ALIHIKES's SparkPeople Blog ALIHIKES's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Job Situation/Retirement I plan to retire on April 1 2015 (I will be 64 then); my employer requested lots of advance notice even though I am required to give only one month notice. But my supervisor was aware that a co-worker who is out on maternity leave wants to move to my area (I am the sole employee in my city) and if she is awarded my position, she will not return to her pre-maternity leave assignment. They want to fill her position immediately; her husband has already been hired for a job near my city. Supervis... Sat, 20 Dec 2014 02:01:03 EST NSV: Project Clean-up! I am wildly, madly, excited that my office clean-up project resulted in MAJOR improvement! Maybe that wouldn’t be a big victory for some of you. But for me, it was HUGE! <BR> <BR> Mostly my home is pretty tidy, clean, and organized. Even if I am not naturally an immaculately tidy person – I feel more peaceful and calm in a less cluttered environment. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Fri, 12 Dec 2014 16:33:22 EST Fun active weekend Very nice weekend! I enjoyed Zumba on Saturday, and the Jingle Bell 5K walk/run afterward. Many of the Jingle Bell participants were in holiday costumes. <BR> I particularly liked the baby Santa, with brother as Rudolph, stroller converted into a sleigh, and dad as an elf. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And in the late afternoon, I joined a music jam with about 20 other people. It was a lot of fun! Some musicians were excellent, but... Sun, 7 Dec 2014 23:45:58 EST The Best Laid Plans ... I planned a nice weekend away to Portland, but it didn’t happen quite as planned. I expected to be in Portland for a business meeting Friday afternoon, so I expected my mileage would be paid by my employer. My friend is house sitting in Portland at her son’s new home, and invited several of us to visit for a girl’s weekend while her husband & son were traveling, so free accommodations -- provided we all camped out in sleeping bags (house is filled with boxes because son just moved). <BR> <BR... Sat, 6 Dec 2014 00:14:05 EST Happy Thanksgiving! I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I enjoyed a very nice visit to Phoenix with my older brother and his family. It was really nice to be in a warmer climate, and to share time with them. For the past several years, I have seen my brother when we have both been visiting our very elderly mom, who is no longer with us. It was nice to see him in happier circumstances – but both of us still miss mom. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <... Sun, 30 Nov 2014 15:37:20 EST Slow Down for Winter! Last weekend I let a hike to the Badlands area east of town, it was 70 degrees and sunny by mid afternoon. The canyon was beautiful, and we hiked about 6 miles into a deep gorge carved by an ancient river. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> How quickly the weather has changed! It started snowing Wednesday night. Thursday I shoveled snow. On Thursday night, fr... Sat, 15 Nov 2014 15:32:42 EST Magical Cappadocia Cappadocia, a region in central Anatolia in Turkey, was magical! The landscape has towering tufa rock spires and fantastical formations. Many of the tufa formations were hollowed out to become homes. The hollowed spires are still used to keep pigeons and livestock. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sun, 9 Nov 2014 14:46:38 EST Turkey Journey Pt. 2: Archeological Sites <img src="">Turkey has more extensive and more complete Roman ruins than Italy. I really enjoyed visiting the archeological sites! We visited the site of ancient Troy. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The next sites were Pergemum and the Asclepion, which was an ancient health spa. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The ruins at Ephes... Sun, 9 Nov 2014 00:03:43 EST Turkey Journey Pt. 1; October results October results were not too bad. I lost 2 pounds for the month (from the October 1 to November 3) and lost 5 pounds from my highest weight in October. I improved my strength training and flexibility. I exercised regularly; and met my water and vegetable/fruit goals daily. When I gained weight mid month, I was snacking and eating too many sweets. The trip at the end of the month helped me break those bad habits and resulted in net weight loss, even though I was eating LOTS of great food. <B... Fri, 7 Nov 2014 12:57:55 EST Vacation tomorrow. Rocky start! We leave for Turkey tomorrow at 5 a.m. Unfortunately the last leg of our flights, the flight from Frankfurt to Istanbul, has been cancelled due to the Lufthansa pilots strike. The travel agency is working hard to rebook us; I am so glad that Gate 1 Travel called us back from their emergency message line. I have NOT been able to reach Lufthansa, they must be flooded with calls (450 flights cancelled). <BR> <BR> So I am hoping that we can have a restful and relaxing trip. I have been on the ph... Sun, 19 Oct 2014 23:56:33 EST Clear Lake Hike, Visit to Sister On Saturday when we (8 hikers) left for our hike it was sunny and clear in town. By the time we arrived at the trailhead, it was raining and 2 hikers forgot to bring rain gear. 4 hikers decided to return to town. The remaining 4 of us had a delightful walk through fall colors around Clear Lake. <BR> <BR> The fall colors were at their prime. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Mon, 13 Oct 2014 00:26:47 EST Weekend at the Oregon Coast I spent a lovely sunny weekend at the Oregon Coast with my friend LB. Our room was right on the beach – this was the view from the window. We really enjoyed walking on the beach. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> On Saturday we went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. I loved it! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This young otter was orphaned, and was fostered to another mother. Unf... Wed, 1 Oct 2014 22:28:51 EST Rebuilding a Social Network Well it was a quiet weekend at home for me. No hikes or adventures. Which prompted me to think about the importance of social connections. I am looking to retire within a year, and I realize I have let my job get in the way of friendships and relationships. Not to the same extent as some other friends who are NEVER available to do anything! But I am going to make a concentrated effort to rebuild and strengthen my network of friends. <BR> <BR> I made a conscious effort to make friends and bu... Mon, 22 Sep 2014 13:34:53 EST Hike, Hike, Bike, BEAR!! I had a fabulous active vacation in Stehekin WA; 8 of us (hiking friends) shared a lakeside cabin. We traveled on Saturday to Chelan Washington, and took the Lady of the Lake boat to Stehekin the next day <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Boat at Lake Chelan <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Friends on the boat <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Jet skiers follow... Sun, 14 Sep 2014 14:30:09 EST Five Lakes Hike! My friends Beth and Bruce visited from Portland this weekend, with their very cute dog Teddy. We had a lot of fun, including a night of playing music with my friend Linda, and lots of walks with Teddy. <BR> <BR> On Sunday, Bruce, Teddy and I hiked to Sisters Mirror Lake (Beth can no longer hike; she needs a hip replacement). It was a lovely sunny day after heavy rain in the mountains the day before. Our hike was approximately 8 miles (13 kilometers) and with moderate elevation gain (approx... Mon, 1 Sep 2014 18:09:09 EST Waterfalls! Today I hiked Tumalo Creek with my friend Linda. It was a beautiful hike with LOTS of smaller waterfalls after the large main waterfall (Tumalo Falls). Today, the weather was cooler (70s F, or approx 22 C) which was nice for a longer uphill hike. Hike was approx 8 miles (13 kilometers) and approx 1200 feet (366 meters) elevation gain. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Tumalo Falls, the first falls, is the tallest and most dramatic. <B... Mon, 25 Aug 2014 00:30:45 EST Making Progress; Great Weekend I am making progress, I lost 3.5 pounds in the past 2 weeks. Of course that is after GAINING 7 pounds, but at least I am on the right track again. An even bigger victory is that my hiking pants fit me again! They were tight. I think the core strength training recommended by the physical therapist is helping reduce my belly. <BR> <BR> In the past 2 weeks, I have kept up my streak pretty well. <BR> At least 5 fruits and veggies every day-- done. <em>550</em> <BR> No snacking – well I lap... Mon, 18 Aug 2014 14:31:19 EST July Results: Spectacular Fail, Some NSVs My July weigh in results were the WORST ever since I started on SP. I gained 7 pounds in one month. And – uh oh, my pants are feeling too