Friday, October 31, 2014

Funny Foto #13 - Halloween Style

In keeping with the current holiday, the visitor to the tree trunk has changed.  I haven't driven by at night yet, but it looks as though they added a solar powered light to the display.

Isn't it great that I am so easily amused?!  If I knew who was doing this, I would write them a thank you note!


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Channeling my inner St. Sebastian

I gots the Gout.  Or at least I did last week.

I hated admitting that.  To me it sounds like some terrible communicable disease that, had I made better choices, I could have avoided.  But it is not.

What it is is horribly-terribly-I-want-to-cry painful.  It is a complex form of arthritis in which there are sharp uric acid crystal deposits in joints, often in the big toe.  And that’s exactly where it hit me, the left big toe. 

When it first started early last week, Himself thought that’s what it might be but I didn’t want to believe him.  I could hardly walk let alone run.  After spending most of that night awake in severe pain, a little internet research told me that is exactly what it was.  Other than taking some pain relievers and using an ice pack, there is not a lot to be done about it.  Thankfully, it is usually short-lived and the worst of it lasts two or three days. 

One day in the midst of it all, I hobbled down to the ladies room at work.  As I was washing my hands, I saw in the mirror the St. Sebastian medal I was wearing.  And I laughed.

How was St. Sebastian martyred?    When it was discovered during Maximian's persecution of the Christians that Sebastian was indeed a Christian, he was ordered executed.  He was shot with arrows and left for dead, but when the widow of St. Castulus went to recover his body, she found he was still alive and nursed him back to health. Soon after, Sebastian intercepted the Emperor, denounced him for his cruelty to Christians, and was beaten to death on the Emperor's orders. (from Catholic Online)
One of the ways I described the pain was that it was like a thousand needles were dipped in acid and then stuck in my toe.  The arrows didn’t kill St. Sebastian and a little Gout isn’t going to kill me.  It’s not going to derail my C25K training, just slow it down a little.  

I am now in my third iteration of the sixth week of the plan.  Maybe this week I will finally make it all the way through!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Saturday was the “big race”, the 5k I decided to run when I started the Couch to 5k program six weeks ago.  I’m not done with the program and I have a (long) ways to go until I can run 3.1 miles, but I signed up anyways. 
* * *
The Thursday before the race I was at Starbucks with a coworker doing network and connectivity testing on our laptops.  Really, we were.  We got to talking about our plans for the weekend and I told her about the race.  While we were talking I realized that the last “race” I had done was more than six years ago. 

After mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer we started participating in the OROC event.  For four years I ran the 5k, but that last year mom wasn't doing very well, so we all did the one mile family fun walk together.  We lost her just three weeks later and none of us has ever done that or any other race since. 
* * *
I used to run a lot and have done dozens of road races, anywhere from a 5k to a half marathon. I’m not sure why I was so excited about doing this.  Perhaps it is because I finally feel like I have turned a corner in doing healthy things for myself and I like it.
* * *
Saturday was icky.  That’s the highly scientific and meteorological word for it.  Icky.  The temperature was in the mid-forties and it was raining. 

After picking up my race packet we had about forty-five minutes until the race started. We introduced ourselves to the parish’s pastor and fellow blogger, Fr. V.   After that we decided that it was too wet and cold to wait outside so we wandered over to the church and rested there for a bit.    Unknowingly, we sat down right next to the St. Sebastian statue.  Of course, once I saw that, what’s a good Catholic girl to do but light a candle! 

* * *
After a prayer and the national anthem the race started with the crack of a gun.  We were off.

And my legs felt like lead.

This seemed like a good idea when I signed up two weeks ago.

The air was heavy and I felt like I couldn't get a good breath in.

I ran then I walked.  Then I ran again. 

* * *
The crowd of almost 200 runners thinned out.  Some were behind and most were ahead.  I played lots of mind games. 

I’ll run to that tree and then walk some.

Usually I didn't make it to the tree.  I walked sooner.  For only a 5k I did a lot of walking!

