Friday, December 26, 2014

A Christmas Walk






Christmas was a very busy day at my house.  We had our annual (now in its 30th year) Christmas morning brunch.  As the children have gotten older (all now fully grown adults), scheduling becomes more difficult.  And, they don't want to get up at O-dark-thirty to celebrate a holiday or eat my brunch.  No kids of their own at this point.

We had to work around a friend heading to Mass before brunch, a girlfriend who had to leave for the airport at 1:30, and two other of my kids who had to make appearances at the homes of the families of their significant others.  Someone must pick up 92 year old grandma to get her here - usually me.  Someone has to keep the food coming - usually me.  Someone has to orchestrate eating, gift exchange, and clean up - usually me.

This annual affair began 30 years ago when our now 36 year old first born had no Christmas celebration.  Next door to us on one side lived an Irish Catholic family with 7 kids.  On the other side were some elderly Buddhists.  Across the street were Orthodox Jews.  What's a mom to do when the kid asks why we don't have Christmas.  Dad said - give him Christmas.  I asked around and discovered that several friends had nothing special to do with their kids either.  So, our 'stray, abandoned, and orphaned' Christmas Brunch was born.

But, today, it was too beautiful outside to not take advantage of the weather.  So, after all the eating, entertaining, transporting, and gifting, I grabbed the leash and took Lizzie for a little walk.  It wasn't a long walk, but it was worth the effort.  What better way to celebrate Peace On Earth by doing a nice, peaceful activity like walking?  

That cute picture can be found at this blog.   It's a great picture, but i would never let my dog 'walk' herself.

*************************** 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.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ready For Something More?

If you've been walking a while, you may be looking for more ways to fit simple exercise into your life.  If so, take a look at this site.

Don't scroll down to far at that site cuz you might get intimidated.  Remember, you just do what you can, start a the level you are comfortable at, and progress at a reasonable rate if you want.

If you still just want to walk, that's fine too.  Walking works best for me.  As you probably know, I also dance (linedancing, sliding) twice a week.  That's so much fun!  'We don't bark and we don't bite. You can't dance and stay uptight.'  That's from a great old tune, Dancing In The Moonlight.





*************************** 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.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sometimes You Feel Like A Hamster




You know those little ferris wheel type things that people put in the cages of hamsters and gerbils to let them exercise?  There is one mall in the area that pretty much makes me feel like a hamster.  And, I hate hamsters, gerbils, and other rat-like creatures.  But, I do like having a free place to walk even if it is a smallish mall.

Plaza Frontenac is the mall.  It's got two levels, both covered mostly with wood which is easy to walk on.  The other surfaces there are carpet and some sort of textured tile.  There are some broad staircases so we can get in a few ups and downs.  There are two real pluses about Plaza Frontenac.  First is the covered, heated parking.  Second is - no strollers and no teenagers.  While I love both babies and teens, when I'm walking, I hate having to navigate around moms pushing strollers and teens window shopping.



So, I'm a mall snob.  I regularly walk at both West County Center and Chesterfield Mall.  But, in these weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, these two malls are just too crowded and the weather outside is usually unwelcoming.  So, we are stuck with Plaza Frontenac.

It's very much a Cadillac problem, right?  We have a mall to walk at and it's free and has covered parking and a nice wood floor.  The window shopping is a bit esoteric as I am unlikely to purchase an Omega watch, a Coach bag, or furniture from either of the two specialty stores there.  No Lucky jeans for me either.  While I occasionally shop at some of the other stores there, there is nothing from any of them on my gift list this year.  But, I'll take advantage of their welcoming atmosphere and be grateful for it.



*************************** 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.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Walking The Eleventh Step




Al-anon's Eleventh Step says:
 Sought through Prayers and Mediation to Improve our Conscious Contact with God, As We UNDERSTOOD HIM, Praying Only for the Knowledge of His Will for Us and the Power to Carry That out.

For me, walking is a good time for me to pray and/or meditate.  For me, walking outside makes me feel closer to my Higher Power (HP).  If you're not a 12 Step person, you'll still understand the meaning and impact of the words of this step.  Maybe you don't feel the need for closer contact with a HP or maybe you don't believe in a HP.  Then, just ignore my musings here and continue on your walk.

My journey through the 12 Steps has coincided in time and space with my beginning and continuing to walk.  The two are closely intertwined in my life.  Maybe that's why it has been fairly easy for me to find the time - force the time - for my walks as a priority over most other things in my life.  It's very valuable that my sweet husband both supports and encourages my 12 Step work as well as my walking.  Or maybe he just likes the positive changes he's seen in me over these past 16 years!

So waking and meditating.  When I walk with another person, there is less meditating as I'm busy carrying on a conversation with my walking buddy.  In my case, most of my walking buddies are either in program (al-anon) or they 'get' the concept of seeking closer contact with a HP.

If the idea of walking and meditating appeals to you, read this article that has specific guidelines for doing just that.  When I first began the process, I just figured it out on my own as I had no idea that anyone else was doing it.  That's also the main reason I began writing this blog as there was almost no information online about the benefits of walking - the noncompetitive type walking.  If you want to walk competitively, go for it!  But, this blog and my walking are for my heart, mind, and body and is not a competition.  

Wonderful weather outside aids in the process, but it is not necessary.  Today was a beautiful day in the neighborhood, so I took advantage and walked twice for a total of about 5 miles.  But even on rainy and dreary days, you can often find me outside, braving the elements, to feel that connection to my HP and to keep myself feeling better.  It works for me.


(This article was written on November 29, 2014, a sunny, wonderful day for walking outside.)





*************************** 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.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Can A Box Get You Motivated?




Are  you familiar with the God Box?  In simplest terms - and it's a simple concept - you have a container into which you put slips of paper on which you've written things you want.  The idea is that you write down your wants, desires, hopes, etc., put them in the God Box, and forget about them.  Having put them in the God Box, you have offered them to God, your Higher Power, and/or the Universe.  And, in that funny way the Universe has of responding to such 'requests', many of your wants will manifest in your life.

This is not new age hokum or voodoo or any such thing.  It's half affirmation and half mindfulness.  It's a quick moment to crystallize what's in your mind, write it down, and trust it to your Higher Power.  I know this works.  I'm not sure it works with every little thing because once I've put that slip of paper in my God Box, I really do get it off my mind (forget it) and I don't keep track.  I do know that having put that thought out into the Universe makes it possible for the Universe to respond.  You might liken an unrecorded wish or goal as a song that no one ever sings.  A song that remains unsung is a poem - but not a song.  Why write a song that no one ever sings?  Instead, take positive action and write your song (your desire) and put it into words (on a slip of paper), then put it where it can find an audience to sing it.

