Hip, Hip Hooray for Christmas Vacation

I never got a chance to blog about my Christmas experiences so it’s a little late but……

Due to work load and customer and quality issues, I was reluctant to ask my boss if I could take off that week before Christmas. I had plenty of vacation time left and didn’t want to lose it and also wanted to spend time with Daniel and Sadie.

She was very nice to tell me to take off and enjoy. I spoke with my supervisors and asked them to please take care of things in my absence. I finally have 4 supervisors. The newest guy that I hired is a young Navy vet and particularly impressive.

Kevin still had to work so I had to decide if I wanted to spend my days off here in Columbia or drive to St. Louis apartment and spend as much time with the kids as possible. I was stressed because I still had not done any Christmas shopping so I intended to do that. I had tickets to the “Nutcracker Ballet” with Allison (daughter in law) and Sadie (my almost 4 year old granddaughter). I intended to see the Nutcracker and spend a couple days with Daniel and Sadie and come back home to Columbia on Tuesday to spend with the dogs, Kevin and do some Christmas shopping for the kids.

I received a Christmas package from my Sister-in-Law so I decided I’d carry it with me and open when I got to St. Louis.

I left for St. Louis early on Friday morning December 16. I wanted to leave early because we had tickets to the Nutcracker Ballet for Allison, Sadie and me for the next day. There was no particularly scary weather except for maybe some snow and freezing rain that was headed north.

St. Louis is normally a 1:45 minute drive for me if I don’t stop to pee or get something to eat or drink. There was a bit of freezing rain but to make a long story short, it took me 9 hours to drive to my apartment. It was a weird black ice situation and there were vehicles sliding off the road and vehicles unable to get up any incline. At one point, it was a standstill for 3 hours. There wasn’t a way to turn back nor any way to get off an off-ramp. I was hungry and needed to pee. At the 3 hour standstill, I opened the gift that my sister in law sent me. It was a beautiful Tennessee Volunteer Christmas ornament. My late brother loved the Volunteer football team. It made me cry. She also put candy in the package which I laughingly say saved my life since I had not eaten since 5:30am that morning! It was the most tense and stressful drive I’ve ever had. It was also the most dangerous. I finally arrived at the apartment in STL at about 9pm.

I “skated” over to Whole Foods and got something to eat. I drank the one beer in the fridge to calm my nerves.


And I found out due to the terrible ice storm, the Nutcracker Ballet the next day was canceled. So, my real reason for driving up early was shot to hell. I was told the next available show was the following Wednesday. So, that meant that I would spend the entire week leading up to Christmas in St. Louis.

I intended to make the best of it. So I would spend a lot of time with Daniel and a few days with Sadie. Kevin would drive up on Thursday night with Peyton and Eli so we could all spend Christmas together.

Daniel spend the entire week with me. Sadie spent a couple of nights so their Mom and Dad could shop for Santa. I enjoy every minute that I spent with Daniel. Sadie will spend a while but always misses her Mom and Dad.

Saturday the kids brought over both kids so they could shop. It was so cold. I took the kids to Union Station to visit the North Pole thing they had there. It was nice and a lot for the kids to do. Daniel went ice skating and Sadie played in the snow.

I had a great time with the kids. They always make my life better. I made Daniel’s favorite breakfast every morning. One morning we made Chocolate gravy and homemade biscuits and the next one sausage milk gravy and homemade biscuits. I haven’t made those things since I moved from Tennessee. Daniel loved it! Of course he usually gets everything he wants when he stays with me.


 

He is a good kid and minds me very well. He is funny and a great conversationalist. I don’t think anyone knows that side of him like I do. I just feel good when he is with me. And we watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” together. I told him he would have a quiz at the end to make it pay attention and he nailed that quiz!


 

Wednesday came and it was time to dress up and go to the Nutcracker Ballet. Sadie looked like a princess. She loves ballet but I think sitting still was a little much for her. She wasn’t on her sweetest behavior! We had 2nd row seats and soon her Mom took her closer to the back so she wouldn’t disturb others. I enjoyed the ballet as I always do. We can wait til she’s a little older to try it again.


 

Later that night after the Nutcracker, we all went out to a Mexican restaurant to pig out.


So, on Thursday, I took both the kids home. I went back to my apartment and went out for a 3 mile run. It was my first time running the entire time I was up this trip. Kevin drove up on that night. I was so happy to see him and my furry babies.


