The Lost Summer

Back in mid July, I started drafting a blog post entitled, “Walking is Our New Running.” Hubby is no longer able to run so we were trying to embrace walking together. We had been doing pretty well the previous few weeks, walking 4-5 mornings/week, seeing pretty sunrises. I was going to include pics of the pretty sunrises and scenery in the post, like this:

Hubby’s body even managed a 4 miler, which was our last real walk. In the third week of July, we said goodbye to our Summer.

Who here has ever heard of Babesiosis? It’s a tick borne parasite. Only a very small number of you? I hadn’t heard of it either, until my dad contracted it. Here is some information:

https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/babesiosis/index.html

From the “Disease” page, some important information that pertains to my dad is that Babesiosis can be a severe, life threatening disease if you do not have a spleen. My dad does not have a spleen and he became critically ill. We are pretty certain that if his family doctor (whom I called and thanked), did not immediately think to have his blood tested for this parasite, my dad would not still be with us. It’s been a months long recovery, and his red blood cells are still being monitored.

I share this, in more detail than the happenings in the rest of our lost summer, as a heads up, a plea, to be vigilant about checking yourself and your pets for ticks. My parents are not outdoorsy. The chances of them getting a tick bite are very slim, let alone my dad getting a tick bite from a tick with babesia. All of the doctors and researchers are saying that Lyme disease and other tick borne diseases are on the rise. Please don’t take any chances.

At this point, let’s just say that the bad news Summer continued. We lost both of my in-laws, 10 days apart, and learned that a close family member has terminal cancer.

It’s been hard on the girls, and on us, that they’re so far away. With the eldest no longer in college, she moved further from campus. The girls don’t see each other as often, so when they sent us a picture together, it helped our hearts.

The pergola and pergola space got finished, but we haven’t had been able to really make use of it (pergola post to follow later).

It’s been hard to give Fargo The Terrible the time he deserves. He did his best to hang in there (always more Fargo pics to follow later).

It’s been hard to do anything in the house beyond the basic dishes/laundry. (I can’t bring myself to share a pic of the messy house to illustrate). As you may have noticed, there have been no blog posts for a long time. It’s been hard to find the energy to do more than the bare minimum. We are lucky to have friends/neighbors who made us food. THANK YOU, you know who you are!! It has been hard keeping up with the garden produce, and a few things did end up going to waste.

We randomly had enough hours and energy, at the same time, to be productive. We are attempting to make sauerkraut, which is currently smelling up the closet in which it resides (sauerkraut post to follow later).

We got one batch of peppers canned. We are calling these (and any batch of cheesy roasted peppers we make) Pepper Roulette this year. Every once in a while, there’s a HOT one in the mix and it can be from any of the three varieties.

We made a first go at pickles (pickle post to follow later).

And we just got the sweet potatoes harvested last weekend. They are smaller and many are unusually shaped, but hopefully they are yummy.

A more positive and productive Fall is welcome.

Very Scary Storm

It’s been another crazy week, which started out with a WHOPPER of a storm on Monday. I had been watching the radar and I knew we were under a Tornado Watch. I usually fill up pots with water (no power=no water), but I was too focused on watching the radar to think of it.

Fargo and I were in the house when it hit and we were both freaked out by the horizontal rain and unbelievable winds. The power went out almost immediately. Luckily there was enough daylight for me to quick grab the candles and matches. Just when I thought it was a situation where we needed to be in the basement, the wind started to slow down.

It was very loud between the wind and the rain/hail, so I apparently missed the fact that a tree came down across the street in front of the house. I found this out when a young woman showed up at my door because her car was trapped between the tree out front and another downed tree in front of our neighbors’ house. Fargo was quite happy to have a visitor, but my heart and adrenaline were on overdrive after the scare of the storm and a stranger at the door. She was very nice and pretty freaked out herself. I’m glad she thought to pull into the drive and knock.

We noticed the police down the road trying to get that tree moved, so the young lady decided to leave. She ended up helping some other people moving the tree in front of our house so they could get by.

If I look for the up side of this tree lying on the ground, I guess we have a better view into the field.

Turns out, there were many more trees down and many utility poles. There was a confirmed tornado just a few miles away and winds of 70 mph were recorded here. Our power was out for 24 hours, which luckily, was 24 hours less than originally predicted. There were quite a few of my friends who had 48+ hours without power.