tight. <BR> <BR> <em>15</em> <em>193</em> <BR> Why the fail? Well, overeating, stress eating, and less exercise. Mom’s funeral was earlier this month, and I spent a lot of money traveling to see her during her final decline -- but overeating is not the answer to stress and difficult times. Getting fatter only makes me feel worse. So it is time to ... Fri, 1 Aug 2014 15:27:07 EST Enjoyable weekend (hike, kayak) My friend Charly visited from California for a long weekend visit; she arrived on Thursday and left on Monday. She likes healthy eating and exercise, so it was easy to stay on track during her visit. <BR> <BR> <BR> On Saturday we hiked Wychus Preserve. It was a hot and long canyon hike, more difficult than necessary because we got ¾ of the way around the loop, and then Charly wanted to go back the way we came instead of completing the loop. Her shoes were not adequate for the trail conditi... Mon, 28 Jul 2014 23:45:42 EST Funeral, Memorial and Odd Comments Mom’s funeral this weekend was a beautiful ceremony, family only, and her ashes were buried in the little memorial rose garden next to dad’s ashes. We had a big memorial for her in the main lounge at her retirement center. About 150 people attended. The flowers were beautiful, in her favorite colors. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Memorial flowers, poems, and appetizers <BR> <BR> My younger sister did two large collage boards of pictures of mom.... Mon, 14 Jul 2014 23:43:36 EST June Results, Great Wildflower Hike Overall June was challenging due to mom’s final decline and death. I traveled out of state to stay with mom; staying in hotels led to eating and exercise challenges. Financially the travel was expensive and required me to dip into savings. Although I am luckier than many people because my employer gave me extended paid leave to spend time with mom in her final days, the 3 separate trips to an expensive area cost me over $6,000. Ouch. But I am glad that I spent time with her, and that I was wi... Wed, 9 Jul 2014 15:17:20 EST Hiking Paulina Creek, Missing Mom I led a hike on Paulina Creek on Saturday with 8 other hikers, I really enjoyed the group. The trail was dusty, and followed the creek. We hiked about 6.5 miles. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Paulina Creek is named after Chief Paulina, who was a warrior who attacked many Oregon settlers. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Our hiking group crossing the bridge <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeopl... Mon, 23 Jun 2014 22:34:11 EST Rest in Peace, Mom Just back from 9 days very tough days in California. My beloved mother died early yesterday morning. She had a couple of days where she was semiconscious and knew I was there. My younger sister and older brother were there with me sharing the vigil for days at mom’s bedside. The other two were missing, and I am struggling not to resent them for not being there. I need to instead focus on the good things – a loving and kind mother, the caring caregivers, and that we were able to ease her suffe... Tue, 17 Jun 2014 00:56:52 EST May Results, Worried about Mom May was a pretty good month for me. I lost 4 pounds. I mostly met my goals: I exercised daily, increased hiking mileage, ate fairly well, stretched at least 4 times a week, controlled snacking (with the exception of the past 5 days when I was visiting mom). I limited sugar-free energy sodas (I drank 3 last month, which is down from 30-50 per month in March). I feel good that I didn’t relapse on the soda, and I met my goals for most of the month. It’s not great that I relapsed into emotional ... Mon, 2 Jun 2014 14:05:58 EST Hiking Rogue River Trail (end) After leaving Marial Lodge, we were ready for an easier hiking day. The hike to Paradise bar was only about 3.5-4 miles. This stretch of the trail was delightful. You climb up a rock ridge that is named Devil’s Backbone. The river has cut a very narrow channel through the serpentinite rock. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Rogue River <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> We saw more lovel... Sat, 24 May 2014 22:33:19 EST Hiking the Rogue River Trail (pt. 1) I went on a lodge to lodge hiking trip in Oregon along the Rogue River with 3 friends. The 40 mile trail was extremely beautiful, but very challenging. We each carried about 20 pounds in our packs. <BR> <BR> We drove to Grants Pass on Saturday, and we stopped at the Rogue Gorge and Natural Bridge areas along the route for short walks to break up the drive. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Fri, 23 May 2014 18:16:30 EST Bittersweet Mothers Day I had a nice mother’s day with mom at her nursing home in California, she was awake and perky for most of the visit. <BR> <BR> My younger brother came down on Saturday, and visited with her. We called my sister via FaceTime and asked for a tour of her new home in Pittsburgh. My younger sister is still having trouble with her Coumadin dose regulating blood clotting, and she cannot fly, so the phone FaceTime is probably the only way she will see mom. Mom is so frail and weak I don’t think she... Thu, 15 May 2014 00:50:38 EST April Results, May Goals, Facetime with Mom Overall I did pretty well with my April goals. I met my goal of increasing exercise, increasing strength training, and stretching. I did not reach the mileage goals that I wanted due to my leg injury in March (I had hoped to be hiking 10-12 miles on my long hikes by now; instead 7-8). The mileage goal is to ensure I am successful on the May Rogue River hike. I’ll try for 10 miles this weekend; and at least two 12 mile hikes before we leave on May 17. <BR> <em>295</em> <em>256</em> <BR... Wed, 30 Apr 2014 17:05:12 EST Hiking Tam-A-Lau trail I hiked Tam-a-Lau trial with a group of 10 hikers; I was co-leader on the hike which is my FAVORITE role on steeper hikes. In our group, the co-leader is in the rear making sure that no one has any trouble (called the “sweep), and it is a perfect role for me. I DON’T like going fast when it’s steep! And this was a faster group of hikers. <BR> <BR> Tam-A-Lau trail was named by local Native American tribal elders, it means “place of big rocks on the ground”, and you do go through a huge bould... Sun, 27 Apr 2014 18:26:32 EST Two Great Hikes, Credit Hacked, Easter I enjoyed two great hikes this weekend. I was assistant leader for the Summit loop hike at Smith Rock State Park on Saturday. It was a beautiful hike, about 8 miles and some good elevation gain (yes we climbed up and over the ridge, but on a nice trail instead of rock climbing). The river canyon and rock wall reminds me of the Southwest. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> View from the starting overlook <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople... Sun, 20 Apr 2014 23:57:04 EST Successful Week This week was pretty successful. I worked LONG hours but successfully completed a huge project at work. I had a couple of nice events with friends and had people over to dinner for the first time in months (my kitchen was out of commission for over 3 months due to the remodel). I have continued to unpack and organize the kitchen, and to ENJOY having modern conveniences again. <BR> <BR> <BR> And I hiked Steelhead Falls again, this time leading a group of 12 hikers. It was lots of fun! H... Sun, 13 Apr 2014 15:49:38 EST Kitchen Remodel: Finished! My kitchen remodel is finally complete! I am so relieved to be able to cook again, and to wash dishes in the dishwasher or kitchen sink (instead of in rubber tubs in the bathroom). I am very pleased with the final results, here are a few photos: <BR> <BR> Overall view of the kitchen. New cabinets, new floor, new appliances. The ceiling was raised 8 inches and recessed lighting installed. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Close up of the ... Wed, 9 Apr 2014 20:29:58 EST Active Weekend! On Saturday I participated in the Springlebell walk/run fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation. This was originally the Jinglebell walk/run scheduled for December; it was rescheduled to Spring due to weather at the request of the City (temperature was -20 Fahrenheit with 20 inches of snow on the scheduled date). I am NOT at all competitive but it was fun to participate in the walk with my friends. Many participants dressed in Christmas holiday outfits; there were awards for the best costu... Mon, 7 Apr 2014 14:11:49 EST End of March - Overcoming Obstacles I tried increasing my hiking mileage this weekend, I led a shorter 3 mile hike with significant elevation gain on Saturday (good pace, good group), and on Sunday Hanne & I hiked approx 8 miles. The 8 mile hike was hard on my legs. By the last mile I was limping and feeling the strained muscles. But today the leg feels better, and perhaps the sandy/rocky terrain added to my leg fatigue. Today will be an easier rest day! And I am adding a bit of yoga stretches back into my routine. I thin... Mon, 31 Mar 2014 15:09:22 EST Birthday, Sister Sick, Hikes Birthday, hikes, sister sick <BR> Yesterday was my 63rd birthday, and my friends gave a lovely dinner party. It was a lot of fun! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> And for my big birthday gift (from my mom) I have skunk-proofed the back patio, and am purchasing a new front door. <BR> <BR> My mom called on my birthday, my sister Pam helped her dial the call. Mom was very distraught because she had forgotten Pam’s birthday two days before. I t... Mon, 24 Mar 2014 00:28:12 EST Stinky night = disrupted sleep Last night I was awakened in the middle of the night by a horrible odor. Skunk. Unfortunately one or more of these stinky creatures seems to have made a home under the porch outside my bedroom. It was impossible to sleep with the odor permeating through the closed windows and walls. AND it was still renewing the odor in the morning. I hired a pest control expert; he set a trap and put in strobe lights to dislodge my unwanted houseguest. After the skunk is trapped and relocated to wilder... Tue, 18 Mar 2014 20:34:37 EST River hike My friend and I went on a lovely river walk today. My knee held up pretty well, but it was sore by the end of the day. SpunkyLB is recovering from an injury also so we hiked at a very mellow pace. <BR> <BR> I was pleasantly surprised to run into a co-worker from a former job on the trail (she lives 150 miles away). She and DH were on vacation visiting friends. It’s always interesting to find out how former places of employment have changed! There is a lot of turnover in the modern workp... Sun, 9 Mar 2014 23:37:39 EST Vacation -- The Best Laid Plans Go Awry! Just back from a great vacation, skiing in Montana on the border Glacier National Park. I enjoyed time with my friends and the beautiful scenery. TONS of fluffy powder snow! However my carefully laid plans for fitness were curtailed. And our travel back home got TOTALLY disrupted. <BR> <BR> Our group of 6 took Amtrak’s Empire Builder from Portland, Oregon to Essex, Montana (I carpooled with Pat to Portland in her car). Pat and I shared a tiny roomette, and we really enjoyed the Amtrak r... Wed, 5 Mar 2014 21:19:31 EST Saying No to Excess I have worked really hard to overcome excess in bad eating habits. I am not perfect, but I have improved greatly in not binging on sweet treats when I am tired/upset; not overeating at family and friend celebrations or when stressed; and not drinking high calorie alcoholic beverages in social situations. It takes a lot of work and strategies such as planning ahead and dealing with stress in more helpful ways. But I CAN see progress. <em>381</em> <BR> <BR> I also am trying to be moderat... Wed, 26 Feb 2014 21:57:41 EST Update on 2014 Resolutions In January I made a resolution to try a new activity every month. My sister told me that she was learning Spanish and learning to play bridge; my brother asked her “Why?” Pam and I both feel learning new things/trying new activities keep you active and interested in life. Plus Pam is going to Oaxaca with a friend she met through her Spanish language immersion class. <BR> <BR> My goals are different than my sister of course. Here is what I have planned so far: <BR> <BR> January: tot... Sat, 22 Feb 2014 21:14:54 EST Visit to Mom I flew to California and had a really nice visit with my family. Mom (94) is losing more of her ability to think clearly; she forgets common words, loses the phone, she forgets who is visiting, and falls asleep in the middle of conversations. But she remembers each of us, her children. I was in the room when they were changing the bandages on her leg; several new open sores have broken out. She was quite nauseated one day, probably related to the infection in her bone. She has no appetit... Tue, 18 Feb 2014 23:36:04 EST Craving Carbs; Kitchen Cavern Yesterday and today I was craving carbs. I’m trying to figure out why. I think I just plain burned a LOT of calories shoveling snow; and I didn’t increase my calorie intake on those heavy snow days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Monday and Tuesday (today) I have been inhaling carbs. I can and WILL stop this. I’m not going to beat myself up; I’ll look on this as a learning opportunity. I don’t