Celebration hike

Hiking and biking trails at Park City Mountain
The start of the hike at Park City Mountain.

We celebrated our 37th anniversary with a mountain hike. A storm came through the night before with thunder, lightening and rain, and the heat wave broke. Plus, my husband took time off work so we could hike the Dawn Trail in the morning.

I’m so thankful we got to go on the mountain trails. It had been too hot in the afternoons to attempt it.

Here’s info about Dawn’s Trail from AllTrails.

Discover this 5.8-km out-and-back trail near Park City, Utah. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 1 h 54 min to complete. This is a very popular area for birding, hiking, and trail running, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. The best times to visit this trail are April through October. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.

Review from hiker: I wouldn’t rate this trail as easy simply because if you start near the map at the bottom that’s next to the ski lift, it is all uphill and it gets pretty steep at some points. It’s mostly switchbacks up to the top, but it is a pretty strenuous slope, especially for beginners. But, It was beautiful and had a gorgeous view of the valley.

https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/dawns-trail?u=m

I counted 14 different wildflowers on the hike. Here are some photos:

Lush landscape and clouds on Dawn's Trail Park City.
The lush landscape and a view of clouds.
Dawn's Trail view in Park City
A view of chairlifts and Park City from the mountain trail.
Trail winding through woods.
Parts of the trail winds through woods and are in the shade.

Wildflowers at base of moutain.
Wildflowers at the base of the mountain.
Husband on the trail.
My husband of 37 years! Where did the time go?
wildflower yellow stalk
One of 14 different varieties of wildflowers I saw.
On the trail!

I’m glad we waited until later in the week to do the mountain hiking. We’re more adjusted to the altitude and ready for more. But first, we’re going to hit the jacuzzi!

Views from the hike.

Happy Friday! What are your plans for this weekend in July?

The things we believed — at first

masking with fabric
When we first were wearing masks, I used quilting fabric, which we now know isn’t that helpful. Here I am at the park in Palm Springs by my old home.

We spent Father’s Day at our friends who moved unbeknownst to us from Palm Springs to a mile from our new Arizona home. We played bocce ball, cooled off in their pool and ate a delicious dinner of bbq’d pork ribs.

At some point in the conversation I mentioned that we took Vitamin D3 every day because it’s supposed to help protect us from COVID.

My girlfriend’s husband who is a newly retired doctor said, “Where did you hear that? That makes zero sense. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. How do strong bones help with COVID?”

I humbly replied that I had read it everywhere. I couldn’t point to a specific source, but it was a common theme I heard repeatedly from people I knew and news sources.

When I got home, I googled it. Early on during the pandemic, researchers believed that Vitamin D helped. Now there are extensive studies that show there’s no evidence or correlation that Vitamin D protects people from the SARS virus.

I thought about other things that have changed through the last two years as scientists learned more about the dreaded disease.

First, we were told that it could last on objects for hours or even days. This resulted in our city pool being shut down, playground equipment and the tennis courts closed to the public. A few skate parks in Southern California were filled with sand to encourage social distancing.

playground equipment with yellow tape
This was the playground equipment at our park during the shut down.

Now we know that the virus doesn’t sit for hours on inanimate objects and it would have been healthier for kids to play on the playground — rather than being isolated in their homes.

A friend of mine would unpack her groceries from the cart and wipe them all down with bleach or alcohol before she loaded them into her car.

I know a lot of people who told me they’d strip off their clothes inside their front door when they returned, jumped into the shower and washed their clothes. That was especially true for people who were “essential workers” and had to work with the public.

I wore cloth masks such as the quilting fabric in the photo above — and my husband wore a bandana.

What are some of the things you did when the pandemic first hit that you later found out weren’t effective?

bungee swimming in pool
My daughter using the bungee in our backyard pool since the city pool was closed.

Is it ok not to go?

swimming pool in Palm Springs
The 50-meter pool in Palm Springs that was one mile from our old house.

I have a reservation to swim in an hour. I don’t feel like going. I swam two days ago and I felt wonderful during and after my swim.

But today I’m weighing the idea that I don’t HAVE to go. If I decide to stay home and read a book in my back yard, I’m not any less of a person. But I’m torn. I feel guilty for not going. I know I should go. I remember I wrote about something similar years ago in a post “I don’t have to, I get to.” It was about appreciating what we have and that we are able to do things.

Every morning I walk, then I either play ping pong or pickleball a few times a week as well as swim. At my age is it okay to slow down and say no thanks, not today? Or should I say “I get to swim today” and just go?

What are your thoughts? What would you do?

I’m not a cold weather swimmer

swimming pool with clouds
A view of my former city pool in wintertime. I miss my teammates and coach, but at least I’m still swimming.

