Monday, April 27, 2009

Ten Miles & Technical Difficulties

I hope it's not just me but you, too, share my feelings. I'm partial to MY computer. We have a connection - literally and figuratively. We are in sync with one another. We understand each other. We've bonded. My husband's computer is newer, faster and has a much larger monitor than mine. It has a keyboard and mouse, just like mine. But it simply doesn't have the same relationship with me as my desktop (sorry Mr. Computer).

Because of age and use and, I guess they simply go "bad", our router in the house recently died. And with it went my connection to the Internet on my desktop. It was a dark day - no, MANY dark days. And between budgeting for a replacement, finding time during the work week to go to the store and buy it and then finding hours (because you know something's not going to hook up correctly) to reconnect/set it up, it took longer than expected to get back in touch with the outside world.

But here I am. And I think I actually witnessed my computer smile broadly at me when I saw my familiar message "connecting to the server"... It's as if we've kissed and made up.

And to celebrate our recent recommitment to one another (that is my PC and me), I wanted to share another accomplishment Michael and I made last weekend.

We ran the second annual Tar Heel Ten Miler!

This was my sophomore year, along with the event itself! And I'm happy to report I ran it 2 minutes faster than last year! In your face 40+ years old! Take that!

Had to show it off a little...

Of course Michael finished ahead of me by about 5 minutes. He was challenged by the course - it's a tough one full of hills. I knew what to expect, he was caught by surprise a time or two.
And, of course, here's our traditional "after race" pose.
It was the perfect day for the event. Slightly chilly early in the morning but after 30 minutes into it, we were toasty!
For you locals, please watch for this event every year (around the third Saturday in April). In addition to the 10 mile run, there is a 5K (3 miles). The event benefits our local YMCAs in hopes to get and keep our young people healthy and moving. And that, of course, will benefit us all in the long run!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Supporting The Arts (Locally) And The Rest Of The Weekend

On Friday night, I had the pleasure of taking my two buds, Linda and Cathy, to see "Little Women" at our historic Temple Theater in Sanford, NC. Built in 1925, The Temple is a true gem in this little community and is working overtime to stay afloat in these uncertain economic times. I encourage you, if you're ever in the area, to treat yourselves to a show here. You won't be disappointed.

I can't imagine that there's someone out there who is not familiar with Little Women. But, in case not, this is classic, quality theater for the entire family. Little Women was inspired by Louisa May Alcott's classic 1869 novel and her own experiences. This particular performance brings to life family, friendship and romance.

The girls all dolled up for a night on the town! Aren't they beautiful?

(Click on the photo for a close-up/better shot)

And then on Saturday, after working a couple of hours at the Broadway Our Way Festival in Broadway, NC, I headed to the Riddle's house for an afternoon of celebration. My friend and neighbor, Jeanne Riddle, has finished her schooling and is now a registered nurse in the State of North Carolina! Way to go Jeanne! She is so deserving of this honor. Jeanne's worked for years to gain this recognition. I couldn't be happier for her. Jeanne's in-laws, Jack and Peggy, hosted the graduation celebration.

(Click on the photo for a close-up/better shot)

I could've moved in with Jack and Peggy. Not only because they are two of the sweetest, most giving people I know but just look at this spread where they live!! Can we all say "Serene"?! Believe me when I tell you the photos don't do it justice. I think if my mom were there, she would've been dangling her feet in the pond, watching the boys fish and attached herself to the railing refusing to budge when I told her it was time to leave! She would've also been deciding exactly how many white ducks to purchase - no really, she would've been.

On my way out, I snapped a quick shot of my "neighbor boys". I've watched these guys grow up. I remember Samuel, the one in the red shirt, coming up my field/yard with his pull ups on and a walkie-talkie stuffed down each side. He was helping his dad help me replace the pump in my well. Isn't that the best memory? It was a toddler's version of High Noon! I love these boys. They have a very special place in my heart. Benjamin is Samuel's older brother. That's him in the camo tee. I don't know the little guy peeking around Samuel's shoulder. But he can be my friend, too!

This past weekend was one of those in which you sigh a heavy, contented sigh. I'm sure you know what I mean. My path was crossed with friends and loved ones and confirmation of faith. And I think my preacher developed his sermon JUST FOR ME... a good weekend indeed.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Just A Little Off The Top, Please

Because I forgot to take the "before" shot, I just picked this one up off the Internet. I believe this is called Pampas Grass, although we refer to it as "troll head". Ours was every bit this large, before my husband went after it with the chain saw. Yes, that's right, a chain saw. That's the only piece of lawn equipment able to handle such a job.

This is where our troll head is planted, lives and grows. The phone man is exceptionally happy whenever he has to come service our phone lines...(note the size of the plant in it's "full state" of happiness/growth above). Every year at about this time this guy gets a standard, military-issued buzz cut. The first time we did this, my heart skipped a beat. I thought, oh my goodness what have we done. But I literally watched it come back to life right before my eyes. As a matter of fact, I'm sure as I'm typing this it's grown 3 inches already! Last year I planted a few impatients around the base of this monstrosity. They were beautiful - for while. And then the "hair" grew back and, well, so much for my pretty impatients. I'm a smarter gardener today, however!

And along with the troll head scalping, our yard got its first cut of the season. Yeah...she says with a sense of dread. For this means almost EVERY weekend - almost - one of the two days will be spent on the tractor.

But it sure is pretty when it's done. And I love the smell of a freshly mowed lawn.