Kevin and I went out on Friday night to see Christmas lights and St. Louis decorations. I always enjoy going downtime to the City Garden to see the lights. Wheen we got home, I enjoyed a Chocolate Covered Bailey’s Alcoholic beverage and relaxed.


 

On Saturday, the kids came to our place to open presents. My ex-husband (also Daniel and Sadie’s granddad) was up so our time with them was limited. Daniel and Sadie always get a lot of stuff.

I love those kids.


On Christmas morning, Kevin and I had breakfast and went to the see what Santa brought Daniel and Sadie.

Afterwards, we decided to drive back to Columbia. I had missed being at my real home so it felt good to be home. It had been a weirdly strange time for me. But anytime I spend with Daniel and Sadie is always a feel good for me no matter what.

When I got home, I had a package waiting for me from my sweet sister, Barbara. It was a thoughtful gift that I will cherish.


I only worked a few days the coming week. Kevin and I spent a quiet night in our Columbia home and welcomed in 2017! It was a good year and I’m looking forward to 2017 even though I’m a year older!


~Merry
Christmas and Happy
New
Year~

26.2 at the City By the Lake

It’s less than 6 days and I think I’m ready…

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Saturday was my last long run before the big one on this upcoming Sunday. I ran it through downtime St. Louis and I felt amazing during this run even with the St. Louis inclines!

I ran fast and strong the entire time. I even felt that elusive “runner’s high” that we all seek. When the run was over, I couldn’t stop thinking about how good it felt. At that moment, I felt I was ready for 26.2 miles.

It was cool and cloudy, my favorite kind of weather so I knew it would not suck too bad. Downtime St. Louis was very busy and they were having an event there “Sista Strut STL” ` Breast Cancer Awareness

So I felt like I was in a special event! Beautiful and friendly crowd that was colorfully dressed so that’s my kind of event!

I do love running in downtown St. Louis and Forest Park.

Afterwards, we went to watch Daniel play soccer for the first time. His team got demolished but I laughed so much. Kevin and I spend the rest of the Daniel and night with Daniel and Sadie.

We went to the hill to eat Italian….well, because I’m card loading! haha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last weekend, Kevin and I went to Iowa so I could visit and run with my friend Tammy. It was wonderful to finally meet her even though I felt like we have been friends for years. She and I visited together on that Friday afternoon and met up with her husband (David) and her awesome daughter (Kayla) and her friend Riley. Kevin and David hit it off well. We went to “2 Dogs Pub” Friday night for beer and food.

Tammy and I ran 10 miles together the next morning in her hometown. We are running the Chicago marathon together and we are great running partners as we both discovered. I’m excited to cross that finish line with her.

After our run, we all went out to lunch together at “30 Hop.” It was a great visit and it felt like saying goodbye to an old friend.

See you in Chicago, Tammy!

After that, Kevin and I drove 3 hours northwest to visit the Iowa city of Clear Lake. It’s the famed place of the tragic plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens. They performed that fated night for the last time in a club in that little town. Kevin is a music lover and historian of sorts. He is particularly a fan of Buddy Holly. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a great visit to Iowa and we’ll be back.

The Day the Music Died (Marathon Training and Such)

It’s less than 3 weeks until the Chicago Marathon.


Last weekend was my biggest and most important training run. It was scheduled for Saturday but I needed to see my Daniel and Sadie (grandkiddies) which I haven’t seen since Labor Day.

They usually spend the Saturday night with us when we are at the apartment in St. Louis. But I could only spend a day with them in St. Louis because I needed to be back in Columbia in order to rest up for my 22 mile run on the MKT trail.

I can never spend enough time with them but we tried to cram as much fun in with them as possible.


I will be glad when this is all over so I can spend quality time with them again. They need me and I need them more.

But, the time is very near and I can get back to enjoying my life and enjoying running again.

Training for a marathon is the hardest thing that I’ve ever done, honestly. I could not even enjoy my Saturday night knowing that I would spend a big part of the daylight on Sunday running plus there’s football on Sunday.

I am now happily in the taper part of marathon training so my miles are going down significantly especially the long run on the weekend.


Now about my 22 mile run…..

