Sibling Assignment 2015.20: I Don't Remember Fall Colors #3Siblings

When I thought up this sibling assignment, I realized my fall memory is pretty boring.  It is actually more of an observation than a memory.

The thing that came to my mind when I thought of fall growing up, compared to now, is the lack of fall colors.

My assignment to my siblings this time was: 

"Write about a memory or memories of the autumn season growing up in Kellogg, sometime before you graduated from Kellogg High School."

My sister wrote a nice memory of her second grade teacher here, and my brother wrote about fantasy sports in his youth here.

We had two maple trees in our front yard.  I never remember them turning beautiful colors in the fall.  My memory is they turned brown, curled up, and fell off the tree.

I never remember Kellogg as having much beauty in the autumn season.

Not like now.

Now the maples turn red and yellow and orange, full of vibrant colors.

The aspen on the hillsides turn yellow, a contrast to their evergreen neighbors.

The burning bushes turn a vivid red.

I don't remember this spectacular array of colors from the foliage in my youth.

This was a new thing.

This was a result of the pollution stopping.

This was a result of people planting beautiful kinds of trees and plants and shrubs throughout our valley that cause the beautiful colors.

I am not saying there were not fall colors in Kellogg growing up.

I just don't remember any.

Here is a photo of Kellogg this fall. (Photo cred to sister Christy).

That is not the memory of what the Kellogg of my youth looked like during the autumnal season.  In my mind, these colors did not exist.


Sibling Assignment 2015.19: Memories of Montana #3Siblings

Our recent Sibling Assignment was given to us by Christy.  It was simple.

Memories of Montana.

Christy's wrote about her Montana memories here, and Bill wrote about his here.

This was not an easy task, because I have a lot of Montana memories.  I moved to Montana in 1985 to work at my first job as a college graduate.  I was the Director of Admissions and Public Relations at Dawson Community College in Glendive, Montana.

I also lived the first four years of my married life in Montana.

I had my first baby in Montana.

But this past weekend, I attended a football game in Caldwell, Idaho, where the College of Idaho Yotes played the Montana Western Bulldogs, and this reminded me of a very fond memory from Montana involving Paul.

When Paul and I started dating, I was a student at the University of Idaho in Moscow, and he attended what was then called Western Montana College in Dillon, Montana.  I was a member of the University of Idaho marching band, and the band would often travel to different locations.  This fall we made a trip to either Idaho Falls or Pocatello, Idaho to play at a football game.  Since Dillon was relatively close to both of these towns, Paul borrowed a friend's car and came and met me at the football game.  This was on a Saturday night.  We drove to Dillon after the game, and I stayed the night at his friend Marcia's apartment.

I spent the day with him in Dillon, then he drove me back to Moscow.  The drive from Dillon to Moscow was about a 7 hour drive.  On the way to Moscow, we talked and Paul sang to me some songs from his childhood.  One was called "By Rocket to the Moon", and the other was "The Animal Grocery Store".

I think this moment of him singing these childhood songs to me helped me fall in love with him.

Here is what "By Rocket to the Moon" sounds like:

And here are the lyrics to Animal Supermarket.

We arrived in Moscow at the Tri-Delt house, and my best friend Carolyn had made a poster welcoming Paul that she put on the balcony of the front of the house.

Paul dropped me off in Moscow, got out and stretched a bit, then got back in the car and drove back to Dillon.  With his window rolled down most of the 7 hour drive to stay awake.  (Ah, the things we do when we are young, crazy and in love).

But things haven't changed much.  We still sing goofy songs to each other.  Now it just happens to be on a stage in front of an audience. 

I guess we were meant to be.


Sibling Assignment 2015.18: In Step With My Obsession #3Siblings

While in Moscow about a week ago, Christy asked me if I saw the email from our brother Bill giving us our next sibling assignment.  I hadn't, so she shared with me the next assignment:

"We all have our little obsessions.  What are you currently obsessed with?  A book? A movie? An idea? A song? A project? An activity?  Write all about it ."

Here is Christy writing about her obsession with her plant choices in the yards of her new house here.  I expect once Bill returns from his trip to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, he will share with us one of his obsessions.

I told her I would have to think about it.  So while we were in Moscow, I needed to get my steps in, so I went to the University of Idaho Arboretum, and thought maybe I could come up with an idea for an obsession while walking through the botanical gardens.

Well, I didn't come up with any ideas on Tuesday, so I thought maybe I'll think about it while walking around the backyard on Wednesday to get more steps in for the day.

No such luck.

On Thursday, I made quite a few "loops" around the halls at Kellogg High School to help get my steps in for the day.  You see, I found out that if I begin at my office, go down senior hall, take a left and go past the gym doors, take a right and go down past the shops classes (or "skid row" as it was called back in my day at KHS), then up the stairs, down the halls of the Science Wing, down the stairs, past the Band/Choir room, through the cafeteria, again through Senior Hall and back to my office is about 500 steps.  My goal is to do that each period throughout the day.  7 periods equals 3500 steps!!

