Applique and posture…

I usually hand applique for 2 to 2 1/2 hours each night in my chair with my feet up and my light in the correct spot (over my left shoulder because I am right-handed). For the last few weeks I’ve added a few hours of applique in the afternoon and I’ve noticed that my neck is sore. Darn it! I know it’s because I’m holding my (heavy) head in the wrong place instead of keeping it centered over my body. I also know that I’ve gotten posture-lazy in the last year.

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It is really easy to ignore your posture, letting your head drop and shoulders round forward—gravity is working against us. There are, however, easy exercises that we can do to combat this problem. I know because I googled ‘neck and shoulder exercises’ and found this video.

As I watched the video, I was reminded that this is exactly what my physical therapist recommended when I was first diagnosed with bone density issues. Doing this for 40 seconds, 6 times a day, is not that hard!

However, the warning at the front of the video is true—only do these if your body is up for it. If you are unsure, consult your physician. FYI: I’m not necessarily a fan of chiropractic bending and popping, so please don’t consider this an endorsement of that.

PS: If you are like me, you thought it was funny when he said “if you have trouble finding a corner…”. How hard could that be? And then I had trouble finding a corner in my own house :-).

Busy Sunday…

About our busy Sunday… Last night Steve and I were sitting by the pool, looking at the fence and we decided that we should water seal it. I remembered doing this job with a sprayer and that it wasn’t so bad so we decided that we would get up and do it today. And we thought we could do Mom’s fence too. Silly us. 

I didn’t take a before photo but the wood was gray, like our neighbor’s fence:


At 7:45 AM Steve went to Lowe’s for a big can of Thompsons water seal (TWS). He had checked our pump sprayer and it worked, but sadly as it turned out, not with the TWS. Ours sprayed a jet, not a mist. Back to Lowe’s once, and then again.


We tried both of these to no avail. Deep sighs all round. We couldn’t use a roller on the outside of our fence because it’s not flat. Instead I used a wide brush.

As I worked, memories started coming back to me. The last time we did this the same thing happened! How could I have forgotten? Note to self: forget the sprayer.


It got hot. I put on sunscreen and a hat and powered on. Even behind the bushes.


Steve worked on the inside of the fence with a roller and brush. I joined him and we were making good progress. Clouds rolled in, it got cooler! Yay!

And then it started to look like rain. At any other time we would have cheered. More sighs. We ran out of TWS and Steve went Back to Lowe’s.

It started to sprinkle, then rain but we were so close to finishing and the rain wasn’t hitting the fence so we finished what we could and tidied up.

Steve cleaned out the sprayers and brushes.  (I love that man.)


The sun came out and after a couple of hours it was dry enough for Steve to finish the very top of the fence.

We used clear TWS but it still changes the color of the wood. It’s brown again!


If we’re lucky, we won’t have to do this again for 2-3 years. It’s worth the effort because it lengthens the life of the fence, but it is not a fun job.

Moms fence awaits. It is flat on one side and can be rolled so it’s faster but we’re going to wait until it’s cooler.

PS: We celebrated with ice cream at Braum’s!

So what exactly is a ‘moderate’ hike?

We hiked the Alakai Swamp Trail today. 4 miles in, 4 out. This is a hike that remember being hard. Steve, however, had different memories. Last night, Keith looked online and found that many people had called this a hike of moderate difficulty. I think that it helps a lot to know who is doing this labeling. A mountain climber would call this hike piffle. My mother would call it impossible. We made it, but there was plenty of effort involved.

There are terrific views on this hike if the weather cooperates. It did for us. We saw into the first overlook:

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We took photos and no one fell over the (incredibly steep) dangerous edge.

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Let me add that at this spot I visited with Jim, a man with a very big camera who was photographing an owl that I only saw the end of. This is what I do. I visit with strangers and as a result we have met some interesting folks. Jim, apart from knowing the birds, was also watching an enforcement helicopter that we would have missed. It was going after back country hikers/campers/pot growers. We’ll never know but it was interesting to watch the helicopter land on a tiny ridge of land way below us.