It was about 70 degrees when I started but the temps would rise to about 85 or so which is too warm for me. It wasn’t as humid so that was good. I always do my over 10 mile runs on the MKT trail which is a beautiful trail that leads into the KATY trail. It stretches across the state of Missouri.

Kevin always rides his bike with me on these runs because it makes my run more comfortable with him carrying my water, food and other things that I may need. It also makes me feel safer if I get hurt or sick for him to be there. He usually doesn’t stay that close to me and gets to enjoy his ride. He keeps my hand held water bottle full and circles back to see if I need fuel.

But on this morning, I wanted him to spend some time with the Peyton and Eli (my dogs) and give them a nice long walk after their breakfast. Dogs get neglected because of marathon training also.

He dropped me off at the trail head and went back home to walk the dogs. He loaded up his bike and came back to the trail to catch up with me. By then, I had already gone almost 11 miles and was about to turn around to head back. I was getting a little worried that it took him so long but I had plenty of water and fuel. There are 3 water and potty stops on the way. I didn’t stop to potty but did stop to fill my bottle.

I had a respectable speed going (for me) until my toes starting hurting at about 18 miles or so. It seemed my toes were hitting the toe of my shoe causing pretty significant pain. And I had just bought these shoes a half size bigger than the others. I think my socks were too padded at the toe. I don’t want to buy more shoes. I still have some experimenting to do with socks/shoes maybe.

I hate headphone cords. They bother me and cause me to get agitated on long runs. So I decided to try out my Denon Exercise Freak wireless headphones. They fit perfect and work well for the most part. But it ran down my iPhone quickly so I ran out of music at mile 12 or 13. That’s not good. I need music when I run alone.


But I did bring my iPod Nano and headphones stuck in my sports bra! And I got it going and it screwed up. It kept skipping music and playing over and over even though I had it set on shuffle. At about mile 18 or so, I just held it in my hand to keep it from skipping.

So for 12 miles or so, it was easy peasy. It turned to crap after that!

At mile 20, I filled my water bottle, paused my Garmin and was going to decide if I might call it over at 20 and walk the other 2 miles. I saw it as a win/win or a lose/lose anyway because my run was supposed to be 20 miles anyway. But I quickly decided that I would run the last 2 miles. Honestly, with my toes hurting, it felt just as good to run as to walk.

I finished 22 miles!


I walked around a while afterwards while Kevin loaded his bike up. I always have a fear of getting in the car and having those very painful thigh cramps that I get sometimes.

But I did not cramp up the entire day or night.

When I got home, I took a long shower and Kevin made me a couple of bloody marys while I finished watching the Kansas City Chiefs get beat by the Texans!


Even the dogs pampered me.


Later, Kevin rolled my legs and made a delicious dinner. I slept well and work up with no real soreness the next morning and went to work.

I was supposed to run 5 miles last night after work but I came home so tired that I was asleep before 8pm. I forgot to set the alarm and woke up at 6:30am and was supposed to wake up at 4:30am. I also had a terrible headache so I just stayed home.

I started feeling better and got in my 8 mile run on the trail even though it was very warm. I came home and walked the dogs and mowed the yard.

Back to work again early in the morning. I have 5 miles on deck for tomorrow night.

Kevin and I are going to Iowa on Friday to meet and spend some time with my friend Tammy at VeganRunnerNerd. We are going to hang out Friday night and get up on Saturday morning and have a 13 mile run together. I’m excited to finally meet her. We are running the Chicago Marathon together.

Kevin and I will leave for Clear Lake, Iowa that afternoon because my hunny wants to visit the place where Buddy Holly’s plane crashed. He is a huge fan of Buddy Holly. We will head back to Columbia on Sunday afternoon.

~That’s All Folks~


It’s Been A While

So much as been going on with me and it’s been overwhelming! I’m trying to slow it down, if possible.

One of my resolutions this year was “to live more in the present.” I want so much to do that.

I’ve lived for sometime in stress and sadness  but I feel that is leaving. I’m trying to eat better, exercise more and enjoy life more. My last 2 or 3 weeks have felt hectic but my stress level has been low.

I better get my ass back on track because I have a Half Marathon in April and then the Chicago Marathon training begins! I deferred it last year due to the things on my plate but I will do it this year!

Our company is expanding and we are even under construction to double our plant size and product produced. I’ve finally hired enough supervisors and technical specialists that have given me relief. We can’t make enough product for our customers. My responsibilities doubled and hours almost doubled. I wake up at 4:30am and get home at 6:30pm so my running has been for the most part on my new treadmill!

