Monthly Archives: July 2017

When Times Are Tough

Part of the reason for my extended absence from this blog was life circumstances.  On the past 1.5 years, a lot has happened in my life.  I walked through it all with the help of some close friends.  I walked in the corridors of hospitals.  I walked around the parking lot of hospitals.  I walked on sidewalks near hospitals.  Sense a theme?

The good part was that my first grandchild was born almost exactly 1 year ago!  She is a delight!  I take care of her at least 1 day each week and some weeks I have her full time.  I am so blessed to have all of my children residing in the St. Louis area.  That goes double for a grandchild.  She wears me out, but she’s worth it.  And, I am so happy to be able to help my son and daughter in law with their wish to keep baby out of day care for at least her first year of life.  One year and counting.

The bad news was my mom’s deteriorating health.  She finally passed away in April, 2017 after a rough year or so.  She had 94 healthy years and about 6 months that weren’t so healthy.  While mom was going through her issues, I was staying near.  Anyone who has done that knows how tiring, both physically and emotionally, that can be.  I made 4 trips to the nursing home the last day of her life.  She was lucid (mostly) til the end.

Did I ever tell you that mom walked EVERY day of her life after she retired as a registered nurse?  As she told me – and anyone who would listen – “You can’t stay healthy sitting on the sofa watching TV”.  Even in the NH after recovering from her second broken hip, she still got up and walked herself to the bathroom!

With the help of my good friends and the encouragement of my husband, I was able to get in a walk every day!  That makes ALL the difference in my life, both physically and emotionally.  No way I can maintain an even keel without the kind of physical exertion I get from walking and dancing.  There is no way I would have gotten through all those rough days without Kris and Sal.

And Liz, always wagging her tail, eagerly awaiting her next walk.

(The picture above shows mom on the left, sitting on a bench at a small spring at Rockwood Reservation, Summer 2015.  Thanks, Kris.)

Hot And Heavy

The heat index today is over 100 degrees F.  The air is hot and heavy.  But, the trails at Castlewood are amazingly enticing, even on such a day.  I can’t resist.  Nor can my 14 year old pooch, Liz.  She is a trooper even tho’ the vet has limited her walks in the heat to a mere 2 miles.  Well, who said I was going to walk that far?

Despite the heat and humidity, the likelihood of plenty of insects, and the long day I’d already had, Kris and I headed, with Liz, to Castlewood.  We are always on the lookout for deer and other friendly wildlife.

Castlewood State Park is bounded on 2 sides by the Meramec River and there are at least 2 creeks running though the park.  One of the ‘creek trails’ is a nice round trip of not more than 1.5 miles.  At about the farthest point from the car, one must ‘ford’ the creek.  In this heat, there is not much creek.  But, ford it we did.  There is a small stream and several pools along our route.  One pool is home to lots of minnows and some nice, fat pollywogs this time of year.  Today, there was a nice sized turtle sitting on a log in the shade that covers this small pool.  The minute Mr. T(urtle) took one look at us, he dove in the water.  But we saw him.  Not sure if he dines on pollywogs, but if so, he was likely on the hunt.

We got a pretty late start on our walk today, which helped with the heat.  It also minimizes the number of other walkers and especially the bikes.  We like to share the trails but bikes can be hazardous to us.  More on that another time.  Today, the bikers were both courteous and friendly.

So, please don’t let the heat keep you from walking.  Just take a water bottle, find a shaded walk, slower your speed, and shorten your walk if needed.  Better to walk less than not at all!

Plate Me UP, Scotty

I have recently been tracking my food intake and exercise via a new app.  I’m old enough that this whole app thing is a bit intimidating.  But, how bad could I go wrong, right?

I checked out a few, settled on My Plate (Livestrong), went to the itunes store, and downloaded the thing, thinking I would need a 500 page User’s Manual to figure it out.  Not so!  It is quite straightforward and simple – even for me!  And, it has a huge ‘library’ of foods with calories counted for me.  It also has a huge library of exercise options.  Further, you can customize the calories and exercises by inputting your own data which becomes part of the library.

