Friday, February 29, 2008

Bird Ball

Today Steve and I went to see the Braves play the Dodgers in a spring training game. As you can see, a little birdie decided to join the game during an inning. I'm not sure if he was on the field as a coach or player, but he clearly felt he deserved to be there. He wasn't deterred by the players, coaches, officials, or fans. He stayed on the field for a few more minutes, then flew away, probably to tell of his adventure to his birdie friends, maybe even to top the chicken's story of how she crossed the road.

Moral of today's story? You can play on the big field with the professional big leaguers - you just have to have the courage to get on the field, stand your ground, and don't let anyone tell you that you don't belong there.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Here I Am Again ...

... at Disneyworld. Let me see, I was just here ... six weeks ago. This time I am not here to run a race, but to just have fun. Steve and I came today, he will leave Sunday, and then Molly and Scout will arrive and stay with me until Thursday.

There are always lots of stories to observe and tell about when I come here. Unfortunately tonight, I am too tired to think of any. Instead, I shall go wash my hands with my Mickey soap and get in the bed under my Mickey bedspread. See you tomorrow - I'll be the one eating the Mickey bar!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Yicky Jobs

Today I did one. I cleaned out the bathtub and bathroom sink drains. For those of you who didn't know that this is a job, it is. It involves taking out the stopper and digging out all the hair that is still trapped down in the drainpipe. Yes, it is as gross as it sounds.

The good news is that the water flows freely again.

The moral of this story is that there are yicky jobs. If you do them, thank you. If you don't do them, thank the ones who do.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

This is Progress?

Yesterday I decided to update my laptop and install Windows Vista, in hopes of great things. Late this morning it finally finished installing. There have many installations and un-installations and updating during this process. My computer has started and restarted numerous times. I have put in passwords and clicked yes and confirmed "go aheads." It is about to drive me nuts. And no, I am not on my laptop, but on the "big" computer downstairs. Laptop is still doing its own thing.

I am hanging on to the supposition that my laptop with be much better with all these updates and improvements. However, at this point, I am questioning my decision to change.

I guess that's the way it is with a lot of things that we choose to change. We want things to be better, but have a hard time waiting for them to take place. Maybe the change for the better really comes from us - we learn patience and are forced to keep our cool while we wait. Maybe we appreciate the changes when they do finally occur because we were forced to wait on them. Maybe that's the only way we can really value the improvements that changes bring - by realizing the time it takes to make things better.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Today ...

... started early this morning around 4am with Shaggy the Cat waking me in an apparent display of dissatisfaction over yesterday's post. Why do I put up with him? Because some mornings he leaves me alone and lets me sleep in. Sometimes he cuddles up next to me and purrs. Sometimes he plays and does funny things. Sometimes he talks and we both think we are actually having a conversation.

But the real reason I put up with him? I'm a cat person, and put up with a lot of cat shenanigans. Oh well, guess I'd better turn in - tomorrow morning is just a few hours away!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Why is Shaggy the Cat in the Box?

1. He has pawed me in the face at 3:25 in the morning one too many times, and he is about to take a "little trip."

2. He is looking for sympathy, hoping people will think he lives in a box like homeless humans.

3. We are playing hide and seek, and he's really bad at it.

4. He feels "boxed in" but doesn't have the words to express himself.

5. I said "Be sure to use your litter box," but he heard "Be sure to use the little box." He doesn't hear so good.

But the real reason is ...

He's a cat, the box was open - 'nuf said.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Evening Feeding Time at the Zoo

Tonight we had burgers and steaks and mashed potatoes and veggies and brownies. I am stuffed and ready to sleep it off. Just thought I would leave you with an accurate picture of how I feel.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Wogging Spirit

Last night Steve and I went to see the movie, "The Spirit of the Marathon." I really enjoyed it. The movie told the stories of several people who were training for the 2005 Chicago Marathon. Some were just everyday people like me, some were serious runners wanting to qualify for Boston, and some were elite athletes who win marathons by running five-minutes miles.

