Friday, April 28, 2006

Year to Success and Bellado

I just finished my reading for the day on the Year to Success website and answered the questions. This website has become important to me in my life. It is loaded with inspirational quotes, important bits of wisdom to help you to move forward to your goals, and offers daily encouragement. is free for those who sign up to receive daily inspirational e-mails about success and lessons about what it takes to be successful. This outstanding website has something to offer everyone, no matter how busy. In fact, I can almost bet that those who say they are too busy can learn some valuable tips on how to use their time more wisely.

It isn't necessary to get locked into daily work. Progress on this website can take place weekly or when you have time but it does offer insight, inspiration, and help to move you forward in life with your goals.

Bo Bennett, creator of Year to Success has created another outstanding website. See it at This website, which is great for families and young people, believes that good character and values are important. Take a look and download one of the score cards. See how you do as you evaluate your behavior with other people. Actions listed are making someone smile, making someone laugh, praising, complimenting someone, showing gratitude or appreciation, forgiving someone of something immediately, doing a random act of kindness, expressing interest in someone, showing someone public recognition, forgiving someone of something in the past, being truthful with somebody about a past event, showing someone the brighter side of life, and helping someone discover his or her own gifts. Who can object to this?

On the flip side, some behaviors take off points from the score card, such as: emotionally hurting another person, speaking ill of another person, lying or being dishonest, showing disrespect for another's beliefs, opinions or ideas, and showing impatience.

Regardless of your religion or belief system, Bo Bennett has created a positive website to encourage people to center on the behaviors that are most important. The result, when practiced, changes lives and our society for the better. Schools would benefit from encouraging students to keep score cards. Families would benefit from each member keeping a score card to hold them accountable. Businesses would benefit from a leader encouraging those they work with to participate and keep score cards. Those who work in public agencies with other people would be wise to encourage those they counsel to keep a score card. Many applications to make this world a better place because of Bo Bennett.

Bo Bennett makes a difference in our world. Isn't this an example everyone should want to emulate?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

American Idol

Wednesday is Weight Watchers and American Idol. I woke up this morning thinking about American Idol and the opportunities for participants.

Yesterday I had a gain of .4. After WW, I went over to the club to exercise. On the elliptical runner on cardio theater, I was watching C-Span coverage of the Senate. I glanced over at the screen next to me and saw Bo Bice on a music video. He's living his dream. Bo didn't win last year but he's up there singing his heart out on a music video. How glorious! All because of Simon Cowell, American Idol, and FOX.

I love watching American Idol and the talented young people. Wednesday is hard though. You have to watch someone go home. What is wonderful is that even those who are voted off go on to continue their dream. Bo Bice on a music video. Lisa Tucker on OC. Yes, it was time for Kellie to go but I have no doubt that she will go to a music video of her own. I love all the young people up there. What talent! They all deserve to win and I believe they will with opportunities after the show.

Yesterday I finished 60 minutes on the elliptical runner and 60 minutes in the deep water. I'm concerned that gas prices are going to squeeze opportunities to drive into Corvallis for exercise and weight watchers.

I saw a yellow-headed blackbird for the first time yesterday at the feeder in the window. I had to open my field guide to identify her. I put out suet for the Steller's Jays who scream from the White Oak trees when it's not there. The American Goldfinch are here for the thistleseed and hummingbirds hover to dip into the sugar water feeders. All in my window to watch for my cats and me as I write or read.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Bikes and Dreams

I enjoyed attending the Board of Commissioners meeting yesterday. There was certainly room for improvement with my presentation but I fielded questions well. It was fun. I enjoy a formal setting where decisions are being made that can make a difference. I just need more practice. Government is in place to serve the people and meet their most important needs. Alsea needs a safe place to exercise. After I spoke, I was encouraged to contact one of the commissioners and a county planner. It's a beginning.

