Thursday, December 31, 2009

Vo. 2 Thursday, Week 2

Yesterday was an amazing day. I spent the whole day alone, except for my trip to the grocery store and my visit to my parent's house. I loved it.....I walked my two miles...uneventful..but cold. Then I worked in my yard. Oh, how wonderful that was. Nothing like pulling up dead weeds and blowing debris around to make a woman feel whole!!!

I found several interesting things in the yard yesterday. It is amazing what one kind discover when not even looking. I guess it is just being aware of your surroundings that makes things available to you. This is true in all areas of our lives, I think. I found some beautiful, tiny pine cones down in the woods behind the shed. I don't have any idea what I can do with them but, I have them in a safe place anyway. I also discovered some things growing in my mulch pile. Just laying on top of the ground. Garlic, onions, and brussel sprouts were all rising from the heap. How amazing!!! I'm going to keep watch and see what happens to them. I had never seen more healthy brussel sprouts in my entire life. Perfectly round and the most delicious color of green imaginable. I have decided to try to grow carrots this year. A first for me. But I have fallen in love with carrots. Oh, I've always like them but now I love them!!! (Remember, fall in love with something everyday.) I am going to try to find new ways to prepare them. I have two new cookbooks that I received for Christmas. Hubby gave me "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". I think he got it for me because he thinks I'll never go to Paris to cooking school. But mark my words, I am going someday......

The most disturbing thing I found in my yard was the dirty baby diaper in my flower bed near the road. I was pulling up spent flower stems and was respreading the pine needles when this diaper appeared. Thank goodness I had on gloves, which is very unusual for me. I like to get my hands in the dirt. I guess I just feel connected to the earth that way. Anyway, I am going to believe that some strange, unruly dog, (not my precious terrier or oversize labs) found it and decided to bury it in my yard. GROSS!!!! What type person leaves these things accessible to animals. Don't all mothers have Diaper Genies.

Well, I'm off on today's adventure....walking, then movies, then baby wrestling.....I love my life...Thank you God....

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Vol. 2 - Tuesday, Week 2

Well, I guess I am officially, or unofficially, back to my walking/running program.
Even though the temperature was below freezing this morning, I did venture out into the elements. Back in the summer months, I made a deal with myself that I would not walk when the temperature was over 93...Now, I am making a deal with myself not to go out when the weather is below 30.

I was to met Liz and baby in Charlotte at 1:00 so headed out around 10:30 for my 3 mile walk. My 3 mile walk today was actually only 2.8 miles. It only took me 36 minutes to complete this trip. Is that good??? My son-in-law said there is no way I can walk that distance in that amount of time. But I did. Now, I was pumping it. It was cold, remember....I didn't get to wear my good athletic socks Liz got me for Christmas, and believe me, my feet did rebel. Sunday evening when I walked, my ankles were frozen by the time I got home so today I decided on knee socks. I was going to buy some warmer pants but none of my shopping needs were met today.

I have a love/hate relationship with Target. More often than not, their pricing is not consistent with their prices and don't even get me started about their returns department....

At one point on my adventure this morning, I thought about becoming a mall walker. How old do you have to be for that? I just don't think Ican bring myself to doing that yet. I've also thought bout joining the local popular women's gym in town but have it on good authority that it is merely a front for local town gossip and I ain't into that stuff. Hey, I got enough issues of my own and absolutely don't want to hear about everybody else's problems.

Today's walk was good even with the low temp. I was pretty cold in the beginning but soon was able to remove the hood from my head. I really should have left it on. My hair was a mess, but I did have on my lipstick!! I'd like to hope that made up for the bad hair. I got cold again on the last few blocks home. The wind was picking up and coming down the home stretch was pretty chilly. I didn't have any hip joint issues. I have been remembering to take two Aleve before my walk and that has helped. Hopefully, I won't need to do that forever.

I really need to give some thought to a goal. You know, some event to enter with a deadline for conditioning. I'll give it more thought and do some research for a 5K sometime in the future..


Friday, December 18, 2009, "Jingle Bell Run 2009" has come..........and gone. HOWEVER, that gives me 50 weeks to prepare for "Jingle Bell Run 2010". I have officially rested the hip joint for 10 weeks and can begin my new walking/running program. Weather permitting, I plan to begin said program on Monday. Yes, Monday!!! Hubby laughs at me everytime I say I am going to start something on Monday. Why not Monday? They already suck!!! I shouldn't say that. I am sure great things have happened on Monday. I just can't think of anything right now.

Updates to follow....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday, October 3rd

Today I fell in love with a Raggedy Ann doll. When I saw her sitting there, I just new she was meant to be mine. So she is now in my possession. I will probably give her up for adoption to Miss Priss around Christmas time. I can just see her in the arms of Miss Priss now, loving her and dragging her around the house and yard.

What an amazing day the Lord did make!!! It was beautiful and wonderful from the git-go. Before Miss Priss got up this morning, I sat on the back porch with great coffee in hand and watched in awe, as a beautiful humming bird came to a flower within 18 inches of me. It was a beautiful way to start my day.

After Miss Priss was picked up and hubby got back from checking on some body's something, we walked my one mile route. Pain free. While on this couples' walk, we decided to go to Greenville for the day. Usually on Saturdays we spend our time working in the yard but the yard man said not to cut the grass until it rained. He had put various chemicals on it and it need to rest until wet.

We headed out about 11:30 and after a couple local stops, were on our way. I packed us a snack and we stopped and grabbed sodas and headed out. We had a fabulous time. We walked around the town and shopped a little. The Raggedy Ann doll was my favorite purchase of the day. Next was the delicious lunch. We sat outside an ate at Blue Ridge Brewery. It don't get much better than that. Well, that was until the lady at the table beside us was attacked by a giant pigeon. She screamed and I jumped. Then the pigeon (and the lady) left and all settled back down. You have to watch out for those pigeons. Hubby kept feeding them french fries. Maybe Mr. Pigeon just wanted the lady to give up her food too. Who knows. Anyway, after that we walked down to Falls Park. Hubby offered to drive us but I refused. It was too beautiful out and my hip wasn't hurting at all, yet. Falls Park is amazing. In all the times I have been to Greenville, I had never been to the park. We are usually there to go to a play or I think the last time we were there it was raining. But today was the perfect day to go there. People were laying on blankets, picnicking, walking, playing with kids, splashing in the water and just enjoying the day.

We walked over to the suspension bridge and I was very hesitant but hubby, being the brave manly man he is, assured me it was safe and not to scary. And as we headed across, I discovered he was right, it wasn't too bad. That is until we got about halfway across. No, I didn't panic, HE did. The feeling is just now beginning to come back in my hand. Did I laugh at him the whole way across the bridge?? Well, yeah!!! He was as white as a sheet and when we finally got across, he refused to go back that way. So we just walked around the park and headed back up to town. This is when the pain began in my hip. Not unbearable, but noticeable. I didn't mention it, but hubby noticed it from the grimace on my face. He again offered to let me sit on a bench and he would go get our truck. (I think he was just trying to be nice since I had saved his life on the bridge.) But I managed and after walking a little longer, the pain subsided.

I figure I added another 1.5 miles to my walking today. I think I'll stick to 1 mile again tomorrow and try for 2 on Monday. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Same week, next day

I have fallen in love!! Don't you think it would be great to fall in love with something new everyday. For example, a new wild flower in the back yard, a new person you met at your granddaughter's dance class, (a remarkable lady I met) a new dish at a restaurant, a new quote from a good book, a new hairdo, a new shirt color, a new lipstick. Oh, the list could go on and on. This is my new goal, "Fall in love with something new everyday".

Today I fell in love with pumpkin spice lattes with soy milk. AAAAAAAAmazing. After I went to the bone doctor, I went next door to treat myself to a latte. This was supposed to cheer me up and keep me from crying. The bone doctor who, by the way, was drop dead gorgeous, says I have a severe case of arthritis in my right hip. No bursitis. The swelling, infection and pain came from a chip of bone that got lodge in my joint. Oh yes, it could happen again. If it does, he will send me to a radiologist to get an injection. In the meantime, I can walk if I want to or continue to rest it for a while. I told him I wanted to start walking again. He said go for it and he insists that I take Advil daily especially if I'm going to return to walking. If I want something stronger, he will get it for me. I'm going to try the Advil for a while and hope that is all I need. Yes, I do worry about my liver. But since I don't drink and don't eat to terribly bad and only take blood pressure medicine (which I hope to get off of with the exercise), maybe it won't hurt it too bad. I really need to get rid of the diet coke addiction though. Oh, that is so hard even to think about.

