Benefits of the Challenge: Day 100!

I made it through 100 blog posts. I have written nearly every day. The days after the ones I missed I made sure to write two posts to be as accurate as possible. I have not skipped more than one day at a time. When I traveled, I wrote in my journal to be typed up and posted later.

As far as the exercising part, I was more active than I had been the previous months except while backpacking. I doubled my daily steps, hiked, used the treadmill, did yoga, stretched, climbed stairs, and just found ways to move this old body. It is not what I had thought I would do, but it did keep to what I said I would do – to exercise every day.

Doing this for 100 days has given me some benefits.  I didn’t lose weight with the exercising (not paying attention to my food). I did learn to not obsess over the food, except for the food restrictions, which lead me to give up dieting. I have learned that I can write more critically than I had with my journaling.  I feel good about my writing and have received good reviews from people I have never met before. I gained followers which I didn’t expect but greatly appreciate. I have a new dedication to my work. I am more conscious of what I need to be doing for my training, and I have learned new things through the research or even just the new videos I’ve watched.  I am more confident and excited about the future backpacking trips as well as my writing.

This challenge has also helped me end the year on a good note. I have tried New Year’s resolutions in the past that don’t last longer than January sometime February. So instead of looking back at the failure of the resolution, I get to look forward to the positive that completing the challenge has given me. I know that I can do future challenges and 100 days is really not that long for one.

Here’s to the New Year and to the completed challenge.


New Plans: Day 99

Just one more day and I can wrap up this 100 day challenge. I have been feeling very good about how I handled the challenge and want to continue the good habits.

I won’t be writing in my blog every day, but I do want to write every day. I used to journal every day, but that becomes the redundant and oftentimes looking at my feelings. I don’t get into the writing as I do with a blog or if I were to be writing to a prompt a day. So how will I fill my writing time? I plan on writing the blog once a week. Both my son and daughter have given me a book of prompts with leather journals, so I plan to write to a prompt each once a week as well in the journals. That is three days. To fill up the other four days, I will work on creative writing, journaling, and writing on my two research projects. That is a lot of writing I have been putting off for a while.

The exercising will be walking at least 30 minutes a day six days a week and one day of yoga. I will also go back to doing my physical therapy daily and add in some weights as I can. On those nasty days where I don’t want to go outside, I will use my elliptical. I also need to hike at least half a day one day a week. That will keep me in training. As a backup, when I fall back to the thought process of not having enough time to exercise, I will break it up using my elliptical between projects.

I have spent a lot of time away from the TV with this challenge. I would like to keep with that. I am going to get myself a crochet hook and teach myself to crochet something for one of my kids or grandkids. I also have a list of projects that I could be working on instead of sitting in front of the TV or even playing games on the computer.

This 100 day challenge has me in a good place. I feel that I can complete other challenges, but before I jump into another one, I am going to spend a month making sure that I continue with the good habits I have built. I will definitely do another 100 day challenge next year though.

Checking In – Almost There: Day 98

I only have two more days left to the challenge, so I thought that today would be another good day to check in on my progress.

I did very well on our trip. I didn’t eat snacks most days and didn’t feel hungry either. I walked most days and had a lot of stairs to climb. When I got home, I had lost 8 pounds. I didn’t try; it just happened that way.

I wish that I could stay in that frame of mind at home. I did fine yesterday, not eating too much, but I did eat more than on our trip. Today was the worst. I ate all day long. I was never really hungry, just needed something in my mouth. I am still learning to honor my body, but I think that the messages it was sending were misfiring.

I have walked much more in the last few weeks too. Today, while baking a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, I got on the treadmill for 10 minutes at a time totaling 60 minutes. That sure helped to pass the time while I was waiting for my cookies to bake and it helped me see how easy it is to fit an hour of walking into my day. This won’t be normal, but it was a great lesson.

I am going to keep up with walking or hiking daily, even if that means I have to get on the treadmill. I am also going to fit in other exercises. I am seeing that exercise can fit into my schedule, I just have to quit making excuses.

Other than my allergies, I am feeling much better than I do most Decembers. I am active and I feel fairly healthy. I am happy and not trying to numb any discomfort. I am thinking about treating myself right instead of justifying why I eat the way I do. But, I really don’t have to try to justify it because I am eating much better.

I walked in my knee high boots while with my son, and that was not quite a week after my shots in my feet. My feet hurt for several days and still give me problems at times. I wonder if I wasted the shots or if they will get better before I have to go back in. I had hoped that they were going to be the last ones. As I sit here typing, though, my big toe on my right foot has gone numb. The balls of my feet have also hurt throughout the last week. But even with them being painful, they don’t feel like they did before the shots began.

