On running and December…

20161226_111145

Holiday greenery on a crazy warm day after Christmas!

“Running is nothing more than a series of agruements between the part of your brain that wants to stop and the part that wants to keep going.”  -unknown

It’s over and finished, my first run in weeks. Three slow but happy miles, run by myself with lots of time to think about goals for 2017. Running hasn’t been a priority recently, I have replaced it with meetings, travel, errands and other time filling but lesser important tasks (well, travel always rates near the top of my priority list). As I have moved though these last weeks and months, I realized the little old lady in me is itching to get out.  I can feel her presence in my knees, movements and on the scale and I am just not ready.  So I am looking for some serious motivation to keep me going in the new year!

December has been a whirlwind!  We started the month in Chattanooga, TN with friends for a 2 hour dinner ride on the Tennessee Valley Railway.  We spend the night in the lovely historic Read House Inn in downtown Chattanooga.  Sunday morning was was rainy and cool so we defered exploring outside for another time.

20161203_170514

John and I in the lobby of the historic Read House in downtown Chattanooga. The hotel lobby was beautiful and the rooms quite nice.

20161203_173144

Our dining car on the Tennessee Valley Railway.

20161203_180238

The dining car was very festive, the food was pretty good and we would do this again.

From there we headed north to Canada to historic Quebec City. This is our second visit to this beautiful city and will likely not be our last but I will post more on that later.  We stayed on a gold floor in the fabulous Chateau Frontenec.  December is off season for the city so our beautiful hotel room came at an equally beautiful price.

20161212_1010261

Lobby in the Chateau Frontenec, a Fairmont hotel.

We arrived on Sunday evening and woke to very cold and snowy Monday, 8″ of snow before the day came to an end. It finally felt like Christmas to us.  The food, snow and adventure were magical to us but our stay too short.

20161212_1021551

Old City Quebec

20161212_1340131

The Grand Chateau Frontenec

20161212_1507191

Farmers/Christmas market at Marche du Vieux-Port.  I came home with way too many maple sugar products!

As festive as we felt the beginning of the month, we struggled on the lead up to Christmas.  John finally rallied and decorated the house, inside and out. We celebrated Christmas with John’s sons who were in for the holidays as well as a Christmas Day celebration with my sisters.

20161120_173020.jpg

We put our tree up and hung a few ornaments.  The tree looked a little more festive once we hung a few ornaments. 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Do you believe in the paranormal…

Are you serious about the paranormal or a curious nonbeliever with a sense of adventure?  Last Saturday night, just prior to Halloween, when downtown Knoxville was filled with 100’s of ghosts and zombies and a flash mob may or may not have broken out in the Thriller zombie dance, we joined 20 others on a Haunted Knoxville Ghost Tour to learn about the Knoxville paranormal scene.While John and I maybe curious non believers we were open, even hopeful to the possibility that the spirits of Halloween might play hide and seek with the legends in our city.

Our Haunted Knoxville Ghost Tour was led by J-Adam Smith, a bonifide paranormal investigator who has appeared on Paranormal Television and has participated in a number of investigations in Knoxville and other parts of the country. He is a gregarious, animated and quite knowledgable on the topic of the paranormal in Knoxville.  He is also passionate about his topic.

20161029_193043-1

J-Adam’s briefcase filled with paranormal detection equipment

As per pre-arrival instructions, participants began to gather in the Market House Cafe on the northern corner of Knoxville’s famed Market Square around 7:15 PM.  J-Adam stood near a table with an open brief case filled with beeping and blinking gadgets, paranormal equipment we later learned.  He greeted each participant with a warm welcome and a Haunted Knoxville Ghost Tours lanyard. As we slipped the lanyards around our necks, we fell into the world of the paranormal for the next few hours.

20161109_135448.jpg

Ghost Tour lanyard and free entry into Scruffy City Music Hall

J-Adam began the adventure promptly at 7:30 PM, leading us to the alley behind Urban Outfitters, which we learned was the original site of the 2nd Presbyterian Church and graveyard. Those who wanted to participate in the hunt for ghosts or spirits were equipped with paranormal tools including ghost meters, hand held flash lights, EMF meters (electromagnetic field) and a spirit box. J-Adam explained the nuances of each tool.  I liked the lights and bleeps of the ghost meter so I took one of these. John, ever practical, decided to be an observer.