So far, I have tracked all of my eating and exercising for about two weeks.  It’s nice for me to have the visual right there in front of me when it’s 10:30 PM and I think I need a snack.  Now, I don’t need one if I don’t have calories left to consume.  ‘

This tracking thing keeps me mindful of what I eat.  And, darn it if I don’t avoid eating at least one thing every day just cuz I don’t wanna log it in.  Really.  Really!  This might be a minor miracle.  Further, in this app, the exercise you log in is captured as calories so it effects your bottom calorie line.  So, if I have consumed 980 calories (of 1200) before dinner, but I took a 30 minute brisk walk, I get 238 (walking) calories deducted from my calorie total so I get an adjusted calorie count to that point of only 742, leaving me 458 calories for dinner.  If I actually lose a few pounds along the way, I will know it’s because of this app.

BTW, I am not a fan of those wrist trackers.  Maybe you are.  But everyone I know who wears them has issues.  Some don’t count stairs.  Some don’t count dance steps.  The calorie counts are all over the place.  All that just annoys me.  I briefly wore a pedometer, but got rid of it when I routinely had racked up 6000 steps by 3 PM each day – with my main walk still ahead of me.  I like the notion of tracking, but I do not want to be a slave to the thing on my wrist or hanging off the hem of my shirt.  But, that’s just me……

*************************** Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you’ll get back 100% of your former life – your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It’s from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

 

After The Flood

The Meramec River and the Big River flooded a great deal of farm land and residential areas late in 2016.  It was one of the worst floods in many years.  We were cut off from many of our favorite walking trails.  Even after the waters subsided, the trails were a mess – smelly, muddy, buggy, littered with debris.  It took quite a bit of perseverance to find some great places to walk during and after the floods.  Here are some we found:

Creve Coeur Memorial Park – not the lake, but in the park above and just to the east of the lake.  The trail around the lake itself is fine to walk but I have trouble competing with bikes, strollers, skaters, etc.  We discovered several great trails on the bluffs above the lake and have enjoyed investigating them.  Bikes are allowed but the trails are mostly soil/mulch with some rock with quite a lot of twists and turns.  If you are looking for a difficult workout, there is a staircase that takes one from lake level up the bluff.  Going down is fine.  Back up is a pretty good challenge.  However, we especially enjoy the true trails through the woods.

Phantom Forest/Bittersweet Grove – This is a fairly small but fairly challenging couple of adjoined parks tucked between subdivisions on Barrett Station Road between Daugherty Ferry and Manchester Roads.  What a gem!  This short walk is perfect for that after work period when you only have a limited time before the sun goes down.  The Moore Family donated the Phantom Forest acreage that is hilly and rugged, heavily wooded, and often wet.  Mr. Moore drew a comic strip character called the Phantom, hence the name.  Attached at the back of Phantom Forest is the entrance to Bittersweet Grove, another small, fairly rugged couple of acres.  There is a side trail that goes down to the creek and allows for a bit more trail time.  Both are lovely pieces of land that now belong to all of us.

*************************** Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you’ll get back 100% of your former life – your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It’s from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

I’ve Been Away, But I’m Back!

While I was missing in action – an awfully long time – I hope you kept walking.  I did!  I had a bunch of family members with health issues and, since there’s only one of me, I was spread pretty thin.  And, just over one year ago, my first grandchild was born.  That was a joyous event!  Since I share childcare responsibilities for her on an ongoing basis, I am busier than ever.  Not complaining!  Through it all, I walked almost every day.

While my mother was hospitalized and while she was moved from her apartment to a nursing home, I walked.  The week she passed away (in April, 2017), I walked.  When my husband had a health scare and a brief hospitalization, I walked.  The day after my own eye surgery (two surgeries in 3 days!), I walked.

So, no excuses.  I walked around the inside of the hospital and nursing home on bad weather days and around the outside of those facilities when the weather allowed.  I packed my walking shoes every day and had full intent of using them.

I also am blessed with two great friends who are also avid walkers.  These gals calmly altered their walking schedules to help me meet my walking goals each day, knowing full well how helpful it is to me for stress reduction and to get good sleep.

Those crises are past.  Healing is occurring.  Friendships and walking continue.  Now, I am able to help one of those friends through a difficult time, listening to the venting while we walk.  What goes around comes around, don’t ya’ know?  And lucky for me that it does.

In future blog posts, I’ll share with you some new walking trails we have discovered.  Some new favorites and some we’ll avoid.  Most all good, tho’.  You can’t keep up down!

*************************** Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you’ll get back 100% of your former life – your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It’s from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.