And so it begins!

As I am in charge of feeding the Thanksgiving masses, I think I would rather run a Turkey Trot, eat some canned cranberry sauce, then take a nap! Seriously, I love me some canned Ocean Spray. And really I don’t have a huge role in the lunch festivities; mainly because I’m a better baker than baster. HaHA, see what I did there?!

Menu inspiration

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. It signifies child-like awe at mounds of mashed potatoes and huge, fluffy, buttery rolls. Somehow things taste better at Thanksgiving.

Have I ever shared about the Thanksgiving my dad and uncles thought it hilarious to serve a giant hog as the starring dish? Complete with cherries in the eye sockets and a huge apple in its ugly mouth, it was quite the sight to behold. Clearly we are country people with very little class. I believe the photo exists to this day somewhere in a pile of long-forgotten photos. My apologies to anyone who reads this with a growing sense of appall. I, too, am appalled I even shared this memory. Nonetheless, it’s been 25 years since my dad passed. He was quite pleased with his hog-hunting and stuffing abilities.

Credit: #momsbehavingbadly via Instagram

Now that I’ve seen one house with its Christmas lights up (and on), let’s begin this season, as well. I guess. I promise I’m not a Scrooge…but I’d rather enjoy one holiday before catapulting into another. Hallmark must be so confused. Really the only mistake I made was sharing my Christmas-light sighting with the other two occupants of my home who promptly began dragging out bins and totes of baubles, bells, and bows. And the 6 Christmas trees I own. Different story.

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I ask you –

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

How soon is too soon for Christmas decorations?

Please feel free to appall me with a wild story!

Wk 11, HM Training

Garmin says it has the utmost confidence in me reaching my goal. Utmost! I remind myself constantly.

With several appointments and work obligations with a holiday thrown in there for good measure, I adjusted the training schedule to make sure I hit all the workouts.

We celebrated Sheppard AFB’s 80th birthday with a 5k/8k – keeping in line with the prescribed run, I chose the 8k. Started out great, then gradually got slower. It was warmer than expected. Even though Garmin said I was unproductive, I felt very good!

As I took off an extra day at work – because why would I have a holiday on Thursday, them return to work on Friday – what better way to kill two hours than by running circles around my favorite lake. Two hours.

Done and done! Too bad it was 10.98 – I could’ve run the extra 0.02 to round up!

Nonetheless, another week has been conquered. Almost there!

Running on Fumes – Musings from the Mess Deck

Introducing my newest special feature: Running on Fumes – Musings from the Mess Deck. For those not familiar with Navy lingo…a) a mess deck is a place aboard a Naval vessel where military personnel eat, socialize, and essentially live their lives and b) you may find tons of other Naval terminology in this previous post. Hope you enjoy!

My time in the Navy + my time on the East coast + my everything else = meeting some really incredible (and well-traveled) people. One of those people, Dan, I met while working for BAE in Norfolk, VA. We began working there within the same time period and often found ourselves working on/near the same projects which usually involved lots of walking and the occasional grumbling. More my part than his. Dan has a great sense of humor, often times rueful, but nonetheless fitting for any situation. Thankfully we’ve kept in touch. Below is a recent correspondence. I realize this post is much longer than probably any other on Running on Fumes – but I promise it’s worth it! I travel vicariously through others’ stories. Enjoy!

Hi – Good to hear from you. I follow along with your blog, and it’s always fun for me to try and connect the dots between the different installments, and from what I gather, you seem to be having fun out on the Texas prairie.

As you can see, this one goes on a bit. I don’t get to talk to people much anymore (work from the house), and I feel the need to reach out to someone who has some shared common experiences.

And, I sense that maybe you might be a bit at loose ends? Tired of the whole “Work. Rinse. Repeat” schtic? Ready for an adventure? I know what you mean. I’m a bit at loose ends myself and I also have a bit of wanderlust.