NordicTrack and iFit which allows me to run where in the world that I want. Today I ran from Flagstaff to Sedona in beautiful Arizona. I do love my new treadmill. It uses Google Maps and simulates the terrain which changes inclines to the terrain. I run often on beaches 🙂

I use weekends to do outside running when I can.

I’m doing more than running, I am working on strength building. So I think I’m doing the right things.

I have gained about 10 lbs that I am working hard to get off. I feel embarrassed that I let myself fall into this slump.

Everyone who knows me knows that I want to move to Northern California. There is a medical device company in the San Francisco area that has been courting me for the last couple of weeks. I have my second interview with them on the phone on Tuesday. After that….who knows. I’m not sure how I feel about that possibility but I think it will be good for me to check out the possibility. The only thing that would stop it may be leaving Daniel and Sadie. Maybe it will go no where but I’ll see.

Daniel and Sadie – the loves of my life

This week has been very sad to me. We lost 2 icons that I loved to cancer. David Bowie’s music could have literally been the soundtrack to my entire life and especially in my teenage years. Alan Rickman was my favorite actor. I felt a personal sadness when I heard he died. I hate cancer.

Check out my husband’s cousins. We went to see them a few months ago and I was blown away. He writes most of their music and they rarely do covers…but this one was incredible and its a cover of my favorite song ever by Fleetwood Mac (Stevie Nicks). Check them out. It makes me happy about their incredible success and they are good people. (Ruth and Madisen Ward)

I’ve missed you guys 🙂

Saying Goodbye to Jimmy

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We laid my brother to rest this past Sunday after he finally lost his battle with cancer.

My heart is still broken and I’m not so sure how to handle all the emotions that I am still having. I feel lost and crushed.

He was my little brother. He was the best of us all, truly.

Brother and Sister "By My Side ~ Willow Tree
Brother and Sister “By My Side ~ Willow Tree

He knew his fate and so did I for a  year and half. I thought I was prepared. I had gone over it in my head hundreds of times.

I was with him when he took his last breath. So was the love of his life, Janice and Barry and Barbara (my brother and sister) and his handsome son, Shawn.

That was the hardest day of my life (and I’ve lost a Mama and Daddy).

I could hardly leave him alone in his flower-covered grave after everyone had left. He was my little brother.

My Sweet Little Brother
My Sweet Little Brother

He was imperfect but everyone who met him, liked him. He was good and fun.

His laugh came easy and it was loud and infectious. I will miss that most.

He was handsome all of his years.

He was the class clown.

He played baseball and basketball.

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He was the class favorite.

Girls loved him. (probably too much) 🙂

His eyes were as blue as the ocean.

He was big and strong.

He loved his 2 sons (Shawn and Logan) more than life. He met the love of his life (Janice) late in life. That is the most tragic that when he finds his true love, it was cut so short after 8 or so years.

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He was a sports fanatic…some may say. He loved St. Louis Cardinals Baseball and Tennessee Volunteers College Football.

He was buried in Tennessee orange and all the flowers sent had a Tennessee Vols theme and colors. It was beautiful and he would have loved it.

He was buried with the program from the Tenn Vols game on Saturday that he intended to watch. He was buried with a St. Louis Cardinals keychain. Janice left him a personal love note.

We were touched by the people who helped us mourn at his services.

I was surprised by some who came or called or sent flowers.

I will be forever disappointed in those who I surely thought would come or either call to give respect or condolences and they did not.

But his services were beautiful. I was mostly touched by the respect he was shown on his 40 mile drive to his resting place. Cops stopping traffic with hats off and hands on their heart. People pulling over and getting out of their car. It was a fitting send off for such a good person.

It’s not what he would have asked for or expected but it’s what he deserved.

Jimmy lived an imperfect life. He lived it well and did what he wanted. He made mistakes and he made some wonderful choices.

