2014 — a great year after all.

Here we were a few nights ago.

 

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Bad.

The only way you could know how bad this was for me and my husband is to glance at the column I wrote for this year’s Christmas supplement for the local paper.

No. The tree didn’t go through the door this way.

After a bit of panic and searching for the axe, I flipped the tree around and pulled it free.

Looking at our hall with an inch of standing water, needles, soppy magazines to prop up the listing side, all I could think about is bye, bye 2014.

This was a year that tests one’s resolve and the strength of one’s marriage and medication.

But there were too many things to be Thankful for:

So I’m jumping into the Ten Things of Thankful linky — early or late — and giving it one last go for the year.

Ten things of thanks for 2014.

 

10.  Attending the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop.

 

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No. I never did get that post written but the laughs and the people I met there for three days in Dayton, Ohio saved me for a while.

In 2014 for first time in life I set foot in the great state of O-hio and Phil Donahue still can rock a packed house of estrogen. He really was that charming.

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9.  This spring, I had a class.

For the spring semester, I attempted a poetry class at the county alternative school. And it saved me too.

 

Heaven help those kids -- but we both learned something about ourselves.

Heaven help those kids with this teacher — but we both learned something about ourselves.

 

The best part of this story is that I’ve enjoyed watching all these kids thrive in their respective schools this fall.

 

8.  Deep blue sea fishing.

Never, ever done this. So, so very awesome.

I grew up fishing. Brim and bass on my childhood lake. Surf and salt water river fishing with my dad.

But this was the bomb.

 

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Could anything be more spectacular. Riding 90 minutes into shore watching flying fish . . .

Could anything be more spectacular? Riding 90 minutes into shore watching flying fish . . .

 

7. A retweet from Lee Corso.

I had forgotten about this fun moment.

 

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6.  I tried again at the world of Triathlons this summer.

And had a blast.

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Until I didn’t.

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DYING.

 

 

 

5.  Pickles.

Pickling cucumbers had long been a bucket list item. In 2014, got to check that off.

 

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4.  The Beach. Any beach where sand, sun, salt water and I communed.

 

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3.  After a lackluster few years, I had sunflowers again this summer.

 

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2. This summer, I finally got my pet snake.

Of course my husband will never, ever change the air filter under the house again.

 

 

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He’s so pretty. If I could remember his name?

 

 

1.  Sharing a beer at 9:30 the morning in the middle of Peachtree Road on the Fourth of July with my new best friends.

 

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Yes. Cheers to 2014.

Though some major potholes jostled my cart —

Looking back it really was A Wonderful Year.

What say you on this New Year’s Eve?

 

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Ten Things of Thankful. November already?

November 2.

For 2013, 2012? Surely i’ts not November 2, 2014.

So much to be thankful for in this month of America’s Thanksgiving. Still my favorite holiday.

Joining the Ten Things of Thankful gang for the week that was  . . .

 

10.    An extra hour of sleep. Yippee. So why did I yawn through church?

 

9.       Cooler temperatures this weekend.  Finally, so maybe those blasted bugs who have been making Swiss cheese of my beautiful collard leaves will die.

 

8. Thank you Lord.
Not that I believe the Lord bats away balls or causes wind gusts to push kicks awry. Just sayin’ thanks.

 

 

7.    Halloween on a Friday.

It was great fun to sit outside and watch the trick-or-treaters march up the steps.  No need to worry about quieting things down early for school in the morning. We had hordes this year. Started worrying I was going to have to tear into the bag of Butterfingers, I hid under the pots and pans.

 

6.    I got all my Halloween decorations down and Thanksgiving up yesterday. Really don’t know what has gotten into me with that. But the jack-o-lanterns are still on the porch, melting and waiting to be tossed in the compost heap.

 

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What can I say? Nobody’s perfect.

 

5. That my mom is living just down the road.

 

It was fun seeing her 82-year-old self wearing a big grin along with an orange sweater and blue blazer for church.

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4.  Good health.

Never, ever take that for granted. We all face challenges with our health — mental, spiritual and physical —  in life. I try to always appreciate a day I feel whole.

 

3.   Even though my knees and joints complain, I was able to train the last few weeks for a half marathon next weekend.  Chickamauga here I come!

 

2.    I made my November 15 deadline for our TeamRMHC!

My 11 year old and I are fundraising for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Georgia. I’m running the Glass Slipper Challenge at Disney World the end of February. We both need to raise $750 and have to have $300 by November 15. Thanks to a few friends, I asked last week — I made my November goal of $300. Woo hoo.

