Saturday, October 30, 2010

Is It Time Yet?

In the darkness, I opened one eye and looked at the clock. 

4:20 am.  Nope. Not time yet.  I snuggled back under the covers and fought for space for my feet from Damnit Badger, the dog.

A little while later, I opened my eyes again and snuck a peek at the clock.  Nope.  Not time yet.  5:30 am.  Sigh.  I rolled over into my furry cat who was keeping my husband, Brian's bald head warm.  Is it crowded in this double bed or is it just me?

Finally I checked one more time.  5:55 am.  Close enough.  The alarm was going to go off at 6 am, I might as well get up now.  I slipped out of bed, careful not to disturb the sleeping cat, dog or husband and prepared to leave.

It's Saturday, you see.  I've been working all week toward this day.  Time to go see if I have improved even the tiniest bit in my quest to survive a 5k.  I find myself unable to sleep and looking foward to it.  Who is this woman and what have you done with the couch potato I was satisfied with being? 

Just yesterday not only did I run like a superhero through the halls to catch two students who are chronic horseplay offenders during their passing periods (I was like a flipping gazelle!), I signed up with my running buddy Julie for not ONE but TWO 5ks!  We will be running (I hope running) the Jingle Bell Run and the...wait for it...wait for it....the Jiggle Butt Run in January. 

How did it go, you ask?  Well, I can't complain.  I still don't know if I understand the runner's euphoria that my brother describes.  The best I can tell you is that I was excited to go this morning and see my new friends and see how I would do. 

I could look at the cemetery and not see it as my personal place of permanent rest any time soon.  I did run for 10 minutes....not for 10 minutes at one time...but collectively.  I made it to the water stop.  That made me tear up a little (in a good way).  Never made it that far before.  Julie ran off with people at the pace she needed to be at and I didn't think twice about it this time.  The coaches at Luke's are fantastic.  Motivational and always looking for ways to help you on to the next step, even if it's just running from one telephone pole to the next one. 

I feel comfortable now with what I can do.  I gave myself that gift by getting out and "wogging" on my own in the neighborhood in the mornings before school.  A workout buddy is awesome and Julie gave me a priceless gift by bringing me along on this ride in the first place.  But making myself accountable has had some interesting effects on me that I did not expect. 

So now I find myself asking about my next workout, is it time yet? 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

World Seriously

The Rangers are in the World Series at last. 

While a baseball fan, I have not been a Ranger fan since I was a little girl.  To be fair to these boys who have worked so hard, I decided to stay true to my Red Sox (NOT in the play offs, by the way) and not be a bandwaggoner.  The claw and antlers has mystified me slightly, but like the Red Sox team that finally won the World Series this Rangers team is full of the joie de vive one hopes with which men would play this game.

My daddy took me to Ranger games when I was little.  I saw Nolan Ryan pitch though I must admit most of the wonder of those moments was lost on me.  I remember leaving a little early to avoid the traffic and listening to the last inning on AM radio. 

When it became official that the Rangers would be the American League representative in the Series, I asked Brian if he would like to go to a game when they return to Texas.  I could tell he really wanted to go, but the expense was a concern. 

Well, while we will hope the playoffs will be a tradition in years to come, can we guarantee it?  He shrugged and smiled, and I started looking online for tickets.  And since I have not been the Rangers fan, I would like to send my daddy instead of going with him.  His 60th birthday was Tuesday. 

The two men who sacrifice the most in the world to make sure I am happy and want for nothing deserve to see some history being made.  Whatever we paid for these tickets seems like nothing compared to the joy it has already brought both of them. 

Daddy was so surprised when we told him that he had a little trouble processing it at first.  Brian was so excited when we picked up the tickets at FedEx last night that he didn't even make it out of the building before he had the envelope open and was holding the tickets with the biggest grin. 

So, on Halloween, Mom and I will hand out candy to trick or treaters and Daddy and Brian will head to the ballpark.  I hope that the Rangers wake from the coma they seem to be in currently or there won't be much to see.  Looks like they are going to lose Game 2 as well.  Who lets a guy named Buster beat them?  Come on, now! 


