Thursday, September 30, 2010
Remember how I started this training stuff back in August when it was 152 degrees outside at 0600? Apparently there’s no difference between 75 degrees and 152 degrees. It was not a pleasant run.
I was reminded that my grandchildren would say, “You git what you git and you don’t throw a fit.”
Besides the heat and the sunshine, my feet were turning 360 degrees on my ankles and my legs were full of lead. I’m saying my legs felt heavy. Like logs made of lead. Leaden Lincoln Logs with a small, rusty hinge in the middle for knees. My shoulders were hunched up around my ears and I felt like one of those runners or swimmers who try really hard and make a lot of noise, but don’t seem to actually move forward.
About a half-mile into this stupidity, a small Pomeranian in a driveway across the street caught my eye. Caught my ear, too. He was bark, bark, barking at me and edging his way down the driveway to the street. A young man in the driveway called to the dog, but the dog ignored him. The guy seemed pretty calm about it, but I think at the same time we both realized the UPS truck was coming down the road.
I turned and saw the truck and the space/time continuum split down the middle so time would slow down. It probably all happened in a few seconds, but it seems to me even now it was at least several minutes. The dog came off the end of the driveway. Young man seemed pretty calm even when the truck came up alongside me. He probably wasn't really calm, ya think? I stopped. I saw the dog stop in the middle of the road. He finally focused on the truck rather than on the runner.
It’s too bad I didn’t have an apron on. I’ve read in books of old women who get distressed and throw their apron over their head. That was me without the apron. I threw my arms over my face and covered my head like I was in a 1950s nuclear bomb drill. I turned around away from the truck and slid my hands over my ears. I am not the sort of person who can bear to watch destruction of flesh and blood, but once the deal is done I am not typically fainthearted.
Immediately I turned around to see what needed to be done and I saw the dog intact on all fours, albeit clumsy and disoriented. Clearly shaken and wobbly, the dog trotted over to the curb closest to the owner.
Angry and relieved, I shouted at the young man. I swore a wee bit and called him ‘dude’ and that is the laughable part of all this. I shouted, “Damn, dude. Put the dog on a leash before he bites someone or gets killed.”
Note the order of my priorities – bites someone (hello? Like ME obviously) or gets killed. I heart dogs, I sincerely and deeply heart dogs and Pomeranians are my favorite little dog, but apparently I still come first.
Plus? I said ‘dude’ and that makes me laugh at myself. At the time, I was so angry I ran off up to the end of the cul-de-sac. I heard him shout after me, “He isn’t going to bite anyone!”
Good comeback, dude.
I made my way back around to that side of the street. I saw the dog run into the backyard with the young man behind him. The driver did the same thing and stopped in front of the house. He walked to the backyard with me right on his heels. He asked if the dog was ok and the kid said he thought so.
The dog had oil on his back, but everything seemed sound. Of course, he still should go to the vet. I just walked up to them, interrupted and apologized for snapping at him. The only other thing I said was this and it is true:
No one thinks their dog will do that, but dogs don’t like runners.
Even if they seem to be ok with most runners, you never know what will set a dog off. Is it the color of my shirt? Am I breathing too hard? Running slower or faster than other runners? Is there a child in the yard? Is the wind blowing the wrong way? I mean, they’re dogs…they’re animals. They do what they do and what they do can be a little unpredictable.
Large dogs can do a lot of damage, but a small dog can easily bite into a calf or thigh muscle and then we're all going to be extremely unhappy.
Even if your dog is a completely under your control, a runner doesn’t know that. So shorten the leash when we run by, OK?
Visit Michelle at the intelligent Nature Notes Thursday to learn something new.
Something I really love about autumn is the angle and softness of the light in the morning. I took the first shot and then about 10 minutes later, I took the second shot this morning. Went out on the deck in my robe for all of you.
In the photo above, the trees at the very top of the photo look as though they have turned golden, but that is the sunlight coming up over the houses. In reality, those trees are all still green.
With my limited photography skills and little point and shoot camera, these photos simply don't do it justice. It is one of my favorite things in nature, this morning light. It's also one of my favorite things about Christmas and Easter mornings.
