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Overcoming my nemesis...

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2021 Winter 5% ...
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Update 1/5/2021: Well, here we are, another year gone and 10 months into the Covid-19 pandemic. So far so good for my immediate family and myself, but there are still many months to go before we can all feel safe and protected.

With the social distancing rules in place here in the state of Vermont, I find I'm becoming a little more grounded... more time to focus on what really matters. Trying to carve out time each day for exercise, meal planning, music practice, mental agility (daily word & number puzzles) as well as management of our local food pantry (mostly remote). Looking forward to beginning the new winter 2021 5% challenge here on Spark!

Update 1/5/2020: At age 73 I consider myself very lucky to be in relatively good health, with a loving, supportive family. I'm the mandolin player in a local bluegrass band... took up this wonderful instrument after retiring about 7 years ago. Also decided it was time to "give back" to the world: now working 25+ hours a week as the volunteer director for my parish food pantry. It's hard work but extremely rewarding.

Update 12/31/2018: After enjoying retirement for 8 years or so, I've taken a new volunteer assignment as the director of a local non-profit food pantry. It's lots of work and more physical than anything I've ever done before (I worked in info technology for 40 years), but overall very rewarding both mentally and spiritually.

At the same time, my weight has been slowly creeping back up, so it's time to give more attention to healthy eating habits. I know Spark and all my friends here can help me, as long as I stay focused. So it's back to the winter 5% challenge as part of the awesome Spirited Underdawgs!

Update 10/27/2018: I guess fall is the time that I start to get serious about losing weight... the cooler weather calls me outdoors to walk in the woods, put the garden to bed, and just enjoy the changing leaves. So here I am back with the 5% Challenge community, trying to lose the 8 pounds that I gained over the past half year. One small step at a time!

Update 10/2/17: After a summer off of weight tracking and exercise monitoring, I'm back with new energy for the Fall 5% Challenge. If you're not already participating in the challenge, there are still a few days left to sign up. It starts 10/07/17 and runs for 8 weeks. Check out the team: 2017 Fall 5% Challenge Community!

Update 3/25/17: I've been laid up with an injured foot for the past 3 months, so by necessity I've had to lay low on my exercise program. Now the cast is off, wheelchair put away, and I'm ready to start gentle exercise as a member of the Spring 5% Challenge Community. Here are my exercise plans:

2017 SPRING 5% Challenge Exercise Commitment:

- PT exercises for foot, knees & back: 6 days/week

- Slow walk with poles: 5 days/week; start with 5-10 mins & work my way up

- Strength training at home: 3 days/week

- Aerobic exercise on recumbent bike: 3+ days/week; start with 10 mins & increase as able

Other LTGL (Living the Good Life) inspirations to continue each week:

-  Spend 30 minutes decluttering at least 3 times per week.  This can be a drawer, closet, or simply the "surfaces" of furniture in each room.

-  Continue with the NEE (no eating in the evening) concept:  after my dinner meal, plan one healthy snack to have later in the evening and nothing else. So far, a cup of herbal tea and a small biscotti has fit the bill!

Hopefully, I'll be able to continue as part of the Spirited Underdawgs team. Here is our oath:


I do solemnly pledge:
that I will do my best to eat healthy and within my calorie range,
that I will exercise to the best of my ability,
that I will watch my portions and avoid mindless eating,
that I will avoid or limit unhealthy foods,
that I will try to get enough sleep,
that I will stretch myself out of my comfort zone,
that I will always try to make healthy choices even when stressed,
that if I slip, I will get back on track with the very next opportunity,
that I will keep a CAN DO attitude, or ask for Help,
and that I will support my fellow pack mates

Because I am an UnderDawg
And every UnderDawg has the heart of a hero.

So Help me Spark People.

Hi all, I'm an avid gardener, musician, amateur photographer, nature lover, empty nester, and a retired IT project manager. My two passions are music and the outdoors. I'm hoping to apply this love in improving my health and losing weight. My favorite outside activities are walking, hiking, skiing (both downhill and XC) and gardening.

1/3/17 update: Unfortunately I broke 5+ bones in my foot and will be in a wheekchair for the next couple of months, so those lovely outside winter activities will need to be put on hold for a while.

I'm now getting ready for the Winter 5% challenge as a member of the Spirited Underdawgs team. Here are my exercise goals:
Winter 5% Challenge Exercise Commitment

- Stretching exercises: 6 out of 7 days/week

- Weight bearing exercises: 3 times/week

- Cardio workouts 4x/week if I can figure out a way to do them from my wheelchair...