My husband and I cut our morning walk short yesterday because it was miserable with a cold wind blowing.

When my lap swimming reservation came up I was tempted to cancel. I’m not fond of swimming when it’s cold out. But, having started my YMCA membership four weeks ago, I’m trying to stick to my workout schedule. So I went.

The water was cool. The wind was chilly and fierce. I’m proud of myself for going. Especially after Monday’s barre class that killed me. It was the hardest class I’ve had yet.

The worst part about my swim was getting out of the pool. While swimming, I kept moving to keep somewhat warm. Getting out was freezing! My teeth were chattering. I ran into the locker room to dry off when I normally take my time on the pool deck.

I’ve decided to skip barre class Friday to try Pickleball. A woman in barre class said there’s a beginners class on Fridays. I’ve heard so much about this popular sport and I want to give it a try. It’s at the same time as barre, but frankly my body could take a break and I’m thinking pickleball won’t be as painful!

I’m enjoying my YMCA life. Except for their app. I’m supposed to use it to make lap swimming reservations, but I get an error message. It says I need a valid membership. Yet the app works to check me in. I asked at the front desk for help and so far nobody knows how to correct it. One young guy told me I needed a new phone!

I emailed IT support that I found on the app and explained that I couldn’t make lap swimming reservations and told them the error message I received. I got an email back telling me that I don’t need reservations for taking classes. UGH! Did they bother to read my email? They said if I was continuing to have an issue to email back. I did immediately with a screen shot of the error message. I’ve heard nothing.

So, I am resigning myself to making reservations in person when I go in for the week ahead. Face to face talking to real people. What a concept!

Have you tried pickleball? What are your thoughts about technology that’s supposed to make life easier but doesn’t work?

My celebration

View of Cactus pool lanes
My new home pool.

Yesterday was my birthday and I celebrated in a few unique ways. First, I took a cold shower. Not on purpose, but the hot water was out. We had a plumber run a gas line from the laundry room into the kitchen the evening before. Tomorrow we are replacing the electric cook top with gas! We are so excited, but somehow the hot water got turned off so a cold shower it was. It sure woke me up!

Then I went to my first neighborhood club meeting. It was ladies coffee club with six other women from the neighborhood. It turns out the woman in charge of the coffee club lives right across the street from me. She and her husband stopped and introduced themselves when we first moved in but we haven’t seen them since. She apologized and said they were meaning to invite us over, but they forgot our names. I told her we had a concert and party and were going to invite them, also, but I couldn’t remember their names, either.

The big celebration for me was to drive 30 minutes to the pool and dive back in. I’ve been talking about doing this and haven’t made it there yet. We went from snow and freezing temps a little over a week ago to 80 degrees today, so I had no “it’s too cold” excuse. I set my birthday as my goal date to return to lap swimming. It was fabulous. I love the sensation of floating and gliding through the water. I met other nice swimmers who were so positive and friendly.

The downside to swimming was how out of shape and tired I got. Swimming is not a sport to drop for months at a time. Consistency is the key. My new goal is three days a week. It also makes me super hungry.

What special things do you do to celebrate yourself on your birthday or any day?

What personality traits lead to longer lives?

Robert and Kat on a rock in Laguna Beach
I was looking at old photos yesterday and love this one of my kids in Laguna Beach.

My dad sent me an article yesterday that I found interesting. Normally we don’t share many articles because we’re not on the same side politically. I’ve learned to stay out of those conversations or sharing those types of articles with him. After at least 15 years of our conversation blowing up and hurt feelings, we’ve both learned what to share and not to share.

So, the article he sent me was about how neatness and being organized can affect longevity. The article he sent me was written by Marta Zaraska called:

Type A Is A-OK

CONSCIENTIOUS PEOPLE DON’T JUST HAVE MORE ORGANIZED SPICE RACKS. THEY CAN ACTUALLY LIVE LONGER, SCIENCE HAS FOUND. HERE’S HOW THE REST OF US CAN LEARN TO ENJOY THE DELIGHTS OF DILIGENCE.

Here’s an excerpt:

IF YOU’VE EVER TRIPPED over a stray sneaker, you know the health hazards of messiness. Yet research shows that keeping things tidy can affect our physical well-being far beyond preventing injuries. Conscientiousness—the personality trait that organized, responsible people typically possess—has been linked to lower levels of inflammation, less risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and greater longevity. The trait is so good for you, says Brent W. Roberts, PhD, a personality researcher at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, that “it would be wonderful to bottle the effect and deliver it as an elixir.”