I am looking at hip replacement surgery. But he says I still have a few years. He also said I was very young for this. Well, Dah. Anyway, not such a good report but it certainly could have been worse.

I plan to start out with just 1.5 miles of walking after school tomorrow. I'll take my cell phone in case I have to call for back up. Why do I feel so nervous about this? Well, I will see how it goes tomorrow after my walk and how I feel tomorrow night. If all goes well, I will get back into this seriously.

Until then......

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Same week, different day

Am I looking at the calendar wrong, or is it just September. I honestly believe it's already March or April because of my stress level today. If you happened to be driving down my street this afternoon and saw a crazy woman yelling, screaming and pulling her hair out, it wasn't me, but it could have been. I'm not supposed to be this stressed until later in the school year. My day started off bad and just got worse. It had absolutely nothing to do with kids either. It happens to be adults. I have come to the conclusion in my ripe old age of 40 something that when you give adults a little power, they let it go to their heads. TAKE IT AWAY!!!!!!

I don't even feel like going into the particulars. Just believe me when I say today sucked. That is until I got to Miss Priss' dance class. I made the mistake of walking back into her class (well, a mistake for the class but not for me), she ran straight to my arms and would not return to the group. This did, however, make my day better. It was like stepping out into the sunshine after being in a storm all day. The only way to get her back to the class was to join her. Now, I know absolutely nothing about pointing and sliding. These two year olds know more than me. I never took dance as a child. (That's a story for another deprived childhood.) Of course she was the cutest one but she needs a tutu.

I think that maybe some of this stress comes from the bum leg issue. I go to the doctor tomorrow. I can't stand this not walking much longer. I miss it soooo much. If you had told me 2 months ago I'd be saying that , I would have laughed in your face and suggested you have a psychiatric evaluation. But I do miss it. I started to walk this afternoon to help clear my fuzzy brain, but my pain was there and I certainly don't want to make it worse again. That's all I need, another trip to the ER. Oh, and I got the bill for that today. Thank God for insurance. Do you know what they charge for a trip to the ER these days? It is absolutely absurd. No wonder there is a health care crisis in this country. Somebody needs to fix it....

Anyway, I am so excited about going to the doctor tomorrow. I can't wait for him to fix me. He will, won't he??

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Week 7, Sunday

Not being able to continue on my program is killing me. I want to be out there. I see the bone doctor on Wednesday, and with any luck he will tell me it's ok to walk. I still have pain in my leg and it is pretty bad at times. But, I can't believe that this will not pass. It can't last forever, right? My research on the bursa subject says that I can resume normal activities when the pain subsides. The pain has not yet subsided and I certainly do not wish to make matters worse. So, hopefully I will be cured on Wednesday and be out on the streets Wednesday afternoon. I read that for every week you are off the program, or any training program, it takes you two weeks to get back to where you left off. Thursday will be two weeks. That means it will take me 4 weeks to get back to being able to run at the rate I was going. That hurts. I'll just have to work harder and get back in shape. I am positive that there is still hope for the Jingle Bell Run. Even if I have to walk it.

Having experienced this health flaw, has caused me to think of things that I really take for granted. Things that I am so very thankful for. For example:

1. My bedroom being downstairs
2. My sofa with a great place to prop my leg.
3. My hubby who can actually carry me when necessary.
4. Shaving my legs on the morning I didn't know I was going to the ER.
5. Overall good health.
6. God who blesses me daily. (That should be #1)
7. Miss Priss who cheers me up daily.
8. Giving birth to Liz. (Exactly 24 years ago today.)
9. A wonderful extended Ayers family; 80 of whom showed up for reunion today.
10. Great parents
11. Cool weather and rain. (I love these rainy days.)
12. A job I can go to tomorrow to get some rest from the week-end.
13. Upcoming trip alone with hubby.
14. Chocolate Mousse Cake. Thanks Nancy.
13. Vegetables and bread.
14. Target. I love that place. The one downtown Charlotte is the best!!!!
15. Good books. (Adolescent Literature is my favorite. Good thing, since I teach that.)
16. Good movies. Turner Classics.
17. Coffee

Anyway, this list could go on and on, but these are just some of the things I have on my mind right now.

I have come to the conclusion that strange things only happen to me and my family. On Friday night, Hubby and I took Miss Priss and her mom to eat at a seafood restaurant in Gastonia. Since I am deathly allergic to shellfish, I always order whole flounder and I order it broiled. Well, Friday it took for ever and ever to get our food. We were starving and about to call out for a pizza when she finally delivered our food. As you all know, keeping a 2 year old entertained at home is hard enough and keeping her entertained in a restaurant is almost impossible. Our way of enticing Miss Priss to sit nicely and be patient was to promise her doughnuts after dinner. So, after we left the restaurant we stopped at Dunkin Doughnuts. Daughter and I get out and notice a police car parked near the door. We proceed to make cop and doughnut jokes (sorry Rob) and reach for the door which we now realize is locked. The police officer comes to the door and tells us that the shop is temporarily closed. As we head back to the car, 6 other police cars come storming into the parking lot. Yes, it's true. Only we would show up at a crime scene just seconds following the crime. My point is, if it had not been for waiting on my food, we would probably have been at the doughnut shop during the crime. Another one of those little inconveniences saving us from something bad.

Anyway, life is funny.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Week whatever, day whatever

Who cares what week and day it is anymore? Apparently, it is just not in the cards for me to run the Jingle Bell. I have to remind myself that sometimes these little set backs and inconveniences are God's way of saving me from something worse. For example, maybe a broken neck from falling down Crescent Hill, a black eye from getting in a fight with someone who tries to pass me, stepping out in front of a big Mac truck, winning the race and having to have my picture plastered over newspapers from around the country and making speeches at civic group meetings and giving out autographs and attending a reception in my honor at the White House (o.k., that's stretching it), but I do need to remember who is in charge of things here. And it sure ain't me!!!!

I ditched the crutches yesterday afternoon. Enough was enough. I still have them readily available and my bursa hurts like the dickens tonight. I have learned a great deal from my first experience with crutches. One thing, people will steal from you. The hubs and I went to Michaels after church on Sunday for something I needed for school. He had my purse (my first mistake, it didn't even match his attire), and was pushing a buggy. I, of course, was on my crutches. He put my purse in the buggy and I specifically remember telling him not to leave it unattended at any time. Now, being a man, he knows nothing about purse clutching and purse snatchers. He left my purse in the buggy which was only about 3 feet from where I stood looking at something and went over to the next aisle. Some redneck scumbag walked pass my buggy then backed up and stuck his nasty hand in MY purse. I said, "Excuse me sir, that is MY bag. Why is your hand in it." His reply? "I was going to give it to that lady." What dang lady. I was the only lady around. Anyway, redneck scumbag left the store. I would have beat him to death with my crutches if he had moved another inch inside my bag. Yuck....

I also have learned that people talk to you like you are a child when you are on crutches. For example, "Oh, let me help you get that door sweetie." First of all, I am not your sweetie...Nice gesture, but talk to me in an adult tone please. This is something I will always do now when talking to someone with a physical challenge. Dignity is a necessity.

Next I have learned how much I take simply walking for granted. A walk through the yard has now become a painful adventure. Coming upstairs is horrible and sleeping on my right side is not an option. I even have to watch how I cross or don't cross my legs. On Sunday at church, I had to ride up the elevator with the old people.

My research on this condition has led me to understand that I must not walk unless absolutely necessary and not to even attempt my walking program until all pain has subsided. When will that be????? I go to Mr. Bone doctor next week. Hopefully he will be of encouragement to me. I want to walk and run now more than ever. I just rode around my 3 mile path today for old times sake. So, if you walk or run by me and I stick out my tongue at you, don't take it personally. When I do get to walk again, will I have to go back to the beginning? Will I in fact have time to get in shape for the Jingle Bell? Will it be possible to participate in the Jingle Bell at all? Am I just too old and to out of shape for this? Will this be a condition I will have to live with for the rest of my life? I can't believe that I over did it. I began slowly and had been on the program for seven weeks. I want answers to these questions.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Week Six Saturday

Well, as many of you may know by now, doctor's orders are "No walking, no running, blah, blah blah, until pain subsides. Whenever that is. This is really very sad for me and has me asking many questions. Now, before I begin, please take note that I am still under the influence of heavy (and I mean very heavy) drugs. I'm a little shaky, a little nauseous, a little pale, and a lot weak.

