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....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day Eight and Nine

OMG!!!!! The Grove Park Inn Spa is the most amazing, tranquil, peaceful, relaxing place in the world. (Or at least the parts of the world I have seen.) So, sorry, R, K, J, M, and R that you did not get a blog for yesterday and sorry this one is soooooo late tonight. But thanks for noticing. It is nice to be missed.

My day at the spa on Monday began with a robe and a pair of slippers. Not just any robe, I might add, but the most wonderful robe that has ever touch my body. I had tears in my eyes when I had to put it in the "Return robe here", container when I started to leave last night. I would have bought one at the spa shop but was afraid to even look at the price tag. After being introduced to the robe and slippers, we were given a tour of the facility. After the tour, we were escorted to the Fireside Lounge where I just sat for about 30 minutes sipping herbal tea and snacking on a cup of healthy something. Whatever, it was the best herbal tea and healthy something I had ever put in my mouth. It took me those 30 minutes to make my self relax and realize I had all day to do, nothing or anything. So I decided to put on my bathing suit and head underground to the pools. Before you even go to the pool area there is a yen garden where all you do is rake sand with a wooden rake. Sounds kinda lame, I know, until you actually try it. It was soooooo relaxing. The transition pool was a little scary but I tried it. Not successfully. You get into a hot tub and I do mean hot, 103 degrees, for about 7 minutes then you jump into a hole that is about 3 feet in diameter and 5 feet deep and the water is icy cold. It is supposed to be good for your circulation, but my circulation is just fine, thank you, so I just stuck my foot in the cold hole. Several of the others in my crowd were braver than me. Then there were the two saunas and a breathing room. In the breathing room, you just go in there and breath. Easy enough. I liked that. The saunas were a bit overwhelming after about 5 minutes but nice. My favorite part was the hot tub adjacent to the pools. It has these water falls from about 8 feet above you that fall really hard and when you stand under it, the pressure is very, very soothing. It was great. Outside on the patio there was another hot tub but it was very, very, hot out and a little crowded.

Now, this may sound kinda strange, but I did go to the gym. It was amazing. Not a very large gym, but great. No one else wanted to go with me. Wimps. So, I went upstairs to the locker room and changed into walking clothes and shoes. (I hugged my robe before hanging it in my locker. I'm telling you, that robe was great.)I went to the spa reception area where a young man was summoned to escort me to the gym. I was the only one in there and after about 10 minutes this man came in and made me feel like I was the queen of Sheba. "Can I get you a cool towel? How about some more water? Can I change the TV channel for you? I'll be back in a few minutes to check on you." Amazing......

Now I did cheat little bit yesterday at the spa. I was supposed to walk 3 miles, easy. But I just stayed on the treadmill for 38 minutes. I don't remember how far that was, but I was missing lunch and, well, I ain't gonna miss lunch. Especially at the Grove Park.

After I left the gym, and on my way to the locker room to return to bathing suit and wonderful robe, I passed through the fireside lounge and grabbed another cup of that healthy stuff. While changing, I accidentally popped off one of my nails. No, not a real nail, a fake one I had put on Sunday before church. Well, I couldn't very well go to the Grove Park with my toes looking great and my finger nails looking like I had been working in the yard all summer, now could I? But anyway, there went my nail, somewhere. Oh well, I had extras at home. But on the way down to the patio to join the others for lunch, I bit into something that wasn't part of healthy stuff in cup. Guess what? It was my nail, safe and secure. So, since I didn't want to throw it away, I stuck it in the pocket of my robe. This proved to be a very wise thing to do. Everybody in the spa has the same robe, so when getting out of the pool and trying to find your robe, its easy if yours has a fingernail in the pocket.

Lunch was fabulous. You can go to the Spa Cafe in your robe or order from a roaming waiter and have it brought to the terrace, or patio or one of the inside lounges. We decided to eat outside on the patio. I had the Grilled and Chilled Veggie Wrap. Delicious!!!!!!

Oh, if you ever go to the spa, you don't need to take anything. I packed my big Vera Bradley duffel bag with, hair dryer, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, everything I might need. I didn't even need to open that bag the whole day. They had everything there. It was awesome.