20161029_202013

Urban Outfitters Alley, the tour begins

20161029_201232

Ghost Meter!!

We quickly discovered that about 1/3 of our group not only knew all  the answers to J-Adam’s questions but were dead serious about the paranormal. As we moved from site to site, this group worked with the equipment, talked to the spirits and kept those of us on the fringes totally engaged. We stopped at sites of long gone funeral homes and graveyards (currently known as back alleys and empty spaces), The Bijou Theater (Lamar House), Knoxville Historial Society (ex-post office-federal court house) and the the 1st Presbyterian Church cemetary.  The history was fascinating, the spirit hunting was entertaining and we thought J-Adam Smith was a super guide. The tour lasted for 3 hours,  a value for the ticket price of  $30/per person.

20161029_203235

East Tennessee History Building once home to federal courts and post office.  According to J-Adam, it is also the site of possible ghost activity

20161029_203538

Our guide,  J-Adam Smith (seated), explaining the details on flashlight use in ghost hunting

20161029_204401

Tour participants on the hunt for spirits

20161029_205838

An empty lot on the corner of Church Avenue and Gay Street which, back in the 1800’s, was the site of a funeral home.  Do ghosts from the funeral home haunt here?  Just ask J-Adam why such a valuable piece of property sits mostly empty with a only a sculpture to occupy the space

20161029_215729

Looking for ghosts and spirits in the 1st Presbyterian Cemetery on State Street

So, did we see any ghosts or hear any spirits?  No, not unles you count a couple of fluttering flashlights and a possible “orb” on someone’s photo. But we learned something about history and the paranormal and we had a really great time and that was worth the time and money spent for the tour!

20161029_215938

1st Presyterian Church Cemetery

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Roaming in the Roans…

Mountains are the beginning and end of all natural scenery.   John Ruskin

I think the balds of the Roan Highlands are about the most beautiful place I have ever hiked. Located in the Unaka Mountain Range in Upper East Tennessee, the balds make up the longest section (7 miles) of grassy balds in the Appalachian Mountains.  All but one of the balds is located on the Appalachian Trail (AT).

dscn0686

For the weekend hiker, the AT section of trail to Grassy Ridge Bald begins at Carvers Gap, just on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. For the AT thru hiker, the trail begins some 378 miles south at Springer Mtn, GA. There were a lot of day hikers and backpackers the weekend we hiked the balds.

Late on Friday night, after yet another week of sweltering temperatures in the valley, we decided to escape the city heat and head high into the high mountains for an overnight on Grassy Ridge Bald. We choose Grassy Ridge for several reasons:

  • The drive from Knoxville is only 2.5 hours so we could get some things done in the morning and leave in the early afternoon.
  • At 6189′, Grassy Ridge Bald is guarenteed to be cooler.  We figure about 2 degrees per 1000′ so the temperature differential between Knoxville and Grassy Ridge would be at least 10 degrees.  The bald is also free of heavy vegetation and with a likely breeze blowing up and over the bald, the temperature would be even cooler.
  • While demanding for short stretches, the 1.8 mile trail from the Gap to the Bald is moderate and would take significantly less time than the drive.
  • The views are amazing!!
dscn0689

The AT section leading to the Balds of the Roan Highlands, begins with 8 log steps which lead to an opening in the log fence, then an ascent through a small spruce forest and up to the top of the 1st bald, Round Bald.  The ascent is not too demanding and most of the trail surface is packed gravel. It is no surprise that many day hikers stop at Round Bald.

dscn0620

Grasses near the top of Round Bald

20161001_154336

Dayhikers at the top of Round Bald.

dscn0626

John hiking down the backside of Round Bald, Jane Bald lies ahead of him. Notice the AT sign post on the left of the photo indicating we are headed north on the AT. On the backside of the sign is a southward marker. From Georgia to Maine, the AT is marked with a “white” blaze.

dscn0621

Didn’t I say, the views are spectacular??

dscn0628

We are now looking back toward Round Bald, which is in the foreground with the AT winding up the bald in the left of the photo. Roan Mountain is the tallest mountain behind Round Bald with Carvers Gap in the center between the two. The photo is from Jane Bald.

