Adjusting to California

This time last year, I was on vacation in California dreaming of the time I might be able to move here. Life can change on a dime.

It has been a little over 4 months since I moved from Missouri to the Bay Area in California. I either have not felt like blogging or had no time to do it. It is hard to sit down and put into words how your whole world changed so quickly and dramatically and how it affects you.

The first month was very stressful. I was starting a new job. I was in corporate apartment that did not feel like home. I was alone. I was so homesick. I missed Kevin, Peyton, Eli, Daniel and Sadie. I was trying to sell my house in Columbia. I was still paying for an apartment in St. Louis due to a lease. I did not really have anyone to confide in. I did make a good friend who happened to be my manager but I could not lay all that heavy crap on her! She would start to believe she hired the wrong person!

I just left a job that I had spent 17 years doing, a house that I loved, an apartment in St. Louis where I spend great times with Daniel and Sadie. Sometimes when I think about Daniel and Sadie being so far away, I get very sad to and it is almost unbearable. I feel like they are out of my life completely. It is even hard for me to talk to them now on FaceTime without crying. I miss playing with them in my backyard and Forest Park. I think of that daily.

I love the ocean, redwoods, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, the Bay Area and everything this area offers. I go back and forth between being super excited that I live in my place of dreams to a depression that is hard to shake off.  I miss Columbia, my house, our beautiful backyard and my butterfly gardens and the birds. However, I miss St. Louis so much that it is hard for me to think about it without crying. I will never see that city again. I feel sure of that. I knew when I left it the last time that I would never see it again. I still keep up with Facebook and Instagram friends from St. Louis. I love seeing the pictures of everything I miss, but it is hard to see them without getting sad.

I did so many special things there with my family. I first went there when I was a little girl with my Mama and Daddy to see the St. Louis Cardinals. I watched Cardinal games with my brother Barry and his family.

I ran this city! I knew this city! I ran so many miles through those streets in the heat, rain, snow and cold. I loved running there. I ran my first 5k there in Soulard. I ran my all my half marathons there. I ran my first marathon there. I trained for the Chicago Marathon there.

I miss Broadway Oyster Bar, Forest Park, Art Hill, The World’s Fair Pavilion, Soulard and Soulard Market, The Hill, Adriana’s, Pi Pizza, Mardi Gras, Llewelyn’s, St. Pats Day Runs, Straub’s Chicken Salad, Coffee Cartel, Greek Fest, Benton Park Café, Off Broadway Music Hall, Tom’s Bar and Grill, Hop in the City and Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale. I miss going to Daniel’s school events. I will miss Grand Friends Day at his school every October. I miss the St. Louis Blues and I miss the St. Louis Cardinals. I miss too many things to even count. The list of what I will miss is almost never ending. I love that city. I always have. The best times of my life were spend in St. Louis. I suffered and recovered from a serious surgery in that St. Louis apartment. I celebrated two St. Louis Cardinal World Series Championship wins in that downtown.

Most people would not know it but this has been an incredibly hard adjustment for me. I am still not quiet adjusted. I can be so depressed at times that I feel like I need help. Kevin has suggested that. Then the next day I am enjoying California as though I am on permanent vacation! I love all this area offers. I have gained weight. I do not exercise even close to what I did in Missouri.

How can I be both so happy to be in a place and so gut wrenchingly sad at the same time?

I love my job and everyone that I work with. They are professional, quirky and personable. This company was very generous in their financial support for the move. If they had not been, I am not sure how we could have done it financially. Kevin and I had set ourselves up pretty well financially for a move like this but it would have depleted our savings practically if not for my relocation benefits. I was fortunate to find such a position with a great company. I work in a place that makes robots for major surgery events! Kevin found a great job that he loves. Our financial situation is good and sound.

We found a very nice neighborhood and house to live in. I have always dreamed of having fruit trees. I have lemons, apples, cherries, loquats, avocados and Japanese persimmons in my yard! Yes, it cost a small fortune to live in but we love it and it is reasonable for the area. However, for some reason, I still cannot feel at home there. Kevin has done most of the decorating, which is not much! I cannot make myself do it yet. I am getting a little better. I have a hard time sleeping which has never been an issue for me. Many times now I sleep with the TV on or on the couch with the dogs just to keep my mind from racing over all the things in my head. My baby brother is very sick and I feel like I am a lifetime away from him. I miss Ashley and Allison. I miss my friend Jerry. I fear my own health crisis if I do not take care of myself.

