SUSANLUSAN's SparkPeople Blog SUSANLUSAN's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Happy Independence Day I feel very independent today. And grateful to those who made it possible. <BR> <BR> In a democracy, we get the government we deserve. And that's all I am saying about that. *runs out the door to play, laughing* <BR> <BR> <link><BR>eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fandrewsullivan.theat<BR> </link> <BR> <BR> Sat, 4 Jul 2009 10:31:49 EST Hot Diggity Dog This great vegan adventure hubby and I started was partially spurred on by the idea of growing some of our own fruits and veggies. We have talked of putting in a garden since we bought this place. In researching all the options, I found I preferred the idea of container gardening (easier to control pests, nutrients and water). I attended a workshop offered at a nearby farm -- coming away with the instructions on to make really cool "grow boxes". <BR> <BR> Voila! <BR> <BR> <img src="http:/... Fri, 26 Jun 2009 15:28:03 EST Some Birthday Thoughts I often share with others on their birthday some thoughts I like to indulge on this special day. <BR> <BR> I travel all the way back in time to the beginning and marvel about how that specific sperm and that very egg provided by my parents met by chance. Anything else would have been someone else, not me -- the green eyed blond female who is left handed and very curious. <BR> <BR> I then think about being born -- what a fantastic experience that must have been! How is it that I can't reme... Thu, 25 Jun 2009 09:49:23 EST A Check List 1. Long lost trucker hubby finally arrives home: check (yeaaaaa!) <BR> <BR> 2. New blood pressure device explored: check (easy peasy!) <BR> <BR> 3. Michael's blood pressure: 115/78 (a significant improvement!) <BR> <BR> 4. Susan's blood pressure: 98/63 <BR> <BR> 5. "We are what we eat" lessons being learned here: You betcha! <BR> <BR> <BR> PS - We've had trouble getting online since yesterday morning (severe lightning storms here --- almost 17,000 strikes in Central Florida over a five ... Wed, 24 Jun 2009 09:25:24 EST Dispatcher Gods Smiled Upon Us Michael is on his way in!!! Finally. He could be here sometime Tuesday. I routinely avoid riding the roller coaster of his coming and going. This last time out proved why it is wise to avoid. I really rode it this time. Ugh. Until Florida freight evens out, I need to make the necessary adjustments to avoid it in more extreme circumstances too. <BR> <BR> I am also feeling better. The impressive joint aching I got into with the low fat experiment is finally receding. My energy for things other... Sun, 21 Jun 2009 07:03:51 EST From The Grab Bag <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It is never easy to get dispatched to and from Florida for any of her resident truckers. Florida is having an especially tough time now. This means for truckers it manifests as either getting stuck at home or stuck out there. Since they can go where the work is --- being stuck out there is easier on the bank account. But man, it is tough on all other accounts. I extra miss my overdue trucker on top of a lower grade ch... Fri, 19 Jun 2009 06:42:36 EST Dem Bones I can be very clumsy sometimes. I slipped and jammed my elbow. This traveled up my arm and turned into a shoulder thing. Which turned into a neck thing. It became necessary to restrict time at my computer. This is why I have been somewhat MIA here. It is a sharp reminder to me of how it's all connected -- dem bones! And like a jammed finger (I'm good at creating those too), this is taking its sweet time healing. Meanwhile, my broken-and-never-fully-healed foot seems to have company in forecas... Tue, 16 Jun 2009 15:20:30 EST Life On The Road Michael, my hard working, random route long hauler spouse, doesn't have internet access from his truck. Oh sure, he has instant satellite communications with dispatch but that's just business stuff. He has enough with which amuse himself, he says, without that time grabber. <BR> <BR> He sends photos from his cell phone often enough to keep me amused. <BR> <BR> Most people don't realize when they ask where he is that even if I knew at one time -- he isn't there now. Asking where he's been ... Thu, 11 Jun 2009 15:25:04 EST Raspberry Jam I love raspberries. I especially enjoy raspberry jam warm on a slice of bread just out of the toaster. Just a little goes a long way too. I also like a small dollop on tapioca pudding. Or even on cheesecake. My grandmother Nana used to make thumbprint cookies and use raspberry jam when she was out of her favorite -- lemon curd. I liked the fancy label on her lemon curd jar. Although she was from Canada, there was something still very English about Nana. Today's raspberry jam reminded me of he... Wed, 10 Jun 2009 11:11:02 EST The Grass Is Calling I hear the yard calling me. In a sort of singsong voice, it is