Jane Bald is the 2nd of the 6 balds that make up the Roan Highlands. The trail (still on the AT) that climbs Jane is a little rougher and rockier than Round Bald.  At the top of Jane Bald, the AT splits to the left and continues over Yellow Mountain, Little Hump and Big Hump (each one equally beautiful) as it heads north toward Mt. Katahdin, Maine some 1810 miles away.

Since our destination was Grassy Ridge Bald, we forked to the right and followed an unmarked spur trail climbing up a rutted, rocky trail through rhododendren thickets.  The Roan Highlands are known for their spectacular display of rhododedren blooms around the 3rd week of June.

dscn0676

Hiker climbing to the top of Grassy Ridge Bald.  Jane Bald,  Round Bald and Roan Mountain are visible behind the hiker.

dscn0674

A dense rhododendren forest arches over a secton of the trail near the top of Grassy Ridge Bald.

dscn0673

Up and over the top of Grassy Ridge Bald

Based on the number of cars in the parking lot at Carver’s Gap and foot traffic on the trail, we were not surprised to find the best tent sites on Grassy Ridge Bald taken.  We crossed over Grassy Ridge and dropped down into a gap (our usual camping spot) only to find a tent set up in the middle of the gap.  While technically there was still space for  a second tent, we continued up the other side to a rhododendren garden with rocky outcrops.

dscn0631

John begins the tent set up for what we though was the perfect campsite.  As it turns out, we bypassed testing on the ground cloth to see if the site was flat and later discovered that the middle of the tent was in a bit of “impression” in the ground.

20161001_173432

Incredible view from our tent!

20161002_080906

Our tent is nestled against a rhododendren thicket which provides protection from wind that often roars up the side of the mountain and across the balds.

20161001_185809

We were treated to a spectacular sunset.

dscn0659

Both of us were happy to see the sunrise, it had been a restless night on the uneven ground.  Besides, we always look forward to coffee and the best cup is the one sipped in the great outdoors.

dscn0667

We watched clouds gather in the valley as we sipped coffee on our rock outcropping some 6000′ above the valley floor.  It was a beautiful  morning.

dscn0642

Morning light in the mountains.

After an hour or so of  cloud watching and packing, we hiked out the same way we came in. It had been a great 24 hours in one of our favorite areas and our 78th backpack was in the books.

The trailhead at Carver’s Gap and parking are located about 25 minutes from Elizabethon, Tennessee off Highway 19E. From 19E take  Hwy 143 to Carver’s Gap.  At the base of the mountains, on Hwy 143 is one of Tennessee’s 56 State Parks, Roan Mountain State Park .  A visitors center is located on the main road where maps and information can be obtained. Hiking and camping in the Roan Highlands is free.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Few Things I Did This Weekend 6/19/2016…

Hard to believe it is already mid-June, 2016 is flying by.  My intentions to post more often are good but somehow I end of with these short weekend clips, nothing noteworthy of a singular blog post. So here is what I have been up to….

1. COMPLETED MY 2016 COMMUNITY SERVICE OBLIGATIONS….

My work requires so many hours of community service each year. Sound easy?  Not so much, the service must be with a company sponsored event and finding a fun and interesting event can be tricky.  So, although I was scheduled to (and did work) Saturday morning, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to volunteer to help host a free movie at the Princess Theater in Harriman, TN on Saturday night.  Afterall, it is fun to visit the historic little towns within an hour’s drive of Knoxville and a historic old theater is a bonus!

The Princess was originally built in 1926 and has changed hands and been restored several times. Now owned by the City of Harriman, it is used for community events and rental. My company rented the theater for the evening and sponsered a showing of the movie “Finding Nemo” for residents of Harriman and the surrounding (even smaller) towns.