I question many times if this move was the right choice. Kevin and I talk about it sometimes. I know that I would be miserable in Missouri without Daniel and Sadie being there. Kevin loves it here. He is comfortable here and knows the area like the back of his hand. I love it here! What the fuck is wrong with me?

In my perfect world, I would have brought my house here along with my kids!

I did not take any time off from my last job and drove 3 days straight to California to start my new job. In retrospect, I should have taken a week or so off. Maybe that would have helped with my adjustment but I feared that time in between with no health insurance. In addition, I was paranoid that something could possibly happen like a car wreck or other illness that might put us in debt and especially since, I was driving 3,000 miles with little rest during that time. Then Kevin had a 3 day drive here as well a month after my drive.

So….

I love my job, my co-workers, my house, my neighborhood, my financial position, the area, the sea lions, the otters, the whales, the beaches, the redwoods, the city, the fruit trees, the parks, the diversity of the people and land, the hard working people that make up Silicon Valley.

Here I am in the place that I always dreamed that I wanted to live with the job that I feel very fortunate to have yet I am pissing and moaning like a little bitch.

~ Living the Dream, Sorta ~

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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.

Cleaning My Plate

I feel guilty even writing this because my life events are minor compared to others’. Things I am going through seem trivial at the least.

But some recent events and concerns are causing me to inventory the things I am trying to juggle and I think it’s time to take things off my plate.

As I have blogged about, my job has changed. I went from a boring job, micro-managing boss to 12 plus hour a day job, increased projects, sales and high up pressure. I work 12 hours in the plant and another 3 or so hours at home. I’m on call all the time. I am short on supervisors, employees therefore, I am interviewing and hiring at a mad pace but not quick enough to supply our customers: hospitals all over the US and Canada.

In addition to that, I am training for the Chicago marathon in high humidity and temperatures.

I barely see my husband, kids, grandkiddos or dogs. I come home, run, shower and go to bed.

Many times lately I wake up at 2 or so in the morning with my brain firing on all cylinders so I can’t get back to sleep. I have 240 hour of paid time off but can’t take off.

I’m loosing my sweet little brother to cancer.

I had promised Daniel that he could come and spend a week with us in Columbia for his summer vacation and I had to disappoint him on that. I did manage to take off a couple of days and just hang out with Daniel. That was the first time in so many months that I was completely happy and at ease.

Being with Daniel makes me a happy and calm person. I can’t explain it. It always has. It makes me happy just listening to him talk. I learn so much just listening. I don’t do that with others. 🙂

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We went on a trip up in the Gateway Arch (his first time), water park, Minions Movie in 3D, History Museum and played Video games and read Harry Potter in bed together at the end of a happy day.

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He told me those days was the best days of his life :0) . He is such a little charmer. I spent a little time with Sadie also. She’s the apple of my eye. 🙂 I felt great but sad that it all ended and my stress was to start again.

Kevin and I did get a chance to have a wine and cheese picnic under “our” willow tree in Forest Park and had great seats at the MUNY to see “The Buddy Holly Story.” That was a good weekend…but it had to come to an end.

I went back to work on the following Monday. That Monday night….for the first time in my life, I experienced chest pains and prepared to go to the emergency room.

I have a resting heart rate of 45 but I felt a pain that I had never experienced.

At first the pain was under my breast and I felt a tightening that felt like pressure. I was getting hot in my face. The pain started radiating up my chest, my neck and over my right shoulder and arm. I knew that was something different. I was in my pajamas and Kevin told me to get dressed. He was worried. I got dressed and walked around a bit and it subsided. I felt the tightness subside. I even slept well. Yes, I should have gone to the hospital and if it had not went away, I would have.

I blow up easily and lose my temper at work. Last week I made a couple of employees cry. I went back and apologized. Last Friday, I lost it and cried in front of a couple other managers. That is something I really hate doing.

It is obvious to others that I am not handling things well at this point. My alcohol drinking pattern has changed. I can’t say I’m drinking more but when I drink has changed.