This simple concept is also easy.  It's an example of a KISS (keep it simple, stupid).  It's also one of the few simple concepts that is also easy.  It's letting go at its most basic level - on a sticky note, for instance - and turning it over to God (HP, Universe, whatever you call yours).  If you are unsure, it won't take much of an investment of time or money to test the hypothesis.

In this case, we'll say that you would like to have more time to walk.  Or, you'd like to be better motivated to walk/exercise/  Or you want to feel better and you have come to believe (cuz you've ready my blog) that movement will make you feel better.  You write that down on a sticky, put it in a Mason jar, and go about your business.  Once it's written down and put into the box or jar, your 'work' is done.  Now, you wait, totally unaware - or maybe a bit more mindful - because you put it into the care of your HP.



In my case, I like to craft so I want a really pretty God Box.  I can decorate a shoe box, oatmeal container, or  Mason jar with my favorite colors and images.  I set it where I'll see it every day (how about the kitchen counter if it's a jar or a bedside table if it's a jar or box) so I will remember to use it.  I keep a small pad of sticky notes or scrap paper and a pretty pen nearby.  See, write, put in container, close container, forget about it.  See?  I told you it was easy.

Here are a few suggestions to put in your box/jar:

I'd like to walk for 10 minutes every day.
I'd like to have 20 minutes of down time in my busy day so I can exercise.
I'd like to feel better.
I'd like an energy boost that only exercise can give me.
I'd like a simple way to de-stress for a few minutes every morning.
I'd like to remember to meditate every day.
I'd like to get a walking buddy.
I need some comfortable walking shoes.
I need to come up with a good place to walk in bad weather.
I want to turn over a new leaf and take care of myself.

I'm sure you'll come up with many more.  And, it doesn't have to be limited to walking or exercising.  It can be about finances, relationships, your job, a cure for chronic lateness.  There are no rules here except that the slip of paper should contain a positive statement.  So, if you want to get an energy boost, you would not write down that you're tired.  That's a negative.

I hope this makes sense to you.  It's such a useful and positive tool that you'll be pleasantly surprised if you try it.

Remember - whether we like it or not, every thought is a prayer.





*************************** 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.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday De-Stress




 I have no idea what this blog is about (will have to read it) but I love the image.  This is how I often feel about the holidays.  Any holiday!  There are minefields and since I'm a walker and a dancer, it might feel like I'm walking or dancing through that minefield, just waiting for the misstep.

One remedy for me is to walk away from all the chaos.  Both of my dance classes were cancelled this week.  Boo!  Hiss!  But, I understand.  Those dance teachers have lives off the dance floor, I assume, and need time to do all those things that we all must do to prepare for an onslaught of family, friends, new recipes, old recipes, traditions, too much food, too much work, too little serenity.  School was even cancelled so I have no Math In Motion to occupy my mind with those funny kids I love so much.

I am a rotten housekeeper - like, um, you know that by now if you've read any of my blog posts before.  So, when I know people will be coming to my house, I feel compelled to dig through the rubble to unearth the chairs and table, dust off the dustables (um, collections), clean bathrooms, and generally make the house so guests do not question the possibility of food poisoning or worse upon entry to this particular zoo.

So, I clean.  I dig out old recipes that must be prepared and served.  I shop at a gazillion grocery stores to get the perfect supplies.  I insist on using china and real flatware.  I really do enjoy having people over to my home.  I just need another house for that purpose alone.  One to live in and one to entertain in.  Maybe someone should float that idea to a new home builder.  I'd buy one - well, two.

Along with the holidays and all the work come a mountain high stack of expectations.  Who must have what pie or form of cranberry sauce?  What pie besides pumpkin will be well received?  Real whipped cream or the aerosol can stuff?  Stuffing and gravy?  White potatoes AND sweet potatoes?   I aim to please.

And, this doesn't even address the long Christmas Wish Lists which will soon adorn refrigerator doors all over America. Talk about expectations!

For me to please - and it's me I'm really trying to please because the world will continue to spin if I opt for the wrong whipped cream stuff - I must work some then de-stress some.  To de-stress, I must find places to walk when the weather and timing are less than cooperative.  I have come up with a couple of new options.

First, the hospital where DH and I have worked for years has 9 floors to walk.  I know most every nook and cranny of this place.   There is covered parking.  The parking is free. It has lots of staircases.  It's only about a 10 minute drive from my home.  And, it's open every day of the year.   Voila!  My own private walking course - at least until visiting hours are over.  And, no one even knows me there anymore. I'm just another citizen wandering around, lost, dazed, and in need of redirection.

Other ideas include big box stores and the mall, of course.  But, one must do a lot of people and stroller dodging to walk at those places.  I've given up on the gym because, well, I just hate it and its treadmills.

I can also use my laptop to pull up dances I know on youtube and dance away in the privacy of my own home.  I become the Dancing Queen, young and sweet, only 17.  That's a stretch, ok.  But, I can dream.  And, I can dance the dances I love the most over and over without annoying anyone except maybe the dog who keeps trying to dance along with me but is even worse at it than I am!

So, with your holiday supply of chores and expectations, find a few minutes each morning and afternoon to boogie somewhere so you don't lose your mind or your temper.  De-stress using the tools and locations you have available to you.  Walk or dance in front of the TV.  Dance in the laundry room.  March in place to your favorite MoTown tunes.  You'll feel so much better.  And, your expectation pile will never overwhelm you.  I promise.

Thought For The Day - I was busy all day, but I walked TWICE - both times at the mall with friends.  If I can, you can.




*************************** 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.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Walking In The Rain, Oh, ....you know the rest






These pictures pretty much tell it all.  It was so gray, dreary, and rainy today - but not cold - so we decided to hot one of our favorite trails.  We walked our usual 1.5 miles there, dodging all kinds of puddles, slip-sliding up and down small hills, and generally having a fantastic time.  Try it!

Pretty sure in that top pic, at least one of that puddles goes all the way to China.

Despite the puddles and small 'lakes', Lizzie had not complaints.  I took brief refuge on a rock.

In this pic, it doesn't even look like it was raining!  I can assure you it was.  I was completely wet from my toes up to my knees - and beyond.

As usual, Kris took the pix - and she got as wet as I did.  But, it was a fantastic walk.  I'd do it again right now.  Tomorrow, it's supposed to continue raining and I must attend a graveside funeral.  Maybe an umbrella s called for.