Looking long range, here are the main reasons I want to lose weight:

- I'll feel better about myself, more self confident
- Losing weight will lessen my chances for diabetes and heart problems, both which run in my family
- I'll be in better shape to walk with Bailey, ski, hike, play music & garden
- I'll have fewer backaches, knee and foot problems
- I'll feel better about what I look like in other people's snapshots
- I'll be able to wear fitted, stylish clothes and look ok
- I'll live a longer, better quality life
- It'll be easier to bend over to do simple things like putting on socks and tying my shoes
- I'll have more flexibility and strength for gardening
- I'll be happier when I look in the mirror

My goals & program are written over on the right of this page as well as in my blog entries. Please stop by & leave a comment!

01/17/12: Here I am back at SparkPeople after a break of about 3 years. Earlier I was thrilled and surprised that I was able to lose 30 pounds and actually reach my goal weight. Well, since then I got busy with "life", met a new wonderful guy, and sort of stopped my daily exercise routines. Now I'm back up 15 pounds and want to put a stop to it before I lose all the progress that I originally made. So full speed ahead!

3/27/15: Here I am starting back up again on my weight loss mission. Now I've gained back all but 10 of the initial pounds that I lost. Time to put this trend back in reverse! Osteoarthritis is settling in my knees & other joints, so I have even more reason to keep active & lose weight.

9/13/15: As of now my weight is going in the right direction, DOWN, thanks to the encouragement and support of the 5% Challenge team and of course the wonderful Spirited Under Dawgs. Just need to stick with it, come join me!

Member Since: 1/1/2007

Fitness Minutes: 24,434

My Goals:
1. Get down to a healthy weight and BMI... my target is a little over a 10% weight loss. 2. Lose inches off my waist thru healthy eating and exercise.
3. Increase my muscle mass and bone density via strength training.

My Program:
Participate in the 5% Challenge Community races.

- Begin tracking my daily food consumption & planning better choices
- Start drinking more water (well 8 glasses/day is more than I can handle at this point, but work my way up to this goal)

Winter 5% Challenge Exercise Commitment

- Stretching exercises: 4 out of 7 days/week (preceded by 5 min warmups)

- Weight bearing exercises: 3 times/week, either at home or Anytime Fitness

- 20+ min cardio walks or elliptical bike: 5 out of 7 days/week

- XC and downhill skiing when my body and conditions allow

Personal Information:
Retired from an IT profession after 41 years on the job. Obtained my master gardener certification. Now am picking up music in a big way: started playing mandolin & guitar about 4 years ago and am now in a local bluegrass band. We don't make much money but we have a lot of fun!

Other Information:
Have a passion for gardening, animals, nature and music of many genres (jazz, bluegrass, cajun, zydeco, blues, folk, rock & country). Attend as many music festivals each year as I can. Play piano, hand drums, accordion, guitar, mandolin & a little banjo ukelele.

Read More About GARDENERGAL - Profile Information moved here. (Updated January 5)

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  • v SHARON10002
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    Happy Friday! In an effort to help keep everyone warm in the colder temperatures and all the snow, we need to get ourselves giggling. So let's get our giggles going to warm us up this morning . . . I don't mean to air my dirty laundry in public, but I have loads of laundry jokes. I promise you they're all clean. If you think there's nothing funny about doing laundry, you just need a dryer sense of humor. Sock it to me!!!

    Have you heard about the new and improved energy star rated clothes dryer that's being touted by the government for its very high 99% energy efficiency . . .
    It's called a clothesline.

    Why don't men like doing the laundry?
    Washers and dryers don't come with a remote control.

    If doing laundry makes you tired, and you decide you've done enough - you'd better think twice . . .
    More laundry!

    What do income taxes and doing laundry have in common.
    Either way you might lose your shirt.

    When I was in college money was tight. Quite often I had to choose between buying laundry detergent or something for breakfast. It was either All or muffin.

    How much fun is doing laundry?

    If your toddler gets all muddy while playing outside, just throw her in the tub and quickly washer and dryer.

    Why are poker players good at doing laundry?
    They know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when they run . . .

    Today has been a perfect finish to my week!
    Every sock in the washer had a matching partner.

    I hope my sense of humor did not leave you hanging high and dry this morning . . .

    Finally . . .

    Knock, knock.
    Who's there?
    Clothes who?
    Time for me to clothes this now.

