5ish Things I Did This Weekend… (and a little life catch up)

What a long, strange first 1/2 of 2016 I have had. The year started with feeling overwhelmed by commitments that, yes, I had gotten myself into. Volunteer work began to feel like a full time job and I already have one of those.  Then, late January, early February, some things happened with the organization (church) that had me questioning  the concept of volunteerism. Ouch! I am still hanging on as a volunteer committee chair, but just by a thread. I tried to resign a month ago but the staff “ignored” my  request and paired down some of the committee goals.  So here I am, still volunteering and counting the days till the end of the year when I step down.

In March, John and I followed John’s son, Lee to California to visit the campus of UC-Davis where he (Lee) had been considering an offer to work on a doctorate in neuro chemistry (he has since accepted the offer and will begin in late August). This trip came at the right time for me, I was getting restless and ready for a little adventure. The three of us had a fabulous time exploring the University, the small college town of Davis and a few days in San Francisco.

Sadly, reality struck in April. My 92 year old father had, for some weeks, been having some issues with his ability to express his thoughts. The words were in his mind but he just couldn’t verbalize them.  Long story short, (I will write more on this later) he went into the hospital on Sunday, April 10th, had a battery of tests, was pronounced healthy by the hospital and sent to the nursing home (attached to his retirement center) to recover his strength.  As the week went on, he got increasingly worse and  passed away the following Monday, April 18th.  My heart was is broken, it happened so fast. But we had an internment service to plan, a celebration of life to host and his apartment to clean out, all by May 1st. No time for my heart and mind to grieve…

Finally, May arrived.  My older sister Carol, who  in April had been in the early stages of getting things arranged to move into the retirement community near my father, had given notice to her apartment to be out by the end of May. Unfortunately he passed away before pushing Carol to get things done so it was up to my sister Leslie and I to do the task.   As I sit here today, May 30th, we are not quite done. More on this below…

So we arrive at the end of May. It has been a busy Memorial Day weekend no doubt but much of it involved Carol’s move and was not too exciting.  Nevertheless, I was able to eke out 5 4 things I did.

1) I Turned 63…

My birthday was Friday, May 27th and did I ever wake up in a birthday funk! My husband mumbled Happy Birthday a couple of times, wished me a happy day and headed off to work. No plans, no cards, just Happy Day. I was blue.  For the last few years, I had been feeling like birthdays were just another day.  On this day I felt sure I had finally reached that time.

Then somewhere around midday, I looked up and saw my sweet sister Leslie standing in the lobby, arms filled with flowers, balloons, cake and a gift bag with a hand knit scarf. I hugged her, I could have cried. Later in the day, a truck outside caught the attention of my work mates and a delivery man came through the door with a huge bouquet from my incredible husband. Another rush of emotion…


Birthday balloons, flowers and cards!

Home about 6:30 PM and John is rushing me, “7:00 PM reservations at Bistro by the Tracks,” he says, “we are going to be late.” We were on time and had an amazing dinner in “The Wine Cellar” at the Bistro. Yes indeed, he can still surprise me!  My meal consisted of lettuce wedge with blue cheese and balsamic vinegar, pan seared Halibut with green lentils in a roasted red pepper sauce and asparagus AND lemon curd with blueberry yogurt,shortbread crumbles and lavender merengue.   Oh my, so incredible!!! What a memorable birthday dinner.

So maybe I judged too quickly, maybe old lady birthdays ARE special days… It was a very good day!


Gerber Daisy


2) Explored a New Running Trail

Saturday morning, I was suffering from a food hangover for sure, but blowing off my run was not an option.  I have gotten off track over the last 5 weeks and I am really struggling to find my way back.  My original plan was to run 7-8 miles but Carol’s move was dictating my weekend so I settled for a shorter run in a new location, University of TN’s Cherokee Farms.  Cherokee Farm is sight of the old University AG campus and home to the new research campus (where John will move within the year).

A greenway has been built along the Tennessee River on the campus.  The trail is about 4 miles out and back and the flattest running path I have found in Knoxville. Note the putting green on the right of the picture.  This is one in a series of putting holes built for the UT Golf Team.


The grounds have been groomed as a wildlife habitat.  The number of birds flying in and out of the undergrowth is amazing.


