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Working the Spark: The Pay-Offs Keep Rolling In!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Today started off with a bang when I hit my new low weight of the year...woo hoo! Only 17 pounds away from my goal of 200!

I had already had a plan to clear the closet of all my old clothes that are really too big. I don't want ANYTHING around to make it easy to backslide!

However little did I know what treasures I would find among the SMALLER clothes that I had forgotten I had outgrown! VERY nice stuff! And I'm re-kindling the fun and self-satisfaction of being able to look better in clothes. Not only am I shedding the pounds, but shedding the feedbag mentality! :-)

But the coolest thing I found of all? A few years back I had finally sprung for one of our bike club's jerseys. I am NOT a spandex kinda guy, but I love our club and wanted to be able to wear it with pride.

Little did I know how teensy their sizes ran. I was too embarrassed to take my XL back and ask for a TWO XL...! So in the closet it went.

Until now!

I do enjoy a little dancing in the privacy of my home with the right tunes playing...but I have NEVER danced the Linus & Snoopy dance with such abandon, vigor and JOY as I did this morning! Totally Cloud 9! No music required!

Passing on a whole lotta clothes for someone to use. The heavy duty 30 gallon bag is out in the car waiting to be dropped off...whew! Feelin' so fine!

Spent the rest of the day buzzing about the house cleaning, hauling stuff out to the car for the landfill tomorrow also...clearing the decks!

Also cooking up a storm, new soup o' the week a cauliflower, barley, celery, onions and garlic combo. I also have a bundle of asparagus for cooking but never got around to doing anything with it. I had a lovely conversation with my sister recently about re-visiting vegetables which had formerly been dubbed "yuck" veggies in my childhood. I've been wanting to see if they are still "yuck" or not. Already tried Brussels sprouts and yep, still yuck IMHO. She agreed, which had us chuckling, flashing back to various methods of ditching veggies we didn't like when we were kids. :-) I mentioned asparagus to her and she said she is a big fan of asparagus. I looked at some recipes, considered even adding them to my soup with the cauliflower, but then thought perhaps that would do a disservice to the asparagus...which btw was on sale for the low, low price of 99 cents a pound...prompting me to nab some to try. Perhaps I'll just try munching some raw? We'll see. Any suggestions out there? Stay tuned for asparagus adventures!

I'm back behind the wheel of a car again! So what's the first thing I do? Pack it up and head out to the fitness center for the first spinning class I've had in a few weeks...YES! I managed a nice balance between not overdoing it, but challenging myself into a good sweat. The best thing about it? My quads had been nagging at me since overdoing it with a 5 mile walk - jog I had done earlier in the week...putting the accent heavily on jog, thinking of my annual 5K coming in May. All the stretching and walking I'd done since then didn't seem to alleviate the nattering my quads were giving me. But when I finished my spin class? No more pain! Sweet double benefit!

Okay, going to wrap up with some fun stuff like Crazy Russian Hacker and cycling tidbits!

Crazy Russian Hacker cracks me up. Sometimes his schtick just gets me eye-rolling and smiling, other stuff is laugh-out-loud hilarity. This one with his mother is some of both. This one caught my eye as between my home made soups and home made garlic I crank through a fair amount of garlic and hey, an easy way to peel garlic? I'm up for that! Perhaps this is old news to some of you, even if so these folks will crack you up. Plus: I can vouch for the technique! It works like a charm!


Okay, on to a cycling smile:

As seen on Twitter: Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach him to fish & feed him for a lifetime. Give a cyclist a fish & "hmm...good for 150 km!"

I have to give a special shout out to Willie Weir and the chronicles of his cycling adventures around the globe. I know I've spoken of him before, but I keep ever-so-slowly progressing through his book SpokeSongs and find SO much delight in his stories! Not that I'll ever take to cycling through such daunting venues as India, South Africa or the Balkans...but I just love his way of opening up with people and inspiring them to open up with him. As he often says in his writings, if he was just another token tourist bopping about with backpack or luggage most people wouldn't give him the time of day. But to see someone rolling along on a bicycle toting panniers and camping gear...? As he puts it: "Bicycles Are Magic. They Open Doors."

Plus he's a cheapskate like me! Not that I would sign up for THIS cost-saving measure he took in the Balkans where they were going to charge him WAY too much for setting up his tent. He discovered that nearby campgrounds for nudists were half as expensive...off he goes! Wow! This guy really knows how not to push the envelop or think outside of the box...he TORCHES 'EM! LOVE his audacity and hope to pull more of that into my life!

Let's get Sparkin' our way through another week, shall we?

