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Alaska’s Competitive Nature

Anyone who travels across this large state will quickly realize how competitive the individual regions are when competing with other parts of the state. One very prominent example of this territorial competition can be seen over the years between Anchorage and Fairbanks. Each community has a University of Alaska. Each community has been the hub in Alaska’s history for the refueling of jets. Fairbanks was the first hub. But, by the time Anchorage renamed its airport the Ted Stevens International Airport, the cargo jet capitol for the state was on the shores of the Cook Inlet.

Another competitive nature that exists in the state is within the salmon fishing industry. On the Kenai Peninsula, the Nikiski community prides itself as a family-oriented setnet community that goes after the salmon every summer. To the south, Kenai fishermen have a blend of commercial fishermen, sports fishermen, and those who dipnet for subsistence at the Kenai River’s mouth. Further downstream on the Kenai River is Soldotna. It is a sportfishing community. Finally, when the popularity of the Kenai River brings in large crowds, many anglers also try their luck for king salmon and subsistance fishing on the Kasilof River, which empties into the Cook Inlet after leaving Tustumena Lake.

Competing for that precious summer tourism revenue is another big event. Beginning in late April and early May, Seward, Anchorage and Whittier become the four major destinations for cruise ships. After docking, the passengers get the opportunity to see more of the state through train, shuttle and bus services. The industry also has agreements with lodging operations across the state. Plus, some tourists who arrive in state are able to rent recreational vehicles to travel the road system.

The tourists don’t just travel by boat. Others come by airplane. Others come by way of the Alaska Highway through Canada. Then, there is an even larger group of people who call Alaska home for six to eight months out of the year by parking their RV’s at campsites. Or, returning to their Alaska home from one of the warm states.

The boroughs along the state’s road systems have spent years coming up with unique ways to capture some revenue from all of these cruise ship passengers and RV travelers. Examples of some revenues include: bed taxes, sales taxes, gasoline taxes, user fees, parking fees, fees for the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses, and even fees to clean up the air pollution and water pollution caused by the cruise ship industry, and the increased highway traffic.

The next example of Alaska’s extremely competitive nature has been with the plan to develop a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope. However, this example shows where Alaska’s competive nature can actually be destructive.

When the oil supply at Prudeau Bay was discovered, pockets of natural gas were also found. Instead of burning off the natural gas, the producers returned the gas back to the ground. Their plan was to bring it back out after the oil was depleted.

By the year 2000, the state had already started considering the extraction of this natural gas. Unfortunately, since the early 2000’s, the state has been unsuccessful in marketing the natural gas project, primarily due to the competive nature of those involved in the process since 2003.

The first pipeline idea was to take the gas through Canada, and connect it with the North American market. Most Alaskans disagreed, saying the gas belonged to Alaska, not Canada or the Lower 48. Alaska wanted some of the gas to heat homes and businesses in locations like Fairbanks, Nome, and the villages.

The second pipeline idea would be an in-state line to Nikiski. But, when the producers said it would cost to much money to build, they backed out of it. The state decided to go it alone. But, the progress didn’t make it very far, despite verbal marketing agreements in Asia. The state finally lost funding to move the project forward, without some type of outside investments being made.

Once again, differing opinions in the nations largest state left an idea, thought to be the state’s future, simply a pipe dream with nothing inside.

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“Have You Ever Met An Alaskan?”

Now, there’s a loaded question! Have you ever met an Alaskan? The first answer will obviously be “yes or no”. The more interesting question is the follow-up to a yes. What was the Alaskan like? That could probably bring out some very interesting responses.

I remember one Alaskan that I met. He had lived here most of his life, and maybe all of it. He had worked in commercial fishing. He had learned many other jobs throughout his long life to keep him busy between fishing seasons. Plus, when the fishing seasons were not very good, he would make money with his other talents and skills, including retail sales. He was one of many hard workers that I have met in this state.