saying "get that workout done, lady .... put on some yard clothes and that old straw hat you got .... get your butt out here and play with us ...." <BR> <BR> There are flower beds and potted plants to tend, a few palm fronds to dispatch, a compost bin to gently stir while checking on a batch of red wigglers. And most cathartic of all, there is a riding mower to give what grass there is here a fresh crew cut at the breath taking ... Tue, 9 Jun 2009 07:56:21 EST Our Amazing Variety I have been immensely enjoying really cool blogs this morning. Thank you each and everyone of you or as my Savannah girlfriend would say... all y'alls, lol : ) Mon, 8 Jun 2009 11:59:59 EST Funky Chicken Farm I visited a farm less than three miles from here yesterday and came away a few bucks lighter but with a growbox, a worm composter that makes lovely compost (especially worm tea -- a super nutritious liquid to feed the growboxes) and a wealth of information. What a bargain! I met my organic vegetable garden guru, I believe; her name is Suzanne of the Funky Chicken Farm. <BR> <BR> Michael and I have talked of a vegetable garden here ever since we bought this place. For a long time it was delay... Fri, 5 Jun 2009 08:50:09 EST My Personal Trainer <img src=""> <BR> As many of you know, my personal trainer is a hound dog named Missy. She dutifully attends my workout sessions every morning -- guarding me against squirrel invasions and such. <BR> <BR> She sniffs my face whenever I lay down on the bow flex and spurs me on when I don't get very far on the elliptical. But full disclosure be told here, for the most part she is lounging while I do all the work. <BR> <BR> Some folks have a ... Thu, 4 Jun 2009 07:52:46 EST A Puzzlement I am observing how my feelings differ day to day in working out. <BR> <BR> Knowing too well that in order to stop something, you need to replace it with something better -- I am trying to cultivate my "inner workout nut" .... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> ... to replace the days I feel like this: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Why is it so easy some days to get in there and give i... Tue, 2 Jun 2009 07:52:36 EST Room With A View In between the penciled in nutrition minding and foodfixing, the workingout, the dogwashing, the kittytickling, the doingactualpapaerworking, the errandrunning, the filecleanouting, the routinetrudging -- I hope to squeeze in a bit of a back deck cumulus show. Cloud watching is so good for the soul. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Mon, 1 Jun 2009 10:18:26 EST Penciled In Plans When I make plans, they are mostly done in pencil. Flexibility is a big key to how one can avoid a pretty good measure of annoyance, disappointment, etc. I would like to say I learned how important this is in therapy but it was really a course in aikido augmented by one of the lines in the Serenity Prayer about the "courage to change the things we can" that boosted it to the current level for me. <BR> <BR> I planned on doing some gardening yesterday but was thwarted by a visit by a full grow... Sun, 31 May 2009 11:53:54 EST Let Them Eat Cake <img src=""> <BR> Bobcat laments: "Why don't you make that white chili anymore?" (for those who missed that fiasco, lol, go look up the blog entry dated 1/12/09 on page 7, I think it is) <BR> <BR> Susan patiently answers: "Because, Bobby dear, I make lovely tabouli and flaxseed muffins now instead." <BR> <BR> Tabouli recipe: <link><BR>l.asp?recipe=645013 </link> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpe... Fri, 29 May 2009 09:12:37 EST The Numbers Well, we got the report back from the blood donation folks. <BR> <BR> The bad news is my cholesterol may not be as good as I thought it was. I didn't realize it can change that much in just months. Yikes! At first I thought there might have been a mistake -- I was that surprised. Perhaps this big spike can be attributed to my polishing off some food I might not have been so inclined to eat before the big switch to vegan. This test was taken right after that. Good thing I gave away a bunch of... Thu, 28 May 2009 07:38:48 EST On Beauty and Being Unique <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This is one of my favorite type designers talking here about design -- a very strange and talented man. <BR> <BR> I have never been one to buy into anything prescribed when it comes to human beauty. I enjoy unusual people. They are often considered anything but attractive by the beauty police. Where I look for beauty is inside, not the package, and I am heartened to see some shift in our culture to this concept. <BR... Wed, 27 May 2009 08:09:27 EST The Mad Scientist I have periodic outbreaks of what I call my "mad scientist". If there could have been two of me, one would have been that, I think. <BR> <BR> My mad scientist experiments -- tinkering to see what can be discerned