Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thursday Tidbits

Porter's Creek Trail - GSMNP
April 12, 2013

I loved all your wonderful responses to My Next Big Thing post.  It was fun to write and I promise to keep you updated on the progress towards our RV purchase or not!!  One thing I did want to clarify is that we still thoroughly enjoy the way we travel now.  We highly recommend renting cabins/cottages/house/apartments directly from the owners especially for longer terms stays when having more space and a kitchen fits in with your plans.  In fact, we have five such stays booked for ourselves between now and the end of August.  It is just that the process itself has become more tedious and rigid since we first began planning travel this way.  If you weren't a part of it ten years ago, you'd never expect anything different.  In August, we will be returning to Colorado for our third multi-week stay at a place we found on in 2009.  The place in Flagler Beach, Florida where I return every January was originally found on that same website in 2006.  I could name several others that we now return to repeatedly and consider the owners as friends!  So if you are curious (or uncertain) about trying out this method of finding travel/vacation accommodations, don't hesitate to email me if I can answer specific questions or help in any way. 

My life won't seem to slow down and that's just the way I like it except I'd like to make time to write more often.  I'm way behind on my list of things to talk about, but keep finding myself putting it off thinking I'll have more time later.  But later never comes.....   It's something I'm working on as a higher priority because I discover that when I don't write as often, I truly miss the camaraderie, support and encouragement that I find here.  I'd like to force myself to write shorter posts more often, sit down and simply WRITE rather than trying to plan it out.  So we'll give that a whirl.  In the meantime, here are just a few tidbits that have been on my mind.

1)  Google Reader Update - After checking out three of the most highly recommended alternatives to the disappearing Google Reader, I have settled on Feedly.  I've been using it exclusively for the past two weeks and I like it.  The transfer from Google Reader was painless, the format actually has some advantages I like better than Google reader and after finding a page of shortcuts, there's only one thing I can find that I DON'T like.  I generally am able to find time to read a few blogs at least once during the day, but often that is limited to those categories I consider favorites leaving many that I only get to once a week or so.  I prefer reading them in the order they are posted and in Feedly, I have not been able to find a shortcut or setting which shows blogs in the order they were posted rather than the most recent listed first.  If I'm missing something, please let me know.  I'm also very interested in what those of you who depended on Google Reader have decided to do.  A few weeks ago, Blogger subtly removed the link to the Reader that was prominently displayed on your dashboard.  That's when I got serious about becoming comfortable with a replacement.  Nothing they do any longer would surprise me.

2)  In the almost three years I've been blogging, I've not yet found a satisfactory method for responding to comments left on my posts.  Especially when you ask a specific question, it is important to me that you know I don't just ignore it.  But for now, please know that if you ask a question in the comment section of a post, I will generally try and leave an answer, but unfortunately, it is up to you to return to the previous post and check.  However, I have decided that I'll put a statement at the beginning of each new post (with a link back to that post) letting you know that I've made some responses to your previous comments.

3)  This is really, REALLY old news, but I had my annual physical back in late February and am happy to report that all my lab test results were EXCELLENT and my weight was less than the previous year.  Now you and I both know that's a tad misleading because I was still in major loss mode in February of last year.  I reached goal in May, maintained it until late fall and then picked up a few pounds which are being extremely stubborn about coming back off.  But no matter, my doctor was really happy.  Two things, however, were a bit out of kilter.  My Vitamin D levels were very low and my sodium level was low.  Now the Vitamin D didn't surprise me a bit as I'm a classic case of SAD (no smart remarks please) and I knew something was out of balance.  The low sodium level caught me off guard, but my doctor assured me that along with the Vitamin D deficiency could certainly keep me feeling less than optimal.  I thought I just had a bad case of winter blues from long days with no sunshine.  I'm to return with  the next week or so for a retest on the sodium and I can tell the extra Vitamin D has already been working.  Anybody out there ever heard of or been told their sodium level was low.  The good news is that with a blood pressure reading of 110/70 and a low sodium level, I can salt my watermelon guilt-free this summer.  LOL!!

