Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Our New Normal

Andrews Bald - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
October 6, 2010

Unfortunately, this picture above was not taken when I visited Andrews Bald earlier this month.   But this one was:

Andrews Bald - August 13, 2012

As you can see, the two wayward "spots" which first appeared on our camera lens while traveling in New England this summer, have reappeared much to my chagrin.  We thought the problem had been corrected, but apparently not.  Guess I'll be in the hunt for a new camera!  

The two pictures were taken from almost exactly the same spot on Andrews Bald, one of only a couple that are still maintained as "balds" by the National Park Service.  It is a short hike with an incredible panoramic payoff, so on an uncharacteristically clear August day that also promised cooler temps and low humidity, it was an easy choice.  And it did not disappoint!   But even as good as it was, finding the picture from October, 2010 and comparing the two made me remember just what is in store for me over the next several months.  Currently blessed with a plethora of hiking friends, I can't remember when I've been more excited about the approach of fall.  

Now if my body would just cooperate............seems if it's not one thing, it's another, but we'll go there another time!

With Bill back in school, I thought you might enjoy following along with us/me on our newly established 2012 New Normal.  Remember this post?   The one where Bill decided he would challenge himself to go 30 days without white flour or white sugar?  And the one where I mentioned that we were walking every morning BEFORE his summer school class.   The one where HE mentioned trying to find a way to continue that routine once the regular semester began and he had to "dress up" again.  

Well I am happy ( make that THRILLED) to report success on all fronts.  Not only did he complete the 30 days successfully, but with no coercion from me, announced that he couldn't believe the difference in the way he felt and had no intentions of going back.  And so far, he hasn't.  If anything, he's more passionate about it right now than I am.  Not only that, but on the day before faculty was to report back to school, he said, "o.k., this is what we are going to do."  And thus our "new normal" morning routine was born.

It starts at 6 a.m. when I head back upstairs to make sure he's awake.  I get dressed for walking.  Remember I've already been up since 5 or so!  (No pictures of these moments - that would be a bit much!)

While he's getting ready, I pack his lunch and make our morning smoothie which I serve in my two favorite coffee mugs.   Lori, this is for you!

The goal is to leave home by 6:45 for the nine mile drive to our local mall which very graciously opens it's doors at 6:30 a.m. just to allow walkers inside.  Would we rather walk outside?   Of course, and there are options to do that closer than nine miles.   But remember that Bill has already showered, is dressed professionally for his day at school and once we finish walking, goes directly there.  So if it takes walking in the mall to keep us doing it without his becoming hot and sweaty, I have no objections.

Always kind of odd to see the mall parking lot this empty.  We're even ahead of most of the other walkers.

Just so you know, he was NOT amused at my picture taking as evidenced by his refusal to turn around and smile for this picture.  


I did, however, get him to "play" briefly while we were at the children's play area.  Would someone please mention how svelte he appears?  But DON'T mention that I look like I just crawled out from under a rock!  Glasses and all!

 I was so disappointed when this store opened a few years ago.   It just wasn't what I thought it was going to be!  I had visions of vats of buttercream icing for me to sink my face in!   Yes, some people are cake people and some are icing people.  I'm an ICING person!   Scratch that!   I am a FORMER icing person!

Bill does two full laps (registers just over 5,000 steps on my pedometer) in 40 minutes.   I do a third lap after he heads on to school for 60 minutes of walking and approximately 7700 of my 10,000 steps.  And just think.   All accomplished by 8 a.m.  

I'm not sure which part of this new routine I love more.   The fact that we are getting such great physical activity or the fact that we have 40 minutes of undistracted time to communicate every morning.  We are both enjoying that added benefit.  And BTW, a smoothie is not enough to tide him over until lunch time every day, so on top of his lunch box is always one of  Debby/Sharon's 3M Chia Magical Medicinal Muffins and either an apple or a peach.  He eats that breakfast "snack" as soon as he arrives at school.

Once my third lap is complete, I take care of any errands (grocery, Walmart, etc.) at the wonderful time of day when shelves are stocked, stores are clean and clerks are NICE!   On this day, I made my first visit to our newly opened Trader Joe's which is conveniently located just around the corner from the mall.  It did not disappoint!

Feeling quite accomplished, I usually head back home full of energy and ready to tackle whatever the rest of the day holds! 

I'll leave you with two thoughts that caught my eye as I've roamed the mall.   

I've made it my aim to let this serve as a reminder that if a single spark can burn an entire forest, why can't one tiny thing I do or say each day be the spark that "ignites greatness" in someone else?

And heaven only knows how badly we need people who are willing to EARN respect by SHOWING respect!  


How about letting me see a glimpse of YOUR 2012 morning routine!


