MISSG180's SparkPeople Blog http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal.asp?id=MISSG180 MISSG180's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community SparkPeople.com http://assets2.sparkpeople.com/assets/nav/logo_spark.gif http://www.sparkpeople.com/ Getting back on track http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5766716 This summer has been a real challenge between grief and back injury. I lost my inertia, and for the last few weeks just haven't managed to do anything. So I decided that this week was going to be me getting back on track. <BR> <BR> I got up this morning a bit later than I'd intended--but at least I'd slept well! I'd wanted to be out the door to the pool by 9, but it was actually a little after 10. For a moment I thought about letting it go, but instead I jumped up, yanked on my suit, threw ... Mon, 25 Aug 2014 12:14:38 EST A few thoughts from my trip Italy http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5760208 1. Italians love their dogs. We saw dogs everywhere. Including in restaurants and shops. In Venice, many of them weren't even on leashes, just walking with their owners (no cars, no worry of being hit). And they were almost all well-behaved; only a couple of barking incidents. Most of the dogs were mutts, clear crossbreeds often involving dachshunds someplace. Seeing people in the grocery store with their dog in the cart or on a leash was pretty awesome. <BR> <BR> 2. Italians don't work out... Fri, 15 Aug 2014 10:31:43 EST Venn diagrams I'd rather avoid http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5735315 I went water jogging yesterday. I'm water jogging because my back injury prohibits many other activities that will get my heartrate high, including running, biking, the elliptical machine, and, oh, pretty much everything except walking and water jogging. (Even lap swimming is something that I'm limited in doing, though I'm working my way back up on that one.) <BR> <BR> Anyway, so there I was, in the deep end of the pool, my head out of the water, inching slowly forward while my arms and legs... Wed, 9 Jul 2014 11:55:52 EST One out of three... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5728283 And here is the tale of my… I was going to say failure, but maybe I should make myself feel better by saying wisdom. I drove an hour and a quarter to the triathlon site. Looking at the lake, I realized that the swim was very long and it reminded me of the fact that I've been doing all of five laps in the pool. I've been walking in the water, but not swimming and I was honestly scared. I've been walking in the water and not swimming more than five laps because the doctor said I needed to build... Sun, 29 Jun 2014 11:02:24 EST "Two outta three ain't bad" http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5727876 Tomorrow is my second scheduled triathlon (out of four) of the year. I contacted the organizers and explained my inability to bike but my desire to participate as much as I could. They were wonderfully gracious. So I'm getting up at 5:30 a.m. to drive to and hour and a half to Milton State Park near Ravenna, Ohio, in order to swim in a cold lake, walk a 5k pretty much by myself, and get my t-shirt. Because this back thing is NOT defeating me! Sat, 28 Jun 2014 18:09:30 EST The beat(ing) goes on.... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5726416 Steroid shots: insurance coverage denied. <BR> <BR> I have already called the insurance company, been shunted off to their contractor, and been told that as my examination did not show neurological deterioration, treatment for pain is denied. They have sent a letter with instructions for what my doctor should do next. I asked them to fax me a copy so that maybe the doctor can send in the needed information or line up a "peer-to-peer" phone call with the insurance company. Upon reading the l... Thu, 26 Jun 2014 13:27:16 EST So disheartened http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5725659 The pain management doctor told me that I needed a steroid shot to the back, and that I was not allowed to ride my bike until he had reevaluated me at least two weeks after that shot. He only does the shots on Wednesdays. I hadn't heard from him in over a week, so I called. My insurance company still has not preauthorized the treatment. That means AT LEAST one more week before I can get it done, AT LEAST three more weeks before I can begin biking again. Which means, as a practical matter, I w... Wed, 25 Jun 2014 13:33:58 EST Back home, trying to get back to normal http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5724147 For almost two weeks, we lived in the home of Rebecca's family. This was incredibly difficult for my back, since they have no chair that begins to provide me with the support and comfort of my own chair. We sat shiva with them for the full seven days, which was dozens of people