I forgot to mention at the meeting yesterday that Alsea needs a pool. The Clemens Foundation offered years ago to build a pool that could be used by both the school and community. The problem was funding the maintence. I hope that a solution can be found for this problem.

I was also asked about bikes on the road. I should have mentioned that I witnessed a bike event two weeks ago on a Saturday on the Kings Valley Highway between Highway 20 and Dallas. It was a glorious event with event participants wearing numbers. I passed the sea of bikes at the side of the road and thought the event hadn't started. I was wrong because I came upon other bikes ahead. A car behind me passed two cars on a blind curve. This wasn't safe for the bikes or any of the cars. It would have been a better choice for the road to be completely blocked to cars during the event. A detour should have been set up. I wouldn't have minded. I would rather see that the event participants are safe and that the event would be a success without mishap.

After the meeting I went over to Timberhill Athletic Club to exercise. First 45 minutes swimming slowly in the deep water. Then 60 minutes on the Precor 546 elliptical runner, 15 minutes using weight machines for arms, and I ended up on the elliptical runner again for 30 minutes.

I asked the owner of Timberhill if he would consider setting up a satellite gym in Alsea where membership in Alsea would also give someone a membership to his athletic club in Corvallis. He said he'd think about it. I figure that it doesn't hurt to ask and to seek out all possible alternatives.

I feel that it's a smart business decision to start setting up gyms in small communities with the escalating gas prices. I called Curves a month ago about starting a Curves in Alsea. The manager said that Curves doesn't go into communities smaller than 2500 population. I think it's a mistake. People in rural areas and small towns of 500 to 1000 need a safe place to exercise too.

If this doesn't work out, it is necessary for government to set up community centers with exercise equipment. It would be so nice to have a community center with the opportunity for college classes, a community band, community theater, etc.

As long as I'm dreaming, I'll share my dream for a several hundred acre fitness center. It would be closed off to cars. The paved roads would be for bike and marathon events. There would be an exclusive training center for elite athletes with the best trainers. It would be known all over the country as the place to train so a hotel and restaurant with healthy cuisine would be at the edge of the complex. All I need is the financial backing and the land.

Soon off to Weight Watchers....

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hopeful Beginning

I meet late morning today with the Benton County Board of Commissioners at the suggestion of Alsea Community Effort and the Director of Benton County Health Department to begin dialogue for the need for safe off road trails and a community center in Alsea.

Adults and youth need a safe place to exercise to prevent health problems. A community center with gym equipment, and trail, at least the distance of a 10K, that is a safe distance from the highway would add so much for all people in the Alsea area.

With escalating gas prices, trips into Corvallis are more difficult for many. Corvallis is 45 minutes away from Alsea. Now people either drive into Corvallis and Philomath to exercise at a gym or athletic club, exercise at home with personal exercise equipment, or walk or ride a bike in the road competing with trucks and cars.

Alpine has it's own community center. Alsea needs a community center making it possible for community theater, a community band, a place to house exercise equipment, and more. It would be fun to see a skateboard park for the youth or a roller rink. A trail along the Alsea River connecting the parks that is paved, like Green Lake in Seattle, would be ideal for youth to rollerblade, ride bikes, skateboard, and at the same time leave room for walkers and runners.

The need for exercise is well documented. Some of the reasons are that it is necessary for physical fitness and good health, improves appearance, delays the aging process, weight loss, reduces stress, reduces isolation, prevents osteoporosis, prevents cardiovascular disease, reduces risk of cancer, reduces high blood pressure, reduces risk of diabetes, improves quality of life, helps you sleep better, helps to improve resistance to fight infections, helps your brain work better, making you smarter, and it is dangerous for people with arthritis NOT to exercise.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Fitness Trail

With Frank Sinatra and American standards playing in the background, I begin my week.

I've been on the phone for the last few days trying to generate support for safe walking trails and a building to house exercise equipment. I found out that when large gyms upgrade with new equipment that they often donate to schools or other groups. If a home isn't found, it is taken to the landfill. I think this is an amazing opportunity for Alsea.