So to wrap up, I believe that I am on a good trajectory and I will be able to follow through when the 100 day challenge is over.  I even plan on trying other challenges through the year.

Days 91-96

Patience and Exercise: Day 91

This has been a long day showing me about the value of patience and exercise. I have little patience when I don’t understand someone’s intentions, yet I demand patience when the tables are turned. Things should be fair; if I want patience, I need to give it.

Today, I had problems because I was shown impatience when I was being impatient. This is actually when I realized how I have been behaving. I have worked at being more forgiving since then. I also realized that if I had exercised this morning, I would have been in a better place in my mind. Exercise is good for a better sense of mind and it helps s me be a better person. This is because of the meditation aspect of the practice as well as the dopamine part. The dopamine tells us that everything is aright and we don’t need to stress over everything.

If I were to exercise every morning like I often do and walk every day like I would like, I would be a much calmer person.  I would also be well on my way in training as I should be. My trainer friend suggested to start with walking every day. Then we will add in weights and other goals. I am gone from home right now, so I will do my best. But when I get home, it is on.

Watching Movies: Day 92

Today was a lying around day watching movies. I have often wished I could spend a day or weekend watching movies and not having a lot to do. It looks so luxurious and nice.

Today I had that and my back has been hurting all day. I have been uncomfortable and drowsy too. I enjoyed the movies, but I hurt from it. At one point I had to tell my son it was time to walk his mother.

It was a really nice walk. We took a trail near his apartment that lead into a river trail. The trail was fairly level and paved, but I didn’t have my walking or hiking shoes, so it was preferable to have a good trail. We talked a lot and even dreamed of kayaking on the river.

At first it was very warm. I worked up a sweat in my jacket. Then the rain started. The rain was mostly pleasant because it was light. The jacket was necessary then because of the wetness. Our hair was soaked by the time we got back. I was cold for the rest of the day. But the walk did wonders. I worked out the kinks and felt alive. We walked 2.71 miles and most of it was along the river. I was even thinking about walking there in the summer when I try to come up again.

Christmas Eve!: Day 93

It is a day of getting last minute things together and spending time with family if possible. We got to do both.

For my exercise today, I ran the gauntlet with my step-daughter braving the stores looking for the last minute things she needed for tomorrow. It was very focused and fast – thus exercise. But we made it in and out of the store without too many things off the list. We weren’t detained by crazy quests to find that one item to be buried deep in the shelves or the back. It was a successful trip.

We also had time with my son and daughter -in-law in the morning and then with my step-daughter and daughter-in-law in the evening. The visiting was sweet and we look to future visits, but they are also relaxing  and help prepare me for tomorrow.

Christmas: Day 94

It is wonderful spending Christmas with family. Especially a relaxing or unrushed Christmas.

We got up at our own pace and just worked through the day. We had some laughs and played games. We visited and we had fun.

It was surprising how mellow the day was considering my grandson is almost 9. It could have been very chaotic and loud, but he kept mellow, and we had a great stress free day.

Remembered Hobbies: Day 95

For Christmas, I gave my grandson my kids’ first bow. In doing so, I planned on taking him to an archery range. I wasn’t too excited with my planning because I was thinking teaching. Then I learned I could rent a left hand bow. After that, the excitement built.

When my kids were in grade school, I used archery as an incentive to get school work done. My son did well and loved going. We went to many shoots and brought home a handful of trophies. The more I watched, the more I got interested, and soon, I was shooting too. I didn’t’ own a bow and am definitely a left handed shooter, so I didn’t shoot as much as I would have liked. But, eventually, I got certified to teach for 4-H. I loved teaching. When my kids left grade school, the archery club disbanded and even though my son shot on occasion and I taught his friends and nieces, I didn’t shoot again.

Today was the first time I shot since then. The feeling of going into the range was one of apprehension. I knew I would be able to teach, but I wasn’t sure if I could follow through on carrying the instructions out. Some things were a little rusty and I had to think about them, but we had a great time and I shot well. My aim was all over the place, but I was able to sink 6 bulls’ eyes in the hour. My grandson shot mostly on the target. He had good stance until he got tired.

The feeling of drawing the string was unimaginable. I didn’t realize how much I missed it. I just fell into the grove of thinking each portion out. Now I am planning some shooting days with my grandson when he comes to visit. I also want to get myself an inexpensive recurve, so I can take up shooting again. I might have to check into some local shoots or even ranges for a little competition and guidance. This can become another expensive hobby, so I will have to be careful with that. But the shoots would definitely get me out hiking about. Maybe the NV Grange would want to do some archery sessions. Hobbies are so rewarding when the right one is found.