Another Alaskan that I remember meeting when I first arrived in the state was also a commercial fisherman. He seemed very angry at the way the state had managed the salmon fishing industry. He, like many other commercial fishermen, had become set in his ways about “the system in place” to regulate who would fish on certain days. In Alaska, especially the Cook Inlet, every summer is a Salmon War. The commercial boats and setnetters want their catch. The sports fishermen in the rivers want their clients to be able to catch kings, sockeyes, and silvers. Then, the state has spent the passed few decades opening up the mouth of two major rivers in the Cook Inlet for something a person will only see in Alaska…….subsistence fishing with a dipnet.

What is subsistence fishing with a dipnet? It is where an Alaska resident, who has lived in the state for one year, wears wetgear up to his or her head. Then, that person will carry a large net that is tied onto the end of a metal stick(it basically looks like a really huge tennis racket with a sagging net). The large net on a stick has to be pushed out into the cold water along the sand from the beach until it is virtually under water. Then, this Alaskan resident will stand in the cold water until a salmon gets caught in the dipnet.

I remember hearing stories from the angry commercial fisherman about how he didn’t like giving up part of his catch to dipnetters. Commercial fishermen have to invest thousands of dollars every year into their operation that is usually family-owned. They can only fish during the summer months. So, their income is tied to the returning salmon. For some of them, without a decent summer catch it could be a long winter. But, these local fishermen going out in the small boats would always be accused by the dipnetters of driving too close making large waves, scaring the salmon away, or being allowed to fish too close to shore and taking the dipnetters’ salmon catch away with their bigger nets. This always made for interesting summers at the local coffee shops. Who should be allowed to fish near the mouth of the rivers, the commercial fishermen, the sports fishermen, or the dipnetters? “Here come the fishermen, guys, hide all of the sharp knives!”

On a friendlier note, another interesting Alaskan that I had the chance to meet over the years spent his time bringing Alaskans together, instead of dividing them. He worked with others to help remember all of those who paid the highest price for their country….the veterans. This local Alaskan, along with his collegues from past confrontations, made sure the public knew when and where every Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day celebration was going to take place. And, if anyone had a question about the celebrations, they knew who to call.

This is just a short list of the types of people who make up Alaska. They come from different places……with different dreams about the Last Frontier. When they leave the Last Frontier, their impact on the state stays here. They changed the state while they were here, because their actions motivated others…either in a positive or a negative way.

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Why Cats Hate Alaska

If you plan to move to Alaska for a change, and your family has always enjoyed a good bonding relationship with housecats, that might change up here. If you have ever tried to give one of your felines a bath, then you are aware of a typical cat’s reaction to moisture.

Well, between, ice, snow, rain, and muddy roads and wet grass, a cat in Alaska generally gets wet when it goes outside at anytime of the year. If it goes outside too long in the winter and gets wet, then the cat gets a cold. There’s nothing better in the dead of winter than a cranky cat with a cold that reminds you his nose is running; and, he can’t stop sneezing. Their crankiness also makes them very pushy when they are inside. They want the warmest place they can find, even if its next to you. If your cat could speak English to you at this point……..well………the words probably would include: cold, take me home, why Alaska, cats can’t wear boots and snowgear, and when is summer.

In order for your cat to keep his claws sharp, go to pet store, first thing. Cats can’t sharpen their claws very well on trees that stand in frozen soil. So, they will use anything to sharpen their primary weapon in a cat fight. Inside the house, sheetrock, wall trim, baseboard, furniture, pillows, mattresses, doors, carpet and even clothing gets used by these claw-sharpening animals. Another item for your home for the winter to protect its value is a kennel area for your cat in the daytime and in the evening. Make it a large area with food, water, play area, cat litter, sharpening area, etc… Believe me, if you don’t, the cat will have plenty of time to make his own area that nobody but the cat will like.