And so I’ve been thinking about the places I’ve been, and the ones I’d like to visit again. It’s a long list, and I seem to have eaten my way across the globe, but I do so believe the best way to get to know people is to share a meal with them. Here are some highlights:

* Haifa, Israel. I was there Easter, 1996. Full moon on Easter Day too. I visited what was reputed to be the oldest continuing operating mosque in the world, said to be over 1100 years old. Met the Iman there who was very cool, and toured the city of Acre where remnants of the Third Crusade are easily visible. Bedouin rules of hospitality pre-date Mohammed and are in full force everywhere. I was fed all afternoon by two Israeli Arab cops, and then taken home for dinner. Oh, my.

* The south of France, including Toulon, Cannes, St. Tropez, Aix-en-Provence (and just about anywhere in the French Department of Provence, incidentally. Rented a bicycle and rode for 2 days through the country side. Drank jugs of the local red, and ate fresh loaves of bread in tiny towns. Amazing. Toured a castle there that has been in the same family for over 1000 years, and whose founders are Roman Catholic Saints.

* Sardinia. A Roman rock garden masquerading as an island. I stayed in a hotel where Caesar would have felt at home. Ate the local sausage one morning that had been walking around the barnyard earlier that same morning. I don’t remember the name of the local firewater because it erased a number of other memories. Like so many places in Europe, it’s an interesting mix of the very old and the very new. Think of a donkey cart parked next to an ATM.

* Rome. C’mon. It’s Rome. Entire academic careers have been dedicated to this one city. Home of the World’s Most Expensive Breakfast Not In an Airport. I double-dog dare you to get bored. Spend an afternoon at an outdoor cafe drinking wine, eating delicious bits of everything, and soaking up the Roman sunshine while speaking with the locals. Exquisite.

* Sicily. Hiker’s paradise once you get out of Palermo, although the Palermo Cathedral is worth a visit. It’s the burial site of Odo of Bayeux who was William the Conqueror’s brother, although the good Brothers there at the church are not really sure where he might actually be. Mt. Etna. Tours and day trips to Roman (and far earlier) ruins can be found everywhere as can excellent, excellent wine. A small-town Sicilian restaurant with outdoor seating and fresh goodies is very difficult to beat.

* Trieste, Italy. Another Roman city. Amazing architecture. Found a Country and Western bar there that was blaring Dan Seals and Marie Osmond, and despite that semi-promising start, contained not one soul that spoke English. Award winner for Crudest Public Bathroom You Might Actually Have to Use. Trieste is where East meets West a la Constantinople, and it’s fun to look around and see where the two worlds come together.

* Skiathos, Greece. Big island, lots to see and lots to do. If you go down to where all the yachts are parked you’ll see men and women so beautiful you’ll swear a magazine ad for French perfume has come to life. Normal people can be found everywhere else. Great beaches, especially if modesty is not your thing, but the Mediterranean sun is. Tiny 4- and 5-room hotels can be found without too much effort, and you’ll eat so well you’ll be convinced that you’re being prepared for slaughter.

* Cartagena, Columbia. Old, old city. Pirates still hang out there as they have for 400 years. They are decidedly not like Disney pirates. Ate entire fish dinner there (At the “Casa del Pescado” Really.) that was so huge (about a 40 lb. grouper!) I invited 3 other tables to join me. We ate, drank, and sang for hours and the whole thing cost me about $20.00. This city is the scene for my best-ever sea story called “Hookers, Coca-Cola, and Machine Guns” in which the CNO of the Columbian Navy makes an appearance. And it’s all true.

* The entire Pacific coast of Chile, from Coquimbo south to Tierra del Fuego. Chile is an absolutely amazing country and well worth the effort to get there. A cabin on the extended southern coast can be rented for about $9.00/night if you time it well and don’t treat the locals like idiots. Food is extra so take an extra 10 bucks. The coast of Chile is tourist agency picture perfect. Valparaiso has a world-class museum filled with Incan pieces or you can go to Machu Picchu on your own. Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire) is misnamed, for it is possibly the coldest place I’ve ever been. But if your luck holds, you can meet there real-live adventurers in the mold of Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton, buy them drinks, and hear their astounding stories.

