SAMZA83's SparkPeople Blog SAMZA83's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community January 2018: Sticker Books, Meditation & Self Care Hello Sparkpeople, <BR> <BR> Last year as a fun way to keep myself visually motivated I turned my callender into a stickerbook...I loved them when I was a child and it turned out to be a fun method all of 2017. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=" Wed, 10 Jan 2018 00:21:38 EST 2018 will be unlike any other year. Hello Sparkpeople, <BR> <BR> Mood: cautiously optimistic <BR> <BR> I hope you all have had a great holiday season and are looking towards 2018 with optimism. <BR> <BR> I have been a part of the Spark community since August 2010, and a few years ago I wrote some really intense blog posts here. Mainly about the conditions at the job I was at for my first two and half years in Germany and about my family. Some of those entries, upon re-read, were so intense I decided to delete them. <BR> <... Thu, 28 Dec 2017 16:37:05 EST One Month Wedding Anniversary! Our Tiny Tennessee Matrimony Hello Sparkpeople, <BR> <BR> It feels like so much longer than a month since Thorsten and I returned to Germany from our Gatlinburg Tennessee wedding and Disney World 'FamilyMoon.' As I knew it would be, time became a very precious and sparse once we returned to Europe, but I would love to share with you all a short recollection and a few pictures from this very special time in our lives. <BR> <BR> One final photo and a story to share: <BR> <BR> A small anecdote about our wedding holida... Thu, 23 Nov 2017 15:11:36 EST ...and then *everything changed* (for the better!) Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> I am not sure how many of you are still active…it would be reasonable after all to think that I too have disappeared. <BR> <BR> I am more of a happy spirit that shows up from time to time. <BR> <BR> When I read my old blog posts here I cringe, somewhat in embarrassment in how willing I was to reveal just how awful things were for me but more so because there’s a level of sadness in them that I cannot even bear in reflection. I have taken some of those posts down, ... Sat, 18 Feb 2017 18:25:11 EST Celebrating on year in Germany! Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> I don't do too many Facebook statuses, yet, here is the one I've made for this very special day: <BR> <BR> "Today September 15th marks a year! And I hope the celebratory fortune cookie message I got comes to fruition in the next: “Sie werden häuslichen Frieden, finanzielle Sicherheit und gute Gesundheit genießen.” My first year in Germany has been nothing like what I anticipated. I experienced a great deal of loss, disillusionment and uncertainty in addition to tho... Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:03:57 EST Celebrating my final 3 days in the USA (in pictures!) Hello Everyone! <BR> <BR> It’s been an amazing, overwhelming 24 hours on many news and activity fronts and likely the last entry I will write from the United States. I fly to Essen Germany this Saturday and begin working as an Erzieherin this upcoming Monday! <BR> <BR> Yesterday was my last day at my corporate office job. While inevitably there were some ‘haters’ and gossip (that’s the nature of offices) a vast majority of my co-workers were wonderful and I already miss them. <BR> <BR> I b... Thu, 12 Sep 2013 12:42:34 EST My German visa... Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> Look what came over the weekend! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It's like 50,000 pounds of weight have been lifted from my shoulders! <BR> <BR> I got an email from my Mom, who of course opened the parcel signed for from the embassy---and sat in my cube at work for an hour in shock. <BR> <BR> Today I spoke for *four hours* over Skype with my colleague 'M' she is so amazing and nearly as happy as I am. He... Sun, 1 Sep 2013 22:58:36 EST The nightmare of Irresponsible Parents I¡¦ll try to keep this short(er) and I know that many people here are around the age of my parents so I think your advice and insight might be worth it. I ask you to forgive me if I come off sounding like a bad child. <BR> <BR> My Mom just turned 50 and my Dad is 52 both are working but never have enough to pay their bills (no CCs but always delinquent.) Neither have any retirement nor savings. They are divorced. My Father has tax debt and likely other debt we don¡¦t know about¡ he's bipola... Sun, 19 May 2013 13:03:36 EST Any Sparkler, ask me any question you want... Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> My blogs have been really heavy over the past couple months...sorry. Nonetheless, I've had a very productive and positive February overall (will update that so soon) so I want to continue the 'happy enegry' and widen my Spark friend base (*so many* of the people I started here with in 2010 have gone MIA :( .) <BR> <BR> ...So I invite anyone to ask me any question about any subject which could include topics related to health and fitness but also the stuff we al... Thu, 28 Feb 2013 13:43:38 EST The last two months (II) did I kill the Russian cookie monster? For the last week, completely! The drawer is still very much at work but when I commit to something I mean it. <BR> <BR> I made the mistake of overindulging, not eating enough of the right foods, not eating clean (something I have done since I began in 2010) and using the food issues we deal with in