Monday, November 17, 2014
This was a combination trip for us.
We drove to the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina to:
Check on my 94 year old MIL in her assisted living facility
At MIL’s request, visit the old family vacation/retirement cabin a few hours drive further on
Attend a meeting of Carpatho-Rusyn Society – a heritage group very helpful to me as I sought my East European roots during the last decade.
Visit the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, one landmark we had never seen before.
MIL is doing as well as can be expected. However, her weight is making it difficult to walk more than a few steps and she spends most of her time in a wheelchair. I remember a physical therapist telling me that it was easier to get my 110 lb mother back on her feet than a 220 lb woman (my MILs weight).
We found a nice hotel central to all our plans in the town of Dillsboro, NC. It was about a 2 hour drive to the cabin over curvy mountain roads. We hadn’t seen the place in nearly 30 years and it’s in need of a lot of work. There’s more building going on in the area now, but still quite remote – no cell phone service.
It was a good time to visit Biltmore, all decorated for Christmas but not yet very crowded. Supposedly tourism increases after Thanksgiving.
I had mixed feelings about the place. It was very nicely decorated and efficiently organized for visitors, but I thought it was overpriced. You only got a booklet with brief explanations included in your entrance fee. An audio guide or tour guide was extra. As you walked around, you could hear the tour guide’s explanations anyway without even trying.
It was interesting to see how “American royalty” lived in 1895 in their “castle.” The tour included a nice variety of the nearly 300 rooms. The booklet mentioned that there were 43 bathrooms at a time when “MANY” Americans didn’t even have one. I would amend that to say to MOST American homes didn’t have one at the end of the 19th century.
I know I’m in the minority, but I found the place unnecessarily and conspicuously ostentatious. I felt that Vanderbilt should have BiltLESS not BiltMORE. A 7 story high banquet hall? 43 bathrooms?
The conservatory was very interesting as was the winery.
This is still a family owned estate operated for profit, so they charge what the market will bear
My heritage society meeting provided quite a contrast as we watched a video of the lives of my immigrant ancestors in the USA at the time of the opening of Biltmore.
I shared my recent trip to Slovakia connecting my children and grandchildren with their roots and the relatives whose ancestors stayed in the old country, not taking a chance on an uncertain future in America.
From a Spark perspective I did pretty well. There was a lot of walking although at a touring pace, not high intensity at all. One good run with the temperature at 19 degrees made me feel very righteous.
I had healthy snacks in the car and a supply of water. Restaurant meals were the best choices available.
I did eat the homemade ethnic pastries provided during my meeting – one of each type.
Then there was the NY style cheesecake. My MIL ordered it ahead of time to be delivered to her at the facility because “she knew we liked it” and “this bakery makes it just like we used to have back in NY.”
There was no Spark excuse I would make in that situation, valid though it may have been.
Sometimes a situation arises when you just gotta eat the cheesecake. A healthy lifestyle is able to accommodate something like this.
I am 1.6 pounds heavier than the morning I left. Most likely the salty restaurant food.
No problem. I’m home now. It’s back to real life.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
My daughter got her first mobile phone in 1994. It was called a “car phone” back then and it was huge. Her new husband bought it for her since she had to drive 1 hour to work along country roads which were very deserted in the early morning. Safety was the driving force.
As the technology developed, the rest of the family acquired our own devices – for emergencies, we said. Safety was upmost in our minds or at least communicating something important that couldn’t wait.
Yesterday on my run I was crossing the wide driveway of a parking lot. A car pulled out of a space to exit. I kept going. Cars had a stop sign before turning into the road. This lady kept going right at me. She wasn’t slowing down. I waved at her, but her eyes were on her phone. She was close enough that I could see her thumb moving. She was either dialing a number or texting. I sprinted out of the way and she kept going, never noticing our close call.
So much for the original goal of safety. I also wondered why that call or text couldn’t have been done while she was parked. That was only a few minutes earlier.
