Island Life in Photos

Back to South Padre Island we went! It’s sad I had to go to the beach to see any measurable rain. Speaking of rain, all of Texas is so dry. We encountered no less than a dozen burnt patches of land between N. TX and the island. Also a full-blown fire in progress. Send rain.

We spent a lot of time at the pool and a similar amount of time in the ocean. 7 bottles of sunscreen later…

Landshark is my go-to. No idea why I like it but I only drink it at the beach. South Padre’s proximity to Mexico is an invitation for the spiciest, most authentic tacos in the world. And since I can’t resist cilantro, I purchased some Cilantro Sauce at the local Farmer’s Market then proceeded to eat it at every meal. I’m on vacation.

Speaking of food, I also ate my weight in fish and limes. Oh, and gelato. I ate a lot of that, too. Really I only ate a lot of gelato because I was the designated driver on vacation and responsible for picking up our meals. So when asked to deliver gelato, I charged adequate tax on my Uber eats-esque services. One bite for me, one bite for you. Fair is fair. It was 90°, as well, so there’s that.

When in Rome… seeing as how it was quite cooler than North Texas, I took everyone’s advice and brought my running shoes! Somehow I only had to look at the sand and suddenly it was inside my socks. Magic. Between early morning runs and coffee 2-3x a day, I’m the most relaxed I’ve been all year.

I would share more, but there’s a stack of laundry to be done and I still have to de-sand our beach accessories. I feel a procrastinap coming on.

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I ask you –

Did you vacation this year? Where?

Have you encountered an extra dry season?

Tell me how much laundry you do when you return from a trip. Avg 3 loads.

REPOST!! I’m a Pioneer!

The post below was originally published June 7, 2021. At this moment, I’m probably basking unashamedly on the beach with a cup of coffee. Hope you’re having a wonderful day, as well!

I need friends. Running friends. Running friends who only run when it’s incredibly hot outside and I can’t go out there to run. Too much? So I joined Strava.

Find me on Strava!

Then I decided to channel my inner woman of the wild and become a canning master! Next up: living in a hut and churning my own butter. Right. I know.

As a writer, grammar and spelling are important to me, as well as consistent fonts across a document. It’s my job. I appreciate when someone’s email signature line is short, concise, and, most importantly, legible! You may be asking how an email could possibly be anything other than legible; rest assured, I’ve seen it all. It’s not pretty.

Full disclosure: I don’t believe everything I read on the internet. Tell me you don’t either. So I did my own research. Turns out it is true!

My dreamer mindset got a little excited, to tell the truth. But as for adding it to the bucket list? No thanks. The part that negated all my dreams was “The real-life walk would be grueling, filled with scary animals and diversely bad weather.” Nope, nope, and nope. Next, please.

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I ask you –

What’s your Strava information? Please comment below. I need friends!

Have you ever canned anything? What should I can next?

Tell me something on your bucket list!

Heat Wave

Change of plans. Nothing says get it together, Kel like a wake up call from your body, specifically when you’re too stubborn to acknowledge the signs before the fall. If that isn’t cryptic enough, let’s just say I got a little too close to the same experience nearly 4 yrs ago when I took an ambulance ride for suspected heat stroke. Coupled with poor fueling, I know better. And here we are. Unless the heat wave and triple digit temps break soon, the remainder of my summer will be spent on the treadmill. Surrounded by fans. Yay Texas.

I paused my training plan because I don’t desire to run 6 miles on the belt of doom. Possible, yes. Will… negative. However, I did see where there are a few upcoming breaks in the heat and MAYBE I can get outside one morning for a run. Perhaps I should have considered my running goals when considering Texas as a living option. I heard Utah was beautiful nearly year-round. Ehhh elevation isn’t my favorite either. I could use a summer home and a winter home. Let me get right on it.

My sister put it this way: “I have a few demands for going into the gates of hell this weekend! I need an ice pack, enough deodorant to bathe in and a fan!!! 😂😂😂👍🏻” Don’t we all. On the bright side, it “should” only be low 90s for the first part of this week which means it “might” be upper 60s on the overnights soooooo maybe I can run in the early mornings. Maybe yes, maybe no.

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I ask you –

Are you currently training for anything?

Do you have a seasonal home? Mind if I borrow it?

Tell me your essentials to surviving unbearable heat! Ice cream!

Share No More + Adopt-a-Highway

I shared my body, my peace of mind, my time, my humor, my breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks, and my personal space with her. I’m not sharing my cookie! P.S. I sat in my car alone and ate the ENTIRE cookie.