or improved. The other day I was messing with some new spices after upgrading my spice collection (a great way to learn spices is to cook up something fairly neutral like rice or oatmeal and take tiny portions and well, play around with spicing it). <BR> <BR> In moving around when ... Tue, 26 May 2009 13:02:04 EST Waking Up Happy I tend to wake up happy. So does hubby. Even when we are apart, we still do. It is a good way to be grateful for a decent night's sleep... and we are both big on cultivating that attitude of gratitude to set a nice tone for the day. <BR> <BR> Now there is such a thing as waking up too happy however. Our dog Missy does that, lol! She leaps out of bed and races the the back door to see if there are dinosaurs in the back yard (I have to hand it to her, it looks like it could have dinosaurs, lo... Mon, 25 May 2009 08:22:34 EST Could Be Imagination Hubby and I did a massive amount of yard work yesterday. It needed it too since things have been greening up and growing like mad since the rain began. Dead branches and palm fronds at too great a volume to incorporate back into the land so we made a pile the size of a small school bus at the curb for the mulching truck. We keep looking for a good used chipper so we can do it ourselves. <BR> <em>435</em> <BR> <BR> <BR> If we had a tiki hut in the back yard, it could have had a whole new r... Sat, 23 May 2009 07:40:13 EST Digital TV & Mango Sorbet I don't watch much tv so I can only imagine how this goes for those who do. But the frequency of those ads about the coming end of analog broadcasting seem as obnoxiously ubiquitous as political ads right before an election. Sheesh! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Okay, now that I got that wee bit o'bitching out -- here's the real news! <BR> <BR> Spouse and I sat down to our first official candlelit vegan dinner last night. We had bean... Fri, 22 May 2009 07:50:16 EST Moderation <img src=""> <BR> <BR> For the first time in several days, we saw an momentary indication that the sun was still there. Some parts of Florida have received a foot and a half of rain already and there is more to come. From drought to floods -- lordy! Thu, 21 May 2009 06:54:44 EST Checked Out Paradise Yesterday No, not the kind you might be thinking. It's the name of a new health food store around the corner from us. Nice people. Well stocked store. Had a good look around. <BR> <BR> I used the No GMO Challenge suggestion and bought only organic, looking specifically for non-genetically modified. I noticed how much packaging offered statements on being GMO-free ---- less than I would have guessed. I also saw that adding that info (should it become mandatory) will put some of them in direct competit... Tue, 19 May 2009 07:42:35 EST Art and Food I have always been an artist of some kind (and I believe there are endless ways to manifest being an artist too). The connection between art and food has always been especially strong to me. <BR> <BR> I went to the farmers market yesterday. With Maha's metaphor still happily buzzing around in my thought-garden, I found myself suddenly standing still in the middle of the market gazing at all the displays with my new "vegan eyes". It really looked that different to me. <BR> <BR> What had str... Mon, 18 May 2009 08:16:47 EST Can't Do Lentils On The Grill I made a batch of lentils (not on the grill, in a crock pot, silly : P) and either my taste buds are wickedly off or I didn't find my old standby recipe like I thought I did. I checked the spices and they are all fine. Let's hope it isn't melamine making its way into lentils now (just kidding, I think? lol). <BR> <BR> Anyway, apparently one of several things motivating my former hardcore steak eating spouse to try Dr. Esselstyn's call to veganism is how US food industries seem so capable o... Sat, 16 May 2009 12:16:39 EST Plenty of Plenty We live in an older house which, as a time stamp, can reflect cultural changes that have occurred. One of the more obvious is that storage space in American homes has grown significantly. <BR> <BR> With less, one tends to get remarkably efficient -- just ask anyone who has ever lived aboard a 28 ft. sailboat just how far 'efficient' really goes (I lived without a mirror for several years and it became strange to occasionally see myself in one lol). <BR> <BR> So I have been cleaning out bo... Fri, 15 May 2009 13:31:47 EST Digging It The more exercising I do, the more gardening I can do. <BR> <BR> I am definitely digging that on all frequencies, lol! <BR> <BR> <em>434</em> <em>87</em> <em>148</em> <em>47</em> <em>88</em> <em>126</em> <em>67</em> Thu, 14 May 2009 15:09:41 EST Reason #12 This is really a variation of No. 11 (blog date 4/4/09) where I waxed on about incongruousness. <BR> <BR> Another ironic mismatch is how well I take care of the house my family and I live in but I haven't taken very good