I love technology. As a technology coordinator for 25 years, I promoted and introduced all types of advancements in education from the old Apple II to the hand held wireless devices newly available when I retired in 2007. Our school's website went online in 1996 and our high school newspaper followed in 2001 - "News as it Happens" No more paper copies once a month.
English teachers believed that communicating with and writing for an audience would promote better writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation. R U kidding? It didn’t work out that way, did it?
Ease of communication and personal connections have definitely been enhanced by technology. My 50th High School Reunion couldn’t have happened without social media. I couldn’t have found my relatives in Europe without online genealogical resources.
DH is downstairs right now working on a presentation for a conference. I just sent him an email regarding our plans for the day.
Pro: I didn’t want to break his train of thought
Con: I’m sitting on my butt instead of walking down and back up the stairs.
Con: I’ve been on the computer a long time this morning including the time to write this. I should have been out running or walking by now.
Pro: Checking in with SP motivates me to plan a healthy day.
The tracker allowed me to plan my food for the day.
I researched what to do with the organic avocado I bought at the coop. This is my very first avocado.
Reading sparkers blogs keeps me connected with like-minded people. Sharing their successes and setbacks reminds me that I’m not alone and motivates me to stick with this.
I will get outside eventually. The bright side of this delay – it will be a bit warmer.
Sunday, November 09, 2014
It actually began Friday afternoon when I read an email from my favorite running store about a sudden “flash sale.” I planned to visit them at some point anyway and this seemed like a personal invitation.
DH decided to come with me and combine some errands. The store is in a city about 30 miles away – a 45 min drive on our country roads
I brought 3 pair of old running shoes to be donated to the “Rescue Mission.”
DH checked out walking shoes for winter. Yes, he’s planning to continue in the winter – yea!
I bought a moisture-wicking “performance” shirt with long sleeves that were loose enough to push up if I got too warm while running. This one is very plain. I bought 2 last year that were so pretty I didn’t want to run and sweat in them. They became a staple of my regular wardrobe – practical, comfortable and pretty – great for traveling. I don’t mess them up running short distances.
I talked to the staff about an upcoming 10K on a hilly route through the city.
Next stop: Recycled our printer cartridges for store credit which I spent on flip a cover for my phone that I saw on clearance. Now I can carry it in my pocket when out running.
Finally a stop at the grocery store to buy our food for the week.
Saturday morning, up by 6 as usual, I was energized for a longer run. I decided to drive to the city to check out that 10K route. DH decided to go with me.
We found the starting point and with the course map in my pocket I intended to run easy and check it out. I always walk 1 min per mile. That’s when I manually check my heart rate, sip some water and wipe my nose. If I know the course, I can save that minute for the steepest uphills.
DH meanwhile went for a walk on the trail by the river. Lucky people who live in this city!
Meeting up with DH afterwards we discovered that we had parked at the starting point of the Veterans’ Day parade. DH is a Vietnam vet and we watched as they started off.
Next stop: This city has a coop where every single item is certified as good for you. The produce is all organically grown, most locally. The staples are organic too. We stocked up on everything from fresh vegetables and fruit to tomato sauce, chicken stock and even canned pumpkin. The prices are a bit higher than the non-organic in supermarkets, but we’ve made a decision to vote with our pocketbooks.
By now it was time for lunch and DH suggested we visit an Expo at the conference center – “Green Living Energy Expo” – Admission FREE – “15 years of people taking action.”
Exhibits from every natural living, environmentally beneficial area you can imagine. Too many things to list, but I do have directions to make a “rain barrel” to water our garden. It’s easy and cheap
We even checked out a Ford Fusion hybrid. We’re looking to replace our 03 Taurus (nearly 200,000 miles). We never considered the hybrid option. It’s something to think about.
We ate lunch at the Expo. I ate healthy. DH, not so much, but he did drink water instead of soda.
Oh yeah! I registered for that 10K. My new shirt was great and my phone with its new cover fit perfectly in my pocket.
If anyone has actually read this far, thank you. I think I wanted to document it for myself to re-read in those times when my motivation sags. I want to remember how I feel this morning.
Get An Email Alert Each Time BROOKLYN_BORN Posts