Written Nov 23, 2014




*************************** 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.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Walking At Work



A study at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) evaluated a bunch of students and faculty to see how well they worked on computers while seated, standing, cycling, or walking.  I've written a bit about this before.  This time, researchers were looking for a variety of indicators, including workers' boredom, stress, performance, and more.  Their work stations had been adapted for the various forms of movement tested.

The walking work stations produced the best results even if the workers on these stations performed no other kind of exercise or what their body mass index was.  You can read the entire study authored by Michael Siter in the American Psychological Association's Journal of Occupational Health Psychology - or you can just take my word for it.

I'm pretty much retired now, but if I were still in the work force full time, especially if I were tied to a desk, I'd be lobbying my boss for a work station modified to include a treadmill traveling at 2 MPH.  That is the sweet spot - where the user quickly becomes accustomed to, and even unaware, of the presence of, the treadmill or the need to walk at 2 MPH while performing work chores on the computer, phone, or paperwork.

What do you think?

I got this info from an article in the Novermber 19, 2014, Vof 19, No 31 issue of West Magazine - a freebie in my neighborhood.



*************************** 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.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Smart Chick Walks



Wow!  This blog has been called 'inspiring'.  What is better than that??  My friend, Kathryn Vercillo about whom I wrote recently has mentioned this blog in another of her articles.  Like me, she is both a walker and a crocheter.  Like me, she is devoted to both and convinced of the health benefits of both.

To read her latest article and to see other inspiring information on walking she has there, go visit her Diary Of A Smart Chick blog here.  Like me, you'll probably learn of some new resources to help boost your motivation to move.

Thanks for the shout out Kathryn!  Your Smart Chick blog is aptly named.

Don't forget to check out Kathryn's books here.




*************************** 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.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Math In Motion


So I have figured out another way to remain active without even trying.  It's the math classes I teach which the kids have named Math In Motion.  You see, I don't let them sit down during math class!  I have discovered that there are a number of motion techniques that can assist kids in learning rote facts like their multiplication tables and other math facts.

I got this idea a few months ago, cogitated on it for a while, then came up with my plan.  I am on A MISSION to prevent kids from counting on their fingers.  I can't stand it!  I especially can't stand it when they are trying to figure out a multiplication problem by counting on their fingers.  It just can't be done - well, certainly not in an efficient or timely manner.  They might eventually come up with the right answer, but just as often they will give up since they don't have those basic math facts under their belts.

So, I purchased a few inexpensive toys, printed off a multiplication grid for each kid, and began pulling small groups of kids out of their regular classes to work on math.  Originally, I called them Mathaletes or Mathamagicians or Matheists.  None of that stuck.  Finally, one kid complained that I never let them sit down (for say, oh, 12 whole minutes) and out of my mouth came the words, "No, you'll learn better if you remain in motion."  Math In Motion was born.

So, in addition to standing to work on their math facts and doing work on the blackboard, they also do push ups, sit ups, toe touches, claps, snaps, running in place, marching - anything they want to have fun and make math easier.  I don't think that all of school is or should be 'fun'.  I think that kids can do hard things - hard work, learn hard facts.  I know they can.  The key part is convincing them of that.

Moving while learning is a good way to pull this off.  These kids are in grades 3 through 6 so there are a number of absolutes:
1. they love getting out of regular class
2. they love attention
3. they love showing off
4. they love learning - even when they don't know it
5. they take pride in learning - and demonstrating - new skills
6. they love moving.

Is that enough for you?  Six reasons to move while learning math.  One day, I happened to be near the office where kids were dismissed for the day as parents signed them out.  I saw one of 'my' kids and asked her if she'd told her mom what her math homework was.  She told her mom it was her threes.  Her mom got right on board with that, stating they'd have to get out the flashcards.  I told mom that flashcards were great but that Jordan had to do them standing on one leg.  Mom gave me the strangest look.  So, I gave her the short version, knowing that Jordan would fill her in.  I said I didn't care how she practiced the threes so long as she was moving while she did it - standing on one leg, tossing a ball, clapping her hands - since that would engage all her learning skills.  Mom said okay.

So far, Math In Motion has been a great success.  We started off focusing on multiplication, only to learn that they needed their addition and subtraction facts too.  Wow!  Lots to learn.  But, they are engaged and, when the kids set their own homework - say the threes - for when I return the following week (Tuesday or Wednesday), they'll have those facts down pat.  So far, the kids have not let me down.  They are proud to demonstrate their mastery of their newest facts.  Hooray!

Now, I'm planning to set up some sort of Math-olympics for later in the year so I can acknowledge and let them show off their skills - and give prizes.  For now, their prizes are oatmeal cookies from the dollar store and my attention and praise.

And, what am I getting out of it.  As a teacher, I'm, of course, gratified that this technique is working.  But, I'm also getting some great exercise.  You see, I stand up all day, walk up and down about a million stairs in the two 100 year old school buildings, and demonstrate the physical activity I want the kids to do.  I'm tired when the afternoons are done!

PS - I'm certain I'm not the first person to come up with this learning technique.  And, I won't be copyrighting it or anything. 




*************************** 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.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Winter Moves In, We Move On




Today was our first real snow.  It didn't stick much on the roads, but the trees and grass were well coated.  There was about 2 inches of total snow fall on my husband's car and all the trees at the park looked like someone had dusted them with powdered sugar.

Despite the grayness and the damp snow, the temperature wasn't too bad.  Kris and I decided to drive to Castlewood to walk a bit.  As we left the under-trees trail and entered this open area, Kris was taken with the beauty of the snow against the trees and grass.  It doesn't show particularly well in the picture, sadly.  But, Lizzie had a nice frosting on her black fur and the air was completely full of snow flakes.  We met only a few other walkers and a single biker.  It was really nice to be in the woods almost alone.

On the trail we often walk, we had not realized how very close we come to the edge overlooking the river.  It's a pretty long fall down.  Should have taken a picture.  The normal undergrowth covers just how close we walk to the edge of the precipice.

The river was lovely but far too low.  It has been a dry year and the number of fallen trees in the park speaks to the drought.  Still, the park is a gem and we are delighted to have it so close to home.


Written Sunday, November 16, 2014


*************************** 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.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Back To The Mall






With the advent of rotten weather in these parts, it's back to the mall many days if we want to get in a walk.  Life has been especially harsh the past two weeks - only had dance class once each week rather than twice.  I mean, one must have her priorities and I just don't think the dance class should be cancelled because of the room being a polling place.  Those darn voters could just dance around us.  I had to dance through the rain drops to cast my vote!