Russia as an excuse to not take action. I was eating to alievate the cultural/financial stress (I am out of a job soon!) that I have been suffering w... Sun, 9 Dec 2012 11:46:17 EST 7 Countries, 1 concert and & 9,000 fitness minutes later! (pics) Hello everyone! <BR> <BR> Remember me? I promised there would be hundreds of minutes from the days of walking I have done around the world and today they have been added! <BR> <BR> Hello from Wisconsin, post: 1 System of a Down concert (Chicago,) one day in London England, seven days traveling in Morocco, a week in Barcelona Spain, a week celebrating Bastille Day in Paris France, a day trip to Austria and two weeks traveling all around my beloved Deutschland (Germany!) What a wonderful adv... Mon, 20 Aug 2012 17:18:40 EST They`re Skinny but they think I am lucky... Surprising title no? ...But apparently it`s true. <BR> <BR> For those of you who do not visit my page or my situation what you need to know is that I am American (ethnically half German and half Native American to be precise) but I live in Russia where I work as one busy Kindergarten teacher. Over the last two years I have gone from around 245 pounds to 176, my goal is to be around 140 (though love my body right now too :) ) <BR> <BR> For the purposes of this blog here are my measurements: ... Sun, 20 May 2012 15:07:42 EST Could I be `tiny` in Taiwan? Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> It`s rather late here in Russia, around 2:00 AM but my mind is centred on a new and specific health/weight loss goal and I might as well share! Typically I don`t let the cat out of the bag so to speak until I have 99.% certainty something is going to happen but here goes. My old room mate and close friend from my grad school days in Australia (way back in 2010 LOL) is returning to visit her family in Taiwan this August and she has her heart set on my coming to visit... Fri, 2 Mar 2012 18:07:13 EST Russia blog: R+ in Moscow & the Rules for Good Health here! Welcome to my second Russian blog friends! Since it has been about a month since my last entry I thought it might be nice to catch you up on teaching, staying healthy and overall life here in Russia while I have a spare moment (my students are eating lunch!) <BR> <BR> I am going to devote a little bit of this entry to the amazing Rammstein (my second favourite band) concert I saw in Moscow last Saturday…if that doesn’t interest you too much just skip/skim what is written between the German f... Fri, 17 Feb 2012 03:35:19 EST My first blog from Russia! Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> Welcome to my first blog from Russia! Where I have just begun working as a the head teacher at a private kindergarten in the city of Kazan. It`s been quite the two weeks as I have traveled to Poland, Czech Republic, Ukraine and finally onto Russia in that time span. <BR> <BR> There`s so much to say! For the sake of this blog I`ll keep focus mainly on health and fitness as I now experience it here....but I welcome your questions. <BR> <BR> There`s no doubt in my m... Sat, 14 Jan 2012 15:46:04 EST BIG News Blog! Hello Sparkers, <BR> <BR> What a December it’s been! First of all happy holidays to you, I hope you enjoyed them immensely. I know I did (they went too fast) and due to a stressful a snafu and politics I was fortunate enough to still be here to celebrate. <BR> <BR> Big news time: at the end of September I finalized a teaching contract that will take me to Russia---very shortly---in about a week if my visa *finally* comes back. Maybe I should have shared earlier and I wish I was more enthus... Mon, 26 Dec 2011 20:48:00 EST The Loss of a friend <BR> I logged into Facebook this Halloween to check messages and wish my close friends a happy holiday. To discover that a very close friend I made in Australia, a member of the ‘foreign students clique’ I had been in my first year at student housing, had passed away unexpectedly. Matt had just turned 29 years old a couple of days before leaving us. He was healthy and very close to beginning a promising career in medicine. His family hasn’t revealed the cause of his passing. <BR> <BR> He i... Sun, 6 Nov 2011 14:02:30 EST My 'Multicultural' 10K Trick or Treat Trot Playlist! Hello, <BR> <BR> Next week I am going to run the Sparkpeople Trick or Treat Trot. I estimate it will take me around 90 minutes to run 10k or 6.2 Miles. This will be a long run for me! This is what I'll be listening to. I am into all sorts of music but mainly Rock and Industrial. I am fluent in English, Spanish and German. <BR> <BR> This playlist is great but perhaps not for your kids...double that if you understand German :P HAHA. <BR> <BR> My 10K Trick or Treat Playlist! <BR> <BR> Evanes... Thu, 27 Oct 2011 15:58:40 EST Vegan month: A sort of vegan birthday! Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> First of all thank you very much for the birthday wishes! Strangely, 28 years old feels no different than 27 which overall is a good thing. As expected vegan month during the week of my birthday was not 100% but well over 50%. <BR> <BR> What does that mean? Well, though I did make a vegan and gluten free (using rice flour) version of my dark German chocolate-cherry cupcakes---they just didn’t taste the way I wanted them to for my carnivore class. They were fine f... Tue, 18 Oct 2011 11:33:50 EST Vegan Month: Unproductive week & upcoming Birthday! Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> Hope all is well. Today marks one week of my exploratory, fun vegan month. I must say I am pretty happy and really enjoying the diversity of food I ate an/or cooked this week. I am surprised by the overall lack of craving for cheese. I did have one mistake: I ate some 'Cheez-its' whilst babysitting my nieces. <BR> <BR> For those of you who like numbers my weigh-in on Thursday yielded some happiness: 3 pounds down, what I found even more interesting it just so hap... Sun, 9 Oct 2011 16:03:52 EST Start of Vegan Month! (Advice Needed Please) Hello Sparklers, <BR> <BR> Not just a normal blog today. The start of a fun new experimental month! I have been vegetarian since November 13, 1997---I was 14 years old and giving up meat was easy; as even as a child I hated most of it (especially pork and beef.) The great exception to my vegetarianism is international travel where on occasion I have had to eat fish or chicken---try being vegetarian in rural Hungary or saying no to fish in Japan J <BR> <BR> Dairy however, I still love. Tho... Sun, 2 Oct 2011 14:18:58 EST Thai Pumpkin Soup: Week 3 Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> Oh I love it! My favourite soup smell is definitely Thai Pumpkin which is slowly coming to fruition in the slow cooker---mmm dinner. What exactly is in this soup? I'll be sure to share in a couple of weeks in visual journal entry but for now let me summarise it in this: nutrient rich, high antioxidant, spicy heaven! <BR> <BR> Here we are at week 3 of my heartbreak recovery, prove that bigot boss totally wrong, refreshed zeal for getting healthy. It's going well! On... Mon, 26 Sep 2011 14:26:01 EST New Running Shoes!: Week 2 Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> This blog is coming at you one day early, HAHA, because I am so irrationally excited about my new running shoes! This isn't completely transparent in my blogs or on my page but I am a cheapskate, or rather a saver over a spender. Upon coming back from Turkey, determined to get back into the swing of things and proverbially prove my prejudiced principal how incredibly wrong she was I let myself financially slide to buy meaningful health/fitness materials. <em>216</e... Sun, 18 Sep 2011 15:19:43 EST Healing through exercise and nutrition: Week 1 Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> First of all massive Thank you to everyone who responded to my last blog. Being denied my job after all that travel, preparation and money spent over the slightly different way I walk---it remains SURREAL. <BR> <BR> I feel incredibly fortunate that I have my Sparkpeople foundations---laid just over a year ago now and instead of remaining in a constant stream of anger, tears and disillusion I have returned to a lifestyle focused on exercise, eating clean and getting... Tue, 13 Sep 2011 12:32:07 EST Descrimination heartbreak. I was to be one of the many pre school teachers starting at a private school in Istanbul this August. As a trained early childhood, primary and secondary trained teacher with certification and at least one year’s experience in each of these areas I never doubted my abilities and came to Turkey with glowing references and a lot of ambition. <BR> <BR> I gave up two other contract offers in different countries to come to Turkey. I had been to Turkey once before and loved it; so naturally once ... Mon, 5 Sep 2011 10:57:30 EST Dissappointed in my freakin face...and other stuff... Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> First of all I want to wish everyone who is observing Memorial Day a great weekend <BR> <em>232</em> . Mine not shape out to be so great---I got the stomach flu yesterday and am feeling residually 'crappy' (har har!) <BR> <BR> Yesterday my niece Lydia had her third birthday party. It was great until I saw the pictures. I believe I might be thinner in my head than in reality and I am truely not photogenic. <BR> <BR> I am starting to wonder if I ever lost nearly 6... Sun, 29 May 2011 12:30:05 EST Are you eating enough calories? Apparently I am not! Hello, <BR> <BR> For those of you who follow some of my blogs or message board posts you might know that I am in one hell of a plateau. Yay, two months and no change despite exercise and a consistent calorie watch. <BR> <BR> Here’s the deal. It has come to my attention that at even 1,500 calories a day I wasn’t eating enough---my average was around 1,300. <BR> <BR> Frustrated, this weekend I reconfigured my Sparkpeople calorie counter and weight loss goals. For my stage one I am still woul... Mon, 7 Mar 2011 18:46:58 EST Giving this to God... Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> Thank you once again for your well wishes. Last Monday, which I blogged about with some trepidation went rather mildly. My Mother was told that she had until 4 March to pay or leave---and though I have to keep saying to myself ‘this is not your fault,’ the reality is I am leaving too. I didn’t ask to pick up the pieces my parents’ screwed up lives but at least for now I have to live with it. She didn’t get the local transportation job but that is okay because tomor... Sun, 27 Feb 2011 23:45:32 EST What sort of Monday will it be: really good...or... Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> If you have taken a peek at my previous blog posts you know that things are not ok with my family (or myself) right now. <BR> <BR> Tomorrow is a really important day. My Mom has a court date regarding a potential eviction. On the other side of the coin, she found out Friday that the Disney Company in Orlando would like to conduct a second interview with her for transportation position she was offered four years ago but couldn't take up at that time! We are in Wisco... Sun, 20 Feb 2011 20:11:52 EST I can't continue doing this to myself. (Goodbye Kitty :( ) Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> My ten year old black and white cat was expecting a litter of kittens any day now. Yesterday she began bleeding and we confused this for impending labour...this morning she passed away at the emergency vet office. Her uterus ruptured causing extensive bleeding and before we knew it, it was too late. The vet assured us that there was little that could have been done. I was always upset that my family had not spayed her and that she had gotten pregnant in the first pl... Sun, 13 Feb 2011 16:38:02 EST You don't know it, but I THANK you my fellow Spark'lers... <em>304</em> <em>252</em> <em>247</em> <BR> <BR> I keep praying...and praying...asking when this darkness with my family (their finances) and my career prospects are going to change. I am graduating with my MA in Special Education (teaching) this March and registering as a teacher around the same time. The reality is I need to be making money in order to afford registration and save enough so I can take a contract around September. <BR> <BR> There ... Fri, 28 Jan 2011 10:15:01 EST Awaiting 2011 (check out my collage) Hello all, <BR> <BR> Without going into too much detail at the moment life has gotten a lot more difficult and darker since I returned to my family a month ago, after living in Australia for two years. Amongst other things my Mom is facing financial ruin and Alocholic/bipolar Father not getting any better... For my part I have hit a major academic snag and am currently writing a paper when I should have graduated at the end of this month. <BR> <BR> There is a saying all of this I am reminde... Sun, 26 Dec 2010 16:09:34 EST 27 hours of flying & 17 hour timezone difference, awesome w/ yoga! Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> YOGA and a healthy attitude is such a blessing!! In this blog I'd like to share with all of my fellow long distance air travellers some Yoga asanas (postures) that saved me from swollen ankles, cranky-ness, crazy jet lag and the dreaded and very deadly deep vein thrombosis. You can do these in the wider space in most planes where the emergency door and restrooms are located. <BR> <BR> Please remember to get up and walk on the plane too---every one to two hours. D... Fri, 26 Nov 2010 23:00:54 EST Happy Halloween from Australia! Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> It's not a huge holiday here like it is at home, but some people get into the kitsch factor, horror films, dress up and the like. I wish trick or treat'ers came to the door----I've left out candy next to the pumpkin. We'll see if the basket is empty when I get home! <BR> <BR> Last Saturday I paid too much for an American style pumpkin, carved it and baked the seeds just as I did with my Mom as a child. I took the seeds and mini homemade pumpkin pies to my former t... Sat, 30 Oct 2010 23:24:30 EST Turning 27 Tomorrow! Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> At mass today I lit a candle and silently prayed thanking God for blessing me with continued good health and another year of life. On October 11, 1983 I was born on a very isolated Native American reservation in Montana, coloured blue from asphyxiation at birth I was 3 months premature weighing only 3 pounds, 6 ounces. The sufficoation of my delivery has left me with tight ankle tendons and a slightly awkward gait. I cursed this as a child and adolescent but realis... Sun, 10 Oct 2010 03:06:50 EST Sugar Crash! Hello everyone, <BR> <BR> I hope yall enjoy my new Halloween design! I miss America so much this time of year! The foliage colours, the decorations, the parties and most of all my birthday on the 11th which has not been spent with family in two years. This is always the hardest month for me as we are about to begin second semester papers/exams which of course equal stress and I am HELLA HOMESICK! <em>652</em> <BR> <BR> Well here's some good news! Here in Australia it's October 1st so I d... Fri, 1 Oct 2010 03:49:09 EST My body is mind.... As usual I am at the uni library not doing much of anything, though I suspect the guy sitting next to me thinks I am a bit nuts eating a giant carrot periodically dipping it in peanut butter---but hey I've got to keep my metabolism going! <BR> <BR> In any case, I just wanted to share something that isn't about physical health but is having a profound impact on my well being all the same. Emotionally life hasn't been so good as of recent. You see I am a migrant here in Australia, I am on a st... Mon, 23 Aug 2010 05:03:00 EST It's all a matter of Perception? G'day y'all, <BR> <BR> My friend Victoria joins me at the gym most days of the week, barely after sunrise I hear her knocking on the door and rarely am I completely ready to walk to the gym with her! This was the case this morning so to keep her occupied while I got my bags sorted I gave her my measuring tape to take body measurements. She hadn't done this before and needed to, as many will tell you those numbers reveal a lot more than the pounds or kilos we see on the scale. <BR> <BR> In s... Thu, 19 Aug 2010 00:42:24 EST