Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wanted: Dead or Alive

Yesterday, I went to the Y to swim laps. Before I left the house, I packed a bag with all I'd need to swim, shower, do a little something with my hair and throw on a touch of makeup. I jumped in my truck and five minutes later I was parked and heading for the pool.

I picked out a locker and undressed down to my underwear. I started to pull stuff out of my bag, when it dawned on me that I'd forgotten one thing. I had my swim goggles, swim cap, lap counter, and shower sandals. I had shampoo, body wash, facial cleanser and washcloth. (The Y provides towels). I had my curling iron and makeup bag. Do you know what I forgot? Hint: It's critical in most social situations involving swimming activities. I nearly beat my head against my locker when I realized I was lacking a swimsuit.

Actually, I wasn't all that surprised. I'd just mentioned to Lon at breakfast, that I often can't see the forest for the trees. Although upset with myself, I maintained my composure and began reaching for my clothes to get dressed. I glanced down and realized I wasn't up a creek without a paddle after all. For comfort purposes, I'd donned a black sports bra (those underwire bras are killers) when I dressed that morning and my briefs were a black, brown and tan leopard print. Hmm, I thought. Maybe, just maybe, I can get away with wearing them. Who will know? The walk from the locker room door to the pool is only six to eight feet. I took a peek in a mirror and decided to go for it.

I put my swim cap and goggles on, slipped my lap counter on my right index finger and headed for the pool. The first door had a sign ~ Please don't wear sports bras, underwear, shorts, or cut-offs in the pool, swimsuits only~ Oh ----! I started talking to myself. This looks like a 2-piece swimsuit, sort of. What about that old sign ~ Shower before entering the pool~ I'd been breaking that rule for years! Why should I conform to this new one?

At the final door to the pool, I faced another sign, just like the other one. I scoffed at it and pulled the door open, mumbling to myself: give me a break, I'm getting old, I forget things. I made a mad dash for the edge of the pool and slipped into the water in less than four seconds. Phew! So far, so good. I looked at the lifeguard and she looked at me. She didn't blow her whistle or accost me in any way. Phew! I relaxed and smiled on the inside; I'd pulled it off. I set to task, swimming from one end of the pool to the other, back and forth, back and forth, clicking my lap counter at each turn.

I stopped when my lap counter reached 36. I caught my breath and looked toward the lifeguard. She wasn't looking my way. Quicker than scat, I scooted out of the pool and back into the locker room. Mission accomplished. As I showered, my thoughts wandered: I'm so crafty, devious and smart...there's a bank next door...with my goggles and swim cap on...and my curling iron as a weapon...maybe I...
That's when I heard a door slam shut and heavy footsteps coming my way. I bowed my head and prayed for mercy. As the footfalls drew near, I finally had the nerve to look up. An over weight female staff member placed a pile of towels on the counter, turned around and walked away.
I reckon my conscience is telling me to mend my wicked ways, or at least, obey the signs at the Y.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Right Party, Wrong House

Have you ever been invited to a party and when you walked into the house, realized you were at the right party but in the wrong house?

My husband, my son and I were invited to a Packer/Bear party at our nephew's home a couple of years ago. Our nephew and his wife had a new home and we'd only been there once before. We drove down their street and came to a house approximately where we remembered Al and JoLynn lived. There were several cars in the driveway and in front of the house. Lon and I figured this must be it.

We parked and walked up the driveway and sidewalk to the porch. A few people were standing just inside the door with drinks in their hands, so instead of knocking, we just walked right in. I didn't recognize anyone, but I wasn't alarmed because JoLynn has a large family and I wasn't familiar with all of her brothers, sisters and in- laws at that time. I just assumed these folks were her family.

We said hello and in return we were greeted with smiles and hellos as well. I did notice a glimmer of uncertainty in their faces but didn't think too much of it. The television was on with the pregame show blaring. I started to walk further inside, looking for Al or JoLynn. About that time, Lon realized we'd really blown it. He caught me before I took another step. "I think we're in the wrong house," he whispered to me. "You're kidding," I whispered back. Meanwhile, our son, who was standing behind us, glared at me and if looks could kill, it would have been all over for me.

I'll never forget the graciousness of the folks whose party we had barged in on. They were having a Packer/Bear party too. We did get that part right! I think they would have welcomed us into their living room and offered us a drink if Lon hadn't recognized our error. We all had a good laugh when Lon explained our mistake and we fumbled our way back out the door, embarrassed but none the worse for wear.