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
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    2490 days ago
  • _MOBII_
    What a great blog! I am so happy for you and I can just picture you doing the Snoopy dance!
    You are a great inspiration!
    2494 days ago
    CONGRATS!!! And, I LOVED your post. Your enthusiasm & excitement are contagious! I smiled while reading the entire post. I'm STILL smiling! emoticon I hope you are still feeling that 'high' and doing all kinds of great things! emoticon
    2494 days ago
    CONGRAT'S!! And... how kewl that you are nearing goal at your 7-year Sparkaversary; it's only a few weeks off! HOW ABSOLUTELY FULLFILLING!!!! Wonder how close you'll get by then! Your new mantra while exercising - be it oncycle or foot - could easily be one with a countdown: "17-to-go, 17-to-go, 17-to-go".... "12-to-go, 12-to-go"....

    Did I miss it... or... : what is your ultimate-goal reward going to be?

    Um. Not a biking-camping trip to the Balkins???

    2495 days ago
  • BOBBYD31
    Asparagus- best i ever, ever had.
    preheat oven to 350
    hold both ends and bend until it breaks, toss the stem end keep the top
    lightly coat cookie sheet with olive oil
    cook about 10 min, roll then lightly pepper and salt
    return to oven until tender depending on size about 10- 20 min
    remove an cover with a coating of Parmesan cheese return to oven 2-3 min and then enjoy.

    you can do the same with brussel sprouts. cut off bottom stem then cut in half. cooking time varies depending on size and thickness

    2497 days ago
    Congrats on your weekend purging, particularly tossing too-big clothes and discovering ones that now fit! I love free shopping trips. emoticon

    Roasting is MAGICAL for nearly any veggie, IMHO. Last night's dinner/today's lunch was broiled salmon with roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, garlic and Brussels sprouts. emoticon I advise trying both B. sprouts and asparagus roasted (just like L-M said) -- in fact, roasting is what brought me around to once-hated cauliflower!

    Tonight I am trying a "recipe" (not really) for asparagus with lemon juice and a little feta cheese, but I can't recall offhand if it's first roasted or steamed. I expect it to be delicious. (I married a Greek - I am now a firm believer that lemon and a good feta can take ANYTHING up a notch or two!) emoticon
    2497 days ago
    Kudos to you. Also for Brussel sprouts- after roasting a whole pan (just a little olive oil with salt/pepper) toss with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. It's not so much that it makes them syrupy- but takes away that "blech" part for me.
    good luck.
    2497 days ago
    Congrats on continued success with weight loss and healthy lifestyle. And yes, cycling clothing tends to offer no cover for oversize humans; I don't think the cycling clothing runs smaller but that all manufacturers of non-cycling clothing are just making all clothes larger but still labeling them as a smaller size and the cycling clothe makers refuse to do so. Just my two cents, which does not get you much these days. Gotta read Weir, sounds great. emoticon
    2497 days ago
    Great blog, Don, and your energy is apparent in your writing :). Asparagus-love it and can't wait until those little spears begin to poke their heads up in their raised bed this spring!! We like it grilled with a little olive oil, salt and rosemary. I also like it steamed and cooled in the fridge-can eat it as a snack or side this way. Finally, the steamed asparagus is good in a frittata or omelet, too. I love brussel sprouts-ever tried them roasted?? Honestly, can't think of a veggie I don't like....this is a good thing :))
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    2497 days ago
    Speaking of garlic and asparagus - I love to add a little olive oil and grill or bake (roast) during the colder season. Keep on Sparking! You are doing fantastic!
    2497 days ago
    I enjoy steamed asparagus
    2498 days ago
    GOOD JOB!!!! I have donated a LOT of clothes in the process of progress on this journey. But it's such a good feeling.

    Asparagus . . . have you tried roasting it with other veggies? I just roasted cauliflower, broccoli, sweet white and purple onion, celery,carrots and asparagus yesterday for the week. It gives a little milder flavor to the asparagus. You can season the veggies any way you like. I first put about 1 tablespoon of olive on the veggies, then season with pepper, Mrs. Dash, Worcestershire, onion and garlic powder and some Italian seasoning. Let it roast @ 325 f for about 1 hr. Check. I like the veggies al dente because they'll be re-heated anyway.
    2498 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13099273
    Better late than Never , to get here for me !! I am so happy for you , Don !! Major Congrats emoticon I just love getting rid of those big clothes - a whole new meaning to Spring Cleaning emoticon I donate to the homeless . That soup sounds delish !! Be right over - the Asparagus - I prepare in a Frita or egg white Omelet in the morning - quick and easy and tasty - or just steamed with Smart Balance ( little) over brown rice - Mmmmm - you sound well and great spirits ! Been spring cleaning that mental junk out - Peeling Garlic - great idea - too cute that Mom ! emoticon Karen
    2498 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
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    2498 days ago
    I don't know where to begin, but suffice to say this is a fantastic blog. I can hear your joy in the blog. April emoticon I'm rolling out the emoticon whether there is a foot of snow or emoticon !