* Bahia Blanca, Argentina. The single-most European city in all of South America. Town squares can be found about every four blocks that are so picturesque they’d be travel destinations anywhere else in the world. Luscious steaks from the Argentinian Pampas, “tortas fritas” (a local kind of flatbread) served next to schnitzel. The people can be a bit distant at first, but warm quickly. An Argentinian friend is fiercely your friend for life. The “Policia Nacionel” there do not screw around, and trouble with them is trouble indeed. But, I was one night able to talk a pair of them out of arresting my buddies by pretending to speak passable Spanish. I later concluded that by doing so, I had clearly used up whatever luck I had been allocated for that trip.

* Montevideo, Uruguay. Montevideo is under the radar for most people, but it is simultaneously both very modern and very colonial. There is an open air market most days that stretches eight or nine blocks on each side, and filled with literally anything for sale that you can imagine. I saw a peddler’s stand that was selling Michael J. Fox pool cues next to NAPA oil filters for an old Ford. Yes, that’s weird. I have a great adventure story about the city of Punta del Esta, which is a few miles to the east of Montevideo. And we all lived.

* Guadalupe, in the French Lesser Antilles. If you can’t find fun there, check your pulse.

* St. Maarten, in the British East Indies. A bit touristy now, but still a great place to visit. The Dutch side of the island is mostly on island time, mon. Doan be getiin’ up in no hurry, mon. E’re ting gwarn bee iree. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnBupO_Kjto

There are 50 states, of course, and I believe I have visited every one. They all have similarities (crappy chain motels, crappy chain restaurants), but with just the most minimum of effort from a curious traveler they all have rewarding experiences to find and enjoy. I prefer to travel by car (I’d like to one day take a motorcycle tour of the Midwest), but I like to get away from “Interstate World” and visit those roads less traveled. We Americans are a friendly, gregarious lot and it’s an important reminder from visiting our neighbors all around the country that we have ten, even a hundred times more things in common with each other than those that separate us.

* Go the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. You can make lifetime friends in an afternoon. Ditto the Georgia State Fair in Hampton. The farmers in Rutland, Vermont will dare you (with a knowing wink) to not enjoy their butter, cheese, and other goodies at their own fair.

* Take the train across the country. I just did, from Chicago to Seattle. I literally saw deer and antelope playing on the northern prairie along with a couple of herds of bison. How cool is that? On the same trip, I wandered around Chicago and just had a ball. In addition to revisiting places from my Navy past 30-odd years ago, I ate a stunningly satisfying steak dinner at a good old-fashioned Illinois supper club, and an equally amazing sushi dinner so good I nearly wept. And a couple of Chicago dogs out on the street? Check.

* And you’ll never know who you’ll run into. I met a guy in a bar near St. Louis one night who had been an Air Force F-86 Sabre pilot in the Korean War. I asked him if he knew of CAPT. Joe McConnell, a boyhood hero who shot down 16 enemy aircraft in that conflict. Know him? Hell, son, I flew with him back in 1953. Great Un-Revised North American Jesus Christ! We talked into the wee hours, and though he was 35 years older than I, he stood up and steadily walked out of the place in that way the Blue Suiters have despite the bottle of scotch he and I had shared. What a memory. You just never know.

* Had a Greek dinner in San Ysidro, probably 200 meters from the Mexican border. Nice little cultural cross-rip. Just up the road, of course, is San Diego and my favorite place on the West Coast, Coronado. Try the bar at the Hotel Del Coronado, and wait for the ghosts of Sammy, Marilyn, and Frank.

* There is so much I have left out. Cathedrals in England. The Louvre in Paris. But you get the idea. There is just too much to see and do out there, so go and see and do. For specific recommendations? For the contemplative, meditative trip plan a campout at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. For a 3-day girls’ night out, try the Music Row section of Nashville and visit all the clubs and music venues up and down Division St and Broadway.