care of the house (body) I live in. I am not just my body. This I know well. But it is a fact that I'll be very hard pressed to stay here without it, lol. <BR> <BR> Some of that lack of regard/care has been from some odd lingering ambiguity about that very thing -- staying... Wed, 13 May 2009 09:43:26 EST Early Morning I love early morning -- that first sip of coffee, the quietness (after I feed the herd here, of course) broken by the occasional bird song, my consciousness slowly rising, my stiff body shaking off as much nocturnal ache as possible (some days a lot, some days not). <BR> <BR> Ever notice how some days the morning lasts all day? <BR> <BR> I like that. <BR> <em>67</em> Mon, 11 May 2009 07:04:56 EST To All You Moms <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I am not a parent so my hat is off to anyone that brave. Sun, 10 May 2009 05:53:57 EST Empty Calorie Warnings I feel fortunate those really bad snacks don't call to me like they did in my youth. Over the years, the type of food I overeat has improved. It is self defense since I feel sick after eating the really junky stuff. <BR> <BR> But for my hubby and other friends I know, it still is very tempting. I think all the bad snacks should come with serious warnings of the sort we see on the sides of cigarette packages or something! <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sat, 9 May 2009 17:02:59 EST Tuff Ball Crisis Resolved Our lab Missy is quite hard on dog toys. I would often remark she'd make a great toy tester as she grew up. In fact, the reason we have cats is related to this (I happened across "da boys" up for adoption when I was making an umpteen millionth run to the pet store for dog toys). <BR> <BR> It has become our habit after lunch to go out and play her favorite game (fetch, of course!) and we use an oversize, industrial strength tennis ball called a Giant Tuff Ball. It is about the size of a softb... Fri, 8 May 2009 09:31:11 EST Prejudice It is unavoidable in life. We all have some bad ones. The trick is to be conscious of them and the price we pay for indulging them. <BR> <BR> While I don't believe I have very many in the people category, I do have some in the food department. <BR> <BR> And the biggest one of those is my view of tofu. I fully own it is an irrational one since I have eaten tofu without much consequence. <BR> <BR> But to buy it and cook it comes down as a "no way, no how, not ever" deal. Even when I was a... Wed, 6 May 2009 09:11:35 EST A Hot/Cold Relationship I have a very hot/cold relationship with food these days. When I am interested in food, I want to eat everything in sight! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> But I also experience days when I can't seem to care about food or eating at all!? That's strange, for me, to say the least. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I know a healthy body is supported by consistency and moderation. Mon, 4 May 2009 15:12:53 EST Tailgating This morning I took a quick glance at someone's page here and immediately got up and workouted, lol! And it was a good 'un too! Hot, sweaty, pumped with energy to spare at the end. We LIKE those kind : ) <BR> <BR> And the whole time I am smelling something sweet wafting on the air. Hmmm, not me, I think? Not my trainer Missy -- she needs a bath? Then I realize what it is. I picked one of the first blooms to come in on our little old gnarly magnolia tree and put it on my desk. It has been sce... Sun, 3 May 2009 12:18:20 EST Easy Peasy I have to say the Spark meal planner coupled with the automatic grocery list are tres cool! <BR> <BR> However the menu could use a little expanding since it gets old fast. I was heartened when I saw Spark with an ad out for a nutrition professional. But I am not complaining since I can always modify too. <BR> <BR> Such great tools deserve a round of applause. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Sat, 2 May 2009 13:46:33 EST A Quiet Little Happy Today I am content. Not blissful but more like a quiet little happy. Like the word "nice", I think "content" gets underrated. That little word strikes terror into the heart of Madison Avenue since contented people usually don't buy stuff. <BR> <BR> I have all that I need today in the way of stuff, thanks. <BR> <BR> I always have room for more comments from dem Spark folks. <BR> Especially the goofy ones, lol : ) <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR>... Thu, 30 Apr 2009 10:02:01 EST Motivation Is it easier when you are a cat? <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Right now my workout is motivated by knowing my favorite breakfast follows it -- strawberry cottage cheese waffles. Yum yum yum! Wed, 29 Apr 2009 08:14:30 EST Accomplishment Accomplishment is a gift that keeps on giving. I like how it adds oomph to whatever comes next. <BR> <BR> I am very good at allowing a refinishing