Friday started out pretty normal, but by lunch time I was in a wheel chair and unable to move the right side of my body. Heck yeah, it was pretty scary. The nurse brought me a wheel chair and hubby had to come get me. I just kept thinking that if I could get home, take some antiinflammatory meds and get on the sofa with an icepack, I would recover completely. Not so true. Now this not being able to move the right side of my body wasn't like paralysis but like intense pain in the upper part of my leg. My thought was a strained muscle. By the time I got home and hubby and his employee finally got me carried in the house, I could not move an inch in either direction and this is no exaggeration. It was that bad, I tell you. So I started the drug regiment. 2 inflammatory pills, 1 muscle relaxer and an icepack. By 1:00 I was in constant pain and tears. Now, I don't cry. But this chick was squalling and hubby would not leave me alone. This was a good thing because I wouldn't let him. The thoughts of dying alone can be pretty scary. I really thought the next step was death because I didn't think the pain could get any worse than I was feeling. At 2:03 hubby called doctor's office and was switched to an answering machine at the nurses station where he left a message with details and asked them to call back asap. At 3:30 when doctor's office had not called back, he called them again. Now my hubby is slow to anger. He is slow to anger at anything. I could wreck the car, burn down the house or accidentally throw away his favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd CD and he would be upset but not extremely angry I don't think. (I really did throw away his favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd CD, by accident.) Anyway, he was very upset with the doctor's office and they tell him to go ahead and bring me in. But he knows that this is to be no easy task. He can't pick me up, he's already tried and I screamed bloody murder, I can't move, even to simply stand, so we have issues. He calls them back to ask if they have a wheel chair he can borrow and they tell him that if I am in that much pain, we should just go to the hospital. He just hangs up the phone with the look of....something... in his face. By this time, he has called my girlfriend who has arrived after picking up her granddaughter from school and she insists that I need to be seen and should probably go on to the hospital. But, you know me, I am always the indecisive one. I hate to go to the ER or the doctor, for that matter. I just keep thinking I'll get better and soon be miraculously cured of what ever this is I have. My friends granddaughter finally looks at me after a about 30 minutes and says,"You need to make up your mind. I haven't got all day for this. I have a football game to go to." She's 6. Just like her grandmother. Friend leaves and then Lane asks if he can run to the shop to close up and I , through tears, tell him to go ahead. By this time loving daughter #1 has found us a wheel chair and there I sit. Just sit. I can't move so I make the executive decision to go to the ER. I phone hubby and tell him to hurry so we can go to ER. Loving daughter number 2 and boyfriend come in and the 3 of them carry me, in wheel chair outside to car where I finally manage to crawl into the black floor. The inform me later that it takes 45 minutes to get me from house into car.

We finally get to ER at 5:15 and I sit in waiting for 3 hours. I cry the entire time. When I first got there they thought I had chest pains, I should have let them think that so I could have gone back quicker. Anyway, I finally go back at 8:30 and from then on things get kinda blurry. I remember heavy drugs, being cold, being taken to X-ray by a former student who says I am the 3rd teacher to flash him, then to get a CT scan. Finally they determine that I do not have a tumor or any signs of bone cancer. WAS THIS A POSSIBILITY???? I had no idea until everything was over. Anyway, I was diagnosed with bursitis and lots of arthritis in my hip and scheduled to see a bone specialist next week. I was sent home at 12:30a.m. and given instructions for the week-end which included more drugs and crutches. This ain't gonna be fun...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Week 6, Tuesday

I had 9 girls walk with me after school today. It was great!!! We only walked about a mile but they wanted to do it again tomorrow. I'm only giving them one afternoon a week for now. Maybe more later.

This morning I left school during my planning period to go to the Food Lion to get water and granola bars for us after the walk. I was starving and one of my teacher buddies wanted hot cakes and sausage from McDs, so I went by there after my stop at the FL. Why is it that people in this town don't understand that everyone does not eat animal flesh? I ordered her hot cakes and ordered myself an egg and cheese muffin. I know I shouldn't have, but I just couldn't resist. Anyway, when I got to the window to pay, I told her again to make sure that it was only egg and cheese. She said "oh, let me change that". OK. So, when I get to the pick up window, I have the good sense to check the muffin and sure enough, there is meat on it. So I knock on the window, LOUDLY, and tell the guy that it was not suppose to have the meat on it. He acts like I'm crazy. What's the big deal? Anyway, it was great...

After school the girls and I walked. One of the girls is extremely overweight but she hung right with us. We only almost got run down by 4 teachers hauling it out of there the back way and a couple high school kids, but other than that, it was great. We are going to try to make some kind of service project out of this too. Around Halloween, the girls want to make cookies or something and take them to the assisted living across the street. That should be nice. We can probably use the home-ec kitchen. I'll have to ask.

It is very interesting to be around 13 year old girls away from the classroom setting. You get to know them a little better. I makes me miss my own girls at that age. Talking about boys they think are hot and things they like to do. One thing I did sadly notice was that they all talked about step-parents, and half-siblings. It's kinda sad but I guess that's pretty much the norm in most families. One girl said her mom was getting married in March and one said her dad and her sister got married on the same day. How weird is that!! One girl called her step-mom to come get her and before she hung up she said "I love you". Then to me she said, "I really don't like her much". I asked her why, but she really didn't have a reason. I suggested that she probably felt they way simply because she was married to her dad and she did agree. Anyway, some interesting conversation.

After I got home, I walked my two mile route, came home and made a pot of chili. It simmers as we speak, or as I type. I am going to make myself start walking 3 miles each day. By October 1st, my goal is to start seriously running. That will give me 2 months to get ready for the run. I still don't see how that is going to be possible. But I'm going to aim for that anyway. I can always walk the run but that is the wimpy way. And I ain't no wimp!!!!!! (I don't think.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Week Five - Thursday

I have been a blogging slacker this week. I guess I just have been way to busy. I have been adhering to the plan, though, and it has been almost 6 weeks. I can really see a change in my physical ability. Also, tonight I put on a pair of pants that I have worn to practically every function this summer, and they fell to my knees. YES!!!!! It was great, but I had to iron another pair and I was late for my engagement. Who cares??? My pants were too big.

Today I was to walk easy, 3 miles. Instead, I walked hard for 2 miles. Actually, I ran some. OK, a lot for me. Now, I want say I ran the whole two miles or even one of the miles but I ran more than I have ever ran in my life. It was great!!! I walked up the hills and ran on the declines. I really just don't see how I will ever run 3 miles.

I'm starting a little club thing at school with some of my girls. We are going to meet on Tuesday afternoons and start out walking. I have geared this activity toward the girls who are not involved in any type sports at school. I decided to do this because I noticed that one of my girls is on a diet and several/many others are so over weight. I have had a great response and can't wait to see how it goes on Tuesday. My principal gave me permission and I plan for us to walk around the back of my school to the high school. One of the girls that is planning to come is very, very over weight. She may need a little encouragement. Won't it be great to get these girls into this? I hope it works out. Some of the other teachers want me to get them to train for the run. We'll see.

My foot seems to be some better today. I didn't do any running or walking yesterday. I had to give it a rest and see if that would help. It hurt so bad yesterday morning around 5:00a.m, I was about to throw up. I was even planning to go back to the doctor, but the pain did subside during the day.

Tomorrow I am supposed to participate in a low intensity activity for 40 minutes. No problem. Miss Priss is coming for the night......

Monday, September 7, 2009

Week 5 Sunday

What an amazing week-end and it’s only Sunday morning. Hubby, Tobi and I arrived at this beautiful destination around 5:00p.m. Friday afternoon. And to think I thought that taking a half day off would get us here earlier. Who was I kidding? My hubby has never been on time for anything in his life. The only way he got to our wedding on time was because I threatened his brother with death. We are always late for church and you know what happens when your late for church. Someone sits in your seat. I’m baptist and I hate that. I have been sitting in the same pew for 25 years, minus the few we spent at another church, and before that, my mother-in-law sat in that seat. So, GET UP .

When we arrived, the rain began and continued on into the night. I could not have cared less. It was still a beautiful evening and the rain just added to that beauty. After we got our home away from home settled, I made a delicious Potage Parmentier with mushrooms. No, I have not seen the Julie/Julia movie and, No, I do not own a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but I do know a little about food and cooking and I have been making Potage Parmentier with mushrooms for many years and now have it down to perfection. This soup is one of those dishes that requires the right atmosphere and the right company. Not to mention the freshest of ingredients. The potatoes and leeks came from my own garden and the mushrooms were the freshest shitakes that Ingles had. And, it should be prepared outside. So, it turned out perfect and the grilled cheddar parmesan cheese sandwiches were a great addition but not needed.

On Saturday morning, we woke to a beautiful cool, clear morning. You know, the kind of morning you dream about for a mini-vacation. We made coffee and sat and read until hunger pains began to overtake our thoughts. We had omelets that would melt in your mouth. Onions, peppers, shitakes, tomatoes and a little cheddar. GREAT!!!