Though conscientiousness may not sound so exciting—organizing your desk, getting to appointments on time, double-checking your work, dusting even the hard-to-reach places—the health effects are anything but dull. Studies reveal that being highly meticulous can lower your mortality risk by 35 percent—more than the famed Mediterranean diet. Conscientious people tend to be at a healthier weight, walk faster, and have stronger lung function and grip strength than the messier among us. They also have a lower risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and are 20 percent less likely to get headaches. What’s more, research shows that having these qualities as a child can lead to better health up to 40 years down the road. (Whip out that tidbit next time you’re urging your kids to follow the months-untouched chore wheel on the fridge door.)

Read in Real Simple: https://apple.news/A__tqG4k3TEKX-ckHUYHAIg

The article goes on to explain why and how it works from a scientific perspective. It also states there is hope for people who constantly run late and are slobs.

I was very messy as a kid. My room was a joke in the family. As I grew up I got much neater. I’m very conscientious about being on time and keeping a neat house — if you don’t look in the closets where I haven’t unpacked boxes yet. I do try to keep the stacks neat, though.

I think I hate being late because my mom was never on time. I remember visiting my brother in the Seattle area and he was having a BBQ. My mom showed up three hours late. Needless to say we were all frustrated. I also remember taking ballet as a child and waiting on the sidewalk for my mom to pick me up all alone — long after all the other moms had picked up their daughters.

Have you learned to not talk politics with family members? Or do you enjoy bouncing ideas and opinions off each other? Do you consider yourself a Type A personality, neat and conscientious? Do you hate being late? Or do you care?

What’s the antithesis of placebo?

swimming pool in Palm Springs
Palm Springs pool where I thought I needed a fitbit to keep track of my laps. Reality check — I can count higher than the number of laps I can swim.

My fitbit died a sudden death in Sept. 2021. From tracking my every step and swim stroke it went dark. My first instinct was to order another one online and strap it back into my life ASAP. Then an idea hit me. I decided to try an experiment. I’d go one week without it.

I wrote about the first week HERE.

My daughter sent me an article this morning called “Beware That Nocebo Strapped to Your Wrist” by Tim Culpan from Bloomberg.com. It’s premise is this: “Fitness gadgets are supposed to improve your health, but often end up making you feel worse.”

Here’s an excerpt:

Most people are familiar with the concept of a placebo, where merely providing positive information can improve perception of well-being. Yet the opposite also occurs, with negative data making people feel worse about their own health.

That’s a nocebo — Latin for “I shall harm” as opposed to “I shall please” for placebo. And there’s a good chance you have a nocebo strapped to your wrist.

A wave of health-tech gadgets — from fitness trackers to Apple Inc.’s Watch — means hundreds of millions of people are hooked up to real-time feedback devices. They’re designed to measure your steps, encourage you to exercise more, and give daily updates on your mental and physical health. Apple wants you to “close your rings” — the three colorful circles the Watch uses to monitor your progress — and Garmin Ltd. helpfully tells you when your health is “excellent.”

They make for popular gifts and are bound to be stocking-stuffers this year. Various models of the Apple Watch occupied four of the top 10 most popular items in November’s Black Friday sales, according to Business Insider.

But there’s also good reason to think twice about whether you, or a loved one, will truly benefit from 24-7 monitoring, arbitrary goals served up by an algorithm, and regular notifications telling you that you’re stressed, tired, fit, or simply “unproductive.” 

In fact, research on the nocebo effect — first conceptualized in 1961 — has shown that perceptions of pain can increase with shifts in information and detail. Patients with suspected concussions have shown poorer neurocognitive performance when their history of traumatic injury is called to attention. Concentration falters when unpleasant data is provided. Sometimes, even a change in the color of a specific signal associated with health can trigger discomfort.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-12-15/wrist-size-fitness-gadgets-make-for-great-gifts-but-beware-of-the-nocebo-effect

It’s been a little less than four months since the nocebo left my wrist. I no longer wake up to immediately check my fitbit. I’d check to see if I had a good night’s sleep or not. If it told me I had a bad night’s sleep, it changed my outlook for the entire day. I felt tired, cranky, and I didn’t know how I’d get through the day. Say good-bye to getting into my creative space. I was becoming a slave to the nocebo.

I haven’t replaced it. I don’t need it. I know if I’ve gotten enough steps from years of walking 10,000 steps or more each day. I know if I had a good night’s sleep or not. AND as for swimming laps, I count higher than the number of laps I can swim. It’s not too much to keep track of laps in my head. Maybe even good for the old brain power.

What type of device do use to keep track of your health, steps and sleep? Or do you use one at all? I hear people say the Apple Watch has all sorts of other benefits, but I can’t figure out if I need another device to alert me about calls, texts, and emails with a laptop and cellphone at my side? What are your thoughts? What are the benefits that you like the most?