Here is another piece of advice. With your cat having to stay inside most of the time, that means cat hair everywhere. Go to the store. Buy about half a dozen dryer balls, several gallons of vinegar, several bags of baking soda, and about two or three dozen rolls of industrial strength sticky tape for all of the cat hair that will be getting all over your clothes, dishes, walls, ceiling, ceiling fan, curtains, windows, furniture, etc…. This will be your major cleaning project for as long as you have cats. My suggestion is to find cats that don’t shed that much hair; and, your workload is reduced significantly.

These are just a few tips to help you. Animals are great companions; but, you have to know, especially in a cold state like Alaska, how a pet can impact a household. Have a good one.

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Alaska’s Turnagain Arm

One of the most traveled areas in the state is the Seward Highway and Chugach National Forest, located south of Anchorage in the Cook Inlet Region. It is where people in Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula go to explore the great outdoors.

There are areas to watch beluga whales return to the region. Many people stop at the campgrounds to enjoy scenery for a few weeks and try the trails. Others spend time at the streams and local lakes during fishing season.

The Cook Inlet begins at the Gulf of Alaska with the Kenai Peninsula to the east and a line of active volcanoes to the west. Just south of Anchorage is the Turnagain Arm as it turns away from the Cook Inlet. The Arm then goes south into the Portage area. On each side, throughout this journey, are mountains near the water. Another unique feature to Turnagain Arm is the fine silt on the banks. People are warned to stay away from it at low tide, because people have become stuck while the tide was low. Rescue crews have had to pull the more adventurous people out of the sand and silt before the incoming tide returned. If a person remains stuck, there is the risk of drowning if someone has gone to far out in the water. The second threat is hypothermia, due to the temperature of the rapidly approaching water from the ocean. Anyone who goes into the Cook Inlet water has to wear rubber suits to withstand the quick chill that is experienced by anyone brave enough to go in for a quick dip.

Turnagain Arm is one of the few locations in the world where visitors can experience a bore tide. This happens when rushing water of high tide overtakes the land left over from low tide. After each low tide near the Portage area there is no water left, only silt and sand. It is waiting to be covered up by the incoming high tide again. When the moon is further away from the earth, our satellite’s pull on the ocean water is not as strong. So. that means high and low tides are not as extreme. When a bore tide occurs during these periods, the waves of the bore tide are small. The larger bore tides occur when the moon is closer to the earth. That is when the gravitational pull of the moon is at its peak, causing larger waves in the Turnagain Arm bore tides. Experts who study tides, say the best viewing times would be during the Spring and Fall Equinox. Don’t be surprised to see surfers in wet suits catching the big tidal wave as it rolls through the Turnagain Arm.

Seward, Alaska is a major port for cruise ships. It’s at the start of the Seward Highway that travels to Anchorage. The highway is considered to be one of the most scenic roads in the country. Alongside the road while it winds through the Turnagain Arm is the Alaska Railroad. It transports visitors from Seward to Anchorage to Denali and Fairbanks.

Other areas of the Turnagain Arm to check out while traveling to Anchorage or to the Kenai Peninsula include: goldmining sites, glaciers, and Alyeska Ski Resort.

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Alaska Days Are Finally Getting Longer

Everyone up north is starting to feel the very first signs that a longer day is on its way. It starts at the end of February every year. That is when the sun starts staying up during everyone’s drive home from work. Instead of darkness at 5 p.m. on the road system, drivers are hit with a glaring sun just above the steering wheel and just below the sun visor. The vehicles ahead of them can hardly be seen due to the blinding sunlight in their faces. This is normally when the smart drivers get out their “shades” to protect their eyes as they drive. This not only impacts the drive home. It also impacts the morning commute as the sun is now coming up around 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. across the state.

It is usually a good idea to get glasses with protection for the sides, too. The low sun also affects drivers’ vision on the left and right sides of the roads. Several roads on the system have trees spaced along the side that creates a strobe-like effect on drivers as they travel in and out of the shaded road at 55 mph. Anyone who has eye problems is definately impacted by these low sunsets and sunrises. Add other obstacles, like moose crossing the road, and cars not using their lights, and accidents are likely to happen.