By the time we got out to our truck, the driveway next door was filling up with cars and we recognized Lon's brother. Aha. So that's where we were supposed to be. Once we were all settled in at Al and JoLynn's, we caused quite an uproar when we told the story of our most recent faux pas.

(I don't know what reminded me of this incident, but something wrenched it loose from my memory today and I thought it might be entertaining for you).
Today's photo delivers to your eyes peonies that Lon picked this afternoon from our bushes in the backyard. Their scent is amazing, but unfortunately computer technology hasn't advanced to the point where I can download it for your enjoyment. Maybe next year.)

Friday, May 29, 2009

That's My Friend, Sarah

Almost three years ago, I was paging through the local shopping news when I came across a list of online classes available through our area technical college. The Beginning Writer's Workshop (available along with many other classes on intrigued me and I enrolled in the six-week session scheduled to begin on September 20th. I'd been tempted to take a writing class several times over the years, but never did until I discovered I could do it all at home on my computer.

I assumed the class would be small and made up of local residents. Wrong. The class numbered over 300 and we came together online from all over the United States, including Alaska, and as far away as Australia. One woman did some of her assignments on her laptop in a cafe perched in a huge oak tree on the island of Trinidad in the West Indies. Her husband was working on the island at that time.

I had the time of my life during those six weeks. We posted our assignments in a discussion area and then commented on each other's writing. The group of aspiring writers in that particular session of the workshop couldn't have been a more gregarious bunch. Many of us became good friends and continue to hang out through our blogs or writing websites.

One of the writers I met was Sarah. Sarah has always had something to say about my writing, starting way back in 2006. No matter what I wrote, Sarah thought it was fantastic and she lavished me with praise. I could do no wrong. She made me feel as though what I wrote was something I should be proud of. She made me believe in myself.

After a few weeks, I discovered that Sarah presently lives with her husband only ten miles north of where I live and that she grew up less than half a mile from here. Sarah is much younger than I am so she and I didn't grow up together. It's mind-boggling that we should come to know each other and become friends under these unusual circumstances. Sarah and her husband and Lon and I have gotten together on several occasions and our friendship has grown.
If you read the comments on my blogs, you will almost always see something supportive and encouraging written and posted by someone with the name, Sarah. That's my Sarah. I'm not so sure I'd still be writing if not for her.

(In the photo are the backup files of my memories of the aforementioned classes. The cases hold printouts of the lessons, copies of all of the 500 word final assignments submitted by those who completed the class, and miscellaneous printouts of the great discussions and fun we had in the discussion area).
In the past three years, I've been encouraged to keep writing by friends and relatives. I won't mention each and everyone right now, but you know who you are and that I appreciate you. My Aunt Babe always likes to read my blogs and anything else she can get her hands on that I've written. You've seen her name in the comment boxes. Another fellow classmate from 2006, who goes by the nickname, Gullible or Gully, and lives in Alaska , is still a close online friend. A very likable fellow who goes by the nickname, Walk, keeps us all in stitches with his sense of humor and warms us with his kindnesses. He, Gully and I have fun goofing around in the Ann Linquist Writes website. By the way, Ann Linquist was and still is the instructor in the BWW online class.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Too Much To Do, Too Little Time

I've been going in many different directions lately. Whereas, in the recent past, this blog was where I came every chance I got, I've been spending my time going in a few additional directions.

I'm reading three different books at the same time. The first one is THE BONE MAN OF BENARES: A Lunatic Trip Through Love and the World by Terry Tarnoff. I came across it in a blog. The author, Terry, is the husband of a friend of a friend of mine. The second book is SILVERLEAF LODGE by T.R. Baker and the third is GIVE THE LADY A RIDE (not yet published) by Linda Yezak. I met both Troy and Linda on the Christian Writers website and agreed to read their books.

Normally, I read one book at a time. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I've taken on all three at once and fortunately, so far, I'm managing to keep them straight. I read a chapter or two in one book and then go on to the next book and do the same. It's kind of insane but I feel the need to show my support to both Troy and Linda simultaneously, which I've been doing after each reading.

In addition to my reading, everyday, I always read the new posts to blogs written by my blogging friends as they show up and then I send them each a comment; I read and respond to personal e-mails and check on activities going on in CW. I've posted some questions in CW; I've posted a smidgen of my writing on CW; and I've posted my opinions on other writers' submissions in CW. Lots of e-mails come in to me related to my questions, posts and opinions.