    Congratulations on being so close to goal. You've done a remarkable job--will I recognize you the next time we meet? Oh, yeah, you'll be the skinny guy singing and bouncing along wearing spandex. I won't be able to miss you.

    I'll have to get busy and read Willie Weir. I read so many cycling blogs it is hard to keep up with them all.

    Brussel sprouts--did you roast them with a touch of olive oil (& garlic)? That completely changes their flavor. They, along with kale, have become my favorite vegetables. I don't like roasted kale (it's the new "in" thing), but I love fresh kale salads--much more flavor than any lettuce.

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    2498 days ago
    That was great! Smiiiillliiinnnnggg! emoticon
    Our oldest son loves to do asparagus on the grill with olive oil; I like mine steamed with a tad of salt. Yum. Makes my mouth water. BUT be prepared for the smelly urination later - just a part of the process!
    2498 days ago
    Thanks for the post Don. You always get me in a great mood and help me get my encouragement back when feeling a bit down or low. I love to read your success stories.
    2498 days ago
    You had me at "cauliflower, barley, celery, onions and garlic combo."
    I have to try that!!
    I'm with you on the Brussels sprouts express to YUCK and I still hate asparagus, but my hubby loves it so I buy it for him and roast them in a touch of grape seed oil (a good oil for high heating) and a little salt. He likes them that way very much. Roast aT 400 DEGREES f FOR 12 MINS. Oops. Caps lock!
    Afterwards you can toss them with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, or leave them plain. Apparently either way the asparagus is really yummy...to him!
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    2498 days ago
    You are on a happy roll! It is such fun to clean out your closet of old large clothes. It shows a commitment to not regaining that weight. How nice to find that club biking shirt. I had the same thing..I was given a staff shirt and did not want to ask for a larger size!

    Your soup sounds yummy. I am a big asparagus fan as well.

    Happy Spring! You are doing great!
    2498 days ago
    You are CARRYING THE TORCH -- and leaving me speechless! (*Except* yes, Ellen's advice on roasting the asparagus is perfect -- snap off the bottom, I use a little balsamic with the EVOO. And yes, the young ones are delicious raw too!)
    2498 days ago
    How fabulous!
    2498 days ago
    What an exuberant and joyous blog: you are rolling this!! Love to think of you able to wear your bike club shirt -- and discovering clothes that fit again while ditching all the clothes that are too big (that was key for me, but it took me about 5 years to get rid of all the biggies!!).

    Soup sounds terrific. I made my fave go to chicken minestrone, had a parmesan rind to simmer along with the veggies.

    Snuck a few sliced Brussels sprouts and kale blossoms into the soup -- asparagus and B sprouts are both great roasted with a bit of EVOO at 400, but the asparagus (snap off the woody stems) take much less time.
    2498 days ago
    What an awesome feeling it is to be able to wear clothes you thought you would never fit into again in this life! You are one emoticon due, Don! I am so happy for you that I am doing a little dance right here in my kitchen! emoticon emoticon
    2498 days ago
    emoticon Shopping the closet! LOVE it... the price is right, and usually, if you kept it, it was because of good memories!

    Love that you sound so HAPPY! emoticon Spring is almost here... cycling season ahead!
    2498 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14253479
    I watched that video, Don. Neat! They do sell garlic peelers at the stores. Try Bed, Bath and Beyond. I think they run about $4. I put a clove of garlic in my green juice I make daily. Since I only use 1 clove I peel it by hand no big deal.

    Glad you are doing so darn well! Yea you! So many wins. Glad your quads are feeling better. Your going to nail the 5K.

    Now, if you want a REAL challenge: check out the Race to Robie Creek here in Boise, Idaho. That's a true challenge. I walked it one year and vow to do it again. Perhaps next year. All on raw food, green juice and fruit. BTW: I love asparagus and I do eat it raw. Organic of course!
    2498 days ago
  • 123ELAINE456
    Awesome Blog!!! Well Said!!! You are doing Great. Tried to get link. This is what I got. This Page Cannot Be Displayed. Sorry. Keep It Up. God Blessings Always. Take Care. Have a Wonderful Week.
    2499 days ago
    OMG, don! what an energized, uplifting blog! your enthusiasm is infectious! thank you for sharing! congrats on all your joyous achievements of the day. sweetie, yikes! i would not recommend your eating asparagus raw! i would either roast it with a tad of evoo, salt (substitute), pepper, and perhaps a wee bit of garlic (also great if you roast cherry tomatoes with them), OR parboil them (timing depends on size and freshness of the stalks). of course, snap off the tough ends of each stalk first (some people use a peeler to peel the tougher parts of the stalk). either of these simple methods will give you a good idea of the actual flavor of the asparagus (i love it!). and remember, for many people, it is apparent pretty quickly in the urine that one has partaken of asparagus, so fear not! emoticon
    2499 days ago
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