Despite the difficult drying issues, these late days in February are pleasing for those who suffer from the lack of sunlight in the winter months. They are the ones with the bright lamps in their homes to grab more Vitamin D that they cannot get naturally.

At winter solstice in late December, the sun rises in south-central Alaska at about 10:15 a.m and sets at 3:45 p.m. That is only a 5 1/2 hour day. For the next six months, the state’s day just gets longer until June, the time of the “Midnight Sun”, and the summer solstice.

So, as the earth continues to move from winter to summer in the northern hemisphere and from summer to winter in the southern hemisphere, Alaskans will continue to have one of the best seats in Mother Nature’s house to watch this annual transition. It includes migrating birds, whales and fish. It involves snow melting at a rapid pace from mountains, fields and valleys, causing temporary lakes all across the state until the ground and heat of the sky can absorb all of the excess moisture. Alaskans will be preparing for what is called “break-up”, when ice roads and snow roads thaw out for the season. The ground, which has been frozen since November, will defrost. Rivers that have been frozen all winter will literally melt. If it melts too quickly, and the ice starts traveling downstream too quickly, the ice will grab everything that it can. This has included: man-made docks, trees, stairs, and anything else along the banks that can be dragged down into the water.

From this point, life starts returning to the state in numerous ways. Hibernation will start ending for the bears. Some of the migrating birds begin arriving from the south. Alaskans start putting up their winter gear. The first cruise ships start arriving in their ports. And, everyone starts to get ready for the state to double in population as visitors come to the Last Frontier for a look at life in the wild, instead of concrete.

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When You Want Good Food From the Grocery Store Think About Colors

The most colorful place in the grocery store is also the best place for food. The produce section is like Mother Nature’s crayon box. I would say everything is there.

I spend more time in that section than in any other area. Sometimes, my kids have to remind me that we have to leave to go somewhere else.

I am always wanting to try something new….a new type of apple….orange…or even a different vegetable. When it comes to apples, I love the honeycrisp. But, I don’t love the price. Experts in the apple industry say that the reason honeycrisp apples are more expensive is because of the lack of trees to support the popular national demand. So, when the stores run out, or the price just gets too high, I have to look for an ambrosia, or any other type of red sweet apple. Green and yellow apples cause my face to turn different shapes because of the tartness.

I am even learning tricks about picking bananas. Our kids are the lucky ones, though. One store in our neighborhood gets rid of their day-old fruit by offering it to the kids for free. Our three kids are banana-eaters. When it comes to picking the best bananas, I don’t chance it with the unripened ones, and hoping they will ripen later in the week. I buy ones that are about to ripen, and expect bananas to be the first fruit gone during the week.

I have had better luck with timing strawberries, grapes, plums, and other fruit. Another fruit that can be hard to time is the blueberry. I like to get those frozen. They last much longer, and taste pretty good. With frozen fruit, though, check the nutrition label for anything that might be added. I only buy fruit that has no added sugars or anything else.

Now to vegetables for more color. My white-colored vegetables are cauliflower, onions and garlic. The cauliflower is a good snack between meals. The onions and garlic are always part of my flavorings. My green-colored vegetables are spinich, broccolli, celery and cucumbers. My reds are tomatoes and peppers. Carrots are my orange. Olives are my black and another green.

I have started making vegetable wraps with cheese and other toppings. One wrap is a wheat tortilla with broccolli, shredded cheddar cheese, and sliced olives. It gets microwaved for one minute. Another wrap is a vegetable tortilla with sliced tomatoes, cheese and marinara sauce that is heated in the microwave for over a minute. A third wrap is spinich and broccolli, along with cheese and olives. Once again, heat in the microwave for about a minute. Other toppings that I use for these are: sliced onions, sliced red peppers, sliced green peppers, and picante sauce.

