SIMPLELIFE4REAL's SparkPeople Blog SIMPLELIFE4REAL's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Big Thunderstorm and the 4th of July Happy 4th of July everyone! <BR> <BR> We hosted a big (for us) party on Saturday for our local friends. There were about 14 people and we served lunch. I think every one had a good time. Today, my mom, brother and SIL are coming for lunch. We are having the same menu, so it's going to be really simple to pull everything together. <BR> <BR> Yesterday afternoon, we had a very sudden severe thunderstorm with high winds. I had just gotten in the bathtub when it started. I got out right away, ... Mon, 4 Jul 2016 08:03:39 EST Taking a break from least from blogging. This has been a long time coming. I've been on Sparkpeople since 2009 and I have really enjoyed the friendships I've developed here. However, I find that I've been blogging less and less because I really don't feel like I've got much to say right now. <BR> <BR> My life is good right nowand I'm very grateful for that. It's probably because things are so good that I don't feel the need to blog much these days. <BR> <BR> I do plan on maintaining contact on Sparkpeople through the daily thre... Sat, 12 Mar 2016 15:18:03 EST Walking the bridge vs. walking on sand.... We are spending January on Hutchinson Island in Florida. Yesterday, we walked the bridge over the causeway and I easily got 11,000 steps on my Fitbit. I love walking on the beach, but I have a hard time getting 10,000 steps that way. I've read that walking on sand takes 2.2 times the amount of energy that walking on a firm surface. I believe it! <BR> <BR> I don't get hung up on trying to do 10,000 steps a day. If I get 6,000 steps on a beachwalking day, I know I've gotten my exercise f... Tue, 12 Jan 2016 09:24:12 EST In Florida for January! Hubby and I decided to spend January in Florida again this year. We did it last year for the first time and really enjoyed it. We are staying in the same town we did last year....just a different rental unit. We really like the unit we rented this year compared to last year's. It's a learning curve in trying to pick out a place over the internet. <BR> <BR> We've been here almost a week now. Today is the first day of really good weather, but I can't complain. The weather has been wors... Thu, 7 Jan 2016 14:50:05 EST Life is good! I haven't been blogging because I haven't felt like writing any more blogs about our vacation. It takes a long time to write each blog, posting pictures etc. Spark doesn't have the easiest system for writing blogs with pictures included. <BR> <BR> Rather than stop blogging all together, I've decided to just go back to blogging about anything and everything. <BR> <BR> Things have been good here. We hosted my family for Thanksgiving and we're planning on going up to Illinois for Christma... Fri, 11 Dec 2015 08:17:30 EST Vacation blog Week 7 (Vancouver, Eugene, Ashland, San Francisco) This is a continuation of my "vacation blogs" of trip we took in late August, Sept. and Oct. My last blog ended with the 10 day cruise we took to Alaska during the middle of our trip. <BR> <BR> Sept. 29 Vancouver <BR> Our cruise ended in Vancouver early Tuesday morning. Since our cruise had started from Seattle, we needed to rent a car in Vancouver to get back to Seattle. We rented a car that morning at the pier and then drove into Vancouver to go sight seeing. We planned on spendi... Mon, 16 Nov 2015 08:55:11 EST Vacaation blog: Week 6: Alaska continued. This is a continuation of the blog I wrote yesterday about the Alaska cruise portion of our vacation. Hopefully, I'll be able to finish this part of the blog before my computer starts acting up. <BR> <BR> Sept. 23: Skagway <BR> Our next port was Skagway. Like Juneau and Ketchikan, it is a small town on the Alaskan Gulf coast with mountains right behind it. We had signed up for an excursion to take the White Rail Pass train going into nearby Canada and a bike ride. It would have been fun... Thu, 5 Nov 2015 09:10:07 EST Vacation Blog: Weeks 5 and 6: Alaska! This is a continuation of my "vacation blogs" covering our two-month long vacation "out west". <BR> <BR> Most of our vacation had been a road trip with combination of car/tent camping and staying in hotels. For the next 10 days, we took a "vacation from our vacation " and went on a 10 day cruise to Alaska! We left from Seattle and returned to Vancouver. We went on Norwegian Cruise lines (on the Jewel). I was concerned that it was going to be too