Allergies: Day 96

I got into something or ate something that I am allergic to.  Monday and Tuesday, I noticed that my face was breaking out more than normal. Then Wednesday, my neck started itching.  But today, my chin and lips were covered in tiny bumps that itched and burned. Toward the evening the bumps started to move up my cheeks and near my eyes.

I have no idea what caused this. As I think back, I don’t think I ate anything that I don’t eat at home.  I have encountered many different soaps and fabrics cleaned differently than I do.  I have also been in two different states since leaving home. My allergies in the past have always been environmental. But, I have been to these locations before and have not broken out like I am.

This is miserable. I cannot remember the last time I had a break out and reaction like this. It is a good thing that we are traveling and will see very few people. They might think I have something contagious.

Second Christmas: Day 97

For Christmas, we went visiting, so today was our second Christmas.  We had my parents over for dinner, dessert, and gifts. Since the kids stated leaving home, we’ve had divided Christmases, but we have always been able to spend it with much of the family. This year we first went to see my son and his wife in Washington. Saturday and Sunday were spent just enjoying their company. We watched movies and went for walks. Then Monday through Wednesday we were with two of our girls and our grandson.

It was a lovely way to spend a week with no plans and no expectations. My grandson even let us have a quiet Christmas day. It was quite an unexpected surprise. We put together toys, played with some of them, visited, and ate. But I never over ate on the trip.

Here at home, it was quiet and simple too. We had a lovely time and opened more presents, but mostly just enjoyed being together.

And, we still have my granddaughters and the fourth of our kids to see.  This won’t be a quiet time, but it will be pleasant and loving. That is what I love most about Christmas and why splitting it up is important to me.  We don’t have to stick to just the one day to show others that we love them.

(Tomorrow, I will post all the blogs I hand wrote while I was gone.)

Training?: Day 90

I talked to a trainer I worked with about five years ago today to see if she could help me get going on my training. I have been struggling getting out there. I hike here and there, but for a longer backpacking trip, that type of training isn’t enough. We learned that this year. She lives on the other side of the country but would love to help out as a way of accountability and suggestions.

The first question she asked though was what my hiking/walking goal was for tomorrow, next week, next month. I hadn’t even thought about the training in terms of mileage goals. That would probably be a great start. Just stating that I want to hike a few times each week is too vague. It is too easy to push the day’s hike of to do something else. And, I always have something else to do. A set amount of miles though, would be harder. I would have to be sure to do the right amount or I would see that I am getting behind much easier.  I am not going to worry about meeting any goals until after the new year, but that is because of all the things that go along with Christmas.

I do want to start thinking about the daily, weekly, and monthly goals though. Having a plan would make me more motivated and then I can chat with the trainer to be sure I am meeting those goals and to get any exercises that would help. I have read a lot from Backpacker Magazine, so I have those exercises. I also know that I need to add on weight every month until I surpass the weight that I intend to carry on the trip.

With all my intentions and talk about training, I know that I really wasn’t in training. Now I will prepare and go into it with more gusto.

Baking Day: Day 89

Today was a day for baking. I have certain recipes that are requested from family members each year. There is the sweet breakfast bread and the savory breakfast bread.  Then I have the cakes I like to make because of the flavor. I have been learning how to make some of my favorites dairy free. But none the less, I have been baking all day. I have also made two dinners – one for a friend’s family and one for my husband and myself.

To spend the entire day in the kitchen is very calming and peaceful. I feel accomplished and creative. It keeps me on my toes and moving all day and takes some planning for things to come out and keep moving in an orderly fashion.

I didn’t get to make my cookies, but I will do that tomorrow. I didn’t stay off the computer for the most part.  And I have been very active. I have also had time to spread the joy to others. That is what I like about cooking and baking. I love to show my appreciation through a well put together meal or bread.

Today has been a very successful day.

A Different Approach: Day 88

Since I had injections to my feet yesterday, I had planned a day of sitting in my comfy lounge chair. Monday, I stacked books, my laptop, my kindle, and my beads on the floor beside it. I had some phone calls planned and work to do. The plan was to sit in the chair all day and let my feet rest. And, that is what I did after I cleaned the house and needed to get off my feet.

It was a great day of rest that I couldn’t have appreciated it until I experienced it. I got so much done and was creative and restive.  My work was done early and yet it felt like the day flew by. When I starIMG_20181219_191455707ted to work on my jewelry, I realized that I needed to sit at the table to work better. I laid out what I had and started designing. I had a general idea of what I wanted to do, but I had to create the projects all on my own. This was the first time that I actually made some jewelry on my own. Usually I have a pattern and a support group. We get together for a beading night every December. I am a novice, and that is the only time I bead. Our gathering had been cancelled and with being assigned to stay off my feet, I thought I would take a go at it. I started with car bling. I had the main charm and the supporting beads; some chain was in my box. But when looking at all my beads, I started putting together a complete original. Then I took out the bookmark pieces and realized that I had other beads that would put a nice touch on it. I was raring to go when I created the necklace. I like clasps on the side so they are easier to do and so that I don’t have to worry about the chain slipping around. Then I saw some beads that looked like they were meant to go with the unicorn charm. I put them together and am proud of the results.

