Life

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing"
- Helen Keller

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Weekend


Great slide into 2nd base!

I hope everyone is enjoying this holiday weekend, I know we are. I also hope we all take time to remember those that have fought so that we can enjoy this country we live in. Their sacrifice is what has made it possible to live in a free nation. To all who have served, to all who have fought, to all who have given their lives for our country, we give you our thanks, which seems hardly enough for all you have done.
Walt and John enjoy the game.
We had a few rain showers come through late in the week which was good as it was getting a little dry, nothing like out West but too dry for this agricultural area. Some severe thunderstorm warnings but no tornado warnings for which we give a sigh of relief. John’s brother called and decided to visit Thursday to Sunday so we have had company and that has kept us busy. We went to dinner in Iowa City Thursday night. Walt(John’s brother) went to medical school in Iowa City (also my alma mater) so it was fun to show him around the downtown. A lot has changed but there are somethings that remain the same, like The Airliner, Joe’s Bar, John’s Grocery, Hamburg Inn and Paglia’s.
Kids getting an autograph from the Pitcher
Friday John and Walt went to see the movie the Hunger Games while I stayed home and got a few things done. I’ve read the book and John says it really stays pretty true to the book, maybe I’ll see it when it comes out on DVD. Then Saturday we decided to take in another ball game. 
Mr. Shucks the Kernels mascot
Minor league ball is really fun. The games are competitive but because these players are young you still get to see some real blunders, which is kind of fun too. There are always promotional games between innings and a crazy mascot to watch. The Kernels really do a good job of entertaining the kids too. Kids can win a chance to go out on the field with the starters for the Nation Anthem and then get their autographs, they help present the colors and participate in some of those between inning games. We remember bringing our kids and it is some of there favorite memories of summer. They were so small when we started that sometimes we only lasted 3-4 inning and then finally 5-7 inning and it was a big day when they made it all the way through 9 innings. Tonight we made it all the way through the game (of course no kids to distract us) and stayed for the fireworks after the game. The Kernels do fireworks most Saturday home games.
Fireworks!
Walt left this morning. We are hoping our son and fiance will show up sometime today. We have some wedding things to talk about and we haven’t had a chance to see Melissa yet and we are anxious to give her a hug. Hope its a great weekend where you are!
Happy Trails....................................

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fitness Testing

I know I have written before about the resistance training John and I are doing is from a guy named Mark Lauren and his book "You are Your Own Gym".  On Sparkpeople today I blogged about trying to track my progress with some fitness testing they recommend and I thought since I really don't have much to talk about otherwise I'd share what I wrote in that blog, so here it is.


After about 10 weeks on Mark Lauren's basic program, I knew I could not pass the test to move on to the First Class program so I was looking for a way to measure my progress other than just his test. I know I have gained strength but his programs are very challenging and it may take awhile yet before I move up. So in looking around Sparkpeople I found the fitness testing article and decided to do the fitness tests and use them to chart my progress. So today I did the 1 mile walk test, pushup test and crunch test. I don't have a very good way to do the step up test so for me my aerobic fitness will be tracked with the 1 mile walk. 

So how did I do? Pretty well overall. I did 24 modified pushups in 1 min., which puts me in the good category for my age and 23 crunches in 1 min. putting me in the good category there. Where I shined though was the one mile walk. I have been power walking for awhile now so I nailed this in 12min 17 sec. That put me in the excellent category not only for my age range but even for the 20-29 y/o age range. Pretty cool. Without jogging I'm not sure how much faster I can do that but next time I may try running and power walking for 1 mile to see how I do. I definitely have room for improvement in my strength training but I am glad I now have a baseline and a goal to shoot for. I am going to try and take those tests again when I finish the last week of undulating blocks again, which will put my testing at about a month. I really do believe that if I keep working I will make it into that next level in Mark Lauren's program. 