The movie didn't inspire me to run marathons again - I'm happy just trying to improve my half-marathon time. But it did remind me of the camaraderie I enjoy at races with people who run my pace. It's fun to meet people all along a race route, hear their stories, and to encourage them and be encouraged by them.

I'm not sure I'll ever run fast enough to even manage to place in my age group. But my real prize are the memories I get from each race - that and the finisher bling, that is.

See you at the finish line!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Squeaky, The Squirrel Who Found A Home

As I was out walking today, I noticed a little abandoned stuffed squirrel by the side of the road. It had its right front and rear paws torn off, along with a torn ear. I certainly could not just leave it there, so naturally I picked it up and carried it the remaining two miles to my house. I stitched up its holes, gave it a ride in my washer and dryer, and brought it to my desk to live. The question is, why would I pick up some torn, dirty, discarded stuffed animal from the side of the road and take it home, repair and clean it up, and decide to keep it?

I don't really know, except that I couldn't just leave it there. I know it's inanimate, but maybe it will help me remember the discarded things that are real. The real things that lay beside the road until somebody picks them up and cares. The real things who are hurt or ignored or passed by because nobody thinks they're worth it. The real things that nobody will notice except me. The real things that are placed in my path because I am the one who can help them. The real things who need me, my talents, and my time.

Sure, it's just a stuffed animal. But if it wasn't supposed to mean anything, then why was it on my walk today?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tell Somebody

Today I took my car in for an oil change. I pulled into the dealership, behind a red Camry just like mine. I got out of my car and stood behind several people in line to check in. The man who apparently was the owner of the other Camry told the attendant that he needed something out of his trunk. After he had retrieved his briefcase, I said to him, "I like your car."

He looked at me, then at my car, and said, "I like yours, too." We proceeded to have a short conversation about our cars, and just before it was his turn to check in, he said to me, "I'm glad you said something to me. I was getting pretty tense having to wait, and my whole attitude just turned around."

It was a gift to me just to have the conversation. But the unexpected bonus was his telling me that I had made a difference in his life just by talking to him. It was simply a few words between strangers, but it had made his morning better and he wanted to thank me for it.

I hope I remember Camry Man's words the next time someone makes me feel better, no matter how seemingly insignificant the effort. Because if someone changes my life for the better, then that person is my hero, even if it's a stranger at the service department.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ehh? What's That You Say?

Okay, I admit it. I have officially entered old age. My name is Luanne and I eat prunes.

I never really considering becoming a "pruner." However, I was recently searching for an alternative healthy snack in order to avoid the evil known as chocolate. I found myself perusing the bagged snack fruit aisle (think raisins) at Kroger. I saw a bag of Sunsweet Orange Essence Prunes and took the bait. I am now hooked, especially since I can also partake of Cherry Essence and Lemon Essence. I won't even begin to discuss any of the reputed therapeutic aspects of my new "treat." Let's just call it a snack with "benefits."

Prunes - it's the new chocolate! (At least for me!)

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Chicken's Story

Today as I was driving home from Mississippi, I looked up and saw a first - a chicken crossing the road - really and truly. It had crossed my lane and was almost to the other side. Even though I grew up on a farm, I have never literally seen a chicken crossing a road.

Naturally, this led me to ask many questions. Why was the chicken crossing the road? Had it escaped a farmer's ax? Had it flown the coop? Was it on vacation? Was it in training for a marathon? In order to put my mind at rest, I channeled the chicken and recorded the following story:

Quilt, The Chicken Who Crossed the Road

Quilt looked up for the umpteenth time as she pulled yet another worm out of the ground. Honestly, was this what life was all about? Pecking for worms and laying eggs? It had been nice for a while, but wasn't there any more to life?

Quilt decided to find another spot for worm-pulling and headed for the corner of the pen. She noticed the flowers on the other side of the fence and wondered what they smelled like. Her curiosity getting the best of her, Quilt pecked a hole in the fence and went out into the world.

