Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Trip/An Early Winter Storm Watch!

Whoa, Nellie! We are under a winter storm watch today and tonight, which is highly unusual for our area at this time of year.

We had a wonderful trip to the Smokies. We were able to take my favorite loop hike, the Rich Mountain Loop Trail, in Cades Cove.
Looking down into Tuckaleechee Cove from the trail.
Me - no make-up, terrible hair - the usual.
While we were in the National Park, we went to Elkmont to see the cabin that The Professor's grandfather built. It's a little more than one-hundred years old.
The cabin at Elkmont where The Professor spent time as a boy.

It rained on our way up Mt. LeConte. I told you it would. It always rains, either going up or coming down, or both.  It only rained on our way up this time. Yay.
A very cute squirrel at Rainbow Falls, on our way up .
Somebody had obviously been feeding that little squirrel.

Lunch along the trail, in the clouds.

Fortunately, we were able to get our lunch eaten before the rain set in.
The last picture before the deluge.
We didn't take any more pictures since it started pouring rain shortly after we had lunch and the camera stayed packed away for the rest of the trip. I wish I had taken pictures of our time in Maggie Valley with the family. 

Now, I'm off to the grocery store. I would be going to the grocery store today anyhow since we were out of town all last week, but because there's a Winter Storm Watch it is imperative that I go get bread and milk. :) 

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Week from Today...

We'll be on the trail!

It will be raining...

because it ALWAYS rains when we hike up to LeConte Lodge.

These pictures were taken in the summer of 09 - I can't find any pictures of our  hike to LeConte Lodge  last November. I probably didn't take any because it was RAINING the whole time.

More pictures of me with no makeup and really bad hair will be taken!

But I won't care, because we'll be in the Smokies! One of the most heavenly places on earth....

even when it's RAINING. Which it will be, because it ALWAYS does.

We'll be spending a night on top of Mt. LeConte, then traveling to The Professor's dear family in North Carolina for Thanksgiving.

Check out LeConte Lodge here: LeConte Lodge, and the manager's blog, High On LeConte.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Cure for Insomnia

As I have reached middle age I have had to deal with quite a few of the issues associated with it: the weight that will not leave, the hormonal ebbs and flows, etc. One thing that had been driving me NUTS was the lack of sleep. Most nights either I could not get to sleep until well after mid-night, or if I did get to sleep, I'd wake up around 3 am - the dreaded 3 am - and not get back to sleep until right before I needed to get up to start the day.  It made me a Zombie Mom.

A view on The College campus

About a year or so ago I discovered that magnesium supplement that really does help with the problem, most of the time. Also, as I've written about before, my Nightly Routine helps immensely. I mean, when I was sitting up to read stuff online at 10:30, that wasn't exactly helping me get to sleep - duh! Now, I'm always off the computer by 9 and doing those little before bed things that help get me ready for sleep.  But there have  still been some nights that not even my before bed routine and Natural Calm seemed to help. I figured it was just something I was going to have to live with. Just one of the issues of mid-life.
Looking back down the trail

Then...I made another big discovery, which, when you find out what it is you will respond with a big, "DUH, Carlyn, how come you haven't figured this out before?"

The trees are so beautiful!

What is this miracle of miracles that has helped me fall asleep faster and stay asleep?  Two words: Long Walks.

I know, I know - totally obvious. So simple.  Pretty soon I'm going to write a big post on how eating less helped me lose weight, too. (Ha!)


What happened to bring me to this big discovery? I mean, I've always known the importance of exercise. In fact, I've been exercising off and on for quite some time.  Lately I've been doing 20 or 30 minutes of some sort of exercise two or three times a week - like some sprints or body weight exercises. I'm sure that is helpful and good for me, but I hadn't been doing anything every day. And, honestly, I hadn't noticed that it helped me get to sleep at night, either.

My dear walking companions.

However, we are heading out to the mountains in a few weeks for our annual Thanksgiving Break trip. We'll be doing some hiking in the Smokies and  I thought I'd actually attempt to be prepared for our hikes ahead of time, and so I started taking long walks, about an hour, every afternoon.  I am not doing "speed walking"  - I'm just walking along, like I would on a "real" hike up a mountain, going up the trail in the woods on The College property, usually along with either The Boy, The Professor, or both - and always with Lucky, The Big Dog. (Bud, The Small Dog, has hurt his paw and is confined to short walks for now.)  When I get home, I'm not especially tired, and I go about the rest of the evening's business as usual. But, when I go to bed, I have noticed that my sleep has been much, much better.

Treat, please!

Maybe it's a combination of getting outdoors and into the fresh air and sunshine for an hour every day, plus the walking, plus the companionship, which is helping reduce the normal stress of life, which is helping me rest better at night. Whatever it is - it works for me!

On the way home

Pictures were taken on our Sunday afternoon walk - what a gorgeous day!