Wednesday, December 29, 2010
|What I hope the snow level is on race weekend . . .|
|What the ground will probably look like on race weekend. . .|
|What I will look like on race weekend!|
I am very nervous about biking in the snow/ice/whatever is on the ground up in northern PA. The thought of crashing my bike is so unappealing. True, my hands will be frozen to the handles but still, falling is going to be painful. And then there is being around all of those competitors who, I am sure, are taking this way more seriously than I. I’m in it for the fun. I’m in it to see how much I can do in the snow and still make it to work the next day. I’m in it to see if I’m really as tough as I think I am.
I’m doing this to make up for the fact that I ditched my sister-in-law in a similar race (that was held in much nicer weather) and I need to save face. And Rob better not let me get lost, shot, biked over. . . . because I’ll tell our dad.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
That is so not what is happening.
For instance, I have two nights left to finish quilts and 2 pillows—quilted by hand, no less (part of the sitting by the woodstove fantasy). My family has literally eaten ALL of the cookies as soon as they were baked. Not kidding about this. All I have left in the freezer are these rotten pumpkin cookies that even the dogs won’t touch. Last night I fought with my 13 year old daughter about whether or not the eggs that were collected from the chickens were still good (they were). From that, the fight progressed to the point where I remember this morning that we aren’t speaking although I can’t remember why. And my sweet 13 year old daughter told me to ‘chill’. I thank God everyday that my parents allowed me to live through my teenage years.
I did however, sit in front of the woodstove – after I woke up at 2:30 a.m. in the bitter cold—realizing that the fire had gone out. I sat in front of the woodstove blowing on the embers to get the logs to light. Not quite what I had imagined—all the while, the dogs were jockeying around trying to steal the ‘warm spot’ under the blankets that I had left. Man’s best friend?? I think not. The Christmas tree did look beautiful and its sparkling lights shone merrily upon the bits of aluminum foil that one of the dogs had ripped apart and strewn across the living room.
At this point, Christmas seems like more of an endurance race than a celebration, which is a shame. I do know (again, based on experience) that in some crazy way, everything will come together and we will have a wonderful time with plenty of laughs, a few tears remembering those family members who are spending the holiday with Jesus, and more than enough food. We will remember to be thankful for everything that we have and on Christmas evening, I will be reflecting on a day well spent with family and friends in celebration of the birth of our King.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
|Our family's 10th Penn State degree!|
The memories are awesome and I am so lucky because I get to experience Penn State everyday. But today waiting at Gate B for my baby, I shed more than a few tears. Tears because the time has flown by, tears because of his accomplishments, and the proud tears of knowing that Penn State is yet another way we are connected as a family.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
|It is true. I complain about the heat. It's because I love to run but running in the oppressive heat really plays havoc on my motivation. I absolutely love to run in the frigid weather - the snowier or rainier, the better. But I'm not running right now. I'm freezing. The wood stove just can't put out the heat strong enough to keep me toasty. Even my dogs are curled up into tight little balls trying to syphon heat from each other. |
If I walk upstairs in our house, I can see my breath. It is cold. So cold that my eyeballs freeze, my ski mask is stuck to my nose, and so cold that Sebastian doesn't even whine when I set off on a run without him. That is cold. Real cold.
|Part of Old Town San Diego|
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I come from a long line of hunters and it looks as if I've given birth to couple of hunters, too. My husband hunts for deer (he doesn't like turkey) during archery and rifle season. My brother's wives cook up any little critter that they shoot. And everyone in my family just loves these meals! I really, really wish that I could stomach handling game - but I gag and retch whenever I see or touch anything other than a clean roast or ground meat. And I know that actually game is much, much cleaner, much healthier meat and definitely more economical than any commercially raised beef. But still....
I do hope that we have venison in the freezer for the year. I would love the money saved by not purchasing meat at the market. So bring on the bucks, or the does - fill up the freezer! I just don't like touching it, cooking it, or eating it.
Friday, November 26, 2010
As a rule, I do not visit you. Your store is too big, too loud, too crowded, too overwhelming for me. The other night I was in a rush and out of desperation, I stopped in to buy a few needed items. From the moment I walked through your automatic doors (which are backward, I might add), my senses were assaulted in more ways than I can possibly name.
My first stop was in produce to grab a bag of celery. It turned out to be a relatively harmless experience and I made it through that maneuver unscathed. Next stop was butter, strategically placed at the very back of the store. After dodging and darting between other shoppers who appeared equally as dazed as I, I grabbed my needed box of butter. Navigation to the front of the store was a bit trickier. With displays, carts, and stands of cookies, chips, seasonal candies – all set right at eye level, stationed tactically in the middle of your very narrow aisles, it was impossible to make it from point A to point B. I’m sure this is a carefully thought-out plan because in my trip from point A to point F down to point Q and then finally to Point B, I passed a multitude of colorful displays of all sorts of things I don’t need (and can’t imagine who possibly could!).
On my way back to the register area – so that I could check my own order—I could barely function with the horrific brain-dulling garbage playing from every possible point. In the health and beauty aid section, at the end of each aisle, was some type of video advertisement giving instruction on everything from the best allergy medicine to use and how to use it to the benefits of Viagra (I swear!). I felt as if I were trapped inside a pinball game.
Aside from the anti-Wal-Mart rumor mill, I have my own reasons for our break-up. You offer just too many choices for my small mind. After working all day listening to other people's problems, I want simplicity. I want to be able to just walk into a store and pick up milk. Period. Just milk. I don't want to have to choose from 4 different producers. I just want to get it and go.