over every single day, lots of food setup, lots of cleanup after. Then we stayed two more nights, with the plan to leave on Saturday morning. By the time we went to bed on Friday, the numbness and tingling in my leg ha... Mon, 23 Jun 2014 13:10:13 EST Lost http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5713823 We were all with her when the final breath left her body. We cradled her body in our arms and kissed and cuddled her. We helped her mother cut locks of her hair to keep in memory. After she was dressed and laid out, I sat with her and told the story of Rebecca to the hospice nurse. I watched her change from looking like she was asleep to looking dead. We stood by as the men from the funeral home carried her downstairs and zipped her into a body bag (mercifully, just up to her chest while we w... Mon, 9 Jun 2014 00:46:57 EST Rebecca http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5713117 Rebecca died at 6:45 this evening. Today was her sixth birthday. Sat, 7 Jun 2014 23:09:22 EST The long goodbye http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5712963 <BR> We wait, as Rebecca lies still. Her chest rises and falls, her strong heart still beats. This body is ready to run and play. This body is growing and thriving. <BR> <BR> The tumors in her brain have stolen away consciousness. Soon they will steal away breath and heartbeat. <BR> <BR> Rebecca turned 6 today. She may have a tomorrow, but it won't be one she sees or feels. She may have two tomorrows as we all sit vigil, watch her chest rise and fall. <BR> <BR> She will not have any to... Sat, 7 Jun 2014 18:14:05 EST Death stalks these halls; we fight back http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5711277 We knew, from the look in the doctor's eyes as he came through the door. <BR> <BR> But really, we knew before that. We knew from the way the anesthesiology doc who oversaw the MRI made sure that we were going to talk to the oncologist before we left the hospital. We knew from Rebecca's slow fading away from the world. We knew, in spite of the CT scan that had promised false hope. (I remember hearing the results of the scan and feeling depressed and a little angry with them. I wondered what t... Thu, 5 Jun 2014 11:40:52 EST Take a look, it's in a book http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5706743 I'm sure almost all of you have heard about LeVar Burton's wildly successful Kickstarter to bring back Reading Rainbow. The goal was a million dollars, and by the end of day three they will probably be hitting three million. <BR> <BR> But almost as soon as the Kickstarter was opened, The Washington Post ran an article discouraging people from donating. You might want to reconsider that donation to the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter is completely wrong-headed and, I believe, points to one of the... Fri, 30 May 2014 11:18:51 EST Splish splash http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5702937 I went to the pool for the second time today. Because it's the weekend, the main pool had no lap lanes, just one rope dividing the shallow end from the deep. The therapy pool had lap lanes, but there were at least two or three people in each one. So I decided to get in the main pool and just walk back and forth across the pool--short distances, but at least I was at a consistent depth. The first five minutes I was stuck inside my brain, trying to coach myself to a "this is recuperation; this ... Sun, 25 May 2014 17:40:11 EST The verdict http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5700872 The neurosurgeon's evaluation was, for the most part, good news. While the disc at the base of my spine just before the coccyx area starts is pretty much nonexistent at this point, and those bones are pushed out of alignment, he believes that I can avoid surgery through building up my core muscles and exercise. He is letting me start to swim again – in fact, encouraging swimming as the best form of exercise – and start to bike again! Running, however, is right out for the time being. <BR> <B... Thu, 22 May 2014 15:09:25 EST Summer evening http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5700721 Yesterday evening Ferrett and I had an errand to run that took us close to a lovely park with a nice hike by a stream. We had Shasta with us and so we stopped and had the perfect kind of hike: the air was warm but not muggy, the sun was shining, a light breeze. Nothing strenuous, just holding hands and enjoying the peace that comes with water falls. <BR> <BR> We watched a beautiful sunset as we drove home, and once we were safely inside, there was a terrific thunderstorm with lots of rain. W... Thu, 22 May 2014 11:14:43 EST Seeing the specialist tomorrow http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5700021 Tomorrow I see the neurosurgeon. I'm a little nervous, of course. And my back is feeling much better. There is a part of me that wants to cancel the appointment, but I know that is silly--and my hubby will drag me to the doctor's office himself if he had to! <BR> <BR> Wed, 21 May 2014 12:57:35 EST Inching up on my gold crown! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5697704 I am only a handful of points away from the 100,000 mark and the gold crown. I am kind of amazed that I'm reaching it--back when I joined Spark it seemed like an impossible goal. <BR> <BR> But that's really what all of this is about. Every day when I walk out the door for my walk, it seems like it's such a long way to the end. When I lie down on the floor to do the exercises my PT gave me, it seems like an impossible number of repetitions. But I do reach the end of the walk, the end of the r... Sun, 18 May 2014 13:48:09 EST Back setback http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5695556 I got the MRI results for my back. I have a moderate tear in a disk at midback (I can't remember the numbers) and arthritic calcification at the top of the tailbone area that is moderate to severe and beginning to impinge on the spinal cord. So the doctor is sending me to a specialist for further evaluation. Because I didn't have nearly enough going on already in my life. <BR> <BR> What I am really hoping for is that they will say, yes this is something we need to monitor, but it's okay for ... Thu, 15 May 2014 09:46:11 EST Covered in bees!!!! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5680950 Since it's my birthday party day, OF COURSE our box of bees arrived and must be picked up from an hour away and hived today. And the hive needs to be opened and inspected--which I can't fault for its "todayness" since we honestly should have done that a week or so ago. Ferrett has gone with our visiting friends to get the bees, while I am staying home to enjoy a hot bath. Because it's my birthday weekend, darnit! Sat, 26 Apr 2014 13:09:57 EST The garden http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5677756 With my back being injured, there is no way that I could safely clean up the yard for the summer. And boy did it need it: I did nothing in the line of fall cleanup, what with all the health crises going on. So we got a lawn service in to do a thorough cleanup, trimming, and general un-disastering of the yard, front, back, and side. It looks better than it has in a couple years. <BR> <BR> And my first reaction to it all was to be really sad. <BR> <BR> Poor hubby was distressed. "I don't kno... Tue, 22 Apr 2014 10:08:38 EST Injured, and sad http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5664477 I am having a very bad day. I just got back from the physical therapist. She thinks I have a bulging disc. That means for now no biking, no lap swimming, no free weights, no running for now. I can walk at a moderate pace, walk in the swimming pool, and use the weight machines. Low weight, high reps for endurance. I have to admit it, I got a little weepy. I'm pretty devastated. She encouraged me that she thinks it's manageable, and that I can work back up to those things once we get the swelli... Fri, 4 Apr 2014 16:58:24 EST No benchpressing a Volkswagen for me http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5662442 Yesterday after I wrote about my 30 days in the gym streak, I put out my back something fierce. No gym, not even any dog walking. Fortunately I already have an appointment to see the doctor today. But I also have to make a court appearance on behalf of a client and meet with a new client. It's goingto be a long, long day. Wed, 2 Apr 2014 09:05:12 EST 30 days in http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5661711 So, I’m 30% through my hundred-days-at-the-gym commitment. What are the results so far? <BR> <BR> -I’ve gained 2 pounds <BR> -I am not able to lift appreciably heavier weights <BR> -Other than swimming, I am not appreciably faster <BR> -Lifting on Sunday, I twinged my old shoulder injury which made me temporarily lose control of the weight and pulled muscles on my left side in my arm and my chest wall that keep giving my twinges that make me scared it’s my heart (yes, I am going to the docto... Tue, 1 Apr 2014 11:49:42 EST Spark People reset? http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5657372 In all of my groups months of messages have just disappeared. Weirdness. I hope this is temporary! <BR> <BR> EDIT: It's all straightened out now. Must have been a glitch! Wed, 26 Mar 2014 22:15:38 EST Devastated http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5653181 Rebecca's MRI was yesterday. I will quote the Meyers for the results: <BR> <BR> :::The MRI showed a mass behind Rebecca’s left eye that wasn’t there on the previous MRI. The doctors at CCF are communicating with the doctors at CHOP, who will determine what they can do. <BR> <BR> We may be headed to Philadelphia this weekend, if they tell us they can