you! Those of you who have not only nodding acquaintance but probably speaking acquaintance as well with all the individual flower "characters" present in these pages will be delighted. There is a plot revolving around a gardening contest and the neighborhood psychopath who is determined to maintain her esteemed position at all costs. The rather weak plot is vastly overshadowed by the beauty of the author's word pictures... Thu, 6 Nov 2014 17:55:17 EST KEEP IT or TOSS IT? <BR> When I was forced to actually cook, to give up prepared foods, to pay attention to numbers other than those for calories, I had a problem. I never had learned how to deal with foods in their natural forms! Who needs it, I thought – there are some wonderful prepared meals in the frozen foods aisle or in my favorite restaurants. In the way it always happens, life changes. In my new circumstances, going low sodium, I had to learn to prepare food for myself and discovered that - it was... Tue, 14 Oct 2014 08:47:07 EST SHARING WHAT I CAN ABOUT LOW SODIUM LIVING SHARING WHAT I CAN ABOUT LOW SODIUM LIVING <BR> Hi and welcome, I was restricted to 1400mg of sodium more than a year ago and know how hard it is to get started eating the way your doctor prescribes. Lists of low sodium foods were hard to find and consisted mostly of generalities –but - they are a good start. Just enter “ low sodium food list” into your search engine and you will find lots of information <BR> I like to cook so went almost exclusively for low sodium recipes and there are s... Sun, 12 Oct 2014 14:48:24 EST Sheer Torture I was in the fifth grade, I think, in the years when kids my age went out with their parents for evening walks. We lived on NE 77th Street – just a short way from a small area in Miami known as Little River. I remember two things about a walk we took one evening. First, I will always remember that the night lights drew roach-like bugs to the sidewalks in front of the stores – and they crunched underfoot. Yuck! <BR> The second memory is so much more outstanding, so wonderful. It is of... Thu, 9 Oct 2014 22:48:07 EST FINALLY A DECISION <BR> I made a visit to A Senior Retirement community this week and felt quite comfortable there. I have been researching what is available and what I can afford for some time. Decided it was time to do some “tours”. My thought was I should have a place to go should my health fail and I be unable to make plans or to live on my own. I don’t expect to be getting better after all. I have memory, concentration problems now and it is hard to get around because of arthritis pain and a heart fa... Fri, 18 Jul 2014 22:23:28 EST A Book Review I just submitted my review of "Accidents of Marriage" by Randy Susan Meyers. It will be released in early September and I thought I would share it with you. It is a novel I liked for its real characters but was disturbed by the out of control anger and tension that was tearing the family apart. That said, I wrote : “ Ben, Maddy and their children, their own parents, in-laws and siblings are like the family next door, folks I have known for years. Although I knew the love they sh... Sun, 29 Jun 2014 22:18:54 EST Acceptance I think we all have seen a small child denied some activity or a longed for food. Depending on the nature and age of the child a tantrum could follow. The little one hasn’t learned yet that what is, in some instances, is what is. <BR> One would think that first slap on the bottom of a newborn would at least begin to set the stage, but it is not the case. Speaking for myself, not even the struggle to accept my situations has taught me – I am giving in and accepting WHAT IS a little better t... Tue, 17 Jun 2014 10:21:55 EST I Asked "What next?" <BR> I got the answer to my question in a most delightful way. As "turn about is fair play" I have to tell you about a commercial to love. Friskies put out an ad that within two days was so popular I'm told that it had 6 to 8 million hits. I must admit I go back and watch it and love it more every time. If you haven't seen it, if you love small critters, <BR> put the words DEAR KITTEN in your Search bar and enjoy. Tue, 17 Jun 2014 10:18:05 EST TV COMMERCIALS – WHAT NEXT? <BR> Have you found that when an interesting food product is advertised a web address is often given that provides more ideas about using the product? I really like some of the commercials that have taken over our TV screens. For example, one that has nothing to do with foods but really cute - the new Laer Realty