Loving daughter number 2 and boyfriend would be joining us later in the day, so we decided to make a run to the local Walmart. All roads lead to Walmart, Dad. Hubby and I went to Maine a couple summers ago and my dad called to check on us and found us, where else, but at the Walmart.

I love the mountains. There is just something about the hills and vales that attract me. My dream job, did I not have such a lucrative one as a school teacher,would be to cut grass on the Blue Ridge Parkway. And I’m serious. That or own a book store. But the cutting the grass thing would be great. Mountains all day and you couldn’t hear anything but the hum of blades against grass. Heaven!!! The Walmart didn’t have a foodmart, so I just grabbed a couple magazines, a bottle of water and headed next door to Food Lion. I only went to Food Lion out of desperation. I needed peanut oil and cilantro.

As you have probably discovered by now, this entry is mostly about food. Hubby and I have decided that we have had better meals here this week-end than we have had at home in months. And like I said, it’s only Sunday morning. Which brings me to my next issue.

This campground we are at is so very beautiful. We have been here several times since discovering it or rather, rediscovering it last spring. I’m going to try to attach some photos. The grounds are so well kept and the monarchs abound. There is a lovely spring just outside my window and most the people here are older. That is, over 30. A few children, but mostly adults. It is not a very large campground with only about 30 spots. We have one of the smallest campers here. Well, make that 2 of the smallest ones, because loving daughter No. 2 brought our other one. But, we love it. When I said we rediscovered it, we realized last week we had been here many years ago with friends but the place has changed so much I did not remember at first.

Now, as anyone who camps knows, gospel music, covered dish dinners, and church services are the norm. Especially in the mountains of North Carolina. Last night there was to be a covered dish dinner followed by a bluegrass gospel band. Which, by the way, was actually pretty good. We could hear them from our site. We opted to miss the dinner and festivities because I had promised the kids fish tacos for dinner. No offense to the people here or the band, but we just wanted fish tacos. That’s all. I decided before starting the tacos that I really did need to walk. So, I rounded up my shoes and started out. Loving daughter had arrived by now and drove around the path to check the distance so I could see how far I had walked. I convinced hubby to join me but he wanted to finish the chapter he was on in his book and would catch up with me on the second round. So he did join my on round 3 and we made 8 such rounds together. Ten for me. A little over 2 miles. (But who’s counting….) Anyway, as we passed the gazebo area on our way around, we were given some pretty dirty looks. I guess they felt we should be there in our little camping chairs tapping our feet and clapping our hands and eating what ever it was that was in all those crock pots. Now, I don’t really have anything against crockpot cooking, but I like to make my dishes the traditional way. You know, on the stove or in the oven. Or, in the case of this week-end, outside. I just like it better that way.

For dinner Saturday night we did have the tacos with avacado, homemade pico de gallo and chipotle mayonnaise. If anybody has a good use for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, please share. I only use about 2 tablespoons of the stuff and always end up throwing out the rest. We had key lime pie for dessert. Awesome. Only I didn’t eat my pie until 2:00a.m. I’m not usually a midnight foodie, but last night I woke up and all I could think about was that pie in the fridge and the fridge was right at my fingertips. So!!! I ate pie. Hubby woke up and caught me in the act. I told him to hush and go back to sleep.

This morning, we got up, or rather, I got up early and made the coffee, which I am really not good at. I never measure and just dump some in there and hope for the best. It was great. I usually drink my coffee black but found this Italian Crème stuff and it makes for a sweet little morning kick. Next week, I promise to get over the sweet stuff!!!! Cross my heart. I then made loving daughter no. 2’s favorite campsite breakfast. SOS, eggs, fresh fruit and canned biscuits. Canned biscuits are a special treat for me dating back over 40 years. When I was a little girl and we would go on vacation to the beach, my mom always made canned biscuits. That is the only time we ever had them because she always made handmade biscuits at home. Sometimes as many as three meals a day. I didn’t eat the SOS because of the dried beef, but I ate tons of the fruit. I even splurged and bought some of that T. Marzetti cream cheese fruit dip. I promise!!!! No more next week.

Well, it’s time to walk and the battery on loving daughter No. 2’s boyfriend’s laptop is about to go dead, so I’ll divulge the rest of my week-end events at a later time. Until then……….

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Week #5, Thursday

Today's instructions "walking, easy, 3 miles". I decided that after work today I would stop by Food Lion to pick up a few things for my trip this week-end. We are going to the mountains camping with friends and family. Oh wait, our friends backed out and YOU know who you are. Anyway, I thought I could save time by going today instead of tomorrow. I usually go to the new Ingles but just needed a few things so I thought it faster to run in FL. Never again!!! I'm sorry. I do try to support the underdog whenever possible. I believe that is truly the American way. Anyway, I think today was my last trip there. I went through the produce isle and decided I wanted a honeydew, bananas, red onions, red bell pepper, and an avocado. When I reached for the pepper, I had to flick a bug off it. I had to do this to an orange in there the other day. Same kinda bug. Might have been the same bug, for all I know. Anyway, then I went to get my avocado and when I picked one up, about a million gnats started flying around. I was amazed. The produce guy was standing over by the browning bagged lettuce and I said, "Excuse me, have you seen these gnats?" His response was, "Yeah, that's what you get in the summertime." I couldn't believe he said that. So, I commented,"but not in the grocery store." I just left my buggy with the produce sitting there and walked out. It was disgusting.

I then decided that I needed a few other things and would just go to Walmart. Today is the 3rd of the month and we all know what that means. No offense to anyone with food stamps. It was just extremely crowded in the parking lot. I see a man returning his buggy and realize that his vehicle is parked just near me so I wait. In the meantime, this idiot behind me starts blowing his horn. Lightly at first, then very aggressively. I just stare at him in my rear view mirror. It's not like I could go anywhere and even if I could have moved I wouldn't have. I was waiting on that space.

I finally finished my shopping and headed home. I unloaded my items and changed into walking attire. Hubby comes in about this time and I tell him of my experiences today. He is now convinced that my testosterone levels are completely tooooo high. Usually when my testosterone level is high, I just want to go to Lowe's and look at hand tools. You know, drills, sanders, saws. He is sure of this since I almost got us killed in Gaffney Tuesday night. We were leaving Cracker Barrel, following my parents. I was driving because hubby was in the backseat at the insistence of Miss Priss, who had joined us for the evening. My parents had moved over to the right hand turning lane at the mall exit and I was about to follow when this car load of idiots passed me on the right. Everybody knows you don't pass on the right!!! Well, they did and I blew the horn. Almost immediately 4 very large arms, one extending from each window, went up and gave me the finger. I just blew my horn harder. How dare them??? That is just so plan M.E.A.N. Hubby was certain we would get shot.

Anyway, I was not real happy. I guess my communication skills haven't been the best these past few days in dealing with idiots.

I finally left out for my walk and it was a beautiful afternoon for walking. My foot is still driving me crazy, though. I am expecting a miracle this week-end. I expect the pain to be totally gone by Saturday. That's my plan. I'm taking my walking shoes and my hiking boots even though there is not really a good place to walk be we do plan to do some hiking. I can't wait. We are leaving after lunch tomorrow (I am taking 1/2 a day off.) What???? I've worked 8 whole days already. It's time. Anyway, we will be by ourselves, except for Toby, until Saturday night. I have several books and magazines. I can't wait.

I have got to get serious about running next week. Loving daughter has promised to work with me. It should be interesting.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Week #5, Monday

WOW!!!! Four whole weeks and still going. It actually seems like I've been at it longer. Yesterday was an "Off" day so since my foot was bothering me, that's what I did.

Today's instructions "Hill walking, easy, 3 miles". I wasn't really sure I'd be able to walk today, since I was having my major foot surgery, but I managed to get in 2 miles before considering calling EMS to come pick me up on Mountain Street.

I left school at 3:30 to check on my dad who has been waiting since Thursday to hear about his CAT scan. Fortunately, I didn't have to go to the doctor's office myself and get ugly. I know that to those people at the doctor's office my dad is just another piece of meat, but by gosh, he is my 79 year old dad and he is in severe pain. When my dad sits in a chair for most of the day, he is in pain. When I called mom, she had just talked to them and they had put his results in a file until his 10:00 appointment tomorrow. I'll bet if it was the receptionist's dad she would want to know his results. Anyway, he should find out something in the morning.