So, I'm pretty excited.  I've been up faithfully every morning since Sunday to walk/jog before going to work.

In fact, my body is so easy to train, I've been up before my or before 5 am each day.  Wide awake.  Lucky, lucky me.   I am a morning person, but this is ridiculous.  My plan had been to be at work a little later in the mornings because I would work out early, but I have been there by 6:30 every day this week, I think.

I have decided that what I do is wogging--a lot of walking and a little jogging.  I am trying to increase my jogging; I start running and pick a point to which I have to jog.  "Come on Sissybritches.  You can make it that car up there...Ok.  You made it to the, jog to the Ford Focus....ok, now you can walk for a minute." And so it goes.  I get in a little over a mile wogging.

The cardio program I downloaded on my cellphone tracks my route, pace, calories burned, etc.  When I finish, it tells me not only how many calories I burned but what food that equates to.  For example, today I burned off a plum.  Excuse me?  Now, I appreciate the thought that I am going to reward myself for working out with a plum...but I live on Planet Reality.  I plan to have a donut...or better yet a Starbucks vanilla latte and orange cranberry scone as a reward for my efforts.  So a plum doesn't really do it for me.  A plum is what I am going force myself to eat for dessert at lunch so I can have the latte and scone for breakfast.  Hello! 

Still really digging the neighborhood.  It's so interesting the things that you notice when you are out all by yourself with the stars in the early morning.  Wednesday is one of our neighborhood garbage days, so some of the bins were already at the curb.  I noticed as I walked past one house with garbage at its curb that there was a single rose still wrapped in its plastic from the store, as though it had been rejected in its offering. I wondered about its story as I wogged along.  I know there must be a great story there.  I'll write it one day.

The spooky, ooky house motivates me to wog a little faster; I promise you--one day I will be passing by that house and some Boo Radley type will step from the shadows and raspily demand, "What are you doing?" I will have a heart attack and fall down dead right there.  So, I move rather quickly past that one, careful not to crunch down on any skittering leaves if  I can help it.  That way all this effort to be in shape isn't completely wasted.

I also noticed this morning on one of the other streets I travel in the early, early morning that one of the parked trucks had something very interesting tied to its roof.  A large deep freeze.  It was balanced mostly on the roof and tied with a rope.  Uh huh.  Well, it's that time of year for odd, scary things to occur, I suppose. 

On the homestretch there is a sweet white dog with a "Notice Me!" bark behind a big fence.  But at the end of the fence, at the back of his yard, it's chainlink, so I can reach over and scratch his nose.  I think he looks forward to that.  I kind of do, too. 

I'm taking Bear with me again tomorrow for my wog.  Who knows what we will see tomorrow in the predawn darkness.  It's supposed to be chilly.  Must dig out the long sleeves.  Stay tuned! 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Damn it, Badger!

I have mentioned him before a few times.  I should tell you more about him. 


Brian had a dog named Max for many years.  Max was one of the good guys; the kind of dog who always knew what you were thinking and never judged.  He only asked for a walk each day and a big bowl of food to eat.  His pleasures were simple.  He was a big, fluffy, beautiful, lion-hearted dog.  But, as we always must, the time came to say goodbye to Max.

And a few months later, Brian was ready for a new sidekick.  He was interested in Australian shepards.  I had one as a child, and had loved him very much.  I currently have a loving, intelligent border collie, Bear, who generally doesn't have a thought that he doesn't ask me for first, and Brian craved a similar relationship.  For example, Bear requires no leash when I take him out.  For all of Max's excellent qualities, blind faithfulness of that kind was not among them. 

So, we took a Sunday drive out to Lipan (almost two hours) to an elaborate horse ranch to meet two Aussie pups for sale I found in the paper.  One red merle male and one red and white female.  They were both beautiful animals, clearly well taken care of, though they had spent all of their eight weeks on earth in the barn. 

Brian chose the flashy, red merle male and away we went.  On the way home we talked about names.  I thought Vegas would be a great name.  He was born on 7/7/07.  Brian wanted to name him Badger.  Brian's dog, Brian's choice of name. 