My workout philosophy has always been "slow and steady wins the race". Persistence will win out!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sparkpeople

From their website

I discovered a new online site in my quest for a healthier life. I have been looking for a online site that would help me track my progress. A few years ago I used Weight Watchers Online and was considering it again. It has many great tools including a recipe builder and online support but I am not a fan of the point system. I know lots of people find that easier but for me if I am going to journal my meals I want numbers. Before RVing when I worked with a trainer I used the Bodybugg system. You actually wear a devise on your arm that monitors the calories you burn, you then upload that info the their site (techies would love this ) and you have those numbers I like, you also track your food and if you do the math right you loose weight. There is no cheating or fooling yourself on this system. If you aren’t loosing weight you are overestimating your food intake because the calorie in/calorie out equation doesn’t lie. John will tell you it follows the basic rules of thermodynamics and you just can’t get around that. I may later choose to go back to this system. The draw back to both of these is cost and right now with the wedding coming up, free is better. There may come a time I go back to the Bodybugg but luckily I already own the devise and would just have to activate it.
So what I did find is the Sparkpeople site. I ran across it on Pinterest and decided to check it out. It is free, and I like that. What I found was a site with so many tools are information that it is almost overwhelming. I feel it has more and better tools than the Weight Watchers site and while it doesn’t give me the hard fast numbers of the Bodybugg it does give me numbers and in more areas. That said, it is all the other tools that has me hooked. I really want to run a 5k and maybe a 10k again and I have been up and down in my training for that, using some interval training but not feeling like I have a great plan. On this site they have a program called 5k My Way. It takes you where you are currently and maps out a program to help you get there. The first week of the program I chose is very much like the intervals I was already doing so it made total sense. I just started week 2 today and it is great having it mapped out for me. These programs are not just for runners but for walkers too.
I can track my food just like the other sites, my weight training, my weight, my measurements. There are places to write out other goals. A place to blog, a place for personal journaling, forums, recipes, articles on every health related topic you can think of, and so much more. I have spent lots of time this last week delving into the site just to know what’s there and how I can use to benefit my own life and now I am hooked. I may someday go back to using the Bodybugg but it would be in conjunction with this site because it has much more of the support I am looking for. Just to reiterate...its FREE!
I just wanted to share this because I know in reading other RV blogs that many of us struggle to stay fit on the road. It can be a challenge and I know I need all the help I can get. 

Happy Trails.......................

Monday, May 21, 2012

Reconnecting


Emily and Mitch


This first week back in Iowa has been a time of reconnecting with my boys. We did see Mitch on Mother’s day for a short time but he called and wanted to go to dinner on Wednesday evening as his girlfriend Emily was in town. Emily is from NE Iowa and goes to school near here in Iowa City. Classes are over so she is spending some time at home and some time here with Mitch but soon will be off for a semester abroad in Spain. 
We went to dinner at our favorite mexican restaurant: Haciendas Las Glorias. In all the time we have spent in the southwest we have seldom come across food as good and have never come across margaritas as good as this restaurant has. I will say John now makes a margarita to rival theirs but it might be a toss up. It was excellent as usual and the time with Mitch and Emily was great.
John and Gabe at Kernels game
Thursday Gabe came to town to talk to his insurance agent. He can no longer be on our insurance in June and they were going to charge so much for him to get on Melissa’s insurance after they get married that Brandon (his agent) is looking for a basic policy for him that he can actually afford. I know there are lots of opinions out there about the healthcare issue but if anyone prior to the healthcare act had to find insurance for someone with a pre-existing condition they know how difficult it could be. Brandon says at least now they can’t turn him down and there are some incentives for them to give him an affordable policy. The last time we went through this we had one year where the rules were still at 24 to get off our policy and we had a tough time finding a company to even give him a policy. For us, the healthcare changes mean Gabe will have insurance and that is a relief.
Since he was here we decided a baseball game would be fun so we headed to a Kernels game (A minor league ball). John and I love going to the games and the boys enjoyed it when they were little but then went through a time they really didn’t like to go. Luckily they are now enjoying watching an occasional game again. This one went into extra innings and the Kernels pulled it out at the bottom of the 10th for a win.  I have really missed the boys so this time together was great.
I also had time with my friend Trudy this week. We had our first weekly coffee at Panera’s on Friday morning. We did this every week for a lot of years so when I am in CR we try to continue the tradition. Tomorrow instead of Panera’s we are going to the casino in Hills, Iowa. May is Trudy’s birthday month and she gets a free buffet. The month is winding down and she doesn’t want to miss out on the freebie.
John and Mike taking in the bed frame
Trudy and her husband Mike bought a 2005 Mako 5th wheel by Gulfstream. It was in a weather related accident and had some damage but Mike loves to fix things so this is his new project. We went over Sunday afternoon to see it and ended up staying long enough for John to help Mike weld the bed frame and slide mechanism back together and get ready for all the new parts to make the slide work again. They almost had it working but it appears they need a new switch so it will have to wait another day. I foresee John helping with other parts of this project too. They will have a nice rig once Mike is finished. We ended the evening with dinner at the Star Bar in Fairfax, a little local joint with good food and it is close to the DQ so on the way home I talked John into a little treat. I grew up (Dad owned one) in a DQ and it is still my favorite treat!
Today we got moved across town to Squaw Creek, the other Linn County park we frequent and have a great site for the next two weeks. John’s brother Walt will be joining us so it will be even more family time. Hope everyone out there has a great holiday weekend. The weather here is great and the park is already almost full, so I also hope you have a site if you are on the road.
Happy Trails..........................