So that’s my two cents and then some. I hope you’ve had a great week, and that you enjoy your weekend. I miss spending time with you as well, and I look forward to the time we can yell at the salad waitress again. Take care of yourself,

Dan

Note: yelling at the salad waitress is a story for another day. Safe to say, there will be more stories! And, we didn’t yell at her in a derogatory, downgrading way. She simply couldn’t hear us, though no fault of her own. More to come!

Who Am I?

In a recent devotional, available via YouVersion, the below message (really, the entire passage) spoke to me like nothing has before.

Your answer will affect the way you look at life, tackle your troubles, and frame your circumstances. The answer to that question can give you the confidence to accomplish your calling or take away your courage to even begin. If you don’t answer that question with the truth of God, the devil will answer it for you with his bag of lies. 

Take Hold of the Faith You Long For

The passage continues with these questions:

  • Who am I that I should write a book?
  • Who am I that I should start a business?
  • Who am I that I should be a teacher?
  • Who am I that I should help orphans overseas?

I had to sit with my awe because how could one paragraph encapsulate every single desire I’ve ever had? Yes, all of them. It went on to reference the Bible verse of Exodus 3 which is most commonly known as Moses and the Burning Bush; more importantly, this is when God uses the words “I AM”, as in “the great I AM”. Until that moment, I hadn’t realized this is the answer to every question beginning with Who Am I…? I AM!

hope they also learnt how to spell learned

Many times we flippantly reply ‘well, who am I’ when commenting on a situation or asking a question that often seems so obvious to us. But what if we believed our words when we said, loudly and proudly, I AM!

I AM a writer…a business owner…a teacher…a helper to orphans. And the greatest I AM says so.

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I ask you –

Do you read a daily devotional?

How often do you find yourself thinking (or saying) “who am I…?”

Tell me who you are using the statement “I AM!”

When You Get Excited to Run!


I knew it! Check out this article here!

There you have it, folks! Notwithstanding it was written in a trail runner magazine, doubles really are beneficial! Now…I have to forewarn. Doubles in the article and doubles I was originally thinking of are not the same. According to the writer, doubles are what you do when you run twice in one day (separated by a few hours, of course). According to me, doubles are when you run same pace/same distance multiple days in a row when planning to run back-to-back half marathon or marathon distances. Details. Ehhh.

I’ve not yet registered for the BMW Dallas Half Marathon on 12 December. I’m procrastinating because that’s what I typically do when I want to pay last minute fees and freak out about the cost. What can I say? I’m a smart person in an idiot’s body. Maybe I have that backwards? Anyway, I’m how many weeks deep into training and still haven’t registered. There’s just so much commitment when you take that final step! Alas, I am excited to race again; my goal is within reach and my fancy Garmin says the confidence I can reach my goal is very high. Even if it does occasionally say my training is unproductive. I still don’t get that part. Unproductive is doing nothing, like literally staring at my watch whilst daydreaming about running. That’s unproductive. If I’m outside running – or even inside running – I’m being productive! You’re not the boss of me! Which reminds me…I really need to find out if my running buddy is traveling to TX.

Update: Morgan from Oregon is traveling to Texas. Whoohoo!!!

Have I mentioned my tendency toward meditation lately? I finally downloaded an app – Smiling Mind – because it felt like I was more frustrated with trying to learn how to meditate than actually meditating. The app has helped a lot. It even includes meditation practice for children and families. Mini and I have done a few together; personally I like her lessons better than mine. Smiling Starfish. Look it up! I was able to use what I had learned during a long run recently – what a difference! I felt like I was in the right headspace, I was light on my feet, and the miles melted away. Nothing prompted my lean towards meditation except for a friend mentioning she was trying to embrace it and I wanted to be supportive. On my own wasn’t working, so here we are!

Back to doubles – I’d like to complete the Texas Triple, but it just seems too risky to try to race in May. The final weekend in May. A holiday weekend in May. In the summer. Do I trust my body and train and hope for the best? Or do I err on the side of caution remembering what heat illness feels like and cut my losses? Running doesn’t matter to anyone but me, yet I still want to be smart about it. There’s time.

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I ask you –

Thoughts on doubles, double runs or double races?

Have you tried meditation? What app, if so?