As Badger settled in to his new surroundings, it was clear that he was full of personality.  He loved to play, even when no one else wanted to.  Bear, five years Badger's senior, tolerated him well, but could only take so much.  My cat, Azalea, made no pretense.  She loves Bear and loathes Badger with her mind, body and soul.  Bear does his best to keep the peace, putting himself between the two of them when Azalea starts fussing.  In Badger's defense, he just wants to play with her, but he's too rough and doesn't understand.  The cat is just a grouch and enjoys it.


Badger will do whatever it takes to get noticed and get play time...thus his nickname.  He steals a shoe from the closet and brings it to the pet bed in the living room and looks up at us, so proud of himself.  He steals the shoe right out of your hand that you are attempting to put on your foot.  He steals other things too to gnaw on while forming his next plan.


He isn't the most graceful of creatures.  As he bounds through our tiny house, he is likely to knock into coffee tables, chairs, etc. on his way to wherever he's going next. 


He has a very grown up bark for a 40 pound dog and he loves to use it, even when there appears to be nothing in the yard at which to bark. 


If you sneeze, it's quite likely that seconds later that 40 pound dog will be in your lap.  The only explanation we have for that is that the early days in the horse barn were a little intimidating with horses sneezing.  While sweet in intention, it's uncomfortable in actuality.


He's a relentless barker in the backyard if a neighbor dares to spend time in their own backyard, especially children.  And the mailman?  Forget it.  He sounds as though he wants to eat the poor man.  If he ever actually met any of these people, he would probably just lick them to death, but no one would want to meet him because he sounds so unfriendly.


Taken all together, he's really a great dog.  He did graduate from obedience school, and he will sit for his cookie.  His daddy loves him and I do, too....some days are just a little harder than when I am fighting for my part of the double bed we currently sleep in.  The dog thinks it's much more comfortable to sleep with Daddy than it is on the floor, the couch or the pet beds, so one of my constant battles is trying to get him off the bed. Sigh.

Damn it, Badger!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Greener Pastures

I didn't make it to my training yesterday. 

All this excitement the last week or so was too much for my little brain and I had a migraine brewing in my brain like the storm outside.  That's what I pictured when I closed my eyes...a lightning storm in my brain.  My meds I take every day to keep them away couldn't do anymore.  So, rather than make myself sicker since I had not been able to work out at all during the week, I stayed in bed. 

But because I missed Saturday's workout, I decided to get up this morning and have walk/jog around my neighborhood.  Bear, my faithful border collie, and I hit the pavement this morning at 7:20 to a sleepy little street.  It was cool and damp, and Bear was very excited to be out with Mama without Damn It Badger. 

I did manage to run a little bit, which made me proud, since as I said, I didn't do anything even remotely related to exercise last week.  But as we progressed down the quiet street, I slowed down to look. 

The houses are tiny, just like ours, in this part of town.  Nothing bigger than 3 bedrooms.  I can almost guarantee they have only one bathroom, too.  The yards are all neat and tidy.  A little paint might be peeling here and there, but it's a working class neighborhood, and parents around here are more likely to spend the money on kids' sports' uniforms first than worry about a little peeling paint around the back of the house. 

Each house I passed had its own unique personality.  Many of them are decorated for Halloween.  Such sweet little homes, just like mine. 

It makes me a little sad that I have been in such a hurry to get the heck out of this area.  I have to remember as I walk along that my desire to move along has only to do with having more space for Brian and me.  To find "our" house.  It has nothing to do with the zip code.  And I get the nicest reminder of that as I walk along enjoying the view. 

In the five years I have lived here, I have done myself a terrible disservice by not getting out and walking about the neighborhood regularly.  I always had other things to do, better things to do.  I never took the time to enjoy what a lovely little pocket of the world I have lived in. 

In  a few short weeks I will live in another lovely little pocket of the world.  I want to begin that new chapter by enjoying the entire neighborhood from the start, not just the little lot I live on. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For

Remember how I said we needed a second bathroom?  And the only solution to that was to buy a bigger house?  Well....