I find earth not gray but rosy,
Heaven not grim but fair of hue.
Do I stoop? I pluck a posy.
Do I stand and stare? All's blue.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I thought I was the only person who hadn't heard this song. The video annoys me, but I love the song and I listen to it way too much. So since a number of you have asked me what I'm talking about, here's the Ting Tings. Katie, the singer, started to rant about the music industry people not knowing her name. At least that's what the Google machine told me.
Lyrics from what appears to be their official site in case you're like me and can't stand not knowing the lyrics:
Go Back to List
Four letter word just to get me along
It's a difficulty and I'm biting on my tongue
I Keep stalling, keeping it together
People around I gotto find something to say
Holding back everyday the same
Don't wanna be a loner
Listen to me
I never say anything at all
So with nothing to consider they forget my name
They call me hell
They call me Stacey
They call me her
They call me Jane
That's not my name...
They call me quiet
But I'm a riot
Always the same
That's not my name...
I miss the catch when they throw me the ball
I'm the last drip standing up against the wall
Keep falling, these heels that keep me boring
Getting clamped up and sitting on the fence
So alone all the time and I lock myself away
Listen to me
Thought I'm dressed up out ‘n all
With everything considered they forget my name
They call me hell
They call me Stacey
They call me her
They call me Jane
That's not my name...
They call me quiet
But I'm a riot
Always the same
That's not my name...
Are you calling me darling
Are you calling me bird...
2. I’ve been listening to spa music on iTunes. I launched iTunes and have not allowed myself to listen to the stupid Ting Tings song. It’s calling my name, though. (edit: I gave in and listened to it)
3. There were men and bright lights and welding in my driveway when I got home last night around 8:00 pm. The welder is attached directly to the fuse box. The door of the fuse box is off and covered with a huge sheet of cardboard. The stove is disconnected. I dare not run the sweeper
4. Speaking of vegetables, I need to know how to divide rhubarb because have you seen my rhubarb plant? I have room now for it some of it to live elsewhere in my garden.
5. I also have decided to buy some pumpkins for the front porch because a neighbor has done that and I am jealous. I always think of it as a huge waste of money and pumpkins. I would rather stir delicious pumpkin into a glass of orange/banana/pineapple juice and sip through a straw. don’t judge! But this year I am feeling festive...until it comes time for me to actually
6. A gaggle of co-workers has signed up for the 5K event in conjunction with the Des Moines Marathon next month. I think this is great! I’m beginning to feel a little left out of the camaraderie, but wouldn’t go from my half to their 5K for all the tea in China. I hope they will be there cheering me on at the beginning since we start only 30 minutes earlier.
7. Here is perhaps the biggest reason why I love the Des Moines Marathon: “The IMT Des Moines Marathon course is open for 7 hours. This allows for a 16 minute per mile pace for the Marathon. Race day services such as course marshals, aid stations, bike support and entertainment have been asked to prepare for a 7 hour day. They have been asked to provide as much support for the last walker as the first elite runner that passes by on the course.” (emphasis is mine) “The IMT Des Moines Marathon will not pack up and leave you. Members of the Mercy Medical Center first aid stations and sag wagons along with the Bike Iowa support team will remain on the course until every athlete crosses the finish line, receives a finisher medal, official time and post race nourishment.”
That’s for the full marathon – all 26.2 miles. That makes this race accessible for almost anyone and I think that’s really fantastic. [swelling with pride] None of this can be said for the local running group…
8. Rhubarb division is not always successful, but dividing hostas is and I have a boatload of hostas that need to be divided. If you are interested in adopting hosta offspring early next year, please let me know. Well, technically we can do it now if you want.
9. I lead a study group for people who want to learn Irish
10. I have Christmas shopping well in hand. That’s what I always think and then sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. But I think I am doing well this year for reelz. I will send Christmas cards this year and that requires some time in October or November so it is done and over with and ready for mailing.