Harriman is a 50 minute drive from Knoxville so  I was very happy when I discovered John planned to make the drive with me.  We left town about 4:30 PM and (after a bit of misdirection from me “she said sheepishly”), we ended up right on time.  While I stood outside in the heat and humidity greeting folks from the community,  John sat in the comfort of the theater and read.  We wrapped the evening up around 8:30 PM and headed home.  Yea for wrapping up 2016 community service obligations.

That’s me on the left below. Sorry for the blurriness, the photo has been through several texts and emails….

20160618_190500

Princess Theater, Harriman, TN

2.  BOOKS FROM AMAZON…

I have been reading about several books on some of the assorted blogs I frequent.  Two that I ordered in hard copy (versus Kindle) are “Julia Reed’s South”, ’cause who wants a cookbook on Kindle, and “30 Chic Days” by Fiona Ferris, ’cause I thought I might want to make some notes.

While I know Fiona Ferris is popular with the over 40 set, I have yet to finish any of her books (I confess to purchasing several).  But based on positive comments, I had hopes I might find some interesting tips and ideas in this one. My problem is that telling me to “view my life” as if I am somewhere else is a real turnoff for me.  I find my life fun and enjoyable and do not need to “filter” my life to make it so. With that said, I will work through the book and see what tips I can cull from the pages.

DSCN9723

The other book, “Julia Reed’s South” is a delight of beautiful photographs, entertaining stories and recipes, mostly from the South. Since it is almost tomato time here, I have been looking for a great Gazpacho recipe to serve on steamy summer nights.  I think this one might fit the bill and tomato sherbet?  Hmmmm…

DSCN9727

3. LONG, LEISURELY SUNDAY RUN….

My recent long runs have been a struggle.  This weekend I set out with little plans other than to run as long as I could.  My usual running partner, John, was bicycling with his son Lee so I was on my own with only myself to encourage me on.

The morning showed signs of warming quickly but the humidity was blissfully low.  Early on I decided to give up “flat and sunny” for “hilly and mostly shady”, it was a good trade.  I headed toward the nearby nature center and kept running. I moved at my usual slow, summer pace but I felt strong and happy! What a gift to have such a run after weeks and weeks of difficult runs.

Done: 7 glorious miles!  The scenery pictures below were taken on the run but I did stop for a moment to take the flower photos.

DSCN9700

Dappled sunlight

DSCN9701

Greenway overlook on an inlet for the Tennessee River

DSCN9705

Will Skelton Greenway just outside Ijams Nature Center

DSCN9707

Mimosa flowers

DSCN9715

Queen Anne’s Lace

DSCN9716

One of the prettiest roadside flowers around!!!  As kids we use to put them in bottles of water with food coloring.  The flowers take on the food color.  Glorious!

4. CELEBRATED FATHER’S DAY…

We had a lovely “Sunday Supper” on our side porch, celebrating John in fine style. We grilled ribeyes and shrimp and threw in a couple of insignificant sides.  Who needs sides when you are eating steak and shrimp.

This was John’s last Father’s Day for a long time with one of his children living in town.  He was was trying to savor the moments.  We will miss this child of his but we still have a few more weeks…

IMG_20160619_181648_513

My view from the dinner table

5. CONTEMPLATED “PROJECT RETIREMENT”…

DSCN9732.JPG

Many years ago (about 37), my dad was thinking about his retirement.  He was just 55 at the time but I remember him telling me that so many men he knew  from the laboratory (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) developed health problems or had heart attacks and died within a few years of retirement.  He believed it was because they had retired without a plan for life after retirement.

My dad worked hard over 10 years to begin his transition from work to retirement, which he did at 65. He renewed his interest in art and photography, he took classes, he volunteered for 30 years at Zoo Knoxville, he joined several clubs and he took up hiking again.  He and my mother also entertained until they could no longer do so. My father passed away on April 18th of this at 92.  He still painted, he keep up with the zoo (and the zoo kept up with him), and he still had friends for whom he remained in close contact.

