Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Spreading the Joy

OK, I admit it. It was fun to work the aid station at the PCT 50miler/50 K run. I think that in part it was because of the great people crewing with me. Michelle and I were the coco”NUTS” babes, Steve and Eric were there helping for the morning and then swept out of site to sweep the trail. We also shared our duties with Craig, our fearless leader, his wife Lori, Megan and her husband and Brian (I think) All together there were three massage practitioners (well two were therapist because that is what they call us in Oregon) and I think I was the only non-runner.

We were a Hawaiian themed aid station, so that explains the coconut bras and grass skirts. Most everyone else wore Hawaiian shirts and leis. The other Lori is half Hawaiian and she had beautiful music that we swayed our hips to. She could hula, we pretended. We also had to make a few runs into town to get some supplies. We spread the joy of the coco”NUTS” there.

I normally am pretty reserved (scared to look foolish), so I was quite proud of Michelle and myself that we went into town in our outfits. At first I was muttering to myself “I don’t know these people, I will never see them again”, but with Michelle by my side I soon was laughing at the responses and then forgetting that we actually looked different. It’s all about growth. We also talked the entire day and “bonded” like the YaYa Sisters.

We had a great weekend. We got to see my folks for a few minutes when we dropped Puck off, and have lunch with them when we picked Puck up. And we got spent the weekend with two fabulous people. We laughed a lot. Steve can be very silly when he is around Eric and Michelle tells me that is the way he always is out on runs. Who knew, no wonder he likes to be out there, it is very freeing to be silly.

It is amazing to see the different personalities of the runners. I didn’t know anyone so I had no history of who they were, how many runs they had done, how good they were. They were all just people and it was great.

Be Free,

Monday, July 23, 2007

Elder Care?

How do you care for people who want to be independent and take care of themselves? My father-in-law is here and because he hurt his leg on a run, he can’t drive well enough to be safe. So, he is stuck here with me. I know he is an independent and perfectly capable person, but when you are using crutches to get around, you may need a little help every once in a while.

He has been very good about accepting the help that is offered, and I have worked on not offering too quickly or too often and we are getting along fine.

It makes me wonder, how do you parent your parents? I think it is a slow transition, but it is a shock when you realize that is what you are doing. But to what extent are we parenting and where will it lead? Will we care for them in our home or will they go into nursing homes? Then it brings to mind the big question of what will Steve and I do as we age, will we expect our kids to parent us? Will we have a choice? I heard you should be nice to your kids, they pick out your nursing home.

So, no answers, just the questions for now. I am living in the joy that our families bring to us and focusing on doing what needs to be done with grace and love. And wine, or is that whine?

Monday, July 16, 2007

My Very First Race Report

It really wasn’t a race, it was a walk. It really was more of a stroll. My friend, Danette, asked me to walk the Toyota Tacoma Narrows Bridge Run/Walk with her. I agreed, even though I am nervous about heights. The walk was yesterday, so here is my official report.

Since Danette and I are both nervous about being late, we were to meet up at Pepper’s salon, where Danette works, at 6 AM, and of course we were both early, so after we got gas and coffee we were on the road by 6 AM. We parked at Tacoma Community College and rode the shuttle to the Living War Memorial Park and picked up our packets. We didn’t have anything else to do so we walked down to the start and looked around. We were there for just over an hour before the start. By 8 AM, when the race started, the area was packed. I have never seen so many people in my life. There were over 10,000 participating in this event.

It took us 10 minutes to cross the start line and we really could only stroll for probably the first mile. The race crossed the Narrows Bridge from Tacoma to Gig Harbor and up almost to the new toll booths where it turned around and we went back. I even looked over the edge and took this picture. I know it is hard to believe, but it is true. Although, I think am going to have to get a notarized affidavit from Danette to show my mother.

We finished up and walked up to the park and retrieved our jackets and got in the huge line for the shuttle back to TCC. The best part of the day was when we left TCC we went to Trader Joe’s and I stocked up on wine. If you want to come have a glass with us, I’ve got wine.

Be Free.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Family Planning?

I came across a DailyOM from DailyOM.com on Family Planning. Now, I know what you are thinking. Steve and I are old and we can’t be planning on more kids. You are right, we are not planning on adding to our family (until grandkids in the future, at least five years please). This was about planning the qualities you want to foster in your family's growth.

Since I am not in a position to mold my children much, if at all anymore, I was thinking about what I did do. I know for a fact that I wanted my kids to love learning. I stated it many times as they were growing, I modeled it and we lived it. Well, Sydnee will be going for her Masters in the Art of Teaching so she can be a high school math teacher. Robin is thinking about teaching science. I think I accomplished that goal.

That was the easy one, what else was there. “No name calling”. I always believed that you believe what your hear, even if you don't want to or know better, whether it is positive or negative but the negative carries more weight. I have worked hard to overcome some of the things my siblings said to me, so I was adamant that my kids not do that to each other. I’m not sure if this one worked, you would have to ask my kids, but I believe that they are very sensitive in many ways(and would have been anyway) and they are affected by what others say to and about them, like us all. They are also aware of the effect their words have on others. But other than the occasional “poopyhead”, I would say they spoke well to each other. Did I contribute to their sensitivity, I don’t know. Do they have or did they have problems because of it. Yeah, maybe. But they may have had those issues anyway. We will never know.