And I can't help but giggle at the grass-stained feet of my barn cats. What can I say, it takes very little to entertain me.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I believe women are powerful - and in all aspects of our lives. Personally, I feel especially empowered when I push myself to reach a particular running goal.

There is this GREAT product line out there called Runner Girl, which helps push me forward with its wit and wisdom. I wanted to share some of their "motivational" quotes with you:

Run like you stole something.
Shut up and run.

I run faster than your mascara.
Run hard or go home.
You either ran today or you didn't.
Pain is temporary, pride is forever.
The truth is you can always run faster...sometimes the truth hurts.
If you want to win a race you have to go a little berserk. -Bill Rodgers

But perhaps the most memorable quote, and the one I keep at the forefront of my mind, is "The miracle isn't that I finished but that I had the courage to start".

The beauty about this is that it could apply to most any achievement in your life. Most often times, it's simply finding the gumption to take the first step.

So this morning I raise my coffee cup to all you ladies out there who will be taking a first step today, a first step at something new, at something unknown, at something scary, at something challenging. Know that someone out there is supportive of you and is cheering you on. And know that you are a Super Woman!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

One More Race Weekend Posting

As I mentioned yesterday, I have one more posting regarding our eventful weekend in Washington, DC. These are just some random pics I wanted to share of my family...

Michael & Me (I so love my husband...)

This is Charlie (my brother) with my niece Christa.

Here I am with Little Bran resting at the Fallen Officers Memorial

Here's Charlie (my brother), me and my dad...xoxo

This is Little Bran with her cuz' Christa

That's me waiting for my supper at Peking Inn Gourmet!

Here's my brother, Charlie, with Bran and her Papa

This is me and, this I know for sure, my biggest fan - my father...

My cup runneth over...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mission Accomplished

This is where we were...

A beautiful shot of the Capitol at 7:00 AM Saturday morning as we were walking from the Metro stop at L'Enfant Plaza to the Mall.

It simply takes my breath away...we were blessed with the most beautiful morning...just look at that sky behind the Washington Monument. This is where the race began.

This is a shot of the National Building Museum as we came out of the Metro station Saturday afternoon. The runners met here to pick up their race packets & bibs and also to shop the expo that was going on there.

And this is why we were there...

And this is how we got there...

Michael and I after just finishing the 10 Miler.

My niece made this sign for me! She was holding it at the start as we took off! I love it and I love her!

This is our pre-race celebration at Peking Inn Gourmet in Falls Church, VA. This is Mike's FAVORITE restaurant. He hadn't been there in about 7 years. It was a wonderful evening of friends and family and fellowship.

And here's part of my support little Bran! She was such a trooper this weekend as she had a very nasty cold with her! But she knows how important her role is to us at these events so she muddled through it!

And here are two more team members - Mom & Daddy. This was the first race they've participated in with us. My heart was completely satisfied, as I think theirs was, too.

There are very small occasions/events in my life that take place or have taken place that remind me just how loved I am by my family. It doesn't have to be a holiday with presents and cakes, but something as simple as a card after getting a great test score in a class I'm taking or a phone call to see how one of my kitties is doing after surgery. This weekend was one of those events. My parents, brother, niece and daughter gave up their entire weekend to be a support team for Michael and me. We dragged them from one end of DC to the other. We had everyone up Sunday morning at 4:45. We had everyone on the Metro at 6:20 AM. We had them hauling duffel bags and coolers of water and dry clothes. And we had lots and lots of laughter - and cheering - and "woo hoos" - and high fives - and "way to gos"... and love.

My family's not perfect. As a matter of fact, we're quite dysfunctional in our own way. But I wouldn't want to be a part of any other group of loved ones.

I continue to be prideful of the accomplishment Michael and I made this weekend. And we were blessed to have finished the race with good, personal times and injury free. And I'm also grateful to those who pledged money in this race as it was also a fundraiser for Michael and me in our attempt to reach our Relay for Life team goal of $700.00. Thanks to each of you - you do make a difference in the fight against cancer.

I suspect there will be at least one more posting regarding this event. I'm expecting more pictures from the three other cameras that were in play this weekend. So stay tuned, I may even have some pics of the Cherry Blossoms!

Friday, April 3, 2009

I'm Going Home

To the Cherry Blossoms...

The weekend's finally arrived and that means after work this evening we head out for the 5 hour drive home to Northern Virginia. Only this weekend's extra special! First, my husband is coming with me. Mike hasn't been back to DC since, I think, 2002 - he's in for a shock and in no way prepared enough. And second, this is the first in our little tri-fecta of sorts of races!

This weekend marks the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC and, in conjunction, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Miler! I have butterflies in my tummy...already...and the race isn't even until Sunday...yikes! But we are psyched, packed, have updated the iPods with appropriate "long run music" and are ready to go.

A full weekend is planned with family and friends. Please keep us in your prayers as we travel over the next 2 1/2 days and push our bodies beyond what they were EVER meant to do (Mike and I are "big blocks", remember?!).

Stay tuned for results, stories and, hopefully, awesome pictures!!

Knee Highs

It's been raining for forty days and forty nights here! Okay, well maybe not forty days and forty nights but it sure does FEEL that way!

I mean when it starts to look like your cattle are wearing old-man black socks - that's an indication that you've had too much rain! Thank God they don't have access to Birkenstock sandals!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I've Been Handcuffed To The Cappuccino Machine!

April Fools!
(Don't I wish...)