11. I love chutney.
12. I have a hankerin’ to go overboard and sign up for the five races I found this morning for the rest of the year. There’s a chocolate race on Halloween, a Jingle Jog, an off-road race, a race at the state fairgrounds and of course the one on January 1 at o’dark thirty in the morning at 17 degrees. Dumb, but fun. The coffee was freezing, it was so ridiculously cold that morning. It’s the sort of thing that was just a wafer-thin, tiny little slice of heaven at the time, but in looking back it was a lot of fun and you just can’t wait to do it again. I think I’ll sign up for that one for sure.
Monday, September 27, 2010
I was listening to country music on the radio in my office because the classical music station won’t come in today. I’m not listening to iTunes because I cannot listen to the Ting Tings sing That’s Not My Name again without jumping through my plate glass window. And I have no willpower when it comes to that song. I have just turned off the radio because every song on the country station seems to be about something painful and I do not have the room in my life for pain.
As for pain, I’m not in pain. I’m just saying who needs all that extra pretend-angst when I need not look further than two feet in front of me to see it in real life. So now I am sitting in silence. Did you know that Country & Western is only Country and has been since, I think, the 60s? Yes, they dropped the Western. You have not heard Western music in a long time.
Speaking of country music, which we were for a change actually speaking of something I start talking about, I heard part of an interview yesterday morning. It was with Loretta Lynn and it sounded fairly recent. She’s still a feisty creature! She said she only watched Coal Miner’s Daughter three times and then stopped because it was too difficult to watch. The interviewer asked if it was difficult because it was too close to life or because they didn’t get it right.
She said it was too close to life. She also said she was almost on the plane that went down with Patsy Cline aboard. Patsy had offered her $50 to go on the job with her, but she was offered another job for $75 and she took the better pay. She also said that Sissy Spacek had spent a year with her before filming the movie and she wanted to kill Sissy by the time it was over. She was laughing, so I think probably Sissy isn’t offended by the remark. Well, she was laughing, but she was serious, just plumb serious, folks.
Also, did you know that I grew up in Dayton with a girl whose father was from Butcher Hollow, KY which is the place Loretta Lynn lived in? I don’t think it exists now, but Paintsville was nearby. There is a Butcher Hollow Road. When her daddy spoke it, it went like this: Butcher Holler. At any rate, I have referred to this family recently. She’s the girl whose mom was from Paris. Remember? I said something like, “What a match!” but I am too lazy to go back and look for that. I could tell a couple stories about Belinda. I think she was the reason I ever got into trouble. We must have spent every waking minute together for a couple years, because most of life’s memories in Huber Heights, OH include her.
Back to Loretta.
Loretta talked about going into radio stations and how they would make her wait forever and how rude Ralph Emery was to her. He told her he didn’t like her style and she said she wanted to punch him. The interviewer mentioned that some of her songs were banned and she said, “If a song was banned, I never spent a penny on it. I knew it would go straight to the top if I left it alone.”
Then they played the song Your Lookin’ at Country, which is a good song and I have been singing it to myself for more than 24 hours now.
I have no idea how this turned into a post about my close, personal friend Loretta.
I ran the Capital Pursuit 10-mile race yesterday morning. After getting the children ready for church because obviously I am the only person capable of getting the children ready. No wonder some women get like that. I am getting like that – like I am the only one who can take care of the kids. It may be due to the fact that I am the only one, in point of fact, taking care of the kids.
Now I get it.
Oh, that sounds so bitter. I don’t mean it like that. Well, do I? I know many mothers who go through the same thing. OK, well anyway. They were not hungry, disheveled or naked when they arrived at church. I would have heard otherwise. So that’s another victory.
As I said, I ran the race. I did so in 10:07 minute miles. That’s pretty good and I’m pretty pleased with myself. Between taking care of the kids every Sunday morning and learning how to run, I may become insufferable rather quickly.
I’ll bet Loretta wrote a song about this sort of thing.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Visit Michelle at the intelligent Nature Notes Thursday to learn something new.
I hadn't been seeing many changes like other bloggers, but now they're coming at me pretty fast. The one I notice most is the darkness because getting out to run in the morning has become more challenging. The penstemon in my garden is fading, the rhubarb is dying back, the peony bushes are completely shriveled up.
