Saturday, December 29, 2007


I prefer to move forward. I figure at my age, what's the point of looking back? Even if I make mistakes or things don't go as hoped for, I have already self-analyzed everything surrounding that event, so I figure its best to just move on. I have learned what's the breaking point. So far, I have faced the worst that I could imagine and have moved on. I know there is the possibility of something worse, but these things are out of my control. I have learned to put my life and trust in a higher being; for me this is God. I have faith that God will provide for me, and also the comfort of knowing that God is there whenever I call upon that faith.

I am forever grateful for all my blogger friends, and hope at some point I can meet up with each of you. I have been touched by you and your lives this past year and am most thankful for the opportunity of having gotten to know each of you. And for those of you I have met, I hope our friendship will continue, wherever our paths may go.

I am also grateful for having come unto the running/triathlon world. I do believe we all are a special breed, chosen for this way of life unbeknownst to us why. It has become a part of me, as all of you have become a part of me. I look forward as often as possible to reading about and sharing in your daily lives.

I look forward to the new year, not really making a "resolution" but just a resolve to continue on, not give up, not quit, not give in. I consider each day a gift to savor and enjoy, for however long I am given to live on this earth.

And I have been tagged by SW Tri Girl. So I have to think of 5 "interesting" things about myself. Personally, I can't think of any, but here goes again:

1. I have visited 30 states so far. I have done races in 21 states.

2. I have no real desire to visit anywhere outside the U.S. except somewhere in the Carribbean.

3. I want to move somwhere WARM SOON!

4. I'm not sure I want to do an IM. Does this make me bad or a loser? I don't think so, but sometimes I feel guilty.

5. I probably would continue working as long as I was able IF: I could work part-time; if my age wasn't a detriment; if I needed the money (I suspect with the way things are going, I will!).

I will tag Flo, Suzanne, and Waddler26. I think everyone else has been tagged.

Monday, December 24, 2007


This is a picture of one of my favorite running courses. Some of you who ran the Grand Rapids Marathon might recognize this as the Butterworth Road section just before reaching the road that turns to Millenium Park.

But this was also the scene many places around here Sunday. Thousands without power. My driveway, that was finally clear of ice and snow on Sunday morning, when the temperature was 52 degrees, cannot be found today.

Saturday was the first time I ran outside in 4 weeks. It was 49 degrees. It seemed silly to even think of running on the treadmill, so I headed out, figuring all the ice on the streets might be gone as well. Not quite. I live in an area where (1) they only come through with the plows once after any storm, (2) where there are thousands of mature trees that line the streets, keeping the streets shaded a lot from any potential sunshine that tries to peek through, and (3) where gray, cloudy days outnumber sunshine days by 9 to 1. So the snow gets cleared down to a packed layer of snow and then any thawing and traffic cause it to freeze, refreeze, ice over, and basically stay until spring.

So its 49 degrees and I still needed the Yak Trax. But I did get some clear spots and, being pressed for time like many of us this weekend, decided to do some speed intervals. I actually felt very good and continued with this for most of my 47 min. run.

After that, I would have loved to stay in and clean house and finish my Christmas preparations, but I still had to do some shopping and try to come up with a menu for Christmas Day, not knowing for sure if my new oven, that had been out of commission since before Halloween, would arrive this weekend as promised. I had to prepare either way, just in case.

I really didn't want to face the malls and 28th Street, one of the busiest streets this side of the state. I started figuring all the time I would spend waiting in traffic getting around I could spend driving to a Wal-Mart Super Center out of town. The roads were dry. Its about a 35 minute drive, but why not? With the impending threatening weather, I figured I should get everything done today and not wait.

So I spent the afternoon there, getting everything but 2 items I needed, including finishing up with all those stocking stuffer items, headed home, unpacked the car, went and got the car washed, and then I just had to take a quick nap. I still had a holiday party to attend that night at one of the attorneys' homes who fortunately lived nearby, on one of my other favorite running routes.

We had been warned of getting really bad weather for a couple of days, but still, Saturday evening at 11:30 p.m., it was still dry and 52 degrees!