ad – that wonderful lion lying protectively across the front porch – the commercial ends with a darling kitten imitating the lion’s roar! <BR> But there are others that don’t re... Sat, 24 May 2014 13:59:35 EST Review of THE FORTUNE HUNTER I recently had the pleasure as a BookBrowse member to read and review an advanced copy of THE FORTUNE HUNTER by Daisy Goodwi, St.Martin’s Press. It was hard to put down and I was sorry when dawn came and the story ended. My review for BookBrowse follows. <BR> " THE FORTUNE HUNTER <BR> By Daisy Goodwin <BR> Daisy Goodwin serves up a slice of history presented by characters so alive they can neither be overlooked nor forgotten. The mind-set of the 19th century, its customs and levels o... Sun, 6 Apr 2014 14:20:15 EST Review - In Praise of Hatred As a member of BookBrowse I am often able to read and review advance reading copies. I just finished In Praise of Hatred by Khaled Khalifa - St Martin's Press. <BR> <BR> My review for your general interest - <BR> The best way for me to be informed is to read fiction based on real lives, real events. This is what I gained from IN PRAISE OF HATRED. I felt no connection to the characters portrayed but the novel clarified the violence in the Middle East, let me see the hatred of th... Tue, 4 Mar 2014 13:47:37 EST My Miraculous? TV <BR> <BR> Yes. I was beginning to think either my TV was miraculous or I (?) was. It happened almost every time I was watching TV. It got much worse when I started watching the food channel. My weight seemed to be increasing too. What do I mean “starting” to be increasing – it really was. <BR> The problem (or miracle) was that whenever some tasty food, like steak or bacon or pizza (my weakness!) appeared on the screen I could SMELL it! The better and longer the tempting fra... Fri, 31 Jan 2014 22:00:34 EST Just to Share Came across this today and thought perhaps I wasn't the only person who would like to see it. <BR> <BR> <BR> Today I Will Trust <BR> <BR> "Today, I will stop straining to know what I don't know. <BR> To see what I can't see. <BR> To understand what I don't yet understand. <BR> I will trust that being is sufficient, <BR> And I will let go of my need to figure things out." <BR> <BR> <BR> You are reading from the book: <BR> The Language of Letting Go by Melody... Sat, 14 Dec 2013 20:02:59 EST Remembering and Now Understanding Funny how the joys of the young are sometimes repeated in the attitudes of the elderly, and I guess that’s me now. Watching the snow blow across my window today I remembered very clearly the snowy day my brother and I stood outside of our garage at home. We each held the ropes of our sleds and with open mouths attempted to catch the heavy flakes. I wasn’t outside today and wasn’t laughing happily but I was enjoying the falling and drifting snow. <BR> <BR> When I was older and boarding my h... Sat, 14 Dec 2013 19:39:22 EST FINALLY BACK FINALLY BACK <BR> Hi Spark friends !! Yes, finally my computer, my desktop, (old but I love it,) and I (not old but maybe a little) seem to be back in better health. Missed you all at Spark and many thanks to you who didn’t give up on me! <BR> In the intervening months I’ve been learning a bunch of new stuff, for example use of a walker, how to cook and appreciate low/no salt cooking and thanks to Mrs. Dash, not as hard as I feared. Have to admit though, I really long sometimes for a lo... Fri, 8 Nov 2013 20:13:53 EST Happy Chapters HAPPY CHAPTERS <BR> <BR> Did you ever read a book that had chapters you skipped? (I often skip chapters in the mysteries of Patricia Cromwell – too graphic!) It occurred to me that our lives are like a book we are writing. We can actually break the book we are writing, our lives, into chapters. When I lost my horse I was so miserable, I avoided doing the horse photography that I loved so much. I didn’t visit friends’ stables, didn’t want to smell the fragrance of new hay. I cut myself of... Fri, 15 Feb 2013 10:33:55 EST A Great Audience I was in a classroom, sitting in a front desk. Except for the desk behind me (a boy I didn’t know) and the one beside me – where the teacher had been sitting, the room was pretty empty. Most students were at an assembly – we were getting our new assignments. The boy ahead of me read his work aloud and it was not nice about President Obama. After a paragraph or two, the teacher stopped him with a brief thank you and handed me my assignment – to read a poem I liked. It wasn’t in my book no... Mon, 8 Oct 2012 18:10:57 EST Just