3)  I've resumed faithfully tracking every bite that goes into my mouth and just for a change of routine decided to start using My Fitness Pal instead of Calorie Count.  I've been using Calorie Count for several years and have no serious complaints about it.  Just thought a new interface might bring on some additional motivation.  For the most part, I really like MFP.   For those of you who have used BOTH, what did you like and dislike about each and which one did you finally settle on as your go-to.  I've got some things to say, but want to hear from you first.  And really only from those who have used BOTH and then settled on one or the other.

Wildflower season is in full swing and my weeks are full of long walks in my community and long hikes in my mountains.  Our Dogwood Arts Festival began last weekend and this year (for a change) the guests of honor are right on time.  

I hung my hummingbird feeder yesterday afternoon and the first hummer appeared just after daybreak this morning.  Shortly, he was joined by another and they've both been feeding all day.  

And then of course, one more sure sign of spring......I was working away on Summer Trip 2013 plans early this afternoon and the season's first shrieking of the weather radio began blaring.  We are under a Thunderstorm Watch for the remainder of the day.   One of these days I'll tell you the story of the tree that fell through our house in the middle of the night back in 2004.  Then you'll understand why I have a weather radio.    Ahhh, spring - how I love you!   At least I haven't seen a SNAKE yet.  That's only a matter of time, I'm sure.  

Talk to me.......there's lots in this post that asks for feedback!


  1. Under settings in Feedly, choose "older first." See if that works. That is the one I think I will use too and have been trying to get used to it on my phone as well as the computer. But most days I go back to the Google reader for speed. My biggest complaint is that it is much harder to add new blogs to the Feedly feed.

    Vitamin D deficiencies get lots of press and statistics suggest that many people are unknowingly deficient. Several years ago, before it was popular to do so, my doctor tested me, sure mine would be low because of my (skin cancer survivor) sun avoidance. Nope, it was fine. But now I take D at the suggestion of the doctor who is treating my auto-immune disease thanks to the prednisone. I've never heard of LOW sodium levels. Congrats on your great numbers.

    LOL - when I was trying tracking I used FIVE different sites for a while to compare! Both of those, but, of course, I can't remember what my thoughts were at the time.

  2. 1) I'm using Feedly and Bloglovin'. I had problems getting started with both, but I'm sure they'll work out fine after a bit.
    2) WordPress has a plug-in that emails responses to comments, which helps a lot. I've searched for a corresponding Blogger gadget, but I haven't found one yet. I'll be sure to let you know if I find one.
    3) YAY! for great numbers on the physical!
    3.2) I'm tracking in a lazy way for now, but I'm going to get more diligent about it in May. No real reason other than as a summer challenge to myself. Because, you know, I don't have enough to keep track of. :)

    We've got nasty weather coming through here later today, which will probably head your way next. 'Tis the season. :)

  3. Congrats on the good physical - it is a great feeling :-)
    I am using bloglovin on my I pad and feedly when I use my iPhone. So far I like bloglovin better, but feedly seems to be better on the phone and gives access to news too.

  4. Keep on enjoying life and don't worry so much about blogging. We'll understand if it isn't book publisher worthy every time. We enjoy hearing from you and reading about your adventures.

  5. Hi, Think I answered your Feedly question via email... I love Feedly --and use it showing titles. It seems easier than the Reader did... I'm happy with it so far. I haven't tried any of the other programs out there since I'm happy with Feedly.

    I comment to people's questions through email... If I don't have that email (I will ask for it) --I will go to their blog and give my answer there. I will not leave answers to comments on MY blog. People do not return... A blogger friend did a survey and about 99% of his followers said that they never go back to a blog post. We just don't have time.