By 5:30 a.m. Sunday, however, all that started changing. I awoke to what sounded like thunder, but instead it was the roaring winds. The street lights were out, so it was hard to see what was going on, but I could see the neighbors' 2 over 80 foot pine trees bending and swaying in the wind in a precarious manner. I started envisioning one of those things coming down, probably on my house as well, and taking out all the power.

I still had all my last shopping to wrap, so at 6 am, watching all the weather reports and hearing the reports on all the damage and power outages in the area, I began wrapping furiously! I wanted to get as much done as possible in case we were without power.

I did get everything wrapped, then set out to vacuum and clean as much of the house as I could get done, still waiting for the oven to be delivered as well.

And to add a new twist to my already crazy week, my washer had broken as well, and I wanted to get out to wash a couple of loads of laundry before Christmas. I decided with the crazy weather to go to my daughter's, visit the kids, and do my laundry there, especially when I found out that power was out all around my area, including the malls! I wondered how they would get by!

Before heading to my daughter's, I went to the gym to get in a swim and found several people there using the showers and facilities since their power was out. These were people I had never seen before, neither in the locker room nor working out. Lucky they had this option.

I found out also talking to Don after my swim that a new oven had been delivered, but as "luck" would have it, they delivered the wrong model. I don't care. Leave it! So now at least I would not have to resort to the toaster oven for cooking my Christmas dinner!

By the time I got my laundry done and headed for home, the roads were becoming snow covered, and the wind was creating whiteouts here and there. I just put on the 4 wheel drive and forged ahead. Not long after arriving home, safely, the snow really started coming down, and within an hour the driveway was completely covered.

What better time to cook a big pot of chili and make an apple pie? So while the cold and wind raged a storm outside, inside was cozy and warm, with the chili bubbling on the stove and the aroma of a baking apple pie wafting from the oven.

A nice relaxing way to head into the next two holiday days.

Update on Don: He came home from the hospital Monday night, had to spend several hours Wednesday going for a checkup and then blood tests. Several hours because of the incompetence of the doctors' office personnel. His records from the hospital weren't even in their computers. They didn't even know then why he was there. The doctor couldn't understand why they put him on Coumadin, etc. Frustrating. Friday was a repeat of the same, since his "standing" blood work had not been ordered, even though he had been instructed to show up to have a blood draw. After waiting there for over an hour while they attempted to get someone from the doctors' office to fax them the order, we left. They had after hours lab times so we would come back later. Just as we are walking in the door to home, they call to say they have the order. Grrr! I have to leave work for this stuff and it is a huge effort for him to get ready and get around on the crutches, all for nothing, and having to repeat it another time.

He is scheduled also to see a pulmonologist, since his breathing is still not what it should be. He's not gasping, but his voice sounds weak. He says it is hard to project. And he goes into coughing fits when he exerts, which is actually good, but again frustrating. I think it will be a slow recuperation.


However you celebrate the season, whatever your traditions are, whichever way you believe, I think everyone would agree what's most important is spending the time with your family, loved ones, or friends. Enjoy the season!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


That's how I am feeling lately. Here's proof.

With Don's recent pulmonary blood clot, we were lucky he had a doctor's appointment that day. Since that happened, something I never would have thought possible, two more than coincidences have occurred relating to the same thing. An acquaintance of my boss's died this past weekend from what? A blood clot. Today in the news, there was a story about a 15 year old star athlete who died from what? A blood clot. So yes, he knows he is lucky.

And then there's me with my bike accident. Lucky to not have been killed. Lucky to not be crippled or something worse. And in the last few months, I have read or heard about several bike accidents where the cyclist was killed. All local (local meaning this side of the state). So, do I feel lucky? Yes, lucky is how we both feel right now. No other explanation. Just lucky. Thankful. Grateful. Makes me wonder what's in store for those of us with luck.

Monday, December 17, 2007

What more can I say but THANK YOU BLOGGERS for all your concern and separate e-mails. I appreciate it more than you can know!

An update on Don's condition: He was admitted to the hospital Friday night as I mentioned before. Both of us assumed it would just be an overnight thing and come home the next day. Not so! He's still there today and may have to stay until Tuesday.