I then headed to the foot doctor in Gastonia. Greatest woman I have ever met. While she was removing the weird thing growing inside the ball of my foot, I was asking her about this injection of some type steroid. Typical questions, you know like "Will it hurt? Will you deaden it? Will I cry? Will there be blood?" Just the usual questions people ask. She said, "Well, yeah, it will hurt." But since I had decided that this was the only way to be able to continue to walk and learn to run, I must face the demon and go for it. Guess what? Piece a cake. She sprayed this cold stuff on it the whole time she was injecting me and it was a little uncomfortable but not bad at all. It just took what seemed like forever for her to finish. I just hid my face with a pamphlet and gritted my teeth. She just asked me a couple of times if I was breathing, I think I was. She says that most people say the pain gets worse then goes away. I can handle that. I'm tired of limping. Anyway, we'll see how this goes. And to think I almost threw up every time I thought about it today.

After I got home, loving daughter wanted to walk, so we started at her house with Miss Priss to make the 3 mile journey. Miss Priss insisted on the high heel yellow Minnie Mouse shoes, her hoodie and blanket. She is definitely ready for fall. Ain't we all???? And remember Turk, poop dog? Well, he joined us and was up to his same old tricks Pooping every 10 feet, peeing on every shrub. How can a dog contain so much urine, is beyond me. And, boy can that dog run. If you don't run, poop dog will make you. So, if you saw some crazy woman being pulled down Kings Street by a German Short-Haired Pointer, well, that would have been me. We walked to Gaston then headed for the length of Mountain. About halfway down Mountain my foot, where the big hole now is, began to throb and bad. I had to stop for a minute then we turned and headed back. Loving daughter offered to run home and get her car, but I wasn't about to be beat by a hole in my foot. My heel wasn't really bothering me at this point. I guess it was still a little numb from the injection.

We made it back after only 2 miles. I was glad I went even with the pain. I didn't really think I was going to be able to walk at all after the major surgery. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. I might try that running thing again. We'll see........

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Week #4, Saturday

What a perfect day for walking. Cool, breezy, sunny. What more could you ask for? Today's instructions were "walking, easy, 5 miles". Sorry, no can do. And I do have to remember that the program I'm following is for a 10K and I only plan to run a 5K so, I DON'T have to walk 5 miles if I don't want to. It's not that I didn't want to, it's that I couldn't. My foot is in bad shape again. I'm going to the doctor on Monday and I'm going to take the advice of friends and let her inject me with the huge needle. It makes me want to throw up just thinking about it. I've always been this way. I would never have made a good nurse. I get queasy if I brake a nail. Once loving daughter had to go the doctor to get stitches in her head and I had to leave the room and put my head between my knees. It's pretty bad. When my girls were babies, I couldn't even clean out their noses with those sucky things. My sister would have to come and do it. Anyway, if I'm going to walk and what's more, run, I'll have to get something done. So, remember me in your prayers around 4:30 Monday afternoon please.

Speaking of running, I have a questions for my fellow runners. Have you ever been running down a hill and have the sudden fear of tripping over your own feet? What happens if you do? Do you land on your knees? Do you land on your face? Do you just tumble over and break your neck? Well, for some unknown reason when I was walking down the sidewalk in front of the high school today, I had this sudden urge to just take off running. And that's what I did. Just started running. I then started thinking about this tripping thing and by the time I got across the little bridge and started up the hill, I stopped and just walked. When I got to the flat area behind McDonald's, I started running again. I figured that if I tripped on flat ground, at least I wouldn't roll too far. I must look pretty funny running because Miss Priss and her mom saw me running yesterday down my street and as they drove along beside me with the window down, Miss Priss was giggling and says "Gamma, you look funny running". So, if your granddaughter says you look funny, then by gosh you look funny.

Anyway, my foot is killing me. After my walk today, I cleaned my entire house and then my mom wanted to go to Lowe's. Now, when I go to Lowe's, I know exactly what I'm after. But not my mom!!! We look at the blinds repeatedly for 1 hour. The same blinds over and over and over. And of course she decides on the first ones we saw. And after our trip to the mall with our same experience with the shoes that she ended up NOT getting, my foot hurt even worse.

Next, hubby and I went to eat and then paid our weekly visit at Walmart. Today we went to the Walmart in Belmont. More walking on aching foot. In the 25.3 years that I have been married to said man, he has become an expert Walmart buggy rider. As we were leaving the Walmart today, he was riding the buggy through the parking lot and some lady passed me smiling and all I said was "I pity his poor wife". I took the long way to where we had parked and hid my face with a bag.

Well, I'm supposed to be "off" tomorrow but we'll see. If it is as nice tomorrow as it has been today, I may get out there anyway. Who knows?

Until then.....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Week #4 - Thursday

What a crazy week and it's not even over yet. I've been getting up early and coming home late. Oh, but never fear, this too shall pass. Pretty soon I'll be just barely getting to my classroom ahead of the kids and leaving as soon as the buses pull out. Well, not really. With our new schedule change this year, I have no afternoon planning until after 3:00. I guess that's why I've been staying so late. Except today, I left at about 3:45. I had to take my car to Gaffney to have a little thingy repaired on the door. We were planning to leave it until tomorrow but we went back later tonight and picked it up. I'm just one of those people who likes to drive her own car. We own a total of 8 vesicles. That's right. No, make that 9. I forgot about hubby's 51 Chevy truck. So 9 vehicles. Now I know 3 of those are work vehicle and 2/3 are hubby's toys so that leaves 3 in the driveway. The two corvettes have a place of honor in the garage. MY garage. The garage I've never had and still don't. Oh, don't think there haven't been a few words between us about that garage issue. I lost.

Today's instructions were to walk 2 miles, easy. Forget it. I'll have to make it up tomorrow.
After we took my car to Gaffney to the dealership, we met friends in BC to eat. I have been to this place (I won't mention the name) before to eat and remembered liking the salad bar. I had been looking forward to this all week. We usually eat with these friends at least once a week, but they have been busy and tonight was our first outing in about two weeks.

Anyway, we get to said restaurant and are seated in a very tiny, crowded, party room. Next, the waitress calls everybody sweety and honey. I hate that. I have a name. I also hate it when cashiers at the grocery store call old people sweety and honey. Get a grip. One time at the grocery store a male bagger called hubby "Bubba". Oh yeah, he set him straight. Anyway, this same waitress absolutely refused to get our drink order straight. How can 2 coffees, one iced tea and a diet coke be so confusing? My first question to the waitress was, "Do they cook the flounder with the shellfish?". I am highly allergic to shellfish you know and I do carry and epi pen but don't want to use it and I don't want to stop breathing. That would totally ruin my day. She assures me they do not, but 3 seconds later returns to say "Oh yes they do and they cook the hush puppies and the fries with the shellfish too". She says they will broil me a flounder so I order that with a baked potato. I will give it this, the salad was good. When our food came, I opened my potato and it was rotten. Well, only half of it was rotten. Isn't that why they slice them open in the kitchen before bringing them out? So I scooped that out. I hate to send food back and it wasn't really a big deal. That is until I noticed that my broiled flounder was totally covered with hush puppies that had just been cooked with the shellfish. Go figure. She came and took it away. So I kept the potato and put it on a napkin thinking she might offer to bring my a plate. But no. About 5 minutes later she came back to our table and asked if I wanted another fish. Dah!!! YES!!! After everyone had finished their food she brought me the fish. Not hungry now. Boxed it up and sent it to friends father. Oh and then I sat in a rocking chair and tore a hole in my pants on a nail or something. But other than all this, I had the time of my life.

Anyway, I still had a good time. But I feel guilty for not walking but I'll make it up tomorrow. Just switch out tomorrows rest day.

Until then.......

Monday, August 24, 2009

Week Four

I can't believe that I have faithfully stayed on this program for three whole weeks.
This week begins to get a little more intense. Longer walks. But that is ok. I think I can do 5 miles by Saturday. I hope I can. That is a round trip to loving daughter's house.

School starts back tomorrow. I really am excited. I always am. I have 79 kids and 63 of them and their parents showed up for open house last week. That is amazing. Maybe parents are finally getting the idea that they need to be involved. I really hope so. That sure does make my job easier. I have a new classroom and a new teammate. So far , we have worked together smoothly and have accomplished a lot. I think things will be great.

On Saturday, I worked until around noon then came home, changed clothes and waked to a 1:00 meeting at church. 2 miles. After the meeting I walked home. We have made some major committee changes at church and that was on my mind. Have you ever noticed that church people can be the hardest people to get along with? Aren't we all there for the common goal? Why do people get mad if things don't go there way and walk off committees or even leave the church? Oh well. That's between them and God. Sure I get my feelings hurt and people say things that bother me, but I'm not going to let them dictate my relationship with God. Those people are mere humans. And humans are not perfect.

