Friday, July 31, 2009

What Will It Be?

Tomorrow is August 1, which means it's time to get rid of 100 more things. Since I don't know what they are going to be, I'm in a mild state of panic. I've thought about shedding 100 general doo-dads, but I don't know if I have enough. The sad part is that I still have so much clutter sitting around the house. So I guess I'll go back to pondering about August's 100 things. Tune in tomorrow to see the verdict!

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I've heard of arthritis, bursitis, and tonsillitis. But having survived three weeks of Nashville Adventure Boot Camp, I'm becoming acquainted with some new "itis" syndromes. For instance, there is:

*What-the-crap-itis - This stems from the joints/muscles that have blissfully been enjoying retirement for the past 30-odd years. They are not so happy.

*You've-got-to-be-kidding-me-itis - This is when Boss Josh says to stick our legs up in the air, keep them straight, and scissor-kick them while doing crunches from side to side. My legs obviously have a feud going on with my (lack of) abdominal muscles, so this is a exercise in futility. Literally. I look more like a bent pretzel who has sprung a sweat spigot.

*How-many-itis? - This is when Boss says we should do 20 (which seems like 200) reps of anything. Since I cannot count and complete a manuever in tandem, I have no idea how many I actually complete. Since it's usually more like five, I console myself my believing I am counting in Base Five.

*I-don't-have-that-body-part-itis - This is when Boss demonstrates an exercise where some body part should be supporting another. Since I am usually quivering and falling over during this part, I can only assume that my body is deficicit in this department. I don't think Boss believes me, though.

*I-graddiated-fifth-grade-itis - This involves anything with a jump rope. I left any jump-roping ability when I left fifth grade. This is evidenced my the rope getting tangled in my feet, around my neck, and flying off into the distance. Okay, so maybe that last one has a little help with my attitude. But it still hasn't managed to hit Boss in the head yet - gotta practice my aim.

*I-need-a-drink-itis - This is when I have sweated off any fluids that my body has harbored, usually after one lap around the gym. I go to my trusty drink bottle and swig, but since I don't pass out, I obviously am not packing the right drink. Doesn't alcohol help the exerise process?

*It's-what-time-itis?!! - This is when I look at the clock after an eon of running, jumping, squatting, and who knows what else. Imagine my surprise to find that only five minutes has passed. Methinks Boss is fiddling with the clocks.

Yes, Boot Camp has awakened a whole new set of itis-es. Thank goodness!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


All I have is a picture of this woman. I don't even know her name. But for over seven hours one day, she was my best friend.

The day was the 2002 Marine Corps Marathon. As usual, I was out of shape and not prepared. But as usual, that did not deter me from entering. I jogged and wogged and walked my way through Washington, D.C. Along the course I kept seeing this lady with the turquoise shirt. First she would get ahead, then I would catch up and get ahead, then she'd catch up and get ahead, and then we'd repeat the process. We were together with a small group of others when the freeways were opened back up and we were dodging cars. We were together panting up the final hill when we heard the announcement that the finish line would be closing in fifteen minutes. We were together headed to the finish line when she turned to me and said, "Let's run it out." We did, we finished, and we received our medals. She helped me get where I wanted to be, and I am grateful.

I thought about this today as I was loading old pictures onto facebook, pictures of friends with whom I grew up. We all looked young and thin and ready for the world. When I first joined facebook, I didn't want to be friends with anyone from my past. I dreaded what they might think when they saw my current pictures. With the added weight and effects of 30+ years of living, what would they think? After all, I was sure they hadn't changed a bit! So, I resigned (or whatever you do) from facebook.

But then I decided to rejoin. I'm finding friends from the old days and enjoying learning about their lives. We've all changed, but I only see the friends as I knew them. I realize how thankful I am to have had them all in my life. Even though I haven't had contact with many of them in decades, just a picture or a note or a comment brings it all back - and it's all good, because they all helped to get me where I wanted to go.