Running the roads is much harder than running on the treadmill!
* * *
But with all that walking and slow running there was a lot of time to think and to observe.  The neighborhood we ran through was older, houses probably built in the 40's and 50's, but very well kept up.  Several of the roads were red brick.  People there like their gardens.  Large, old growth trees and flowers were in abundance.

People also seemed to be happy to have the runners come by.  No one seemed put out that they were inconvenienced by having their roads closed for several hours.  Families were in their yards cheering the runners on.  A young girl tooted a horn as people ran by.  A middle aged man had his truck’s stereo blasting some motivating music.  An old man with his bulldog encouraged us; he thanked us for running in his neighborhood!  
* * *
I had no idea how I was doing since there were no timers at the one and two mile splits.   I told Himself that I hoped to finish in under forty-five minutes.  I began to doubt that time when I got lapped by the young man who went on the win the race. 
* * *
Ugh. My legs feel like lead.

No matter, the lady directing traffic told me.  You’re almost done.
* * *
At one point I looked back and saw no one behind me. 

Great.  I’m the last one to finish.

But I wasn't.  I finished in 41:33, well ahead of my goal.  There were 192 runners.

And I was 183.

Yeah me!


Friday, October 10, 2014

Quick Takes (31) - No Excuses aka Halfway Done

I have surprised myself and have made it halfway through the Couch to 5k running plan.  At first I thought it was a six week long schedule, which rather surprised me.  It certainly didn't seem long enough to go from nothing to 3.1 miles.  Flip the paper over, Donna!  It’s nine weeks.  Whew!

It feels good to sweat; well, except when it gets in my eyes.  Soaked clothing is tangible evidence that I am working hard.

I've been dealing with a rather bad case of Plantar Faciitis.  I've had it before and it is painful and annoying.  It usually is indicative of beating your feet up in not-so-good shoes.  I checked Zappos to see when I bought the running shoes I have been using.  It’s been three years and a lot of walking miles ago.  I guess it’s time to splurge and buy a new pair.

Speaking of good support (I was wasn’t I??), I decided that the sports bras I had were completely inadequate.  Who designs those things anyways? I stopped in a couple of local department stores and they had pitiful selections.  Macy’s only had one real sports bra and it was sixty-five dollars!  I don’t think so.

Himself suggested checking Amazon and they had a great selection.  I had many, many from which to choose and the prices were much better.  The reviews people posted were so helpful.  Since we have a Prime membership, the one I picked out arrived in just two days.  Did I tell you how much I like Amazon Prime?  And my new bra?  Both are awesome!

The 5k race that I am going to sign up for is a fund raiser for the Knight of Columbus at St. Sebastian’s church.  And just who is St. Sebastian? you ask.  He is the patron saint of athletes, and particularly of runners.  Got to love that coincidence.  If you’re not doing anything on October 18th and feeling like heading my way, I’d love to have some company on my run/walk.

I had to travel for work last week.  In keeping with my ‘no excuses’ theme I brought my running gear.  The hotel had a small, but very nice fitness center.  Had any of my coworkers that I traveled with seen me after my workout they would have been afraid, very afraid.

I downloaded the C25k app on my phone.  Once I figured it out I found that I could choose the ‘voice’ that gives the orders as when to run and when to walk.  I like the Drill Sargent.  He is good motivation!
There have been a few workouts that were a little tough to get motivated for.  But afterwards I was so glad I had done them.  I felt good.  I like what I am seeing on the scale now that I am running again.  -5.  ‘Nuf said.

Don't forget to check out more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.
Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The plus side of insomnia

I woke about 3:30am last night and just could not fall back to sleep.  I went into the other room and put the TV on.  Usually watching that will knock me out.  Not so this time.  I saw the end of an episode of Law & Order: SVU and then watched Antiques Roadshow on PBS.  Tell me, how do I find an ancient Chinese metal bell from 1500 B.C., pay only twelve dollars for it and then learn that it is worth of thousands and thousands of dollars?

When the news came on at 5am the meteorologists were all excited about the impending full lunar eclipse.  Huh?  I didn't know there was going to be one.