Well, no idea for an obsession as I looped through the halls of KHS.

Last weekend, as I was walking around the house trying to get my final 10,000 steps in, I thought again, what is my obsession???  What is my obsession????

On Monday, a Facebook friend posted this article about having a Fitbit, and some of the article hit home.


Then the lightbulb came on!!!

My obsession recently has been getting 10,000 steps in each day, which is monitored by my Fitbit.

This obsession has changed my thinking, my schedule, and the way I approach life.

I now figure out things to do to help me get in my steps on a daily basis.

Our trips this last summer included hiking, long walks through parks, and walking breaks while driving on the road.

I know how many steps there are around the circumference of my backyard (200 steps).  It was much more pleasant during those hot evenings of summer to walk around the backyard than going out walking around the neighborhood, because I think our backyard was usually about ten degrees cooler.  I have walked around my backyard so many times this summer, I have worn a path in the lawn.

Instead of sitting and binging on Netflix, and create a walking route around the couch and dining room table to get more steps in for the day, but still in view of the television.

I can walk and watch a show on my Kindle Fire, both at the same time, while walking around my backyard.  I think I watched a whole season of  "Blue Bloods" this way.

Slacker Radio has become my friend.  I have it on my phone, I pick a "station" and get a variety of music to listen to as I step around the backyard.  One of the more unusual stations was the Countdown of Rock Songs that used the Cowbell in them.

(Oh, can you excuse me a moment?  It is time to do my inside the house loop.  This morning, I figured out if I start in the living room, go down the hall to my bedroom, come back and go around the dining room table and the couch by the TV, go through the kitchen, go down the stairs to the basement, walk around the main room in the basement, and come back up the stairs to the living room, it is about 162 steps.  If I make this loop three times, I am close to 500 steps.)

Another feature of the Fitbit that adds to the steps obsession are the "Challenges".   My walking buddy Nikki started challenging me.  For example, this week we are doing the "Workweek Hustle."  Other challenges include "Goal Day", "Weekend Warrior" and "Daily Showdown".

Currently I am 61,329 steps for the week, and Nikki is at 50,822.  But she hasn't synced her Fitbit in 12 hours, so you don't really know where she is at today for steps.  I know she is at least 5,000 more steps ahead of this number from our walk this morning.  I'll keep checking her numbers throughout the day.  (Yes, another obsession...checking your challengers steps.  But I tell you, it is a great motivator!!)

Let's see.  I just synced my Fitbit, and currently I am at 7,932 steps for the day.  I had better get off the computer for a while and get moving. 

Hey, if I go around the backyard once (200 steps), do the inside loop three times (500 steps) and another outside loop (200 steps), I am getting pretty close to 9,000 steps, and almost to my 10,000 step goal for the day!!

Yay, Me!!!


Sibling Assignment 2015.17: Yachats Ocean Memories #3Siblings

After spending some time on the Oregon Coast last month, a flood of memories came back to previous visits, so I posed this assignment to my two siblings:

Write about some of the memories you have when we all gathered at the Oregon Coast and share those memories and stories in your next post.

Christy's memories are share on her blog here, and Bill's memories are shared here.

We have stayed many places on the Oregon coast over the years, but I think the one that is the most near and dear to my heart is the first place I experienced time on the coast, and that is Yachats.

The first time we went was the summer of 1982, the year after my first year in college.

We stayed in a small ocean front cabin in Yachats.  My brother knew the owners and made arrangements for us to rent this cabin.

That first year included a six hour trip on a fishing boat, that you can read more about on a former blog post here, playing Monopoly and singing "New York, New York" everytime someone landed on that place on the board, and doing a lot of exploring in the tide pools on the beach in front of our cabin.

We returned again the next summer, the summer of 1983.

This summer I apparently bought a kite to do some kite flying.  I also remember writing a message to Paul in the sand and photographing the message.  (This way WAY before the days of digital photography you could instantly text or post on social media.)

It was fun being on the coast with Dad, the "Old Man and the Sea".

The next time I visited Yachats was with Paul, and it was the summer of 1986, on our honeymoon.  It was wonderful to share this special place with my husband.  We enjoyed a few wonderful days on the beach, including smelt fishing.
Paul standing in front of the cabin.

Paul cleaning the smelt we caught.

Paul enjoying being out in the surf.
As our family grew, we outgrew the cabin, and also visited other towns on the coast.

But I have been fortunate to visit Yachats recently.

During the fall of 2013 I had the privilege of visiting my brother and his wife Debbie before they moved to their new home in Maryland.  On one of the days I was there, Bill and I took a trip to Yachats and took some time to walk around the cabin we used to stay at I Yachats.

Bill enjoying the view from the lawn of the cabin.

Here is Bill in front of the special little cabin, full of so many memories.
 This last summer, Paul and I were able to show two of our daughters the beach at Yachats, and we also took a stroll by the little cabin where we used to stay.

Zoe, Coco and I on the Yachats beach.

Paul and the girls exploring the beach.