The intense marathon training is another stressor. How can I work long hours and come home and run from 4 to 10 miles per night in the heat during the week and 12, 13, 15 hours on Saturday morning.

I ran 3 miles on Tuesday night and 6 miles in the heat on Wednesday.

At no other time have I run and showered and not felt great…but not that night. I was hurting and sick for the rest of the night. I felt sick and depressed. My hip hurt so bad that I couldn’t sleep because of the Piriformis injury.

I realized that my stress reliever had become part of my stressor. I felt that I no longer liked running.

I am about to go on a 2 week vacation to my favorite place in the US and hang in Santa Cruz, Ca on the beaches in paradise. I can’t even get past today in my head. I am usually excited and making my plans. Airfare, Beach Side Rental and rental car have been booked and paid for…..but I am not looking forward to it.

In part because I can’t bear to leave my 2 baby dogs (Peyton & Eli) in a fucking kennel. How can I vacation with my brother dying and my dogs unhappy, miserable and missing us. They will be so stressed. How can I lay on a damn beach drinking margaritas while all of this back home is happening.

Why did I sign up for the Chicago Marathon….why do I need such a long vacation?

So, I can defer the Chicago Marathon for 1 year. I still have to pay the $180 again next year if I decide to run but I am automatically in. I still haven’t made up my mind but I have not been running since last Wednesday night.

Tonight was supposed to be a training run night but I felt relieved that I was not going to run.

In addition, I found a doggy heaven type place to leave my boys in while I’m on vacation. It has 2 acres of fenced area, a pond, other doggies, a doggy obstacle course, a nice, air-conditioned place to sleep. But it’s twice as expensive as where I normally leave them at $72 plus per night at 10 nights! Ouch! But at this point in my life, money is not a stressor….leaving my babies in a kennel is.

I’m a little worried though, because the I have to take them for an interview on Friday afternoon to see if they have the temperament to stay there. I’m a little worried about my youngest…Eli. He’s got a few little weird, cute issues but he is a sweetie and a spoiled baby. He barks loudly when he gets nervous. He gets along well with other dogs but he will bark a bit at first. Peyton is a perfect dog however, spoiled rotten.

As stupid as it sounds, that also took a load off my mind. Maybe I can enjoy vacation knowing they are having a great time with lots of activities.

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So for now, I will likely defer Chicago Marathon. Board my dogs in a Spa fit for dog kings. Go to Santa Cruz and stay barefoot, ass in sand and alcohol in my hand. I’ll make time for a few hikes in the Red Woods, run over the Golden Gate Bridge for the 3rd time, run the beaches daily, eat junky boardwalk food and pray that my brother Jimmy is not in pain and at peace.

Thanks for reading…..

For my old WordPress friends that I miss, please feel free to add me on Charlotte’s Facebook. I am a prolific facebooker. 🙂

(Not Political, Religious or recipes… just life stuff)

Hey, It Didn’t Suck

This was the end of my 4th week of Chicago Marathon training. I completed a 9.5 mile run yesterday in the city streets of St. Louis on July the 4th!

I ate well on Friday and had no alcohol plus I got plenty of rest.

It was an early morning run and the heat or humidity wasn’t that bad. It was my longest run since the half marathon in April. I skipped a 3 mile run this week so I had stressed about this long run for a while knowing that my fitness level had dropped but it didn’t suck, really.

I actually enjoyed most of it until that long incline at mile 6.5. Kevin rode along beside me on his bike and carried water for me. I do not know what I’d do without Kevin. After all he endured with me during marathon training last summer….he said he’d never do it again. But then I got him an expensive bicycle last month for his birthday and he re-considered! 😉

I do carry a hand held Nathan 8 oz but he refilled it for me a few times. I took 3 GU gels with me but only ate 2. I should have eaten the last one because I got slower after that 6 mile and found myself stumping my shoe/toe which means “pick your feet up or face plant. ” So I fixed my running posture and picked my feet up and finished it with relatively no drama.

The city streets were quiet and it was a beautiful day. I never get tired of running toward the Gateway Arch in the early morning as the sun rises. I also always enjoy running around Busch Stadium…the home of my Cardinals.