A big storm hit about 4:00. It was beautiful. One area I haven't mention (because, for obvious reasons, I didn't spend much time there) is the quiet lounge. It is a room with huge windows that open with no screens, Birds and butterflies were passing through there all day. It was spectacular. And, you can't talk out there. Get real. Me be quiet??? No way. But during the storm, I did go out there for a little while, then I returned to the fireside lounge and curled up with a cup of herbal tea and a magazine in my wonderful robe.

Anyway, spa day was one of the highlights of my summer. A truly great experience. It took me until about 4:00 today to get to where I could function normally. So thank goodness today's instructions were for a low-intensity activity for 30 minutes. Tonight after Bible school, the hubs, and Miss Priss and I went for my neighborhood walk. It was much cooler than earlier today.

Hopefully I'll be back to my regular activities tomorrow. I think I have to walk three miles. I hope I can find a flat, cool, place. I thought about joining Jodi's gym but I'm not crazy about treadmills (except when someone is waiting on me hand and foot) and stationary bikes. I like to be outside too much even if it is hot. And like I've said before, the heat doesn't really bother me after I get going. But, we'll see.

Until then......

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Day Seven

I can not believe that I have made it for seven whole days on this program. But I am here to tell you right now that there is no way in this world I will ever be able to run three miles. There will have to be a major, and I do mean major, change in my body's function.

My instructions for today said "Off". Well, you know by now that I'm not taking a day off. One of my personal goals is to do something daily. After church, and preparing a wonderful lunch for hubby, I decided to walk my neighborhood path. Hot, hot, hot. I just groaned as I walked out the front door. There is one thing that I have noticed and that is that after I get going pretty good, I don't really notice the heat that much. I think I am just more focused on getting to the mid-way point. After I get to the mid-way point, I start feeling a bit of relaxation or a burst of adrenaline or something. I don't really know what it is I feel.

Nothing really exciting happened on today's walk. No barking carseats, no strange packages. Even though it was hot today, after getting up all the major hills in my neighborhood, I was relieved that there was a good breeze blowing. I do tend to walk with my head down, kinda looking at the next step in front of me and before I even knew it, I was a the top of the big hill on Maner Road. And I thought, Dang, that hill wasn't so bad today.

I notice that I seem to talk about hills a lot. I guess that has been the hardest part of my walks, as I'm sure it is for everybody. It's like I see the hill in front of me as a major obstacle simply there to torture me. "The hills are alive with the sound of groaning." Since I started this program, I set little goals for myself. All of which are attainable, but will certainly require work and a lot of effort. One such goal is to walk to my parent's house. I think it is about 6 miles or so . The only problem is that they live on the biggest hill in the world. Actually a mountain. So the last 1/2 mile with be straigh up. Week 4 of this plan has me walking 5 miles one day, so my goal is to go there that day. (Oh, one of them will most definitely have to bring me home.) I actually dreamed about walking there. I've also dreamed about the Jingle Bell Run too. In that dream, I am the last one finished and it is getting dark and some street cleaner with no teeth, holding a broom in one hand and a big black dog on a leash in the other hand is standing there grinning at me. Go figure.

Margrace Road is a scarey place. No sidewalks. I discovered this after deciding to lengthen my distance today. Fortunately, I only had to walk .2 of a mile down the that road. After I got back to my neighborhood, I began thinking about this running thing. Now let's get this straight, I do not know how to run. I do not know how my feet should land. What do I do with my arms? Hold them up, let them droop, what? And what about the tripping over long feet possibility? Do they make a book "Running for Dummies"? I bet they do. I'll look for it the next time I'm at the book store. But anyway, I am serious about this. After I got on the downhill home stretch, I decided to give this running thing a try. Nope!! It did not work for me. I gave up after about a block. Then I tried again. Still nothing. Loving daughter will have to accompany me the next time I get the sudden urge to try.

Anyway, I'm off to the Grove Park tomorrow for a day at the spa. I hope there will be time to go to the gym and walk on the treadmill for 3 miles. Or maybe I can just go for a 3 mile walk on the grounds. I'll bet there is a path somewhere. (What has gotten into me, I'm going to the Grove Park and want to walk on a treadmill? I must be losing it.)

Until then......