But, with all that - and the arrival of Santa way too early at one of the malls - I am grateful that we have malls to walk in.  The strollers, toddlers, and those silly people who use the mall for actual shopping are in the way of us walkers, but we persevere.

I feel like I should sit in Santa's lap and ask him to bring me a private mall for Christmas.  What could be wrong with that?  It should be temperature controlled, have lots of windows, covered parking, and be free.  Further, its use would be limited to me and my walking buddies, including the four legged one.  She would not be a bother to anyone as she only does her 'business' in her own back yard and loves to walk more than she loves her food or treats.

So, what's wrong with joining a gym again this winter?  Nothing except that I just cannot get over my dislike of the gym and I'm not fond of treadmills either.  This winter, I will focus on finding more dance opportunities, dancing and walking in front of the TV, and being really kind to all the stroller mom's at the mall.  I've been a stroller mom and I know that time in a mom's life has its own set of challenges.

BTW, there is this ancient couple who walk at the mall and they are an object case in the benefits of walking as well as the benefit of having a spouse who is long lived.  The woman uses a walker and she's pretty bent over.  Her sweet husband puts his hand over hers on one side of the walker so they are holding hands as they stroll the mall.  They get lots of encouragement from other walkers as we are all in awe of their relationship and their devotion to walking.  I need to take a picture.



*************************** 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.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Like Minds Make Good Walkers




Kathryn Vercillo is an online crochet friend of mine.  She has written a great book about the healing benefits of crochet.  She firmly believes, and I concur, that crocheting can actually save lives.  I know that walking can!  And has!

Now, Kathryn has written a blog post, referring to this blog among other resources, about the health benefits of both crocheting and walking.  It's kind of her to recognize my blog.  I've had a hard time breaking out of my little corner of the internet to reach a broader audience.  I'd love to be able to spread the word to more people about the benefits of walking (and crocheting) and how easy it is.

So, please read Kathryn's article - and consider reading her book if you want to learn more about the benefits of simple, repetitive, positive activities.  It's amazing how such small activities and changes can result in such large benefits!



*************************** 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.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Trudging Through The Rain







Because I'm probably crazy, I volunteer two afternoons a week at an inner city Catholic School.  I facilitate reading circles of 3-5 kids on Wednesdays and teach small groups of students in grades 1 through 6 math facts - Math In Motion - named by the kids themselves.

The Math In Motion is physically demanding.  I'm standing for hours, keeping the kids moving around while learning multiplication, addition, and subtraction.  In addition, this school is almost 100 years old so it has very high ceilings and thus very long staircases.  Up and down I go, from class to class, pulling out my small groups of kids every 20 minutes or so, toting my huge bag full of small toys, books, math grids, and lots of treats.  It's fun but taxing.

On Wednesdays, I facilitate several reading circles.  So, I have homework (gotta read those books), practice crowd control, and try to show the enthusiasm I have for reading by attempting to bring the stories to life with words and some physical activities.

And - AND - the school has 2 buildings that are across the street from each other.  Most days, the 100 yard dash between buildings, across a street, through two playgrounds, and up more stairs, is not very challenging.  On days like we have here so often in the Fall, walking between buildings in drizzle, rain, downpours is NOT FUN!  It's the one time I really don't want to take a walk.  Who would?  Only my dog and some ducks.

But, trudge across that street I do.  I'm on a mission.  At first I thought my mission was to help with reading.  But after almost 3 semesters at this school, it has become clear that my mission is to work with kids on their math skills - and to be a resource for teachers with kids that need to leave their classrooms because of behavior problems.  I love it!

This is another case of baby steps.  I have to start slow to assess the kids' levels of competency AND I have to earn their trust because I'm going to be helping them with things that are hard for them and they just simply do not want to do.

There's magic here!  When we move the kids out of their desks to learn their multiplication tables both their attitudes and their mastery improve.  I was calling them Math-letes and Math Stars when they began calling my little classes Math In Motion.  I love that name.  It embodies two major elements they require to become successful at math.

Further, the lead classroom teachers seem receptive to this idea.  Now, instead of making a kid sit out if s/he misbehaves, they are more likely to have the kid to jumping jacks or push ups!  It really works.  Get that Serotonin pumping in their brains.  Give them an alternative to sitting down most of the day.  The kids are taking it well - viewing it less as punishment and more as a logical consequence of not paying attention or not doing their work.



One day, I shared an article I had read about a smart gal who put an exercise bike and a treadmill in her office to make her feel better and keep her on track with her plan to lose weight.  A light bulb went off in my head so I am now seeking permission to freecycle some of that exercise equipment in each classroom for the kids to de-stress and give themselves attitude adjustments in a mere few minutes of biking or walking.  I know this will be a good idea and there is plenty of room in those huge old classrooms for several pieces of exercise equipment.  The lead teacher I was originally assigned to also likes the idea and will float it to the principal.

Can I help kids from underprivileged neighborhoods learn better, work harder, be more positive and enthusiastic about school?  I'm no Pollyanna.  That road is a steep uphill incline that goes on and on.  But, if I can make it better for a couple of kids, I'll have done my job.

Consider using such equipment in your own home for yourself and for your family members, especially kids.  Include such activities as a normal part of life.  Make life easier for them and yourself by allowing natural activity to enhance their ability to learn and grow emotionally.  It's a small thing.  Baby steps can change lives.

The top picture is fantastic Ms.Hogan teaching her second grade class last year.  The other photo is one I ran across on line - a dream that might be fulfilled!


*************************** 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.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Lifting The Fog




So, last night, I did not sleep much.  And, I had to get up early to get an MRI of my hip as it's been causing me quite a bit of pain - either another gluteal tear or bursitis.  I'm hoping for bursitis since the 'fix' for that is an injection.

I moved around and drove around in a fog.  The MRI was unpleasant, to say the least.  But, it had to be done.  All I wanted was to get home so I could take a nap.  However, I know the pattern here.  Often, if I'm pretty sleepy from a bad night, I can't nap and the negative sleep cycle begins anew.  Who woulda thought that taking a 20 minute nap in the afternoon would result in better sleep at night?  It's counter intuitive but in my experience, it's how my body/mind works.

On the way home, the weather was lovely.  My dog hadn't been for a walk in several days due to cold, damp, windy weather.  So, I decided I would take her for a walk before attempting a nap.  Forget the other million things I should be doing today - housework, paying bills, cleaning up the flower pots out front.  But, all that will wait.