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Back Home??



Bridge on the trail at Morgan Creek
Our intention when we set out on Sunday was to drive to a reservoir north of DesMoines IA, the Saylorville Reservoir and stay there for maybe 3 days to a week but that was not to be. The traffic wasn’t bad as it was Mother’s day but to Des Moines is about 5+ hours. We got there just fine only to find out they only had one non-reservable site left. We checked that out but it had a low hanging branch that made it unusable. I didn’t make reservations because I really thought this early in the season there would be spots available after the weekend groups started leaving.  I usually always have a plan B but I was so certain it wouldn’t be a problem that I skipped plan B. Murphy’s law at work. We decided to drive on to Cedar Rapids and the county parks there, another 2+ hours away. I did text my friend Trudy and they checked Morgan Creek Campground near them and said there were plenty of spots open so it was back on the road. It turned out fine but that was a very long driving day, maybe the longest we’ve done and not the way we like to travel.
Prescribed prairie burn last year here at Morgan Creek
One of the benefits of doing this was I to to see my son Mitch on Mother’s Day and that was a great present. I also got to see Trudy and her family which also made my day. I’ve really missed Trudy and this week will start out summer of weekly coffee dates at Paneras. Yeah!!!!
When we are here it is a little like coming home, or maybe a lot like coming home. I lived in CR from 1981-2010 and John from 1975-2010. This is where we met, got married and raised our boys. I don’t miss the house and all that comes with it but I do miss the people and being in a familiar place sometimes. Its not like I am ready to move back but it is a nice feeling to come home for awhile. We will be moving back and forth between the 2 county parks and also go down to the Coralville Reservoir for about 10 days. Our oldest son, Gabe gets married on July 28th and we will be basically in this area until the week after that. 
I always find it a little harder to blog when we are in the same place, particularly here for a long time but lately I have been thinking of some things that I’d like to blog about and maybe we will even get John on doing some “Captain’s logs”. Whenever you see that in the title know that John is the author. I keep encouraging him to write, he’s a lot funnier than I am and a better writer (when available, he is my editor). Dixie and Dan were trying to encourage him too so I am hoping that their voice added to mine may get him motivated. 
Happy Trails..............................

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Grand Island Nebraska


Welcome to the prairie!


Go Audra!
After a great week in Loveland it was time to move on. My youngest brother lives in Grand Island Nebraska so we decided to make that trip in one hop. We don’t usually travel that far in a day but there really wasn’t anywhere along the way we were interested in staying. It was about a 7 hour drive and then we lost an hour with a time zone change, so about 5pm we arrived at Hall county park just south of Grand Island. We stayed here last fall and it is a gem a park. It is a small park with only a little over 20 RV sites, 50 amp electric only but it costs just $15 a night. Originally we were going to stay just 3 nights but with Mother’s day this weekend we opted for 6. We will actually be taking off tomorrow on Mother’s Day for Des Moines. We are hoping for less traffic that way and with Mother’s day over we shouldn’t have trouble getting a site at the Saylorville Reservoir.