    Thanks for dropping by my page for a visit.
    I hope you have loads of fun this weekend!
    10 days ago
  • v SHARON10002
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    Happy Friday! Love is in the air! They say "love is a many splendored thing", and so I thought it might be a-propose for some Valentine giggles about marriage to get ourselves in the right frame of mind for the weekend ahead. Believe me, this was no half-hearted project for me; I put my whole heart into it! I know you're getting excited, and can heartly wait, so let's get pumpin' . . .

    emoticon After a quarrel, a wife said to her husband, 'You know, I was a fool when I married you.”
    The husband replied, 'Yes, dear, but I was in love and didn't even notice.”

    emoticon A man inserted an ad in the classifieds: It read: “Wife wanted”.
    The next day he received hundreds of letters.
    They all said the same thing: 'You can have mine.”

    emoticon If a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her.

    emoticon "I married Miss Right. I just didn't realize her first name was Always."

    emoticon A husband said to his wife, "No, I don't hate your relatives. In fact, I like your mother-in-law better than I like mine."

    emoticon A woman turns to her husband on their silver wedding anniversary and says, Honey, will you still love me when my hair turns grey?"
    Her husband replies, "Why not? I stuck with you through the other six shades."

    emoticon After finishing our Chinese food, my husband and I cracked open our fortune cookies.
    "You go first", he said.
    Mine read, “Be quiet for a little while.”
    "Now it's your turn", I said.
    His read, “Talk while you have a chance.”

    emoticon My wife just nudged me and said, "You weren't even listening, were you?".
    I thought, That's a strange way to start a conversation. . .

    emoticon An interviewer asked a married couple what their secret was to their long and happy marriage.
    The husband chimed in, "My wife and I always compromise."
    "I admit I'm wrong, and she agrees with me."

    emoticon Shortly before our 25th wedding anniversary, my husband sent 25 long-stemmed yellow roses to me at my office.
    A few days later, I plucked all the petals and dried them. On the night of our anniversary, I spread the petals over the bed and lay on top of them, wearing only a negligee.
    As I’d hoped, I got a reaction from my husband.
    When he saw me, he shouted, “Are those potato chips?”

    I hope some of these made you laugh wholeheartedly! emoticon

    I heartily wish each of you a very Happy Valentine's Day! Enjoy your weekend!
    17 days ago
  • v SHARON10002
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    Happy Friday! It's been a ruff week here. Time to sit down with your cuppa coffee, tea, or whatever, and get your Happy On. I hope your week wasn't too ruff with all the snow and storms. I've been working like a dog all week, and I'm hoping that this week’s dog puns will make you howl with laughter! I can honestly say that I've barely scratched the surface, but I think I found a few wieners for you. Kindly hold your appaws until the end please . . . Here we go!

    We named our dog Rolex because he’s a watchdog.
    He just sits there and watches. . .

    What did the Dalmatian say as its owner scratched its neck?
    Ahhhh . . . yeaaah, that's it! That’s the SPOT!

    I named my new dachshund puppy, Oscar.
    After all - he's an Oscar wiener dog.

    What happens when you cross a rooster, a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle?
    You get a Cockerpoodledoo.

    What’s a dog’s favorite food?
    Any thing that’s on YOUR plate.

    What do you call a frozen dog?
    A pupsicle.

    And here's today’s tip and closing thought for the day:
    Never take your dog to the flea market.

    Enjoy your day, and have a great weekend!
    24 days ago
  • v SHARON10002
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    emoticon F - Forgive yourself for your mistakes, and take the next step.
    emoticon E - Eat like you love yourself.
    emoticon B - Believe you are beautiful - inside and out.
    emoticon R - Rise each morning with a positive attitude that it's a new day with new opportunities.
    emoticon U - Unless you move, the place where you are is the place you will stay.
    emoticon A - Accept your flaws - everyone has them, and be gentle with yourself in spite of them.
    emoticon R - Remember you are loved by many others.
    emoticon Y - You deserve your own love more than anyone else.

    emoticon F – Focus on the present moment for that is really all there is.
    emoticon O - Only when you are kind to yourself, can you show kindness to others.
    emoticon C – Calm your mind, breathe, go within, and discover your true beauty.
    emoticon U – Under every circumstance, do your best – for that is ALL you can do.
    emoticon S – Self love is not selfish.

    Happy February! Let this month's focus on LOVE begin with YOU!
    Be kind and gentle with yourself.
    Remember to do this by getting into your heart, and follow your heart more when it concerns you.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    25 days ago
  • v BARBIE176
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ` Albert Einstein emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    25 days ago
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