    I know that Wordpress did have a way to get comments via email ---but unless it has changed, you get ALL of the comments on that particular post (which I certainly do not want). Maybe Wordpress has changed that now...????

    Great news on the physical... Proud of you!!! I had a Vit. D deficiency last Fall and the doctor put me on some high powered Vit. D pills for 3 months. I am fine now. I was shocked when that happened since I am outside SO MUCH... Who knows?? I do know that it seems to happen to us females as we age... Grrrrrr!!! ha.... I've never had a Sodium deficiency. We seldom use salt though ---and choose to use Sea Salt instead.

    I use Calorie Count also --but really like FatSecret since it gives more specific nutrition info (such as 1/3 cup or 2 tsp, etc.).... I use My Fitness Pal sometimes too--since they also give specific choices... The ones I hate are the ones who give nutrition info on a 'serving' --which you have no idea how much that is....

    Tell me more about your Colorado trip. Where will you be staying??.. We love Colorado.

    Congrats on the hummers. I have seen ONE ---but so far, no more.


  6. I'm so jealous of your location - I really miss the hummers, but the shoreline of Eastern CT isn't too hospitable until at least mid May. I'm also jealous of your hiking trails - love the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains and hope someday to find a retirement-type village in that area.

  7. Yep, it's time for hiking season!! Glad to hear your hummingbirds are back. I, too am not sure the correct way to answer reader's comments. I agree that when you post answers on your blog, I'm never sure the reader returns to see them (personally, I usually don't return). I've posted answers as comments on the other's person blog, and sometimes if I knew their email, have personally emailed them a response.

    Happy springtime to you and good luck with your vacation plans.

  8. Just for the sake of conversation, I love it when a blogger returns comments or answers questions on their blog. When I know they do that I almost always return to see what they've said. Sometimes, if I am not familiar with a commenter on my blog, I will send them an answer via email.

    A low sodium level is pretty unusual. I'll be interested to hear what the return results are.

  9. Rats! Looks like I've missed the fringed phacelia explosion this year. I was there only 5 days before you took this picture and there was no sign that it would look like that in less than a week! So glad you captured it!

  10. I have only used MFP and I love it! I too have low vitamin D and low sodium issues during last summer - I started taking a vitamin D supplement and feel much better. Not sure what the deal with the low ssium was last year but perhaps my physical activity during the warm weather? My issues of feeling faint went away when the weather got cooler!

  11. Yay for good news at the doctors!

    I always forget to come back and check comments on all blogs LOL! Ooopsie.

    I am thinking about going with feedly as well, but I haven't done anything yet.

  12. I changed from GOogle Reeader to and the only thing I can't get used to is the navigation bar or menu that keeps hiding and showing.
    If you set the ALL page to start first instead of the TODAY one, they generally appear in the order in which they were posted. I use the Cards view. But when I want to just check one of the categories, I use the navigation bar on the left.In there, they are too generally posted in order and if you want the oldest first, you can select just that filter (Oldest First). FInally, you can choose which blogs you want to read every entry for, and which you want to read just the most relevant. In that case you have to go to the blog in Feedly and click Edit and click on Must Read for all posts or unclick it for only relevant. You can always see the rest in their own page in Feedly but they won't clutter your ALL view. Does that make sense?

  13. Hi Sharon!

    Even though I've never been out of my designated range of healthy weight, I'm always struggling to keep off those ten pounds that want to sneak on via the desserts I so love. I've used with much success. A couple of days of tracking my eating, and there is no denying the evidence of too darn many calories in vs too few out.

    And I second Debby that I appreciate bloggers that respond to comments via 'Reply' here, so that everyone can see and enjoy them.


  14. I love the Channing excerpt on theropod your blog.

    For me too, it is the little things: warm breeze on my face when I am biking, the first crocus coming up as the snow melts; the faces of my grandbabies laughing and enjoying life, reading the newspaper, listening to great music, well you get the picture!
    One day I plan to come to your neck of the woods and see that beautiful estate