But there are other things going gangbusters! Well, two things. Can two things be gangbusters?
My hibiscus, which was a birthday present last year from my lovely niece, is crazy every morning. The rose bush I planted in the front yard hasn't received any memo about autumn, either. I need to put rose pruning into the google machine and see what it spits out because it is now reaching out to grab any one who dares walk to the front door. Next I expect to see it embrace people in its thorny but loving arms.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Me and my niece. She's such a sweetie.
I brought a bag of toys knowing nothing would hold interest for a long time. Everything was played with more than once and all the snacks were eaten. It was a good idea.
The bride with her cousin.
Me and my grandkids.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Here is one of the lion's head spigots from which water once flowed. These fountains were given to cities across the country by the Humane Alliance about 100 years ago. The top trough was for horses, particularly working horses pulling carts and such. The bottom trough was for dogs and any other animals.
You can see that the bottom of this fountain isn't going to function with water anymore. I see no place for water to flow into those little arches at the bottom. The photos will show you what they originally looked like. There's a photo online of this in what is probably the original placement and it has cups at the bottom of each arch where a dog could stick its nose. The photo makes it look like this was near Waveland Cemetery, but the site (linked below) says Des Moines had two fountains. One at Pennsylvania near Grand Avenue and another at West 8th and Cherry Streets. I don't know which one this is or what happened to the other. Again, I can't find local information on this fountain.
From another web site that admits it took information from the web site through the link below, here is a summary: "Fountains (watering troughs) similar to this one were constructed in Vinalhaven, Maine (an island off the coast from Rockland) and presented to cities by the National Humane Alliance. Mr. Hermon Lee Ensign left his fortune to the Humane Alliance, which he founded to carry out his ideas for the welfare of animals. His childhood love of animals grew and became the dominating interest of his life. He acquired his fortune through twenty years in the advertising business. He created a “new” form of newspaper advertising – headline reading advertisement. The fountains, which are not all identical, are made of granite and weigh approximately five tons. The large horse bowls are six foot across and the fountains are over six feet tall. At the base, there are four small water bowls for dogs, cats and other small animals. Most of them have dates from 1906 to 1911. In total, at least 70 fountains were distributed across the U.S. and one was discovered in Mexico. This is one of the few that have been restored." Taken from http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=3e878951-a734-403a-81a7-c963a313d53d.
Take a look at this page to see if your community had one that has a photo included in the gallery. There is the info on this page and then another link toward the bottom with a more complete listing: http://electronicvalley.org/derby/quiz/pages/wateringtrough.htm
Friday, September 10, 2010
The waitress, not in any way, shape, or form an ESL student at any point in her lifetime or her parent’s lifetime, looked at me. Pencil poised above her order pad, she took a breath and blinked. “So, you want meat?”
I smiled this smile I have that if you know me in real life, you have seen. It is the smile that says, “I’m going to be patient with you now” and I become very polite. I explained that I didn’t want meat, I would like an extra egg in my fried rice.
My dining companion took over. He explained that he wanted the vegetable fried rice with no egg, but I like egg so I wanted an extra egg, but no meat.
“So you want the fried rice with no egg?”
Now I don’t want anyone to think this was a slack-jawed, glassy eyed, hunchbacked and barefooted child from the wild mountains of Iowa. No indeed, she seemed pretty sharp and within her eyes I could see wit and the starry light of intelligence.
We were frustrating her.
I said, with a friendly wave of my left hand, “Let’s start over completely. I want the vegetable fried rice with no meat.” I paused. “And then if it is OK, I would like an extra egg scrambled into the fried rice.”
She said ok and quickly jotted something in waitress shorthand on her pad. I assumed it was waitress shorthand for “pick it off the floor and spit in it with a side of cucumber” but I was willing to take my risks.
Lunch arrived and we dug in. I quickly realized I had gotten vegetable fried rice with tomatoes, no meat and no extra egg. It was also FOUR STARS.
Hot is what I mean.
I’m telling you about spicy.
My dining friend looked at me and said, “Oh my, no. Caron you cannot eat that.” I laughed and said I would give it a try. He was very concerned as he added crushed up chili pepper compote to make his four-star rice even hotter. “Are you going to be ok with that?” he asked. I breathed in through my mouth and nodded.