Lizzie and I went for a walk of about 1.5 miles, a short one for us.  About half way through the walk, I felt the fog lifting from my mind and my body feeling better!  I KNOW this happens.  Why do I forget it??

I also know I've written about it before.  It's better than any pill.  Now, if I'm really lucky today, I'll get the ecstasy of a brief nap......

See that happy black dog up top?




*************************** 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.

Life's A Beach?




"There is nothing better for sorting out dilemma's than a quiet, reflective walk. It is a very good time to meditate...although one must keep an eye out for Conch shells on your path. "  Bill T.


My buddy Bill wrote this in the Comments of my blog a long time ago.  I just reread it and it got me to thinking.  He's so right!  Now, if we all had access to what sounds like a stunning beach in Belize like Bill does for much of the year, we'd all be more motivated to walk, if only to hunt for sea shells.  I know I would.

Bill and I went to high school together.  Not that long ago we celebrated our 40th reunion!!  Forty years since high school.  Now, more than that.  But, back in those days - before ice was invented, as I tell my kids - walking was what everyone did.  Each family in our suburban community had only one car and Dad got that to drive to work.  No matter how far from school we lived, we all walked.  For some kids, that was maybe 3 miles.  For me, it was a mile.  In all kinds of weather.  Uphill both ways.  Well, uphill getting to school.  But, I digress.

Walking was the only way most of us had to get around.  Some kids lived on a bus line but most of us just walked - from those earliest grades through high school.  The school district owned no school buses (now, they do) so we hoofed it.

University City, Missouri was a wonderful place to walk.  In Summer, we walked 3 miles to Heman Park to swim all day then drag ourselves home all sunburnt and worn out.  We walked to the ice cream store, the grocery store, the drug store.  We rode our bikes to the park, to visit friends, and sometimes to school, although that was discouraged for some reason.  I was a fairly solitary child, so I used to bike all the way to the Art Museum in Forest Park to see the mummy's toe sticking out of the sarcophagus and the other wonders there - until my Mom found out about it.  It was probably a 5 miles trip each way, across several major streets, and I was 10.

To my point, walking was natural, normal, and a requirement.  No one thought anything about it.  That still goes in many parts of the U.S. and around the world, but it is not the case for the St. Louis area today.  Everyone drives everywhere.  School buses drive kids who live even a few blocks from school.  And, we'd never think of allowing a 10 year old to drive 5 miles alone - anywhere!

We have lost the ability to remain naturally fit and agile.  We have replaced a very natural activity with the 4 wheels of an automobile.  There's an irony there that does not escape me.  I live within 5 miles of my former place of employment and there is absolutely no safe way to walk or bike there.  No legal way.  Sometimes I see pedestrians or cyclists on the divided highway - but they are breaking the law - and placing themselves in physical jeopardy.

There is probably no solution to this dilemma - but there are some actions we can take to offset the lack of naturally occurring (and required) physical activity.  We can take our kids to the park and walk around.  We can take our kids to trails near our home and point out the wonders of our local ecology on a walk.  We can take a cart or wagon and walk to the grocery store.  We can walk around our block and meet our neighbors.  We can play in the yard, building snowmen in winter and jumping through the sprinkler in summer, raking piles of leaves and jumping in them.  We can let our kids build simple PVC and 2X4 'rails' to skateboard on.  We can unplug and tune in to our real lives.

Are you in?  My friend Kris and I comment often, especially this time of year when the weather is often wet and cold, how much easier it is to walk 3 miles on a trail than at the mall.  Bill got it right with his words about sorting out dilemmas on a walk.  This is a gift we can give our kids.  It's free, fits any size or age, and keeps on giving throughout life.  Go ahead and get some for yourself and your kids (and other family members).  You have nothing to lose but stress and fatigue - and much to gain.


*************************** 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.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Are Affirmations VooDoo?




Two things happened this morning.  A friend called asking for some insights into how to handle her teen son who is indulging in bad behavior after a couple years of psychological therapy.  A personal trainer was on TV talking about how 'affirmations without change are the beginnings of delusion'.

Hmmm.  The mom had used some affirmations in front of the mirror with her teen telling him he 'was enough'.  I have no argument with that.  He is 'enough'.  He's perfect in his imperfection - or so says John Legend and I believe everything he sings about.

However, I've had a problem with affirmations for a long time.  I like positive thinking, but when I look in the mirror to talk to myself, I see an old woman looking bad and I'm not her!!  And, I have gotten nowhere with affirmations myself.  OTOH I believe that negative self talk is totally evil and disabling.  We do tend to believe the negative about ourselves much more easily than the positive, unless, of course, we are narcissists - and I know who you are ;-Q

But one thing the trainer got right is that if all you do is talk about change, even positively, but take no action, you are merely deluding yourself.  I'll start exercising tomorrow.  I'll start dieting after the holidays.  I'll start a budget when I get that raise.  Not gonna happen.

As with all change, jumping in with both feet and trying to make major changes today or tomorrow is a prescription for failure.  Taking a tiny positive step today is much more valuable - and much more likely to pay off for you.

So, as with all real change, we start with a very small positive action.  Turn off your computer and walk for 5 minutes - outside or around the house or on a treadmill or marching in place.  Repeat tomorrow, adding 1 minute per day.  In about 2 weeks, you've got a whole new exercise regimen in place and you never had to spend a penny, work up a sweat, or leave the house or neighborhood.

Try it.  It works and you're worth it!






*************************** 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.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Meramec River Bend



Kris took this beautiful picture of a bend in the Meramec River as seen from a bluff view trail at Castlewood park, late afternoon.  This is one of the reasons we walk regularly at this wonderful park!

Are you missing something wonderful like this by not going for a walk or bike?





*************************** 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.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Luminous Walk



Kris and I headed out for a new area to walk today.  It was a warm, wonderful, colorful, crisp Fall day in the neighborhood.  We headed to Rockwood Reservation, a park well known to me from many years ago but one I hadn't visited in years.  This area was once home to a munitions dump during World War II, a prehistoric tribe of native peoples who had fires in a huge cave now off limits to humans, a lime kiln near a quarry, and an area where afficionados of such things once practiced rock climbing on the abundant cliffs in the park.  Now, the munitions are gone, the ancient natives have probably died out, the lime kiln and quarry are abandoned, and rock climbing is prohibited.