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Day Six

Instructions for today said "walking, easy, 3 miles". Hottest day of the year. I decided to walk from my house to Patriot's Park where my church is holding our Bible School Kickoff. Hubby measured it on his way to take Little Miss Priss to breakfast and it is 1.9 miles. So round trip will be 3.8 miles. Do I dare? I dare.

After dressing appropriately, I head out and boy is it ever hot. How I want to turn and go back in to my couch and airconditioning. After conquering the hills on my street, the trip to the high school is not so bad but there is a lot of traffic today. Something big going on at the high school. Anyway, I cross Phifer Road to the sidewalk side and head toward town. I am now facing the big hill on Phifer and decide that if I look down, it want be so intimidating. This works but I begin to notice that the sidewalks in this town are any terrible shape. It's a good thing I was looking down or I would have possibly tripped several times. Also, while looking down you can notice other things that are closer to you. Like wild flowers beside the sidewalk, various messages so and so loves so and so, and baggies of marijuana. What???? I stop in my tracks and back up 3 paces and sure enough, that 's what I found. I bend over for a closer look to make sure that's what it really is. And I'm positive that's what it is. Oh well, I keep going, forgetting about the contraband, and I have to say that the sidewalks on Gold Street are in extreme need of repair. If you live on Gold Street, you need to contact your city council person. It is ridiculous. Now I know that some of those big trees have pushed up the sidewalk but that is not the problem everywhere.

I arrive at the festivities at the park and hang out for a while. Passing up the hotdogs and sugary drinks, by the way. I think that park is one of the greatest things this town has ever done. The kids were having a blast. Fortunately, I thought to send Miss Priss' bathing suit and she was having a blast in the fountains. Our church rented these blow up things for children and some willing adults, I, not being one, to crawl through and jump on. It was great.

After a while, I decided to take the return trip home. Heading back the way I had come, with my eyes to the path in front of me, the baggie with is contents was still in its original spot. I couldn't believe someone else hadn't come by and picked it up or it's rightful owner hadn't realized it had been dropped and come to retrieve it. But no, there it was. Now I have a choice, pick up baggie and contents or let it be. If I let it be, maybe the rightful owner will find it, or a stranger, such as myself, will get it and dispose of it, a child could find it and ingest it somehow, a dog or other animal might get hold of it. On the other hand, if I pick it up, what am i going to do with it? If I put it in my pocket and die, (it is hot and my knees are wobbly) MT up at the funeral home will have to tell my loved ones about the contents of my pockets. "Rest her soul, and here are the contents of her pockets, one 5$ bill, a wet paper towel, and a baggie of marijuana. Have a nice day." Or, better yet, what if I get arrested. I can just see it in the paper now, "Local church member arrested for possession of marijuana after attending church bible school kick off", or "Local teacher arrested for wobbling in public and possession of an illegal substance". Life would not be good.

Hills, hills, hills. The hill coming up Maner Road is horrible. I thought once about cutting through my neighbor's back yard at the end of the cul-de-sac. It backs up to the new building at the high school but he has a big dog PLUS I don't want to get my new shoes dirty. So I keep going and going and going (like the energizer bunny) up Maner road to the entrance of my hood. It's down hill the rest of the way. 3.8 miles.

Until tomorrow....

Friday, August 7, 2009

Day Five

If you happened to have been in Gastonia on Cox Road today and saw a crazy woman in denim capris, hot denim capris, a brown top and some pretty awesome shoes walking aimlessly, well, that would have been me.

This morning, after ditching all my plans for the day, I called my girl friend and told her she had exactly 45 minutes to get ready. I was picking her up, taking her cell phone and telling her father (she and her hubby just moved in with him due to his recent illness) that she would see him later. She needed a girlie day and so did I.

We shopped, ate a wonderful lunch, shopped, had pedicures, shopped, lounged at the book store, shopped, and she had ice cream. I had a diet pepsi. Ain't I good???? We had sooooooo much fun. We laughed, joked, and told stories all day. I told her that I had made a discovery about big black dog of Ark Street. Big black dog of Ark Street is actually a big black car seat. Long story, but I rode through that neighborhood yesterday to see how far I had riden my bike and discovered this. Now as far as the barking, I did hear that. Now I know what toothless old man was grinning about. But I promise, that car seat looks just like a dog. I'm serious. Oh, I have an appointment at the eye doctor next week.