I'm hoping things will settle down soon so I can resume a more relaxed state-of-mind. Of course, I've taken on all of these extra tasks voluntarily and any pressure on myself is self-induced. That's my personality. If I find that I enjoy something, I multiply it by ten and then hang on for dear life as I crash into walls, spin in circles and go crazy in the flurry of my activities.

I'm not looking for sympathy, just a chance to tell it like it is. Thank God, I balance my mental stresses with physical activities. I went for a run this afternoon and came back home feeling rejuvenated and ready to face the rest of the day.

I'm in the habit of posting at least one photo with my daily posts so off I go to come up with today's selection. I'm back. I found one that seems appropriate. That's my leg as I rush from one activity to another, too fast for the photographer. (Actually this was taken by my husband at the very end of the biathlon earlier this month. Unfortunately, I was just WAY too fast for him. Don't I wish!)

Someday soon, I hope to have something more interesting for you to read. All of the above is of great interest to me, but from your perspective, I don't know. Until then, just look at the pictures.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Me and My Laptop

I'm using my laptop computer for the very first time, on my lap. Until this evening, I was enjoying the fact that I could "compute" somewhere other than the extra bedroom where our desktop PC is located. I had setup camp on our pub table in the kitchen and had been content to use it there.

This evening, I downloaded a book sent to me via e-mail written by and sent to me by an author I met in If I was going to be reading the first couple of chapters, I decided it was time to take a comfortable seat in the living room.

Sitting in this easy chair with the laptop on my legs and my legs on an ottoman works great for both reading and other laptop functions. Lon's watching Jared play ball this evening so the TV isn't on next door in the family room. I'm easily distracted so I'll probably have to use the recliner in the bedroom for comfy laptop use when Lon's got the TV on.

That's the earth-shattering news update from Shaddy for today. I hope your day has been at least half as thrilling as mine.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Our Retreat

My husband, Lon, has his own painting and decorating business and, fortunately for me, he enjoys using his skills on our home.

Lon has always dreamed of having a cabin on a lake, but eventually we came up with a better idea. We decided to transform our home into a cabin and to forfeit the part about the lake. If we made everything too perfect, we'd never leave home and we're still a bit too young to retire.

I've posted pictures taken of our living room. The mural, reprinted from Terry Redlin's "An Evening With Friends" painting, covers the north wall of our living room. Lon covered the other walls in the room with pine boards to complete the log home look.
We enjoy the coziness we've created with the wallcoverings and furnishings.
(The pub table where I sit when I'm writing on my laptop is in the background in one of the pictures.)

Monday, May 25, 2009

In Memory

Lon and I visited the cemetery this afternoon. Although Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service, it is also a day to remember others who are no longer with us.
I love this statue which is in the center of the cemetery where my parents are buried. The inscription reads: COME UNTO ME ALL YE THAT LABOR AND HEAVY LADEN AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST.
I find comfort in that Mom and Dad are buried not far from the statue and near Jesus' extended right hand.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Laptop Versus His Campfire

A few days ago, I made the statement that there is always something to write about when I sit down at my laptop, whether I know it before hand or not. I promised that as long as I had eyes, ears, ten fingers and a brain, I would write.

On this Memorial Day Eve, all of the aforementioned body parts are in good operating condition, so I write. Today, as I look into the backyard, I don't notice the flowers and birds so much as my husband, sitting in a lawn chair, listening to a ball game and enjoying a campfire.
It's just a bit darker than broad daylight, but Lon has had enough of the day and is kicking back and determined to relax for the next few hours. In his opinion, life doesn't get any better than being in his own backyard, enjoying nature and sipping a beer or two. He always sets up a chair for me and I make a point of joining him, but, unfortunately, I'm only beside him for short periods of time.
I love Lon and I've no reason or desire to avoid him or his company. It's just that, I have trouble sitting there. I don't enjoy listening to ballgames, and I can only look at a campfire for a short time before I get antsy. A good book or the desire to write always lures me back inside. I placate my guilt by reasoning that I don't expect him to leave his "heaven" to join me inside with my books and laptop. That would be equally difficult and unappealing to him.
At our pub table in the kitchen, I have the same view of him as in the photo above. The sliding door is open and we can talk to each other easily. We've known each other for forty three years and know each other inside and out. We've learned to respect each other's likes and dislikes and to sidestep disagreements that only emphasize our differences.
It's comforting that we can be together and yet not suffocate each other by making demands on each other's time and choices. Well, it's time for me to go take a seat by the fire and chit chat with my better half. A beer sounds good too.
Happy Memorial Day to all.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Extra! Extra! Read All About It

I'd like to thank Linda Yezak for inviting me to become a member of Linda e-mailed me yesterday and I didn't waste any time going to the website. I looked around the site and searched the FAQ page.