I guess in the end, maybe it's not benchmarks that define our lives. Maybe it's the faces that we've seen along the way. Faces that may change over time and some that we may never see again. Behind each face is a story, a story that became part of our own story. Our story wouldn't be complete without theirs. But most important of all, we could never get to that finish line without them.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


,,, or what happens when cats collide.
Left from right: Grayson, the kitty who came to stay; Shaggy, the patriarch of the house; and Margaret Thatcher, aka Maggie, Molly's kitten who came to visit

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lynnette and Grayson

Just another example of Grayson's inexplicable personality. He loves to lounge with whomever is on the couch, eats enough for an entire litter of kittens, and enjoys running after you wherever you are going. I couldn't have chosen a more delightful kitty - and I didn't really choose this one - he chose us!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's Sunday

Actually, it's Sunday night and I have Boot Camp at 5:45 tomorrow morning. So I'm going to bed. I've had a good weekend and hope yours was, too. On to Monday!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Future That Was ... But Isn't

So the plan was to go camping and hiking for two weeks with Maribeth. But now the plan has changed to not going camping and hiking. Who knows what the new plan may be.

But I guess that's the good thing about plans - they can be changed. And as long as the plans include somebody you love, then any change is good.

Friday, July 24, 2009

These May Be In My Future - Part III

Okay, so'll I'll explain it all tomorrow. Probably.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Great Way To Start A Marriage

Sam shared this video, and I found it amazing. It's the kind of wedding that I would have loved to have - except the fact that my mother would have had a heart attack. It's great to see a young couple doing what they want. Even though I don't know them, just watching this video made me happy for them.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Swimming Coach

This morning after I was finished with Boot Camp and had changed into a dry shirt, I ate breakfast. Then I ate lunch and dinner. Followed by dessert and a snack. All of this occurred before 10am. Clearly not wise behavior. So you can imagine the resulting sluggishness and general blah feeling. I certainly did not feel like going for a swim.

Since starting Butt Camp, I've gone for a 30-minute swim everyday. Swimming slowly (think Michael Phelps in super slo-mo, then slow it down again) helps stretch out the muscles. Usually there's nobody in my chosen lane, although occasionally I've shared a lane.

However, this morning I didn't really want to go, but decided I'd better if I had any hope of working off those M&Ms and hamburger and granola bar, etc. So I went.

Upon my arrival, I claimed an empty lane and got started. After a few laps, I noticed another swimmer at the end of the lane - time to share. By the time we had done a lap and I was turning to go back, I noticed a third swimmer in the lane - three of us were now sharing. Our newest buddy motioned that we would be swimming in a circular motion, and off we went.

Instead of my usual leisurely swim, I had to pick up the pace, since I had two other ladies literally in my wake. So, on a day I really needed to push it, I did because I had to.

Guess it's all because my coach arranged for my pace partners to be there when I needed them. Just another example of how God coaches me in all things - even the swimming pool!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just When They Thought They Were Retired ...

... they're called into action again. My abdominal muscles, that is. Sure, I had them way back in high school, and even into college. Even if I gained a pound or two, I could skip a candy bar, do a few sit ups and they were back in action.

Then I got married. Sensing that perhaps they could take it easy, those muscles started relaxing a bit. When I started harboring children within their confines, those abdominal muscles weren't too happy. They would rebound a little less with the births of each child. Maybe they were confused and thought the elastic panel of the maternity pants were a permanent fashion statement. Unfortunately for us all, they weren't.

Fast forward many years. My abs, if you could call them that, went into hibernation, covered by layers of belly bulge (at least according to the Gut Buster ads). I think they secretly figured that I was married and past child-bearing age, so what was the point? Instead of buying big-girl panties, I went for the big-gut ones.

