THETURTLEBEAR's SparkPeople Blog THETURTLEBEAR's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Feeling blessed! (and summing up the year to date) I don't get to spend a lot of time Sparking these days, but I am feeling fortunate and this week is always a good week to remember good fortune. <BR> <BR> Little Jackson is a joy. He is such a good-natured little guy! He smiles, plays with toys to amuse himself, and continues to have good health. He's very big for his age, just like his dad. He turned 9 months earlier in November, but I just bought him 18 mo. jammies because the 12 mo. size is just too short. Even though he only lives a half... Mon, 24 Nov 2014 18:42:42 EST I got new glasses! I've been kind of stealth for 2014 because I've been growing out my hair from short layers to "something else" - but not really sure where the something else has been going. Considering how short my hair was to start, it has been extremely PAINFUL going through this process and most days I look in the mirror and just roll my eyes and hate it. <BR> <BR> Growing out my bangs is the hardest part. They aren't quite long enough to tuck behind my ears and stay there yet, but I'm getting closer. I ... Thu, 7 Aug 2014 19:24:56 EST Two teeth <img src=""> Sat, 2 Aug 2014 10:05:14 EST Action Jackson - Shades of Cool I couldn't resist - just got this from my DDIL. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Fri, 1 Aug 2014 16:01:40 EST July in retrospect (with pics) I spent quite a few days this month without much data access, and I didn't even try to Spark. Suddenly the end of July is here, so I decided to do a synopsis. <BR> <BR> - In mid-July I made two separate trips to Colorado and New Mexico. That's because I was taking two groups of 80+ scouts and leaders for a big backpacking adventure at Philmont Scout Ranch. Unlike the last time I was there in 2012, I was not also taking an individual crew and backpacking myself. I decided that it was too conf... Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:51:35 EST Independence Day for Turtles! One of my Spark friends STRONGLY hinted that I follow up on my previous SP status with a blog. Her wish is my command - especially since I am long overdue with a blog. <BR> <BR> I work full time, but I am passionate about several volunteer endeavors - scout backpacking, opera company board of directors, and turtle rescue and conservation. My three volunteer "things" keep me busy in my free time. <BR> <BR> On the turtle side of things, I have adopted one adult Red Eared Slider "Sandy" (last... Fri, 4 Jul 2014 10:24:59 EST April 14, 1951 On that day, 63 years ago, my parents were married. They got to celebrate 60 years of marriage before my dad passed away in 2011. <BR> <BR> I called Mom on this day in 2012, because I knew it would be a rough day. It was actually the beginning of a long plummet into depression from that day forward. Eventually Mom has found some contentment, but as she gets ready to turn 91 next month, her life has changed a lot with diminishing mobility and increasing mental decline with mild dementia. Last... Mon, 14 Apr 2014 21:29:02 EST Lately... I've had a lot on my mind lately, but not in a bad way. <BR> <BR> Last year, I had a lot of woes about my long-time job, and considered changing companies after many, many years. We were purchased by a publicly-traded company in London (after being a entrepreneurial venture and then a privately-owned small business) back in 1999. It was an interesting 14 years and the interaction with a parent company and sister companies brought many new dynamics. I like change, and so it was a positive exp... Thu, 10 Apr 2014 09:43:55 EST Nana buys Jackson some baby sunglasses <img src=""> Fri, 21 Mar 2014 12:26:53 EST 2014 - a great year! As I entered 2014, I decided it was going to be a GREAT year. <BR> <BR> Last year, I let myself float along where the world took me - and often those places were discouraging places. A lot of it had to do with my mom's aging. At the beginning of the year I helped research and move Mom from my brother's home to a trial run at assisted living. The first go-around didn't work out very well. It was a lovely facility, but Mom was very "needy" and wanted people to give her constant attention. She... Thu, 20 Mar 2014 11:45:46 EST One month old today! (grandson pic) <img src=""> <BR> <BR> My DDIL posted this on Facebook and I promptly swiped it. I can't believe Jackson is one month old! On one hand, it went by quickly. But it also seems so far in the past that he was in the NICU and everything was new and scary. He is doing great! <BR> <BR> It has been a great "family" week. My middle DS and his GF came down from NYC on Wednesday night - I picked them up at MegaBus after babysitting Jackson. They e... Fri, 7 Mar 2014 12:15:39 EST Of COURSE I can babysit! Oh boy oh boy oh boy! Today's the day I get my mitts on the grandbaby, all by myself. I just got a text message from DDIL saying she forgot to cancel her dentist appointment and would I mind a last-minute request to babysit Jackson. Would I mind? HECK NO! This is exactly what my grandmother training book told me: Always be prepared to drop everything if you get a chance to get the baby! <BR> <em>211</em> <BR> <BR> Seriously though, I've been telling them that I had some 2013 carryover "... Wed, 5 Mar 2014 09:33:14 EST Jackson meets Henry, and other stories... I realized I was already failing as a grandmother by going more than a week without posting new baby pictures. Goodness me! I will need remedial grandmother training! The last pic I posted was while he was still in the hospital, attached to wires and the IV. Here's a picture that's just baby, laying in the crib I bought for him, for the first time. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Here he is in his car seat on his first outing, for his... Tue, 25 Feb 2014 11:39:31 EST Saturday Yesterday I worked on the chair project a bit. I was thrilled to see that the joint glue worked exactly as advertised! I used a little carpenters glue, here and there, and let things dry until today. Painting commences shortly. <BR> <BR> Back when the kids (DS and DDIL) were in the hospital with the baby for ten days, I told them that if they'd like to go online on the Wegman's site and make a list, I'd go grocery shopping for them. (I read this hint in my "Grandmother book" LOL.) I know the... Sun, 23 Feb 2014 11:16:08 EST Chair project: The sequel I had DS send me a photo that included the dining room table and rug underneath. I had only seen the dining room table twice and had thought it was a darker color. And the rug? I completely forgot about the rug. Once I saw them, I realized that the "warm caramel" paint color would not work. I painted a couple chairs the espresso color and then took pics and put them next to the table pic with Paint, and sent to DS. He (and I) agreed that espresso was better. At first, he didn't understand tha... Fri, 21 Feb 2014 09:24:25 EST Today's chair project My DS and DDIL moved into their new house in December (in time for the baby), and didn't have a real dining room table. They had a small counter-height table and four round stools from Walmart. Right before the baby shower I threw at their house in early January, my ex bought them a beautiful table that was on sale at a Pottery Barn outlet. Since it was table height, they had no chairs on which to sit. They haven't been in a hurry to deal with the missing chairs, with all the pregnancy and ba... Wed, 19 Feb 2014 23:17:37 EST Today I get to hold my grandson for the first time! Happy Valentines to me! Jackson got moved to pediatrics from the NICU on Wednesday afternoon, with the snowstorm pending. This meant my DS and DDIL could "room in" with him instead of being stuck at home in the storm with Jackson still in the hospital. This was so exciting for them - my son texted, "He's finally all ours!" <BR> <BR> Of course this happened on the eve of our blizzard, so I've waited another two days, but once we get the driveway cleared enough I hope to head to the hospital about 40 minutes away. <B... Fri, 14 Feb 2014 10:22:51 EST Short Jackson update Mommy goes home today. Jackson goes home in a week - maybe Monday. Tests ruled out meningitis, so we are greatly relieved. He'll stay in NICU until he goes home. <BR> <BR> Everyone is doing well, and my son keeps sending pics we we don't feel so bad that we can't be seeing/holding the baby yet. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Tue, 11 Feb 2014 09:10:29 EST Today's picture Today Jackson needs no oxygen tubes. WOO HOO! He still has an IV to fight his mystery infection, but he's doing better every day! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Sun, 9 Feb 2014 16:59:10 EST We meet in person I got to go into the NICU with my son today to meet Jackson. I didn't get to hold him, but I was right next to him (with gown, surgically washed hands, face mask, etc.) <BR> <BR> Here he is with his eyes open. He was ready to eat! (My DIL fed him about 10 minutes later.) <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> His oxygen has improved in his blood and today he is only on about 25% oxygen - it was 90% yesterday. <BR> <BR> Here is a photo of h... Sat, 8 Feb 2014 16:54:42 EST The baby hath arrived! Wow - deep breath! My son called me at dinner time on Thursday to say they were on their way to the hospital to have the baby. <BR> <em>244</em> <BR> <BR> Once they got to the hospital, the reports were texted. I got the usual "progress report" on the labor signals, like dilation. It sounded like we were in for your typical wait for that first baby to appear. <BR> <em>77</em> <BR> <BR> At 10:30 PM, DS said that my DIL was resting and he planned to nap - and that I should go to bed... Sat, 8 Feb 2014 09:17:13 EST You can tell the weather has been crazy by how few blogs were written! We live in a house that is surrounded by woods on two sides. BIIIIIIGGGGG trees. Miraculously we have never had a tree fall on our