Wal-Mart, your designers are very savvy-that is true. But I have the same amount of hours in my day as everyone else and I choose not to spend those precious minutes standing in front of a shelf full of 97 different variety of black beans and trying to decide which can I want when I could be outside with my kids or my animals breathing in our country air all the while being perfectly happy. Wal-Mart – you will always be there silently smothering to death every small hardware store, every mom and pop general grocery, all to provide us humans an endless selection of things that we could very well do without. I am sure that you are the perfect store for many people but you are just not for me.
We are over now, Wal-Mart. You will not be seeing me again.But if you start selling time, let me know. I may come back.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
After yesterday’s foul mood brought on by an unpleasant dream, it feels good to be back in high spirits again. I am determined to avoid the anxiety I normally feel this time of year. For years, I’ve agonized over Christmas. I love Christmas but absolutely, positively hate the materialism and greed that marks this holiday. I can’t stand the commercials and advertisements promoting more, more, and more crap that we don’t even need. Pretty selfish, I think, when there are so many people who can’t even afford the basics. I hate the pressure that I’ve placed on myself to buy the perfect gift – did I spend enough? are they nice enough? are they enough??? These gifts for loved ones who really don’t need any thing!
Of course for my younger kids and my grandson, there will be a couple of toys and some fun stuff. The nice thing about being poor (a matter of perspective), is that the bar is set low. No one really expects much from me. But for my older two kids and my parents, I want to give them some memories. Kind of like the running necklace that my son gave me years ago that I wear every day. And when I don’t run, I feel as if I’ve failed him. Or the painting of the tree with the most striking autumn colors that my daughter made me and that I look at every day and think of what a great artist she has become. I want to do that for them.
What can it be? There is not a lot that I do well. I bake, I run, that’s about it. I’ll think of something. It is important that I do. This fall we’ve been given the gift of a little more autumn. I want to return the favor to those I love.
Monday, November 22, 2010
It never ceases to amaze me how my life is guided by my dreams. A bad dream can totally influence my mood and if I allow it, completely determine the course of my day.
If I want to reverse the negative feelings from a bad dream, it is important that I try and remember as much of my dream as possible. Otherwise there is this feeling of something forgotten hovering over me all day. For instance, I woke this morning in a foul mood. Usually the calm of working out early and then the peacefulness of feeding and watering the animals helps me reconstruct my dream and totally change my outlook on the day. But for some reason, I ignored my alarm this morning and slept much longer than I should have which resulted in a rush to wake the kids and take care of the animals. This never is a good thing – for anyone. The second chance for peace and calm to reflect on my dreams on my drive to work was thwarted by a call from my daughter. I always love talking to my daughter in the mornings before work-it makes my day! And I love hearing about my grandson but I was just starting to bring back pieces of last night’s dream. I was only able to vaguely recollect a short dark haired man showing me his bald spot?! It may have been the hot chocolate and marshmallow I drank before bed – I’ve found that anything but tea in the evenings can really affect my dream themes! Tea – chamomile, generally encourages really good, gentle dreams while hot chocolate or warm milk not only bothers my stomach, but brings on weird, bad dreams that leave me antsy and angry the next day.
I’m still in a blue funk and am hoping that a good long run will help me figure this out so that I can feel back in a positive tune with life. Thanksgiving week and with the start of the
greedy holiday season just days away, I want to be in as positive a mood as possible. I may just have to chalk up this day as a generally crappy, be-by-myself day and then be sure to only drink my chamomile tea tonight.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
There’s not a whole lot of things in this world as heartbreaking as seeing your child as the target of a bully. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. The humiliation of walking down the hall and having classmates bark at me is fresh in my mind. But it doesn’t hurt anywhere near to knowing that my son is experiencing those same feelings of shame. It is one thing being teased, told that you are ugly or skinny or that your nose is crooked or that your ears stick out, but knowing that everyone else in the school – or on the bus—knows that you are being bullied and that there is nothing you can do about it is even a worse shame.
I’m pretty much a pacifist. But like any parent when it comes to my kids, I can be fierce and unrelenting. Fortunately for me, the school seems to be intolerant of bullying either on schoolgrounds or on the bus. I will most definitely maximize my use of the school resources.
To purposefully be the cause of another human’s misery is being a horror of a human. What a shame. A person can overcome the teasing but the bully? Do they ever change? Are these the people who flip us off when we are driving? Or worse yet, are yesterday's schoolyard bullies the people we read about killing someone in a bout of road rage?
I know my son will overcome this bullying - his family, church, and friends have his back. But what about the bully? I think he needs our prayers most of all.
I don't understand it. Why can't we all just be nice to one another? Why can't we just have peace?
Friday, November 12, 2010
I'm not much of a traveler. Typically when my trips for work are planned well in advance - usually at a time that a 'vacation' seems really nice. Typically once I reach my destination, I am ready to come home.
Not so true this time......more than wishing that I were home, I wish that I had brought my family with me to San Diego. I didn't get to see much but I had some amazing runs along the boardwalk and dipped my toes in the 'warmer than the Atlantic' Pacific Ocean.
I know that the kids would have really enjoyed this visit. They love the ocean and the beach and the temperature was just right. In addition, we would have been able to see the cruise ship being brought in.
Next summer our vacation plans include a drive to Yellowstone National Park, Mt Rushmore and Spearfish, South Dakota. Maybe the following fall we'll take our trip to San Diego.
But still, it will be so good to be home.