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After I finished, I showered, walked the dogs and Kevin and I headed to Busch Stadium to catch an afternoon game. We won!

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I can say that after that, I was tired and my legs felt heavy and sore. Kevin and I went to dinner, walked the dogs again and went back to the apartment and crashed while everyone else celebrated!

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The dogs get scared often when we stay in our apartment in St. Louis when they hear firetrucks, fireworks and gunshots! haha (jk) We could hear the fireworks loudly last night and were glad we stayed home with our big babies. 🙂

My son and daughter in law and kiddies were all tired so we didn’t see them that night. I always love having Daniel spend the night but it is more of an ordeal when Sadie stays too. So it was ok, I was so tired.

We did miss “Kool and the Gang” in Forest Park. Kevin and I would really have liked to seen that but they came on at 9pm. I was snoozing by then!

So Kevin and I went and got our little kiddies this morning and took them to the City Garden for some exercise, water play and brunch. As always…that makes my heart feel happy.

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I’m back home in Columbia dreading this work week ahead. I did hire an assistant for the summer but I am having to train her which makes it even worse…but will be great after she is trained.

Big corporate bosses in town again this week plus audits.

I’ll try hard to get all my training runs in but it’s going to be a hot and humid week! I’ve always got the treadmill which I hate.

~Congratulations USA Women’s Soccer “World Cup Champions”~

A Picture is Worth Everything

I finally took a day off of work  on Friday so I could have a long weekend and I was sick the entire weekend and even worse today. I haven’t really been sick in over a year so it figures.

But that didn’t stop me from having an awesome weekend.

I ate oysters and had a pint at the Broadway Oyster Bar.

Jewels of the Gulf
Jewels of the Gulf

I devoured Voodoo Shrimp at The Broadway Oyster Bar

Voodoo Shrimp at Broadway Oyster Bar
Voodoo Shrimp at Broadway Oyster Bar

I had a romantic dinner with my hubby and had a delicious Pumpkin Gnoocchi at Taste in St. Louis

Pumpkin Gnocchi from Taste of St. Louis
Pumpkin Gnocchi from Taste of St. Louis

I ran 5 awesome miles through the downtown streets in the St. Louis St. Patrick’s Day run with my favorite man along with 13,000 other runners!

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I dressed up and went to the Fabulous Fox Theatre to see the Phantom of the Opera. I’ve only seen it 6 or 7 times.

Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis
Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis

I spend another wonderful afternoon with Daniel and Sadie.

Playing Chess
Playing Chess

I enjoyed the warm weather in a city that I love.

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I played with my boys (Peyton and Eli)

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When we got back to Columbia Sunday afternoon from my long weekend in the Lou, I ran 3.2 more miles on the MKT in 75 degree weather! 🙂

Someone at work told me that they could never keep up with me even when I am sick. I told them “I agree” 🙂  🙂

But all that had to end because I had to go in Monday morning to make a living!

“Here’s to a long life and a merry one. A quick death and an easy one. A pretty girl and an honest one. A cold pint and another one!”

♣Happy St. Patrick’s Day!♣

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My Year of Running 2014

Year End Running 2014
I ran 833.7 miles in 2014

I made a few goals (resolutions) for 2015:

  1. Run at least 1 mile each day in 2015.
  2. Run and PR in the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon in April 2015.
  3. Train and complete my 2nd Marathon toward the end of the year and PR.
  4. Eat healthy at every given chance
  5. Drink less alcohol and eat less junk food
  6. Make and use lists or “Stickies”! (tip from my grandson, Daniel)
  7. Live and Love in the moment and not worry about the future as I obsessively do most of the time.

This morning, it was 24 degrees and I ran 1 mile in shorts and sleeveless shirt in Zone 4 threshold.

I then joined my husband in the basement and while he did his spinning, I ran a 32 minute interval (Z4 – 3 min, Z2 1.5 min) interval run.

We were both dripping sweat and loving it!

I am training for the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon in April and I want to do a different type of training which uses the heart monitor to keep and zone levels. Instead of worrying about miles etc….you run so many minutes in higher/lower heart rate zones. So far, I like it. Its challenging and it makes the treadmill better when I can’t run outside.