cold to really enjoy the trip, but I wa... Wed, 4 Nov 2015 08:42:36 EST Vacation Blog: Week 4 and part of Week 5 This is a contiunation of my "Vacation Blog" .... <BR> <BR> September 9 and 10: Grand Teton National Park <BR> After spending three nights camping at Yellowstone, we broke up camp and drove several hours south to Grand Teton National Park to camp for the next two nights. The two parks are connected to each other, but Yellowstone is so big, it takes a while to drive from one end of it to the other. We got there around 1pm, set up camp and then went off to explore. <BR> <BR> I didn't r... Sat, 31 Oct 2015 07:13:02 EST Vacation Blog: Week 3: South Dakota and Wyoming Most of week three of our trip was spent in South Dakota and Wyoming where we had both the hottest and coldest weather of our trip within just a couple days of each other. <BR> <BR> Sept. 3: Souix Falls, SD <BR> We spent most of the day driving from our campsite outside Minneapolis to Souix Falls, SD. We arrived at our campsite at Souix Falls Recreational Area around 3pm and set up camp. The campsite was nice and private. <BR> <img src=" Wed, 28 Oct 2015 17:15:22 EST Vacation Blog: Week 2: Great Lakes (Continued) This blog is a continuation of my blog from yesterday covering week 2 of our two-month long road trip..... <BR> <BR> Sunday: Aug. 30 <BR> After visiting Mackinac Island and camping one more night at the Straits State Park, we packed up our car and drove to Sault Ste. Marie. On the U.S. side, there are several huge locks to raise and lower the water level to allow big barges and other vessels to by-pass an area of waterfalls and rapids in the 21-foot drop between Lake Superior and Lake Huron... Tue, 27 Oct 2015 11:44:20 EST Vacation Blog: Week2: The Great Lakes Hubby and I just finished a two-month long vacation. It was hard to blog while I was gone because we were camping a lot and I had very limited access to the internet. Week 1 of our vacation was spent travelling from our home in Tennessee to our old stomping grounds in the Chicago area to visit friends and family. I don't have much in the way of pictures from that part of the vacation.....just lots of sweet memories of spending time with those I love. <BR> <BR> Week 2 of our vacation beca... Mon, 26 Oct 2015 08:09:40 EST Home again! Missing MOM2ACAT....:( We got back home last night from our two-month long vacation. It was wonderful. I'll try to blog about some of the highlights in another blog. <BR> <BR> Today, I just want to acknowledge the passing of a long-time SparkFriend of mine and of many others. MOM2ACAT (Shari) passed away last week from Stage IV breast cancer. She was very active here on SparkPeople right up to the very end. She was the team leader of the "World of Books" team and did a wonderful job keeping the team active. ... Sun, 25 Oct 2015 09:14:34 EST Just lost a blog....grrr! I'm about three weeks into a two-month long road trip and I'm in a hotel in Portland OR tonight. <BR> <BR> I just wrote a blog about the first three weeks of the trip and just as I was about to post it, the hotel internet cut me off and the blog was lost. <BR> <BR> Rather than trying to rewrite the blog....I just say that I'm having a wonderful time and I'll write in greater detail about it later. <BR> <BR> <BR> Life is good! <BR> Kay Mon, 14 Sep 2015 21:06:33 EST Road trip! We're off...kinda sorta! Last Thursday we began a two-month long road trip! <BR> <BR> We started from Tennessee and the plan is to drive north (through Wisconsin) to the Canadian border. We will cross over into Canada briefly at Sault Ste. Marie and then come back into the US going west to see things tons of things including Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone. We will be working our way to Seattle where we will do a 10 day cruise to Alaska. After that, we'll work our way down to San Francisco then start heading bac... Sun, 23 Aug 2015 10:17:32 EST Tick Tick.....and other smartphone apps. I've been a list maker ever since my college days in the early 1970's when I had to resort to carrying around a little assignment book to list my homework assignments so I wouldn't forget to to them. <BR> <BR> I've used all kinds of systems to kept track of my "ToDo Lists" at work over the years. I carried around a Daytimer for years and used it for everything. I once had a boss who would actually ask me to right down things he asked me to do in my Daytimer because he KNEW I would get them... Fri, 24 Jul 2015 08:15:19 EST Healthy Weight