I ate most of it and brought leftovers back to the office. I finished it mid-afternoon. I didn’t feel great all evening, which is a twisted way of saying I wish I hadn't, but it wasn't enough to kill me. I woke up in the middle of the night with a wee headache.
I went for a three-mile run this morning before work and that’s when it really hit me. I could feel that dang spice in my nose, throat and eyes. It was ugly, but I made it the whole three miles before bursting into the house and jumping into the shower as fast as possible. Obviously another running victory.
Eat wisely, folks.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Visit Michelle at the friendly Nature Notes Thursday , where Michelle may be on hiatus but we all gather to learn and share.
Running needs a little more discipline these days as my mornings get shorter and my evenings get shorter. I don't run unless there's some light in the sky, so lunchtime is beginning to look better and better. Here's my observation: it's dark more.
To Night by Arthur Symons
I have loved wind and light,
And the bright sea,
But, holy and most secret Night,
Not as I love and have loved thee.
God, like all highest things,
Hides light in shade,
And in the night his visitings
To sleep and dreams are clearliest made.
Love, that knows all things well,
Loves the night best;
Joys whereof daylight dares not tell
Are his, and the diviner rest.
And Life, whom day shows plain
Feels the close wall and the hard chain
Fade when the darkness brings the stars.
Night by Alcman
(written about 650 BC)
Over the drowsy earth still night prevails;
Calm sleep the mountain tops and shady vales
The rugged cliffs and hollow glens,
The cattle on the hill. Deep in the sea
The countless finny race and monster brood
Tranquil repose. Even the busy bee
Forgets her daily toil. The silent wood,
No more with noisy hum of insects rings;
And all the feathered tribes, by gentle sleep subdued,
Roost in the glade and hang their drooping wings.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
I've always wanted to go in there and beg them all for military branch t-shirts. Army, Air Force, Coast Guard...
But I don't because I feel sure they will think I am too poor to buy my own t-shirts or ... something. I don't know, I just don't, OK? Why is it that I see millions of people with the grey t-shirt that says ARMY on it and I don't have one? Is it a conspiracy? Do they not love me? Am I the only person who actually covets that t-shirt? I don't even know where to find one.
I was at a Rembrance Run last month, you may recall. Many of the runners from the National Guard/Reserves were in the coveted t-shirt. At the end of the run, while I cooled my heels waiting to win three door prizes (!) I had a moment of plotting how I was going to get one of the men to take off his sweaty, disgusting t-shirt and give it to me. In the end, I decided no man in his 40s was going to take off his shirt for me (also in my 40s) and that was a little depressing along with the fact that ... gross.
Back to my story (but thanks for listening). I parked next to a dark blue Malibu. Do you see where this story is heading?
Oh sorry. You might not unless you know in real life the color and make of my car. Keep reading.
(shh it's a blue Toyota Camry)
I come back from my shopping business and I actually have these thoughts in real time - these are actual thoughts, not 'in retrospect' thoughts. Because obviously I talk to myself all the time.
As I approach the cars:
That is a very dark shade of blue.
As I put my hand on the door handle:
Hmmm, my door didn't unlock when I grabbed the handle.
When I opened the door to the car:
Where did my floor mat go? Did someone steal it?
As I SAT DOWN in the car:
What's that new car smell?
I looked at the passenger seat and there was stuff there that my brain couldn't identify. Then I said outloud, "Holy Hannah! This isn't my car!" and I jumped out of the car as fast as you've never seen me move in a vertical direction. I felt like I had broken the law!
The dead giveaway? Was it the wrong shade of blue? Was it the slightly different exterior shape of the car? Was it the new car smell? The well-known fact that the floor mat thieves are thick this time of year?
The dead giveaway was the floor mat. I don't go anywhere without my floor mats. That's crazy talk.
Have fun today!
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Don't tell anybody I said that.
It got down to 48 degrees last night, so in the cool air I slept a bit longer than usual and although I know better than to do this, I keep telling myself that I still have plenty of time and cool air to get that run in this morning.