As of June 1st, I am 3 years from retirement.  This weekend I began to begun to read and seriously contemplate my life after retirement (I am a little late according to my father’s schedule).  I am working on what I have dubbed “Project Retirement.”  More on this later…

Posted in A Few Things W/E, Books, Retirement, Running, Summer | Leave a comment

Weekend Musing…

Summer has arrived down south, just a little early for my taste.  With it’s arrival comes summer’s evil henchmen, heat and humidity. But also the sweet scents of magnolia, mimosa and honeysuckle which are currently heavy in the air.  A light breeze or a spot of shade can make a suffocating  afternoon almost bearable.

Southern summers are a challenge to me, my motivation wains and I struggle with running.  I am a winter girl at heart but I do my best to get through. With that said, we had a good weekend, quiet and uncomplicated.  But my runs, well not so much…

I tried to do an 8 mile run, but didn’t….

IMG_20160604_094607_713

Saturday morning was reserved for my long run.  With my eyes on a November marathon, this was my day to determine if the goal was feasible.  My father’s death and sister’s move have altered my spring training schedule. In late March, early April, I had been at 7 miles but fell back, for more than several weeks.  Originally last weekend was to be my drop dead date for reaching 8 miles but I didn’t make it and wasn’t ready to let go of the dream, so I delayed the decision for one more weekend.

I went into the weekend very tired so I admit, I woke up about 2 hours later than I should and once up, I convinced myself that relaxing with a couple of cups of coffee was a good idea (bad idea by the way).   So while I was on the road by 10:00 am, the temperature had already reached mid-80’s and the sun was relentless.  John, who is not as heat sensitive as me was running along beside me chattering about work, the neighborhood etc.  Meanwhile, I was struggling.  The first few miles  were completed at my usual slow “summer” pace but around mile 2.5, I started getting in real trouble.

I started a walk-run routine which is never a good idea for me.  Once I slow to a walk, my brain goes in “finished” mode and I have a hard time restarting.  John, who has been so supportive of my marathon goal was willing me on but realized I was in trouble ran to the house for water and the car so he could get back faster than by foot.

Once re-hydrated, he urged me on. I slowly started running again. “I’ll drive down the street and you run to me,” he says.  Good plan in theory but not so much for this day. He drove less than a mile down the road, parked a shady spot (under the bridge in the above pic) and started running back to me. He ended up running further than he expected before I finally came into his view.  He called out encouragement but I was walking and in tears.  The blubbering “I can’t do this” began.  Boy do I hate summer running!  I ended up getting home by car, the “drive of shame 🙂 ”  Lucky for me, after an hour or so in air conditioning, I convinced myself to give it another go on Sunday.  Done: 4.5 miles

Well, after a sunny, hot, humid morning comes a late afternoon rain….

DSCN9643

Geez!  We had plans to drive to Pigeon Forge (one of two so called resort towns at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park) for the evening to do some outlet shopping that we had been putting off but first we had to check dinner off our list. We were hungry! We decided to eat downtown (about 2.5 miles from the house) so we wouldn’t end up waiting hours for a table in almost any restaurant in P.F. due to the tourist traffic.

Our choice was Sweet P’s, our favorite “go to” restaurant any time.  Sweet P’s offers classic barbecue (pork, chicken, brisket, meat loaf etc) and sides.  Always good comfort food!

DSCN9647

I enjoyed pulled chicken, pinto beans and a non creamy coleslaw.  Actually not too unhealthy compared to the mac and cheese that I really wanted!

DSCN9648

The rain was not slacking up outside

DSCN9650

But linger as we tried, if we were going to get our shopping done, it was time to go.

So off we went to Pigeon Forge via Sevierville, home of country star Dolly Parton.  Dolly has done a lot for this little town of hers (and the very nearby town of Pigeon Forge) including buying the old “Silver Dollar City” and turning it into an amazing amusement park called Dollywood.  Unfotunately, much of what has grown up around Dollywood is chain restaurants, motels and outlet malls.  Sevierville (below) remains a somewhat quaint town though things are changing fast.