Monitoring Study for Vanderbilt I go to Vanderbilt University's medical system for a lot of my healthcare needs. As a patient there, I occasionally get asked to be part of a study or trial. A couple weeks ago, I was asked to participate i a "Healthy Weight Monitoring Study" in which I got paid $50 for answering about 10 questions on my smartphone after I ate each time for two weeks. The questions were the same every time so it only took a minute or two to log my responses each time. <BR> <BR> It didn't ask me specifical... Mon, 29 Jun 2015 19:25:41 EST Managing blog subscriptions on SparkPeople I like to subscribe to the blogs of all my SparkFriends. Lately, I've noticed that I wasn't getting very many notifications about new blogs by my friends. I finally got around to investigating why this was happening. <BR> <BR> I went to my "manage blog subscriptions" page on Spark, and found that I had inadvertently unsubscribed to many of my friends pages. I'm sure it happened when I was on vacation and receiving notifications on my phone and not going to the actual blog because I didn't... Sun, 21 Jun 2015 07:57:08 EST Awesome Homemade Gluten Free Bread! I usually don't eat processed foods, but occassionally I like to eat a sandwich or have an egg on toast in the mornings. About a year ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac sprue which means I'm intolerant to gluten. I've tried various store bought gluten-free breads, but really haven't been happy with them. <BR> <BR> Yesterday, I decided to try making my own gluten-free bread for the first time. To my amazement, it was absolutely delicious!! I guess bread making will be in my future now. <BR>... Wed, 17 Jun 2015 07:10:16 EST Back home after spending time with family and friends I just spent the past week up in Illinois visiting with family and friends. I'm back home in Tennessee now and miss my children already. Here's a picture that was taken Saturday of me with my sons. We had just finished a lot of yardwork and doing a massive decluttering so we are hot and sweaty, but happy to be together. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I also got to get together with my "little brother." He's two y... Mon, 15 Jun 2015 05:51:23 EST Goodbye NINJALINDA I recently discovered that a longtime SparkFriend of mine died last month from breast cancer. Linda had been very active on SparkPeople for many years, but when she was diagnosed last fall with breast cancer, she didn't post here much about it. We corresponded through SparkMail as she was going through neoadjuvant chemotherapy and I could tell by the things she was writing me that it wasn't working. She had a particularly agressive type of breast cancer (triple negative inflammatory breast... Thu, 11 Jun 2015 18:42:16 EST B9!!!!! I had a biopsy on Thursday and got the results on Friday.....b9, b9, b9!!!!! <BR> <BR> Best news ever.... <BR> <BR> <BR> I'm glad I didn't have to wait over the weekend to get the results. <BR> <BR> What a relief.... <BR> <BR> <em>224</em> Sat, 6 Jun 2015 17:11:20 EST Biopsy scheduled for this Thursday I got a call from Vanderbilt this morning. My biopsy is scheduled for Thursday morning at 10:30. It takes three days to get the results, so it will be next Monday at the earliest that I will know. I'm still not too worried, but I will be glad when this is over with and I have the results. I'm obviously hoping for fat necrosis or some other such thing! Mon, 1 Jun 2015 12:20:54 EST How I lost weight and kept it off I lost 35 pounds a year and a half ago and have kept it all off. <BR> <BR> Here's how I did it. <BR> <BR> <BR> I stopped eating processed foods. <BR> <BR> That's it! Nothing fancy, no calorie counting, no measuring portions. I just quit eating processed foods. <BR> <BR> I think the trick is finding the motivation to stick to a plan like that. For me, it was when I found out I had breast cancer. It forced me to re-evaluate my lifestyle and the way I ate. Cancer can be a very powe... Sun, 31 May 2015 12:01:18 EST Getting another biopsy..... I went in today for a regularly scheduled checkup with my breast surgeon and a 3d mammogram. I recently found a lump that felt like it was a lump in my rib right in the breast fold area. It didn't show up on the mammogram because it is too close to the rib. <BR> <BR> On an ultrasound, they were able to determine it wasn't actually in the bone but a separate mass on top of it. My breast surgeon thinks it might be scar tissue but they couldn't tell for sure on the