Our week here with family has been fun. John got to put his handyman skills to work and put up a ceiling fan for my sister-in-law Sharon. He has installed many of these over the years so it just felt like old times. My niece Audra had softball practice here at the park so we got to watch that. Man can she hit! Then yesterday we picked her up from school and we had some girl time painting each others toes and fingernails. Gary and Sharon picked us all up and off to Lincoln we went to meet up with some of Sharon’s family. We had dinner at Buzzard Billy’s. They have alligator on the menu so we all had to try that. Mmmm, tastes like chicken. :)
The result of a little girls time :)

Me and my baby brother, Gary.

At dinner were Sharon’s brothers Bill and Nick, and Bill’s wife Jenny. I went to high school with her brother Bill so it was fun to spend some time with them and on the way back we stopped at Bill’s farm. It is a small hobby farm with chickens, ducks, horses, cows and we hear he has a peacock but we didn’t see that. There also are a couple dogs and lots of cats. Nick had baked a strawberry-rhubarb pie. Does it get an better than this? 
Sharon, Audra, Nick, Bill, Gary, Jenny and Janie
Today my brother has a few more things on the agenda for us. Helping return a tree and picking up some flower for Sharon’s Mother’s Day gift, and taking care of Audra while they are out at some graduation parties. They sure know how to keep us busy. :)
St. Francis medical Center where Gary is the Director of Dietary Services
Grand Island is really a nice town and a growing town, they just hit over 50,000 and have lots of good places to eat so if you find yourself on I-80 in the middle of Nebraska and need a place to stop, I would highly recommend taking highway 281 the few miles north to Hall County Park (they don’t take reservations) and stay a couple days. I should say too, the sites are paved and this one is as level a we have ever had one even on paved sites.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there in blogland and back home in Iowa!
Happy trails........................................

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Southern Sun Pub and Brewery, Loveland CO



It has been a really fun week. Monday we moved to Loveland Colorado and Boyd Lake State Park. Friends Dixie and Dan live here and we have been spending time with them, lots of stories and laughs.
National Institute for Atmospheric Research
Boulder Mall
Dan & John
On Wednesday they took us to Boulder. Dixie and Dan both have moms that live there. Dixie’s mom is having health issues and we dropped her off at her mom’s for a few hours. Dan gave us a tour of the area he grew up in and up to the National Institute of Atmospheric Research. Coffee in the Boulder pedestrian mall (reminds me so much of Iowa City) and then we stopped by and met Dan’s mom, she is a delight.  It was then off to pick Dixie up.



All our samples, he added one more later
Dan, Dixie, Janie, & John
Dixie decided that for lunch we should go to a little sandwich shop she likes. What a surprise when we pulled up and saw a grain bin. This was not just a sandwich shop it was one of Boulder’s micro-breweries, Southern Sun. (This group actually has 3 locations but are all part of Mountain Sun Breweries.) Now that’s a sandwich shop we can get into. We sat outside and since the waitress was really busy the general manager, Mike, came to take our drink order. When we explained that we were fans of microbrews and as we travel we like to check out the local beer. He was great and brought us 13 brews to try, on the house. He was great at explaining the differences and said after we were done he would take us on a tour of the brewery.  We had so much fun trying these different brews and found plenty that we like. Dixie doesn’t drink beer so she got all her beverages free as our DD. Our food was excellent too, definitely a good sandwich shop just as Dixie told us. Then Mike took us on our tour; he was such a great tour guide and at the end even gave John a t-shirt and lots of stickers. We have been to so many micro-breweries and brew pubs in our travels but I think this was the best: best beer, best food and definitely best service. Thanks Mike.


Thanks Mike a great brew and a great tour.
Today’s just a little shopping and errands. The weather has been warm and sometimes windy but I can honestly say we love it here. Colorado has always been a favorite for John and me and this first trip here in the RV has been awesome, especially coupling it with visiting good friends.  I think in the future we would love to work camp here in the summer, I will work on some apps for next summer.  There is more we would like to do but if we don’t get it accomplished that’s ok, we will catch it next time. I’m sure there will be a next time.