About twenty minutes later I glanced out the window and there it was in all its splendor.  I pulled on some clothes over my nightgown and woke up Himself.  We made some coffee and enjoyed the show.

And what a show it was!  The moon slowly disappeared and sky grew darker.  The stars were magnificent!  I don’t remember seeing Orion shine so brightly.  Some of the Seven Sisters were even visible to the naked eye.  I was also treated to a satellite heading south and a shooting star.

What a great way to wake up in the morning!  Yeah God!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I smelled a memory

I didn’t realize just how much a scent can invoke a memory until a couple of weeks ago.  One Sunday morning I was taking Jack on his morning walk.  As we were headed home we passed a neighbor’s house.  They must have been cooking breakfast because the smell of bacon and pancakes was unmistakable.

But, it wasn’t just the smell of food that got me.  That odor was mixed in with the smells of grass and leaves and flowers.  Combine all that with the morning dew dripping off the trees and the birds singing and I was right back at Camp Marydale walking to Saga Lodge for breakfast.

When we were growing up our family vacation every year was a week-long trip to a camp in Kentucky run by the local Catholic diocese.   The accommodations were pretty rustic, wooden cabins with concrete floors and metal framed cots.  The “deluxe” cabins, The Timbers, had their own indoor plumbing.  If you stayed in the other cabins you had to hike on over to the shared bathhouse.  

Regardless of which cabins you stayed in, all meals were served at Saga Lodge.  That was pretty rustic as well, another wood framed building with concrete floors.   The tables were the standard folding ones with the molded plastic chairs in colors typical of the seventies, burnt orange, gold and avocado green.

The food was served family style but nobody could eat until grace was sung.  Yes, sung.  We never said grace.  It had to be sung, loudly, boldly and joyfully; and, if the food smelled particularly good – quickly.

Oh, the Lord’s been good to me.
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me the things I need:
The sun and the rain and the apple seed.
The Lord’s been good to me!


A-a-men.  A-a-men.  A-a-men.  Amen.  Amen.
Bless, Oh Lord.  Bless these gifts.
Gifts that come from Your great love.
A-a-men.  A-a-men.  A-a-men.  Amen.  Amen.

Saga Lodge circa 1980

Now pass that bacon!


Monday, October 6, 2014

A Beautiful Tribute a beautiful man.

A good friend of ours wrote the memorial tribute below.  I couldn't put my finger on why his death bothered me so until I read this.  CatholicSkywalker sums it up well.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel has passed away.

There are few modern Catholic writers who have had as much of an impact on me as Fr. Groeschel.

The first time I remember encountering him was a from a cassette tape of one of his talks.  I was part of a prayer group that would meet in an old church garage.  We would pray, sing, and listen to audio cassettes from people like Fr. Larry Richards and Fr. John Corapi.  One day my friend, The Bishop, brought a cassette from some priest I never heard of.

And he sounded like Winnie the Pooh.

That was the single salient feature I took from his talk.  There was something soft and gentle in his way of speaking that made him endearing.  That wasn't to say that he was wishy-washy or lacking conviction.  He had wisdom and strength but was not forceful.  He was inviting.  Whereas Fr. Larry got your blood pumping like you were at a big tent revival Fr. Groeschel felt like your grandfather telling stories by the fireside.
Read the rest here.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Wonder Doubled: Marrying Up

We have a new post up at the USCCB website For Your Marriage.

There is often an unstated question at some weddings.  No, it’s not: I wonder if their firstborn will be a nine pound “premature” baby?  The question I’m referring to is – who “married up”?  I always insist that I was the one who married up.  Donna, confirming my opinion, graciously suggests it was she who was elevated by our union.  You know, now that I think about it, she’s right.  Though, I hastily should add – so was I!

You can read the whole article here.

PS. Happy sweet 16th anniversary to the man I married up!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

First Photo - October

Fall is definitley upon us.  The nights have been cool and the clouds are big and puffy.  The vegetable and some of the flower gardens are fading away, though the mums are in their glorious splendor.  Color is slowly beginning to appear in the trees.

All is good.  God is good.