Quoting the answer to What is " is a non-denominational volunteer ministry. Our mission is to provide a supportive, family atmosphere where writers may easily access the tools and resources to create, market, and publish their work."

To become a "new" member I provided a few very basic bits of personal information. I replied to five posts in the General Discussion Forums and was automatically upgraded to CW member status. As a CW member, I was allowed to enter the Writers' Workshops. Writers can submit their "works in progress" to the workshops for critiquing by fellow members. So far, I've only been able to read and critique other writer's submissions. I'm not sure how many critiques I'm required to write before I can submit my own work for others to read. Presently, I'm flying by the seat of my pants. I'm enjoying reading other writers' work for now.

I'm impressed with what I've seen. Terms of service and participation guidelines are spelled out in no uncertain terms. "We strive to maintain a friendly, productive atmosphere for all members and guests. To meet this goal, we expect all members and visitors to know and abide by the rules of our site. Failure to comply with these rules will lead to infraction points or banning from"

Under the terms and guidelines, among many others, is: "No foul language, obscenity, sexually explicit or descriptive, inflammatory or hate material is acceptable on this site."

Regarding whether a person must be a Christian to participate: " wholeheartedly encourages people of other faiths to visit our site, utilize our tools, and fellowship with our writers. It is our hope and prayer that sincere communication will lead to greater, more accurate understanding of the Christian faith and a right relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Please keep in mind, however, that is not a debate site. While visitors with an open heart and mind are always welcome, troublemakers are not. Anyone who displays harassing, threatening, or otherwise aggressive or disrespectful behavior will be dealt with promptly and banned from this site without notice. "

I look forward to spending time on this site. I failed to mention that there are no membership fees. Membership is free. I would be foolish not to take advantage of this opportunity to rub elbows with others who love writing as much as I do.

If you want to check it out, go to

Once again, I thank Linda for "ushering me into the fold."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Blah, Blah, Blah

I sit with my laptop in front of me this evening and I've no idea of what to write. I've read and commented to all the blogs on my bloglist I've read and responded to all of my e-mails. I finished my latest read yesterday and the American Idol season finale was last night. My life is momentarily at a standstill. Lon left a few minutes ago to go to Menard's for something he needed. My wine glass is empty and dinner has been served and eaten. (Please note that when I published this post, a few of my opening words traveled up to the left side of the photo of our marigolds. I seem to have little control over them at times. What can I say?)

I've learned that I don't need a writing idea in order to write. If I sit in front of my computer and confess that I don't have a strong motive for being there, words and thoughts will begin to trickle in. For instance, if I look to my right, I've a splendid view of the backyard. Splendid except for the fact that Lon dissembled our bird bath and its pretty setting so the septic tank can be pumped tomorrow. He had a nice two-tier log box filled with red stone as a base for the bird bath. The stones are now in a bucket and the box is lying upside down with mud caked to its underside and metal rods sticking up from the corners.

A wooden barrel sits about six feet from me on the wooden deck beyond the sliding glass door at my right. Lon planted orange and yellow marigolds in it on Sunday. He watered the little plants a little while ago so the dirt is black and the water that dripped from the hose onto the deck is beading up on the newly treated boards.

A soft breeze is disturbing the branches furthest from the trunk of our pin oak tree. We've lived here since 1972 and the trees we planted after the house was built have had 37 years of growth. From my stool, I can't begin to see to the top of the oak tree. The new leaves are a light, almost lime green color and the entire appearance of the pin oak tree always gives me a cool buoyant feeling when I look its way.

I just noticed a gray cat cutting through our yard on his way to places beyond, while birds are chirping from somewhere out of my sight. Some birds maintain a low-key chatter while others startle me with their high-pitched notes. I love to open the windows and hear the sounds of leaves responding to the wind and the chorus of insects and birds coming in from all the trees and shrubs surrounding the house.