The blood clot caused other problems to arise, along with a lot of pain and discomfort. Because he had been shallow breathing for so long, he began developing pneumonia, so they put him on an antibiotic. They also started breathing treatments that involved the use of steroids. The steroids can spike your blood sugar, which it did in his case. He also had a spike in blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, pulse, etc., so they had to monitor him closely for this. He also has to be on blood thinners, one form which is injected into the belly area for the next 10 days, as well as taking Coumadin, another blood thinner maybe forever. The Coumadin presents other problems, since eating foods with Vitamin K can alter the effectiveness of the Coumadin, meaning he has to restrict himself from eating all the things we not only love to eat, but supposedly keep you healthy: leafy green vegetables, that include broccoli, spinach, salad greens, etc. and green tea as well. And now of course no alcohol.

There's also the possibility of uncontrolled bleeding that could happen if an injury were to occur, so that may curtail some of his bike riding, to not put himself at risk for crashing. So this could mean a lifestyle change as well!

But he did finally get up today and used his crutches to generally help with recovery. The pain from the clot is gone, making it possible for him to get around again.

Its been a wild ride the last few days. I am starting to get a little caught up on some things, but with all the added tension and lack of adequate rest, I am having my head spasms I had a few years ago, where it feels like someone is pulling your hair off and on. I don't want to have to go on the muscle relaxers I had to take last time, because they pretty much leave me unable to properly function, and right now I don't have time for me to be sidelined. They do subside when I exercise, so I have been sticking with that. I ended up doing another 8 miles Sunday on the treadmill again, and this time beat my time from last week by more than 2 minutes. I am starting to see that I can go faster than I think I can, but I just hold back. I ended up with a huge blister on my toe though, so I'm going to have to do something besides run for a day or so.

Fortunately, we didn't get the huge snow storm they predicted, just some snow, so I'm sorry if any of the rest of you had to take a hit on this! :D

The hospital itself is very nice, however, and the staff has been very kind throughout this whole ordeal. I don't know how those people can do this day after day! It takes a special kind of person to be a nurse or other hospital staff person, that's for sure!

I will keep you updated as things progress! Thanks again!

Friday, December 14, 2007


Once again, Don is in the hospital. This time something, while unexpected to him, is not as uncommon as you would think.

Today was supposed to be a day off work to finish up my Christmas shopping, to avoid those horrible weekend crowds. Instead, I spent most of the day at the hospital ER.

Don had an early morning appointment to get the stitches out of the incision from the Achilles surgery. He wasn't feeling good last night, and even worse this morning. He complained about not being able to breathe very well, felt lightheaded, and had pain in his right side.

I wondered if he had pulled a muscle using the crutches, causing him the acute discomfort. Arriving at his appointment, I noticed he was moving much slower than any time since being on crutches and also just didn't seem to have the energy to get up and around.

Fortunately, he mentioned it to the doctor, who wondered if it might be a pulmonary blood clot! I never thought of that as being a problem. Apparently, people with leg casts have this problem more than you would think. He recommended that he go straight to the ER and get it checked out.

That was at 8:30 am. We arrived at the ER before 9 am. At 3:30 pm, he was still in the ER and nothing had been diagnosed yet as to his problem. This after 2 CT scans and a chest x-ray. I finally left then because they decided to admit him for the night, and went and did a few errands, got something to eat (finally!), and then came back later.

By then, it was determined he had a blood clot in his lungs, so they put him immediately on blood thinners and of course will now have to continue with blood thinners for the rest of his life.

Fortunately he saw his doctor today or who knows what might have happened! It is diagnosed as a pulmonary emoblism, but it might have caused a stroke or killed him. What a weird turn of events! First the cancer, then the Achilles, and now the blood clot. I'm hoping bad things stop at three.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


We all have those types: either they already have everything, or you can't think of one thing to get them, or if like me this year, you just don't' feel like going out to shop. Well maybe this will make your shopping easier! It sure gave me some great ideas!

Browsing the Brookstone catalog that recently arrived in the mail, some things of "interest" caught my eye. Here are just a few:

First, to get you started, this handy device can help not only with your grocery shopping, but will definitely be a bonus for keeping track of all those Christmas lists you are thinking up in your head. Its the Grocery List Asssistant. All you have to do is talk into the speaker and it will start compiling a list for you. All for a reasonable $149.95. Makes the pen and paper obsolete.

