Friday, February 21, 2020

Cuteness overload

We went to Nashville last weekend.


And met Grace Elizabeth.



Our grandkitty, Leo, is a little unsettled.


I made bread pudding, holy cow it was good especially with the whiskey sauce I also made (sauce not shown).


It's really cool to see my son over the moon about his daughter.


On Monday, she slept on me for nearly two hours. I didn't mind in the least.


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

What I’ve learned in the first week of having a coach

First, I like it a lot.

While I have all the discipline needed to follow a training program, I struggle to find the right one, the one that meets me where I am.

So many times, a training program will say to find this pace or that pace (where pace = marathon pace or 10K for example) and then it’s up to me to decide well what IS my pace? Did I pick the right one? Pace is easier if the goal is to stay in my aerobic zone (my Garmin watch tells me that), or if there’s an exact specific running pace I need to hit. But the vague ranges just annoy and frustrate me.

Or take strides as another example—when I trained for my first half marathon in 2018, I had runs that called for strides. I knew I was supposed to go fast, but how fast? How long? How many do I do in each run or per mile or what?

My coach gave the perfect definition of what’s needed for strides. He said I should feel like I’m chasing a ball, not chasing a child who ran into the street. And he said do one for each mile. The first time I had strides scheduled, our streets had a lot of black ice so I couldn’t really do one set of strides per mile. I had to take them as I had demonstratively dry pavement. But today, I did a lot better and only got mixed up once (two sets in mile two, oops). Still, that guidance has made a difference for me.

And rest days. Oh, I could go on for a bit about rest days. I’m terrible at taking them, not out of some desire to be masochistic but more wondering if I needed them that week (answer: almost certainly yes) and then I’d struggle with feeling lazy or undisciplined, neither of which are true. Knowing he’s looking at my workouts in the online training calendar is motivation to make sure I do take those rest days.

In a way, training for this marathon reminds me a lot of when I was in Basic Training. The first week I was there, the drills sergeants showed a video of everything we would be learning and all the stuff we’d be doing. I will tell you, about halfway through I thought “well that’s it, I’m going to wash out here, I’ll never make it through and be able to do all this stuff.”  But then I realized they were motivated to help me learn and pass all the tests, sure I still needed to do the work, but I wouldn’t be doing it alone. That’s kind of how I feel about this, but in a much better and a lot more fun way. 

Sunday, February 2, 2020

I am not easy to surprise

But . . .

My mother, sister, brother, sister-in-law and especially Kent did just that Friday night. Kent and I had plans for a quiet date night at a new to us restaurant (Affäre), or so I thought.

But when we got to the restaurant, the woman who greeted us was just so warm and kind and almost as though she’d been expecting me.

Narrator: in fact she had been expecting me

You know how when you’ve got reservations, they always double check your name and see where they’re going to seat you? She did none of those things, just said oh yes, you’re sitting back around here and led the way.

I was slightly ahead of Kent and I saw a 6-top table toward the back of the restaurant and immediately saw the back of my brother’s head (I would know his head anywhere), then saw my sister’s face, and my mother’s profile (she was sitting between my brother and sister), and readers, I think I might have staggered a bit. I definitely cried because they were there for an early celebration of my 60th birthday.

Keep in mind, my mother lives right outside Boise, my sister lives in Denver and my brother gets at most one night a week off (he works the overnight shift, he’s a county deputy). Having them all there was the most humbling amazing thing because I know what they each gave up or spent to be there.

That may have been the most amazing dinner of my life. My mom had saved the card I gave her for her 60th birthday; she’d been a little down about that milestone and I thought the card was just perfect for her. Now 22 years later, she gave it to me.

At one point in her life, she collected Swarovski crystal animals, they’re quite lovely. Most of hers are clear, and I’ve always liked them. A couple of years ago, she gave me a tiny little cat which has a place of honor in my display cabinet. This year, she got me the Year of the Rat ornament. Isn’t it cool?


My sister-in-law brought the most gorgeous bouquet of flowers and some yummy chocolates. The flowers have opened up and look so good.