I guess God has a really good sense of humor because he figures we can handle just a wee bit more on our rather full platter. Early last week, Brooke, the best realtor and friend we could hope for, came to me with a giggle.  Long story short, the house we wanted to buy before Cancer started driving this bus, is still available and the owners really want make a deal. 

With a great deal of apprehension, we had Brooke prepare the contract and quickly came to an agreement with the owners.  Holy rusted metal, Batman.  After almost one year of house hunting, we are almost there.  We close on November 19, provided that inspection and appraisal all work out.  Stay tuned. 

This house is pretty great.  Twice the size of the one in which we currently reside, for one.  Although Brian informs me with a big grin that 2200 sq feet won't really do me any good because the two dogs will still be right under my two feet.  I'm sure he's right, but the thought of that many feet to spread out in if I want to sounds pretty darn luxurious to me. 

The house is close to all the shopping we do and close to our parents.  It's not far from work and not unreasonably far from all of our friends. 

It has 4 bedrooms, and yes, that all important second bathroom that started all of this.  Best of all is the backyard.  The extended covered patio looks out on to a creek and a greenbelt.  We can take the dogs down across the creek and set them out for a run across the greenbelt until they don't have the energy to follow me around me the house. 

So now, we have to actually sort through all of our stuff.  I need to call about insurance.  And the list grows.

 We need to find someone to lease the sweet little house I bought five years ago.  Two bedroom, original hardwood floors, nice closets, but there is only that one little bathroom....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

To Give Up or Not to Give Up...That is the Question

You may remember that I started a training program for a 5k.  It seemed like a great idea at the time.  I needed exercize and I had support from my friend and Brian. 

But in the last week or so, I have been pretty stressed out again.  Mostly because I am finally beginning to feel the effects of acting like everything is fine when it's really not fine.  I'm starting to understand that just because Brian is able to work and we go about our daily lives, things still really aren't fine and I don't have to act like they are all the time. 

I did work out this week, but not the workout prescribed by the trainers at Luke's and I knew when we got started this morning that it was not going to go well.  My endurance is still embarrassingly disappointing.  But I was there.  It was 7 am on a Saturday morning.  I was going to give it a go.  I immediately fell behind just in the warm up, jogging around the building. 

Ok.  No big deal.  Chin up and all that.  We broke into our groups.  I accept that I am Princess of the Tortoise Group.  I had already told Julie that if she needed to leave me behind she could.  I'm pretty sure on some level I didn't really mean it, but I would never tell her to stay with me and hold her back.  She's the one doing me a favor just dragging me with her. 

I kept up with my group until it was time to run.  They left me in the dust.  The route is up hill and if you look to your left, you have an excellent view of Bluebonnet convenient if you fall out and can't make it any further. 

I was busy picking out my plot as I walked along crying, mad at everyone.  Mad at my group for leaving me.  Mad at Julie for her big idea.  Mad at me for accepting the challenge and then not being able to handle it.  Most of all mad at me for being mad at people who were completely innocent.  And then I realized I was mad and crying because I just needed to be mad and cry.  Why on earth would God think Brian and I could handle cancer for our first wedding anniversary?  What would we be given for our second for goodness sake?  There are still so many things that I am worried about that I don't dwell on but are still bubbling under the surface.  I don't know how Brian does it.  Must ask that.

I must have looked a little crazy to the runners passing me on their way back.  They politely smiled and greeted me;  I just wiped away another tear and scowled, staring straight ahead at my group getting further and further from me.  I was pretty glad that at least Luke's is nowhere near a neighborhood in which I usually hang out.  So when the neighbors start talking about that crazy chick who cries when she runs on Saturday morning, I won't bump into them at the grocery store.

I wanted to just turn around, go back to my car and drive home right then.  I'm not sure why I didn't.  Julie came back to check on me and through my tears I told her that I was done. I wasn't coming back.  She said she understood.  I said that I would tell her when I had hit my limit and couldn't do anymore between the Gillian Shred and the running.  If this was it, it was ok.  She trotted off and caught up to the group while I went back to picking my cemetery plot and being angry at the universe.