remove the tumor. If they can’t remove it, given the tumor’s growth rate, Rebecca will likely live anywhere from a few more weeks to months, bu... Fri, 21 Mar 2014 11:52:15 EST "Not those people" http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5649887 On Thursday our goddaughter Rebecca will have yet another MRI to determine whether the toxic chemicals being poured into her system are successfully keeping her brain cancer at bay. <BR> <BR> Rebecca is 5 years old. <BR> <BR> She was diagnosed in August. Ferrett and I were there in Philadelphia with her and her family while she underwent brain surgery to remove the tumor. We were there to see the x-rays and hear the discussion of the diagnosis and the treatment plan and the prognosis. We ca... Mon, 17 Mar 2014 11:44:06 EST 5 miles, complete exhaustion http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5648583 My daughter and I completed a 5-mile event today. It was a race, but we weren't really racing anything, so I'll stay with event. Our time was 1:18:35, or just under 16 minutes per mile. Slow, but hey, five miles! <BR> <BR> And then, because I said I had to, I went to the gym. I slowly pedaled for two miles and did a little core work. But I did it. 15 days in a row now. <BR> <BR> I'm really tired. Like, considering going to bed. I feel obligated to stay awake until 7, but unless I rally it's... Sat, 15 Mar 2014 17:49:40 EST "Well, I'm back." http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5647860 Today, I walked through the door of the house and said, "Well, I'm back." The last line of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. It made me a little teary. You see, I started on the Walk to Rivendell back at the beginning of 2006, and after 7 years and 2 and a half months, I have completed every step of that journey. I walked the miles with the Fellowship to Rauros, then followed Frodo and Sam to Mount Doom and through their rescue by the eagles. I then "flew back" to Rauros and followed... Fri, 14 Mar 2014 16:32:32 EST Self-deception for fun and profit http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5646881 Yesterday's weather was abysmal. All the schools around us were closed because snow was ... not so much falling as being hurled vertically across the landscape like tiny ice bullets. The wind velocity combined with this punishing precipitation inspired me not so much to go to the gym as to climb back into bed, pull the covers over my head, and refuse to come out until April. <BR> <BR> Plus, it was a swimming day. Which meant getting WET in a non-home location. It just sounded terrible. <BR> ... Thu, 13 Mar 2014 10:56:34 EST Hello winter. Back so soon? http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5646351 It's snowing again in Cleveland. Yesterday it was 61 degrees. <BR> <BR> We've reached the amusing part of this winter shindig wherein all the neighbors look at the forecast, see that it's supposed to be in the mid-50s on Friday, and say, "Oh HELL no, I'm not shoveling this crap!" I can't say I blame them; I feel the exact same way. <BR> <BR> I just got back from walking the dog. There isn't that much snow falling, but it is falling sideways at just under orbital velocities. It stings expose... Wed, 12 Mar 2014 16:58:42 EST Not feeling the need for speed http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5645692 So I'm 11 days into a personal commitment to go to the gym every day for 100 days. So far I have made it every day, and I'm swimming a lot more, which is important for the upcoming triathlon season. I'm actually enjoying it quite a bit now that I'm getting into the swim routine. Today, though, was supposed to be weight training and treadmill. I did great on the weight training--45 minutes of lifting. Then I looked at the treadmill and felt like I was going to throw up. I just could NOT make m... Tue, 11 Mar 2014 21:27:51 EST 100 days of All The Things: 10% http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5644614 Well, I promised not to talk about this project all the time, but I am planning to report in every 10%. <BR> <BR> Gym: So far, I'm 10 for 10 on getting to the gym, which was the one about which I was most concerned. But it was also my highest priority. I am focusing a lot on swimming because it was my weakest leg in last summer's triathlons. I am still slow, but I'm getting in the water. As we move into outdoor exercise weather and I start biking and running outside, I will still be going to... Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:38:42 EST Hypersensitive, or legitimately irked? http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5642206 Lifted at the gym yesterday. I'm a little miffed. I was using the cross-cable machine, and had just switched to an exercise that only required one side when one of the personal trainers came in and started using the other side with his client without asking if they were interrupting me. I didn't say anything, but a little while later he went back to it when a man was using it. He stopped to check in with the man that they weren't interrupting his routine. Now, it might be that he was just con... Fri, 7 Mar 2014 13:09:41 EST The problem with fitness sites. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5641469 I have been an active member of Spark People for a couple years now. I like the point system, and that it's nicely all-inclusive for tracking fitness and food. I like the groups and support. <BR> <BR> What I don't like about Spark, and other sites like it, is the emphasis on weightloss. On a regular basis I find myself encouraging people to not give up on their fitness goals. What almost always triggers their despair? The scale isn't moving. <BR> <BR> Study after study has shown that perman... Thu, 6 Mar 2014 14:41:32 EST Full of beans http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5640758 Yesterday we had our gaming group coming for the evening and it was my turn to cook. I was not feeling very inspired, menu-wise, but then while I was on the treadmill at the gym, The Chew was on and they were talking about it being Fat Tuesday and the tradition of red beans and rice. I’ve never made red beans and rice before, but I ticked off the basic ingredient list in my head, realized I had everything for it at home, and figured I’d give it a try. <BR> <BR> Part of the reason I had every... Wed, 5 Mar 2014 20:08:15 EST 4 for 4 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5639636 Made it to the gym again today. 4 miles on the treadmill. But I've figured out that if I do aerobics first, I don't have energy for lifting. So starting tomorrow, it's the weight room first before the aerobics. <BR> <BR> I'm also trying to balance my workouts to avoid overtraining, but I have to be ready for a 5-miler on the 15th. Don't want to hurt myself!!! Tue, 4 Mar 2014 15:20:39 EST The poison of always and never http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5638454 My husband and I are passionate people who get along wonderfully until that unfortunate moment when we aren't getting along. We will never be one of those couples who says, "Oh, we never argue about anything!" We are both stubborn and convinced that we are right. <BR> <BR> But one of the things we have tried to do over the years is to learn to fight fairly. To use "I" language, to step back when discussion turns into yelling, to trust that if one of us says, "I need a minute to calm down" th... Mon, 3 Mar 2014 10:38:11 EST March 2 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5637690 Walking across the parking lot back to my car from the gym, I noticed that someone had dropped a hat in the lot. I wondered, as I always do, whether it was better to leave it where it was so that the owner could retrace their steps or to pick it up so it didn't get run over and try to put it somewhere really visible. <BR> <BR> Then I noticed that it was my hat. Sun, 2 Mar 2014 13:10:39 EST My insanity: let me show you it http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5636307 I am about to embark on a completely crazy project, and the only way to do it properly is to put it out to the world so that I have nailed my trousers to the mast (“don’t you mean your colors to the mast?” “No, trousers; that way I can’t crawl back down”)* <BR> <BR> I am starting a project that I’m calling “100 Days of All The Things.” From March 1 until June 8, I am committing myself to: <BR> <BR> * Go to the gym daily <BR> * Cook healthy meals (except for days when we are specifically g... Fri, 28 Feb 2014 17:56:45 EST Do SPATs float?? http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5621213 I clipped my SPAT to my wrist watch today to swim, as I have done before. Only this time when I was in the shower I noticed it was missing! I put back on my suit and went back in the pool to search for it, but no luck. I gave them my name and number, in case it shows up in a pool filter. I guess I'll wait a week to see if they find it before I order another one. In the meantime, I'm already going through SPAT withdrawal! At least I already got my February trophy already. But all those Glow Ge... Tue, 11 Feb 2014 10:35:33 EST Like being hit in the face with a folding chair http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5612073 I stand before you, an object lesson. A cautionary tale. A living, breathing, coughing, sneezing, feverish exhibit of the adage, "Be careful what you wish for." We have plans for the evening, a friend's birthday party, but the weather is so dismal that I dared say, "Ugh; I wish we didn't have to go out in this." Not 20 minutes later, I was hit with this misery like it was a runaway train. The express train to Miseryville. There was nothing of "feeling something coming on." No, "is that a tick... Sat, 1 Feb 2014 12:15:47 EST Let it snow! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5606115 We've gotten about 8 inches of snow here, and though the weather report says we should be done, it's still coming down. Everyone I know is complaining on Facebook about the terrible weather. <BR> <BR> Secretly? I'm delighted. Yes, it's awful for driving. Yes, it makes walking the dog much more of a challenge. Yes, we have been hunkered down and hibernating all weekend. <BR> <BR> But honestly, I love it. I'd love it more if it snowed 2 feet. I love me some real weather. It feels like a bit o... Sun, 26 Jan 2014 11:58:11 EST Just keep on tri-ing http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5595011 I signed up for my first triathlon for next summer today. I am aiming at doing at least one Olympic length, but this one is early in the season, so I signed up for sprint length. I did two last year, and I have to say that everyone at the events was awesome and supportive. I was close to the last person in both times, and people were friendly and encouraging. There were people of all sizes, and everyone was just happy to be with other people who enjoyed this crazy activity! I'm looking forwar... Wed, 15 Jan 2014 17:32:16 EST Dealing with winter http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5587477 I've seen many blog entries and team posts from people who are irked with themselves because of the weather over the last few days. They are berating themselves for the impulse to curl up by a warm fire and stay out of the cold. <BR> <BR> I lived in Alaska for two decades. So I feel fully qualified to give advice on this subject. And my advice is: <BR> <BR> IT'S OKAY TO STAY OUT OF THE COLD!!!! <BR> <BR> A little hibernation at the worst of the storms is no bad thing. But just like the squ... Wed, 8 Jan 2014 22:29:43 EST Cutting back on computer time http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5579367 Once again I'm finding myself sucked into the computer for far too many hours. This year I want to read more books and do more crafts, not just stare at this screen all evening. It's a real time-sink for me, and I have to get away from that. <BR> <BR> The problem is that when being on the computer is also your livelihood, it's really easy to let the hours of work and the hours of checking social media kind of mush together. I am probably going to have to actually shut off the social meda sit... Thu, 2 Jan 2014 12:06:56 EST Farewell, unlucky '13 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5578407 Yesterday evening, hubby and I took down the 2013 calendar and wrote on it every horrible thing that happened. Then at 11:30, we and all our party guests went outside in the falling snow and burned 2013 and all it's dreadfulness in effigy. <BR> <BR> Afterward, we came inside, opened a really fine bottle of Scotch, and watched the ball drop. As soon as the toasts and hugs were over, my dark-haired friend headed out the back door and we all waited for his reappearance at the front door. He kno... Wed, 1 Jan 2014 19:04:41 EST Gonna start 2014 right http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5576620 There is an old Welsh new year tradition called First Footing. It calls for the first person to enter your home in the new year to be a dark-haired man, to whom you immediately offer a drink. It is supposed to ensure good luck for the coming year. <BR> <BR> I have been First Footing the house every year for a decade. What I do, immediately after midnight, is to collar a dark-haired guest and send him out the back door of the house. He walks around to the front door, knocks, and I let him in,... Tue, 31 Dec 2013 11:44:24 EST Tired of stress: have some gingerbread http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5574705 Yesterday we visited the Cleveland Botanical Gardens because they had up their annual display of gingerbread houses. Here are some of the highlights. <BR> <BR> This church won the grand prize: <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/2/4/l243704153.jpg"> <BR> <BR> Check out the stained glass detail: <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/2/1/l2142595455.jpg"> <BR> <BR> There was a paddlewheeler, and a lighthouse to keep it safe: <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.spar... Sun, 29 Dec 2013 14:51:22 EST Prayers answered! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5573670 Yesterday afternoon Brianna's eyes were locked to the right and unresponsive to light. She had no reflex reactions. The signs were all incredibly bad. We were beginning to discuss what to do if the EEG showed that she was in a persistent vegetative state, a situation no family, and most certainly no parent of a 6-year-old, should have to face. <BR> <BR> Then yesterday evening Brianna opened her eyes and started voices. She was still really sleepy, but when she could open her eyes she was lo... Sat, 28 Dec 2013 10:17:59 EST