SIMPLELIFE4REAL's SparkPeople Blog SIMPLELIFE4REAL's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community 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 Beach boys at the beach! Yesterday was a wonderful day. I took a three mile walk on the and in shorts. I love how I get to do this in January! It was 10 degrees this morning back home. I think I could easily become a snowbird! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Last night, we went to see the Beach Boys in Fort Pierce. It was fun listening to so many of their hits. It was an old crowd. In a way, it was a reminder of just how old I am. I enjo... Sat, 10 Jan 2015 08:27:41 EST High winds this morning....but still in the 60's This morning, I woke up to the sound of howling wind on the beach. The plate glass sliding doors to the balcony of our rental unit are actually bowing with the wind gusts. It's pretty amazing. Even so, it's supposed to be in the mid 60's here today. That's a heck of a lot better than at our home in Tennessee. It's zero degrees there as I write this. I feel so grateful to be able to walk around in shorts and here in Florida (although, I suspect I'll be wearing long pants today!). <BR> <... Thu, 8 Jan 2015 05:56:46 EST Greetings from Florida! Hubby and I are in Florida for the month of January. It's so relaxing walking on the beach each day. What a wonderful way to get some exercise. <BR> <BR> I'm having trouble loading pictures this morning, but here is one of the sunrise view from our balcony. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Wishing everyone a great day! <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> Mon, 5 Jan 2015 10:18:34 EST Almost half way there....(to Florida) We loaded up the car today and started our toward our month-long stay in Florida. We had planned on an easy 6 hour drive today and another 6 hours tomorrow to make it to our destination (Jensen Beach on Hutchinson Island). <BR> <BR> I realized we would be driving through Chattanooga right around lunch time, so I called my brother and SIL to see if they could meet us for lunch. They could! We had a fun lunch at Red Lobster and then Jim and I were on our way.... <BR> <BR> The traffic was... Tue, 30 Dec 2014 20:09:33 EST Packing day....met December exercise goal. Today, I'm packing for our month long trip to Florida. I'm debating about taking our bicycles with us. We have a Prius and don't like to carry the bikes on the outside. If we take the bikes inside the car, getting everything else in will be much more difficult. What to do? What to do? I consider this a "high class" problem in the grand scheme of things. <BR> <BR> I'm surprised I was able to met my exercise goal of 900 minutes this month because I didn't count any exercise minutes the fi... Mon, 29 Dec 2014 14:50:17 EST Christmas Decorations Down...Florida is next! We took the Christmas decorations down today. We needed to get them down early because we will be leaving soon on a trip to Florida! <BR> <BR> I enjoyed looking at the Christmas decorations so I was a little sad to need to take them down so soon. I particularly liked getting up before dawn and turning on the Christmas tree lights to watch as I had my morning cup of coffee. However, knowing that we were taking them down so we could go on a trip made it much easier to put the decorations aw... Sat, 27 Dec 2014 20:11:24 EST Quiet Christmas....very nice Yesterday, we had a pretty quiet Christmas. We went to my mom's assisted living place and had lunch with her and my brother and his wife. I really enjoy getting together with my brother and his wife so the visit was a lot of fun. As my mom is getting older (90), it's easier to go to her assisted living place for some things rather than to try to take her out. It made for an easy Christmas for me too, since I didn't have to cook for company. <BR> <BR> Christmas Eve, hubby and I made a poi... Fri, 26 Dec 2014 07:39:33 EST Line dancing...late to the party! Last spring, hubby I started going to a beginner line dancing class at our fitness center. Neither one of us had every done any line dancing before. It was a great way for me to get back into exercise after finishing up my treatments for breast cancer. The dances were pretty simple and the speed was such that I could start by doing half the class and then gradually working up to a full class. <BR> <BR> Now, we have started doing the more advanced line dancing classes. Wow...that is ae... Fri, 19 Dec 2014 12:46:13 EST Size inflation/vanity sizing drives me nuts! Size inflation or vanity sizing is rampant! <BR> <BR> I lost a lot of weight over the last year. When I finally bought some new pants last summer, I was surprised to find that I wore a size 2 in jeans at Kohl's. <BR> <BR> BUT....that's not really true. I have some old Dockers that I had probably gotten at Kohl's 10 years ago that I liked but "outgrew" over the years. I saved the pants. I can wear them very comfortably now. They fit perfectly in the waist. Out of curiosity, I checke... Thu, 18 Dec 2014 17:07:07 EST What a difference a year makes! Today in aerobics class, I was really struck by the difference in me today versus a year ago. This time last year, I was doing what I call "the hard chemo" after three months of doing a "not quite as hard" chemo. I was so weak I couldn't walk from one room to another without being worn out and out of breath. <BR> <BR> Today, I was jogging throughout all of the high intensity intervals (four minutes long each) of an hour long aerobics class and smiling while I was doing it! I felt fantasti... Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:45:18 EST First haircut since chemo I got my first haircut in over a year yesterday. I think my last true haircut was in July 2013....not counting getting my head shaved after losing most of my hair to chemo last winter. My last chemo was almost a year ago. It was January 15th to be exact. <BR> <BR> My hair is normally slightly wavy, but it came back in tight curls after chemo. That's very common for it to be curly temporarly as it grows back. Here's one lof the last pictures of me before my haircut with curly hair. <BR> ... Thu, 11 Dec 2014 15:44:31 EST Thanksgiving decorations down... We finally took our Thanksgiving decorations down today! <BR> <BR> Since we were hosting our family get together the Saturday immediately after Thanksgiving, I planned on waiting until Sunday to take our decorations down. That Sunday was the day that my husband and I decided to go on a spur of the moment cruise. I wasn't worried about the indoor decorations, but both my husband and I forgot to get our outside Thanksgiving decorations down before we left Sunday afternoon. Our neighbors mus... Mon, 8 Dec 2014 18:12:49 EST Back from Cruise to Bahamas Last Sunday, hubby and I made a spur of the moment decision to go on a cruise. We signed up for one that was leaving the next day from Jacksonville, Florida. We threw stuff into a couple bags and we were on our way! I think the month-long trip that we took in October has really taught me how to travel lightly. We were able to get everything into two pretty small carry on bags. Even so...I ended up taking more clothes than I actually needed. <BR> <BR> It was a 5 day cruise to the Bahamas... Sun, 7 Dec 2014 17:13:35 EST