Another vegetable item that clears out the refrigerator is a fresh vegetable soup with a chicken or beef broth. Just add your favorite vegetables to the unsalted broth and serve it up for a healthy, warm and colorful meal for everyone.

I think what I have learned about cooking with fruits and vegetables is to use them everyday to make sure they get eaten, instead of thrown away.

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Alaska Photos Don’t Look Good From The Car….Pull Over Please

(Answer to question: All of the Above)

Anyone who travels on the road system in this country’s largest state gets accustomed throughout the year to small delays involving wildlife on the road. It’s what happens when people, with their cars live with moose, caribou, and the many other animals of Alaska. However, during the warmer months, when the tourists and newcomers start to arrive, traffic tends to slow down even more. That is when the animals have come out from their winter hiding places and the cameras have come out to record the animals. Many times this involves pictures being taken by people on the highway.

The easiest pictures to get are the eagles and the moose. Believe me, newcomers and visitors to Alaska, these two wonderfully photogenic creatures are everywhere. Trust me. This is just a guess. But, I bet there are more moose born each year in Alaska than humans. You will see a moose that you can photograph. You don’t have to get out of your car in the middle of the intersection at 5 p.m. on a Friday afternoon in the middle of summer to take a photo of the moose that just crossed the road in front of your car. There will be another moose. Don’t worry. As for eagles, they love their fish. Just go to the beach and sit with the seagulls. An eagle will usually fly by during the day. Just keep your camera equipment covered up. Seagulls are messy creatures. Disney or another producer of animated films could make a fortune with an animated film about talking seagulls with digestive problems who want to get back at humans.

Here is another FYI for any newcomers. Black bear tend to eat berries. Brown bear tend to like fish. If you want brown bear photos, go to the river when the salmon are running in the summer. If you want black bear photos check out the state and national park sites for berry picking seasons. Just don’t go berry picking in the parks without a little bear protection that you know how to safely use. The same advice works for the rivers and lakes, too.

The state has spent millions of dollars constructing free scenic turnouts for the amatuer photographer and professional photographer. It would be nice if photographers would use them periodically, instead of slowing down on the highway to take photographs. That simply causes road rage for the drivers only wanting to drive. If you’re new to Alaska, here’s a suggestion. Get a Milepost booklet, and plan scenery trips during the summer and winter at your convenience. A person can learn more about Milepost at any City Chamber website or Visitor Center.

These are just a few quick tips to make any sightseeing and photography excursions, safe, fun, relaxing, enjoyable for everyone, and, most of all, free from any controversy. Have a good one and a safe one.

Many Alaskans Don’t Like Slow Drivers Just Like They Don’t Want to be Taxed

If you are a newcomer to the big state of Alaska, welcome to the Last Frontier, where the bear, moose and people who like their guns like to play.

If you plan on driving in this big, big state, you will want to keep something in mind. Just like guns, people like their cars and trucks up here. They like how loud the engine gets when it can get on the open road. And, if you are driving too slow for them on their “open road” they will let you know.

The best thing Alaska could have ever done was to build as many four-lane roads as possible with their old 20th century oil money. They had milions and milions of dollars. If they had built these four-lane roads, Alaska motorists would not be reading signs today on all two-lane state highways that say “slower cars pull off to the side”, “passing lanes ahead”, “passing lane ending”, “do not pass slower cars on the left”, “do not drive on the shoulder”, “bike path ahead, do not drive on shoulder”, “the shoulder is not a right turn lane”, “pedestrian crossing ahead”, etc…

I know the state is not allowed to be subjective with its signage; but, if they could, it might make for some interesting reading. “Hey….You in the car with the Camera….You are driving way too slow……speed up….or pull off the road.” “Hey….You in the car…..Driving only 35 in a 55….You just got a ticket for going too slow.”

Now, the roads are so crowded, winter and summer, that cars cannot even make a right or left turn off a major road without the use of a traffic light to stop the flow of traffic in the other direction. People who need to just cross the street have to ask the lighting system to cross, so the traffic light can stop all of the traffic. In the summer, it can be like Dallas, up here.