house. We are also incredibly lucky to have survived all the storms of the past few years including a couple bad hurricanes without loss of electricity for more an a few hours (or not at all) at times when others nearby lost theirs for days or even a week or more. <BR> <BR> Last night, with the impending ice storm (freezing rain during freezing temps), DH asked i... Wed, 5 Feb 2014 18:29:29 EST No baby yet Need I say more? <BR> Tue, 4 Feb 2014 20:26:03 EST Headaches and sniffles Sometimes DH is an odd one. Although he LOVES to dramatize the slightest illness, he sometimes hides the fact that he has caught a cold for the first few days - you know, those first few days when a person is most contagious? He waits until I notice, and then admits he is sick, and then the drama begins. That means I don't get the opportunity to try to avoid his germs during the contagious stage. He gets colds several times a year, probably because of his retirement job in retail. I am usuall... Sat, 1 Feb 2014 11:29:11 EST There's only one correct way to get healthy... ...NOT! <BR> <BR> “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” - Friedrich Nietzsche <BR> <BR> If I had to pick one single piece of advice to give to someone who has newly joined Sparkpeople, it would be to take your own journey. <BR> <BR> **************** <BR> <BR> He's a vegan; She does paleo - THEY'RE BOTH RIGHT <BR> <BR> He drinks diet soda; She drinks water - THEY'RE BOTH RIGHT <BR> <BR> He exercises ten minutes da... Wed, 22 Jan 2014 18:50:40 EST Oh men, why don't you talk to one another? Most summers DH goes backpacking for 7-10 days with his friend Richard, in various wilderness areas out in the Rockies. They go to different states each year - Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, etc. It is one of the highlights of each summer for DH. Today I asked DH if they were going on a trip this summer. He said he didn't know as they hadn't talked about it. (I'm thinking, "How hard is it to find out this information???") <BR> <BR> Usually by this time of year, DH has already ordered his m... Sun, 19 Jan 2014 21:02:30 EST Keeping out of hot water My kitchen cookware is really old. I got most of it more than twenty years ago. It's "old school" Revereware. If I want to boil a lot of water, I use a big stock pot. It has nice thick plastic handles on each side, easy to grab. You would think that thick plastic wouldn't conduct heat and would make perfect handles...and you would be dead wrong. Those things get HOT! If you aren't wearing oven mitts, you can't hold on to them for very long. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.c... Sat, 18 Jan 2014 16:50:16 EST Turn that frown upside down I felt so weighed down by 2013. It was a year that seemed to have so many deaths, cancer diagnoses, illnesses, aging parent issues and general malaise for my family, circle of friends and acquaintances. Even when not in my close circle, the ripple effect made it seem like I faced this in every direction I turned. <BR> <BR> By the end of the year I decided that I needed to remember that I have the ability to control my attitude regardless of external circumstances, and dedicated 2014 to fin... Sat, 11 Jan 2014 13:31:15 EST Middle School Hair I am currently growing out my hair a bit so that I can change the style. I've been wearing it the same since August 2011 (I know this because I saw the blog I wrote when I cut it into a short, layered look). Changing from shorter to longer is extremely painful compared to the reverse. When you go from longer to shorter, you only have to adjust to your new haircut, but there's plenty of "raw material" for the stylist to work with. <BR> <BR> At my last haircut, my stylist prepared me for the f... Tue, 7 Jan 2014 09:26:34 EST Housekeeping after three years on Sparkpeople Today I erased pages and pages of blogs. I had never previously never gone back and looked at all the blogs since I started Sparkpeople three years ago, but today was the day. Seventeen pages of blogs, mostly written in 2011, took me on a journey down memory lane. That didn't stop me from hitting the "delete" button though! If the blog made no "connection" with me, it was gone. There are a few in the "still thinking about it" pile, so the list may shrink further! <BR> <BR> I kept any blogs t... Sun, 5 Jan 2014 12:44:02 EST The Black Pants - do you have a pair too? Wow - I'm coming to my two year Sparkversary this Friday. It's hard to believe!! My first year was really focused as I used an almost obsessive devotion to the site to achieve WL, fitness and lifestyle changes. My second year was far less committed to Sparking, as I continued to use the strategies I had learned on the site to have an awesome year, without necessarily "giving back" to the Spark community as I had in the past. For 2013, I am going to see if I can find a happy balance. Theref... Tue, 1 Jan 2013 17:14:23 EST My First Half Marathon I guess this should really be called My First Race, because it was, but it