Finally I saw up ahead that the little group had turned.  I was determined to at least keep walking toward them until we met.  I found that I could jog again by this time, so I kept up as best I could. 

One remarkable lady in our group ran more than she walked though it was clearly very tough for her.  She jogged up next to me and in between breaths she asked my name again and said, "Don't worry, Heather.  We've got this."  And then she continued to run alongside me. Well, crap.  If she can do it, I can--right? 

After awhile, she ran on while Julie and the instructor slowed a bit for me.  They tried to engage me in their conversation, but I childishly wasn't interested.  I was embarrassed not only by my shabby endurance, but by wanting to quit. 

When we made it back, Tracey revealed we had gone 2 miles in 30 minutes.  We talked about pacing and how to work on that.  She talked to me specifically how to improve pacing...if I was still interested. 

I thought about Julie and how dedicated she is to changing her life and what an amazing friend and source of hope she has been for me.  I thought about Brian and how proud he is that I have taken this on. 

 I threw an arm around Julie and Tracey and said,"Well, girls, I guess I'll see you next week."  Even if it kills me.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wanted: Bathroom

We need another bathroom for this house.  The whole house is less than 1000 sq feet.  It's tiny, y'all.  This is normally not an HUGE issue (except when Dammit Badger is on a tear, but that is for another column.)

Lately it seems that whenever I want/need in the bathroom, it is already occupado. 

An excellent example would be this morning...

Brian's chemo has certain side effects that make him uncomfortable and present him with...uh, challenges that he has never dealt with (constipation).  Now, ladies, you are probably thinking, "Oh poor fella!  Never had that problem, huh?  That is a bummer." 

Y'all, he's fine...just a little cranky and getting to know the wonders of Miralax.  But he was up and down all night last night in his impatience to GO.  I can understand....but this situation is more a part of my daily existence.  So, I have a little less sympathy on this one. 

At 5:00 am (30 minutes before my alarm) I couldn't take it anymore, so I got up and started to my make lunch, prepare the crockpot, etc.  In between his laps to the toilette, I managed to jump in the shower and actually got my make up on.  But, I missed getting my hair straightened because I made the mistake of getting dressed before finishing my hair.  Dang it. 

I left for work a little peeved because I didn't even get to finish my morning ablutions.  I get up at 5:20 every morning partly so I can have plenty of time to myself in our one tiny, tiny bathroom.  I promise I was blaming it on the fact that we only have tiny bathroom and not that Brian isn't feeling his shiny best. 

Please don't misunderstand.  I don't want him to be uncomfortable at any time, and I have been told by girl friends who have lived this that this particular side effect is not pleasant.  I promise I am doing all I can to ease his discomfort.  It's the only way I'm going to get my bathroom back.

So, I am currently once again plotting to in order to somehow get a second bathroom.  There is no socially acceptable way to solve this problem except to purchase a larger house.  Something needs to work itself out relatively soon.  The constipation problem I can deal with.  I know how to help him with that.  The lack of the bathroom and general lack of space is starting wear on me and making me a little crazier than necessary.

Time Off

This weekend Brian and I took a little drive to Helena, Arkansas.  For those of you unacquainted with tiny river towns in the Natural State, it is about an hour south of Memphis right on the Mississippi River.  My mother's family comes from there. 

Each October about this time Helena is hostess to a world famous blues festival.  It's been called several things...most well known as the King Biscuit Blues Festival, and happily, hereafter to be known as such.  (It's a long story.  I'll tell you over a cocktail sometime.)

My Uncle Jim Howe and his family own the radio station, KFFA, that has the radio show which hosts the original King Biscuit Flour Hour.  They are entering their 70th year of broadcasting. 

I had only been to Helena once in my life and to the festival; I was 13.  So, I thought it was high time I got back there.  It was the 25th anniversary of the festival. 

Brian was feeling well enough and my Uncle O and Aunt Ruth had room at their house for us to stay. 