of an old chair to motivate me to wash all the wood floors here, even though the floors will need attention again, albeit sooner than a new bright red chair will. <BR> <BR> Why is it I am not very good at allowing my weight loss to date or the muscle tone and its resulting added physical agility I've gained to motivate me into further development... Tue, 28 Apr 2009 12:43:57 EST Growing Everything is growing here.. the grass, the dozen or so potted plants I have scattered around the patio and deck, the trees are filling out, even the birds are back with their young feeding and splashing about in the birdbaths. <BR> <BR> What am I growing into? I am clearly not done yet. Yet where I am going is a choice I can sometimes not consider as life seems to take us where it wishes. But does it? Or do we, in our many minute decisions, decide and determine some of that growth? <BR> ... Mon, 27 Apr 2009 09:59:22 EST My Gratitude I am thankful for... <BR> <BR> ... the Spark friends I have, for your thoughtful messages and goodies, for your patience with me, for your support. <BR> <BR> I am back and recommitted. <BR> <BR> I weight two pounds less then before, have some nice spring cleaning to show for it here and missed you all very very much. Thank you for waiting for me while I aired my head out. Sat, 25 Apr 2009 13:51:29 EST Resetting A Few Things I have experienced some want to's turning into have to's and backing up all over me while other stuff has been piling up that very much requires attention. Man, I hope that just made sense, lol. What this amounts to is I am taking a small break from the computer to catch up and more importantly, reset a few things in the choice, power and responsibility departments. It should only take a few days so I will see you very soon. Keep the Spark fires burning meanwhile, please. In her best Ahhhnold... Wed, 15 Apr 2009 06:53:30 EST Renewal I have very fond memories of celebrating Easter with some of my family and friends. For me, it goes beyond that. Renewal is an eternal cycle all of reality experiences every spring. I want in on that. I want a renewed me. I am lifted a little by the rising of others, Christian or otherwise. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Sun, 12 Apr 2009 08:18:22 EST Of Soy and Smoothies How many healthy ways are there to make a soy protein drink taste like something interesting? I have recently discovered sugar free flavored syrups. Where have I been??? This opens up a whole new realm of possibilities! <BR> <BR> And why does it give me such a thrill to skip the civilized glass and drink it out of the blender? I dunno but I like that is does, lol. I likes it lots. Bwahahahaha! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Thu, 9 Apr 2009 09:39:25 EST Crying In The Cheerios I just finished reading a terrific article in the AARP magazine while having my breakfast. It is an exceptionally well written piece about how they are beating poverty in lowland Nepal by first gently confronting ancient prejudices and the mental poverty it spawned that underlies and perpetuates the physical poverty. I would offer to you all a link to the article but alas, it was not listed in their e-zine issue (I've emailed AARP hoping they change that since this article is too good not to ... Wed, 8 Apr 2009 09:08:43 EST Holistic Works Best There is physical fitness that can be easily seen. <BR> <BR> There is also mental/emotional/spiritual fitness which cannot be so directly seen. <BR> <BR> Over the years I have worked at being the second kind of fit. To be frank, it was probably at the expense of the first in some ways. But shocking though this is, having met folks who are a veritable cesspool packaged oh so nicely, I would choose this again if only one choice was permitted. <BR> <BR> That said, I want more than that. I wa... Mon, 6 Apr 2009 07:38:20 EST Sometimes I Wonder About Me I went to the local flea market today to load up on more locally grown and found myself having a near hysterical laughing fit .... over eggplant! <BR> <BR> And to tell the whole truth here, I have noooo idea what that was about!?? It was like some eggplant joke from decades ago that I didn't get suddenly landed! Oy lol But considering the stitch I put in my side, I must have burned off a wad of calories. May I have more mushroom and asparagus salad, please? Sun, 5 Apr 2009 20:44:02 EST Reason #11 It is weigh-in day and I am one pound down. <BR> <BR> It appears I may have exchanged it for thought. Good thing thoughts weigh so litttle, lol! <BR> <BR> Another good reason for getting fit is because it is greener. It makes better use of resources, better use of energy and treats this vehicle, my body, like I would like everyone to treat this home, our planet, we live on. It would add congruity to the overall picture. I like congruity amidst all the idiosyncrasies of my life. Sat, 4 Apr 2009 07:00:56 EST