was especially exciting to me because it was a half marathon. I knew I could go 13.1 miles since I hike that distance carrying a backpack, but it was a totally new experience doing it on pavement without a pack, under the pressure of a race clock. <BR> <BR> The Diva Series Long Island race was the venue and our weekend was organized by a group of Spark Friends, some of whom I was meeting for the first time. I was join... Sun, 7 Oct 2012 23:17:02 EST What I Did on my Summer Vacation Part One: The first 75 miles Almost immediately after joining Sparkpeople in early 2011, I followed one of the success tips in The Spark to include short, mid-range and long-term goals for myself, posting them on my Spark page. From the start - although it was almost 18 months away - my long term goal was my July 2012 Philmont trek. <BR> <BR> Philmont Scout Ranch is the Boy Scouts of America's largest national High Adventure Base with almost 214 square miles. Its 34 staffed camps and 55 trail camps provide an unforgett... Thu, 4 Oct 2012 10:09:39 EST Almost eight months later...a maintenance blog I hit my Spark goal on December 2nd last year. As August looms, my eight month maintenance "anniversary" quickly approaches. <BR> <BR> One thing I've found since entering the Land of Maintenance is that it means different things to different people. Therefore I'll start by telling you my personal definition. Maintenance began when I hit my Spark weight goal AND sought to stabilize this final weight. The "AND" is important for comparison purposes, because I know that many enter Spark maint... Wed, 25 Jul 2012 15:51:20 EST I met my oldest Sparkfriend yesterday, in person! Back during the first week of January 2011, I joined Sparkpeople. After getting my feet wet and figuring out how the site worked, I joined a team for "SP Class of Jan. 2-8, 2011" along with a few teams relating to my "demographic." Almost immediately I hit it off with my original Sparkfriend, TERESA159 who had joined a few days before me and shared some teams. Although we lived on different sides of the country, we shared a snarky sense of humor and similar interests. We both are happily ... Tue, 24 Jul 2012 16:56:26 EST "If you're going to do something, then do it right." "If you're going to do something, then do it right." <BR> <BR> I remember hearing that a lot when I was growing up. There was a correct way to do everything - mash potatoes, make a bed, trim the garden bed - you name it. My parents were both undiagnosed OCD, and order and organization were de rigueur. I didn't think it was odd because I knew nothing else. Didn't everyone have a lacquered basement floor which was clean enough to eat off? <BR> <BR> Because my room was often a war zone, I alw... Wed, 28 Mar 2012 14:04:20 EST Winning the MegaMillions Jackpot In Maryland, we have two of the "big" lottery games - PowerBall and MegaMillions. The PowerBall is a more recent addition; for many years Marylanders could only play MegaMillions. It costs a buck. I am not a gambler by nature and I don't play the lottery regularly. But I will admit that if I'm at the gas station, I'll occasionally buy a ticket. I probably spend about $5 a month. <BR> <BR> Even though I'd buy a ticket, I never bought a ticket because I expected to win. That would be sort of... Thu, 22 Mar 2012 14:30:26 EST A nice couple of days I normally make my birthday a non-event. It's not particularly exciting having your birthday roll around right after everybody has finally settled down from the holidays, exactly four weeks after New Year's Day. My family knows that I'm not big into celebrations, but this year I decided I had some great reasons to celebrate, so I scheduled my own birthday dinner at a local restaurant. I realized it had been at least ten years since all my sons were in the same state as me on my birthday, an... Tue, 31 Jan 2012 16:17:59 EST A funny thing happened on the road to Permission For the last year I've been traveling a new road on a journey I doubted I'd ever make. That journey has taken me away from being a statistic in the Land of Obesity, which at last count is a place where one third of American adults reside. I've also moved away from Spudville, where couch potatoes - the 70% of the adult population who don't exercise regularly - can find refuge and hide from the big, bad world of fitness and health. It all happened because I reprogrammed my internal GPS with a n... Wed, 18 Jan 2012 17:07:31 EST Oh the random things I learn while Sparking Yesterday I put up a blog with a picture of my colorful new long underwear. I titled it "Raspberry Long Johns," thinking that was self-explanatory. Come to find out that for some, a "long john" is a donut! I never knew that before...but I learned from numerous people who read my blog, hoping to find the story of a yummy raspberry-filled pastry. Oh well, they got to see my long underwear instead! <BR> <BR> When you think about it, it's really fascinating being in a global social network. G... Mon, 16 Jan 