Sunday was a "Off" day and I complied with those directions. After church, lunch and nap time, I made a carrot-less cake. Ever had one? Well, that is a carrot cake you forget to put the carrots in. After said carrot-less cake had been in the oven for about 20 minutes, I noticed my freshly grated carrots sitting in their bowl on the counter. So after church Sunday night, I made a carrot cake, (With carrots this time), to take to my dear friends in the office at school. They have been so helpful with getting us ready for the arrival of the darlings tomorrow. We could never make it without them. If I ever need cheering up, all I have to do is walk into the front office. They will even let me vent when necessary.

I had not planned to work all day today. I was going to take the final 3 hours of my furlow that YOUR governor issued. You know, the money she took from me a few months ago in exchange for 10 hours off. But, that did not work out. I had soooo much to get done today. Make copies, do seat assignments, work on lesson plans, meet with my wonderful team, and put tons of paper work and timetrackers on the desks. Now, tomorrow some student is going to find a fingernail in a timetracker. That's right. I knocked one off again and I know it is in a timetracker. Since the first day of school always sets the tone for the remainder of the year, finding that fingernail is going to be great.

Today's instructions say that mess about walking for three miles up parking lot ramps. That ain't gonna happen! Anyway, after school, I did a little shopping then my sister came over and we walked my 3 mile route. It was fun. She runs some so I had to hustle to keep up with her. (Another reason I like walking alone.) But it was nice to have her join me today.

Like I said, I'm excited about tomorrow. New room, new team, new faces. They'll be nervous and excited and anxious. Some will have new boyfriends/girlfriends, new clothes and shoes. Some will have new issues, things most of us can't imagine having lived through at their age. I have seen a lot in my years of teaching. I hope that this year I can be what each child needs me to be. That is my goal....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Days Seventeen and Eighteen

This working thing is just really not working for me...Up too late. Up too early. Too much to do at school to get ready for the little darlings on Tuesday. Staying too late. Too much to do at home. I've needed to go to the grocery store since Monday. I'll have to go soon because we are now down to our last roll of toilet paper. My house is a disaster. I finally ran the dishwasher tonight and vacuumed the den. And I'm tired!!!

The past few days have become a blur. Yesterday's instructions were "walking, moderate, 3 miles". The only thing I remember about that walk was that it started storming and I got wet.

Today's instructions "Walking, easy, 2 miles". My plan for today was to leave school and be home by 4:00. Didn't happen. I didn't get home until after 5:00 and I had to go to Office Max for a few choice items. So off hubby and I went. I found the various items I wanted to purchase and went to check out. I then realized that I had left my bag, which could be used as a 15% off coupon, at home and those jerks would not give me the discount without the bag. Since I spent over $50.00 that would have been $7.00. There's a lot I can do with $7.00. Lunch, a good magazine, a smelly candle, a pair of socks (which I desperately need), toilet paper (which I'm going to need soon), 7 little organic chocolate milks for Miss Priss, 7 things at the Dollar Tree, 7 diet cokes from the machine at work (which is a rip-off), and the list goes on. Well, after we left the Office Max we went to eat. Two tables from us sat a family, mom, dad, and three little girls. Just you typical middle class family. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't eavesdropping, I was just able to overhear their conversations. These are the things I learned about this family: 1) They had traveled for three hours and three more hours to go. 2) The oldest daughter was in the 97 percentile for height and the 75 percentile for weight. 3) Before the middle daughter was born, they had to do an ultrasound because her head was too big. (Mom assured her that her head was just big because it was full of brains.) 4) The youngest daughter is a wild child and has a new friend at pre-school named Anna.

Anyway, we returned home and after putting a load of clothes in Challenger 15 (my washing machine that is about to take off after 15 years of service), I headed out the door for my sissy walk. After getting halfway through my neighborhood, I met up with a friend and we walked together. We ended up walking a bit farther than my 2 miles but it was nice to have a companion for a change but I really do like walking alone better. It gives me a chance to unwind and think and plan and observe things. Oh, and she thinks the car seat looks like a dog too!!

Until tomorrow or whenever......

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day Sixteen

If you happened to be driving down Wintergreen Court late this evening and saw a strange woman running, well, that would have been me. That's right!!! I ran today. For the first time ever, I ran. (At least it was the first time I have run since I was eleven and being chased by a bull at my uncle's house. Another story.) The reason I suddenly decided that today was the day I would start running was because I was trying to escape from my house, undetected, by Miss Priss. She and Papa sat glued to Wonder Pets and I slowly crept across the room, out the front door, closing it ever so softly, and darted down the steps so I wouldn't be able to hear her scream for me when she realized I was missing. After darting down the steps, I , for some unknown reason, just kept going at that pace and before I knew it I was running up Wintergreen. Now I didn't run very far, just to my neighbor's driveway, but I RAN .

Today's instructions "Low-intensity activity, 40 minutes". I didn't really know how I was going to work this activity in today since I worked until a little after 5:00. And no taxpayers, you don't pay me to work past 3:30, so don't worry, and after work today my family was to gather at mom and dad's to celebrate dad's 79th birthday.

Going to mom's to eat is always a big treat and tonight was no exception. Fresh potatoes from the garden, fried okra, creamy cole slaw, tomato sandwiches with her secret spread, and the best part, biscuits. Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that my mom's sole purpose in life has been to bake buttermilk biscuits. Now, you may think your mom's biscuits are the best, but you are so wrong. Noboby can beat my mom at biscuits. Her biscuits are even good cold and three days old. I've even been known to eat one after pinching a little mold off it. And she doesn't use some old mix, she makes them from scratch with shortening and real butter milk. And then she kneads and kneads them and rolls them out on a cloth that she has had for years and then she bakes them on the same pan she has been baking them on for as long as I can remember. Yep, hers are the best.

After sitting around for a while, it was time to come home. Miss Priss was coming home with us for a while. When we got home, we went across the street to play with the neighbor's children and then we watered my plants and got really wet with the hose. She loved it. Hubby liked it when we sprayed him too. Then Miss Priss and I got in the hammock and I had to tell her her favorite story. The one about the beautiful princess (who happens to have the same name as Miss Priss) with the most beautiful, wonderful, greatest, most intelligent gamma in the world. Me.

After the story, papa and Miss Priss decided to watch tv and I changed into my walking garb. That's when I headed out on my first ever run. When I first started running up the street, it kinda took me by surprise. It was like looking at myself and I was thinking 'Am I really running?' and I was. And like I said, I really didn't make it too far till I started walking but after I got up the first hill on my route to the flat area, I decided just to see if I could run again, and I did. I ran to the next incline. That was when I decided that I would run on the flat and downhill areas and walk up the hills. The hills became my friends today. I did this all the way out of my neighborhood and up Maner Road to Fulton. That's when the little blue car slowed down and started following me. Fortunately I know most of the people that live in that area and was prepared to start running to some one's house if necessary. Don't worry, I've decided not to walk on Maner Road after dark alone anymore. Finally the car went on past and I was headed back down Maner Road. On the way back, I didn't think it was too safe to run down Maner Road. No. 1 , it was dark and No. 2 it's steep. I didn't want to trip over my number 8.5s in the dark and my knees were kinda weak. So after I entered back into my neighborhood, I started running again. After about 2 blocks, I passed a fellow runner. She kinda gives me this nod like we have a connection. Like we belong to a group. Like I'm one of them. Little did she know that I am about to die and not sure my legs will keep me up. But I'm not about to stop running. I can't. I have to prove I can do this. Plus, it is down hill almost all the way home. I make it around the turn and about halfway down Wintergreen and then walk for a bit. Then I make myself run the last stretch to my door. It was great. I was soooo proud of myself. But I'm really glad it was dark and somewhat thankful for the hills tonight.

Today's lessons??? Don't walk alone after dark, always know your surroundings, and have respect for things that are scary, because they might become your friend someday.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day Fifteen

If you were driving down Maner Road today and some blind lady stepped out in in front of you, well, that would have been me. My greatly anticipated eye doctor appointment was this afternoon. And, just as suspected, my vision has gotten worse since my last appointment. Thanks to my lovely fashion consultant, youngest loving daughter, I will have new designer glasses in about a week.