My favorite purchase of the day, besides lunch and the pedicure, is my new Brooks walking/running shoes. Omega Sports is the stuff. They fit the shoe to your foot. Now, when we went in, the cute guy that was assisting me asked me to remove my sandals, and boy do my toes look good so this was not a problem for me. Anyway, he had me doing little tricks. Stand on one foot, now stand on the other foot, walk ten paces and turn around, place feet a shoulder's width and squat. Wait, I have not been drinking. I only had water at lunch and NO lemon even. It was kinda wierd but everyone else was doing the same thing. Oh, and they have a tread mill for you to try out your new shoes. Anyway, I got the greatest shoes ever.

By the time all this was over, it was time for girlfriend to go get stitches out of her head. Her brain surgery, as we like to call it, was a little surgery she had last week. Nothing serious. Just some thing she had cut off the back of her head. I forget what it's called. Anyway, while she is having stitches removed, and I did offer to go in with her but she understands that I don't do blood and guts and stuff, I decided to try out the new shoes and walk.

Now, through the course of my day, I am remembering that my instructions for today are for a "low-intensity activity, 30 minutes". Now shopping, pedicures, etc. definitely rank as low intensity, but I don't think that is what is meant. So since I have the shoes on hand, actually foot, I can walk up and down the parking lot. And I mean up and down. Hills, hills, hills. That's all that there is in this world. Ups and downs. Ain't that the truth!!!!!! 16 times through this parking lot on Cox Road for a total time of 33 minutes. It was so hot. 90 degrees according to my car thermometer. But my shoes are great!!!!! Oh, and her stitches are out..

Until tomorrow.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Day Four

Today's instructions simply say "Off". And as sore as I was last night I thought that would be great. Wrong. I couldn't take the day off! I've got my groove on and they can't make me take the day off... Are they crazy? I am a creature of habit. If I take today off, I may want tomorrow off and the next day and the day after that. So no way Jose. Lane wanted to go out of town this week-end. He must be in cahoots with Jose 'cause we ain't going. I'm not ready to get out of my routine yet. Maybe next week I will be a little more flexible, but not now. This is all so new to me and I can't mess it up. I'm still in the excited stage of this conditioning thing. I hope it never ends.

Loving daughter gave me a gift certificate for a massage for Mother's Day and I finally scheduled it for this morning. It was awesome!!!! And after that I had family for lunch to discuss our upcoming family reunion. They are some of the greatest women I know. Tough women. One of my aunts has been through more in her life than can be imagined and she is so strong and wonderful. I love her sooooo much. Actually, I love them all.

Are there any flat neighborhoods in this town? I'm determined to find at least one. I'm going to get in my car and drive around and find it. Why don't I just go to the track, you ask. Well, I'd get bored out of my mind. Remember, I have to critique yards. So if you have a life size statue of Elvis or something in your yard, expect to hear from me. Anyway, after my lunch and our tour of the facility where this reunion will be held, I had to make a decision. Do as instructed and take the day "Off", or get out there and do something. I thought about my neighborhood stroll again but that's another day. I DO have the Jaguar in the garage. Hmmmmm. Am I gain? Can I really do it on these hills? Will I wreck, blow out a tire, run in a ditch, pass out, get hit by a trash truck? Maybe, maybe not. Oh, my jaguar is actually the type of Schwinn bicycle I have. The hubs and I have a matching set. Ain't we cute??? We have actually ridden them together before. We took them to the beach. The kids rode them.

