Thursday, November 26, 2009


I am 43 years old. Today is the first day of my life that I will live without a living grandparent. My 94 year old grandmother passed away at 2am this morning, Thanksgiving day. I'm sad that she is gone, of course, but she lived a fantastic long life. She had a great marriage with my grandpa. But he passed away in 1976, and she lived another 34 years on her own. A full generation of my family was born and raised in those 34 years. Her first great-great granddaughter was born this summer, and she got to meet her. How many people in this world live to see a great-great grandchild? She saw this world change in leaps and bounds. But she was just my grandma. She and I shared a love of ice cream. When I was old enough to drive, I would pick her up and take her to Graeters and we'd sit and eat ice cream. She'd have mocha chocolate chip and I'd have mocha chocolate chip and chocolate chocolate chip. Wd shared a lot of time over ice cream! She outlived every friend she had. And for the last years of her life she was lonely, and ready to be with her already deceased husband and parents and brother. She was in hospice the last few days. Yesterday her pastor came in and talked with her and sang Jesus loves me, and reminded her that she was prepared for this. She responded to his voice and his words, looking at him, moving her arms and hands, I know she heard and understood him. It was her way of saying yes, I am ready. I was with her last evening, and my mom and I were talking to her through her morphine induced fog. She was not grandma anymore. But when I said her brothers name, she swung her face in the direction of my voice. I'm sure she was hearing us the past few days even though she did not respond much to our voices. My mom and her sister said yesterday they did not want her to pass away on thanksgiving day. In my heart, I thought it would be the perfect day for her to leave us. When the phone rang at 2am, I breathed a sigh of relief that she was now in a more peaceful place. And now every thanksgiving, we will remember our grandma, our mother, our great grandmother, our great great grandmother. Of course, we will remmeber her the rest of the year, but now thanksgiving will be a special day for me. Becuase it will be the day my grandma finally found her peace.

love you grandma! rest in peace.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

a Sunday Drive and Oreo Cookie Cows!

Ten years ago, Todd bought this:

Its fast. Its loud. It has 550 horsepower. It gets terrible gas mileage. We get it out maybe once a year. Almost all of 2009 went by without a ride, until he got it out yesterday, blew out the cobwebs, and today, it was Nov 8, 70 degrees, so we took a drive around the countryside this afternoon. It was a fun way to spend a few hours.

The view from my seat:

One of our favorite bike ride climbs:

The dashboard of a 1965 race car:

The highlight of the day was seeing this farm with belted galloway cows. I LOVE cows, think they are the cutest farm animals around, especially baby cows, yeah, I know they are called calfs. Anyways, way back in 1991 or so, my best friend from college got married in Maine. One of her favorite spots in Camden was a farm with belted galloways. She left us a little map at our b&b so we could find some of her favorite spots, and the 'oreo cookie cows' as she liked to call them, were at the top of my list. Every time I see some now, I think of her, and some of our favorite times together. See, aren't they sooooo cute? (you really need to click on one of these photos to see them up close) Who wouldn't love an oreo cookie cow!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Off-Season starts today - 5 days early.

After Augusta I was getting a little burnt out, but not having a great run at that race, I asked Jen if I could train for the half marathon in Indy this Saturday. She said yes, and after a week of R&R after Augusta she had me running hard. For 4 weeks I was doing runs I sometimes didn't think I would survive. At the same time I was still fighting with the 'saddle sore' I had gotten back in August (which made it hard for me to be happy getting on the bike, so I eventually stopped that hoping it would go away, and waiting for an appt wiht a dermatologist to come around). Its very hard to get appointments with the dermatologists in Btown, and yesterday I finally had one with the best doc in town. I had a marble sized cyst where my right leg joins my torso, and she cut that thing out! Stitched it up and said come back in 10 days to remove the stitches, do this, that and the other in between, which included no running, bike riding , heavy lifting or bending. ouch! so much for the half mary! And all that training down the drain! Well, not really, I still had some great sessions, and learned that I could suffer a little more than I thought I could. I just don't get to do the last run.

So, my 2 weeks off for my off-season was supposed to start Sunday, instead starts today. When you worry about tearing stitches and getting infection, its easier to take 10 days off, than when you don't have those worries. I'll be ready to go again before 10 days, I'm sure.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

a Swimless October

I went the whole month of October without setting foot in a swimming pool. And I loved every day! But I have an orange and black scary cat Halloween splish, so I decided to go to the pool today just to show off the suit. The plan was 15 minutes. I spent 5 minutes staring at the pool, not wanting to jump into the cold water, but when one of the lifeguards walked by and said 'nice festive suit!', my visit was worth it, and I hopped in.

The first 100 yards were freestyle. I felt drunk. Like I was weaving all over the place. I know I wasn't, but my arms felt like wet limp noodles. I was doing 14 strokes per lap, normal is 12-13, so I knew I was already out of shape. After 100 yards, I had to switch strokes.

Backstroke was next. I kicked off the wall 5, 6,7 fly kicks, and bust through the surface sucking in a large gulp of oxygen. The first few strokes, each shoulder felt funny, click, click, click. I knew then I had to kick far off each wall to protect my shoulders, and I'd only swum 125 yards! ugh . 75 more back, long kicks off the wall, oxygen deprivation, but eventually the shoulders cooperated once again. Kicking off each wall, I was thinking maybe the only race I'll care about this winter is 100back, just devote myself to that one race and see what I can do. Yep, I think that's my plan for masters swimming this year.

Enough backstroke. Time to change to breaststroke. I thought for sure the knees would creak and cry, but they did not. Eight strokes per lap, and I was surprised that I was on a normal stroke count, and nothing hurt. But don't overdo it!

One more 100 freestyle. I was starting to feel a little dizzy. All that back and forth of my eyes from one side to the black line to the other. I've been having this problem these past few years when I swim freestyle in a pool. Never in the lake, I think because I can't see anything, so my eyes don't f@($ with my brain. I've had a long history of motion sickness. I get sick when I ride in the back seat of a car. I get sick if I try to read in a car. I get sick if I am in the front seat of a car, on a curvy road. I get sick on boats. I've even thrown up 3 or 4 times in my regulator when scuba diving. My equilibrium is not normal. I've been getting a little worse as I get older, and experiencing this dizziness and nausea when I swim is definitely disturbing. I think I'm going to try taking a ginseng pill every day and see if that helps. If not, I'll be doing more research for other remedies.

400 yards and I finally stopped at the wall. Man that was a long 400 yards. I threw in a couple 50's drills, still dizzy. Then I thought I should try to swim a 25fly, so I went for a 100IM. Surprisingly the fly felt ok, of course, I was going at a turtle's pace. Back and breast were ok, freestyle, oh man, dizzy again.

a few more 25's, with a stop to loosen the goggle straps, and I called it a day. Climbing out of the pool, thinking I have vertigo! It took a half hour of being outside walking the dogs in the cool air before my head and stomach felt normal again. (And pizza and chocolate cake that I just ate didn't hurt either!)