Stay tuned for an upcoming list of future race options! Share yours with me!

My Favorite Run – Texas Edition

I would love to invite you to My Favorite Run! You can also use this link to join the Network: https://myfavoriterun.mn.co/share/2Xq6XfgBX8wADiC-. It’s an easy to use app with support, motivation, and a focus on better mental health through running.

There are monthly themes, challenges, questions of the day, and many other ways to get involved with other runners, like yourself! The spirit of camaraderie can be tough to find lately – especially with many running events and races being cancelled or rescheduled still. For me, running improves my inner peace. And we could all use a little more peace in our lives!

Since November’s theme is Gratitude, we’ll be exploring ways to stay grateful in our daily lives and how running fosters a sense of gratefulness to be able to move our bodies. Disclaimer: you don’t have to be a runner to join My Favorite Run! Even if you just want to find a group of people who focus on mental health and the “why” of movement without all the running stuff, we can help! Our ambassadors (ahem, me) (and many others) (the “others” are much more knowledgeable than I) are available to facilitate discussion on tons of topics!

I truly believe My Favorite Run is a gamechanger in terms of what other apps offer for runners because many fail to recognize the internal component of movement, i.e. the mental awareness piece. People don’t always run to lose weight or win a medal or whatever other common misconceptions exist. Some run just to have a moment to themselves, to find peace in whatever struggle they’re battling, or to enjoy the outdoors, among many other reasons. For me, running has opened a door to connecting with myself and to help me focus on what I need vs what others may need from me. Running is powerful!

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I ask you –

What running apps do you subscribe to currently?

Why do you run or do any form of movement?

Share a time when being outdoors changed your whole day!

Day in Photos, pt 75

This is more like a week in photos. Work with me.

My cherry tomato plant is still thriving, even into November! Perhaps bucket planting is the way to go next year.

Tooth fairy time, round 2. In an unexpected turn of events, she let it be pulled out by her Papa. Shocking. I was no part of any of these festivities. Teeth – when they’re not in a mouth – gross me out. $2 later, we have a winner.

There was also a week of drug-free activities, aka Red Ribbon Week. I’m still a little confused by this and I believe many memes already exist but I’m going to say it anyway…no one (I repeat, no one) has ever offered me drugs. I was offered cigarettes a lot, but not like real, illegal drugs. Maybe cocaine was too rich then. Anyway, just say no.

I digress. One of the week’s dress up days consisted of pajama day! My workplace really needs to get it together. Since I got to take my mini to school that day, we stopped for coffee first. Because no pajama day is complete without a huge coffee.

Edit: I heard, errr read, about National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, a nonprofit that challenges writers to complete 50,000 words in the month of November (roughly 1667 words daily). So it’s like a running streak, but writing instead. If you’re reading this, then you may/may not know today is November 1st. The organization encourages writers to participate in the daily goal in order to complete a novel, but many use it to brainstorm blog posts, etc. Always up for a good writing task. Let’s see how this goes!

Thank you to https://brianlageose.blog/2021/10/30/friday-night-clam-bake-35-its-almost-the-time-of-year-when-i-do-that-questionable-thing-that-confuses-most-people/ for the idea!

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I ask you –

Are any of your vegetables still alive?

What’s the going rate for a tooth nowadays? I think I’m getting scammed.

Tell me something funny about your week!

Wk 9, HM Training

Hallelujah this week didn’t start out like the last one! But somehow, even after two full days off, my legs really weren’t feeling it Monday. I kept slowing down and adjusting the incline because nothing felt “comfortable” much less easy.

By the time speed workouts rolled around mid-week the wind was gusting to 40+ mph and I took it inside to the dreadmill. I’m so excited to run in this beautiful, fall-like weather if only the wind would cooperate.

There were lots of work-related activities to contend with, as well. Not to say it through off my schedule because it’s mostly flexible, but the fact it’s Halloween weekend helped me to decide to do my long run Friday night (again).

Thursday night carb-loading

8.13 at 10:37 avg pace. Garmin told me to pace between 10:55-11:55 so I’m secretly happy I never go that slow, but I don’t know if I’m selling myself short by not adhering to King Garmin. I make the rules around here! It was windy, for sure. Now I can enjoy a weekend full of spooky activities, like candy-crazed children and Halloween costume contests. Fun fun.

Week 10 starts on Monday. 5 more weeks until race day!

Saving the Post Office / Why not?

…one child at a time. Occasionally, ideas for posts arrive in the most unexpected ways. Hahah posts, get it, get it. Well, you’re about to!

First, read this article. This is how it started: I found the below on Instagram and sent it to the one person in my life whom I knew 1000% wouldn’t report me to the authorities (or NSA) for thinking this concept is hilarious.

Credit: @sammichespsychmeds via Instagram

In true best friend fashion, Jason encouraged my wonky sense of humor by recalling where sending your child via postal service was actually a real thing. Of course it was!

Relatedly, I shipped a hoodie from TX to TN and it cost $15 which is only about $10 more than the hoodie cost. Hello, post office people. It really is a barrier to shipping anything with costs like that, but I continue to support them. Alas, I would never attempt to ship my precious mini anywhere; however, with the rising cost of airplane tickets I may consider it more than usual. Usually I never consider it.

Now I just want to make stork jokes. Stop it Kel. Too many times I’ve shared here my love for mailing cards, letters, etc. It’s my thing! Even on the radio one morning, the hosts were debating reasons why you shouldn’t mail thank you cards. They reasoned it’s an outdated medium and much easier to send a text or a video to say thank you. I don’t know about you, but I actually still have some family members without texting/videoing capabilities. She’s 93, I believe she can make her own rules. Would it be easier to send her videos? Absolutely! But do I get angry, unhappy, or put out by stamping a letter? No. I imagine the joy she feels from receiving a card is the same joy I receive when opening a card. Channel that joy and send someone a card today!

Standby for the cost of mailing a 55 lb package. It’s only coincidence that’s how much mini weighs.

______________________

I ask you –

On a scale of always to never, how often do you use the postal service?

Did you know there was a time children were mailed?

Share your best ‘I wish I could’ve mailed someone’ story!

Things: Likes/Don’t Likes

-the food edition

Corn. I like corn. Especially the sweet, buttery, salty corn I remember growing in my parent’s garden. But not corn on the cob. I’m that girl who cuts it off the cob. I don’t know why.

Anyone else eat pea salad? Only my mother and sister. And me! Not mini. She’ll eat plain sweet peas, but once you add additional ingredients, she abandons ship. More for me! I like to experiment with pea salad. In the photo below, I subbed pico for the traditional onion only. It was superb, in my opinion. And since I’m the only one eating it, here we are.

Keto is as restrictive as you make it. So when I’m on that proverbial wagon, I don’t eat much fruit. But I love fruit!! This is why…training season can be so much fun. I eat all the fruit I want. Besides kiwi, there’s not a fruit I don’t like. Some I don’t necessarily love – that’s ok, too. Peaches, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, bring it! In fact, I recently bought so many peaches I had to slice and freeze them because they would have rotted before I ate them all. Since I’m on a smoothie kick, I thought it was a great idea aka cost effective to buy several pounds worth of peaches. In my defense, several pounds of peaches really isn’t that many whole peaches. And I saved money. Take that.

Recently I tried cheese curds. Ugh. The word “curds” grosses me out. Which is probably why I’d never tried them. I remember living in Pensacola with my Navy friends and some would order cheese curds at Buffalo Wild Wings. They’d rave about how great they were; I would refuse to try them.

Bricktown Tap House

Fast forward a lot of years later and they were on the menu at a local restaurant near me. HOLY CRAP! Why didn’t I try these before?! They were amazing! It was like cheese wrapped in funnel cake batter. Heavenly! I’m a cheese curd convert.

______________________

I ask you –

What’s a family food you grew up with? Was it yay or nay?

How much fruit do you eat daily?

Name fruit you do/don’t like. I forgot about pomegranates. I don’t like those at all.