Here’s the link, if you feel you’d like to give. Only $15 supports a family’s stay for the night.

1.   Our dear doggie is still around the day after he turned five.  Yesterday morning, I opened the front door briefly and walked away. Next thing I know, I hear honking horns in the street in front. They don’t call it Main Street for nothing. Lots and lots of speeding cars.

There is my dear Tebow smack in the middle of the street and cars honking — and thankfully stopping.

I’m so thankful we didn’t lose our dear dog on his birthday for pity’s sake.

 

Me and my bestest running buds. Kimmie and Tebow.

Me and my bestest running buds. Kimmie and Tebow.

Do you have four-legged loved ones and live on a busy street? Oh dear.
Ten Things of Thankful
 

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Thanksgiving Feast with the King.

It was a make-up lunch.

Earlier in the week, my son asked if I could chaperon his field trip Tuesday. I couldn’t and he started trippin’ the guilt.

I quickly countered, “I’ll have lunch with you on Thursday.”

“And bring Burger King?” he quipped.

“And bring Burger King.” I agreed and hoped he would forget. Shame on me but I’m trying to get things done by the holiday and those hours they are at school count double.

He didn’t forget, so yesterday I raced up to Burger King and raced over to the school thinking I was late  — only to find a parking lot overflowing with cars.

The Thanksgiving Luncheon. Good grief. I completely forgot.

Dismissing a notion to throw the car in reverse, I parked and carried the Burger King bag into the entrance of the school that was packed with parents waiting for children dressed like this.

This arrived in the mail today. From Mother.

Me at around five. Visiting my grandparents, I put on my grandmother’s apron and Grandaddy snapped this shot. I guess I thought our Puritan fore-mothers wore aprons while they were mixing up all those pumpkin pies.

Finally I saw my son and we scampered to the parents’ table to eat. Another friend was there eating with his daughter. “I had no idea this was Thanksgiving lunch,” he said. “Is this new?”

I didn’t know and still felt irrationally embarrassed about bringing BK while all the other school children were eating turkey and dressing. It wasn’t like it was some sacred meal, right?

Getting ready to go I kissed my son.

“Sorry you missed out on Thanksgiving dinner, I didn’t know.”

“Oh I knew,” he replied. “That’s why I wanted you to bring me lunch. I hated it last year.”

Have your children had their school Thanksgiving feast?

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Adopt-A-Pantry. Blogging.exercising.giveathon ~ Just do it.

No, it’s not a secret squirrel alien space-ship that landed just inside my back door.

It’s much more important than that.

It’s a laundry basket.

A laundry basket that will be my receptacle for non-perishables.

I’ve signed on for Adopt-A-Pantry. The great idea of Jamie@chosenchaos who created Run.Blog.Give this summer.

What can I say? This girl has a giver’s heart and great ideas. I just sign-up and go along for the ride.

Here’s the deal on Adopt-A-Pantry in Jamie’s words,

“It’s sim­ple… for each day between Sep­tem­ber 1 and Novem­ber 17 that you exer­cise you will donate one per­ish­able item to your local food pantry.  There are 78 days from start to fin­ish… that could be a lot of cans we dish out!”

A quick look at the calendar and tomorrow is September 1. So time to start filling up the basket.

The great thing is it isn’t just running/walking. Swimming, the elliptical and I’m letting my children get in on the action by logging in their tennis matches and football games.

Personally, I’m shooting for a straight 78 days of exercise. That’s why I’m stationing it by the back door. No way to over it look it there.

Join us buy contacting Jamie on her blog or email.

For now I’m heading out to mow the lawn — after finding a place for all these socks that I dumped out of the basket.

Any other great charitable ideas out there?

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Musing on abundance.

“Runner down.”

While trying to hop on the sidewalk to get around someone, my foot didn’t quite clear the curb.

The next second I hit the pavement and heard the above shout.

Cr*p. He’s yelling about me.

Then I looked into the eyes of a very kind man asking if I was okay.

For pity’s sake, I’m alright. Could this get more embarrassing?

But I thanked him for taking the time to stop and ask.  I felt incredibly nauseated and for a moment (a very split second) thought about heading toward MARTA and transportation to my car.

I shortly came to my senses, sore elbow and all,  and finished the race.

 

*    *    *

 

The weather was perfect and driving home, I didn’t play any music.

Maybe it was my throbbing elbow; maybe I just wanted to think?

I get into trouble when I think.

Ten miles from home, I got off interstate and traveled the two-lane blacktop back to Madison. I never do that, but today I did.