So, Alaska is getting more people, and more traffic everywhere. More people means more services will be requested. More traffic may mean requests for more roads and road improvements. Here is the problem. The only item we are not getting is more revenue into the state coffers to help fix these issues. As one Alaskan put it years ago, “This state got spoiled by oil.” Now, that the oil tap is starting to run dry, everybody is asking, “Higher taxes; but, WHY?” Other Alaskans, many who are Republican or Libertarian, always say, “Why tax Alaskans, let’s tax the tourists?” (That usually comes from the Alaskans who want to be left alone.) Others want to cut, cut, cut, government spending. Others want to shut down parts of education funding and higher education funding.

Those who do support an income tax say it is needed to continue providing services to everyone. For the Alaskans who want public services, they have to be funded. That includes public education, higher education, health services, in-need services, public safety, state government, etc…

So, it is time for one of the youngest states to figure out how it plans to keep on being a state that can support itself. How can it keep its “Don’t Tread on Me” citizens happy? How can this big state keep all of its “Davy Crockett”, “John Wayne”, and “Amelia Earhart” citizens happy? How can it keep the newcomers of the 21st century happy? That will be a difficult task.

The “Don’t Tread On Me’s” basically came to disappear. Many of them are off the grid with their guns, dogs, log cabin that they built, animal hides on their walls from their hunts, their big fish catches on their walls, and a picture of their first plane that they learned how to fly that crashed somewhere in the state after everybody bailed out at the last minute into the snow.

The Davy Crockett’s are like the first group, except they work better with people. They are leaders with the same type of Alaska skills from the early days. They came here to help people who wanted to disappear. They were probably retailers.

John Wayne’s are the “Gotta Get It Done Guys”. In other words, they came here to help build everything in the state. Welders, truckers, pipeline workers, oilfield workers, shipping crews, fishermen, etc…..

The Amelia Earhart’s are the “Gotta Get It Gone Gals”. They did much of the same work as the Wayne’s over the years.

Now, all that this state needs is the Newcomers to find their new versions of Davy Crockett, John Wayne and Amelia Earhart to lead the Newcomers of this new century in the Last Frontier.

Alaska’s Other State Bird: The Mosquito

There is a reason people in Alaska want to wear long sleeves and jeans in the summer. They want to keep some of their blood. Because, by the month of the June, the insect that is often called Alaska’s “Other” State Bird has hatched and is looking for blood. The biggest mosquito anyone will ever see can be found in Alaska. This “thing” is all legs and wings.  It can be up to three or four inches tall, when Alaska is hit with quite a bit of moisture.

All of the tourism sites go out of their way to warn visitors about these “Creatures of the North”.   Some sites offer plenty of tips to avoid the bloodsuckers.  Some of these include:  cover up the arms and legs, if you plan on camping bring bug spray, bug zappers, and mosquito netting for your tents and RV’s.  If you plan on renting a cabin for a few weeks, mosquito netting around open doors and windows is good to keep pests outside.  These are just a few tips that can be found.

When everyone first sees these mosquitoes, they look really scary.  But, they  are really slow and easy to kill, because they are so darn big.  In a way, it reminds me of trying to kill a dragonfly with a rolled-up paper.   As long as everyone stays on the lookout for these overgrown pests, that is all they will be…a vacation pest.

It’s better than having to deal with the pests that haven’t made it up here, yet….like rattlesnakes, tarantulas, and mice.  But, we do have spiders, shrews, ants, squirrels, and robo-callers.  Have a good one, everyone.

One Sound I Miss Hearing in Alaska

Growing up in the Lower 48, right in the middle of Tornado Alley, every spring and summer I would hear the sound of mother nature bringing in the thunderstorms. It didn’t seem to scare me that much as a kid. I was always amazed how the sky would light up at night. I always enjoyed watching the lightning and hearing the thunder. I was always told, after the lightning strike, start counting, that would tell you how many miles the storm was from you.