If you stand at the end of our driveway and look left, you can see a big brown thing. That thing is a root ball from a massive, MASSIVE tree, that thankfully fell away from the road. Here is hubby standing next to it for size perspective.

Here it is from the side.

Another tree is hanging across the canopy and will likely come down at some point.

All in all, we are incredibly lucky that we had no damage to our property. I don’t need to see a storm like that again for a very long time, or better yet, ever. Thank you to the power company workers and first responders who were out trying to help and to get our power back on as quickly as possible.

Memorial Day Race Report

On Monday morning I ran the local Memorial Day 3.8 mile race. The last (and only) time I ran it was in 2011. It is NOT an easy course as there is much uphill and downhill running, though luckily the downhill is towards the end. On top of the difficulty of the course, no matter what the temp/weather conditions have been up until Memorial Day weekend, race day weather is inevitably hot and humid.

As I am a total weather weenie, I wait until the Saturday before the event to register and this is the first year since 2011 I thought conditions might be reasonable. It’s also the first year in a while that I have continued to run consistently enough that I felt I could reasonably deal with the course.

In addition to my multiple comments about the hills and difficulty, I should probably add that it’s also beautiful. It begins and ends in a small historic village and the hills are residential, mostly tree lined streets with folks cheering in front of their houses along the way. The two out and backs provided me the chance to cheer for the runners ahead of me and behind me.

I wore my TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) shirt from the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon. I was part of a Run and Remember Team which represented fallen Military personnel. It seemed an appropriate shirt to wear, with names of the many men in that particular unit who gave all listed on the back. You can see the TAPS pocket logo in this pic of the hubby and me before the race.

memorial day 3

The hubby was out on the course cheering and taking pics, which was so great. He started snapping the pics when I was pretty far away but luckily I was wearing the easy to spot yellow shirt.

Memorial Day 2

Before the start, we chatted with another runner and I ended up running the first mile with her, which was fun.

Memorial Day Run 1

My race time from 2011 was 43:33 and in the back of my mind I thought that it might be possible to PR since I think I’m in better shape than in 2011, though I’m also 5 years older. We hit the first mile in under 12 minutes, which was good.

The second and third miles included the two huge hills. I dealt with the first one well and even the second one, though by the time I hit the turn around point I wasn’t thinking I could have continued uphill much longer. I didn’t use a standard interval, but walked 3 times when I felt I needed to walk. After the turn around on the second hill, the rest of the course is mostly downhill/flat and I ran it all without walking.

It had gotten very hot, very fast in the sun and if the course had more sunny spots I would have been toast. I don’t have a GPS watch and there aren’t mile markers on the course, so I really wasn’t sure how I was doing on time. As I made the final turn towards the finish, I looked at my watch and thought I might actually have a PR if I could keep the pace.

I finished with a 43:00 which was a 33 second PR. I was excited, but I was also crazy HOT so I immediately dumped some water over my head from the bottle I was handed by a volunteer. You can see me being happy and you can see that I dumped water on me in the finish line pic (and you can see the course photographer’s shadow 🙂 ).

memorial day finish line

33 seconds doesn’t really sound like a huge amount of time, but a friend whom I was texting with said that she thought it was a short race for that much of a PR. When I actually thought about it, I chuckled because I realized that my last marathon PR was only 18 seconds. I had an 18 second PR in 26.2 miles, but a 33 second PR in 3.8 miles. I’ll take it!

I don’t have any other events planned until October, so I’m glad I ran this one. It was a fun morning and a nice way to have a few quiet minutes to reflect and remember and be thankful.

 

 

More Spring Beauty

It is Memorial Day Weekend. Since I began participating in the Marine Corps Marathon in 2009, and through my involvement fundraising for TAPS, I feel that I focus more on the deeper meaning of the weekend. I have always appreciated the dedication and commitment of our Military personnel, and I am grateful for those who gave their lives to protect our freedom, but I find that I now spend more mental energy on those feelings of thanks.  I was very moved by an experience with my amazing MCM friends last October as one friend paid his respects to his Uncle at the Vietnam Memorial.

MCM respects

Tomorrow I am running in the local Memorial Day 3.8 miler. Today, I thought I would share more pictures of Spring beauty as a way of paying my respects this weekend.

fargo plum tree

columbine

bleeding heart dogwood

iris mailbox

rodi dogwood

iris fargo

So much beauty at our house!