I wanted open spaces.

My heart was so full; it needed fields and farms and manure.

Maybe it was my hard thump on the ground? Maybe it was having a senior in high school? Maybe it was thinking — how can it be Thanksgiving? Just last week, it was July and we were at the beach.

The fullness of life hit me. Along with its speed.

There is so much that’s wonderful.

We have our health.

Falling goon that I am — even at my advanced age can go out and have a great time running 13.1 miles.

I have children, young and older, who love me and care if I fall. (Though honestly, seemed  like our Tebow was most concerned about me. Though it might be that I was a rather large salt-lick.)

We have heat and food and employment.

I have a working mind and emotions that still hold sway over my mind. (As evidenced by this post.)

Some people say God doesn’t exist.

If so, why do humans feel the emotion of gratitude? A turn from self to selfless when counting blessings.

Gratitude implies a giver.

Someone or thing responsible for bringing about what we hold dear.

Maybe not…but why would we feel more peace thinking about good health rather than a great deal on a television?

Probably just me. I did take a rather hard bump on the elbow today.

 

 

 

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Musing on cooking for Thanksgiving. It’s only part of the story.

I love Thanksgiving. It has always been my favorite holiday.

After hosting the family dinner last year, my children begged me not to. 🙁

They thought it more fun at their grandmother’s. So I thought it my duty to step up and do my share of the cooking and help out Nannie.

Funny. Cooking is only half the task. The other is planning and shopping.

I am not good planner or shopper.

Maybe that’s why I was making my list at 2 p.m. this afternoon. (I was supposed to be shopping by noon but life got in the way.)

I read the recipes.

 

Made my list and headed to the store.

So in middle of afternoon, I was in checkout line with loaded cart.

FYI, you early birds. It wasn’t terribly crowded. I guess for once it pays to be a tad off schedule.

 

 

That’s when it started dawning on me I’ve got lots to do between now and decent bedtime — for a 3:45 wake-up time.

Make sweet potatoes.

Make pecan pies.

Make corn casserole. (No, I’ll do that tomorrow.)

Go into garden and pick collards. Prepare collards.

Collard greens from the garden.

 

No one will eat these but my daughter, teenager and me. (And my father-in-law because he’s kind and feels obligated.)

Had friends stop by and pick greens and lettuce. That made it very fun and holiday. Nothing makes me feel more holiday than giving things away and getting a hug in return.

Here’s a picture of a head of Romaine that I will pick tomorrow for a fabulous new salad I’ve learned about. It’s his last night in the garden.

How beautiful is he? Tomorrow your mine, pretty.

 

Then I made pimento cheese with this new recipe I found for garden club. It was so fab, I’m making it to bring as appetizer with crackers just because I’ve been dreaming about it.

Saved last of the sweet potatoes from my summer garden for the casserole.

A little tradition I started last year.

Beauties too.

 

My pies are still in oven and I’m cleaning up.

Are you still cooking at 9 p.m. the night before Thanksgiving?

I need to turn in soon. Hope your feast is merry and bright. (Or is that for some other holiday?)

 

 

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Musing on Halloween Cookies for Thanksgiving. Who’s the turkey now?

Another Chapter filed under I never did this as a child so I have to do it with my children or their childhoods will be utter failures is making holiday cut out cookies.

Since Christmas has turned crazy the last few years, I got this great idea to decorate cookies at Halloween.

Here are the Halloween cookie cutters.

Notice they have never been used.

I might was well mention they were not used Halloween 2010 either.

Thanksgiving.

Perfect time for cookies.

Here is the Halloween dough.

 

This dough was made and has been refrigerated since Halloween. Halloween 2011 not 2010.

 

So when the kids got home today, the flour was flying.

 

Note to self. Change from exercise gear before flour.

 

Also just noticed in two months my foot has turned the color of flour.

Most excellent.

FYI, Thanksgiving and fall-ish cookie cutters are in the shape of oak leaves (which look rather like Christmas trees), acorns (small and large), pumpkins and turkeys.

So we had our Kodak makin’-the-cookies moment.

Check that off the list.

And check out this turkey. I think it turned out really creepy (I mean cool) with our Halloween sprinkles.

 

Gobble, gobble.

 

Do you make Thanksgiving cut outs?

Surely I must be the only turkey who does….

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I got the shoes. Musing on finding desire. #running

Signing up for races is easy.

Click.

Then all you have to do is show up on race day and have great time. Right?

Wrong.