And then came Butt Camp. Our task master Josh is hell-bent on me finding those elusive things known as abs that are somewhere in the vicinity of my belly button. He has the group doing all sorts of torture maneuvers, from sticking our feet up in the air and lifting a weight upwards to touch our feet, to twisting and turning while our legs are pretend moving like they are on a bicycle. He keeps telling us to do twenty-five, which I interpret to being two and five. Once everyone has done the required reps, he says to do it again. Sadist.

Every now and then, when I can actually get my upper body off the floor to half-way complete a modified chubby old-lady crunchette, I think I feel a twinge in that-area-formerly-known-as-a-waist. I hope that it's an old muscle being called back into action and not a reminder of what I had for dinner last night. Every time I manage to heave up to the required position (sort of), I try to believe that one day I will wear something belted again. I imagine that one day I will tuck in my shirt again. If Josh has his way, it will happen.

So I guess I'll keep working at it. Somewhere out there, there's a belt with my name on it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

This May Be In My Future - Part II

... all will be revealed in due time..

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Good Job, Tom!

I think everyone really wanted him to win. Tom Watson, 59 years old and nine months away from hip replacement surgery, was leading the golf tournament up to the 18th hole. But a three-putt and four playoff holes later, instead of winning the British Open, Tom watched as Stewart Cink claimed victory.

It was exciting to watch and root for Tom to win. Since Tiger missed the cut on Thursday, I think everyone watching wanted a good story. Tom gave us one, and in his defeat, we felt a little disappointed and sorry for him. But I think Tom said it best:
"This ain't a funeral, you know," Watson said later.
He's right. The tournament outcome was not what we may not have wished for, but it wasn't the end of the world. Instead of lamenting what could have been, we should be celebrating and honoring what was and what is. Tom Watson showed the world the golf pro that he is. He showed us that age doesn't always have the last laugh and that anything is possible. He showed us the reality of a comeback and that an AARP membership is perfectly compatible with a PGA membership. But most of all, he showed us that even in our greatest defeat, we can always find perspective.

In the end, it's all about getting out there and doing our best. And if the end results aren't exactly what we had hoped for, if we gave it all we could, then the ride made it all worthwhile.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

This May Be In My Future

... more details to follow.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Grayson Tries Computing

This is a different kind of cat video - it's for cats. I tried it with Grayson this afternoon, and it was hilarious. I do draw the line, though at him having his own facebook page!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursday Night One-Liners

Eyes drooping.

Head pounding.

Boot camp tomorrow morning.

Bed calling my name.

Tune in tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

So That's What A Habit Is!

I'm not going to blog everyday about Boot Camp, unless one day I can actually do the 20 reps that King Josh keeps asking me to do. But today I will mention camp simply for this reason - it's helping me get into a routine.

Before this week, I kept thinking that if I could just get into a habit of exercising, then it wouldn't be so hard to do on a regular basis. But then I'd end up doing a day of this, or two days of that, and just couldn't get anything to stick. But with Boot Camp, I get up every morning at 5 am to prepare for torture at 5:45 am. After only three days, it's becoming routine, and I sort of like it.

It helps that I have someone going with me. When Lynnette and I were training for the 3-Day, I think we both prayed that one of us would call and cancel that day's training walk. But we didn't. Mainly because we didn't want to be the wimp, but in the end we both helped each other complete our goal. Having Maribeth going with me keeps me going when I'd rather still be in bed.

It helps that I can see (well, at this point I can only feel like) I am getting results. At least I hope that the stiffness and soreness will eventually translate into a healthier me. Every morning I wonder how I am going to do some of the stuff we're supposed to do. Most mornings I can only do a few of the jumping-lunge-weight-crunch-plank maneuvers. But I always believe that maybe the next time I will be able to do maybe one more.

It helps that there is a beginning, middle, and end, not only for each session, but the the camp as a whole. I just think about getting through the current hour, and even though I cannot imagine doing the next day's hour, I know I will.