Quilt found a new world to discover. She smelled daffodils and tasted ants. She drank from new ponds and heard crickets for the first time. Every day Quilt went farther out into this new world, finding new things to discover and learn.

One day Quilt came to the road and stopped. There were large, loud things zooming back and forth. Sometimes things got squished by the large, loud things. Quilt thought she could see intriguing things on the other side of the road but she was just too scared to try to cross over to find out.

Finally Quilt's curiosity could no longer be contained. She wanted to smell new things, taste new things, and try new things. She was still afraid, but wanted to go forward, so she took a deep breath and took that first step. It was scary, and she thought she might die, but Quilt made it across the road, where she constantly found new things that made her life complete.

Quilt kept exploring and quite often found new roads to cross. But she was never afraid again, because she had taken the first step and she knew forward was the only direction she would go.

Why did the chicken cross the road?
Because she had the courage to do so.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Bling

Today I completed my February half-marathon, The National Marathon To Fight Breast Cancer. It was warm, but God sent us breezes to cool us off. I didn't shave off the two minutes I had hoped, but I am proud of my efforts. This was a great race - especially for an inauguaral race. There were over 7000 total participants in both the full and half marathons. Here are today's highlights:

I was able to meet and talk to many fellow runners. The atmosphere was almost like the 3-day. There were men participating, but many more women. We were all aware of the cause for which we were running, because 100% of the registration and funds raised went to breast cancer research at the Mayo Clinic. Like the 3-day, you couldn't help but hear the breast cancer stories, and notice the names on the back of shirts. From the bus rides to every mile of the 13.1, we encouraged each other to keep at it.

While I was waiting for the start, I noticed a woman ahead of me. She looked familiar, then I noticed she had on a Disney running shirt. I remembered - Steve and I had met her and her husband while waiting to run the Miami 5K. I said hello, and we had a fun conversation.

The race medal is awesome. When you hold it up to the light, the middle is like stained glass and the light comes through it. It's just another example of someone going the extra mile to make something great.

The support along the course was encouraging and fun, especially the water person who helped me up when I nearly fell flat at Mile 10 Water Stop. The run on the beach was a first - hot and no breeze, but interesting. It was great to see family cheering me on at Mile 4. GDizzle was there, and it was fun for me to see him experience something new.

Another first for today was the use of my new Ipod shuffle. I got it last week with the idea of using it during my training. I brought it on this trip, loaded it, and decided to use it on this race. What a great idea!! I cannot imagine doing another race without it. It kept my mind occupied during the stretches between miles, and Enya and Neil Diamond kept me paced during critical moments.

All in all, a good day.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Here I Go Again (Again)

Tomorrow I will be wogging in my second half-marathon of 2008, the Breast Cancer Marathon. It is an inaugural event, with over 7000 participating. It starts late - at 8:30 (compared to a 6:00 am start for Disney), but I'll be catching the bus to the start around 6:30.

This race has many firsts. It will be my first event where part of the course is actually run on a beach. It is the first time that GDiz and Kitty have witnessed such an event. There may be other firsts, but I guess I'll just have to wait until tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I think I'll get ready for bed. See you tomorrow!

Friday, February 15, 2008

It's Great When You Just Know

How do you know when you've made the right decision? You just know. Today was one of those days for me.

A month ago, I decided the Disney marathon would be my twelfth and last. Today I was looking over the brochure for Sunday's Breast Cancer Marathon, where I will be doing the half marathon. There were two maps - one for the marathon and one for the half marathon. Looking over the full marathon map, my only thought was, "I could never do that," quickly followed by, "I'm so glad I don't have to!"