WHEN did this happen? <BR> <BR> <BR> WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN? <BR> <BR> <BR> It all seemed to happen overnight. Those top shelves in the kitchen got higher – didn’t they? Now I have trouble changing my bed and reading paperbacks whose print gets smaller and smaller every year. They have made bottle and jar caps smaller and tighter I’m sure as well as making the contents just a tad less than they used to – but, hey, the price, for a smaller amount has gone UP! <BR> <BR> Then there are the more important – I ... Mon, 17 Sep 2012 07:39:32 EST A Bad Habit I'm sure we all have had this experience - going on a diet, seeing the weight come down - and then not following through and seeing the weight come back - a lot more quickly than it was lost! If only the $$$ in my wallet worked that way!) <BR> I wonder why I drop something that has made me happy - don't have time to plan the meals I tell myself. . .excuses, excuses, excuses or to sit down and visit with good people. More excuses ! <BR> It's not the diet thing that is bothering me the most. ... Sun, 25 Mar 2012 11:32:23 EST An interesting, but disturbing, book I recently reviewed Brilliantly Written <BR> I didn’t know much about North Korea and I’m not sure I want to know any more now. The Orphan Master’s Son is so brilliantly written, I found myself immediately involved in the lives of the of the characters. I’m glad I read it but wish I hadn’t felt so personally involved – no objectivity here. The writing captured me completely and I could read just so much at a time. I am conflicted. I have to say it is a wonderful/awful book and I’ll never in the future hear the w... Mon, 7 Nov 2011 16:48:24 EST TIME WELL SPENT <BR> <BR> I’m sure you know how household tasks pile up when you have been, not exactly sick, but certainly unwell for a time. Things become “untidy”. (What a great word!) An old southern gentleman I knew once looked around such a room and said “ Watch out in here. You’re apt to get snake bit’”. As I looked around here today, I could hear him saying it. I think those we love never really leave us as long as their memory is held lovingly in our hearts so it seemed I could hear his voice... Tue, 20 Sep 2011 15:48:47 EST "Pride Goeth. . ." “Pride Goeth. . . “ <BR> <BR> <BR> I have always been early to appointments –ok, I have prided myself on being early. I had one of those subsequent falls (Pride goeth before the fall…) last week – But it was only because I wasn’t paying attention. I was late for a doctor’s appointment – well, not LATE, LATE, but exactly on time and for me, that’s late. <BR> <BR> Driving over to her office, I had been mentally searching the freezer to plan the dinner menu, when I realized I didn’t know wh... Tue, 6 Sep 2011 18:01:07 EST Just Thinking ***** <BR> <BR> When you do all the talking you only learn what you already know. <BR> <BR> ***** <BR> <BR> Fear is the darkroom where negatives are developed. <BR> <BR> ***** <BR> <BR> If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere. <BR> <BR> ***** <BR> <BR> Worth thinking about? Take care - Meri <BR> <BR> from Hazelden publication Mon, 20 Jun 2011 09:16:00 EST Past time to return It has been several months that I have been "away" from Spark - a long bout of depression shuts me right down from eating right, connecting with friends, putting my thoughts down on paper, getting out of bed and getting out and about. For me, coming back here is step number One. Number Two is paying attention to my choice of foods, Number three - well, I think I'd better work on One and Two, then bring up Number three. Missed you all and hope you are all doing well. Meri Fri, 10 Jun 2011 09:38:24 EST Ready. Set, Goooo My sister had gained a substantial amount of weight and the last time I saw her I shared with her hints from the Flat Belly Diet (Prevention). She bought the book, searched out the web site and really loved the whole experience. She visited yesterday and I was shocked and delighted to see how a month on this program has done for her. She looked better than she had in years. She stuck to the diet - I wasn't as faithful. So, she challenged me: not giving away our total weight(!) but whoeve... Sat, 26 Mar 2011 16:42:25 EST More Words I have no idea where this came from originally. If I did, I'd give Her/him a whole book of A+s. It came to me in an e-mail, and thought you might get a chuckle out of it too, Meri <BR> <BR> Medical Dictionary <BR> <BR> Artery.............................. The study of paintings <BR> Bacteria.......................... Back door to the cafeteria <BR> Barium............................ What doctors do when patients die <BR> Benign............................ What you be, after you be eig... Sat, 26 Feb 2011 07:42:39 EST Words! Check out the Washington Post for the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words. <BR> <BR> The first two: <BR> 1. Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs. <BR> <BR> 2. Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained. <BR> <BR> They are too funny and oh, so clever! <BR> <BR> P.S. I must admit, shame on me, that I blew the sleep challenge! I'll try again someday (or, better, some ni... Sun, 20 Feb 2011 20:53:34 EST BENEFIT OF THE SLEEP CHALLENGE <BR> I have to admit that I blew the “First Week” and I’m going to have to start over. I have become too used to staying up late, LATE, and then sleeping (after the kitties wake me up with a paw to the face for their breakfast) late in the day. Perhaps I took this retirement thing too seriously and got spoiled. Only now, I wanted see the morning again. Not yet – not even after a cup of coffee with the kitties – still can’t stay awake. Oh, but after supper, my brain comes alive and I get... Mon, 24 Jan 2011 10:36:30 EST An Explanation? An Apology? An Excuse? Greetings from the blizzard (well it seems like one!) in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts – I have a small ( in comparison to many of you who are so positive) problem and I hope you will tell me what you think would be good for me to do about it. <BR> <BR> Did you ever go to a wonderful feast and see so much you wanted to have that you overindulged and couldn’t give your attention to any one thing? <BR> <BR> That’s the way I see Spark. There is so very much here that, even at t... Wed, 12 Jan 2011 14:25:06 EST Going Up or Down? I'm feeling like that cartoon character, standing in the middle of a staircase saying "I don't remember if I was going up or down!" <BR> <BR> Not long ago I was "talking" to a Spark about teas and said I would send her a list of my favorites. Now, I have the list and can't find the message I sent or the welcome message from the Spark member!!! Soooo- My next option after searching for some time is to post it here and hope, just maybe, she will see it. I do apologize - but lately my memor... Mon, 29 Nov 2010 17:39:19 EST SECOND CHILDHOOD? <BR> <BR> I wonder if any of us really “grow up”. I found myself being childish (or being “like a child”? There’s a difference) last week in a rather dire situation. I had been taken ill suddenly with what seemed to be a heart attack. The neighbors who were in the group, gathered around, chatting and working on a jigsaw puzzle, became rather agitated when I came in and almost fell into a chair. <BR> <BR> I asked them, as it became harder and harder to breathe and I became more and more... Fri, 26 Nov 2010 15:57:37 EST Did You Know This? Cucumbers <BR> <BR> A friend recently passed this on to me and I was really surprised. Don't know how true these "tricks" are, but plan to try. Just wondered how many of you have heard these tips. <BR> ****************************************<BR>************************ <BR> <BR> "1 Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Po... Thu, 21 Oct 2010 09:23:38 EST "DIFFERENT STROKES" <BR> <BR> We were talking the other day about books, I was really excited to share that I had found a new (to me) writer. When I have a favorite, I tend to read everything he/she has written from their first publication , so it is good to discover someone I hadn’t as yet met . The book, COLD SHOULDER by Lynda LaPlante was a page turner. (I like police procedurals, mysteries (usually not the bloody kind!) and some memoir-types. In the non-fiction area, my favorites are those that explai... Sun, 17 Oct 2010 13:15:17 EST My Inner Child My Inner Child <BR> <BR> Do you ever talk to yourself? Silly question. Of course, you do. But do you ever criticize yourself, call yourself names? I have done so for a long time. My doctors have told me that I’m too hard on myself. One good friend asked me if, when I was teaching first grade, I spoke to a child in that way, what kind of response would I get? That was a silly question too, I thought. I knew how to talk to my first graders. They loved me.’ <BR> <BR> Then the wisest o... Fri, 10 Sep 2010 20:37:47 EST My Observer <BR> There are two voices in my head. One is my usual way of thinking (conscious mind?), often negative and the other seems to be an observer, always positive. <BR> <BR> It really comes down to positive or negative thinking. Only today, watching CNN’s piece about the children of Iraq and their teachers, I was lost in admiration for those young people determined to be educated in spite of the bombs that could be heard outside their classrooms. At this point, I thought of the good so many ... Tue, 31 Aug 2010 11:53:18 EST Memories Can Be Beneficial It is good to remember events from the past. I find that my appreciation, my understanding and my acceptance of past events have grown over the years, the hard edges smoothed and judgement resolved. <BR> <BR> I traveled back in time last night when I watched Audrey Hepburn in THE NUNS’S STORY. The film was so wonderfully done from the beginning to end I found myself reliving scenes, scenes from my own convent days. <BR> <BR> I actually wept at the scene of all those fresh young fac... Sun, 29 Aug 2010 13:04:06 EST After All These Years - I had no idea that it was soooo important to drink water. Oh, I had read it and been advised to drink enough water, but never knew WHY. <BR> <BR> I have been looking at a vegetarian diet and one of the first explanatory articles is about dehydration. I didn’t know that joints and muscles, digestion, skin, energy, allergies, weight control, mental and emotional problems, insomnia and blood disorders are just a few areas quickly affected by water intake. <BR> <BR> Dehydration can be chronic... Sat, 21 Aug 2010 13:58:19 EST THOU SHALT NOT WHINE - WHAT IS, IS <BR> <BR> <BR> We called this the 11th commandment. I'm going to break it, right here, just this once, OK? <BR> <BR> I was asked the other day what I found to be the hardest part of aging. I didn’t even have to think about it. The hardest thing has been hitting me in the face for months now. It isn’t the arthritic pain in my spine, the wakeful nights, the occasional incontinence. It isn’t that I can stand or walk for only about 10 minutes a time before I have to sit down and let the... Tue, 6 Jul 2010 10:44:36 EST In the Shadow of the Wheelchair <BR> It was a good thing that home was so near school. It was the second time I had been called home because my mother had fallen. I know I broke speed laws getting there. The home health aide said Mom was still on the floor, that she couldn’t move her so she had called the fire dept and her doctor for help getting her up and checking her over. <BR> <BR> The fire dept guys were there before I was and had gotten her up and on the day bed I had fixed for her by the windows. She had one hip th... Thu, 27 May 2010 18:30:21 EST A Delightful Read! I have been following the blog, Housecat Confidential here since I started blogging and I love it. The best news is that Fin (the cat-author) now has a book out that he (with help, I'm sure from his Mom) has written. Cat Lovers, you can't miss reading this one. <BR> You can find it on Amazon and it's not to be missed. Good for you, Fin, at Housecat Confidential <BR> Purrs and Pats, Meri Wed, 12 May 2010 16:46:37 EST TRIGGER? <BR> <BR> Asked if I knew what the trigger was that sent me into a sugar tailspin, I’ve been thinking about it. It’s hard to tell because sweets have become like the cigarette I had to have when I was unhappy or the one needed to celebrate when I was happy. In the same way I get angry with myself and vow to avoid that kind of “comfort” again. Sometimes my vows aren’t worth much. <BR> <BR> I am so sure when recovered that I won’t allow myself to go there again – don’t I wish. Well, wi... Sun, 21 Mar 2010 15:12:51 EST Sugar addiction? We'll see about that - I hate the scale in my doctor's office. I'm sure it needs adjusting - don't I wish - instead of losing, it reveals that I'm gaining. . .not surprising. . .am finding out that I have "sugar addiction"? - good excuse, hmmm? Well, I quit smoking in the past - I will quit this too - (she said with determination). <em>24</em> Wed, 17 Mar 2010 09:22:15 EST Loss and Acceptance LOSS and ACCEPTANCE <BR> <BR> <BR> We all experience loss from the beginning of our lives to the end. And, there are all kinds of loss. <BR> <BR> For today, I’m thinking about the physical/emotional loss we seniors experience. Not only seniors, I know, but let’s stay with them here. Other than the loss of friends and families by separation or death, age brings its own set of problems in this field. <BR> <BR> Alexander Graham Bell said: ******"When one door closes another door opens; bu... Tue, 23 Feb 2010 16:36:31 EST