usually snack, but when I am engaged in heavier exercise, I will eat more (including snacks). ... Tue, 11 Feb 2014 20:12:15 EST Digging Out from Snow Today I am slowly digging out from the snow. Our street is still unplowed; my neighbor’s high clearance truck got high-centered as soon as he got out of his driveway. Since my car is lower clearance I will wait until our side road is cleared. I spent about 4 hours shoveling snow, and then my friend Tony called. He is coming over with a snow blower and I am gratefully hiring his services to finish the job. <BR> <BR> Here are a few photos: <BR> <img src=" Sun, 9 Feb 2014 14:39:53 EST Kitchen Remodel -- Before Photos It is another miserably cold day here with freezing fog. We are officially having severe drought here in Central Oregon due to lack of snow. Despite no snow, my car slid on the black ice from the freezing fog this morning; luckily I was going VERY slowly and bounced off the curb instead of sliding all the way into the intersection. The weatherman is predicting a big wind storm coming this weekend that will end the air inversion – I can’t wait for a big wind to blow away the freezing fog a... Fri, 24 Jan 2014 00:49:38 EST Foggy day, packing, worried about mom It is a cold day with freezing fog here. This is my LEAST favorite weather. Freezing rain is more hazardous, but freezing fog tends to hang around for LONG periods of time, and it is bone chilling cold. Last week was unseasonably warm, and our mountains need snow – not freezing fog. Snow pack is about 35% of normal and I hope we get enough snow to avoid a drought. <BR> <BR> I am sorry I have not been blogging or hiking. My big project has been packing up EVERYTHING in the kitchen and... Mon, 20 Jan 2014 14:31:39 EST Hiked New Trail at Smith Rock After just one week of eating healthy (after the holiday indulgences), I can already see an improvement in my skin (I tend to get eczema or psoriasis when I eat too much sugar). I am enjoying eating right and exercising. <BR> <BR> <BR> Yesterday I hiked a new trail with friends, the hike included a hard new uphill trail in Smith Rock State Park. It was a lovely cold clear day. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> View from the top <BR> <img s... Mon, 6 Jan 2014 21:23:09 EST First Hike of 2014, and New Years Resolution I don’t usually make New Year Resolutions. But this year I am! I was inspired by hearing a radio interview with Laurie Cahn, author of “I Dare Me: How I Rebooted and Recharged My Life by Doing Something New Every Day.” MY resolution is to try at least one new activity related to health and fitness at least monthly, but preferably every week. I’ll blog about it periodically! (Here’s a link to another interview with Cahn <BR> <link><BR>2013/11/13/i-d... Fri, 3 Jan 2014 16:51:35 EST Christmas Holiday in California Christmas with family is always a joy, but this year was mixed with some sadness. My mom is much more frail and forgetful, she has lost interest in eating, she is noticeably deteriorated from 2 weeks ago when I last visited. In addition she was unhappy and feeling neglected by certain family members. I LOVED seeing her and loved seeing my other family members. But my goodness they could have spent more time with mom. <BR> <BR> I arrived in California on 12/23; I drove from Oregon. My y... Wed, 1 Jan 2014 12:14:14 EST Skiing with Pat I went Nordic (classic) skiing with my friend Pat last week, and we went again today. For our first ski last Sunday, we did an intermediate (blue diamond) trail, which means it has lots of up and down. The trail provided many chances to use different techniques (herringbone uphill, snowplow and wedge turns downhill, step turns, and kick glide). The snow was delightful last week – this week, not so much. Today Pat aptly pointed out it was like skiing on a snow cone. It was very hard icy c... Mon, 16 Dec 2013 03:32:18 EST Three Years Sparking Last week was my 3 year SparkiVersary. I have never kept up a healthy lifestyle change for such an extended period! My achievements include: <BR> <BR> I have been drinking at least 8 glasses of water every day for 3 years. <BR> <em>274</em> <BR> I have had 5 fruits and vegetables every day for 3 years. <BR> <em>551</em> <em>368</em> <em>277</em> <em>488</em> <BR> I have exercised at least 10 minutes a day for almost every day for three years. And I have exercised for at... Sun, 15 Dec 2013 20:05:13 EST