I dressed appropriately, pulled my hair back, took out my earrings, and put on some lipstick. Oh I ain't going anywhere without my lipstick. And yes, I know that's a true sign you're a women from the south. At least I didn't touch up my makeup and make sure my hair was teased. I mean what's up with that? On my walk the other morning I passed two other walkers and they looked like they had just stepped out of a magazine. They had on their cute little, tight walking shorts and their sports bra/tops and cute little visors and head phones, and flawless makeup. Me? I looked like I had just stepped out of a food processor. I was sweating like a dog in my capris (I don't show my fat knees) and tank top and I don't want anything stuck in my ears. The only thing I have decided to be a necessity is a paper towel for wiping my eyes and a bottle of water. Now, after wrestling the Jag out of the garage and locating the tire pump, which I knew I was going to need, I started looking for somewhere to put my water bottle. No such place to be found. So, I went inside and got a piece of ribbon and tied water bottle to whatever that thing is called between your legs. Well, it didn't work. I finally just stuck the bottle between two bar things and hoped for the best. It did work but I'm going to figure something out for that. Maybe I can make something cutsie out of a nice paisley print with velcro. And I can make the hubs one out of a coordinating plaid. Ohhhhhh. He would just love that, I'm sure. The next thing I had to do was to blow up the front tire. The back one seemed to be ok. Whatever ok is. Let's just say it felt harder than the front one. It took me about 10 tries to get the little thingy on the pump to stay in place on the little thingy on the tire. I think I got some air in there. It sounded like I did and I think it felt a little harder now. Next step, chase dog. I love my dog and he loves me. I know he does because he never wants me to leave the house and I wasn't about to take him with me on this adventure. So three times around the house and I finally got him and carried him inside. Next, I got on the Jag and was about to leave and thought that it might be a good idea to let someone know where I was going in case, well, just in case. So, I call hubby. He is so supportive, caring and compassionate. His comment was, "Be careful, people will run over old women on bicycles".

Thanks honey!!!!

Back on the Jag, turn right out of driveway immediately up hill. I made it to the stop sign and across the street and about 50 feet before I thought I was going to die. No need for the trash truck, I could die by myself. So, I cheated and pushed the bike to the crest of the hill about 100 feet or so. Who cared if all the neighbors were peeking out their windows and laughing. I just couldn't do it. My poor thighs felt like they were solid stone. The one thing that kept popping into my head was "Off". I was supposed to be "Off" today. Whatever. I got back on and didn't have to get off anymore. I did stop a couple times but I didn't have to push. I headed onward to big black dog street. Yes, he was home. Right where he was last time but toothless smiling man was nowhere in sight. Big black dog didn't even bark at me today so I passed him and made a left at the next street. By this time I am extremely winded and behind me there is a vehicle that stops and starts, stops and starts and continues this for a while. I'm thinking, idiot, go around me. When I get to the stop sign, I turn around and it is the mail carrier. Not really an idiot. Ooops. Sorry. I thought she was stopping because of my slow pace but she was just delivering the mail. She didn't really care about me at all. Never mind I'm about to pass out right there in front of her, all she cared about was the mail. And yeah, she knew me. She won't be getting homemade cookies from me for Christmas.

Biking is different than walking. Can't critique yards. Might fall off bike. Not good.

The trip home was a breeze. Before heading back I made a stop under a beautiful pin oak tree just to get close to nature. Well actually, to breath and drink water but the tree is beautiful. I pass it in my car all the time and never really paid it any attention. It has a great limb for a swing. Too bad the swing would be in the middle of the road. Why do they call them pin oaks? Their leaves don't look anything like pins. Onward....I went to a lower gear or higher gear, which ever makes it harder to pedal, because I didn't want to coast all the way home. I WANTED to pedal? I must be losing it. I need to check and see how far that was?

Until tomorrow.......

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Day Three

Confession.......I am an addict. There, I said it. I really am. I am totally and completely addicted to diet cola. It's the first thing I must have in the morning. I do brush my teeth first because I don't want that yucky morning mouth taste to ruin my diet cola. If at night I notice I don't have one for the morning, don't think I won't go to the store in my pajamas to get one. Sad, isn't it. So this is something I really need to work on if I'm going to get fit for jingle bell. I'm one of those people who have to make themselves drink water. Now I really do like water but if I have a diet cola that's what I prefer. My plan for this change is to write down everything I drink for a week and see if that helps. It certainly can't hurt.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I had made a major diet change. Let me explain. I gave up meat. All meat. Even chicken. Now, on occasion I will eat fish but not much and I did have some chicken salad a few weeks ago. And I am severely allergic to shellfish. I carry an Epi pen and Benadryl at all times. I never really cared that much for red meat. Now don't think that I didn't go to Five Guys on occasion for those wonderful, juicy, greasy burgers. But that was pretty much all the red meat I ate for a long time. Those who know me know that I was "raised" in the country. And we country people raised our own cows, pigs and chickens. And come fall of the year it was slaughter time. Now, what I'm about to say is not for the weak at heart so you may need to go on to the next paragraph. But for the leather hides this is what would transpire on that cool fall morning. I would waken to the sound of a single gun shot. That meant that Bessie was dead. Well, me, wanting to get right in the middle of the excitement, would dress and race as quickly as possible down to the barn. By the time I would get there, Ole Bessie would be hung up by her hind legs with a big gash down her middle and her guts would be spilling out into a big aluminum tub. Oh now this was a big deal in the community. My uncles and aunts and cousins would all be gathering for the excitement of fresh Bessie meat. And so the morning would continue with the butchering of Bessie. Daddy would take Bessie, now dead and in big chunks, over to the meat processor and he would usually let me tag along for the educational benefit. And I loved it. I'm not really sure what he did with the guts. I'll have to remember to ask him that. With all due respect, this is just what people did. It was just the way of life.

