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Monday, October 31, 2011

The Ups and Downs of Halloween Night

Up from my chair.  Down onto my chair.  Up.  Down.  Up.  Down.

James got Mega-pants-ed at school today (my understanding is that the Mega means really pants-ed to the point where the deed doer actually apologizes, but no worry, the novelty boxer shorts stayed in modest place). In this case......Down......Way down.........Up.  No.  He doesn't get embarrassed by it.  He finds the best remedy is to embarrass the person that does the deed.  Very secure in himself.....at least he seems that way.

I opened the door to two middle school girls who genuinely looked disappointed that I answered the door.  I don't think they came for my popcorn.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

When Life is Cut Short

It's been a tough week in Southern Alberta.  Last weekend a tragic vehicle accident on a gravel road near one of the smaller towns took the lives of four teens.

When I read about it, I felt like I was hit with a two by four in the chest.  I didn't know any of the kids or their families.  I do, however, have children in that age range.  I am a mother.  Worse, I am a woman.  What do we do?  We immediately put ourselves in the shoes of these mothers and it's our own child that perished.

Now I am NOT going to assume that I know what these parents and families are going through.  I don't.  I can imagine, but I can't go beyond that.  What I can say is that I had a few real feelings that I shared with James about how I never wanted to experience what these dear families are and I know I was not the only mother in the general region who did that.

James will be old enough to take his driving exam next month.  Most of his friends are already driving.  I often spend my nights when he is off with his friends worrying just a little that something might go wrong.  I can't help it.  I want them to make choices that keep them safe.

Funerals for these teens have begun and will conclude early next week.  Four funerals.  Six days.  I know there will be some who attend all of them.  I would find it near unbearable to do that.  My boys have good friends with good families.  I wouldn't want to bury any of them.  I find joy in their accomplishments.  I smile as I see them growing up.

It's times like these you are reminded that we don't know what our ultimate mortal timetable is.  We are here to learn and grow.  I know some people who would be elated to leave this world - not because of any feeling of depression or hopelessness, but rather because the peace and splendor that lies ahead after this life, I am confident, is a better gig.  Personally, I am not in a rush.  I want to be here for as long as possible.  Why?  Because there is so much to learn.  Because there is so much to experience and so many challenges to overcome and be strengthened by.  Because there is so much joy to be found and I want to get really good at finding it.

But we don't know what our mortal timetable is, so I am reminded that I can't waste my time.  I need to use it wisely.  My time is valuable.  Your time is valuable.  Every single second.

 


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gratitude

I was kind of busy through the whole Thanksgiving thing.  Aren't I suppose to blog something Thanksgiving-ish?

Hmmm.........

I am thankful for husbands who gives their cranky wives a back massage after he's had a gruelling day at work.
I am thankful for sons who are only annoying in an age appropriate way, and are mostly awesome most of the time.
I am thankful for friends who are so much fun to shop across the border with and for those friends who couldn't  make it but would have been fun too.
I am thankful for a home to live in even when it doesn't feel like the home I want to live in.
I am thankful that no one cared that I roasted two chickens for Thanksgiving instead of a turkey.
I am thankful that since our family is all alone for Christmas this year, the idea of tossing all tradition out the window and eating pizza is a definite possibility. (Can't wait to blog that!!)
I am thankful for my life; for the easy parts and the difficult parts.

It kind of scratches the surface, but it's a start.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Goal!!!!!!!!!!

Fun Fact:  When I play a computer game (and I'm not saying I play games often, because I don't) and win, I start over again with a new user name solely to beat my high score.

I think I was in Victoria for a total of 33 hours.  That includes sleeping time, getting what I needed for my run time, and race activity time.  The other twelve-ish hours were spent seeing my brother and his family, my Auntie Susan, and my 94 year old grandma.  It had been over a year since I'd seen my brother.  It had been way over 2 since seeing my aunt and grandma.  I miss them all.

I will just start by saying that I LOVE this run.  The Victoria Marathon, or half marathon in my case, was so well organized.  It's a Boston Marathon qualifier.  There were past Olympians, Olympic hopefuls, world class triathletes, a retired NHL hockey players, Kenyans, and slobs like me.  It was awesome!!!

Who wouldn't find a good omen in opening your front door in the darkness of the morning to see a family of three deer standing on the front lawn.  They just looked at me and peacefully walked across the street and watched me from the corner as I got into the car.  I couldn't imagine a nicer way to start my day.
I arrived about an hour before the race, in time to hear the early marathon start........that's for the slow pokes.  They get a two hour head start.  If I ever run a marathon I hope they give me the four hour head start.
I worried about my body.  I ran only once between Melissa's and Victoria.  My ankle hurt.  I spent a whole hour warming up.  5200 other half marathoners began to arrive over the next hour.  There were a bunch of us.  I like to start at the back.  Once the start was signalled, it took me five minutes to get to the start line.  And the run was on...........
I love sea level!!!  I ran so comfortably.  I had the biggest smile on my face at 10K because I could still breathe!!  The streets were lined with people cheering on the runners.  I made sure I passed the two 175 year old runners because there was NO WAY I was going to let them beat me.  I struggled with the old man who kept passing me, but I don't know if he was running or speed walking.  I think he ended up beating me, and if that really was speed walking then I just have no words for that.

Us slow pokes cheered on the winners who were in the home stretch when we were barely past 8K.  At 14K we cheered on the marathoners and caught a glimpse of the Kenyan runner who won by 12 minutes and had won the Montreal Marathon just two weeks earlier.

At 15K I got those darned butt cramps again.  I pulled over to stretch.  I kept on running.  By 18K I started to feel like my end was near and I was so close.  I found a familiar face.  I stopped to take a picture.  Shannon, you were the best police officer on duty along the race route.  You clapped and cheered us all on. Seeing her was enough to keep me going to the end.
And the end came.......2:28:20 was my official time.  I maintained my 10 and 1 run program and only made a potty stop and a stretch stop.  I beat my Melissa's time by 8 minutes.  I beat my first Melissa's time by about 28 minutes.

I loved this run.  It was like a regular Saturday run. The weather was perfect, which made it more lovable.  I find I get a little emotional before a race.  Something about being in the midst of so many people and we all have this same goal......to finish.  I contemplated life on this run.  I missed my running peeps.  I texted them and Facebook status updated on my walks, because it kept things light for me.  Heaven forbid I take myself too seriously.
All sorts of people crossed that finish line.  Some were fit looking and others looked a little marshmallow-y.  Some were young and one was 89 years old.  He was the oldest.  He finished the half in 3:13.  Can you find the inspiration in that?  I sure did.

I crossed the finish line.  I got my medal.  I got my chocolate milk.  Prayers work.  I did not hobble and haven't since.  It's like my ankle was never hurt.
A few short hours after that, I was on a plane back home.  I was greeted by the gang.  I love the gang.

I love to run.  I hate to run.  But I mostly love it.  It is my therapist.  I've watched video of me crossing the finish line.  I look like I gained 20 pounds and I certainly don't look like some of these fresh daisies that finish looking the same as they did 13.1 miles earlier.  But I clean up well.

I'll have to run Victoria again.  I'll use the same name, but you know my only goal will be to beat my high score.

I always have to beat my high score.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Miracles

It's not my story to tell, but I am reminded today that miracles are real and they still occur.  Sometimes prayers are answered for what seems an impossible request.  The courage of others inspires me.   Their faith motivates me to strengthen my own.

It was the best way to end my day.