Steve believes that travel is important. He talked a lot about his backpacking trip to Europe as a 21 year old. We traveled with the kids, taking them to Mexico, California, on a couple of cruises (including this cruise to Alaska with both of our parents)and camping a lot. They love to travel and I see that being an important factor in their lives. I don’t know if Sydnee would have chosen to go to the University of Wales for a semester if this hadn’t been an important belief in our lives. Robin also plans to study abroad.

These are what I remember "planning" for our family. I wonder what I would have changed if I had seen this DailyOM before I had kids. Oh, well, I’ll never know.

Be Free.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


We tend to be really good about maintenance on our cars. We try to change the oil every 5,000 miles or so and get the checks and tune-ups when scheduled. We know that they run better when we do this and since we don’t buy new cars very often it is important to keep the ones we own running well.

We also do this with our bodies. We eat healthy foods in appropriate portions, we exercise, we have a spiritual life, and we try to talk when things are bothering us. This has worked rather well for us, we have been dating almost 29 years and have been married for almost 23.

Where we have slacked off on this is our house. We do the minimum when it is necessary. Neither of us are real lovers of yard work and while Steve is very handy, he is also a perfectionist. So he does things really well, but they take time. He feels he would rather pay for someone to do a job, because his time is precious (there are too many summits to be conquered or golf courses in the past). This has worked for us but now we are both beginning to think about the state of affairs. Our house is 19 years old. Some of the weeds are 19 years old. The carpet is 19 years old. I wanted to replace it a few years ago, but the dog was old and the boy was in high school. I didn’t want new carpet to get ruined. But now the boy is college bound and the new puppy is housetrained. It is time. But it was the beginning of summer and the grass grew.

There is a snowball effect in place. I think it may actually be an avalanche. First, we hired someone to come clean up the yard (we have an acre and a quarter with not even half landscaped) and since we paid more than it was worth and he wanted to charge too much to come back for maintenance, be decided that we could do slightly more than the minimum (the minimum being nothing) and keep it up ourselves. The problem is the moles and the back yard. We have a problem and have had for years. The back has never been seeded with yard grass, it is just field grass. This was great when the kids were little because they thought they were hiding in the grass, but now I can’t push the lawn mower that I received as a birthday gift about 10 years ago through the hills and valleys back there. So we bit the big one and for my birthday this week, I got a new Craftsman riding lawnmower. Now everyone wants to mow the lawn.

To get rid of the field grass we need to borrow or rent a rototiller to dig up the grass and blackberries and re-seed both the front and back yards. This is a beginning of fall type job, so it makes sense to wait a bit for that. We also need to look at what types of plants could line the perimeter of the yard and would be low to no maintenance (see a theme here?) and native to this part of the world. Salal and rhododendrons are all I have thought about so far. Planning, one of my favorite activities.

While the house is 19 years old, we designed and built it and we love the location in the woods. But a lot of things in the house are 19 yers old. The carpet is 19 years old. I wanted to replace it a few years ago, but the dog was old and the boy was still in school. I didn’t want new carpet to get ruined. But now the boy is college bound and the new puppy is housetrained. It is time.

I have chosen Brazillian Cherry hardwood floors for the kitchen, dining room, living room, office and hall. Steve didn’t want to put it in the kitchen and dining room, because about six or eight years ago we had Pergo put in there. But the Pergo next to the hardwood would look really bad and then in a few years when the i would need to be replaced, we wouldn't be able to connect it with the hardwood, so it is being replaced now. It just makes the most sense. The new carpet for our bedroom is a neutral green and it has been ordered. So my job today is to start the painting of the bathroom and closets, since I can’t move the furniture and my moving man is out conquering summits. I have to paint before the new carpet is put in, I just have to.

We won’t be putting new carpet in the kid’s rooms because all those years of clothing on the floors protected the carpet for the most part and it doesn’t look near as old as it is. Who knew the kids were saving us money all these years.

So this is my avalanche. I’ve heard horror stories about this and I'm sure there will be more posts about this adventure.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Balancing Expectations

Change your thoughts, and you change your world. Norman Vincent Peale

I'm a planner while Steve is more spontaneous. There is a balance between us. I'm thinking about this summer and camping. Steve would like to go to Leavenworth. That works for me, when? Also throw two adult kid's schedules into the mix and the dates are even more unpredictable. Here is what I am thinking about today: If I have a set expectation or plan, can I still be open to whatever happens? I would like to say "no problem", but in reality when something doesn't go as planned I hesitate and then can go with it.

There are other times when I can easily let things work themselves out. If I don't have a certain outcome that I expect, then anything that happens is ok. And most of the time this is where I sit, but when reservations need to be made for a campsite or a hotel room I get a little wiggy. I like to know where I am going to sleep at night.

So, I continue to work on changing my thoughts to those of someone who is more spontaneous and I will be more spontaneous. I also look for the joy and wonder of everything around me. Life is fabulous!