The reason I told this little story is because of a book I recently read titled "Skinny Bitch". Two skinny Yuppies out in California wrote it and a lot of it really hit home. They talk about farms and slaughter houses where animals live and die for our consumption. If you would read that section, I doubt you would eat meat either. I don't really believe God created us to be meat eaters. Our teeth aren't right for eating meat because we have to use a knife. We don't have claws for shredding our prey. And when God sent Adam to the Garden of Eden, (this was before he made Eve), he told him he could eat from any tree in the garden except the one in the middle. We all know what happened with that. He didn't say anything about eating the animals. Anyway, I don't eat meat and totally gave it up in May. And guess what, I have actually lost 10 pounds and I know it was from absolutely nothing I did except the meat thing. Believe me, I still get plenty to eat. I love pasta, bread and potatoes almost as much as I love my diet colas. But when I think about it, not only have I given up the meat but I gave up other things vicariously. Most meat dishes, like the burgers from Five Guys, are fried and served with those amazing fries. Casseroles with meat are full of fatty cheese and other yuck and there are other meats that must be eaten with creamy mashed potatoes or buttery rice. So, there you go.

Today I was instructed to walk at a "moderate pace" for 3 miles. Moderate is defined as "you have to catch your breath occasionally". I made a plan last night. I would start out at 9:00. Should be much cooler. WRONG. Since the midpoint of my 3 mile path is near the laundromat, I would take my comforter there to wash and while it was washing, I would walk to original starting point, met up with loving daughter and return to laundromat. Simple plan. Attack hills first and walk down hill for most of the way back. Sounded great to me and loving daughter. And I took my own water. Just as I am about to lock car and begin journey, cell phone rings. Loving daughter #2 is in a panick because I told her how to make icing for a cake and it flopped. She is in tears and it is, of course, all my fault. After she explains I then realize she did not follow my instructions but it is still my fault that her friend at work will not have a beautifully iced cake for her birthday. But deep down I feel it will be just as yummy even though the icing is a little runny. But that does not change the fact that everything bad in the life of my children is my fault. A good friend of mine and I often argue over who is responsible for the war in Iraq. Me or him. Lesson learned? Don't let people stress you out before a 3 mile moderate walk. So I finally get off the phone and begin the journey onward. All I have to say is hot, hot, hot. I think it was hotter this morning than it was yesterday evening. Anyway by the time I get to daughter's house, plans have changed, or so it appears. Little Miss Priss and son-in-law have now decided to join us. Well, here I am walking and can't stop. What am I supposed to do while I wait on them? I just walk in circles for 10 minutes waiting, and waiting, and waiting. I refuse to stop since I've got my groove on. Finally daughter comes out the door in a huff without the two tagalongs and we head back in the direction of my comforter. I don't know what happened there and refuse to ask. Going down hill for a mile is not all it's cracked up to be. My knees were wobbly and I was a bit dizzy (I attribute this to walking on an empty stomach). 2nd lesson learned? Don't walk on an empty stomach.

We finished our trip and retrieved my sparkling clean comforter. Oh, and I had to drive daughter back to her house. Wimp!!!!

The plan says I'm off tomorrow. I almost feel guilty about that. We shall see.

Until then.......

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day Two

I have my greatest thoughts in either the shower or the middle of the night. Now we all know it is not a good idea to keep a note pad and pencil in the shower but I do keep one on the table beside my bed. So, when I have these great thoughts I can just make a note. Sometimes my notes are things I forgot to do, things I want to do, or things i just think about. So last night, or should I say this morning, at 2:01 a.m. I leaned over and by the glow of my little clock wrote "DDD". Fortunately when I woke this morning I was able to interpret this code. It meant "don't ditch daughter".