Next, we have the heated jacket. Actually this just might be a great idea for running in the cold weather or sitting at a football game. And for a mere $179.95, you won't have to worry if your car gets stuck in a snowdrift and you're left to freeze to death. Oh, wait, it only has a 5 hour charge! Better bring a spare!

Moving on to the next useful gift, you will see the aerobic twisting stepper, the perfect addition to your home gym, and particularly nice for those who live in the snow belt. And, with this nifty gift, you can tone the upper body with the resistance bands as well as tighten the inner thighs. Perfect for the ladies on your list! Only $100.

And then, to soothe those tired feet after pounding out all those miles, you have the iSqueez calf and foot massager. For a mere $399, you can have a massage after every run and in the privacy of your own home!

And what better way to relax after a long week, but with your own personal wine chiller to chase those winter blues away! Perfect gift for that person on your list without an ice cube tray in their home. $100.

But if you prefer a more South of the Border type drink, something to take you to that tropical oasis in your mind to warm you after a run, try the marguerita party kit. Another "bargain" under $100.

Or maybe you are going to a sunny locale during the holidays or after, to get out of the snow and cold, sitting around the pool at your favorite resort, its a great idea to have your own personal Fattowel, "the ultimate choice for pool, beach, or boat." The name isn't going to win any points though! And for $99.95, you get up to 12 letters to personalize your towel.

But the one I find most "interesting" is the iGallop, core and abs exerciser. The ad says "looking good and feeling great just got a whole lot easier." I'll leave this one to your imagination! And reduced too at $299!

I hope this helps some with those gift giving ideas where you just don't have a clue! Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Since all we seem to get so far this winter is ice, ice, and more ice, I'm beginning to think I need to get a pair of ice skates if I want to get outside for any exercise. Even when nothing is coming down, its been cold enough that none of the earlier snow/ice will melt, or if it does, it refreezes over night. I don't think the sun has been out since last month either!
But then I remembered I have Yak Trax, those handy little things you can attach to your shoes to give you some traction on the ice. (Can't upload a picture so you can see them though!) They are so lightweight you won't even know they are on your shoes. And they do keep you from slipping. Now if I could just remember where they are! Be careful out there!

Saturday, December 08, 2007


It was a great day for a race! I was getting bored with training and having nothing to work for, so I was excited when this race came up.

I was feeling pretty good when I got up so headed to the "race site" after getting something to eat and having some coffee. The race was to start at a leisurely get- there-when-you-feel-like-it-time, and the "weather" was perfect: a mild temperature, dry, and heavy cloud cover. I wore shorts and a wick away shirt since it was very comfortable, but knowing I would be getting warm later. I also brought my own water bottle filled because you never know what you will find on a race course.

The course was flat, and it was to be an out an back course, with water stops every two miles. And then I started seeing other blogger friends ready to start their runs as well! Marathondudebill , Suzanne, Marcy, Jeff, Flo, Lisa, Sunshine, Jeanne, RunningRagged, my co-"race director" Nancy, as well as many other "friends" I haven't "met" yet. [Anyone else who wants their name here, let me know with your time so I can incorporate it into my run.]

When the "gun" went off, I fell into an easy pace. I decided to abandon my plan to run/walk and just run the whole way. It was a race after all! I decided to just slow it down a notch or two and see what would happen.

Naturally, the fast ones took off: Bill was in the lead with Suzanne following pretty closely, then Jeff, and was that Marcy up front too? You go girl!

Nancy, Lisa, and I pretty much were keeping the same pace, so it was nice to have someone to "run" with for a change that I could actually keep up with. Nancy was chatting away, so I just kept to the task and nodded and grunted an occasional word here and there.

And there was music all along the "course" as well! Some of my favs were playing, as well as some seasonal favorites thrown in the mix. At the 2 mile mark, I was feeling great. We stopped to grab some water and then took off again, never really slowing down, just stepping to the side to let others pass if necessary. I was glad to see we weren't getting passed too often, and it was such a fun atmosphere, with everyone calling out encouragement along the way.
Just before 3 miles, a young woman I work with came flying by. Where did she come from?? Didn't she know there was a race going on?? Soon, her husband came by as well, practically sprinting to catch her! And here too, you could see the race unfolding, with Bill in the lead, Suzanne still hanging in there, a few others I didn't know hanging pretty close as well, then Jeff, a few other women, and our own Marcy working hard to keep pace with the lead packs!