My scheduled formal runs so far for 2015:

February 7Run for Your Beads 5k in Soulard St. Louis

March 14St. Patrick’s Day 5 Mile run in Downtown St. Louis

April 12Go! St. Louis Half Marathon in St. Louis

So, I’m in training for the HM and happy about that. It is a bit depressing going from marathon training to no training.


I stole this survey from two blogs that I read:

The Dancing Runner” and “Running to Ramble” and  and I want to do my year end 2014 Running Summary.

1. Best race experience?  This is usually hard for me to pick because I have so many favorites: Run for your Beads 5k, St. Patrick’s Day 5 Miler, Race for a Cure…etc but this year, hands down favorite race experience was completing my first full marathon in Rock ‘n Roll St. Louis this past October 19. Not much compares to crossing that finish line with my family watching.

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2. Best run? Was my Half Marathon in the Go! St. Louis. I ran the entire thing with no walk break shortly after I was released by my doctor to run after extensive surgery. That’s when I knew that I could possibly do a full marathon.

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3. Favorite Run? (I added this one) Run for Your Beads 5k – Mardi Gras in St. Louis Feb 2014 because my 7 year old grandson Daniel ran it with me. It was a struggle to keep him focused and running but the last half…he was a star encouraging everyone. At the end of the race, many of the runners wanted their picture made with him. He also received a lot of beads for his encouragement and he felt like someone very special…which of course he is. I was smiling from ear to ear.

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4. Best new piece of gearDefinitely my Purple Garmin Forerunner 220

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5. Best piece of running advice you’ve received? “Run the Mile You Are In.”  I can’t tell you how many times I remembered and followed this advice while I was training for 26.2 miles.

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6. Most inspirational runner? Besides me HA! Meb Keflezighi of course. His win in the Boston Marathon was so inspirational for me. I cried when he crossed the finish line. I am a fairly new runner so I don’t know many sports figures in running. I’ll have a different answer…maybe next year.

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7. If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be?

disciplined
emotional
diarrhea (runner’s know what I mean) HA!
stressed
devastated
frustrated
invincible
marathoner 

                                                             ♥♥♥Happy Running 2015♥♥♥

The Haunting Ghost of Christmas Future

I am trying to finish up Christmas shopping and it dawned on me that I have not sent Christmas cards to my family and friends as I usually do nor Christmas gift cards to Barbara’s daughters (my nieces) as I normally do.

With my trip to Nashville and being away from home, I have forgotten to do so much.

We finished up Sadie and Daniel except for a few stocking things.

I go back to work tomorrow for 2 hectic days then I am off until after the first of the year.

Kevin works Christmas Eve so will leave for St. Louis when he gets off work. We will go see what Santa Claus brought Daniel and Sadie on Christmas morning but won’t stay long because his other granddaddy (my ex husband) will be there with them.

We will get together with them on Christmas night to open presents. I will make some snack things but no real cooking.

Exercisewise, I have run on the treadmill for the last 2 days and didn’t mind it at all. Kevin got a spinning bike for Christmas and he and I run/spin together in the basement!

He also won a new big screen TV so we put it in the basement and I can watch TV while I run on the treadmill which definitely helps. I will enjoy going down there after work more if I can watch something whether news or other shows.

I still have not signed up for the Go! St. Louis half marathon but I will the first of the year. That will definitely give me something to train for. I can’t tell you how much I do miss training for the marathon. I’m not ready for a marathon in the near future but likely during October, November or December timeframe in 2015.

I’m eating badly, still. I still count calories and exercise most everyday but there is one definite thing that I have learned…..you cannot exercise away a bad diet.

With my brother’s failing health….I want to be more diligent and dedicated to eating properly including watching my sodium intake. I use myfitnesspal.com every day and it does track all those things.

It seems like the world is going to shit right now so watching the news is so often disparaging. God rest the souls of those 2 NYPD slain cops. What would these fucked up cities be without cops to patrol and protect them.

I can’t seem to get in the Christmas spirit knowing what my brother must be going through. I will find ways to come to grips with that and be supportive as much as I can being almost 500 miles away from him. I wish I lived closer so I could do things with him.

In addition, Kevin’s dear, sweet mother (in Las Vegas) is almost 90 and her health is failing.