Yesterday we met John Lydgate, the grandson of the Lydgate who started Lydgate Park. He looked interesting so I said hello. Darned if everyone isn’t interesting in one way or another. Anyway, back to today.

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This is a benign stretch of the trail but it lets you know there is rockiness and mud when it’s wet. Luckily we did not encounter mud. Been there, done that, happy to have missed it today. There are stairs, lots of them, going and coming. I was so happy to have on my knee braces and to have started the day with ibuprofen. But, after 4 interesting miles during which I ignored my camera, we got to the end.

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Off in the distance is Hanalei Bay. You have to drive all the way around the island to get to there from where we were today. It’s a rare treat to get to this spot and not have the view blocked by clouds, which explains Steve’s happiness. (Hunt and Karen Tooley, who missed it on our last trip—we wish you had been there with us!)

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Other people came and took a photo of us all. Yay!

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And then we walked back, 4 miles. The stairs were more up than down. I was not loving it but what can you do but just keep going.

I lost my (prescription) sunglasses along the way. Darn. But we made it out and could still move by the time we got to the car. Yay, again! Lunch was late because… well, let me just say that some of us thought the hike was more moderate than it really is.

We stopped to look into Waimea Canyon on the drive back to Lihue. I’ve seen it before so didn’t spend much time looking. Goodness—am I jaded? No, I think I was just tired and hot. I at least took a picture of my 3 companions.

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Believe it or not we stopped for groceries (and non-prescription sunglasses) and got back to the condo where Steve is now cooking dinner. I do so love that man. When I finish this post we get to eat dinner, which is one of the 3 best meals of the day :-). Bye!

From Kiluea/Volcanoes National Park

We hiked today, and my feet are sore. I’m happy to report that after Steve’s MaiTais and dinner, they are less sore :-).

We hiked in and around Volcanoes National Park, and across Kiluea Iki. Luckily we got to the park before the crowds and parking was easy. And it was not terribly hot on the hike across the crater.

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There was some posing for interesting photos…

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The next shot was taken on the walk out and back up the side of the crater. We walked down the far side that you see, across the flat part, and up the other side.

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Steve, Amanda, and Keith were brave, almost looking over into a crevasse…

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There was some stopping to at least attempt to smell the flowers…

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That’s ginger, by the way. An invasive non-native that needs to be eradicated. It is also pretty.

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We hiked Devastation Trail… there’s a story that goes with the name but darned if I can remember it.

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Off in the distance, you can see the steam erupting from Halemaumu.

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Back in the day, Steve and I and students could (and did) hike out to that spot, but not now. It’s too dangerous. This is us, then. That sign is probably still there…

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Here we are today, 11 years later and still going strong :-).

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Tomorrow we are heading to Puna Lu’u, the black sand beach!

Yes, I am fit(bit)…

After reading your comments, after thinking about it a little more, and after lunch, I went to Target yesterday and bought myself a new Fitbit Charge. Thank you all for your comments. I didn’t feel the least bit guilty when I bought this new gadget.

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It’s hard to take a nice picture of your own arm :-).

The color choices for this model are not great: black, gray, dull navy, and orange. Black seemed to make the most sense… it will look fine with fancy attire, right?

I had a discussion about the Fitbit over dinner with friends last night—about why some of us like wearing this sort of device. I believe that Oscar had it right when he said that it offers validation. I don’t feel the need to broadcast my daily activities, but I do like knowing how active I’ve been, compared to how active I usually am.

I have always treated my body as if it is a used car. If my car starts acting up, I take it to the mechanic because I do not want to be stranded somewhere. My body is in reasonably good shape for its age, but when parts of me act up, I go to the appropriate doctor. The Fitbit is just one part of my simple, self-monitoring system. That, and I like the mental pat on the back I give myself when I reach my daily goals :-).