Following my experience from yesterday, I had decided to go at this alone. But I got to thinking last night that if it had not been for loving daughter, I would have turned around midstream and took cover. She was my inspiration yesterday and has already asked when she gets to walk with me again. Are we taking the puke master? Who knows. But there are some things I will insist on doing differently: 1) take my own bottle of water, 2) start at the opposite end of the path so that is down hill on the way back, and 3) walk in the morning before the heat rises.

As for today's activities, I was instructed to participate in any low-intensity activity for 30 consecutive minutes. This sounded great since my foot was hurting worse than ever. Some examples provided were gardening, house work and bike riding.
I gave this some serious thought and made myself a list of possibilities. (I am a list maker, by the way.)
1. gardening
2. housework
3. clean fish pond
4. clean out cabinet in garage
5. pedicure
6. trip to the mall
7. work in my classroom at school
8. nap
9. bake a cake for a friend
10. sew

I scratched off gardening because this is something I do every day and feel like I need to do different, more challenging things for this conditioning process. Housework I did on Monday. The fish pond only took me 10 minutes and I cleaned out the garage two weeks ago. Pedicure? I decided to put that off until next week and I can go to the mall anytime. My team mate backed out on me for that project at school today. Nap - check. (Well, I was up late last night!) Didn't bake that cake because I couldn't decide what kind to bake her and I like to sew at night when hubby is downstairs watching his dumb cop shows. Soooo, I decided on a stroll around the neighborhood for 30 consecutive minutes.

Here is what I discovered on said stroll. After donning my not-so-very-comfortable shoes, I headed off. I decided to take on the hills first so that when I got tired and hot, I would be coming down hill. So I took a right at the end of my street and headed onward past the neighbors on the corner who are obsessed with grass. I am very serious here. His grass dies all the time. The hubs says he worries it to death but he actually gets out there with a blow torch and burns it. He has done this several times and he has these huge black spots all over his yard. Then he resows it and lays these huge plastic snakes all over his yard. People from miles around ride by to see his snakes. One such person even called me to ask me if the snakes were real. I assured her they were not. Today I noticed he had some strange contraption sitting beside his house sort of hidden by a bush and it was making a loud humming noise. It was about the size of a chest type freezer. Hmmm. Come to think of it, I haven't seen his wife lately.

I continued on my stroll up yet another hill and was stopped and asked to please take a cute little black kitten. Well, my answer was no. I have two cats and don't want another. This person was almost insisting I take the cat. She was a little scarey so I quickened my pace and told her to have a good afternoon. Finally I reached the crest of the hills in my hood and continued a little farther on than I had planned. By this time I am hearning thunder and watching as the sky around me begins to darken. But no fear, I love storms. I don't want to be out in one but I will sit on my back porch and enjoy it. Those of you who experienced the bad storm back in June may have a different feeling but I was out of town when that happened. Anyway, I continued on and that is when I met up with the big black dog of Ark Street. Many of you may not even know there is such a street as Ark Street. I didn't until I look at the street sign today. Ark Street connects to Mini Street. But big black dog lives there and he apparently didn't like it that I was visiting. He begins barking very deeply and loudly. So I freeze.... and slowly begin to back away and turn for home. That is when I noticed the older, toothless man watching me and grinning from ear to ear. Had I scratched something without realizing it or was he amuzed about my impending dog attach? Who knows.

Anyway, I escaped and now know why people carry sticks when walking. There was a great breeze blowing and with the darkening sky, it was somewhat cooler so I decided to take the long way home. Remember, I'm trying to stroll for 30 minutes consecutively.

Another observation I made on this stroll was that people, especially teenagers, will run over you if given the chance. They never slow down, and they never hang up the phone. So I have learned to always be alert and pay attention to oncoming cars. If you are a teacher, as I am, it may be a good idea to wear a disguise. Some kid I may have taught in the 8th grade may try to put me out of the misery of other poor unsuspecting students. I need to give this disguise thing some thought.