I actually have some fear about what 2015 will bring and I’m not welcoming it with open arms…but it’s coming.

I love Christmas. I always have no matter what was going on in my life.

I love spending most of the Christmas season wishing for Christmas past. I think about my mama and daddy who have gone long ago. I miss being the oldest out of our litter of 5 kids all waking up and going to see what Santa brought. I miss all the family get togethers back in Tennessee. I hang old ornaments on my trees…I listen to old Christmas songs. I cook things that I had as a child at Christmas. I look at old pictures.

I also enjoy living in the Christmas present because of my family and especially my grand kiddies. I like being with James and Allison (my son and daughter in law). I love cooking, decorating the tree and shopping for those 2 “Joys of My Life.” I love driving around with Kevin looking at Christmas lights in our neighborhood. I like sitting in the dark looking at my Christmas tree and enjoying my life with Kevin, Peyton and Eli.

But for the first time in my life, I look with dread and fear to Christmas future.

I want Daniel and Sadie to stay little and still love spending time with me.

I don’t want to be 55 years old which I turn on Jan 06, 2015.

I don’t want Peyton and Eli to get old and feeble.

I want Kevin to stay young and strong. I want James and Allison to be forever as they are now.

I want my brother’s and sisters and their families to freeze in time.

I want Jimmy (my brother) to never die and be that man I’ve always loved with that bigger than life laugh.

I want life to freeze!

But, it will not. Life and death moves on whether we like it or not.

~And to All a Good Night~

Bailey’s, Griswolds and Ugly Sweaters

Once again, I’m away from Kevin, Peyton, Eli and my home in Columbia.

I am in St. Louis alone again and at a time when I’d prefer not to be here and especially at this time of year. I am off from work for most of the rest of the month.

I came here to check on the apartment and bring Christmas gifts for the kids to put under my tree. And also break up my long drive to Nashville, Tennessee that I will be making on Monday.

I will drive there on Monday and meet with my brother and hopefully his doctors to see how he is coming along to be placed on the liver transplant list. I am disappointed because he told me the other day that he hasn’t done much of what they told him he had to do to prove he wanted a liver and be placed on the list. It’s his choice and I won’t try to convince him to do what he needs to do. I just want to see him and visit with him for a while.

The drive to Nashville is 7 hours from Columbia but 5 from St. Louis. I will only get to see Jimmy (my brother) for a short while because he said he had to go back to his home in Alabama that afternoon. I am hoping that I get to meet with his doctor with him and his girlfriend.

I booked 2 nights at a hotel on Honky Tonk row or known as Music Row. The hotel is in heart of everything and in front of the Capital. Nashville is a beautiful. clean and safe city. I thought I’d spend some time sightseeing and make the most out of my trip. I haven’t been to Nashville since 1998 so I do miss my home of Tennessee.

My baby sister may meet me there and if she does, we’ll hit the strip and have a bit of fun.

I have already mapped out some 3 and 5 miles runs so I can exercise while I am there.

I should be back in St. Louis on Wednesday night. I have a follow-up appointment with my plastic surgeon on Friday for my 1 year check up. So I will be away from Kevin and my pups until next Saturday or Sunday. 😦

I will visit with my kiddies a few days and do some shopping and maybe so see some of the beautiful Christmas lights in St. Louis to make the most of my time.

I did get in a 6.2 mile run around the perimeter of Forest Park this afternoon when I got in town.

I’ve been a bit weepy and down lately and I think a lot of it may be that I am not getting enough exercise. I did today and I do feel so much better.

I’ve spent my night closed up in my apartment tonight sipping Bailey’s Vanilla Cinnamon, watching Christmas Vacation and making a “Christmas Ugly Sweater.” I have enjoyed doing that so much more than I imagined that I would.

I’m not finished yet but I am liking this!

I have not had much of an appetite tonight which surprises me but maybe that 6.2 mile run helped curb it. I didn’t even go out tonight for dinner and with so many awesome places I could have chosen. I ate a frozen dinner from Trader Joe’s that has been in my apartment freezer for months! HA~

Kevin and I did some shopping for Daniel and Sadie and I need to wrap them tonight or early morning. They may come for a visit tomorrow and Daniel is very nosey about Christmas presents! 🙂

I plan on a nice slow run in the morning. I will be signing up for the Go!St. Louis Half Marathon soon so I can have something to train for. I can’t devote that kind of time in the winter to sign up for the marathon. I’ve run the Go! St. Louis Half marathon for the last 2 years. It is a run that I enjoy and love participating in it.