Here are some photos from dinner:

All of us

My sister Amy and me
Amy, Doug and me
Tomorrow is my actual birthday. I haven’t dreaded this milestone in the least—honestly the birthday I had the worst time with was my 25th birthday. The rest have been easy, and this year I have so much to be thankful for. I have the best marriage and a husband who brings so much love and joy into my life, my fourth grandchild/second granddaughter was born just over a week ago (more about that later), and I’ve had no recurrences of melanoma and no evidence of breast cancer right now. I never say cured about any cancer, but no evidence of disease is great. While my healed pelvis always hurts, it’s bearable especially because I know I’m not damaging myself.

Life is good. I think my 60s will be wonderful.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

It's getting real

I’ve found a running coach (you can check out his website here), and I’ll be getting all the digital paperwork completed by the weekend. This will be a virtual coach, he's based in South Dakota.

I had a hour long video conference call with him on Sunday and felt very comfortable with him and his approach. He gave me a suggestion that he has his runners do, and honestly that tip was quite helpful. Basically, after a run he said to add in about 10-15 minutes of strength work to keep the heart rate up and get the body used to doing just a bit more. I did that this morning, and think that’s going to help a lot.

And yesterday, this came in the mail.



While I think it’s pretty hideous (does anyone look good in that lurid shade of orange sherbet?), and I won’t wear it until after the marathon, it did make the whole thing seem more real.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

A final post from Manila

Or at least I hope it's the last one. If Taal acts up, then it won't be.

I thought I'd end with a few photos of the Chinese New Year's decorations at the hotel. This is outside the lounge on the 40th floor.


This one is at the desk for the residences at the hotel (I can only imagine how expensive it is to live here in one of those).


This is in the lobby and is very tall, much taller than I am.


A close up of the rats.


Another display in the lobby:


And one last sunset here tonight:


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Kitties in Manila

I’ve seen a ton of kitties here, they’re all wild but highly socialized toward humans. They’re also incredibly tiny and thin, I’m sure they don’t live easy lives. I haven't tried to pet any of them because although they don't run away from people, they're clearly not house cats.

As you might imagine, I’ve taken a lot of photos (I can’t resist cute cats) so here they are:

I saw these two at the Bonifacio High Street Mall area on January 11.


I'm pretty sure these are the same kitties plus another one; I saw them January 19.



This tiny kitty was eating something, what you don't see are the couple of workers sitting on a short landscaping wall taking their break. I'm pretty sure they were feeding the kitty.


This is a different cat, although she looks very similar to the previous one.


This is yet another cat, but this one's sitting on the landscaping light. It wasn't a cool night by any stretch of the imagination but cats do run hotter than we do. So I'm sure the warmth felt good.


And as I came back by on the same walk, that little kitty decided to curl up on the light.


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Saint Vincent De Paul and Fort Santiago

Last Sunday, we got to see St. Vincent De Paul, a very old if not the oldest Catholic church in Manila. You can read about it here.





I didn’t take a lot of photos there as a wedding was going on and that seemed disrespectful. I will say I was in the minority, lots of people took photos of the wedding!

Then we walked a short distance to Fort Santiago and toured the fort. The fort is also quite old and is considered to be one of the most important historical sites in Manila. I can’t do justice to a write up so take a look at this link.










See the kitty? And the rooster on the right?
Then we made a stop at the Mall of Asia. At one point, it was supposed to be the biggest mall in the world. I don't think it is any more, but it's definitely large. I took this photo facing west toward Manila Bay. I do love the ocean.


After that, we went to Okada Casino, which is further south from the fort and the cathedral. I’m not a gambler and I don’t care for cigarette smoke, but two of the folks on my team really wanted to see it so off we went. And one of them won nearly 1000 PHP! This photo is at the entrance; I think some of these decorations were up in advance of the Chinese New Year. It was pretty amazing to see.



We stuck around for the light show, which according to the Okada is bigger than the Belagio in Las Vegas. I don’t know either way but I will say it was really cool.





At the same time we were there, one of the Filipino people with us showed us real time videos of Taal, and we realized we could see the ash plume from the casino. Not only that, but what we thought were bug bites were actually tiny pieces of ash hitting us.



I’ll say I’ve never been in a situation where Facebook prompted me to mark myself safe or not safe, which was just nutty.