People can put some really tacky *&%# in their yard. This includes, but is not limited to, plastic flowers. They do fade in the sun and turn blue. Get a grip!!! If you can't have real flowers, do without. Statues. Now I like statues within reason. But a lifesize statue of the Virgin Mother is a bit much in a small yard in my neighborhood. It looks like it should be in a cathedral. It needs to go, quickly. A fish pond the size of Lake Michigan in a tiny, very tiny, back yard. What's up with that? It's enough that the house is too oversized for that tiny lot and now the lake. Oh well.

I finally was on the downhill swing of my stroll and was beginning to get a little winded. But you know what? It felt pretty good and my foot was not aching as much as before. I got home, kicked off my shoes, checked my clock and realized I had participated in a low-impace activity for not just the 30 required consecutive minutes but 39 consecutive minutes. But, who's counting!!!!!

Until tomorrow....

Monday, August 3, 2009

Day one of experience

I have decided, through much anguish, to begin to condition myself to run in the Jingle Bell Run in December of this year. Be aware that this is not the first year I have made such a decision. Two years ago a coworker tried to inspire our staff to participate. We had a book study and I faithfully attend three sessions of the 12. Needless to say, I did not participate. Last year my mother, age 70, and I decided we would both run. We "conditioned" once. That is, we walk two miles one day. I have no doubt however, that she could have completed the run. She is as fit as a fiddle. So this year I am determined to not only participate in the Jingle Bell Run but to finish it for various reasons.

Reason No. 1 - I am fat. It's true. I am a fatty and need to lose weight.
Reason No. 2 - I have a bone spur on my left foot that is killing me. I went to the doctor and she gave me a brace (well, she didn't give it to me, I did pay for it) that I can't stand to wear, I don't take the anti-inflammatory medication, and the exercises are stupid. My son-in-law says walking will fix it. We'll see.
Reason No. 3 - I have made a major change in my diet and believe the exercise will do me good.

These are three very good reasons, I think. So, after some, not much, but some research, I have decided to follow a plan I found in a magazine. This plan seems to suit me better than some of those plans on line. For example, one such plan suggested by a loved one, has one runing for 60 seconds, briskly walking for 90 seconds, running up a hilll for 180 seconds, and so on. Get the picture? I can't do that. What are you supposed to do, take note cards with you and a stop watch? It would take me 3 hours to complete the 30 minute routine.

My chosen program is designed to have one ready for a 10K in 12 weeks so I figure I can possibly be ready for a 5K in 18 weeks with this plan. (I have to be real here.) On Monday of week one, today, I was instructed to walk for 3 miles at an easy pace. Key word here is EASY. The article defines easy as "everyday stroll". Those of you who know me know that to me an easy stroll is from house to car, car to grocery store, etc. Anyway, my loving and supportive, nagging, daughter offered to meet me at the track for this walk. She then decided we needed to not only take Little Miss Priss with us, but her loving family dog, Turk, should be walked also. Now, remember the temperature is 89 degrees and I haven't walk three miles in, well, forever. So she, loving daughter, decides I should push stroller and she will walk Turk. After about 50 feet, Turk decides to poop every 10 feet. This excites Miss Priss who then tries to turn upside down in her stroller. Oh, and did I mention we were on Main Street USA for this walk instead of track? Turk then settles down a little but then starts gagging and does eventually throw up on the same sidewalk he just pooped on. Miss Priss sees several bright signs on the side of the road and excitedly points and yells, "sign, Gamma, sign". "yes, darling", I reply, "it is a sign from God that we should go home." But we didn't. We kept going at the insistence of loving daughter.

Loving daughter did think ahead and bring water in a sippy cup for Miss Priss and one bottle of water for the two of us to share. Turk? Oh yeah, when turk started gagging and throwing up, she decided he needed to share our water. Now, I don't know about you but I don't drink after any human being. Just ask my kids. They think I'm neurotic but I just can't do it. So do you think I'm going to drink after puky? Not in this lifetime. Remember, 89 degrees, never walked 3 miles before, and now NO WATER, because I had poured all of Addie's water on her head to make her laugh. (That is what we grandmothers do.) And, remember the bone spur, well it was hurting like a knife had been stuck through the back of my heel. Thanks son-in-law.

Well, fortunately, all four of us did survive without anyone passing out. I have decided that next time, I will go it alone. Sorry loving daughter....

Until tomorrow. I can't wait!!!!