I've been missing my grandmother terribly since she passed away in May and these are her people; she is from Helena.  I suppose I felt I would be nearer to her somehow if I could spend the weekend with these distant cousins.  I knew it would make her very happy for us to go and learn more about from whence I came.

The festival was lots of fun; we helped sell King Biscuit tee shirts and bought some to bring back to everyone who couldn't make this trip.  I saw B.B. King play on Thursday night as I sat on the levee with the Mississippi River at my back.  Doesn't get more authentically Southern than that.  I had pulled pork sandwiches bar-b-qued in front of the liquor store next door to the place we were set up to sell tee shirts.  It was delicious. 

My Uncle O gave us the grand tour of Helena and the tiny "town" of Wabash that the family founded for the lumber company they started in the 1890s when they settled in Arkansas.  The family gradually moved from lumber to cotton.  The cotton fields are all still there as well as the tiny and the grand houses they built to live in. 

My uncles tell wonderful stories of my great-great grandmother Eva and my great grandmother Harriet.  Those were quite spirited women...and quite the sports fans.  I didn't know that could be inherited, but it would seem it is so.  The love of football and baseball is passed down in the genes.  Could be a recessive/dominant thing like any other genes though, I suppose if you are thinking to yourself right now--"Oh yeah? I'm not such a sports fan, missy."

We saw my Aunt Maud Cain...she's close to 100 years old and has the most genteel Southern accent and would think Melanie Wilkes was real and had somehow survived all these years. 

The Howes are firmly entrenched in Helena history.  The trip to the cemetery was very moving.  The cemetery is older than the Howes, however.  Confederate soldiers are buried there and their tombstones are at the top of the hill, guarding everyone still.  You can see the river from there. 

Brian and I both completely enjoyed this time away.  We usually only get to see these cousins when someone gets married or at the family reunions we have every two years.  And they usually come to us in Texas.  What a delicious treat it was to go to them and feel my grandmother around me again for just a little while.

Conference Time

Ok, I'll admit it.  I'm not the most patient with professional learning.  I rarely feel that I take much away from whatever meeting I am forced to sit through, no matter what kind of pep talk I give myself beforehand. 

"C'mon, Heather--just find one thing you can take back to the classroom/campus."

"Do you have any idea how much work you have waiting on you when you get back?  You are hoping for one tiny thing to take back when you have a stack of papers to grade in addition to chasing down kids and calling parents for the teachers on the Lifeguard Chain of Command?" 

"Heather....fake it until you make it.  That's all I have.  Now turn that frown upside down and quit rolling your eyes.  They may get stuck like that." 

Now, mind you, this is just the pep talk I give myself in the mirror of the hotel room, the bathroom, whatever.  Nevermind what my friend the principal sent with me to make me behave will have to tell me. 

I exaggerate...a little.  But I am not a big fan of  professional "learning." 

So, when I had to trundle off to Houston last week for two days, I was already apprehensive about what I might learn (or not).  It isn't that I go in to these meetings expecting NOT to learn.  I am hungry for it, just as my own students are, but it is the rare presenter shares their information in a meaningful way. 

Add to that, I was nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs leaving Brian for the first time during his illness.  I knew that it would be extremely unlikely for something to happen to Brian, but his pre-cancer history has taught me that if he is going to get sick or hurt, he will do it when I am out of town and can do nothing about it.  (Food poisoning and a car accident)

So, I may have been a little cranky on that business trip and American Eagle did nothing to help on the trip from Fort Worth to Houston.  (one hour and a half late leaving--an hour of that sitting on the plane...good times!) 

I try to be very aware my attitudes and moods...especially these days as stress continues to mount, but many times the stress monster has already struck before I can realize it.  I find myself apologizing a lot these days.  I feel like I need to just be silent most of the time. 

I don't explode or anything, but I am sometimes a little testier than I want to be.  Those of you who are around me more frequently are saying to me right now--"You can't be perfect, Princess." 

But if you do know me, you know I'm a recovering a perfectionist....