Only one building has been constructed to date (others are planned) and it is in the final stages of completion.  This is the building that John and his microscopes will move to sometime late this year or early next year.  Good news for John, the building has showers and the green way is just steps away!!


I thought this tree looked amazing with the clouds in the background.


Cherokee Farms is across the river from one of the “wealthy” sections in Knoxville. At one time it was the most elite address in town and still ranks very high for those who desire to live close to town.  The white house in the background once housed Knoxville’s first art museum, Dulin Gallery of Art, which opened in 1961 in the HL Dulin house. The house was built  in 1915. It had limited space and no climate control so it was sold as a private residence and the museum moved to a new building. What a view the homeowners have, right?!


3) Moved My Sister into a Retirement Living Facility

Moving my sister Carol has been a terribly painful time for both me and my younger sister, Leslie.  Leslie and I have done 99% of the packing, throwing away, cleaning and so forth. This is the 2nd time Leslie and I have moved Carol in the past 5 years.  We hope this will be the last time until she moves into assisted living or the nursing home.

The issues we have with Carol are not topics I really want to cover in a public blog but it will suffice to say my sister is a bit (well big) hoarder and not one to run the vacuum cleaner or pick up the dust rag, well, in this apartment for 5 years.  It has been an emotional experience going through family heirlooms, making decisions for Carol and deciding what she can and cannot keep.  Her new apartment is VERY limited with space and she is trying to take way more than space will allow. Unfortunately, her personality quirks do not provide her with good judgement skills for this type of activity.

As of the end of Monday, we have her moved in.  Leslie closed out her apartment today and turn off the electricity.  Boxes are still stacked to the ceiling in her new apartment and the retirement center will not allow these to remain for long.  We will have to go through the boxes again and throw away.  Sigh, I had really hoped the move would be done by the end of May but it appears we have another week or so to go.

4) Went in search of 8 miles..

Monday I went in search of 8 miles, I was only able to run 3.5. It’s hard for me to say exactly what went wrong.  I have been running 5.0-6.0 reasonably strong miles and should have been able to run the distance with some level of push and discomfort, but I couldn’t.

I have thought through several possible problems, one being an emergency stop at home about midway through due to some irritable “b” problems I have been having recently, the next was the number of steps I climbed yesterday while moving boxes and garbage out of my sister’s apartment, and the third was the time constraint for meeting Leslie at Carol’s apartment late morning.  I beat myself up for not getting out earlier, for not pushing harder and for general failure but I finally just accepted that this was not my day, showered and headed to Carols. Tomorrow is another opportunity to run and next weekend is another chance to go for 8.0

So, this was my weekend.  I am counting on fun and adventure in the near future.  I hope you are having that kind of time now!

This entry was posted in Family, Running. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 5ish Things I Did This Weekend… (and a little life catch up)

  1. First of all, Brava to you for getting yourself out there and running, both times, amidst everything you’re going through. The 8 Miles (and that’s a long run, a big commitment!) will happen, and you must know that as an experienced runner, but perhaps for now, you could pat yourself on the back just for getting your shoes laced up and your feet running the trail.
    And then I have to offer my condolences on the loss of your father. For this to have happened so precipitously makes it even tougher. Parental loss is something we all know has to happen, and yet I know no one who has found it easy to cope with, no matter the state of the relationship. And grieving it takes a long time. To have to turn from that to care for your sister? Wow! That’s huge, especially since you’re still working.
    So glad you had a good fuss made over you at your birthday (and we’re the same age, except that I’m older by 10 days) — we think we don’t care, but it’s always nice to feel special, no?
    Belated happy birthday, and I hope you can start carving out some time to look after yourself.

    • smithposts says:

      Hi Frances, thank you so much for still reading on the occasion that I still write :-). I miss the writing, time has been so hard to come by.

      Yes, you are right. The 8 miles will come but I am working against a fall run commitment and the distractions could prove to be the undoing of that goal. Will try again this weekend… Sigh!

      Looks like you had a grand birthday too! So glad you had family to share it with. BTW, we have been doing a lot of sorting through family treasures clearing out my Dad’s apt and packing and moving my sister. It is so hard to let go of those emotional bonds. So far my sisters and I have soldiered through. John is suggesting that maybe it is time to do this at our house. I am not sure I have the stomach for it so quickly after doing this for family.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s