And before you knew it, the half way point was approaching and another water stop. Again, no walking, just a quick stop and a drink and we were on our way! I felt better than I thought would be possible, but I guess at this pace, which is pretty much a heart rate pace, you feel like you can go forever. Lisa decided to pick up the pace here and she got ahead, but Nancy, Jeanne, and I were still keeping a pretty even pace. After the turnaround, it was fun to see the people behind us, some running, some walking, but everyone keeping at it to complete the full distance.

The 5 mile mark was quickly approaching, and the young woman from work had turned back and met up with her husband and it seemed like they decided to call it quits. And I was pretty sure that by now the race had been "won" by Bill and soon the woman's winner would finish as well.

As one hour approached, I had to congratulate myself on keeping at a continuous run pace, something I hadn't done (or been able to do) in ages. I wasn't at quite 6 miles yet, but I am still hopeful that within time I can get my pace back to being able to run a 10k a little faster. And again we had a quick water stop and we were on our way again. I was getting encouraged to also try to pick up the pace, and decided to up it slightly.

Just before 7 miles, I suddenly found myself alone, and here it started getting a little difficult, no so much the physical aspect but the mental, to keep going, not want to stop, not give in to the need to use the bathroom. Sweat was dripping off my face now, but the temperature was still quite good, so I figured I was working a little harder here too.

Now with each footstep, I started ticking off the distance as well, trying to stay focused. It was getting to be a mental game, knowing many others were finished, but knowing there were still others out there as well and not wanting to fall behind. Physically, my legs felt great, my breathing was good, I wasn't particularly tired, but it was just the idea of wanting to be done as well as the hope to meet my goal.

Shortly after the 7 mile mark, I finally had to give in to the bathroom break urge, and went "off course" briefly. I was glad there were porta-johns so close to the course! Once I started running again, I knew it would be a quick finish and was definitely deciding to pick up the pace the last half mile. And then here, what to my wondering eyes should appear? Why its Flo on her shiny pink "reindeer." She had cleverly stashed her bike at the 4.5 mile mark and was now catching me on the way to the finish line. That's all I needed to pick up the pace and go for my famous finish line sprint!

And finally, there it was, the end! 1:33:03. My goal was to make it under 1:35; my dream goal would have been 1:30, so I was happy enough with the effort. I'll keep you in suspense as to how we all finishrf and let others tell you their stories and finish times!
Waiting at the finish were all the bloggers and their families, wishing each other congratulations, sharing stores, and relaxing and having a good time. Once I grabbed some water and toweled off a bit, I went back to the finish to wait for some of those still out on the course. Then it was time to stretch, relax, and hit the hot tub!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

More and more it seems, I will be forced inside to the treadmill this winter. Being injured for so long last year has made me a lot more cautious, and I can't bring myself to run in the dark when it is icy. Its not even so much the possibility of injury as being unable to run again. So I have to play it smart, even if it will be boring.

I knew I would have to get creative then when it came to treadmill workouts or I would go crazy. I have two or three short workouts (2-3 miles) that I like doing and I usually do after a weight routine, so its a good combination.

But to go a little longer, maybe 4-6 miles for a midweek distance, I had to come up with something. Pounding out each increment of a mile was going to take some major mental toughness. Its like watching a clock tick away time.

Yesterday, while trying to figure something out to do today, I remembered a workout I used to do on the road, when I lived out in the country, and I mean, out in the country, with dirt roads, corn fields, cows, cattle, acre after acre of farmland, and many times herds of deer or flocks of wild turkeys running through my backyard, as well as the occasional fox scurrying across the road. It was totally rural when I first started running. And yet, there was this older guy who had started running in his 60s, and was an age group winner for years, who had marked out quarter miles on the roads around the area for probably a good 10 mile radius. Everywhere I ran, there were markings indicating a quarter mile or full mile or whatever.

It was very convenient then to incorporate these into an interval workout. It was almost perfectly laid out for me to run the first mile as a warmup and then for the next 1 1/2 miles I had quarter miles marked off, turn and go back another 1 1/2 miles, and then the final 1 mile home for a total of 5 miles. I could go farther if I passed my street by 1/2 mile, because the markings continued on the other way as well. So convenient! I didn't worry about timing the intervals, just kept track of the total time, so it took all the pressure off of looking at your watch.