So I guess the thing about developing a routine is sharing it with someone, believing that your goals will be met, and having a timetable. While each of these things will vary, somehow they all work together and you find yourself with a new habit. Once all the parts are in place, all you have to do is begin.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wouldn't This Work As Well?

After two sessions of boot camp and finding new ways of aching, I'm wondering if I can't find some other way of getting in shape, losing weight, and becoming healthy. These kittens look thin and healthy - do you think maybe Roomba makes a chubby old lady size?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Butt Camp

Okay, okay - I know it's Nashville Adventure BOOT Camp, but my moniker seemed more accurate, since it was my butt that got kicked today, and that I'm trying to get into shape. Yes friends, today was the first day of a four-week program designed to get me back into some sort of fitness ... since today I realized I am in no state of fitness.

It all began at 5:15 am, when I rousted Maribeth out of bed so that we could get to the torture chamber - I mean gym - by 5:30. Thank goodness it's only two miles from my house. Anyhow, we each get our two 5-pound weights and our two 8-pound weights (that's two of each) and our expensive foam mats and our water bottle and off we go.

The next hour was filled with a variety of things, most of which are a blur for me. So instead of giving you an exact blow-by-blow, I have decided to just hit the highlights for you.

*There was a lot of jogging around the gym. At least for the ladies who wear shorts and sports bras. For people like me (and there weren't really any), there was a Lady Maidenform covered by a XL t-shirt and yoga pants. And it was more wogging than jogging. At least until the 6th lap, or was it the 6 billionth lap, when my left ankle decided no-way, and chose to turn and twist and land me on the floor. Which wasn't nearly as embarrassing as all the young-uns stopping and asking the elderly fat lady if she was okay.

*There was a lot of lifting of the 5-pound weights. Maribeth and I made an executive decision to leave the 8-pounders at home for while, since the 5's were more than enough to cause cardiac distress. The hardest part is to remember when to breathe in and out. Naturally, I do it wrong every time. I think I will just tell Commandant Josh that at my age, we need to be thankful that I can draw a breath, no matter in what order.

*There was a lot of jumping jacks. So in case you felt movement and wondered if it was an earthquake, it wasn't. It was just me. Until the ankle twist, when it became steppin' jacks. Who is Jack, anyway?

*There was a lot of variations on sit ups. Or to use the politically correct term, crunches. There were some where you had to stare at the ceiling, some where your legs were supposed to point up (yeah, like that was going to happen), some where you were supposed to pivot from side to side (which was fine until I started getting seasick), and some partner ones - which is when Maribeth decided to find a new mother and since we had an odd number of inmates, Heil Josh became my partner. Payback sucks, Maribeth!

*There was a lot of lunging where your knee was supposed to touch the floor. I had forgotten to bring my walker, so that maneuver seemed a bit ambitious. Drill Sergeant Josh was mainly concerned that my steps weren't wide enough. Yeah, that was my concern too. That and the fact that everyone else was done before I got to the other side of the gym.

*There were a lot of suicide drills were you had to run here then back then there a little further then back then there even a little further then back then start over. At what point does this become murder, since it's certainly wouldn't be my choice for ending my life? I cheated a lot on this one, because this was immediately after the ankle twist and I didn't want to get trampled on by the athletes content on killing themselves.

There might have been some other stuff, but it fades in with the rest. At some point, Dictator Josh declared our emancipation, we gathered up our stuff, and meandered back to the car. We arrived home before Steve left for work. He took one look at us and ran for dry t-shirts, which he demanded we change into before we sat on the couch. I think the t-shirts we wore are still drenched in sweat.

So was it a good experience? Must be, because I'm doing it again tomorrow!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Grayson Update

This is Grayson. He is the kitty who wandered up one day while I was working in my backyard. He has decided to hang with us, and has his own peculiar way of doing things.

For a skinny kitty, he can eat a whole can of cat food in one sitting. Sometimes he likes to jump up on the counter to help you fix his dinner.

