Friday, November 15, 2019

Annual Gift Guide – 2013 Top Picks

December 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous, Uncommon Sense

Bay Nature Magazine

Bay Nature Magazine

Rather than one big post, this year

I’m separating our Gift Guide into more bite size pieces.

We have some standard favorites and some radically new items.  This post includes one of each.   First, our Standard Favorite:

Up Close and Personal:  Give your family and friends a close-up view of the landscapes, birds, and wildlife that make the Bay Area so special!  Save over 30% off the regular price when you buy 2 or more gift subscriptions to Bay Nature magazine.

Give the gift of nature – and save!

 Lookie – Bay Nature  interviewed me for their connections feature 🙂

Now for the radical gift idea !

Growing up in South Florida, my parents knew a man who created (invented?) a special toilet seat bidet.  You remove your existing toilet seat and this replacement toilet seat washes and dries your bottom.  Down with Brown!  Virtually no more toilet paper.  I’ve had one my entire life.  The one I own costs about $750 and is amazing.   Other companies have them (like Toto).  Adding a Toto toilet seat bidet to your existing toilet costs $400 to $500.

I’ve found a company that is importing a simpler – but still highly effective – version that you can purchase for about $55 delivered.  They’re easy to install right under your existing toilet seat and take up almost no space.  They require NO electricity.

The reactions I get from people when I mention this are quite varied.  Some people are instantly opposed to the idea.  Anyone – I mean EVERYONE – who tries it –  LOVES it.  It’s great for people with back problems.  It’s SO hygienic.

I gave one to a friend facing surgery.  He LOVES it.

To be clear – I have zero investment in this.  I make no commission.  I share this info because I deeply appreciate my blog readers.  This is a life-enhancing-changing item.   It saves paper.  It’s gentler on fragile aging skin. It’s even a bit stimulating for helping elimination.   Here’s the Link to check this out – if you get one – get the simple, inexpensive one – it’s on sale right now (late 2013) for $55, including shipping.

Plantar Fasciitis? Annual Gift Guide Idea for Hikers & Walkers

December 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

If you have feet – or know anyone who does – here’s the perfect gift for the hiker or walker in your life!   This inexpensive little item makes the cut every year for our annual gift guide.   Our feet are our foundation. 

  • See tips below for keeping your feet happy using these massage balls.  Also:
  • Maintaining ROM (range of motion) in the ankle joint is hugely important for balance.
  •  Do you know someone with dreaded hammer toes?  Keep your toes moving (not clenching the ground for balance).

As always, anything else you purchase on Amazon after clicking thru on one of these links results in a small commission (that costs you nothing – it’s called Affiliate Marketing) that benefits this blog and we thank you!

Tips and How To Get the Most Benefit from the Massage Balls:

  • Keep one in your car (on the passenger side of course :)).  When Bob drives, I use 1 or 2 on the way to and back from our hike.
  • Keep one by your bed so you can stretch the bottom of your feet early – they’ve been in plantar flexion all night.
  • Let the relaxed weight of your foot settle onto the massage ball.
  • For more pressure, cross your other leg over (shoes & socks stretch).
  • If in doubt, slow down and relax your foot on the ball 🙂

Annual Gift Guide: Ecology Cooking Pick

December 4, 2013 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

We’re so lucky to live in the land of plenty.   But does that give us license to waste?  How about using more of those yummy organic vegetables we so painstakingly select and bring home?

Consider this gift for the cook/chef in your life?  Maybe it will come back to you and you’ll be able to enjoy recipes from this book called Root to Stalk Cooking: The Art of Using the Whole Vegetable ?

The essence of ecology cooking

is finding fun ways to conserve,


& economize in the kitchen.

Here’s our Holiday Pick this year,

discovered from an article in the

San Francisco Chronicle.


p.s.  Anything else you purchase on Amazon after clicking on this link results in a small commission which supports this blog.  Thank you!   🙂

POLES for Hiking, Mobility List of Classes

January 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

Here’s the calendar (so far) for 2013. Click on the calendar link for full info on times, locations, etc.  I’ll do a separate category post so that if you are looking for a hiking class or a mobility class, it will be easier to find.