So why couldn't I do the same thing on the treadmill? Well today, that's what I did. I did 4 miles and then another 1/2 mile cooldown. I ran out of time to get in the last half mile, but I felt okay to stop and wanted to stretch. I ran 1 mile and then did .25 as a faster interval and then backed down to my base pace, and continued to 4 miles. I feel pretty good. I hope to increase to 6 miles eventually, but I think this will be my treadmill workout when forced to stay inside.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


The first annual 8 on the 8th Run will take place this Saturday, December 8.

The object is to cover 8 miles that day, any way you can, as best as you can. We had hoped to get some shirts, but without a firm commitment from at least 20 people, the cost would have been too high to order, so we'll have to do our own thing on shirts. I'm still willing to order if we get 20 orders though!

In preparation for Saturday's run, I have been running consistently, and on weekends have been doing between 5.4 and 7 miles. This past weekend was a treadmill run. I had only intended to do 6.5, but then I got involved in watching a movie and decided to continue on and ended up doing 7 and walking until 8. I needed to see if I could hang on for 8 miles on the treadmill if the weather forced me inside again. It wasn't the worst thing I have ever done, so I think I'll make it Saturday, either way.

And speaking of weather forcing me inside. We have had quite a wild weather week, and the sidewalks and roads around my house have been quite icy. Not sheet ice, but patches here and there, enough so it makes running in the dark not so safe. I have fallen quite a few times on black ice, chunky ice, and glare ice so I am a little paranoid. Until I can run on either completely dry pavement or pavement with enough snow on it to cover the ice, I am sorry to say I will be forced inside.

And the forecast for getting the roads cleared this winter is dismal, thanks to our brilliant state budgeting that cut back on road commission allotments, so that now, in a snow state, the road commissions are laying off people who would normally be available for snow plowing. They're just warning us ahead of time that snow clearing will be spotty at best and slower than normal. Reminds me of the 70s.

Also changing up my morning routine is needing to be around for Don in the morning to help him with a few things and get him set for the day, so I have been going to the gym at lunch or after work more and more, something I hate to do, but at least I am getting in some spinning classes that I have neglected doing by not going in the evenings.

I also signed up for the indoor triathlon at the end of January, so that's a motivation to keep up the spinning and swimming. I've managed to recruit a few people from work to do this as well, so that is more motivation! These are 25-29 year olds so I don't want them to show me up too badly!
And swimming has been going better all of a sudden too, even though I am not being that consistent with going, sometimes only once a week. Last week though I managed to go 3 times, and all my distances have been faster since a month ago.
That's about it for the last few days. Hope to hear from all of you planning on doing our virtual race this weekend!

Sunday, December 02, 2007


By Tri-Eric, whom I met at the Grand Rapids Marathon. Eric is from the Cleveland area and is also a triathlete.

Five random things about me?

I'm going to stick with running or tri randomness:

1. I've been running for almost 20 years (in 2008).

2. My fastest 5k was 21:01; slowest was 53:xx, last year after the accident where I had to walk, but it was a victory nonetheless.

3. I almost "won" a race once when the lead woman (and probably the next 10) went the wrong way.

4. I did win masters a couple of times and even won prize money!

5. My first triathlon was in 1997.

So that's about it. I have another post planned, so I will stop here today.

Wow! What a day! I finally was able to snag some tickets to Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and all I can say is incredible! I have heard their CDs, but nothing compares with the show itself. They really know how to entertain!

I managed to get a few pics, but on my cell phone camera, and I have no idea how to download those, so this is from their website. What with all the to do of the day, trying to get in a run, helping Don with his showering, taking him to his mom's for a visit, shopping, baking an apple pie to take to the IM Hawaii party, picking him up, going to the party, getting to the show, I forgot the camera in the car. Whew!

And the weather they threatened all day? Finally happened right about the time we were watching Chris McCormack cross the finish line at IM Hawaii. By the time we got ready to leave for TSO, it was freezing rain on top of the probably inch of snow. Fortunately, I have 4 wheel drive, so I feel a little safer--of my own driving. It wasn't too bad yet, but you never know what the idiots out there will do.