ultrasound. <BR> <BR... Fri, 29 May 2015 21:26:23 EST Got to meet a SparkFriend in person today! I got to meet a SparkFriend from the Surviving Cancer spark team in person today. Her Spark name is NANA2JONEMIMAT. Her husband and she are vacationing close by to where we live so we thought we would take the opportunity to meet in person. We had a wonderful lunch together with our husbands. It always amazes me how easy it is to talk to people in person that I've met on-line either through SparkPeople or through a <BR> <BR> Here's a picture of us. "Nana" is on the l... Thu, 28 May 2015 16:44:39 EST Ducks have moved....clutter cleanup We got to watch the new baby ducks for their first day on the lake. The next day, our next-door-neighbors had a big family party complete with lots of grandkids and dogs. Mamma took the baby ducks to another part of the lake to get away from all the hub bub. I'm thinking they will be back, but it might be awhile. It's also been very, very windy here the last couple days, so she might have them sheltered somewhere away from the wind. I think they are most likely safe and sound somewhere c... Mon, 25 May 2015 08:49:41 EST New baby ducks! For most of this spring, hubby and I have been watching a mommy duck lay eggs in various spots around our back yard and our neighbor's back yard. Most of the eggs were taken by crows or other wildlife, but she managed to lay seven eggs in our neighbor's flowerpot and keep other wildlife from getting them. <BR> <BR> Yesterday, the eggs hatched and this morning, mommy duck took her new brood out for their first swim! It was so much fun to watch. Five ducklings actually hatched. She's been... Sat, 23 May 2015 15:04:32 EST Well, the paint color was a bust! We had our carpet installed yesterday and it turns out that the undertones in the grey carpet are different than in the paint we chose. The grey paint has blue undertones and the carpet has brown undertones. I was afraid of that when hubby started painting. The paint almost looks like a pale blue. We tried really hard to get the correct paint, but with the small paint and carpet samples along with the florescent lighting at Lowes, we just blew it. <BR> <BR> Hubby doesn't want to repaint... Wed, 20 May 2015 10:17:29 EST Carpet being installed last! I'm happy to report that some carpet we ordered for the basement is finally being installed today. I'm looking forward to the finished product. We have painted the rooms and stairwell where the carpet is going and I think we will have everything back it it's proper place by this evening. I have asthma and I know the fumes from the new carpet will be overpowering for the next few weeks for me. I plan on keeping the windows open and some fans on to air things out. I won't be able to spen... Tue, 19 May 2015 11:07:36 EST Quick trip to Illinois and Wisconsin We decided to take a spur of the moment trip up to Illinois and Wisconsin to visit friends and family this week. One of the nice things about being retired is that we can do things like this on short notice. I'm loving getting to spend time with people that I haven't had a chance to see much of since we moved to Tennessee a couple years ago. <BR> <BR> I've decided my blood must have thinned because it feels so cold here compared to where we live. Today's high here was only 54...brrrr! <BR... Tue, 12 May 2015 17:50:40 EST Basement project (stairs and master bedroom) We have been very busy with our basement project for the past couple weeks. It all got started when we ordered new carpet for the stairwell and master bedroom in the basement. We sleep downstairs during the summer months. I also use the big closet and bathroom down there year round for dressing. <BR> <BR> Yesterday, we put in a new "closet system". It's not real fancy. It's a Rubbermaid system that we got at Lowes. It almost doubled the storage that I have down there now. It was a lot of wo... Tue, 28 Apr 2015 08:27:32 EST Because I'm Happy!!! My niece is putting together a video of all the members of my family dancing to Pharrell Williams "Happy" song for my brother's 65th birthday. We are sending her clips that she will piece together. Today, in beginning Zumba class, we danced to that song and I had a classmate videotape part of it for us. This is my husband and I doing Zumba to the song.....remember this is BEGINNING Zumba! This is the only the second time we have danced to this song, but we have a lot of fun with it. Tue, 21 Apr 2015 17:16:39 EST My little asparagus harvest and house projects I decided to go ahead and harvest a little of my asparagus this year. The plants are two years old. I planted them as one year old plants last spring so this is the first year that they have actually produced asparagus. Next year, they should produce significantly more. Here's my little was quite tasty. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> We have been really busy all week working on projects around the house and outside. Tod... Sat, 18 Apr 2015 15:53:25 EST Spring clean up...inside and out! This week has been a very busy week in terms of house projects. With the warm weather coming back, we seem to have awakened from our winter slumber and decided to tackle several projects. <BR> <BR> We knew we wanted to get the outside of our house painted this year. With the ice storm doing a number on on paint over the winter, our house really needs a paint job badly. We have gotten three estimates and found someone we really like to paint our house. It's a husband and wife couple and... Sat, 11 Apr 2015 07:26:06 EST Tiny asparagus...loving fitbit...summer plans? Happy Thurday All! <BR> <BR> It's really warming up here. High today will be around 80 degrees. Yesterday, I did a lot of yard work cleaning up the flowerbeds and spreading mulch. It's on sale. <BR> <BR> My asparagus crop was really too small to harvest this year, so I'm just going to let it grow. I have about 20 plants that are two years old now. I bought 6 more plants this week. Eventually....there WILL be asparagus! I just hope I'm around to get to eat it. It's my little leap of faith ... Thu, 9 Apr 2015 07:54:04 EST A week with my it! I've had my fitbit for slightly over a week now. I'm delighted with it. I have the ChargeHR version. One thing I'm very happy about with it is how well it syncs with Sparkpeople. It records my steps, active time, distance and sleep every day without me having to do a thing! Now, I only need to record fitness minutes if I'm doing something that the fitbit is not recognizing as active minutes....swimming, biking, heavy gardening come to mind. <BR> <BR> We had a wild night last night w... Sat, 4 Apr 2015 17:43:23 EST First full day with my fitbit... I finally broke down and got a Fitbit Charge HR Wednesday. <BR> <BR> So far, I'm really liking it. I'm impressed with how well it integrates with SparkPeople too. Yesterday, was the first day I wore it all day. I went to a line dancing class and a ballroom dancing class for a total of 2 hours of dancing. I wasn't sure how well the fitbit would track dancing, but it seemed to pick it up fine. I ended up with an amazing 12,700 steps yesterday with most of it coming from those two classes. <BR... Sat, 28 Mar 2015 09:03:21 EST Finally got a Fitbit!! After many years of contempating getting a Fitbit, I finally got one!!! <BR> <BR> I got the new Fitbit HR because I wanted to be able to monitor my heart rate and I wanted to wear the monitor on my wrist. I had a 30% off coupon at Kohl's so I was able to get it for a good price. I'm looking forward to using it. I didn't put it on until the late afternoon today. I was surprised how many steps I took just walking around the house afterward cleaning things up. Sweet! <BR> <BR> <em>311</... Thu, 26 Mar 2015 22:25:35 EST Line dancing, ballroom dancing...haircut Today, I got my third haircut since finishing chemo about a year ago. The first couple cuts were good, but the purpose of those cuts was to get rid of the curly mullet that I was growing. This cut was the first one that actually gave me a real style. It's a short stacked bob. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It feels so nice to have a real hairstyle again!! Yipeee!!! <BR> <BR> It's been raining the last two days, so no bike riding...jus... Fri, 20 Mar 2015 14:49:16 EST Bike ride two days in a row...first Zumba class! Hubby and I want to ride our bicycles regularly now that the weather has gotten better where we live. We rode yesterday for the first time and rode again today. We rode about 6 miles each time. My goal is to do that every day this week and then start adding more miles. <BR> <BR> We also went to our first Zumba class today. It was a beginner class and lots of fun. I'm sure we will be doing more of that. <BR> <BR> I really enjoy exercising when it doesn't feel like exercise! <BR> <em>3... Tue, 17 Mar 2015 18:07:02 EST First bicycle ride of season and hubby's birthday Today is hubby's birthday. He's 64 years old. (I'm 62.) I feel very fortunate to be married to