Still this area offers a wealth of wildlife to watch, trees to linger under, and trails to wander.  Smoky The Bear even offers an animated warning about how only YOU can prevent forest fires, just as he did here when I was a kid.  There are also pens of various animals for viewing.  Today, we drove past vicuna, llamas, and deer in the pens, all seeming to be at peace.



We chose one of the 5 or so trails and headed uphill for about the first third of the trek.  The color was sensational.  We weren't thrilled that this trail was paved with asphalt, but the views made up for that.  We encountered friendly folks on the trail, along with dogs, kids on scooters being a bit reckless, and a few on bikes.  Then, we encountered stairs.  That was a bit unusual.  The first staircase was up a steep incline.  Later, there was even a longer, steeper staircase going down a ravine.



All the creeks in the park that we could see were dry, despite a very wet couple of weeks a few weeks back.  Rocks were strewn throughout the park - from rock faces on cliffs, to fallen rocks, to the interesting rocks cut to make a path across a creek bed and a wall of clearly hand hewn, moss covered bricks that formed a sort of small levee.  Very scenic.




This park is worth the time to wander through.  I think Kris and I will be walking all the trails in the park as our Fall weather continues.  We love Castlewood and Emmeneggar as our 'regular' parks, but there's plenty of room on our dance cards for Rockwood too!


*************************** 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.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

While Sitting On The Sofa



Do you want to feel better but find yourself spending too much time sitting on the sofa or doing whatever that keeps you stuck in the place you seem glued to?  Well, while you're sitting there,
 read this and consider how you can help yourself feel much better while doing very little.  Baby steps.

Consider this your 'One Direction' (you know....the boy band pictured above all the teen girls are making millionaires). 





*************************** 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.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Another Study



I read yet another study that touted the benefits of exercising.  In fact, this study, published in the AARP Newsletter (yep, I'm old enough to read it!), indicates that walking is the very best 
form of exercise.  It can be done daily or on a regular schedule, requires no special equipment, takes up a minimum of time (20 minutes 5 days a week), and offers the greatest overall benefits to the health of your muscles, heart, and brain.

Yeah, I kinda knew that.  My 92 year old mom is still walking and still has all her wits about her.  So, put on some happy shoes and get to moving your happy feet.


*************************** 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.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Serenity Walk



An Al-Anon group from a neighboring district in Eastern Missouri invited all who wished to attend a Serenity Walk at Cuivre (sounds like quiver) River State Park.  The walk was scheduled for the afternoon of October 18.  When I first heard the announcement, I made note of the date, time, and location, hoping that our very iffy October weather would allow a road trip and hike.


I asked my friend Kris to join me.  As the weather was PERFECT, we headed out for the approximately one hour drive to the park near Troy, Missouri.  We were to meet at the Stone Lodge at the park.  We knew no one else who planned to attend, but I'm not shy, so we started asking people in the parking lot as we made our way to the rustic lodge.  Cheri had started a fire for the s'mores and had all the fixings ready for us to chow down.  Soon, about a dozen people gathered, mostly women, but also including one man and the charming 14 year old Chandler and we decided to keep the s'mores for after the walk.  Cheri led us to the trail head and off we went.  Two 'smore's police' stayed at the lodge to protect our precious assets!





This walk was wonderful.  The trees, mostly maple and sycamore, were in their finest Fall colors - aflame with huge leaves.  The trail was not too difficult as we headed uphill for about the first half of the walk.  At the top of the ridge, there were several overlooks where we could see the glorious vistas - the Cuivre River, a canal, some horses grazing and crops growing in a checkerboard of fields below us.  Sunny, breezy, warm, with new friends, quiet, cheerful conversation, and the trail ahead all down hill.



Kris took these photos so you could see what we saw and drool.  It was a fantastic afternoon.  After the walk, we burned our marshmallows to make s'mores, ate them, then had a cozy meeting on Serenity led by Cheri.


The only thing better than a perfect walk in the woods is a perfect walk in the woods with friends.

If you look closely at that last photo, you can see a few of us walking through the cathedral of trees.  Thanks, K!




*************************** 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.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Let The Sun Shine In

Fall is not my favorite season.  In St. Louis, the crispness and brilliantly colored leaves one associates with Fall are often smothered with cold rain, triggering my asthma.  Rain means gloomy skies.  A couple days of that and I feel like I'm going bonkers.  I'm not a depressed person.  I have a great life that I enjoy.  But, a few gloomy days and things seem a little less rosy.  Know what I mean?

So, I have learned a way around the gloomy skies and the cold rain.  A way to make even the asthma better.  I put on a happy face and walk at the mall.  I'm not unique.  There are lots of mall walkers.  In fact, it's hard to find a time at the mall when I don't see others walking briskly, ignoring the gazillion things they could buy, intent on getting in their walks.  I also see folks pushing walkers and a particularly sweet elderly couple, holding hands, and walking at a very slow amble, seeming to enjoy every window they pass.

There's a lesson there.  Ever wonder how they got to be an old couple, holding hands, walking a half mile an hour, but enjoying the view?  I feel sure this is not the first mall they've walked.  They've been doing so - moving and looking forward - for many years.  And, with smiles on their faces.

So, trite as it sounds, I put on a happy face and smile at all I meet when I walk at the mall same as I do when I'm walking on sidewalks and trails.  So far, it's working.



*************************** 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.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Deep Existence Speaks

Stephen from Deep Existence has a new article about stress.  Here's an excerpt from it:


The APA does a yearly report on how stress is affecting our lives. Here are three interesting takeaways from their 2013 report:

1. Exercise reduces stress, and people value it, but most still don’t do it

  • 50% of people said exercise was extremely or very important to them.
  • Of those people, only 27% said they did an excellent or very good job at doing it.
  • Just 17% of all people surveyed reported exercising daily (the other 83% need an exercise mini habit)
So, which of these three groups of people are you?  I'm one of the 17% who exercise daily - and most of that is walking at a brisk pace.  I can definitely confirm that it is a huge stress reliever!

Read more of Stephen's articles.  He's got a lot of useful information and good tools for creating good habits.  




*************************** 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.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Taking Paths





Could not have said it better myself!  Thanks to Kristin Omdahl for this vivid reminder.





*************************** 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.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Chester Mills, Quick, We Found Your Egg!!!!


 If you've seen the TV show, Under the Dome, you know what the headline above is all about.  If you've not seen the show, well, it's just a large, rather plain sculptural egg with no special significance.  I prefer to think of it as the giver and taker of life as seen Under the Dome.  It's really quite a mischievous ovum.