  1. I enjoyed reading about your routine, Sharon. I love the togetherness that shines through in every aspect of your routine, from the moment you wake up Bill.

  2. Love that you have the rest of the day to not think about finding time for exercise.

  3. Good for you both rising early and getting your excercise done! And I LOVE Trader Joe's!!! You will to.

    My morning routine is to get up at either 4:30 or 5 am (depending upon what activity I have planned) and I either run 4 miles or walk the dog. But there are many mornings I'm feeling lazy and just sleep in until 5:30 when I REALLY have to get up and get ready for work. :)

  4. So glad you guys are getting/staying fit together!! Bill looks dashing..ha! You are a wonderful wife for packing his lunch bag...I need to be better about doing that for my husband ;)

  5. My husband would never, ever pack his own lunch and used to have a million excuses why it would be unseemly to take his lunch to work. When I informed him that the branch manager of the San Francisco IBM office I worked in brought his brown bag lunch every day, he still did not relent.

    I've been asked to encourage my husband, when I get back to Mississippi, to get more exercise. I agreed with the stipulation that it never be perceived as nagging. :) I think your plan is going to work very well.

  6. That's quite a nice routine you have there. And yay for NCC mugs! We will be there tomorrow :D

    My routine is not always the same, but a typical day for me is to get up early and either go to the gym or bike ride. Then I come home and have breakfast while I check in with work and read emails. I don't shower for a couple hours into work, but since I work at home - it doesn't matter!

  7. It is fun to hear about your lifestyle. I often get ideas as to how to tweak my own. I need those for sure right now as I try to create a new normal for me.

    I'm glad Mr. B. stuck with the plan. As we both know all too well, it is easy to have the desire but hard to follow through.

    Just as an aside, I wondered why the smoothies in coffee mugs were for me until I clicked on the link. Silly me, for thinking I am the only Lori in the world!

  8. I LOVE your routine. Great to have that set time to really talk. And Mr. B. looks fantastic. I went back and compared with some pix from when you both were here in 2010. Kudos!
    My routine varies by day, but at least a couple days a week I need get in my exercise before the grandkids arrive at 7:20 am. So I get out of bed at 5:30, out of the house by 5:50, get to the Mt Vernon bike trail by 6, and run a timed run (with my ipod) for 45 minutes. Back to the house just before 7, quick shower, dress and greet the kids at 7:20! And feel very virtuous and accomplished to have gotten in a 4-5 mile run before my day starts!

  9. Thrilled to hear that Bill is going to stick with the healthy living /food. Its also interesting to hear someone say that it makes a real difference in how they feel. I think when we've been doing this for so long, we forget how it used to be.

  10. You both look GREAT... Proud of you for walking!!! WE like to walk --but don't have a scheduled routine. We stay up late at nights ---so we are lazy retirees. We don't get up until about 7:30 or 8:00 most normal mornings... We sit on the deck doing our devotions --while drinking a cup of coffee. Then we fix our breakfasts.. Mine is usually some Plain Greek Yogurt with fresh strawberries and 1/2 a banana... Then it's computer time... After that we share a cup of hot tea. Then we work outside for about an hour before lunch...That's our morning MOST of the time!!!!

    Sorry about your camera problem... Hope you can get it fixed. We haven't been to Andrews Bald yet---but I want to do it sometime.


  11. That picture makes me want to hike to Andrew's Bald---what a view!

    Hooray to both of you for sticking to your new routine! Sounds like a wonderful way to start the day---smoothies and all. You both look terrific.

  12. We enjoyed the Andrews Bald hike on our GSMNP trip!

  13. Yay for both of you on living a healthy life and staying committed to it! How wonderful you are doing this together and you both look amazing!

  14. What an awesome morning routine! You go girl! I always feel inspired to do more and move more when I visit your blog!
    Take care!!

  15. Sharon,
    The couple that stays together plays together is what came to mind when I read this post. It is obvious that you enjoy each other’s company and relish your time together.

    As school begins up again, my morning routine will consist of at least 45 -60 minutes of exercise, than breakfast, pack my lunch and off to join my car pool. My hubby and I usually have breakfast together and read the newspapers. This morning time is important for us go over our agendas for the day and support each other in what ever difficulties might be looming in the horizon related to work. I will be able to cycle for about another two months outdoors. Come November, I still plan to do some biking outdoors, but on a different bike that will be outfitted (and me too!) for winter cycling when it is not too snowy or icy.

    Thank-you for your continued support of my own fitness and health journey and your very kind comments about the Venus de Miles. You have always been a marvelous cheerleader, Sharon and I appreciate your friendship. Michele

  16. You both really do look terrific and walking is a great way to improve health!! I started out walking and it made a huge difference to me! Having a routine really does help. I loved all the pictures!