Wed Jan 23 POLES for Mobility: Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center – Phoenix AZ – Phoenix
Thu Jan 24 REI Tucson – Free Clinic – How to use POLES for Hiking & Outdoor Exercise – Tucson REI
Sat Feb 2 Fitness for the Trail & for LIFE! Kennedy Grove – Fern Cottage, Kennedy Grove, El Sobrante
Using POLES for Balance, Mobility & Basic (Functional) Walking, Kennedy Grove, El Sobrante
Wed Feb 6Feb 13 Using POLES for Mobility & Walking, Petaluma Senior CenterFitness for the Trail & for LIFE! Mill Valley Community Center – Mill Valley
Sun Feb 17 POLES for Hiking & Canyon Exploration – Anza Borrego – Anza Borrego State Park, CA
Sat Feb 23 Practice POLE Hike: Black Diamond Mines – Black Diamond Mines Regional Park, Antioch
Tue Feb 26 FREE Clinic: How to use POLES for Hiking & Outdoor Exercise – Fremont REI
Wed Feb 27 POLES for Balance, Mobility & Basic Walking, Alameda Mastick Senior Center
FREE Clinic: How to use POLES for Hiking & Outdoor Exercise – Concord REI
Thu Feb 28 POLES for Balance, Mobility & Basic Walking – Pacifica Community Center
Sat Mar 2 POLES for Hiking & Outdoor Exercise, Monterey Area – Garland Ranch Regional Park
Wed Mar 6 POLES for Balance, Mobility & Basic Walking – Mill Valley Community Center
Tue Mar 12 FREE: Alta Bates Arthritis Group – Berkeley
Wed Mar 13 POLES for Balance, Mobility & Basic Walking – San Anselmo
Fri Mar 15 Botanic Gardens Practice POLE HIKE – Tilden Botanic Gardens, Berkeley
Sat Mar 16 Using POLES for Hiking & Outdoor Exercise: Basic Skills, Black Diamond Mines, Antioch
Practice POLE Hike: Black Diamond Mines – Black Diamond Mines Regional Park, Antioch
Tue Mar 19 Fitness for the Trail & for LIFE! Berkeley – Live Oak Park, Berkeley
Wed Mar 20 POLES for Balance, Mobility & Basic Walking – Margaret Todd Senior Center
Thu Mar 21 POLES for Balance, Mobility & Basic Walking – Avenidas Senior Center in Palo Alto
Tue Apr 2 POLES for Balance, Mobility & Basic Walking, Alameda Mastick Senior Center
Sat Apr 6 Using POLES for Hiking & Outdoor Exercise – Sunol Regional Wilderness
Tue Apr 9 Using POLES for Easy Hiking, Walking & Outdoor Exercise – Live Oak Community Center, Berkeley
Fri Apr 12 Using POLES for Balance, Mobility & Basic Walking – Finley Community Center, Santa Rosa
Sat Apr 13 Using POLES for Hiking & Outdoor Exercise – Spring Lake, Santa Rosa
Sun Apr 14 How to use POLES for Hiking & Exercise Field Seminar, Pt. Reyes – Pt. Reyes National Seashore
Thu Apr 18 Botanic Gardens Practice POLE HIKE – Tilden Botanic Gardens, Berkeley
Wed, Apr 24Thu Apr 25 Using POLES for Balance, Mobility & Basic Walking, Petaluma Senior Center & Temescal Regional Park, Berkeley
Sun Apr 28 Using POLES for Hiking & Outdoor Exercise: Basic Skills, Black Diamond Mines, Antioch
Practice POLE Hike: Black Diamond Mines – Black Diamond Mines Regional Park, Antioch
Tue Apr 30 POLES for Easy Hiking, Walking, Balance & Mobility – Albany Senior Center
Sat May 4 Using POLES for Hiking & Outdoor Exercise – Mt. Tam, Marin County
Wed May 8 POLES for Balance, Mobility & Basic Walking – Mill Valley Community Center
Tue May 28 POLES for Balance, Mobility & Basic Walking, Alameda Mastick Senior Center
Sat Jun 1 POLES for Hiking & Exercise Field Seminar – Pacifica Coastal Hike
Tue Jun 11 Using POLES for Easy Hiking, Walking & Outdoor Exercise – Live Oak Community Center, Berkeley
Wed Jun 12 POLES for Balance, Mobility & Basic Walking – San Anselmo
Thu Jun 13 Using POLES for Balance, Mobility & Basic Walking – Finley Community Center, Santa Rosa

Holiday Gift Guide: Our top picks for your outdoor enthusiast!