Having your pupils dilated sucks. And walking three miles up hill afterwards sucks too. Today's instructions simply state, "Hill walking (on rolling terrain, a treadmill set at a 3% to 5% incline, or up and down parking lot ramps during non-peak hours), easy, 3 miles". Does anybody see a problem here? What the heck is a rolling terrain? The only thing I can imagine is the field beside my dad's house with cows. Cow Poop? No thanks. 3-5% incline on a treadmill? Forget it. That doesn't even sound fun. (Unless I'm at the Grove Park.) Then the last suggestion, a parking lot with ramps? Where would I find that? And what are parking lot ramps? Like I'm going to walk there during peak hours or any other time for that matter. Oh well, I decided to construct a 3 mile route on my own. Now, I am surrounded by hills. I live on one and everywhere I go there are hills so this should not be too hard. I decide to walk up to Maner and go to the end at the high school, then walk to the other end where it meets Fulton. If I do this twice then walk home, that will be three miles. Easy, right? Wrong.

I have already been on my feet all day at school. Preparing for the arrival of 81 and counting, precious 8th graders to arrive next Tuesday. I spent the day working on bulletin boards, moving heavy furniture, and arranging desks. My shoulder hurts and my left foot is already killing me (whine, whine, whine) but I have discovered that the walking doesn't make it hurt any worse until I stop. Isn't that strange? And it is hot today. Very hot. My pupils are dilated. AND, my eyes water. AND, my vision is blurred. (more whining) But I march forward. I have to walk looking down at the ground because if I look to far ahead, my vision gets worse. I have on these huge sunglasses over my regular glasses to hopefully offer some relief to my eyes. Every few feet I have to take off both pair of glasses and wipe my eyes. My hair is soon soaking wet and dripping onto my shirt. (Forgot my visor today.) Since I'm not looking up, I don't see the oncoming cars. Talk about peak hours. I try to stay as close to the edge of the road as possible, but every once in a while I veer outward. Ooops, sorry I made you swerve there car. I am disabled at the moment. But thanks. By the time I am on the last leg of the route, I am about to pass out. I can feel the heat coming off my face. I finally reach home to my loving and jumping and kissing dog. Today's 3.1 mile walk took me 1 hour and 8 minutes. But, it was mostly up hill. I don't know if that's good or not.

After I got home, I had to work in the garden. Being a product of the country, we know that there only 3 days in the year that you can successfully plant turnips. August 7th, 17th, or 27th. I don't eat turnips or grapefruit. They have to be kin because they are both round and they both stink. But I do love turnip greens. And you can't beat fresh ones from the garden in October. So, since hubby had tilled up my patch in the garden, and purchased the seeds for me, as instructed, I had to plant them today. I'm tired.

Until tomorrow.....

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Days Thirteen and Fourteen

I, like everyone else, love week-ends. There is just something about the phrase "the week-end" that makes facial expressions change, heart rates slow, and smiles appear on millions of faces everywhere. Fortunately, neither the hubs nor I have ever had jobs that required us to work on week-ends. Now there have been occasions when hubby has had to go out on an emergency and I do work on lesson plans on the week-end, but as a rule, week-ends are ours.

Yesterday morning I was awakened to the sound of a lawnmower. Several months ago this happened at 6:45a.m. That's right, 6:45A.M. Who cuts their grass at 6:45a.m on a Saturday morning? Saturday mornings are for sleeping in, sitting on the porch listening to birds, quiet after a hectic week. Not listening to a neighbor cut his grass and definitely not being awakened by the lawnmower. After my little talk, and it was a friendly talk, my neighbor no longer cuts his grass until 9:00a.m. on Saturday. Still too early, but I did compromise. Anyway, yesterday there it was, the humming of the mower. So with my eyes still closed, I reached over to nudge hubby with my foot so he could go get the bad man cutting the grass. Our bed is a queen size so I can easily reach him with my foot but, he was not there. Reluctantly, I roll over, pry my heavy lids open, and realize that the time is 9:06. How could it possibly be after 9:00? I never sleep this late. So I jump out of bed, grab my glasses, and wonder aimlessly through the house. No hubby in sight. I go out the back door and the mowing gets louder. I round the back corner of my house, and the mowing gets louder. I head to the lower yard near the building, still louder. The mower, OUR mower, is backed up to the mulch pile for grass dumping. At this point hubby notices me, shuts off the "Yard Man", and smiles. "Good morning, Darling". I'm having a little trouble responding here, so all I can manage to say is "What are you doing?" His response? "I didn't want to wake you, so I came outside to cut grass." I just turn and walk back inside.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. That phrase has gotten me into, well let's just say, situations, before. But I dress, brush my teeth and hair and head outside. We work in the yard until I finally quit at 3:30. Since I had walked the 4.2 miles on Friday and cleaned my entire house, I had decided to just work around the yard and try to recover. Beginning Monday, I am sticking to the plan. Every part of my body hurt to some extent. By the time I had ridden my yard of pesky weeds, pressure washed the back porch, cleaned out the fish pond, pulled up the spent veggie plants in my garden and helped spread 27 bags of mulch, I was beginning to loosen up. Good thing. 'Cause I quit!!

Today's instructions say "OFF". Since I had screwed up the plan and had taken yesterday off from my walking, I decided to get up early and walk before church. This was great. I headed out at 7:30 and walked toward the armory, through the old WD parking lot and down Gold Street Ext. This is a great 3 mile route. And very peaceful. This is the earliest I have walked. Breakfast time around the town. I have a very keen sense of smell. Yes, it may have something to do with the size of my nose, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I can smell everything. I can smell the hubby's dirty socks across the house and I can smell when my neighbor burns something (which is quite often). And I can smell the rain. It's true, I can tell when it's going to rain. As I was walking past McDonald's, I could smell the grease. Since I gave up meat, I don't eat at McDonald's anymore and if you could have smelled the grease, you wouldn't eat there either. Loving daughter says they soak their fries in beef grease before cooking them. Maybe they do. Anyway, on the return trip down Gold St. Ext, I start smelling rain. This is a little disturbing because I have no umbrella today. I decide I need to hasten my pace. I'm feeling pretty good this morning so I step it up a notch. They sky begins to darken as I continue on down Phifer Road toward the high school. The next smell to register is horse poo. And there stands Mr. Ed at the fence looking me straight in the eye. So I stop for "A Time to Talk" (that is from one of my favorite Robert Frost poems). So I rub Mr. Ed on the head a bit, then bid farewell and head homeward. Maybe I'll take him a carrot next time or an apple. Anyway, going up death hill on Maner Road, I notice that someone is having sausage for breakfast. Oh well. I arrive home merely seconds before the rain begins to fall. Perfect timing on my part.

3 miles today. Pretty easy. Tomorrow's instructions are a little scary. It involves "hill walking". What else is new!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Day Twelve

I have discovered that it is extremely important not to veer away from instructions. Important, knowledgeable people write instructions for things because they know things. Right? For example, people who know how to put things together write instructions. People who know how to bake a cake give us a recipe/instructions. We are given many instructions, some written and some that are passed on to us orally. Our moms all told us not to stick screwdrivers in outlets (I actually had a kid at school stick a metal paper clip into a light switch. Shocked the poo poo out of him. Not a very bright kid, I might add.) We were also instructed not to cross the street in front of cars and many, many other things. So when instructions for a 5K walking plan tells us that it is time for a day of "Low-intensity activity, 30 minutes", we should follow those instructions.

I have really become very serious about this 5K plan. I have planned my whole life around my walking time. If I walk in the morning, I want to go again at night. If someone wants me to do something, it has to fit into my walking schedule. Except if it is my dad, then I drop whatever I'm doing and jump. Like this morning when he called at 8:00 and I'm sitting here putting my shoes on and he wants me to go somewhere with him. "Yes dad". My dad is a flea market junkie. Now I haven't been to a flea market in years and that is where he wanted me to go. So he picked me up and off we went. When we go somewhere together, I usually do the driving. My father will be 79 years old on Tuesday. His driving is pretty good. He is a little scary at traffic lights, but I just kept my mouth shut except the one time when I was almost positive he didn't realize the light was red. However, after slamming on the brakes, he assured me he did . It is so very hard for me to believe that he has lived that long and that he is still in pretty good shape. He has never had any major illness. I think he did have a hernia once and he does have skin cancers occasionally, and he has a few weak joints, but other than that he is great. Just recently, he re roofed the barn at his house. I about had a heart attack. But what do you say? Dad, don't reroof the barn? No. You let him go for it and hope he doesn't fall.

So, off to the flea market we go. And we walk, and we walk, and we walk. Have you ever noticed the people at the flea market? Is this how they make a living? And where do they get all the junk they are trying to sell? Home canned goods that just reeked of botulism. Box after box of Rice-a-roni. Where do you get that many boxes of rice-a-roni? Various tools that have no meaning. Glass things from somewhere. And more used clothing than imaginable. Now, I don't know about you, but I just have trouble thinking about putting on the old clothes of a stranger. What have they done in those pants? And if you even look in the direction of some object, they immediately tell you a price. And don't even dream of making eye contact. I think they would sell you their soul.