I wrote the following on Facebook to thank people:

I’d like to take time and thank everyone who supported us in our time of grief. I don’t know how we would have made it through this without you…whether you called us, helped us arrange services, came to visit us, prepared food for us, sent flowers, sang heartfelt songs for us, said comforting words for us, babysat for us, made us laugh, helped us cry, made us remember, prayed for us, loved us, helped our loved ones get here, carried his casket, saluted Jimmy’s final ride home, pulled over for him on the road, put your hand over your heart or took your hat off as he passed by. I’m overwhelmed with thanks and gratitude to each of you. Thank you. I💗love you and don’t you ever forget it, Jimmy Barber

Jimmy Barber lived his life 🙂

And even towards the end, he was never bitter or mad. He spend his time comforting us. His biggest worry toward the end was for the people who he was leaving behind grieving.

Everytime I ended a phone call, he would say “I love you and don’t you ever forget that”

I never will. I hear it in my mind over and over.

I miss you, Jimmy. I love you and don’t you ever forget it.

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“In my time of dying, want nobody to mourn. All I want for you to do is take my body home” ~ Led Zeppelin “In My Time of Dying” 

 

I Want to Be My Mom and That Makes Me Smile….Finally

Today would have been my Mama’s 72nd birthday. She passed over 12 years ago. She died at the young age of 59 years old.

I am home sick today after a stressful work week and being sick. Peyton is away at the Vet having minor surgery….so I am curled up in a fetal position today in tears with Eli at my side.

My mother was only 16 when I was born. She married my sweet Daddy at 15. That is not unusual in the south at that time. So that made she and I rivals in so many ways…our clothes, our makeup, our choices, our decisions but especially for my Daddy’s love and affection. I never realized that then, but I do now.

16 years old is but a child. So in essence, she and I grew up together as Mother, daughter, friends but also as rivals.

She was more than pretty….she was strikingly beautiful. She had very black hair and very blue eyes. She had freckles that made her look like a little girl always…even as she was dying. She was friendly..even flirtatous, outgoing and smart.

I was jealous that I did not look like her.

She was an imperfect mother to say the least. And she knew it. I spent my entire teenage life resenting her for that. I am deeply ashamed of that now. After my son was born, she became my best friend.

My daddy died at the age of 51 when my mother was only 41 years old. I made her a grandmother when she was only 34 years old!

When daddy died, she was devastated. They had a tumultuous marriage the entire 25 years they were married until he died. I recall so many arguments and separations. I blamed her every single time and hated her for doing that to him. I was a daddy’s girl.

But all the way to the end, they loved each other. He adored her, respected her and was very jealous of her.

Her name was Renia Dimple Parrish Barber Moore. Everyone called her Dimple. Barber was the name my daddy gave her. She married my step dad (Moore) a few years after my dad died.

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Daddy, Mama and Me
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Mama, Daddy and My Baby Sister

 

I spent so much time being angry at her for being crazy. My brothers and sisters have a term for it now “Dimpling”  🙂 We refer to it often when talking about our craziness.

We all recall a particular situation that happened when we were on the school bus. We passed her and daddy arguing outside near the roadside. Mama was trying to light herself on fire, supposedly. She would start a fire and sit near it….when it got hot, she’d move and set another….All our friends on the bus saw it and we were embarrassed. I laugh at it now.

All of her kids got that crazy part of her personality. I like to think I am the least crazy of my brothers and sisters! 🙂

I have always thought that all the good in me came from my daddy and the crazy came from her.

I still think that’s true but finally…..I am my Mama. I am proud to have her “crazy” part.

She adored animals. She collected every stray bird, cat, dog…..that came around. She loved her dogs more than us….I used to think.

I even resented for that. She took those dogs to vets more than she took us to the doctor when we were sick.

I remember the day she called me crying when “Teardrop” died with cancer. Teardrop was a teacup chihuahua that she loved more than life. I could not relate to her sadness. Mama, I apologize. You had a wonderful heart and I never saw it.

Today, Peyton is at the Vet having minor surgery and I am in tears! 🙂

She was pretty, flirty, friendly, smart, fun-loving, outgoing and a good friend to many people including me. She had a caring heart for animals and hated any mistreatment of them.

She didn’t know my husband Kevin very well when she met him…but one of her birds that didn’t like people very well, flew on Kevin’s shoulder and sat. She knew if that bird “Miracle” loved Kevin, she loved him.

I am in no way saying that I come as close to her beauty or loving heart. Maybe I just want to be.

Today is one of those days that I want to give her a call and hear her beautiful voice and cry on her soft, strong shoulders.

Happy birthday, Mama. I miss you everyday of my life.