See what I mean. I had no idea to go on when I sat down to write, but I have two eyes and two ears, ten fingers and a brain. I don't expect what I've written to be of much interest to anyone, yet I hope I've proven that there is always something to put into words. For me, writing is fun and full of surprises. The key to writing, initially, is to give yourself permission to write badly. Plan to throw everything you write into the wastebasket until you begin to see value in your words. With practice, improvement comes.
(It may seem inappropriate and unpleasant that I mentioned our septic tank in this post. Before I took any writing classes, I'd have avoided any reference to it. I've learned that "telling it like it is" proves to be more captivating to the reader.)

Alrighty, then. Like Forrest Gump, that's all I've got to say about that.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Unfortunately, I just finished the book, A Man Called Outlaw. I say that because it was an excellent read. I feel a sense of loss when I turn the last page of a compelling book. I met the author, K.M. Weiland, on my blog. At the back of her novel, I found this paragraph about her.
"K.M. Weiland grew up chasing Billy the Kid and Jesse James on horseback through the sand hills of western Nebraska, where she and her family still live. A lifelong fan of the Old West and the power of the written word, she enjoys sharing both through her many fictional stories and her first novel, A Man Called Outlaw."
After reading a comment that K.M. submitted on my blog, I went to her website. I learned that she is a published author and that her first novel is available for purchase. I didn't hesitate to place an order and within a few days, I was holding her book in my sweaty little hands. Learning that authors are real people is exciting me. If K.M., a person who had taken time to comment on my newly launched blog, has a published book, maybe, just maybe, someday I will do something with my writing, as well.
I don't normally read westerns, in fact, I don't know if I ever have until now. I was willing to move out of my usual reading genre in order to support K.M. and to see what kind of writer she is. Honestly, I didn't expect to have much interest in a western.
Once I picked up the book and began to read, I was sucked into her story. From page one to the final page, there was never a good time to close the book. All of the characters were well-developed and realistic. The story galloped along with no time for me to take a breath before it swung around and took off again.
Quite early in her book, this descriptive sentence impressed me: "Bent over with rheumatism and plump enough to be considered a little bit more than ample, she wore the decaying remnants of a youthful beauty like a silk party gown gone threadbare." A Man Called Outlaw is loaded with writing of this quality, chapter after chapter.
The book is actually two parallel stories, one centered around fictional events in 1858 and the other relating happenings in 1887. The story goes back and forth between the lives of often overlapping characters in the two decades.
I highly recommend K.M. Weiland's book. You will be entertained throughout, interested in the characters throughout, on the edge of your seat throughout, and you will come away with a renewed conviction that doing what is right is always right.
This is my first attempt at a book review. I'm not sure how well I related the value of K.M.'s book, so please go to , K.M.'s blog. If you follow the right side of her blog down, you will come to a link to her book. When you go there, you will read more about The Man Called Outlaw. The first chapter and reader's comments are also available.
I encourage you to put The Man Called Outlaw on your must-read book list.
(K.M. has two other books in the works. Behold the Dawn, a historical novel, is in the pre-publication stage and has a release date of October 1st, 2009. Dreamers Come, a fantasy novel, is in the editing stage.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shhhh! You're Entering a Library

I promised that I would show you some photos of our new library. I took these pictures last week and today's the day for the big presentation. As I mentioned in my original post regarding this new addition to our city, it's huge.
The pictures speak for themselves so I'll only comment on a couple of them.
The clear, suspended, dome shaped "things" provide audio for individuals watching DVDs, without allowing the sound to bother others. This area is not ready for use yet. The woman at the check-out desk, whom I asked about the domes, didn't seem real sure about the "things," so I'm only passing on what I was told. If I find out more, I'll let you know.
An openness is present throughout the building. In areas where inner walls are present, vertical windows allow visual observation from room to room. As you can see, all of the fixtures are ultra-modern.
I'm really excited about this new location for the library. I remember the times about fifty years ago, when Mom took my two younger brothers and me, every Saturday while she bought groceries at Kroger's, to the library on West Grand Avenue, downtown. From there, the library relocated across the river in the old post office building. I loved those two locations. The character of the old architectural structures was truly remarkable, but things change.
I'll learn to love the new library with its latest technological advances and of course, for its greatest assets, all the wonderful books within its walls.
(If you'd like to read more about the new library, please go to my previous post: 53,000 Square Feet of Books).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Time In A Bottle

I'm going to open a shop. The name of my shop will be TIME IN A BOTTLE. It will be a small shop in a picturesque setting with tall pine trees and pretty flower boxes at the windows. A huge butterfly will be painted on the front of the building with colorful wings reaching around to cover the side walls as well.