After we strolled through a couple of times and dad had made his single big purchase, a fish net, we headed back home.

Now my walking plan for the day was to walk from my house to the Armory. Just 2 miles. But two miles is for sissies. I can do two miles easy these days. Before two weeks ago the only way I could have walked two miles and called it easy was if you dangled a cheeseburger in front of me. So when I got to the Armory, I decided to turn and walk a little way up Mountain Street. But I keep going and going. One more block, one more block. I finally made a right turn onto Cherokee Street. You know, that little street past Griffin drug. Then I turned right on Gold and crossed over the rail road tracks and headed on home. Now I was ok until about halfway down Gold Street. That's when my foot started aching. Of course I have no choice but to keep going. And I do. When I reached Phifer and headed toward the high school, that road seemed to be miles long. It was very hard for the last mile. I thought I would surely pass out going up killer hill on Maner, but I finally reached the crest and headed into my neighborhood. It felt like forever before I reached my house and then I collapsed on the porch for about 10 minutes. This was the farthest I had ever walked at one time without stopping. I may have over done it today. My left foot with the issues is killing me. But, maybe after a long soak in the whirlpool tub, I'll feel better.

Lesson learned? Follow instructions. If it says "Low-intensity activity for 30 minutes" do a low intensity activity for 30 minutes. Save the 4.2 miles for when you are instructed to do so. Somebody smart wrote this plan. I'm sure of it!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day Eleven

I have definitely got to find myself a new 2 mile path. Through the fog, I saw my life flash before my eyes today.

Today's instructions were "walking, easy, 2 miles". Now less than two weeks ago I would have laughed at the thought of 2 miles at any pace being easy. Since then, 2 miles has become a breeze. Even the hills in my neighborhood aren't quiet as scary. I headed out and decided that today would be a good day to observe spider webs. The fog had settled on them and they were so brilliant in the early morning. I have this huge one at the corner of my house with a giant orange spider. I named her Napoleon. I hope she captures all my mosquitoes. Anyway, walking up my street I noticed lots of webs and it was my goal to figure out what shape they were. For example, the one on lot 72 was the shape of Wyoming and the one on the adjacent lot was the shape of a foot. I noticed several others on my journey and was really relaxing and enjoying my walk. Not a single car passed and the only sound I remember hearing was a car back fire in the distance. (Or what I thought was a car back firing.)

Before I knew it, I was crossing over Fulton and heading down Big Black Dog/Carseat Street. There is a hedge or something that hides Mr. Toothless Grinning man's house. When you pass that hedge, you are right at his little shed. In said shed he has a boat and an old car and usually, he has been sitting in that shed or tinkering with various things. Well today as soon as I passed the hedge, he was standing there with something in his hand and I thought oh, he has a fishing rod. He most be going fishing. Now remember, I do have and eye doctor appointment on Monday. What I first thought was a fishing rod turned out to be a shot gun and about the time I figured that out, he must have seen me sneaking around the hedge because he dropped said shot gun and jump two feet in the air. This caused me to jump and scream. I just stood there a minute trying to regroup. " YOU CRAZY? HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND? DID THEY JUST LET YOU OUT OF THE LOONY BIND? IS THAT THING LOADED?" Well, yeah, it was loaded. These are the things I wanted to ask but all I said after I started breathing again and after noticing a dead squirrel laying there was, "Gettin' rid of squirrels, are ya?" He just nodded and I kept on moving.

Needless to say, I was a bit nervous as I circled around that area and headed home.

Now I believe that people, sane people, should be able to own a gun. But I don't really think it is a good idea to let people get out in their yard and shot squirrels. Not in the city limits. Not when innocent people, like me, may come strolling by. Not when a kid on a bicycle might come by. Is there not a law against this? Oh well.

After escaping near death, I continued back toward my home and decided to add a few extra blocks to my walk. I wanted to be sure and get in at least two miles, plus, I needed to recover from my shock.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day Ten

If you were riding down 74 near Food Lion at around 2:00 today and saw some crazy woman cross the road in front of a big red transfer truck, well, that would have been me.

Today's instructions were to walk moderate, 3 miles. I have Bible school tonight so I knew I couldn't very well wait so I decided to go ahead and venture out in the rain. Since I'm trying to avoid Gold Street (no offense to anyone that lives there), I was thinking of another route to take. I needed some ricotta cheese for a dish I'm making and had forgotten to stop at the store earlier, so I decided I would walk to Food Lion for said purchase. Now, the pants I chose for this outing have no pockets, so into the bra went the $20.00 bill. I grabbed my umbrella and off I went.

I like walking down Maner Road and up Phifer. It is a busy road but the walk is easy. This is the first time since starting this program that I have had to walk in the rain. I used to see people running and walking in the rain all the time and thought they must be crazy but it really is kinda nice. I have decided that I need to take a note pad with me so I can give out speeding tickets on Phifer Road. People fly down that street. "Citizens arrest, citizens arrest". And never mind that they are splashing water on me. But I guess I did ask for it. Anyway, I decided that it was probally not a very good idea to walk on highway 74 from Phifer to Food Lion, so I detoured through the old Winn Dixie parking lot and headed down Gold Street Extension. Now I ride through that little area alot but I have never really noticed the houses on that street. Oh, they are nothing remarkable, just plain old homes. I figure some of them were there before the road. But today I was able to notice their quaintness. Most of them are worn, and tattered, and lived-in, and loved. I began looking at each one individually and just wondering about the people who live there or have lived there in the past. How many babies had been brought home there, how many new family members had been welcomed, how many deaths had been endured. Thinking things like this makes you realize that you pass by people all the time and never really stop to think about them and their lives. We need to slow down and think of others. I also noticed the porches on these homes. You know, proches were really first utilized in the south to offer places to sleep at night to escape the summer heat (pre airconditioning). Many of them were so inviting with their beautiful plants, comfy looking chairs and other personal touches. Then there were the houses that definitely need a dose of Marthat Stewart. How many times do I have to say that fake ferns turn blue in the sun. And what about used appliances on the front porch? And in the yard? People get real. Now I know that some people are not as fortunate as others, but please, you can be a little neater. How many old clunkers do you actually have to leave in your yard? And No, we don't just open the back door and throw out our garbage. We pay taxes and people will come to your home and pick up your trash.

Anyway, I finally reached 74 where I would need to cross. Now, if you know anything about that area you know that the only way to cross is to walk left or right to a specified crossing area or to cross through the medium. I chose to cross through the medium. Not a good idea. I made it halfway and had to stop in the grass to wait on passing vehicles. This place where I chose to cross is on a hill (what else) so about the time I would think it was safe, a car would come barreling over that hill. I finally start walking toward Food Lion in the grass, refusing to make eye contact with anyone as they passed even though several cars blew at me. Finally I see my chance, or so I think. I make it about halfway across when big red tractor trailer comes over hill. My heart stopped and I had to run for my life. I was shaking like a leaf and just walked up through that little office building and into the parking lot of Food Lion and finally arrive safely inside.

Once inside the store, I grabbed a buggy, (more for support than shopping), I went to the restroom, got a drink of water and extracted the $20.00 bill. Now remember, whatever I purchase, I have to carry home. I found my ricotta, decided I needed sour cream and cream cheese. Oh, and I was out of deodorant. I paid my bill, and out the store I went. I decided that for the trip home I should change my course a little so I walked through the parking lot up to Garrison and then I still had to cross over the medium. Fortunately, it was not as hazardous this time. About halfway down Gold Street Extension, the unthinkable happens. My bag bursts. Crap. I can't shove all this stuff into my pockets because I don't have any. So I finally manage to repair the bag, sort of, and I just have to hope for the best.

By the time I get back to the old Winn Dixie parking lot, I am sweatin' like a pig. (Do pigs sweat?) It's humid and I didn't put on my extra splash of deodorant before I left home. Oh wait!!!! I have new deodorant in busted bag. So, I discretely take out and open new deodorant. and hide myself with umbrella and put some on. Just as a car pulls up beside me, I drop everything. Bag, umbrella, deodorant. The top to my deodorant flies across the road and my umbrella goes in the opposite direction. It was great. Here I am in the rain, chasing the lid for my deodorant, bag is busted in another place, and umbrella has gone into the grassy nole area.
I manage to get lid, secure the bag and recover my umbrella and head on down Phifer Road.

When I get to the high school, the clock on the marque tells me it has taken me more than an hour since I past here earlier. How long was I in the store? Oh well. I finally make it up killer hill on Maner and reach the home stretch. 3.4 miles

Next time? No shopping on walks and no walking on sidewalkless roads. To treacherous..

Until tomorrow....