Crumbl box sans cookie

Then I did something nice (read: made plans, changed other’s plans, rescheduled the changed plans, updated the newest plans) for a group of people and they thanked me with Girl Scout cookies.

The following emoji indicates the remainder of May’s weather: 🥵 I can’t run outside in this. I can’t even walk! All. Month. Long. My fear is if it’s this hot in May, what will July look like? Please send us rain.

wind = blow dryer

And, like any half-brained person in the midst of triple digit temperatures, I scheduled a Day of Service volunteer opportunity for 2 squadrons and 1 group. AF lingo. I’m supremely pleased with the turnout – 18 people – and the nearly 10 full bags of trash we removed from the sides of a 2-mile stretch of highway. I can’t speak for other states, but Texas has the Adopt-a-Highway program where organizations can “adopt” a stretch of public highway. The intent is for each organization to host quarterly cleanup days to maintain Texas roadways. Admittedly, I had no idea my squadron owned a piece of land until a few weeks ago so my tentative plan is to offer a volunteer opportunity twice a year. Read: when it’s cold outside and the threat of snakes is virtually nonexistent.

…but why…

Oh hell no! If you need me, I’ll be anxiously scanning every piece of dry land for slithering inhabitants. Texas, please stop being so difficult.

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I ask you –

Do you hide from your children when eating snacks? You can lie to me but not to yourself!

Does your state have something similar to the Adopt-a-Highway program?

Snakes: “look, friends” or “run for your life”! Obviously – run for the hills screaming like a banshee.

Facing Giants

I’m 5 weeks into a long 10k training plan and it still blows my mind how I ran a sub 10 min/mile avg for over 13 miles just 5 months ago. And it was awesome! Now? I’m barely sustaining a 11:30 min/mile for a 5k.

Whoever talked so highly about a comeback was a liar. What’s this comeback you speak of? Because I sure haven’t seen it yet. The only thing coming back is my level of discipline. Although work is really trying hard to throw me off. Anyway – 10k. It doesn’t feel possible I’ll ever get there. On the bright side, most knee pain has all but disappeared. Sometimes there’s a twinge, occasionally it’s a little more than a twinge, but I’m reminded this is normal and may just be a lifelong effect of a torn anything. A run last week reminded me I’ve come a long way and not to be too hard on myself. Still weird though.

In April, I also faced a different kind of giant…the celebration of my great Aunt Mary Catherine’s 95th birthday! She’s no giant. But the revere and awe I am of her is bigger than life. You’d think she’d stop falling for these surprise birthday parties, but it worked again. Her big smile, bigger heart, and sweet words make my soul sing. She is a giant in my eyes – of the most tender loving kind I’ve ever known. Many relatives, family friends, and neighbors were there to share in her day. I even convinced her to eat two pieces of cake. It wasn’t difficult.

Mini finagled her way into Rubik’s cube lessons with my uber-smart cousin.

fast learner

We also had time to take Bluebonnet photos on the side of the highway. This was near where I had the car accident 2 yrs ago so it felt good to find something beautiful near a place I’m not fond of.

Giants aren’t always scary, looming creatures; sometimes they’re just small stepping stones. Other times, they’re the people you love the most whom are giant in your eyes.

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I ask you –

Are you currently training for anything? Survival counts!

Who is the oldest living person in your family?

Tell me what a “giant” looks like to you!

Gym Faux Pas

As I’ve made going to the gym a regular occurrence, it’s time to report on what I’ve witnessed thus far.

  1. Stretchy Lady – the one who chooses to stretch in the locker room, centered in the walkway, the only entrance/exit to said locker room which forces the remainder of us to navigate around her with our gym bags. She’s going to get whacked. Sorry, not sorry.
  2. Treadmill Guy – who leaves his gym bag and various other paraphernalia behind the treadmill which impedes patron’s ability to reach other treadmills and equipment. Then, he laughs obnoxiously loud whilst watching Fox News. What could possibly be funny is beyond me.
  3. Weight Whiners – these pieces of work take one of every single weight of dumbbell back to their bench lair and hide them under it like little trolls. I’m thankful we have a gym with multiples of the same weight, but it’s annoying to go search for another dumbbell. My obvious glare should be enough to reason with them.

Sort of gym-related, I need a shirt that says DO NOT FEED DONUTS! This is not a weight issue. It’s a serious problem for me! I see donut. I eat donut. What’s self control anyway?

The weather is completely uncooperative. 98° in April? Someone told me we beat a previously held record in the 1920’s because this particular day it hit 103°. I’m not ready! For those of you who faithfully read my blog and mention snow or rain, I’m jealous. Texas is in a pattern of tornado-wind-drought-hell. Send rain!

photography skills are exceptional

As time goes on, I feel even more strongly I must have some Italian heritage because I can’t talk without my hands. The injury above proves it. How does one scratch the skin off of the area above their eye whilst telling a story? Oh so gracefully! I’m sure it won’t be the last time.

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I ask you

Do you relate to any of the 3 aforementioned gym fanatics?

Are you a hand talker, too?!

Go ahead. Tell me what weather you’re experiencing this week. Hot, hot, hot.

Outdoor Collections

When Spring comes alive:

Doo-dads!

Aptly named “Doo-dads” because a) my dad created them and b) because it’s fun to say and I have no other terminology. In essence, they are suncatchers. The backyard gets the sunset so it also gets the suncatchers! Unfortunately, I’m either busy or not home when the weather is decent enough to sit outside to watch. To do list item.

Female Ducky

Each year a pair of ducks comes to our neighborhood and hangs out for awhile. With the addition of some new families, I enlisted the help of a few girls to watch over the ducks and make sure their rambunctious brothers and cousins didn’t run the ducks off. Maybe we’ll see some ducklings!

I don’t care what anyone says – daffodils do not exist in my world. There are only jonquils! They may look like daffodils, they may be exactly the same for all I know; however, I will forever call them jonquils. The end. I’m incredibly pleased these bloomed this year and will make a return each year.

Lastly, only in Texas: Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham, TX is experimenting with drone delivery. Full details here. Interestingly, they’re not delivering near Brenham; instead the plan is to deliver in two small towns near DFW. Let’s explore this. I don’t know the cost, but it would be a huge problem in my neighborhood. I would be getting daily deliveries! If you’ve never had an opportunity to try Blue Bell ice cream, you’re missing out!

Now I shall go take my daily dose of Zyrtec in order to prevent a horrible case of sneezing, itchy, runny, red eyes and nose. Because Texas spring is in bloom.

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I ask you –

Do you have any yearly animal visitors?

What are your favorite flowers?

Spring: yay or oh-please-not-again. Definitely yay!

Leavin’ on a Jet Plane!

Some know my love for flying. Even as a child, I wanted to fly. Off the staircase. Even now, as a mostly functioning adult, the airport is a happy place. People trying to get somewhere fast, the focus of being on time – it just amazes me. Some are fearful of flying and I respect that, but it isn’t me! Fly me to the moon!

Mini recently had her first opportunity to fly. I’m slightly disappointed her first flight wasn’t with me, but it is what it is. Fun fact: I’ve only ever flown alone. She did pepper me with questions until the day; I think I did a great job alleviating any fears because she seemed to enjoy it! The ‘to’ trip was a success in her book and she was able to complete post-flight checks with the Captain. I hope she asked all the hard questions.

Credit: Southwest Airlines

Her Tennessean spring break was eventful, to hear her tell it. She enjoyed an outdoor dance platform, visited a space museum in her loathed state of Amabama (story for another day), and most likely ate all the Panda Express (Panda Bear, in her terms) she could hold. Alas, she did have to return to school at some point. It felt like both the shortest and longest week for me.

In true Mini fashion, she made a friend on the return flight home. A young girl – same age as mini – was experiencing her very first flight and on her own. Of course there was a whole story to go with this situation, but it’s not my story to tell. However, mini (now an expert flyer) was the girl’s seatmate and happily showed her the ropes…ehh, wings. Her brave, new friend made it back to Love Field and now each has a story! (Note: I did meet the young friend’s family. I’m amazed at the teamwork that came together to get this little lady home and the support system they have. It was not by accident my mini and her friend were able to sit together. Praise God!)

And then she arrived!

Needless to say, the reunion filled my soul. I love how mini has had so many opportunities to do things some people never experience. She takes it all in stride. As a mom, it’s tough to watch your children get older and more independent; however, mini’s independence is much a part of her as it is a part of me. She is a very blessed girl who has never met a stranger and happily befriends those she meets, young and old alike.

Yes, spring break has come to an end but mini’s adventures are lifelong. She is already looking forward to flying again. And now we have new friends in the DFW area. This child is forcing me to be overly social. Bring on the coffee!

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I ask you –

At what age did you first fly?

Have you never flown and wish to? Or are you intentionally never flying?

Tell me your thoughts on flying alone vs with others! I’m not opposed; the opportunity has never presented itself.

Do You…?

Meditation is my thing. But I’m not going to lie: sometimes I go into my closet and lock the door so no one can find me.

Gwen Stefani

Part One

Even before mini started school, I had wondered what parts of it would mimic my own school experience. Because things can change in —- ohhhhhhh —- nearly 20 years. I wondered about cafeteria food, her first book, and loads of other variables. Including the book fair! I’m pleased to report, indeed, there is still a yearly book fair, even for children as young as 5! However, it wasn’t the overflowing library of carts covered in books I remember from years gone by. Instead the book fair was only a small rendition; a miniscule scale of the elaborate week it once was. Mini enjoyed it though. She has no other comparison. Blessed be the innocent.

Part Two

Dan (the one and only) sent me this article: How to Use the Two-Week Rule to Become Remarkably Successful (and Optimize Your Bucket List)

Quotes like “I can do hard things” by Des Linden are prime motivators for really anything you encounter in life. But what if someone told you that in two weeks you’d know exactly how reachable your goal is…would you believe it? Probably not. I met interesting people during the course of 15 physical therapy sessions. Some I’d like to have coffee with; others I could do without ever speaking to again. Get back to the point, Kel. In particular, I met a previous runner now cyclist who was dealing with some knee issues. She stated she kept their business in business. As we discussed various running distances and the local, famous cycling event, she said she had completed 2 marathons and encouraged me to at least once in my life complete one, as well. When I raised my eyebrows as if to say ‘look lady, I’m here because I can’t manage a long run much less 26.2 miles’, she reiterated the word run. Not race. Run. Her words were ‘walk if you have to, run when you can; your goal is to cross the finish line standing up’. And in that moment I saw it all. Start with two weeks, then think about the next two weeks, and so on.

On the topic of bucket lists (and knowing I’ve shared much of this before), a marathon is included. As is a trip to Mexico and/or Las Vegas. Mainly because many of my friends have taken a trip lately and I’m feeling left out. Other to-do’s are to restore an old truck, then outfit a van into a camper and travel from state to state. I also want to complete a Ragnar. I’d love to see the northern lights. For now, I think I’ve got a good start on a list.

Now What?

I have no idea *massive shoulder shrug* When I wrote this post and decided to combine book fair with motivational statements, it didn’t work then either. I make the rules! You’re welcome.

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I ask you –

Can you do anything for two weeks?

What’s on your bucket list?

Name something from your childhood you fear (or know for sure) has changed. Definitely school lunch.

 

On the life scale … + PT Update

Just when I get accustomed to a routine at physical therapy – a collection of 8 or so exercises targeting core, hamstrings, knee, and glutes – I’m treated to a wonderful surprise. A new routine! It’s really not wonderful. But of course they didn’t remove the exercises that are the hardest for me. Oh no. Why would they do that? Ugh. Instead, they leave the super difficult ones and add some others in place of the ones I was starting to master. Sure. Why not.

I like to call these “truly awful”

In related news, I can tell my lower body strength is increasing. Because Texas graciously awarded us a week of beautiful Spring-like weather a week after the second ice storm, I was able to run outside. Not one to waste an opportunity, the run was my first since beginning PT and I could tell a difference in the way my hamstrings didn’t feel “wobbly”. There was a slight knee twinge around mile 1.5 so I walked some, then when I restarted, everything felt fine. It’s working!! I’m extremely thankful to Renau Rehab for guiding me; working with Max and PJ has been incredible. Beyond being very knowledgeable, they’re also kind, funny, and invested in my return to running.

these are called “one-legged wonders”

Also, have you ordered your Running on Fumes merchandise yet? There’s still time and many options available, from tanks to hoodies to coffee mugs to tote bags! You can find your next RoF item here!

the beloved Ms. Dory! (hoodie)

Last week was one of those weeks where if it isn’t one thing, it’s a billion others. From craving ice cream – all I could find were popsicles – to multiple days of gorgeous sunshine, besides the craziness, it was one for the books. Personally, I’m just glad we’re moving forward.

This is officially the week before my birthday week (it’s a Sunday this year) and I have big plans. Stay tuned!

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I ask you –

What part of exercising is your favorite? When it’s over!

How often do you do any task that requires standing on one foot?

Tell me your favorite cold, sweet treat!