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It's me, our grandsons, and my bemused husband: November, 2017.

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The Trouble is you think you have time....

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Cat lover. Poetry lover. Nature lover. I should be a cautionary tale for those of you who are not yet afflicted with Diabetes, hypertension, and heart failure. Cynic. I've been accused of being an intellectual. Fundamentally lazy. Intractable atheist. Progressive Democrat. Ironist. Reader. I am about 25 different people; each one is distinctly real.

‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’
~Martin Luther King Jr.

“Art is the form in which the writer, and through him the reader, can face down the intolerable contradictions of history." -- Adam Kirsch

"Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand - and melting like a snowflake."


You can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness!


The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.


Never forget to be extremely wary of every person in your life who has not experienced this last year as a personal moral emergency
5:51 PM - 15 Aug 2017

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
-- Michael Pollan.

"I longed to read everything I possibly could, and the things I read in turn produced new yearnings." -- Patti Smith

"Everyone, in some small sacred sanctuary of the self, is nuts."- -Leo Rosten

Acceptance is the universal currency of real friendship. . . It does not warp or shape or wrench a person to be anything other than what they are.

UPDATE:, August 2017: Since it became clear to me that Trump would take the White House, I've regained a lot of weight. A lot. I need to put a stop to it. I am planning to work hard. But I am not here to be nice. I will no longer embrace Republicans or BIble thumpers. I am sorry but nothing and nobody can make the intolerable tolerant for me. My sense of humor has barely survived. I know that I am intolerant, but I also know that few people tolerate me.

UPDATE: August, 2015 I am trying to recommit. I have been off the program for about 8 or 9 months and I now realize that I need it more than ever. I am trying to find my old groups and my old friends.

I am Natalie and I spend my time in the midst of books and cats when I'm not sparking. Spark People has been the biggest positive change in my life in a long time. I'm down almost 50 pounds from my high point and I feel more energy and zest for life than I have in decades! I teach English literature and decades of a sedentary job have taken their toll. As I slouch slowly towards retirement, I want to be in better physical and mental condition. I am, at heart, a quintessential cat lady.

I'm a reader, a cat-lover, a traveler, and a music-lover. I am a Democrat! I will respect your religion if you respect my atheism. I am politically progressive but culturally conservative in so far as I prefer older, more traditional art forms. I am a secular humanist.

My weight and my age are catching up to me and I want to prolong my life a bit.

My pledge to myself:

-- I will keep track of my mental health and not allow myself to spend too much time wallowing in the slough of despond. On the other hand, I will accept my social phobias and anxieties without too much self-hatred.

-- I will get at least 30 minutes per day of cardio at least 5 days per week

-- I will do a strength training circuit 3 times a week

--I will not follow a diet but I will try not to make crazy choices

--I will track records of my nutrition and my exercise

-- I will try to support all Spark Members to the very best of my ability

-- I will be cheerful throughout plateaus

-- I will aim to reach 190 pounds by the middle of April, 2014

-- I will listen to classical music more often--it helps.

-- I will read both good books and good escapist books

--I will spend some time away from the computer and the gym to write real letters to people I know.

I have a new spark-name. "Adagio Con Brio" makes more sense to me than the brilliantly happy "Allegro con brio". Adagio fits with my speed and my desire to be more deliberative and deliberate.

I am now "Vachement_Vache" which means very cow-like cow. I like cows and want to represent them.


I am here not merely to lose weight but to be motivated to:

work out consistently
make good food choices consistently
prolong my life a little bit longer
deal with my diabetes better
cope with congestive heart failure

Edit to add: yes, of course I am here to lose weight!

BLC 25 registration for returnees is scheduled to begin some time in Week 10, around March 26. New member registration will begin April 9 and BLC 25 will run from April 30 through July 23.

BLC 26 is currently planned to start September 17 and run through December 10.

Member Since: 3/16/2008

Fitness Minutes: 145,228

My Goals:
I want to get healthier and start moving more. I want to reduce stress and enjoy life.

"I must view food as a nutritional need and not a recreational opportunity!"

My Program:
Keeping track of my blood sugar and not permitting it to go high.

Exercise: treadmill, strength training, elliptical, water aerobics and more daily walking

Avoiding the siren-song of processed foods, meaningless carbohydrates (as opposed to meaningful carbohydrates), too much sodium, and too much sugar. I never use false sugars or sweeteners.

Spark Teams and their Challenges: I've joined several Spark Teams that have challenges. They provide extra motivation and a need for accountability.

Personal Information:
I have started a Spark Team for book lists, book reviews, book recommendations, book memories, and all things book related. You can use it to keep track of all of your 2013 reading.

The team is called:
2013: Spark People Eclectic Readers

Anyone is welcome! Please join if you would like to keep a running list of the books you have read in 2013. It's not a book club.

Other Information:
I deeply believe that, as Adam Kirsch says, �Art is the form in which the writer, and through him the reader, can face down the intolerable contradictions of history.�

I adore my cats. I am a happy agnostic, a political progressive, a bemused grandmother, and very GLBTQ-friendly.

Read More About SMOKY_TEA - Profile Information moved here. (Updated March 25)

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Total SparkPoints: 241,476
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    ❄️ ⛄ 🎅 🦌 ⛸️ 🐧 🎁 🎄 🕯️✨
    ~ *H*A*P*P*Y* ~ *H*O*L*I*D*A*Y*S ~
    ❄️ ⛄ 🎅 🦌 ⛸️ 🐧 🎁 🎄 🕯️✨
    🛷 🌟 ~*N*A*T*A*L*I*E*~ 🛷 🌟
    xoxoxo Annie
    592 days ago
  • v F8CONE8
    Love your spark page.
    597 days ago
  • v DEETZ1
    “Strength does not come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”– Nikki Rogers
    650 days ago
  • v DEETZ1
    Keep going. Everything you need will come to you at the perfect time. emoticon
    667 days ago
    Just peeking in on you.

    Sweetest Natalie, I missed your b-day yesterday, and have wanted to stop in for a chat for quite some time now, so with autumn upon us, how are you today, m'dearest?

    I hope you're mending well and your husband's heart surgery's been exactly what he's needed for his PT health to get some strengthening.

    And you?!! Sounds like both you n' I had that nasty pneumonia this last yr, girlfriend. Oh, I'm tellin' you, I really got it really BAD too.

    Actually, Georgia isn't so bad - it's got it's few days of heat every now n' then but...I think I could *love* Georgia- - -very easy to *love* if you like sub-tropical. LOL!!

    Hey, listen up m'sister of the fates, I would *love* for you to use your invite (sent on the last wknd of August) and come on over to: A Golden Circle of Friends. All your girlie-girls are waiting for you!! ::hugs::

    Love, yer' Annie
    P.S. Guess what?!! I'm GONE from 254lbs to- - -are you ready for this- - -179lbs and counting, though I've still got about another 50-ish lbs to go. WooHoo!!

    687 days ago
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