How did we find this magical (or not) egg?  At Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis County near the intersection of Interstates 270 and 44.  As the name suggests, the park is full of sculpture.  I'm no judge of art, especially sculpture.  Much of it does not speak to me like paintings do.  But, I do find the occasional piece of sculpture that I'd like to take home with me.  Not the egg.

The Sculpture Park has lots of trails.  The most obvious trail is a loop of about a half mile that is paved and teems with all kinds of sculptural pieces and the plaques to identify the artist and explain the piece.  There's even a giant piece that looks like huge paper towel rolls that have been welded together at interesting angles and encourages children to climb on it.  The other pieces have clearly stated No Climbing signs.  Even with the one that you can climb on, you better be:
young
agile
fearless
not afraid of heights
energetic

I seem to be lacking in a couple of these areas, so I remain on terra firma.  Which works well if you want to walk.  There is a maze of trails through the woods that we have yet to inspect.  The first time Kris and I walked there, we were pleasantly surprised with the quality and length of the trail we walked.  The bonus is that sculptural work is sprinkled throughout the woods, from some tiny pieces to huge wooden treehouse type works, towers, and a giant caterpillar looking thing which is composed of 55 lead naval buoys that appear to wriggle along the trail.  I was captivated by that one!

Laumeier is a place Kris and I will walk again - probably many times.  The trails are well maintained and have a nice range of hills and valleys.  In summer there is plenty of shade on the wooded trials.  We are hopeful that the trails sill still be walkable in winter weather.  We don't mind the cold, but harsh wind and ice are deal breakers that have us heading to the mall to walk.  We much prefer to walk outdoors, but sometimes weather and darkness just don't allow it.  Our Plan B is the mall which works well until about Thanksgiving when Christmas shopping begins in earnest and walking amidst the crowds loses much of its appeal. 

Do you have a park or great walking venue somewhere near you?  How do you know unless you go looking? You may well be amazed at the joy walking in the woods, on a muddy trail, or through a meadow will bring you.  We saw six dear while exiting Castlewood Park just yesterday.  That's a good thing!



*************************** 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.

Friday, September 26, 2014

What Keeps Working



I've been suffering from some intestinal bug lately, not feeling my best, but knowing that I must keep walking to be able to sleep.  It's just he way my body works.  So, my two main walking buddies are Sally and Kris.  They keep me walking even when I don't want to.  Plus, there's Lizzie, my four legged alarm clock and walking junkie.  She's always up for a walk!

Recently, Kris and I have been discovering new trails that are not far from our neighborhood.  We curse the upcoming end of Daylight Savings Time since we will then be forced to walk indoors most evenings.  There's really no safe place (where it's legal) to walk in the evening.

Kris always has her camera with us - in the form of a cellphone.  My cellphone is just for talking on and the occasional text message.  yes, there's a camera lens there, but I'm not even going to try to figure out how to upload, download, or laterally load any pix.  Not when I have a professional photographer on my walk with me!  Duh.

The picture above was taken on a rustic trail at Bluebird Park.  It's about five miles west of my neighborhood.  There are more trails there that need 'inspection'.  It was this park a few weeks or months ago that we found a box tortoise on a walk.  I keep looking for that guy, but he's hiding out now and hibernating as the earth cools and the days become shorter.

There's no getting around the fact that for me, walking is an important component of my physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.  A day without a walk is like a day without sunshine.  And, I love the sunshine!




*************************** 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.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Where Would You Prefer To Walk?

Are you a city kid?  Do you prefer dusty country roads?  What about wooded trails and natural habitats?  How about sculpture on your walks?  Bikes, strollers, skaters?  Alone, with a buddy, or on a path filled with others?  A beach?  A river side trail?  Blacktop, cinders, mulch, mud, or rocks?

Everyone is likely to have a preference.  Mine would be a wooded trail, not too rugged, with no bikers or strollers.  It would be a trail wide enough for my 2 legged and 4 legged walking buddies to walk with me.  There would be no boom boxes or cigarette smoke, no speed racers, and no snakes.
There would be a lot of shade and a gentle breeze on a bug-free afternoon.  Bugs rule out sunset walks on wooded trails.  If you haven't experienced those buggy trails at sunset, stay away.  There would be a stream running nearby so we could see and hear the water from time to time.  Deer, squirrels, and rabbits would be squawked at by the birds we bother with our presence.  It would always be Spring with low humidity and plenty of sun and cloud, overcast on the sunniest day.

I can dream can't I?  Can you?  Or, can you explore your environs to find a trail, path, or sidewalk that brings you joy when you walk?  I didn't discover all the wonderful places I find to walk in the first week or even year that I dedicated myself to walking.  At first, I was confined to sidewalks in my neighborhood.  Then, I branched out to the golf cart trails on icy winter days at a golf course not far from my house.  From there, I began trying park trails.  My dog and I found our way through all kinds of paths and weather.  We walked on dark, dreary, bitterly cold winter days when she was healthy.  By Summer, she was reluctant to walk so much and it became clear that she was ailing.  She wanted to walk but had no stamina.  After her death, I continue to walk and sometimes cried while I recalled how much she had enjoyed walking with me.  My beloved Jasmine.



Now, Lizzie is my 4 legged buddy and we are adopting another, perhaps older dog, Shawnee.  Lizzie is 8 and has been confined to 1 mile walks in summer heat, but on cooler days, she's frisky and anxious to strut through the entire 3, 4, or 5 miles.  She has no idea how old she is!  Isn't that wonderful.  Think about it.  No worries about getting old.  No thoughts of what might befall her.  No fear.  Just pure joy when she gets on the leash.  Her preference is to walk anywhere I'm willing to take her!  Pure, pure joy.  I hope Shawnee will feel that way too.

So, where would you prefer to walk?  If you haven't found the right place yet, don't give up.  The right trail, path, or sidewalk is out there, just waiting for you to find it.  Don't give up.  It's worth the time - and, in case you didn't notice, while you're trying to find that perfect venue, you'll be walking the whole time.  Go for it!







*************************** 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.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Some People Have All Kinds Of Excuses

You know the type.  Maybe you're one.  I certainly am a person who can come up with all kinds of excuses to avoid doing things I really don't want to do.  Procrastination is probably one of the Seven Deadly Sins.  If not, it should be.  I can procrastinate about all kinds of things.  Highest on the list is housework.  I have 100, fresh, ready excuses for you to explain why the beds remain unmade and the stacks of stuff continue to decorate every room in the house.  In my house, if you put down a stack of something, it's likely to be there 5 years later and its new name is a decorative element.  Too bad if you don't share my sense of decor(um).  LOL.