someone who is in as good health as he is. This morning, we went to aerobics class and then did a 6 mile bicycle ride. It was our first ride of the season and it was great to be outdoors. <BR> <BR> For his birthday dinner, we will be having free range organic steak, organic veggies (salad, green beans and potatoes). For dessert, we will have gluten-free brownies. I normally don't eat process... Mon, 16 Mar 2015 15:43:57 EST Mom back in assisted living...Breast surgeon checkup okay My mom got out of the hospital yesterday (from having a heart attack). Thankfully, she was strong enough to go directly back into assisted living. That was a huge relief for my brother and I who share in dealing with her care. My brother actually took her back to assisted living because I had a checkup with my oncologist yesterday...or so I thought... <BR> <BR> Yesterday, when we arrived in Nashville for my checkup, we discovered they had changed the appointment to next week. I'm not sur... Thu, 5 Mar 2015 09:34:25 EST Power back...Mom had a heart attack RANT ALERT: <BR> <BR> My husband and I have decided Feb. was the month from hell for us. <BR> <BR> After both of us getting the flu and then not having any electricity for a week due to a massive ice storm, our power was restored and we were able to get back into our house on Saturday. I was exhausted and slept most of the day and night. Good thing I did. <BR> <BR> When I woke up Sunday morning, there was a message from my brother that my mom had a heart attack during the night and was... Mon, 2 Mar 2015 10:17:55 EST Day 6 of no power.... Last night it snowed a couple inches. It's pretty, but I just want the electric company workers to be able to restore power to the thousands in our county that haven't had power for almost a week now. We are safe and relatively warm in the timeshare where we are staying, but would love to be able to get back into our own home. <BR> <BR> If this continues, we will probably need to find another place to stay just because it gets expensive to stay here each night. <BR> <BR> The good news is t... Thu, 26 Feb 2015 12:05:10 EST The Flu And The Big Ice Storm! It's been a rough couple weeks. I got the flu a couple weeks ago. It was pretty bad for a week. As I was getting better, my husband got it. We were both coughing like crazy. <BR> <BR> Just as my husband was getting better, we had a major ice storm on Friday night. Our power went out along with almost everyone else's in our county. It's five days later, and we still have no power along with about 6,000 other homes. All the hotels are full, but we discovered last night that a local ti... Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:39:40 EST Smart TV's and exercise Usually, hubby and I go to an aerobics class every weekday morning at 8 am. Over the weekend, hubby hurt his back and wasn't feeling up to going to class on Monday. I was all dressed in my workout clothes before I realized he wasn't able to work out. Of course, I could have gone on my own, but I decided not to go....lazy. <BR> <BR> Afterward, I was reading a Sparkfriend blog about working out at home on rainy days to exercise videos and remembered all the Spark exercise videos. As I was ... Tue, 10 Feb 2015 08:51:48 EST Back in's good to be home. I really loved my month in Florida last month. It was the first time that I've ever been a snowbird. I really "get" the concept after doing it. Even though the winters in Tennessee aren't nearly as bad as they are in so much of the US, Januarys in Tennessee tend to be rainy and dreary. It was a real treat to get to wear shorts and sandals on most days and to go outside without a jacket. <BR> <BR> We are back in Tennessee now, and today is one of those rainy days. I'm having fun cooking ... Mon, 9 Feb 2015 15:11:36 EST Jim and the big fish! My husband went deep sea fishing today and got this! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Now he's got a big fish tale to tell! Wed, 21 Jan 2015 17:00:11 EST One year anniversary from last chemo! Today is the one year anniversary from my last chemo infusion. This time last year, I barely had enough strength to climb a flight of stairs or walk from one end of the house to the other. I was completely bald and would surprise myself every time I looked in the mirror. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Today, I spent 3 hours kayaking this morning and then went out to eat for lunch at a place by the water. <BR> <img src="http://phot... Thu, 15 Jan 2015 17:01:55 EST