I have not been creative like this in a very long time. Even when I was doing crafts with my grandchildren this summer, I was using a pattern. I usually get nervous when I have to start something with beads or some other main material that I have to dream up how it goes together. But this time, I felt excited. It just worked out. I give account to the fact that I took it easy all day and didn’t force anything. I also stayed off the computer until quite late this afternoon. I wasn’t distracted by all the finished pieces. I just had my imagination to work with. Now I am excitedly typing this up knowing what my topic was going to be before I go searching for one on the internet. Maybe I should take restful computer free days more often. I could actually find myself more productive.  I didn’t even worry about the cooking and wrapping I need to do in the next couple of days. If they get done, then all is good. But, if I don’t get to them, nothing is hurt. It is so peaceful being in this state of mind. I am grateful for the down day.


Computer Games: Day 87

Designed to make a player want to play more, computer games are taking over my creativity, my activity, and my desire. I sat down here at my computer to find something to write about today, and an hour and a half later I am still playing the same game I started after I breezed through social media.

I have to be careful with my game playing, social media, Pinterest.  They all suck me in until I don’t know what else to do or until it is late and I have to go to bed or off to my commitment. It is tough. I see myself getting sucked in and try to fight it.  A couple of years ago, I really limited my Pinterset viewing to having to do something productive before I could go to the page. I made a lot of the things on Pinterest that year. I also got to where I don’t need to spend much time on it. I even got to where I don’t view Facebook near as much as I used to checking it once or twice a day. But now every time I sit down at the computer, I forget what I was going to do or I think I’ll slip in one quick game and time flies by. I tell myself that when I lose the round, I’ll quit and do something else. But, my finger hits another game, and I go again. It is sad that this can happen. It also makes me glad that I didn’t let my kids play any online games when they were young and very limited games as young adults. I am sad when my grandkids come to visit and they spend more time on their phones than visiting me.

I know firsthand how online games can suck a person in. They are intentionally made to be addictive, making the player want to continue and forget about the time. But it does more than suck the time away from a person; they also suck creativity and ambition away. I know that there are things to do, but my drive to do them wanes fast. I know that I should write, but my thoughts and ideas go away. I scramble to come up with something new or to put something on paper. There was a time when I could sit at a computer and spit out six or seven pages without really trying. There was a time when I would sit on my couch and knit or sew. Now I have to force myself to the crafting room to even start to think of something to do.

I am going to have to be harsh on myself and not allow games until everything is done just as I did with my kids when they started playing. Game playing is okay when it helps to reduce stress or to keep me from pacing in the kitchen snacking on everything. But, it is not alright when it takes over my precious time to be creative or productive or hiking.

I am on winter break; I should not spend all my time in front of the computer.  I am breaking the tie tonight.

Time Will Be Made: Day 86

I was scheduled to have my injections for my feet today, so my day had been planned around sitting because I am not supposed to be on my feet much when I get them. I had my beading stuff out, my laptop and my notebook, and some books placed next to my big cozy chair. Then I noticed that my appointment card had the wrong location marked for my appointment. So, I called the doctor’s office to learn that my appointment was miss-scheduled. I had to make a new appointment for tomorrow.

So, all of a sudden, I had a lot of free time on my hands. I thought of all the cleaning and wrapping I could get done. I could even get a start on my baking. Then I realized that I could turn in grades. In doing this, the drive takes me near one of my favorite hiking places – Hidden Caves. Now I knew what I was going to do with my free time. I was going hiking.

For weeks, I have been putting off hiking because of the weather or all the other things I had to do. I felt bad because I was letting unusually warm days slip by without getting outdoors for good old fashioned exercise. When we wish for something enough, it will happen. I had wanted time to hike and really enjoy the outdoors since I finished my school work. Today that happened.IMG_20181217_150845332-PANO

I was able to get out away from most people, and have a solitary hike among caves I hadn’t found before all because I turned left when I would normally turn right. There was no trail at first; I just wanted to hike along a ridge. But then I realized that I was somewhere above a cave I really liked. So, I tried to find it by going down. Instead I found a cave with tufa all over it and a few new trails. I had to actually climb at times and once I had to scoot on my bum to get down a few rocks.

I know that I will feel this work out tomorrow. I also know that I worked my knees more than normal. This was a great experience. I am thankful for the free time and the scheduling problem. Tomorrow, I will do what I had planned for today, and I will sit for a couple of days.