With escalating gas prices, it is going to become even more important to be self sufficient. It's 45 minutes to Philomath and Corvallis. It is going to become harder for some to travel into Corvallis to go to a gym or athletic club, if this keeps up. With no end in sight, I decided to try to do something about it. It is worth a try, especially for the children here who do not have a community center or paved trails to ride their bike.

I feel that a trail should be a safe distance from the highway with competing trucks and cars. A wide paved trail along the Alsea River connecting all parks along Highway 34 would make it possible for young people to ride their bikes, skateboard, rollerblade, and at the same time leave room for walkers and runners. The ideal example is Green Lake in Seattle.

In my opinion, a trail is not a trail unless it is at least 10K or longer. With a 10K trail, it would be possible to have yearly Volkswalk events and it would give everyone in Alsea a safe place to walk.

Years ago the Clemens Foundation offered to build a pool for Alsea. It was turned down because of the cost to maintain the pool. A pool would give the children at school the opportunity to compete in swimming plus give the community the opportunity to swim.

If Oregon values rural Oregonians, believes in prevention, health and fitness, help will come. I'm scheduled to meet tomorrow with the Benton County Board of Commissioners. I sincerely hope they will help.

Sam Walton said that his mission was to bring low prices to rural America. Alsea needs a Super Wal-Mart.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

First Day

Wow! This is my first blog. My knees are shaking. This is a little scarey but I have a lot to say and I'm excited to begin. From 1999 to 2002, I answered questions online at as smilingsunflower. I used the help of google to answer many of my questions so I'm excited to use

To start the morning off, I read the creativity newsletter by Eric Maisel and looked at his blog. It inspired me to start my own. What an outstanding story in his creativity newsletter about a substitute teacher who teaches thinking! Teaching critical thinking should be basic to all curriculum in the classroom. It is sad that it is so rare.

Good news. At Weight Watchers yesterday I lost 3.2 pounds for a total of 11.2 pounds since starting on March 2nd. Not a lot but I'll take it, grateful that the number is going down. I believe in Weight Watchers that encourages healthy eating choices. 11.2 pounds down. 119 pounds to go. I've been carrying around another person for several years.

In 2002, I started to drastically change my life since I was concerned about my health. I signed up for the Corvallis Fall Festival Fun Run, not knowing if I would be carried off in a stretcher or survive. My son ran beside me every step of the way and I came in last place so proud that I had finished. After this I slowly ran in 7 more 5K's, walked 18 miles of the Portland Marathon as #1116 in 2003, finished 13 Volkswalks, and completed the half marathon for the Discovery Walk Festival in Vancouver in 2004. I was part of a Portland to Coast walking team in 2003 and wrote about it for Northwest Runner. In December, 2004, I learned to swim for the first time at the age of 56. Not bad but only the beginning.

So why am I still fat? Food, that's why. I love food. I've never had the problem of losing my appetite. I can eat under any circumstances. I did change my eating habits somewhat after being on the Dean Ornish diet for 6 months. Now I crave healthy foods with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

After not exercising for a week, I spent 60 minutes on the elliptical runner and 30 minutes swimming slowly. I did the elliptical runner in three parts since I was concerned about a recent bout of dizziness and light-headedness. I felt so great that it went well. Now I must be consistent.

I'm taking a novel writing course with Writer's Digest School and I received my 3rd assignment in the mail. I'm so excited because I'm seeing progress and my instructor liked my work. It can't get better than this! I'm also taking a novel writing course with the Institute of Children's Literature and the Long Ridge Writer's Group. I finished the challenge of National Novel Writing Month in November, 2005 at as wendywrites so I know I can finish my novel projects. I'm determined to succeed.

I will close to exercise, write, and read for the day. This blog should keep me moving forward with all my goals.