That was an awful sentence. Any grammar police out there want to tell me just how bad it is?
But waking up to a cool house and breezy sunshine is such a novelty these days, I have allowed myself time to putter around the house. I even sorted through the kids' toys and have a few to take to Goodwill. Today we're going to Omaha to celebrate a first birthday and that means a nice day spent in the car, so I should get myself going and get that run in now before I blow it.
See how I mentioned the run twice? Did you notice how I made sorting toys sound like an accomplishment? It's just that sort of morning with coffee and Saturday outdoor noises and birds on the feeders - oh look! A blue jay has shown up!
Have a great day!
Friday, September 3, 2010
1. I ran my first 10-minute mile last night in the cool but humid air. When I finished I was sucking in air as fast as I could. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that I ate a bowl of butternut squash ravioli with fresh mozzarella cheese washed down with half a glass of red wine before lacing up my shoes.
That’s right: I didn’t even pause. I knew it was a mistake. But the good news is that my meal stayed right where I put it.
2: Number of times I was at a veterinarian’s office yesterday. I am going back again late this afternoon for a digital x-ray. No, I’m not getting an x-ray at the vet’s office. But it occurs to me I am overdue for my mammogram now that I mention ‘digital’ and ‘x-ray’ in the same sentence.
3. It’s Labor Day weekend and although I had planned all summer long on doing something this weekend, I have not lifted one single finger to invite anyone over. I haven’t the slightest idea who’s in town, either. We’ve had a change in weather here that makes the idea of reading my current book and sitting on the deck swing incredibly appealing. Annnnddd…when would that not be incredibly appealing?
4. I have something on my desk that reads, “The thing you’ve chosen to do is just about impossible. So when it gets hard, that’s to be expected.” Amen.
5. I was thinking yesterday that maybe my sick cat, Roscoe, needs an elimination diet because I (and his vet agrees) think he has food allergies. Specifically meat, but we didn’t pin down which meat. Back then, I found a food he could eat, but this year has been difficult for him and just recently he has lost quickly almost a third of his body weight. Since cats are obligate carnivores and they need to eat all of their prey, I had horrible visions of grinding up mice and birds! But last night I went to Kmart to get something and I saw that Whiskas (not a brand he would normally get) has food called Purrfectly Fish and it is just fish. Not much else besides the vitamins they need, but importantly, it looks like there aren’t any animal by-products from the plant – you know what I mean and if you don’t, Google it. Anyway, it’s gross because it comes out of the packet looking like fish. It really appears to be nothing but raw fish flesh.
But he hasn’t [knocks on wood] thrown up in 24 hours. I don’t know if that’s because he’s getting such miniscule amounts of food or because I’ve eliminated an allergen. I’ve been down this road with him before and 24 hours isn’t enough to make a success, but he is extremely hungry and I feel victorious just getting something to stay in his tummy.
As a public service announcement, let me tell you/remind you that cats cannot go without eating as long as dogs or people can. Cats quickly develop a liver issue that is treatable unless you wait too long. Then it is fatal. If your cat stops eating, take it to the vet without delay just in case!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Visit Michelle at the friendly Nature Notes Thursday to learn something fascinating.
Summer seems to be winding down in some areas. I read Carver's blog and I'm amazed that she is seeing signs of autumn. Not around here or at least not so I have noticed. I'm outside all day and I watch my garden and yard. But I see hot, humid summer everywhere. Last winter we had so much snow (maybe you remember me
This photo was taken on a farm near Del Rapids, South Dakota on a hot Midwestern afternoon. I like how this photo could very easily say 'pleasant, breezy, sleepy afternoon.'
Below is the same farm at sunset, same day. Do you know what happened when the sun went down? The temperature didn't go down, the mosquitos came out. It's been a hot and wet summer. Now the Old Farmer's Almanac says the plains and upper Midwest will have a snowier than normal winter. More moisture. Excellent.
Regardless of the truth of that day, I like how this photo looks like the peaceful and cool, breezy ending to a day.
If you have never visited the Midwest, please do. Put it on your list. It's a wonderful, wacky place to see.