2012 22:47:02 EST Consistency, Accountability, and Walking the Walk Yesterday morning I was out for a walk before work and realized that I've been letting my preoccupation with "life stuff" get in the way of one of my favorite side benefits of the walks: blog rumination. Actually, my walks just produce rumination in general, but often blogs result. <BR> <BR> ruminate \ROO-muh-nayt <BR> DEFINITION <BR> verb <BR> 1: to engage in contemplation : meditate <BR> 2: to chew again what has been chewed slightly and swallowed : chew the cud <BR> <BR> Anyway, I got to... Wed, 11 Jan 2012 17:28:58 EST To celebrate my One Year Sparkversary, I wore a belt Belts. In my life, they have always been something to hold up a pair of pants. Needless to say, I didn't have much need for belts before I began my Spark journey! Life was more about worrying that laundering would shrink my pants too small. Now that I've reached my Spark goal, I have the opposite problem - I need to wear a belt with all my jeans and launder after each wear if I want to keep the new form-fitting look that I prefer these days. But this is still just a "hold my pants up" kind ... Sun, 8 Jan 2012 19:45:00 EST Coming full circle "Decisions are like a pair of hiking boots. You've got to try them out before you know if they fit." That's my Forrest Gump-ish thought for the day. You can quote me. <BR> <BR> I've been buying hiking boots for forty years, since I first started backpacking as a teen. I've always loved the idea of carrying my world on my back, and the feeling of freedom it imparts. There are many key equipment items a backpacker owns, but two are at the top of the list. When the sun goes down, you need a goo... Tue, 20 Dec 2011 17:22:19 EST Weight Loss: Math or Magic? I am driven by logic. I chose to use the Spark Nutrition and Fitness trackers as the cornerstone of my 2011 weight loss plan, and loved having lots of numbers to target, crunch, and analyze. I set goals based on the projections I could view, and things sort of fell into place. Sort of. In hindsight, I realize that early on, I came to understand that part of my success came from math, while the other part involved "magic." Not necessarily good magic either. <BR> <BR> I don't have a fairy god... Mon, 19 Dec 2011 15:32:09 EST Important advice for the holiday season <img src=""> <BR> Thu, 15 Dec 2011 15:09:04 EST Hold that thought... Do you ever have an "itch" in the back of your brain? Something that's niggling at you, but you just can't quite put your finger on it? That's how I've been feeling this past week. Unlike an itch that appears in the middle of my back that I can delegate to someone else - "scratch right in the middle of my back; no...a little to the left...wait, right above that...oh thanks" - I can't get anybody else to take care of the niggle. The only person who can scratch this kind of itch is my favorite ... Mon, 12 Dec 2011 11:34:09 EST Implementing my maintenance plan Saturday I reached my weight loss goal, having lost 72 pounds. I've been planning for this day well in advance, to ensure I have a smooth transition into maintenance. This blog will be my log, and I'll update each week with my progress for the next ten weeks. <BR> <BR> I began formulating my maintenance plan when I started Sparking. That's when I started following a small core of Spark friends who were stabilized in maintenance. I also was lucky enough to friend several other people who reac... Mon, 5 Dec 2011 12:57:53 EST (I reached my goal) Today <em>248</em> <BR> <BR> 72 pounds <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> January 8, 2011-December 3, 2011 <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I changed the way my story ends. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> BEFORE <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> AFTER <BR> <BR> <em>252</em> Sat, 3 Dec 2011 17:05:48 EST My concession to the holidays None. <BR> <BR> I originally planned to write this blog and stop after I typed that word above, because I write blogs as a way to throw down the gauntlet to myself, challenging my actions by my words...and I knew what I meant when I typed it. But since blogging on a public forum means I include others in my thought process, I suspected a little more detail might be appropriate. <BR> <BR> Holidays bring forth images of fellowship, joy and celebration with loved ones. Holidays can also be st... Fri, 18 Nov 2011 12:28:51 EST Finding happiness in a scavenger hunt Fitness walks are my thinking time, and with this current 14 day challenge adding a couple more miles of walks to each day, I get more time to think. This morning I was ruminating over a status I posted yesterday: "THETURTLEBEAR is a happy person." It probably seemed like no big deal if you read it, but it was a pretty significant statement to me. <BR> <BR> When I was growing up, I was considered a "moody" child. Back in my childhood, it wasn't typical to micro-analyze and label behaviors. N... Tue, 15 Nov 2011 11:00:35 EST