The front of the cabin in now red, but much is still the same.

Paul and I in front of the cabin.
The memories started in this place back in 1982.  I was 19 years old.  Not only was this my first summer of many summers in Yachats and the Oregon Coast, but it was the summer Paul and I fell in love.

Four years later, we spent some of our first days of our married life in Yachats.

And now, it is 2015.  Paul and I have been together 33 years, and celebrated our 29th anniversary this summer.  We were able to spend some time on this special beach in Yachats, and, for me, it stirred up many fond memories of family vacations spent at that special little cabin overlooking the ocean.

As I reflect on these past 33 years, I realize how blessed the times on the coast have been, and how blessed I have been to have Paul by my side, helping me make and share those memories.


Sibling Assignment 2015.16: Stepping It Up This Summer

This week Christy gave us this assignment for our next Sibling Assignment Blog Post:

Images of Summer.

Pick a series of photos from your collection that symbolizes summer to you. Write a reflection on the summer photo choices.

My sister Christy posted and reflected on our sibling outings as her images of summer here, and brother Bill posted and reflected on the images of his summer travels here.

The images I am going to share are about being active, and walking enough steps each day to make my goal of 10,000 daily steps.  That is what a big part of my summer was about this year.

Let me give you a little background of how this goal came to be.  My friend Nikki and I have been walking partners for about nine years.  We have been fairly consistent over the years to walk about 2 miles in the morning during the work week.

For some reason, this past year we weren't as consistent.  Especially December ended up being very sketchy for walking together.  (And we couldn't blame the weather.  It was a very mild winter.)  I got very sedentary during the month of December, especially around Christmas.  It got to the point that I would sit down, and my knees had gotten so weak that it was hard to stand back up again.

We got back to walking a little bit better in January and February, but then Mom had her fall the beginning of March, and I was unable to walk again for the next few months.

In June, Nikki and I resolved to get back on track.  And there were a few things that helped me make this a bigger priority in my life.  The first was Nikki getting a Fitbit for her birthday, which made me get my Fitbit out of hibernation.  We both decided to set a goal of 10,000 steps each day, and help push one another to meet our goal.

Another event happened that helped me resolve to meet this daily goal as well.  My sister-in-law Laurie shared a post on Facebook sometime last spring about her friend Amy.  If I remember correctly, Amy had walked at least 10,000 steps every day for the last five years, (maybe it wasn't that long, but it seemed like it was quite a long time), but she had been in an accident and was unable to walk, so people were helping her out.  I can't remember the whole story, but the thing that stuck with me was her ability to meet the 10,000 step goal in a very long extended period of time.  So I thought to myself, I can to that, too.  That is a reasonable goal. 

Then I went and had my yearly physical, and was told some things that made me realize I needed to get back to making my daily walks a very high priority in my life.

So, on June 9th I started having the goal of getting to 10,000 steps a day.  I started to wear my Fitbit, and Nikki and I started meeting regularly every morning for our 40 minute walk.  (And we have met faithfully since June 9th.  The only time we haven't walked together is if one of us is out of town.)

The following week, I went to Moscow and spent a week at the Gear Up Youth Summit, and had some women who also wanted to walk each morning, and many of the day's activities during the summit required a lot of walking, and made me realize I can walk close to 30,000 steps if needed. 
Here are some images from the University of Idaho.

In July, I took a trip to San Francisco with my husband Paul and daughter Coco.   Each day of the trip, the focus was getting in the 10,000 or more steps.  On July 17, we walked through Golden Gate Park, and I got over 33,000 steps that day. 

Before my brother left for his home back in Maryland, we spent a day in Spokane, and part of that day was  spend walking in Manito Park, another way to get my steps.

We also hiked up Coal Creek, which got me to over 20,000 that day. The Coal Creek Trail is located up the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River.   Paul, Molly and I went on this hike with our great friends April and Eric Lee, and their two sons Alexander and Nicholas.

On our recent trip to Oregon, hiking was a large part of the events of the trip.  Not only do you see beautiful scenery, but you get some good exercise in as well.

Here we are stopping about an hour outside of Portland at the Eagle Creek Trail.

Here are some photos from our hike to the Blue Pool.

The next day we again hiked along the McKenzie River and saw some beautiful water falls.

While at the ocean, a couple walks along the beach in the sand helped get in the 10,000 steps.

I also got a nice workout kayaking in Nehalem Bay and along the Nehalem River.

This summer, my perspective has changed.  One way or another I will walk until I get to my 10,000 steps or more each day.  Often I will get the last couple thousand of steps walking around our backyard.  Sometimes Paul and I will take an evening walk around town to get those final steps in to meet the goal.

From June 9, 2015 to August 18, 2015 here is what I have accomplished, according to my Fitbit stats:

985,370 steps
411.63 miles
197,326 calories burned

I can tell after only two months I am stronger and in better shape.  I do know it will become more challenging to meet the daily goal once I get back to work at Kellogg High School.

But I am up for the challenge!!