I do plan on doing another marathon next year but it will likely be toward the end of 2015 and probably the Rock ‘n Roll in Las Vegas with my brother in law.

I’m reclined on the sofa now in near dark with my beautiful Christmas tree watching the St. Louis Blues. They are doing a live big screen showing of the St. Louis Blues tonight at a Steinberg Ice Rink in Forest Park near my house. I wanted to go there and watch some of it around a campfire watching all the ice skaters but I forgot the game didn’t come on until 9 pm and it’s not a good idea for me to walk there and back in the dark. Maybe another time.

I have always thought that I could relate to Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation. I always try way beyond what is necessary to make sure everyone has a fun time at Christmas or other times. I am Clark. 🙂

“I don’t know if I oughta go sailin’ down no hill with nothin’ between the ground and my brain but a piece of government plastic.” ~Cousin Eddie – Christmas Vacation

Happy Blog Anniversary to Me!

Today is my 1 year anniversary posting on WordPress. I’ve made a lot of friends on WP that I would never have had contact with. I laugh a lot and learn a lot from all the blogs.

This time last year, I was nervous in anticipation of my scheduled body and arm lift surgery that was to happen on Dec 19, 2013. I started the blog to track my experience with the surgery.

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since my surgery. I’m still enjoying how I look! I still am a bit heavier than I want to be plus I’m looking older…but    🙂

In the exercising routine, I am been a bit of a slacker of late. I am only running a few miles a week. I cannot get motivated to run when I get home from work in the dark and I detest the treadmill. I know that I am just leaning on those excuses but I did it last year too. I usually kick off my running year in February with the Mardi Gras run and in March with the St. Patrick’s Day run. That is one of my favorites and it’s a 5 miler so it is challenging. I can’t do much else in the way of exercise due to a ruptured bicep that I have had for a couple of years. I do workout on the boxing bag fairly often but I usually suffer from that.

I’m doing better with my healthier, lower calorie eating. I have a few lbs that I really want to get off.


This past weekend, my son, Daniel and Sadie came to spend the weekend in Columbia with us while Allison was working. Those 2 kids plus 2 dogs almost drove me batty! But I loved it. 🙂

Daniel whispered to me several times that he wants to come live with me. I explained how he would miss his little family and he said he could see them on facetime! haha

He does get spoiled by me…..no doubt about that. Daniel still has my heart. 🙂

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Sadie is a budding fireball personality. I think she got that from me! I know she looks like me. 🙂 She’s my girl…


My 2015 resolution is to find another job! I have been stuck in this job for so long and it is not very fulfilling to me professionally. I am not complaining because it pays well and I’m happy to have a job. I know all things can change quickly so I don’t want to temp fate….but I want out.

I am tired of a dick for a boss and employees that complain about the stupidest shit. One of the best jobs around and they don’t give a fuck if they show up for work. We have such a high rate of absenteeism that it is hard for my supervisor’s to run their shifts. My company also has a generous paid time off policy. I’ve been here 14 years and I get 288 hours (36 days) of vacation. Our employees get the equivalent based on their years of service. And yet they burn through that PTO before the mid year and still miss to the point of termination. And it is so hard to terminate an employee anymore….I don’t even push it most of the time.

I have half-heartedly looked for other employment in the St. Louis area but I guess I chicken out and don’t pursue it. I have an impressive work history and resume along with the education. I should at least take people up on interview requests.

I love (for the most part) routine. I guess that’s why I’m still here and bitching! HA!

I know Kevin never wants to move from Columbia until we are ready to retire to Santa Cruz, CA…..his home. So when I talk about selling the Columbia home and finding a job in St. Louis….he gets pissy.


So for my 1 year anniversary post….I’m still bitching

– not exercising well

– not eating correctly

– need to loose weight

– love my kiddies + dogs

yada yada….

Funny Pictures Of The Day - 48 Pics