He also would like to sample whatever you might be eating. He prefers Cheetos over Doritos and enjoys a saucer of milk from time to time. When he discovered that Shaggy the Cat preferred canned food over dry, he decided to follow suit. While he and Shaggy have developed a tolerance of each other, I think Grayson secretly hopes that one day they will be great friends.

He will follow you from room to room - I'm not sure why. He still wears the pink jingle bell collar he showed up with - so it's funny to hear him as he jingles from room to room.

When he goes outside, he often disappears for hours, and sometimes we wonder if he's decided to go back home. But after while, he's back again, ready for a meal. He's usually always ready for a nap, even if it's on the top of the remote control.

I'm not sure why Grayson ended up on our patio. I'm not sure why he left his other home. The only thing that I'm sure of is that for now, he is with us. For whatever reason, for whatever period of time, he's our little blessing. Come to think of it, that's how most blessings are.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

If It's Saturday, I Must Be Back In Nashville

So much for our 28-hour trip to Columbus, Mississippi, and back. We left Nashville yesterday just after lunch, and left Columbus today just after lunch. During our sojourn, we managed to eat out twice, visit a Toyota dealership, purchase some items at the Farmer's Market, walk a few miles on the river walk, visit with the gentleman's early morning McDonald's coffee club, aid in the purchase of a new watch, effect an eyeglass adjustment, and purchase a new shirt. I cannot imagine what could have been accomplished had we stayed longer.

One might wonder why go, if the time is so short. Sometimes I have no idea. When my father was in his final months of lung cancer, I made the trip every other week. My sister and I have often made the trip and back in the space of one day. There is no perfect route, because if you were to ask five different people how to get from Nashville to Columbus/Starkville, you would get five different routes. So the question remains - why make the trip for such a short time?

It's really simple. We do it because there's a piece of us still there. It may be a house, or a school, or a nephew, or a friend, or a ninety-two year old father. We do it because it's not the length of the trip or the visit, it's what awaits us at our destination. And no matter how short the visit is in relation to the time spent getting there, the time together is what matters. Those moments spent together spur us on our journey there, and sustain on our journey back.

Because in the end, it's really not about the trip. It's about the memories we make when we are together.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Not Bad for a Friday

I got my car serviced, including new tires, I made it to Mississippi in time for dinner with my father-in-law, and I made it to Old Navy before it closed so I could get a shirt to wear tomorrow (since I forgot the ones I left hanging in the bathroom at home). Now I am McDonalds, trying to quickly write this before the thugs mug me and steal my computer. Tomorrow holds forth the promise of the farmer's market and who knows what else.

So how was your Friday?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Maribeth's Top Ten

Today is Maribeth's 25th birthday, so I would like to list the Top Ten Things I like about her:

1. She likes cats

2. She's the daughter my mother wished on me. Lucky me!

3. She's adventuresome and brave and does things I've never even considered.

4. She doesn't mind letting her feelings be known.

5. She's my Disney pusher and is the one responsible for getting me back on the Disney path to happiness.

6. She's a good half-marathon partner.

7. She's thoughtful and comes up with unique ideas.

8. She will usually give me her honest opinion when asked.

9. She's very artistic.

10. She's not afraid to forge her own path.

Happy Birthday Maribeth! I love you!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's Not A Cat Video, But Just As Cute!!

The question is, will it work on old folks like me?

Monday, July 6, 2009


It's getting late, I'm sleep deprived, and blog ideas are few and far between. I can't even muster up the energy for a kitty video. Maribeth walked past and suggested I blog about the new roof. So here goes.

Technically it is a new roof - it's just not on the house yet. All the shingles and coverings and various other supplies were delivered today and are sitting on the side of the carport. I guess you could call it the new roof - it's just not in its final form.

So the lesson for today is potential. Just like the roof materials that are just sitting and waiting, there are always all kinds of potential in and around us, waiting to be made into the final and complete product. While things and circumstances may seem like just piles of junk, ultimately all that junk can be used to reach the purposes for which they were intended.