Now, that my family lives in Alaska, we are away from severe weather and thunderstorms. There are some areas of the state that do experience some thunder and lightning, also some small hail on the really warm summer days. But those days are rare. Usually, the rain clouds are very dense from all of the moisture from the ocean and water-soaked land.

Now, when we make trips to the Lower 48, I have to explain to my kids that they are hearing thunder or seeing lightning. I remember first seeing all of this stuff as an infant. Kids who are in grade school, and just seeing this stuff, might be a little more scared. I wonder how an adult, who had never heard or seen thunder and lightning, would react to it for the very first time?

Even though I miss the sounds made by the storms, I certainly don’t miss the destruction. I remember telling myself decades ago, if I find work away from Tornado Alley, I think I might take it.

Keeping Tabs on Your Vitals

After I quit smoking over two decades ago, I told myself I would always do my best to keep track of my vital signs and keep track of my general health. During the 20th century, I had watched my friends and relatives who kept in good shape and those who were not able to stay in shape.

Twenty-years later, I’m glad that I did. These tools are a great investment. Here is what a person can do. First, anyone who wants to keep track of what they put into their body doesn’t need to buy anything but a tablet and a pencil. Nutrition information is out there for virtually everything. It doesn’t take that much research. If you need to find info on a food item….and what it contains try http://www.nutrition.gov. It has a huge database of food items, including fast foods.

An item to track your heart is a watch that also measures your pulse while you exercise. It can help someone reach their maximum heart rate when they workout. It also reminds someone not to overdo it.

Pedometers are great, as well. Especially for seniors, or for those who don’t run as much, anymore. Walking is a great exercise, and many people are surprised to learn how many steps they actually take everyday.

Other small tools to consider getting for the house are bathroom scales and blood pressure monitors. Just keeping tabs on your weight once a week or once a month let’s you know if you are eating something bad in your diet. Are you putting too much sugar in your coffee? Are you grabbing food on your way to work too often? It is just a simple way to stop a bad thing, before it gets out of control. I did it with sub sandwiches one time. Then, I tried to save money by making a homemade cappucino mix, instead of buying one at the store. Yeah, that took a few thousand miles of walking to fix. Not to mention a few pairs of tennis shoes.

As for the blood pressure monitor, I am still shopping for one of those. I don’t need one, yet. But, it’s better to start keeping track of your pressure before your doctor says you have to start. As long as you start somewhere with the vitals it will be in the right direction. Another piece of good advice is to keep an eye out for those free health fairs, too. They usually start up in the springtime, and offer all kinds of valuable health tips for free. Have a good one!

Quick Workouts Around the House

Not everyone has enough time to take advantage of a gym to get a few workouts in during each week. I am one of those people. So, over the years, I have created all kinds of exercise routines to try to stay at the same weight. It isn’t easy, though. I have to remind myself to exercise, just like reminding myself to drink more water.

So, what are some interesting ways to burn calories at home, and try to tone up a little bit of the body. After prepping and stretching out your body properly, put some hot water and dishwashing soap in the sink to wash and dry some dishes by hand, instead of the dishwasher. If it takes a while, grab a chair, and sit down for breaks for a few minutes to rest your back. By the time you’re done, you will have given your arms, shoulders and upper back a good workout. Just don’t overdo it too quickly.

If you have stairs, use them all of the time.  Find all kinds of ways to incorporate them into your weekdays and your weekends.  If you do, your legs and lower body may last longer as long as you don’t go full blast everytime.

Workplaces are telling everyone that they want to move away from sitting at desks too long.  The same is true at home.  I stand quite a bit when I eat in the kitchen.  It seems more comfortable.  I like counter space over table space, when I do any cooking, too.

Other quick tips to keep moving in the house:  play with your animals, keep up with your laundry, put away remotes for awhile, take walks outside, and go visit neighbors.