October 17, 2015

Party time: October 17, 2015

Well, that was the first Bar Mitzvah party I’ve ever attended.  And it was just like in the movies.  It’s too bad that we don’t get to see our Montreal nephews more often than we do.  They seem like really great kids.  The star of the show was a very gracious host and seemed overjoyed with happiness to be sharing his special event with tons of friends and family.

Off theme, and too late tonight.  The kids are exhausted and very, very happy.  My ears feel like they were stuffed full of cotton, which was then roughly, but incompletely, removed.

Day 351 scorecard: 1755 down, 70 to go

October 16, 2015

Trippy: October 16, 2015

We saw a truck on fire on the highway.  Actually, what we saw was an enormous pile of smoke. Fortunately, it was on the other side of the divided highway, so it didn’t hold us up anyway.  One of the worst things (for my nosy self) about being in a major centre is that one never finds out how or why these things happen and the results, unless it’s an enormous tragedy.  I can tell you this did not look like a major tragedy, it just stank like crazy and snarled up traffic.

All that aside, we’ve 5Downed Nova Scotia for a few days and we’ve stopped moving even though my inner ear still thinks we’re moving.

Day 350 scorecard: 1750 down, 75 to go

October 15, 2015

Forbidden Topics: October 15, 2015

I know I’m not supposed to tell the Internet this, but we’re going away.  I am okay telling the Internet, though, because I have very diligent neighbours one of whom works from home and who can see my house clearly.  So, if you’re planning to rob me, you may have a friendly neighbourhood police officer having a chat with you.

See, I’d considered not writing about it, but it’s just way too central of a feature of this last month.

I can’t tell you too much tonight, though, because packing up is all-consuming.  I will say one thing, though: de-cluttering makes finding stuff to pack much, much easier.

Day 349 scorecard: 1745 down, 80 to go

October 14, 2015

Your Presence Present: October 14, 2015

Tonight was the first post-race run and it felt a little like debriefing or deprogramming.  Also it felt a lot like the beginning of something rather than the end.  We talked about new goals and new ideas for the next year and we reminisced about the race day happenings.  It was lovely and very much necessary.

Also tonight, Mom took Clara to “show off” at the home where Grammie resides.  Clara was a big hit, dressed in “her wedding dress” (aka: her flower girl dress) with french braids done by Mom.  Clara has an amazing ability to see the best in everyone and to enjoy everyone’s company.  Mom tells me she asked Clara what her favourite part of the visit was.  As Clara was holding two loonies Grammie had given her, Mom thought the lucre would be her focus.  Instead, Clara apparently said “I don’t know…all of it!”  How great is that?

I am guessing the elderfolk she saw likely thought Clara was the best part of their day.  The ultimate un-wrappable gift…

Day 348 scorecard: 1740 down, 85 to go

October 13, 2015

Theatre: October 13, 2015

Clara and Solomon put on a play tonight that involved hand-painted invitations (read: goopy and Max accidentally got most of it on one finger), multiple stuffie props, and an intricate plot concocted by Solomon that centered on abandonment, loss, desertion (all delivered in a chipper tone, but which will probably keep him from falling asleep tonight).  Clara spent the entirety of the play painting more…stuff…  Also, there was a “platter” (aka: Clara’s favourite dish – this one involved bite-sized cheesecake bits, cheese, and pineapple chunks, cunningly arranged by the Diva herself).

Intermission was cancelled, due to it already being past bedtime by the time the curtains were raised (er…accidentally dropped and quickly retrieved).

Who says you need ‘things’ to have fun?

Day 347 scorecard: 1735 down, 90 to go

Clara took tonight’s photo, if you’re wondering about the perspective…


October 12, 2015

Thankful For…October 12, 2015

Up here in the Frozen North, it was Thanksgiving Day today.  It’s a great time for gathering together: no snow on the roads, no time-change-for-early-darkness yet, exactly the right time for all the harvest goodies.  I love it.

Fortunately enough, we had our family Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, and today I hosted my dear friend and her kiddos for a second Thanksgiving dinner.  In the spirit of thankfulness, I thought I’d list 5 things I am thankful for, right about now:

  1. I’m thankful I stuck with this project.  I really am.  It’s been trying at times and it’s been a tough slog, but I’m really proud that we’ve made it this far, all in one piece.  I’m happy when I look in my cupboards and I can easily find what I’m looking for.  I’m thrilled when I am able to let go of something that would have caused me no end of grief a year ago.  I feel accomplished.
  2. I’m thankful for my wonderful kiddos.  Since we’re going away for a week, soon, I needed to find a bunch of stuff for 5Down in advance.  They each found 10 – 5Down things today and had fun doing it.  They are enjoying the results of our combined efforts and they’ve really learned a lot about ‘stuff’ this year.
  3. I’m thankful for advance polls in this election this year.  We could vote even though we’ll be out of town.  My friend got to vote for the very first time today and the results of voting, in this country, won’t lead to bloodshed and violence in the streets.  It didn’t take extreme courage to go to the polls.  Her vote mattered and she was on the official list.  I might vehemently dislike our current leader and I might deplore what he’s done to our country, but I still have the right to write about it, talk about it, vote about it.  That’s rare.
  4. I’m thankful I’m not desperate.  I have choices and I have a reasonable amount of security in my life.  That is also rare, and I hardly know how I got so lucky and
  5. I’m really thankful for my husband.  He’s not a perfect human being, but he is pretty amazing.  I am a difficult person to work with and around and he works hard at managing me and my demanding needs.  I have to tell you his response, yesterday, when I woke up at 6:45 and my running buddy was due to pick me up at 6:50 for the race.

“@*&!%” said I, on seeing the clock, and in the process of leaping out of bed.

“What?” he replied.

“Running buddy will be here in FIVE MINUTES, the alarm did not go off!” I said

“What can I do to help?” he asked.

You guys.

Those are the best 6 most perfect words I have ever heard in my life.

Thankful?  You bet.

Day 346 scorecard: 1730 down, 95 to go

October 11, 2015

Believing You Can Do It: October 11, 2015

Tonight I had to relieve Mike of Clara-helping duty.  It’s really just about the most irritating thing in the world.  Thankfully, I can see a lot of progress already.  She’s starting to spontaneously read signs and titles.  She’s believing she can do it, and that makes all the difference.

I had a similar thing happen to me.  See, the first run I ever did was the Valley Harvest 10k.  I ran it in 1h15m and I felt pretty pleased.  After all, I’d been a couch potato for the first 38 years of my life and I had spent 5 months gearing up for that run.  The next year I ran about 1h10m, then 1h4m. Last year, we ran the half marathon.  But I had a goal this year (for the first time).  I decided that I really wanted to crack the one hour mark.

The weeks leading up to the run did not look promising, but today I just made up my mind.  I located the 55m pace bunny and I followed her very closely.  I figured that at some point I’d be looking at the 1 hour bunny’s tail, and then maybe even the 1h5m and possibly the 1h10m’s cotton fluff.

Here are some Pace Bunnies, if you wondered what they look like...

Here are some Pace Bunnies, if you wondered what they look like…and here is the article I nabbed this photo from.

I gave it my all.  Normally, I walk every 10 minutes (referred to by those in the know as “10 and 1s”).  Today I only walked up hills (and then I didn’t fully walk) and a couple other times for less than a minute.  Near the end I had not seen the 55m bunny in a long while.  I decided the 1hour bunny must have passed me without my noticing.  I was discouraged but I felt my brain saying “just do this.  just go.  just do it!” so I did.  I thought about how we’d thought of the 21.1k, last year, as 5k chunks.  I thought about how many times I’ve run “a 10” and I just went.

I crossed the finish line…and only the marathon/half-marathon running times were showing.

Then I saw my running buddy who knew her own time (but not mine).  She told me many of the running bunnies had lost their signs and some had even lost their ears.

“Oh man,” thought I, “I really was later than I thought.”

Right after my running buddy and I finished.  See our medals?  See our happy faces?

Right after my running buddy and I finished. See our medals? See our happy faces?

Next, we went down into the gym for snacks and massages (so great).  As we stood in line a running friend offered her iPod for us to look up our times. We found lots of people, but not mine.  I decided to give up looking and accepted that I’d finished.

After the massage, we went to the locker to get out our gear.  That’s when Mike sent a message that said “57.55!  Great job!” (I may be paraphrasing). I literally jumped for joy.  I still can’t believe I shaved SIX MINUTES off my previous time!  I feel like a million bucks.

Next, though, was one of the most fulfilling race endings I’ve ever witnessed.

Our coach, the Helenator herself (Helen MacDonald) completed her first marathon today (and qualified for the Boston because of course she did). She had secretly started training in the spring, not entirely convinced she could do it.  She would give us secret updates from time to time and then she started going public as her confidence grew.  About a week ago, she mused about how there would likely be no one left by the time she arrived.  Her ETA was about 2 hours after we’d pulled into the station.

There were a pile of us who either waited around for her, or who made the trip in JUST to see her arrived.  I spotted her coming up the road that leads to the field.  I yelled ‘HELEN!” and other people started cheering.  As soon as she got close enough, I could see the tears streaming down her face.  We ran up to the field to see her and I yelled to her daughters and her BFF (and her daughters) “she’s coming!  she’s coming!”.

Then I did what she’s done for me and for so many others.  I ran her in.  I ran beside her and told her how amazing she was how she was totally going to beat the goal she’d set and at the last few seconds I veered off, hollering at her to go go go!!!

She crossed the finish line, almost 5 minutes earlier than she’d hoped, and collapsed…in tears.  I could hear her daughter ask “are you tired Mommy?” and she said “no!”

It was so awesome and inspiration to be there with her and for her.  What a moment.  What an incredible day.


Day 345 scorecard: 1725 down, 100 to go