But like most potential, right now the roof materials are just sitting there idle. And like all potential, it won't do much good unless it is used. So I guess my lesson is to start using all those mounds of potential that exist within myself. After all, any potential that is truly ours was put there for a reason - to fulfill a purpose and destiny that is uniquely and divinely ours.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

It's Sunday.

Take a break. Take a nap. Take a walk. Do something and enjoy it - it's Sunday and a day to stop and be grateful. Especially for people who read your blog when you don't really have anything to say!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Family 5K Minus One

This morning we planned to do another family 5K. Unfortunately, Molly had eaten some out-of-date food last night, and was indisposed this morning. So the rest of us gathered at 7am and walked the race together. The weather was nice and we ate breakfast afterward.

But it's just not the same when someone's missing. I guess that's the good thing about family. Even when someone's not there, they are. Because family is always with you wherever you go - they're right inside your heart.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Snakes in the Stream

Today I was walking in the neighborhood, I walked along the stream that flows along my route. In the past I've seen ducks and beavers as they make their home along the stream. When it has rained, the stream flows and I love hearing the splashing of water as it flows from one level to the other.

But today as I glanced over, I saw something in the water that did not thrill me - a nasty snake swimming in the middle of the stream. I don't like snakes, regardless of any good some of them do. I find them sneaky and scary. When I stopped to take a picture with my phone, the snake stopped swimming and stared at me. Really. I think he was sizing me up. Needless to say, I snapped the picture and left.

As I was walking back to the house, I thought about the lesson that this snake taught me today. He taught me that even in the pleasant, soothing stream that I love to walk past, there are creepy things along with the things I enjoy. There are things that scare me and could harm me, along with the things that delight me and give me pleasure.

But that's the way it is with many things in life. Right in the middle of something that is good, there can be sneaky things lurking about that are harmful. For instance, in the grocery store there are many foods that are good to eat, but there are other foods that are harmful to my physical and emotional well being. There are many good people in my life, but there are also those who are detrimental to my happiness. In fact, in just about every circumstance of life, there is the bad that is always swimming along with the good.

So I guess the thing to do is be aware of both the good and bad. And when faced with the things that threaten me, it's best to move on, especially when it's staring me in the face.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Home Again

The gray cat is still here. The weather is great - no rain, not too hot, and slightly breezy. There's a lot of laundry to be done, the new roof gets started on Monday, and exercise boot camp starts in a week.

It's good to be home again.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July's 100 Things

I started my July 100 Things several weeks ago. I knew I would be out of town on this date, and also knew that this project would take some time. July's 100 Things are 100 photographs, which actually ended up being about five times that much, at least.

It all started back in the dark ages, when we used film and had to send that film off to be developed. Since it was so time-consuming, we usually ordered double prints to send to friends and family. Add marriage and kids in the mix, and soon we found we had mountains of prints and negatives.

Many years ago I got rid of the negatives, since I didn't organize them. A few years ago I decided to organize the photographs. I bought photo boxes, labeled each one with the name of a family member, and then went through the pictures, tossing the appropriate one into the corresponding box.

This went fine for a few years, until someone requested a particular picture. Finding it involved hours of going through the boxes and loads of pictures, sometimes unsuccessfully. There had to be a better way.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I decided that getting rid of photos would be my project. I bought some inexpensive photo albums where you just slip in the picture. I labeled each album the same way I did the boxes, then went through each box. I cast aside the duplicates and pictures I didn't want to keep. I put the rest in the album in semi-chronological order. The photos that were left over were given to the family to do with what they wanted.

Did I clear up space in my house? Maybe a little. But I cleared up time, because now it's easier to locate and look at pictures. It's an un-cluttering of a part of my life and getting rid of the unnecessary, which is the whole point of the 100 things. Sometimes it's the little things that make life a little easier.