Life is filled with endless decisions, many of which you can only hope were the right decisions. It's great when you are assured you made the right one.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Meaning of Fatigue

Fatigue: Getting up at 5 am to get ready to leave at 8am to drive three hours to eat lunch with family to go to airport to wait two hours for flight to fly for one hour to wait for rental car to drive for 45 minutes to take the wrong direction to drive for 45 more minutes in correct direction to visit before for dinner for two hours to overeat yummy dinner to search for 20 minutes for hotel to get parking place to check in to have to return to car with luggage to put parking permit in car to get to hotel room to unpack and collapse with no intention of moving.

At least, that's today's definition for me!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Luanne Who?

A few weeks ago during my whirlwind flyby of Mississippi, I had a contact lens disappear. One minute it was in my eye, and then it was gone, never to be seen again. Once I had returned to Nashville, I called my eye doctor and ordered a new one.

I had not heard from them, and since I was leaving town tomorrow, I decided to call to check on it. As it turns out, they had tried to call me, but the only phone numbers they had were our old house phone number (since disconnected by choice) and my former work number.

Apparently they did call my work number. Someone there told them that I no longer worked there, and had moved to Florida. Okay, I know I visit WDW a lot - but moved??

I found this funny, but also a little sad. I'm sure there has been a big turnover of personnel, but was there no one who remembered me in the three years since I've been gone? I also feel a little guilty, because once I left those halls, I didn't go back except once to visit.

There's really no end to this story, except to realize how quickly we forget and lose touch with those who were once so important in our lives. And while it's really nobody's fault - it's just the facts of this life we lead - it still just feels a little sad.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Good Moments

There are moments that happen in life, when for a split second, everything seems good. Right now is that sixty-second moment. Steve, Maribeth, and Molly are downstairs playing scrabble with each other on their computers. I'm upstairs in my office watching the Westminster Dog Show, which I love, even though I don't have a dog. I am planning to do a half marathon on Sunday, but aren't concerned even though I haven't wogged since Saturday when I fell, continuing to Monday when I whacked my thigh with a Curves machine, creating a huge lump and resulting bruise. I didn't wog today due to rainy cold weather, electing instead to clean the house, the results of which made me happy.

Moments like these come and go quickly, but they're absolutely heavenly when you stop and breathe in the contentment.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Learnin' On The Web

According to Totally Useless Facts,

A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.

After reading this fact, I found I had a few questions. How in the world was this information obtained? Was it a government-funded research project? Is three seconds a long timespan for a goldfish, or a short one? Once obtaining this information, did the researchers move on to other animals? What do the researchers plan to do with this information?

There are a great many things I learn on the internet. But I think for my own sanity, some things are better left unlearned.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


This is a picture of one of my best friends. To you, it may look like just a sponge. To me, it was a constant and loyal companion. Let me explain.

About a month ago I was wogging my way through the Disney marathon. The weather was warm and humid. I had dutifully taken water and Gatorade at each and every water stop and had voluntarily walked through every water hose that anyone was manning. At mile 612, saints were passing out wet sponges. There was no greater treasure than this small white rectangle. I squeezed every drop of liquid in it onto my head, thus assuring my body of a few more steps of forward motion.

After rendering it lifeless, I could have tossed the sponge onto the ground to join its compatriots. But I still had a few cells of sense left in my brain, so I decided to hang on to the sponge. Consequently, for the remaining 2359 miles and water stops, I was able to replenish the sponge and rehydrate my rapidly dehydrating skin. In between water stops, I would store Spongy in my sports bra - our relationship became intimate rather quickly.

What seemed like eons later, I finally completed the marathon, and Spongy was with me all the way. I crossed the finish line, had my chip cut off, received my medal, and hobbled to find my sister and the bus back to the resort. Certainly one would think I could discard this small piece of cellulose at this point - but I couldn't and wouldn't. This sponge had become part of the process, part of this marathon experience, and part of me.

Sometimes it’s just the little insignificant things that make the biggest difference. I don't know if I would have passed out without Spongy, but I know I didn't with him. He cooled my core body temperature and refreshed me enough to get to the next mile. With him literally next to my heart, I knew if I kept going, he would rejuvenate me again at the next stop. He became my coach, my training partner, and my first aid kit.

I’m going to keep Spongy in my office with the other things that mean so much to me. When someone else sees it, they will probably just see a sponge. I will see the thing that kept me going so I could complete a goal. It was just a little thing, but it made a big difference in my life on an important day, just like little things do.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Heavenly Intervention

The other day when I was wogging, I was nearing the point on my route when I have to decide to either keep going for a total of three miles, or turn around and retrace my steps for a total of five miles. I was trying to decide which to do and asked God what He thought. About ten steps before the turn-around point, I began to feel drops of rain - decision made.

Today my plan was to go for ten miles. After five miles, I was ready to stop. But I decided to persevere, even though I knew I could call someone to come get me. A large part of completing a half or full marathon is mental - convincing myself that I can do it. So I decided the remaining miles would be my mental training. At Mile Six-and-a-half, Steve called to say he was leaving to go play golf. I decided I had done enough, and asked him to give me a lift home first. He said he was on his way, and I decided to jog to the seven-mile point. About ten steps later, I stepped on the curve of the sidewalk, twisted my ankle, and fell flat. I got up with no injuries except a sore ankle, and hobbled until Steve met me.

I might have fallen anyway, whether I had talked to Steve or not. But I choose to believe that God decided I had done enough for today, and wanted to make sure I knew it.

There are a great many times when God speaks to me. Sometimes I listen intently when it's a quiet small voice, and sometimes it takes a little more for me to get the message. It's a great blessing and comfort to know He is concerned about everything in my life, even down to how much I wog on any given day.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Getting It Done

Today's task was to clear out Maribeth's stuff from the storage unit and move it to Molly's attic. It wasn't an activity of choice for anyone, but was reluctantly agreed to (or coerced into). I rented the U-Haul truck and met Mari at Thompson Lane Storage. We got everything loaded on the truck and moved on to Molly's, which was where the fun began.

First there was the dilemma of moving all the boxes into Molly's bedroom so that the attic stairs (think rickety) could be lowered (think OLD house). Then there was the effort needed to hoist the boxes of books and other sundry items up to the attic (the more superior Molly method of moving was discovered a little over halfway into the job). Mari was up in the dusty, grungy attic, moving stuff around and delving into boxes she hadn't seen in probably over a year.

Once the attic was filled, then we had to move the two love seats off the truck and into an already full bedroom. All this was done while trying to keep Opie the dog from running out the door and down the street. Finally after an hour or so and two bottles of water, we were done in time to return the truck and go on a wild goose chase for Propel lemon water and Starbucks.

Yes, it was a tedious, physical task, but it was made tolerable because we did it together. We laughed and joked and made a memory. What better way to to something tiresome, than to do it together and create a family story to tell again and again.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Back on the Road Again

Since the WDW marathon on January 13 and the Miami half-marathon two weeks later, I have not been able to get back to a training routine. Either I would decide I was still in "recovery" from a race, or I would talk myself out of getting out. Yesterday I managed to get out for three miles. Today I knew I would have to really get back with it.

Procrastinating as long as possible, I finally got out the door late this morning. I purposely took it slow and managed to complete my planned distance. The weather was a little chilly and I didn't push it, but I got my eight miles in. I did feel a bit sore afterwards, but it was a good kind of sore. It felt good to be back on the route. It felt good to be out in the air again. It felt good to see the familiar landmarks in the distance and then to pass by them. It felt good to know that I was doing what I need to be doing. It felt good, even with the realization that I still have some serious training ahead of me.

If I am serious about completing a half-marathon every month this year and cutting two minutes off each succeeding half-marathon, then I am going to have to become very intentional and dedicated to training. There are going to be days that I don't want to do it. But that is part of the reason for this goal of 12 half-marathons - to keep me focused and disciplined.

So today I started back. It felt like going back home, and it felt good.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Real Friends

Today is my friend Dave's birthday. Dave and I met at a teacher meeting several years ago. We sat at the same table, and developed a camaraderie instantly. Over the years we found ourselves working together in various workshops and other work-related venues.

Dave is a great guy. He's funny and a delight to be around. He's caring and very intuitive about others. He's intelligent and a great source of information. He's energetic and motivates those he encounters. He's enthusiastic and clever and entertaining.

But the best part of Dave is that he's a real friend. Since I've quit teaching, I don't see him as often. But no matter how much time passes, when we get together we pick right back up where we left off. We catch up, enjoy our visit, then go about our lives until we meet again.

The blessing of real friends is their longevity. Their commitment to our friendship lasts whether we see them on a regular basis or not. Their ability to instantly connect happens no matter how much time has passed. Their faithfulness to a friendship never ends.

Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to reconnect with old friends. For some, it’s been years since we last spoke, but it seemed as if it were yesterday. The friendships have not changed even though our lives have. But that’s what makes those friendships real, because it’s not our shared lives that keep us friends - it’s our connection and commitment to each other. The gift of real friends is the security of knowing they will always be in our lives, no matter what.

Today is my friend Dave's birthday, but I got the real gift - being Dave's friend.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My No-Shaggy Protest

I am not happy with Shaggy the Cat because he insists on getting me up in the mornings before 5am. So instead of showing pictures of him, I am showing videos of cute cats. Shape up, Shaggy!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Today's Choice

Today was a day when I got a lot of stuff done but it just didn't seem like I got anything done. I ran numerous errands and checked things off a nonexistent list, but at the end of the day, I didn't feel like I had accomplished much.

On days like this, I could wallow in that feeling of dissatisfaction of a day not used efficiently. I could make lists of things that didn't get done for various reasons. I could imagine the consequences of my inaction. I could go eat chocolate and wait for tomorrow.

But instead, I will focus on the few things I did do, that just took long stretches of time. I will concentrate on the benefits resulting from those completed tasks. I will celebrate that which was done and let today receive the glory it deserves. I may still go eat chocolate, but it will be as a reward, not consolation.

At the end of the day, we all have a choice to make. We can celebrate the good we made of today or persecute the sloth we imagined today. It's almost a choice between reality and illusion - what we did versus that which we didn't. Today I will focus on what I know happened and not what I speculate could have been. I will celebrate the "dids" of today because those are the things that truly matter.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Flying with Eagles

Today I had the honor of attending my nephew David's Eagle Scout Ceremony. He is only 15, yet has achieved this high rank in Boy Scouts. To do this, he has had to earn at least 21 merit badges and complete an extensive service project that would benefit others. He had done it all, and had quite a sash of badges, patches, and pins to attest to this fact.

It is quite impressive to listen to the many tasks that these Scouts accomplish. Although I know very little about Boy Scouts, I realize that it is more than just camp outs and hiking. These young men are learning to effect a positive change the world in which they live. In addition to their academic and recreational pursuits, they are spending their time honing skills so that their lives can be of assistance to those around them.

Quite often the news we read is about the terrible antics of teenagers who have little regard for anyone or anything else. The real tragedy is that the positive stories of teenagers like David are left off the front pages where they should be. How else will those lost teenagers ever know of another way of life? How else will they realize that teenagers can accomplish great things of great significance?

Congratulations David, on your achievement. Keep up the good work so that other can follow in your footsteps and see the good that is possible.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Another Run Through The Streets of Nashville

Today was just another 5K through the streets of Nashville. Sam joined Steve and me for the Fangtastic 5K, followed by the traditional post-5K lunch at Whichwich (okay, so this is the second time, which makes it a tradition for our family).

After lunch, Steve and I will head to Columbus, MS, for to spend the night with GDizzle, then head to Jackson, MS, on Sunday for my nephew's Eagle Scout ceremony. We will end up in Nashville sometime Sunday night.

That's my weekend - what's yours?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Important Words

There are a lot of important words. Tonight those will have to do, because I am too tired to think of any others. However, I will be thinking of what I would consider to be my most important words. What will be yours?