DSCN9654

Sevierville in the rain

Driving into Sevierville, usually means a great view but Saturday it was shrouded in clouds and rain.  The outskirts of Sevierville overflows into Pigeon Forge (below) where the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park become visible (again that rain and fog are obscuring). Traffic in Pigeon Forge is legendary.   On this particular evening, it wasn’t too bad.

DSCN9656

Traffic going into (brake lights) and coming out of (headlights) Pigeon Forge

We got our shopping done and were happy to be home to clearing skies.

Sunday morning, we went out for a run again, this time a couple of hours earlier.  The run was not easy but the sun stayed behind clouds so it was not unbearable. I still had 8 miles in my mind but was very grateful for 7.  John and I talked a lot in the 24 hours leading up to the run, about my ability to train during the summer, life’s stresses from the spring and what else we might do if I was not training for a marathon.

You see, back in very early March, my application to run in the NY Marathon was accepted.  I have dreamed of running the NY Marathon long before I began running.  I have so many memories of standing on the street corner of 7th Ave and 53rd Street on a November Sunday morning cheering racers on (I use to travel to NY for work). I wanted to be part of that!  And when I was accepted, I was so excited, what an amazing opportunity!  I am fully aware that at 63, my opportunity to run a marathon is waning so it is with much regret (and some relief) that I have decided to defer the run for another year.

John and I have decided to keep working on running this year, building mileage, getting stronger and possibly even entering some races of different mileage.  I haven’t given up on me and the marathon but I am putting it to rest for now.  I need to step back, deal with my emotionally difficult spring and come back stronger.

I spent my Sunday afternoon in the yard searching for interesting greenry and making small arrangements.  I enjoy finding bits of things in the yard and making arrangements. Post run seemed to offer up some time to relax and arrange.  I started with one vase using left over birthday flowers and just couldn’t stop.  It was a nice way to spend the afternoon…

IMG_20160604_112257_070

Variegated Solomon Seal, rosemary and leftover flowers from my birthday arrangement

DSCN9661

Hosta, coleus, barberry (green and red) and coral bells

DSCN9668

Red tip photinia, coleus, green barberry, maple leaves and purple flower from birthday arrangement

 

DSCN9672

Coral bells flowers and leaves, variegated hosta, rosemary and red tipped photinia.  The painting is one in a series of fish my father painted a number of years ago.

DSCN9670

The tall arrangement from above (my favorite) next to a pencil drawing of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, again, by my father.

 

Posted in 5 Things, Running | Leave a comment

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…

DSCN9589

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!

DSCN9596

Gerber Daisy

DSCN9609DSCN9613DSCN9615

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.

IMG_20160528_092403_435

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

IMG_20160528_095133_511

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!!

IMG_20160528_095143_303

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

IMG_20160528_095230_828

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?!

IMG_20160528_095314_649

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!

Posted in 5 Things, Family, Running | 2 Comments

Trying to shake loose the guilt of commitments…

I went for a run this morning, I needed to clear my head. Work, volunteer committee meetings that have developed into more meetings and other life demands have me feeling a little blue. It was raining lightly as I left the house. My support team of one (John) was out there with me, once again walking nearly as fast as I can run.

I thought about entering the 4th quarter of my 62nd year and how grateful I am that my body still allows me to run, hike and play hard. I thought about the big goals l have left hanging and which ones I really want to accomplish. I thought about how lucky I am to be me and live the life I live. And I thought about the fact that I don’t have to feel guilty about missing some of those committee meetings that have turned into a weekly events (yes, really!!). This last point is important because I need to remind myself that  sometimes it’s hard to see through the casual commitments and remember that it is the time spent running, hiking and spending time with friends that will matter to me.  The time spent in meetings upon meetings will feel like time wasted! 

Meanwhile the intensity of the rain picked up, Thunder and lightening rolled across the sky. I imagined that I was ninja, running between the drops. I turned to looked at my support team who had the hood of his rain jacket pulled low over his face and walked behind me without complaint. He is good that way. We made our way home.

Done: 4.2 miles. BTW, I am not ninja, I am soaking wet!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment