ALIHIKES's SparkPeople Blog ALIHIKES's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Pick a Tough Challenge SparkCoach suggested picking a tough challenge (not necessarily fitness or diet related) and plan steps to meet the challenge. My challenge for right now is financial -- I want to gain control of my budget, I’m finding it more challenging than I thought to live within my perfectly adequate retirement income. <BR> <BR> <em>528</em> <BR> <BR> I worked for many years, and in the past few years my salary was ample for living well and indulging in eating out, new clothes, adventures etc. I ... Sat, 29 Apr 2017 01:16:34 EST Great Basin National Park The final destination of our Southwest trip was Great Basin National Park in Nevada. This park is at a fairly high elevation (7,000 - over 10,000 ft; or 2,000 to 3,000 meters). We changed our plans to camp at one of the beautiful campgrounds because it was pouring rain the night we arrived, and the campground got hail and snow! So we stayed in a little motel in the adjacent tiny town of Bishop, and we cooked most of our meals on our campstove in the courtyard. <BR> <BR> This is a beautiful p... Wed, 26 Apr 2017 14:02:50 EST Antelope Canyon, Cedar Breaks road, and Parowan Gap Our trip to the Southwest continued, with glorious weather and new destinations. I had never been to Antelope Canyon (on the Navaho reservation, near Page Arizona). It was stunningly beautiful -- but very crowded, with groups led by Navaho guides. The canyon is very narrow. We paid a $10 extra for a tour when the light would be shining down through the narrow canyon. Photographers pay very large sums of money for tours where the crowds are held back, giving the illusion of solitude. We achiev... Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:54:19 EST Canyon de Chelly After Chaco Canyon, we traveled to Canyon de Chelly, another beautiful site with many Anasazi cliff houses and rock art. Canyon de Chelly is located on the Navaho reservation, and visitors can view sites from the canyon rim, hike on one designated trail (to White House ruin), or access many more sites by going with a Navaho guide on a jeep or horseback tour. We opted for the jeep tour, and it was really interesting. <BR> <BR> The canyon was flooded, and the road had disappeared under the wat... Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:28:20 EST Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon Mesa Verde in New Mexico is the most famous of the Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) -- I think I will use the name that is used at each location rather than double naming this ancestral tribe!) sites. It is both a national park and a world heritage site. The cliff dwellings are well preserved, but they are mostly visible from the ridge at a distance. However, rangers lead hikes to one or two of the cliff sites if you are lucky enough to get tickets. <BR> <BR> Square tower ruin is one of the larg... Sun, 23 Apr 2017 14:52:26 EST Nine Mile Canyon and House on Fire ruin I just got back from two weeks traveling in the Southwest with my friend Deb. It was a great vacation. The weather was beautiful, and we enjoyed hiking and visiting archeological sites. I was very grateful that the pains in my legs subsided (the pain was a side effect from medication). <BR> <BR> I flew to Salt Lake City to meet Deb. She is an avid downhill skier and ski patrol volunteer, so she enjoyed a few day skiing before we met up. On our drive to our first destination (9 Mile Canyon),... Sun, 23 Apr 2017 00:58:30 EST Chronic Pain: What Works? For the past 3 weeks or so I have gained a great appreciation for my friends that suffer from chronic pain. My friends who suffer from chronic pain have spinal issues, or cancer, or severe arthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis ... and they ALL try their best to stay active and manage their pain. In my case, I developed severe pain in my legs, particularly at night in bed. The pain was WORSE than when I actually broke my leg or when I fell on ice and injured the muscles. It just didn't seem to he... Fri, 7 Apr 2017 15:24:36 EST Hiking Kah-Nee-Tah & Chimney Rock I am enjoying spring hiking, now that the weather is finally eased up from this harsh winter. AND my office floors have been replaced so I am able to be on my computer to write this blog! (I had damage to my home caused by an ice dam on my roof during our record-breaking snow in Central Oregon). <BR> <BR> We hiked to Chimney Rock; Chimney Rock rises above the Crooked River. The trail is fairly steep, but we enjoyed the views as we climbed up the canyon. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaw... Fri, 31 Mar 2017 00:38:19 EST Challenging Hike! Smith Rock Today I hiked at Smith Rock, and it was a challenging workout (for me!). I went by myself so I could enjoy going at my own pace on the steep uphill and downhill portions. And it was a GREAT experience. The weather was perfect (cool and clear); there were large hordes of happy hikers and rock climbers -- but NOTHING like the crowds at Zion or Bryce Canyon. <BR> <BR> From the view along the top trail that accesses the park, you can see the Misery ridge trail zig-zagging uphill (on the other si... Sun, 19 Mar 2017 22:10:07 EST Hiking Season Started! And, New Spark Look ... The weather has finally warmed up enough to go hiking. I went with my usual friends, but I think I will try a new group that may be more my pace. I'm a moderate paced hiker, and 3 of my 4 friends are speed hikers. HATE being the slowest one! And when I try to keep up, my heart rate goes way too high to sustain the pace for long. Oh well it will be fun to trying a new group and meeting new people. <BR> <BR> Our hike yesterday was about 7 miles in the Badlands. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://p... Sat, 11 Mar 2017 18:56:59 EST Overcoming a Blah, Low Energy, Day Yesterday was a very low energy day for me. I didn't meet my step goals; and I didn't go to an exercise class. I was in my pajamas until late afternoon. This is fairly rare for me -- usually I am energetic and enthusiastic, and I like to exercise a lot. So just in case this is helpful to anyone else out there, I am sharing my tips for turning around a BLAH, LOW ENERGY day. <BR> <BR> <BR> 1. Analyze what created the "blah" feeling. At least that might help prevent future recurrences!! In my... Wed, 8 Mar 2017 14:05:21 EST New Orleans -- Historic Tours I ran out of time to finish my blog last night, so I am sharing the highlights of some historic places that we toured. <BR> <BR> We visited Whitney plantation; this historic plantation tells the history from the point of view of the African American slaves. It was very moving and powerful. The beautiful church building is populated by bronze sculptures of the slave population (sorry if my photos of the children aren't great -- no flash photography was allowed) <BR> <BR> <img src="http://ph... Mon, 6 Mar 2017 19:33:59 EST Loved New Orleans! I loved my visit to New Orleans last week. It was great to see my sister and sister-in-law, and to see this historic and lively city. And the best part was spending time with my family! <BR> <BR> <BR> My favorite parts of the visit were hearing Preservation Hall jazz band and the swamp tour. We were not permitted to photograph the band or record the music, but it was a WONDERFUL show. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR... Sun, 5 Mar 2017 18:35:31 EST Three Accomplishments! SparkCoach today asked me to blog about three accomplishments that I am proud of. So here are three relatively recent accomplishments! <BR> <BR> 1. I have kept up cross country skiing, and have even improved my skills. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Skiing with Barbara last month <BR> <BR> 2. I have worked hard to improve my hiking skills. I am slow going uphill, but I made it to the top!!! <BR> <BR> <img s... Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:23:28 EST Huh? Mangled Instructions! The instructions on my new DVD external drive for my computer make NO sense whatsoever. Here's the instructions, verbatim: <BR> <BR> " Products through standard USB data cable to the computer USP port properly connected, the computer monitor should appear in the lower-right corner of the icon. Click “My Computer” on the desktop should be displayed in the removable storage devices. <BR> • Click on this icon, right click and select “pop-up” in the tray, into the disc to read <BR> • Internal l... Sat, 18 Feb 2017 18:22:39 EST Enjoying a Rainy Day, Movie Review, and Deer! Wow I am SO grateful that it is raining, instead of snowing. And I am grateful that my roof is not leaking! (I had damage from an ice dam during the big snow storm last month. The roof is fixed; the ceiling still needs refinishing) <BR> <BR> I went to AquaZumba class yesterday morning, it was a lot of fun as always. The class has increased in size from about 5 participants to over 20; I am glad that the instructor's enthusiasm and energy is paying off. This afternoon the rains will temporari... Fri, 17 Feb 2017 13:54:15 EST Valentine's Day Hike! I hiked up Pilot Butte today, to enjoy a hike with views before the next big storm (tonight). The trail was icy and slushy most of the way. I used my yak-trax so I did not slip and slide on the trail. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And it is quite steep. I am proud whenever I can make it to the top without stopping to rest! <BR> <BR> <img src=" Tue, 14 Feb 2017 20:22:57 EST New SparkCoach Track, New Driver License Photo I noticed that my SparkCoach program was repeating some of the lectures and suggestions, so I e-mailed a Coach. Apparently I made it all the way through the first program (Diet) and it was starting over again. The Coach's response explained that I could switch to a new program, so I started the Daily Consistency program, which will offer new challenges and ideas. They also offer plateau-breaking program. <BR> <BR> I had to go in to the DMV for a new driver's license and photo. I HATED my ol... Thu, 9 Feb 2017 16:40:13 EST January Results, and New Hike Through Snow! Last month, I did pretty well meeting my goals. I lost 4 pounds. I logged my food, and counted my steps. I drastically reduced sugar intake, and I cut my caffeine intake. I was off sick for about 10 days (flu), but I did pretty well with exercise the rest of the time. I am up to my full step goal and I am skiing farther. I have been doing yoga and Strength training as well. All in all: a good month! (but not perfect). And I overdid it with the exercise a couple of times; I’m having an easy re... Wed, 1 Feb 2017 13:14:52 EST Winter Hike in Badlands! And Deer in my Driveway This morning I awoke to the deer herd traveling through my yard and hanging out in my driveway. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The deer are delightful to watch. But the town south of us (La Pine, Oregon) had to kill FIVE cougars that were roaming into town and killing pets and livestock. The cougars usually h... Sat, 28 Jan 2017 18:48:23 EST Tracking Success: Non-Scale Victories! SparkCoach suggested blogging about using non-weight measurements for success. I thought that was a good topic, because really the scale is just a number. Here's what I want to succeed! <BR> <BR> 1. Reduce total cholesterol number. I want to drop my cholesterol by 30 points by the end of the year WITHOUT using drugs. (My cholesterol total number is very high, but my doctor is not concerned, because my good cholesterol is extremely high and my ratios are good. But I want to get that total num... Wed, 25 Jan 2017 15:00:51 EST Ski Vacation! And Getting Fit I had a great ski vacation to Methow Valley (WA) with the Nordic Club. Ski conditions were great, we got lots of fresh snow, and the group was congenial and friendly. 21 of us went. <BR> <BR> SparkCoach suggested blogging about how we can tell our health is improving and we are getting fitter -- WITHOUT using the scale. When I was leaving on my trip, I dithered about which warm heavy jacket I should take with me; none of them looked good; and my two usual jackets are more than 10 years old, ... Mon, 23 Jan 2017 14:01:25 EST Excalibur! and a beautiful ski Do you remember the story of King Arthur, and the sword in the stone? Well I had a perfect image of the sword Excalibur in my back yard! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I went skiing again with H & Barbara, we skied a longer loop. It was BEAUTIFUL! <BR> <BR> Tumalo Creek was partially frozen. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> H by t... Sun, 15 Jan 2017 19:49:48 EST Winter Wonderland My friends H & Barbara invited me to join them skiing this afternoon; the timing was perfect! I had already talked to the insurance adjustor and the roof snow removal crew; I knew my afternoon was free to ENJOY the snow instead of stressing about it! <BR> <BR> The freezing fog from yesterday was gone, and we had blue skies! We skied a lovely loop through the park along the river. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR>... Sat, 14 Jan 2017 01:04:03 EST Uh. Home damage. There are always unexpected costs with owning a home. Right now I had to initiate an insurance claim for home damage. It began when I noticed moisture seeping up between the planks of the nice cherry floors in my office addition. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I thought that there might be a drainage problem w... Wed, 11 Jan 2017 19:06:00 EST Blowing the Diet. Overcoming a Binge. SparkCoach suggested blogging about the last time I blew my diet, and how to change the "all or nothing" mentality, where so many of us (me included!) continue to overindulge after we make a minor misstep. The correct behavior, of course, is to stop immediately and move on with our moderate, healthy behaviors. <BR> <BR> I didn't have to look back too far to look at the last time I overate the wrong foods! I have been home for a full week with a bad cold, PLUS snowed in (roads are very icy an... Mon, 9 Jan 2017 17:29:09 EST Health Improvements! SparkCoach suggested blogging about all the ways that I have noticed improvements since living a healthier lifestyle. And Chris Downey's video lecture was on how to stay motivated when the scale isn't budging. BOTH of these topics are certainly appropriate to me!!! <BR> <BR> Here is what I have noticed, and what keeps me motivated!! <BR> <BR> 1. When the scale isn't budging, I don't freak out -- but I know that if it is a long term problem and I am following my program, something is wrong!... Tue, 3 Jan 2017 14:02:14 EST 2016 -- Goals Revisited. What Were Results? My goals for 2016 were a mixed bag of success and failure. Here's my recap. <BR> <BR> 2016 Goal: Lose at least 10% of my body weight. Lose at least one clothing size (preferably two), and buy ski pants that fit. <BR> RESULT: TOTAL FAILURE on this one. I lost weight for about 4 months; was plateaued for about 4 months; then weight started creeping back up. Eventually my doctor determined my thyroid levels were wrong, and I am now taking the correct dosage of medicine. It takes a while to get... Mon, 2 Jan 2017 16:41:07 EST Thoughts on Homeless Issue While visiting Oakland, my sister and I stayed at a very nice hotel in a beautiful location on the estuary at Jack London Square. But we were somewhat shocked driving to the location when we drove through a huge homeless camp set up on the sidewalks under the freeway; there were traffic cones set up to require drivers to stop and drive slowly through the encampment. My impression was there was a lot of trash and possessions strewn all over. It was like driving through a television episode of ... Sun, 1 Jan 2017 15:49:51 EST Christmas Trip to California I had a lovely visit to California for Christmas with family. My younger sister and I stayed at a hotel at Jack London Square in Oakland (my older sister's home was full with her kids returning home). It was great to see everyone! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> David (BIL) and me in front of the tree <BR> <BR> I liked staying at Jack London Square. There is a lovely walk along the waterfront; and a HUGE tree w... Sat, 31 Dec 2016 13:23:38 EST Walking in a Winter Wonderland! My friend H & I had a great walk along the river yesterday. It was cold, but clear and warmer. We had a massive snow storm a few days earlier. We took both our snow shoes and our yak trax (which are like tire chains for snow boots), and we hiked through snow, slush and ice on the river loop trail. It was magical! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Someone had decorated the trees along the river -- can you see the C... Thu, 22 Dec 2016 15:59:08 EST Motivation to Exercise! SparkCoach suggested blogging about how to motivate myself to exercise when I am tired, bored, or just don't want to do it. Here are some thoughts that inspire me: <BR> <BR> 1. I feel better after I exercise <BR> 2. Exercise can be a social activity and a good way to meet new friends. I met many of my friends in my current city through hiking groups and the Nordic ski club. <BR> 3. Exercise is good for my arthritis. Even if I am achy when I start, I will feel better after I am moving. <BR> 4... Sun, 18 Dec 2016 13:07:20 EST Snow Storm! After being snowed in for 3 days and nights, I think I can finally get out of my house and on the road! one lane of our little road is plowed. I am craving fresh salad, and I need other supplies (coffee filters and coffee), so I am headed off to the grocery store, driving slowly and cautiously. It is snowing lightly again. <BR> <BR> In the BIG snowstorm (Monday - Tuesday), the old record for one day snowfall was broken; that record had stood since 1924! <BR> <BR> Here are a few photos <BR>... Fri, 16 Dec 2016 15:22:52 EST What if Weight Didn't Exist? SparkCoach suggested an blog topic -- if the scales and weight didn't exist, how would you measure success? This was really interesting to me, as I am looking at setting my goals for 2017. Weight loss was NOT a success for me last year, but in many other ways I was very successful (I can hike longer; I can climb steep hills; I can ski better; I tried new exercise classes and enjoyed them; I look better. My weight loss for the last half of 2016 was derailed by thyroid level problems that shoul... Thu, 15 Dec 2016 13:03:40 EST Shaking Up My Program! Today SparkCoach suggested blogging about adding new challenges to my exercise program. And I had just been thinking about shaking up my program overall. Due to health challenges (thyroid levels off) I gained weight over the past 6 months, and I lost motivation to stay as enthused and energetic in my eating and exercise program. My nurse practitioner just informed me that my blood sugar is off and I need to make some major changes. So here are my plans for 2017, and for the remainder of 2016.... Sat, 10 Dec 2016 14:25:42 EST Remembering Dad, and Pearl Harbor Today is Pearl Harbor Day, and the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor is bringing back memories of my Dad. Dad passed away 25 years ago; he died peacefully at home under hospice care. But 75 years ago, he was a new naval enlistee stationed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, when the Japanese attacked. <BR> <BR> Dad was proud of his military career and rose to rank of Lieutenant Commander in Naval intelligence. However Pearl Harbor was a very traumatic experience for him (and others). Whe... Wed, 7 Dec 2016 16:02:55 EST First Ski of the Season! Woo hoo, I really had fun skiing today! 5 of us drove to Mount Bachelor in Central Oregon, and we skied out to Dutchman Flat (away from the machine groomed trails). It was a lot of fun, and the snow was great. I took my own car because I wanted to not ski for too long a time on my first time out -- it is hard work for me! (Two of the other women in the group have a tendency to keep going and going, like the Energizer bunny). <BR> <BR> Luckily Shari wanted just to ski for 90 minutes also, so... Thu, 1 Dec 2016 18:16:02 EST Excuses, Excuses, Excuses SparkCoach suggested blogging today about common excuses for avoiding exercise, and how to overcome those excuses. This was very timely for me, because yesterday I was exhausted and did my minimum amount of exercise. Here are MY most common excuses for not exercising, and my methods of overcoming those aversions! <BR> <BR> 1. Exhaustion. <BR> <BR> The best way of overcoming that is to avoid becoming exhausted in the first place! i.e., get enough sleep; don't exercise too hard the day befor... Tue, 29 Nov 2016 14:28:24 EST Thanksgiving Visit to Phoenix My Thanksgiving visit to Phoenix was delightful. My brother invited me (from Oregon) and my sister (from her temporary job assignment in Louisiana). Geoff and his wife were wonderful hosts. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> My nephew's girlfriend (meeting his parents for the first time), me, sister, and sister-in-law. Luckily she (and my brother) loved her son's girlfriend! <BR> <BR> Dinner was very delightful, a... Mon, 28 Nov 2016 18:31:28 EST Staying Motivated SparkCoach suggested blogging about how to stay motivated for the long haul. Many of us enter our diet and fitness programs with a rush of enthusiasm, but it takes a lot of time to see results. And sometimes it is HARD to stay motivated. (Right now I am going through a long period where it is hard to lose weight; it will take a while to get my thyroid medication adjusted to the correct level ...) <BR> <BR> So here are my methods of staying motivated: <BR> <BR> 1. Try new activities and ... Tue, 22 Nov 2016 20:54:12 EST Four Hikes this Week! And, a Message to Men... I'm going to start with a personal heartfelt plea to men. (I'm giving this same message personally to the men in my life). Please, please, please, take care of your health. INCLUDING getting prostate exams on schedule, and following up with results. I know it's not comfortable. I know most men don't want to cope with the decisions that treatment may entail. But a good friend of mine is in SERIOUS trouble because he waited way too long ... he apparently had a borderline test that required foll... Sun, 13 Nov 2016 15:21:16 EST Nice Hike, and New Garage Door! I enjoyed a nice hike today with my friend Pat; we hiked a loop that is about 5 miles long and includes some uphill. Pat's final chemo treatment is next week; she is an avid hiker who has kept hiking throughout her breast cancer surgery and chemo. She is an inspiration. <BR> <BR> The larch trees have turned golden and they are dropping their needles. Parts of the trail were carpeted in fine golden needles. Larch trees are called tamarack trees in some areas; they are the only deciduous conif... Wed, 9 Nov 2016 23:58:49 EST Hike to Badlands Rock On Tuesday, H & I hiked to Badlands Rock. The hike was about 6 miles through volcanic terrain (sandy ash, lava and basalt formations). It was a glorious day after the rain. At the start of our hike, little bluebirds flitted from juniper trees to sage brush -- we both tried to photograph them but they were too fast for us. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The juniper berries were thick on the ground. In the past f... Thu, 3 Nov 2016 14:21:00 EST Rain, Hiking, and Stress Reduction Most of you know that I LOVE hiking. It really helps me reduce stress, and to focus on the important things in life -- the beauty around me, and good friends. <BR> <BR> I hiked the Dry River Canyon in the Badlands area (in Central Oregon, where I live) twice this week. First I pre-hiked the trail with two long term friends. Both are suffering from serious health problems (one with Parkinson's, one with hereditary lung disease). Both of them still love to get out into the beauty of nature. Th... Sun, 30 Oct 2016 01:55:23 EST Hiking between Rainstorms I enjoyed hiking today with my friend H; it was my first real hike in 3 weeks (I was suffering from a bad case of poison oak). She had been unable to hike for even longer due to a strained back muscle. We hiked about 4 miles in the historic canal district. The Cascade mountain peaks in the distance were covered with fresh snow. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> My face is still slightly swollen, but most signs of ... Wed, 26 Oct 2016 00:52:46 EST Bathroom Remodel is DONE! My guest bathroom remodel is finally done! I'm very pleased with the results. I did not completely gut it and redo everything, but I think my lower cost remodel looks great! I used a contractor for most of the work, but as always there was quite a lot for the homeowner to do also. <BR> <BR> Here's what was done: <BR> Removed old cultured marble counters, and replaced with new quartz countertop <BR> Added mosaic backsplash (mix of glass tile and marble) <BR> Cut down mirror and added new bra... Sat, 22 Oct 2016 13:09:00 EST Making Weight Loss/Fitness an Adventure! SparkCoach suggested blogging about how to make weight loss and fitness a fun and exciting adventure, instead of a long slog of deprivation and chores. So I thought about the ways that I personally use to keep fitness fun, and what additional things I can do. <BR> <BR> Food: <BR> Buy fresh good quality food (I do this all the time). <BR> <em>550</em> <em>551</em> <BR> Experiment! Try new food items, and try new recipes. (I do try new food items and new recipes. Not all are successful... Fri, 21 Oct 2016 13:44:52 EST Outside my Window Guess who was visiting the Celtic cross outside my bedroom sliding door? <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Mon, 10 Oct 2016 15:23:58 EST Staying Healthy While Feeling Miserable :) My poor face. I came home from my coastal trip with poison oak (the negative side of outdoor adventures!) I know I am very allergic, but I am usually able to avoid contact because I recognize the leaves. But by this time the leaves had all fallen, and apparently I brushed up against a stick. By the time I got home, I was already having a systemic reaction where the rash is EVERYWHERE. <BR> <BR> My face is swollen, lopsided, itching and sore. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople... Sat, 8 Oct 2016 15:44:25 EST Redwoods and Coastline My friend Becky (from my book club) invited me and 3 of her other friends to spend several days at her family's cabin near Crescent City, California. The cabin was located on the Smith River; here is the lovely river view from the cabin porch. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And here are my friends at Crescent Beach. <BR> <BR> <img src=" Thu, 6 Oct 2016 01:30:26 EST