So, back to the excuses.  Do you have excuses for not walking?  Let me guilt you for a moment.

I recently had a fairly simple, quick, same-day procedure for carpal tunnel release.  In the operating room for a few minutes, in the recovery room for an hour, then home with a bandage on the small wound and do whatever you want the next day.  That part about doing what you want the next day is a direct quote from the mouth of my delightful and very accomplished hand surgeon.  I was fine for 5 days.  On day 6, I had a stitch abscess.  My dear husband called the nurse practitioner (cuz the doc was on vacation and we knew that).  The N.P. said, hey, dude, you're (my husband) a doctor.  If it looks infected to you, start her on this antibiotic.  So, start we did.  The next day and two doses of oral antibiotic later, there were gooey piles of pus (sorry if you're eating your Hershey bar)  oozing from my hand.  My husband call the N.P again and she told me to come to the office.  Her official opinion was, "Oh, gross."  She called in a junior partner (Orthopedist MD), who said, "Oh, gross."  Do you see a pattern here??  Six hours later, I was back in the O.R. with my original hand surgeon having my wound dredged, probed, cleared, and dried out.  And, a PIC line inserted so I could receive intravenous antibiotics at home.



What!!!  I actually almost yelled at the Infectious Disease specialist who decided I needed to be on IV's.  I actually said to him, stridently, "I can't be on IV's.  I have to walk 3 miles every day."  To be fair, the very nice ID doc did not laugh at me or chide me.  He said, 'You can do anything you want.  You can carry your IV pole down the street if you want."  Yes, he actually said that!  I swear.  Then, he cleverly left the room.


Fortunately for me, after I was tossed around between home health companies til they found one that fit my insurance (and missing two doses of antibiotics in the process), my dear husband - who had not done an infusion in over 30 years - hooked me and the IV up for about an hour twice a day.  No, I did not carry the IV pole down the street.  But, I did walk between those sessions.  I did not stop walking.  For me, especially when I'm ailing, I am unable to sleep unless I get my walk in.

So thanks to Dr Tim and Dr Matt, I'm all healed, Dr Tim says I can take up boxing if I want (I think I do) and Dr.  Matt wants me to stay out of his line of sight.  No, that's not fair.  He's a great guy with a bad patient (me) and he did just the right thing.  And, lucky for me he's got both a thick skin and a great sense of humor.

So, when you think you have an excuse to remain slumped on the sofa, think of me with my PIC line in, walking on the trails through my favorite park.  If I can do that, you're excuse for not walking today is simply, well, lame.




*************************** 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.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hotter Than......




"It's hotter than Hades out here,"  she said sweatily.  Is that a Tom Swifty??  I think so.  I love them but can seldom come up with them!

It's simply been too hot the past couple days for any sane person to walk or work outside for more than a few minutes.  Taking my 4 legged walking buddy off leash in our rather large back yard where she loves to roam and run freely, is giving her one of favorite treats.  It's often difficult to get her to remember her 'come' command.  Not yesterday or today.  When I said 'come', she ran, tongue dragging, for the back door, water, and the A/C vent she hogs on the kitchen floor!  Even the dog doesn't want to deal with this stuff.

But, Kris and Sally and I have persevered - albeit in the relative comfort of the Mall.  Mall walking gets old really fast - but it's 1000% better than not being able to walk at all.  If I didn't have these two reliable friends to walk with, I'd be doing my paces in front of my television during this heat wave.  Today, the temperature  broke to three digits with high humidity - all sun and no shade or breeze.  I know in a couple months, I'll be wishing and dreaming for these sultry days, but I just can't make it farther than a mile.  It feels like I'm wading through molasses outside!

So, remember, there is always a way to get in your walk!  Walk at the Mall or at the grocery store.  They won't mind.  They 'accuse' me of Mall walking at Walmart some days.  But, no one really seems to care.  I'm just one of many people milling around the store.  Walk at the hardware store, on the indoor track at the YMCA if you have one, or any place that has A/C.  Lacking that, get up and walk in place in front of your own TV or on a treadmill.  Dance or walk, skip, twist, kick a ball against the garage door.  Anything that keeps you moving.

Remember, moving makes you feel better, draws you closer to good or better health, and clears the clutter out of the brain, leaving room for all kinds of fresh ideas and creativity.  No downside here.

PS - I don't know exactly what the guys in the photo above are doing - but if they can do it, so can we.  It's at the Mall and it qualifies as moving!




*************************** 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.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Another New Wooded Wonderland



Recently Kris and I walked at a place that was new to us.  West Tyson Park.  It's near Six Flags amusement park on I-44 west of St. Louis, MO.  There are several walking trails marked off in the park and we chose the intermediate length.  It was a lovely day, not too hot, not too humid.  The trail was rated a single diamond.

Well, the single diamond was not accurate.  While this is not the most rugged trail we had walked, it was certainly at least a 2 diamond trail.  It was almost all uphill - about 1.5 miles - full of stones, roots, washed out areas, and other trail hazards.  The downhill part was much less rugged.  We were glad we had not brought along the dog for this walk as there were several places that were not wide enough for both the dog and me.



Kris and I are used to walking single file on these wooded trails.  That's not a problem.  One nice thing about this trail was the lack of bicycles.  Lately we have encountered many ill mannered and ill behaved cyclists with whom we are supposed to share the path.  They are not following the posted rules of announcing themselves when the come upon us from behind.

As I have said many times, if a cyclist hits me, well, I'm fair game.  But, if a cyclist hits my dog who is walking, as trained, on my left, then I'm likely to stomp on that cyclist as he lies on the muddy ground.  No excuse for such lack of manners if they want to share the trails and roads. I give them wide berth when I'm in the car and I feel it's only fair that they behave politely on the trail.  More and more, Kris and I are migrating to trails with fewer cyclists - and Kris, herself, is a cyclist.



That said, this park is lovely.  The longer trail will take you to a site that overlooks the Meramec River as it turns from north to west on its journey to the Mississippi River about 12 miles east (as the crow flies).  The shorter trail is about one mile.  Great for beginners.  As you can see from the pictures, there was plenty of shade on the trail - and that's a plus!

Note:  The last picture shows a huge limestone boulder that has slid down the hill from up much higher.  It is retained only by the single tree you see.  A beautiful site.

Thanks to Kris for taking these pictures!


*************************** 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.