The good news about the trip to Houston is that I did get to see a very inspirational presentation while I was there.  The presenters made me feel good about what I do each day.  That's the kind of professional development to travel for. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Baby Steps

It's Saturday.  I got up this morning at 5:30 on purpose. 

My friend, Julie, mentioned that she would like to train for a 5k.  I've told you about Julie before.  I like to call her The Incredible Shrinking Woman.  She's lost almost 60 pounds over the last year.  She's pretty amazing.  Now, it may seem a little silly to some of you fitness types to TRAIN for a 3.something mile run, but for those of who have the endurance level of an 80 year old woman on a walker, training seems like a good idea.  I'm so proud of her for getting this far with her weight loss, and for helping me kick start mine, I took her up on the 5k idea.

So, we met this morning at 6 am to go to running class.  Sleep is overrated anyway, right?  As we drove over in the predawn darkness, my hand resting on my thigh suddenly felt the giant gaping hole in my windshorts.  Oh isn't that special!  The good news is that it's along my inner thigh so it's unlikely that anyone will see it, but I will know it's there.  I'm already wearing my ghetto sneakers.  Sigh.  Oh well. 

When we got to Luke's there were cars everywhere. Where was everyone?  The store was deserted except for one lone little fit chick who checked us in.  A box held all the keys to the cars outside.  "Oh everyone's out running," she chirped.  I looked at her quizzically.  Were we late?  She quickly explained that they have several groups--there is a marathon next week in Chicago, another somewhere else, etc.  Ah, I see.  I checked my watch again.'s 6:30.  These marathon people were long gone.  I wondered just how early they had started today and shuddered at the thought. 

Our fellow group members trickled in, apprehensive beginners just like Julie and me not knowing what to expect.  At seven they got us warmed up and then broke us into three groups....walkers, run-walkers, and runners.  Wanna guess where I fit in? 

Uh, if you thought I was going to run today you haven't learned a thing about me since you started reading these pages, people!  Julie and opted for walking today and met a lovely young woman who also started sensibly by walking.   Baby steps here, right?  The idea is to be running by the time we are finished in nine weeks!  And we will!  Stay tuned!  Brian is taking me today to get shorts without blowouts and nice shoes.  Maybe even a cool watch.  So I need to go take my shower now.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Points For Trying

I came home from school Thursday fully prepared to cook dinner.  I'd done the 30 Day Shred again (more successfully, I might add) with Julie, so I was feeling pretty good. 

We've been very spoiled by my wonderful friends at school with meals about twice a week since Brian's diagnosis, so we haven't had to cook much.  But the meals have slowed down a little now that it's evident that we have things under control right now (more or less), and Thursday was a night we were on our own.  No worries.  I like cooking. 

I decided I was going to wing it.  I don't need no stinking recipe.  You see where this is going, I'm sure. 

The idea was to make a shepard's pie.  I had potatoes.  I had hamburger meat.  So, I peeled potatoes and got those to boiling.  Started defrosting the slightly freezer-burned meat....

Then I went to the pantry for the tomato soup and peas and carrots.....uh-----yeah...I could have sworn I  had those up here.  Now what?  I looked back helplessly at the stove where the potatoes are cooking.  And over at the microwave where the meat is defrosting.  Think fast, cupcake. 

Green beans.  We had green beans.  So, I could do hamburger patties, mashed potatoes and green beans.   Ain't fancy, but it will feed us. 

So, I pulled the meat out of the microwave and I could see that I had a problem. It didn't look so good.  The meat that I thought was only slightly freezer burned actually had frostbite. 

I seasoned it with onion flakes and Worstershire sauce, was looking for the garlic and realized there was no way this meat would hold together in a patty.  I briefly considered cracking an egg or two in it to bind it, and then finally just hung my head in defeat. 

Brian walked through the kitchen on his way to the garage, surveyed the situation for a second and said, "Why don't you just order a pizza?"  I was indignant for a millisecond and then realized that I had just been thinking the same thing.

I had never had a meal fall apart on me.  Our cancer warrior, Amy, told me today that I can't be perfect all the time.  So I guess this time I just get points for trying.