Nobody has enough time, or at least, nobody thinks they have enough time. Everybody longs for more time to relax, to sleep, to read or to write. They want time they've lost, more family time, more play time and, most often, a good time. I believe that in this day and age, I can bottle time, sell it and make a small fortune.

The walls inside my shop will be filled with shelves containing bottles, bottles of time. One area will have a selection of bottles under the category of DOWN TIME. These shelves will hold bottles filled with Nap Time, TV Time, Reading Time, Writing Time, Hammock Time and Chill Time.

The SOCIAL TIME area will have rows and rows of bottles with labels identifying their contents as Family Time, Friend Time, One on One Time, Play Time and A Good Time (sold in 2-packs only, due to its anticipated universal popularity).

SELF-IMPROVEMENT TIME will be available in bottles of Exercise Time, Prayer Time, Being On Time, Making Up for Lost Time, Over Time and Doing Double Time.

A MISCELLANEOUS TIME display will stand in the center of the store beside the checkout counter. Spare Time, Free Time, Fond Memory Time, and Saving Time bottles will rotate on this circular rack.

Instructions for use of my product will direct the consumer to shake the bottle gently and to twist off the cap. Essence of time will immediately flow up and out of the bottle, drifting slowly around the user. Each bottle will be guaranteed to contain scent-free, hypoallergenic time which fully envelops the senses and insures that the consumer's entire mental focus will be on his chosen activity.

Additional instructions will remind the buyer that he paid for this time, thus, he must not let anything interfere with it. He will be advised to keep the bottle close and to be prepared to use it to ward off any individual or individuals who attempt to interrupt his special time. It will be suggested that simply grasping the bottle at the narrow end and raising it threateningly above the head will prove to be effective in most cases.

The selling price per bottle will be five dollars. I'll make the product in a small room attached to the back of the shop. My inventory will include bottles, labels and twist-off caps. Every bottle that I label and seal with a cap will contain the exact same thing, that is, nothing. (This minor detail, I trust, will remain solely between you and me.)

I will post a sign on each wall ensuring customers that if they don't see the time they need in a bottle on a shelf, a special order will be taken and their desired bottle will be ready in 24 hours.

Time is so very, very precious. If consumers can be convinced that they can buy time and I'm certain that they can be, I believe it's my civic duty to supply their needs in the best way I know how.

Secondly, I'm just another starving artist looking for a way to pay for my next meal.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Run, Shaddy, Run

This morning I participated in the Beloit Wellness Biathlon. It was a cool, windy day with temperatures hovering around 53 degrees and 20 mph winds blowing from the northwest. Fortunately, the sun was shining.
I haven't figured out how to get these photos in chronological order when I add them to my post, consequently, there's no rhyme or reason to their positions up there. I'll describe what's going on the best way I can. The photo in the lower right is of me as I finished the first 2-mile run. In the lower left photo, I've donned my biking helmet and biking shoes and I'm heading with my bike from the parking lot to the road. The photo of me on my bike was taken as I'm braking at the finish of the 11-mile bike. Above that, I'm taking off my helmet and changing to my running shoes. In the photo of me from the back, I'm beginning the final leg of the biathlon, the second 2-mile run. The photo of me and the orange cones was taken as I made the turn off the road and into the chute that guided me across the finish line.
I felt good during the entire race except for the first half mile of running after getting off my bike. Biking into the wind was a challenge too, but I simply shifted to lower gears and pedaled as hard as I could. I've trained myself to think of my body as a machine. Instead of being appalled by my extra heavy breathing and my desire to stop, I remind myself that my body is automatically and effectively doing what it has to in order to get me from the start to the finish. Of course, I'm uncomfortable and it's all hard work but I have to pay that price if I want to succeed.
Each participant got a t-shirt. I really like the wording on both the front and the back; whoever designed it was quite clever.
Since I turned sixty in January, I moved up (or down, depending on how you want to look at it) to the next age group. Last year I was in the 50-59 age group. I'm in the final age group now, the 60+. It doesn't seem fair that when I compete in my seventies and eighties, I'll be competing against women 10 to 20 years younger. (How's that for positive thinking?)
My finish time was 1 hour 28 minutes 55 seconds. I'm happy. Last year, my time was 1:25:23. Considering the high winds today and the fact that I wasn't nearly as fired up for this year's race as I was last year's, I'm feeling good about the outcome.
The volunteers who stood at the intersections did a great job this year. They stopped traffic so we could make our turns safely, whereas, last year we had to pay close attention to the cars coming and going around us.
In July, I'm planning to do a mini-triathlon. That means I'll get to swim in addition to the biking and running. I thrive on challenges and perhaps I'm a bit crazy. The combination of both keeps me doing all the things that I do.
[I thank Lon for taking the photos and for being there for me, today.]

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What's In A Name?

I pretend to work in a dental office. Yesterday, while I was passing the time absentmindedly looking in the appointment book, the combination of interesting names on that particular day, prompted me to try something. I challenged myself to write some sentences using the patients' last names in place of some of the nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives.

On this seemingly typical day in May, the last names of patients scribbled in pencil in the appointment book were intriguing. They were:

Klingenberg, Timm,

Sackmann, and Pearson,

Turnmire, Crick, and Cain,

Mowers, and Busch, Trotter,

Wendt, Forrest, and Clark,

Buchanan, Selgren,

Kristopeit, and Farnum.

While I appeared to be doing my job, I juggled the names and found connections between them. If you use your imagination, I think you'll get the drift of what I tried to say in these unusual sentences. These are the end results of my mental acrobatics:

I heard Cricks chirping from Busches in the Forrest.

It's sad that Timm can't Trotter now that he uses a Cain.

Did you hear about Clark? He picked Klingenberg Pearsons from a tree and Wendt off with them in a Sackmann?

To my surprise, Kristopeit Columbus fired a Buchanan and thus Mowers down Clark as he attempted to Selgren the sack of stolen pears.

Last, but not least, regarding that muddy mess in the corner of the yard, our gardener has been Turnmire instead of planting flowers Farnum and wide across the grounds as I requested.

[In a round about way, I got paid to write this week. Hey, I could get used to that.]

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Birdhouse Madness

My husband has a "thing" for birdhouses. I'm not exactly sure where he got this "thing" but after giving it some thought, I believe I've figured it out. My dad liked making "things" with wood and one of the "things" he made was, guess what? Yes, birdhouses. Over the years, he gave Lon several of those that he made. Unfortunately, they have come undone from the sun, rain, and other abuses of Wisconsin weather. Lon loved the birdhouses Dad gave him and when they wore out, he went looking for more. Thus, my dad gets the credit for planting the birdseed in Lon's brain, while meanwhile, I've had a front row seat to watch as Lon has gone loony. Oh yeah, he goes ballistic over loons as well, although unfortunately they don't seek shelter in birdhouses so he can't lure a single one here.
I just went outside and counted the birdhouses in the front and back yards. We have a total of 16. Lon was satisfied with having just a handful until quite recently. We found most of those in the photos at the Apple Tree Hut. After buying their complete inventory, he got the name of the fellow who makes them and ordered a few more directly from him.
When he started mounting them on posts around the yard, I thought he was going a bit overboard. First, there were three in the front yard. I initially thought that was enough. Unbeknownst to me, he had only just begun. Obviously, a few more of the dormant birdseeds in his brain woke up and took root. He amassed quite a collection of birdhouses; all I could think was "sheesh." I told him what I thought, but he assured me that he knew what he was doing. I rolled my eyes, but didn't argue against his plan. Over the nearly forty years we've been married, I've learned that his ideas usually are good ones. Regarding my remark about Lon going overboard, I must admit that I've been known to get carried away on more than one occasion in my lifetime when I'm passionate about something. And so, I try to avoid throwing roadblocks in his way.
As you can see from the photos, he did a nice job of placing them, staining some, painting some, etc. (You can click on the photos to enlarge them for a closer look). When I look outside, I like what I see. I think the birdhouses add cheerfulness and life to our outdoor living space.
P.S. You probably think you've seen it all You ain't seen nuthin yet! We have birdhouses inside the house too. I just counted them. Would you believe me if I said we have 11 that I can locate upstairs. I have a feeling he may have stashed a few in the basement. (He likes to rotate his stock).
P.S.S. We also have a screen porch off the family room. Are there birdhouses there? Yup. I counted 18, give or take a few I may have overlooked.
[I'll take you on a tour of our indoor collection another day. 'Til then, think birds.]