November 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Gear, Miscellaneous

Our yearly search for the best gifts for your outdoor enthusiast, Enjoy!

Click thru any link.  Your purchase benefits AdventureBuddies (and costs you nothing). Thank you!

Shop Amazon – Top Gift Ideas

Anyone who uses poles knows how important a headlamp is.It’s one of our favorite travel accessories.We can read at night without keeping the light on or get up in the night more safely. This particular model has a red light for seeing better at night and other helpful options.Those of us who live in earthquake land know to keep our shoes by the bed. Keep your headlamp in one of your shoes, your socks in the other.  Remember to pack it when you travel! 

Shop any headlamp or any item at all at REI by clicking on the headlamp.

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

Quality vs. Quantity. Do you really need 37 band-aids?

AdventureMedical Sport Specific Medical Kits are designed by an emergency room physician.

These two are our favorite day kits, but you can look around and see what suits you best. I like to put a few extra things in the handy zipper pouch to customize it.

The .5 is $17; the .7 is $27. Use in a day pack or in a car.Adventure Medical Kits UltraLight / Watertight .5 First-Aid KitAdventure Medical Kits UltraLight / Watertight .7 First-Aid Kit

Adventure Medical Kits UltraLight / Watertight .5 First-Aid Kit

Winner of Best Stocking Stuffer Ever!

Over and over we’ve said it.
Take good care of your feet!  They’re the foundation of your body.

These massage balls are magic!  Use to treat or prevent plantar fasciitis.  Use the relaxed weight of your leg and allow your foot to relax on the ball.

 These balls are not for everyone, just for people who have FEET!

Do you love your teeth?

We’ve covered this in a separate post all its own, but it really belongs here in our top picks.

Both Bob’s dentist and my beloved hygienist recommended exactly the same thing.

Replacement Brushes:
Philips Sonicare Brush Heads

We LOVE our Soda Stream.We have wonderful water, this handy, space-saving Soda Stream helps us save money.  We also don’t buy any more plastic soda bottles.

Add a spash of lime, a slice of cucumber, a sprig of mint or a drop of lavender and it’s gourmet Fizzy Water!Or, my favorite pro-biotic beverage:

  • 2 parts Fizzy Water
  • 1/2 to 1 Part Good Fruit Juice (orange, tangerine, pomegranate, etc.)
  • 1/2 Part Organic High Quality Kefir
  • This makes an amazing, healthy SODA CREAM

Free Shipping at REI!

Bay Nature Magazine, Special Holiday Offer


Shop any Amazon or Kindle Item from this link


 Gift Certificates available:

  • Percussion Therapy for plantar fasciitis or tendonitis
  • Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) session or consultation
  • Massage therapy session
  • Personalized Pole Fitting
  • Pole Coaching Session for small groups of hikers
  • Pole Coaching Session for loved one with mobility challenges
  • Foot care/foot massage session

Photo is Wall of Windows at Bryce Canyon


Stay tuned for part 3 of the Utah journey; this post will focus on some pole tips as well as stunning vistas.  Thanks for visiting our blog!


My ENT doctor strongly recommended something that has changed my life and significantly reduced my allergy response to CA 🙂   Nasal Saline Spray:

  • non-addictive, non-invasive, simple stuff
  • spray as many times a day as I like
  • I put a spray bottle everywhere – my car, my bedside table, my purse, my hiking pack
  • Spraying after a hike is HUGELY helpful (as well as during)
  • I’ve reduced my intake of OTC allergy medication to almost none, even in peak season
  • I’m happier!
  • I got the Walgreen’s generic brand in both sizes.

Very Important:  Spray outward towards your cheekbone, not straight up your nose.   Click for  More allergy tips on this blog.

Learning How to use Trekking Poles for Hiking, Walking and Mobility

People are like containers.  Fill them up to capacity and then either they overflow or something has to come out to make room for more info.

Learning a new skill takes PRACTICE.  In a field seminar, we fit people to determine which poles best fit their structure and will help them achieve their hiking or walking goals.  Then we discuss how to properly use straps, how to optimally set pole length and then how to OPTIMALLY use poles on a variety of terrain.

We make a clear distinction between correct use and optimal use.  Since everyone is different, with individual goals and issues, we encourage people to FEEL what works best for them.   For instance, just because everyone on the planet says to set poles at 90 degrees at the elbow does not make it right for everyone (or practically anyone).  What if you have lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) or a past bout of rotator cuff syndrome or tired wrists from using a computer?  The key is to provide  the many benefits of poles WITHOUT inviting strain elsewhere.

So how does someone learn to use poles in the best way for their individual needs and goals?

Here in the Bay Area of Northern CA, we offer a variety of classes and field seminars  (calendar).  If you have the opportunity to take a class, great!

If you’re not local to AdventureBuddies, watch the DVD that best addresses your abilities.   Then read the DVD updates on this blog.   It’s wildly expensive to update a DVD, but we use this blog to update and enhance the training.  If you’re in doubt about which DVD will best help you achieve your goals, start with the Mobility DVD and progress to the Hiking DVD.

Enjoy your poles, your body, your buddies and the outdoors!

Tips & Advice if you’re considering a New Kitten by Veterinarian Dale Paley

December 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

Cats in general are little easier than dogs.  They tend to be more picky about getting into things and more selective about what they will ingest (with some exceptions…), they make great pets for the person ‘on the go” that does not have the time that a puppy will require.

Some people are just not CAT People.  Make sure your family members are ALL in agreement with your selection of a cat as a new pet!   Also, allergies to cats are common so assure young “Johnny” is not allergic or the cat will have to go!  Click on any picture to enlarge.  This is Christy, rescued from a dumpster,  on her first weekend at her new home with Dr. Dale.

  • Decide first if you want a purebred or domestic breed. The Domestic (non purebreds) are by far the most common choice (and are often FREE of charge!)  Finding a kitten is usually easy.   Local newspapers, Humane society or animal pounds, or your local veterinarian will all be good resources to find kittens needing good homes
  • Decide if you want long or short hair. Long-haired cats (although pretty), require more grooming.
  • Decide if you want a male or female cat, they both make good pets.

I am a big fan of BATHING Cats … yes folks you heard that correctly!

If you start bathing them  as kittens, and they  get them used to it,  it is NOT a big deal at all!   Plus, it makes their coats beautiful and easier to manage.   It also cuts down on the dander and allergens circulating around the house- a definite added bonus!!!  Please make sure the shampoo use states it can be used on cats… and do not use flea shampoos.

Most importantly, CATS ARE NOT SMALL DOGS… You must be very careful what you put ON or IN your cat/kitten.   No drugs from the bathroom cabinet or the left over flea product you used on your dog….   cats are very sensitive.   For example- ONE Tylenol tablet will KILL your cat if it is ingested.  They are very sensitive to insecticides and over-the-counter flea products.   Call your vet if you have questions and before administering ANY products.

Decide if your cat will be an indoors or outdoors pet; that make s a big difference with everything:  diet, vaccines flea products etc.  If kept indoors they will need a litter box (or preferably more than one).   Cats tend to be fastidious and clean.  They do not need to be trained to use the litter box ( yea!).   They do however, like it cleaned frequently and regularly and some cats have preferences with respect  to the material or type of litter used in the  box.

Feed your cat a good quality diet using both canned and dry. Canned can be messy,  but these days there is not a vet on the planet that would not recommend at least part of the cat’s diet consist of canned food. This has to do with a healthy urinary system which your vet will explain on your first visit to him/her.

Like dogs, cats need a series of vaccines.   Set this appointment up with your local veterinarian as soon as possible!  This will also give you the opportunity to ask the many questions that may arise regarding your new kitten.

Preventative medicine in general is the key to good health in both cats and dogs. Enjoy your new member of the family and tune in next time for your first visit to the vet with Dr Dale!!

New Puppy? Advice from Veterinarian, Dale Paley

December 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

What is more joyful than a new bundle of fur on Christmas morning?  Yes folks,  I am referring to that new puppy or kitten that all children seem to wish for as a present (one of many no doubt!!!)  So if you have taken that leap and now are wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into (as the puppy eats all the Christmas ornaments and tears the wrapping off the presents before your children do)… well I am recruited by AdventureBuddies to offer a little advice!

Jackson as a young lad

The New Puppy: (by Dr Dale)

– Do your homework before getting the puppy!
– Know what breed might be best for your family.
Start with: large or small size dog?  purebred or mix breed? maybe a puppy from the Humane society?   (save a life at Christmas what a nice thought!!)

The first year is the most important as the puppy grows from puppy hood (baby) to an adult… During this time, they will acquire all his/ her good or bad habits. Make sure you have time, energy and willingness to put time and effort into your new “family member’s” training and upbringing.   Mom… YOU will be doing the work… despite your child’s promise to take care of EVERYTHING,

Puppy proof your house. Puppies will get into and EAT everything so take stock and care to assure your new puppy does not get into and swallow your best pair of shoes, etc.  Think of your puppy as a Baby” (and mental capabilities along those same lines…) React accordingly!!   Be patient, but firm and consistent with all instructions. Be kind and use a reward system for good behavior (treats are great or simply kind words or touch are also very positive).

Get yourself a good puppy book to teach you the fundamentals of house-training and general concepts of dog behavior.

My nephew, Jackson

Speaking of house training … your puppy WILL make mistakes. At the young age, he/ she is not physically capable of holding urine for long periods of time. Don’t get frustrated and use positive reinforcement techniques to acquire you goals. Many people like to use crate training which is very acceptable. Animals in general do not like to soil where they sleep!

Feed your new puppy three times a day using a good quality puppy food both canned and dry (or just dry depending on your preference ) is preferable.   Make an appointment with your local vet to establish a new relationship.  They can give you advice on diet and address the many questions you will have by your first visit.  Most vets sell a brand of great quality dog food and you may choose to use theirs.

Dale Paley, DVM with new dumpster rescue kitty

Puppies need a series of vaccines and I cannot stress the importance of this enough! Start at 6-7 weeks, and then every 3-4 weeks until they are 16-20 weeks old. The “breeders” puppy vaccines are NOT adequate.   Don’t procrastinate on this!   Puppy diseases can be fatal to the puppy and heartbreaking to the owner!

Probably the most important thing to remember is that A TIRED puppy is a GOOD puppy!!!!” Lots of play and exercise and the puppy will spend less time eating your house, and more time sleeping.   Lastly, have fun with you new bundle of joy (and get lots of pictures!!!)

Dale Paley, DVM

Utah Sweets & Holiday Treats (Chocolate)

December 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous, Travel

We flip-flopped our Southern Utah trip because of winter snow storms.  Instead of Bryce to Moab, we started in Moab and wound our way back thru Bryce.  On the way from Moab to Bryce, we stopped so driver-Bob could get a cup of coffee.  We found a little coffee shop, like an oasis in the desert.  Nestled in Torrey, Utah, we discovered a true gem – a coffee/sandwich/candy shop with exquisitely made  goodies .

Red Desert Candy Company

We bought hearty soup for our dinner and some goodies for our hikes.  Their dark chocolate  rum truffle bar is ’bout as good as it gets if you love exotic  treats.   Also the  dark chocolate covered red cactus jellies, made with real cactus juice are delectable!

If you’re looking for  unique and special gifts, we liked the Red Cactus Jellies, the Rum Truffle Bars, Trail bars (great for hiking)  and the white and dark chocolate covered cookies.   Yes, they have a website and yes they ship. 435-491-0017 or

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