Well, not so much wrong, that’s just not all of it. Not by a long shot.

In between the click of signing up and crossing the finish line, there needs to be some running.

Running of appropriate amount for the distance signed on to run.

I registered for the Atlanta Thanksgiving Half Marathon as is my custom every year. It’s as much a part of my holiday as turkey, pumpkin pie and a long pre-winter nap. I must admit when I first started running this race it was a Yippee. I run 13.1 miles, then can eat all I want!  mentality.

Slowly but surely, subtly like the ever-deepening crinkles around my eyes when I smile, the 13.1 miles became more than a megaton calorie burner, it became part of me; my life story.

Every fourth Thursday of November, I wake up early. Get coffee and bagel and drive into Atlanta. Meet some people waiting around. Talk in a brief, clipped, we’re-about-to run-this-thing way about their stories. Run my race and drive home.

This year….I’ve run this fall. But taken long runs? Not so much.

Not like usual. Not like someone seriously preparing to run this race might run.

Yesterday, I saw a friend running. She is training for this race. It will be her first half marathon. She stopped for a moment with our running group and said she was on mile 10. And off she went.

She looked tired, but happy. Exerted but excited.

I need to find a little spark of that in me again. Running is like any lifelong relationship. Passion comes and goes…burns bright, then it comes to lacing up those shoes one more time and your like….for pity’s sake.

So in the wet…I’m heading out today, a week out from Thanksgiving.

I got the shoes. Got to put in some miles.

Here’s to finding some desire about mile 6.

Have you ever signed up for something, something you were excited about doing….then found it hard to put in the mileage necessary to complete the task?

 
iPhone Photo Phun

 

 

 

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Today’s Muse. The day after…

I survived. 

And had a great time. Though I felt a bit like road kill being peeled of the highway this morning — pulling myself free from the bed. I was sore…. 

But happy. My husband called at me at 4:45 to head down to Walmart. It is not that unusual for me to be up that early, but today I stumbled to the coffee pot. 

The dinner yesterday… 

One mistake....shouldn't have waited till yesterday to set table.

 

And what Thanksgiving dinner is not complete without a children’s table? 

 

 Yes, just to look at it, doesn’t seem like much work. But to iron the table clothes, pull out the crystal, count to silver. Good grief. 

Mistakes.  

* Wasting too much time at Starbucks in Conyers. I’ve stopped there every year for coffee after the Half. This year it was slammed and not enough help. But I just had to wait. That 25 minutes cost me big later on in the day. 

* Not setting the table day before. 

* Forgetting to put water in pan when reheating ham. I got distracted and put the ham in without water…luckily I checked on it after 40 minutes and wondered why it looked like it got to close to the sun…. 

That’s really it. It was the absolute perfect day weather wise. And I was thrilled with the fact that my knee held up during race. 

Hope you had a great one. j

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Thanksgiving 2010…Just like it was in 1621 and 1994.

Happy Thanksgiving all. 

There is so much to be thankful for this day. 

First off at our house, just like that original feast, we will be dining on bounty from our garden. 

Look what I picked yesterday… 

Beauties! I'm speechless.

Then like 16 years ago, I will participate in the Atlanta Half Marathon. 

My daughter just asked me (the night before) 

“Are you brave enough?”

What? 

“You know…with your knee.”

I’ve run it most of the years in between. Brave is not the question. Stupid and pig-headed is the question. 

Our son, Jake, was 14 months old when I ran it the first time ~ my first half marathon. Huge. This year it’s a new course. Hills at the front and end. We’ll see. I just have to keep ahead of the brooms sweeping the cups.  

Woo hoo.

 

Love how I’d already got the slimming beauty-pageant-leg-in-front-pose down. 

This was also the first time I had worn tights to run. 

I was very self-conscious and painfully aware of my bright aqua rear-end. Till I ran. I borrowed them from my next door neighbor who ran that day as well.  A group of us took off together, all wearing our tights. Liberating. 

I never, ever wore sweats to run in again. Running in sweats is like running with soggy, heavy, cotton trash bags taped to your legs. 

“Boooo” for soggy, heaven cotton trash bags taped to your legs. 

And as of 7 o’clock last night, I ruined my first attempt at pumpkin pie. Who can ruin a pumpkin pie? 

I guess me. A Marie Callender’s  is now in our oven. It looked big and was on sale, so it came home with me. 

I hope I don’t kill it too. 

Have a wonderful, blessed day. Hope you are surrounded by loved ones, good food and most importantly, laughter. 

Now to go check on that dear pie…………….

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