The trick of getting to the show, parked, and inside the arena was now going to be complicated by the weather. At first, I thought I could just pull into the handicap parking lot, as directed by the Arena reps. But no, it was too bad out, and by the time we were able to maneuver around all the other traffic and get to that lot, all of the close handicap spots were taken. I made the decision then to pull out of the line into the parking lot and drive directly to the handicap entrance so Don could get out and hopefully not break his neck on the ice/snow mess. That meant him getting out of the car on the traffic side because I couldn't get in front of the door facing the right way because of traffic. While I might be somewhat of a chicken driving at times, I never hesitate to back up to wherever I need to go, and you can just get out of my way! Anyway, once I got him inside the building, they gave him a wheelchair to sit in and then I had to go back and park the car.

And just my luck, the handicap parking lot was full and they were turning people away. Whatever, I'm just parking at the closest lot possible, which happened to be right up the street, but wouldn't you know they were charging $8 to park? Outside? In this stuff? For $8, I expect to park inside, or at least have someone clean my car off later!

But I did have a handicap sticker, so maybe that's why the guy gave me a break and let me park right next to the street (as if he owned the lot or something!) If you've ever gone to concerts or ball games in a metropolitan area where they charge for parking on any square inch of concrete, then you know its like they have squatting rights or something and collect as much as possible for each spot. Normally, I would walk the 5 or 6 blocks from my work parking lot where I can park for free, but tonight? Whatever, I'm not arguing.

Back inside at the concert, where my shoes were now soaked through, a guest services person takes us to customer service where we have to trade in our tickets for handicap seating. I was a little disappointed with this because we had floor seating, fairly close to the front, and now we would be relegated to some obscure corner. As it turned out, we were in a separate balcony in the upper bowl seating area, next to a suite, so we got to sit in folding chairs watching the group next to us party down the whole night. In this venue, there isn't a bad seat in the house for sound, but we were up higher now and I couldn't see anyone's faces. But we were amused constantly by the group next to us!

Anyway, the show was fabulous, and I couldn't help but realize how much energy these musicians put into this show! This was also their second show of the day here, so it was almost like doing 2 marathons in one day! They are all over the place constantly, and unlike other shows that always have an intermission half way through? Not them. They took a "break" and introduced all the musicians and singers and warmed up the crowd, and then it was right back at it for another hour and a half. So a total of about 3 hours, as opposed to the usual 2. For $51, I would say I got more than my money's worth! Its only taken me 5 years to get tickets! I was glad Don decided he would still go to the concert. I had almost thought of selling my tix! But that would have been too easy.
And this is what my car looked like after the show! It was actually pouring rain when we left, making for another interesting situation. There was so much ice and snow on the sidewalks, there was no way Don was going to get to the car without the wheelchair they provided. And fortunately the woman helping us pushed him right to the car. My hair was pretty much soaked running back and forth too. Fortunately, by the time we finally coordinated all this, most of the crowd had left and we don't live too far from the Arena, so it was a sloppy drive home, but not too bad with the 4 wheel drive.
We are both learning firsthand what its like living the life of a handicap person.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


sailors take warning, meaning a storm is coming. That old saying, I'm sure some of you have heard. I learned it from my grandmother, and it comes back to me whenever I see red skies in the morning.

For the most part, I think it rings true. And with a winter storm warning looming ahead for later today, I wasn't surprised to see red skies this morning.

It is 14 degrees out right now, "feels like 1" the weather report says. I'm thinking just this once that I will do my long run on the treadmill. I know that means about 1 1/4 hours of complete and utter madness and boredom, but I just can't bring myself to go outside, where the snow we got yesterday still coats the streets and sidewalks around my house, now having turned to ice because of the extreme cold temps. I have gotten used to the cold; its the ice I don't want to deal with. I have had one too many falls on ice over the years, and with one "invalid" right now in the house, we don't need two!

Actually, the weather west of us looks MUCH worse right now. Sorry you guys are getting this mess too!
What will really make the evening interesting, when the snow and ice is predicted to hit, is going out to a concert (Trans Siberian Orchestra), with Don on crutches. We are already going to have to switch over to handicap seating, since I already had the tickets when this came up. I'll let you know how it goes!