Quiet

When the girls were little, and our lab was a puppy, there was rarely a quiet moment. They were either imagining out loud, bickering even louder, talking to me, whining at me, playing with the dog, listening to music/movies, etc.

20160416_071407

Much of the sounds were good sounds, especially when they were world building together. But during awake time, there were always sounds and voices and noise. There were times that I used to wish for a day, or even two days, to have the house to myself. I would imagine all of the items I could check off the “to do” list, the books I could read, the naps I could take, and so on. I did get a few hours of quiet every so often, and it was nice, but usually only long enough to work on the list and not read the books or take the naps.

Life is different now. I thought, in this second year of empty nest, that I would be getting used to the quiet. When the hubby is around, he is always singing, and that helps…until it doesn’t and I need to cry “uncle.” Fargo barks at me to play with him…which is loud, but not even close to being the same noise. It’s still just quiet.

In hindsight, I would have stopped to appreciate the voices and the activity a little more. I would have tried to remember it a little better, as much of it is blurred from being in a constant state of exhaustion. “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” definitely applies. What I have now, I wished for then, and what I wish for now, is a little more of what I had back then.

We’ll all be together for a few days soon. I am so excited and so looking forward to our time. I wouldn’t complain if time could slow down, just a little, so I can repeatedly squeeze them to pieces.

Test Post

This is me testing out my brand new blog. Be patient while I am adding a new item to my “empty nest” life, using WordPress. I hope to soon be able to transfer and archive the previous 45 posts from the tumblr blog. In the meantime, here is a puppy Fargo picture to make you smile.

Puppy Fargo

Fargo The Terrible: Chicken Edition

For a time last spring, we were caring for chickens. There were 2 hens and a rooster. We still had our homemade coop from when we had hens a few years back.

Chicken Coop

Fargo found the hens quite entertaining. He often would stand on one side, watch the chickens trot to the far side, and then run to the far side, and watch the chickens trot back to the first side. This could go on and on and the chickens never seemed distressed.

One particularly muddy day, Fargo decided it would be more fun to run full circles around the coop, which included running through the side with all of the brush. The chickens did not think this was more fun and they FREAKED OUT!

I immediately went after Fargo, who was completely ignoring my commands. When I was finally able to grab him, I noticed that one of the chickens was hanging upside down from the wire fencing and it wasn’t moving. It was the rooster, hanging by one of its spurs. ACK!!

In a panic (I thought the chicken was dead), I wrestled with Fargo trying to get him into the house. He kept turning over on his back, pawing at me with his VERY muddy paws. I finally got him upright and wrapped my arm around his chest just behind his back legs and “helped” him walk on his back legs to the house. And then I tossed him into his crate. There may have been some very loud bad words exiting my mouth during this entire event.

me, covered in mud

At that point I grabbed the phone and called hubby. I wanted him to come home and deal with the chicken. He did not answer, of course. So I called his brother, who did answer. He asked me if the chicken’s eyes were open…what?? I didn’t get close enough to look at its eyes! He very calmly told me that one thing to know about chickens is that if you hold them upside down, they immediately go still. Huh, learned something. And he suggested that if I couldn’t get it unhooked (that was not happening), I could always just cut the spur off (ummm…NOPE). At that point I had the idea to cut the metal wire fencing.

I found the nippers and went out to the coop. While trying not to look at the chicken I was certain had a broken neck, I snipped one link. The chicken immediately fell down and then popped back up as if nothing ever happened. Ok then, that was a relief after a full blown panic that I had let someone else’s chicken break its own neck.

But there was Fargo, still in his crate, covered in mud and ticks (another downside of him running through the brush). I thought ahead enough to grab an old towel and I dragged the muddy beast up to the tub. Trader Joes shampoo works pretty well on mud, FYI, even when you are only using it with one hand because the other is trying to keep the dog IN the tub.

After getting Fargo cleaned up, and the crate cleaned up, and the kitchen floor cleaned up and me cleaned up, I was exhausted. It was then that I realized that Fargo never once put his mouth on me. He did not try to bite or nip or hurt me as I manhandled him into the house and into the tub. Of course, I certainly wasn’t trying to hurt him either. As rough as he plays (which often results in bruises), he was aware of his mouth and did not hurt me.

Fargo The Terrible has a good heart. He is 90% awsomeness, but that 10% can be doozy!