Back dating last night's run...

Not a bad first day of empty-nest... I ran -

Today's miles: 3.2
Total so far: 108.9
Still to go for goal: 391.1

And then I did some reading and went to bed at an almost early time. Even did a little writing. And I got to talk to Kel for a couple of minutes. All in all a good night!

More of my girls...

Well, I had a nice nap this afternoon after getting Kel sent off to Colorado (and sleeping all of about 90-minutes last night). She landed safely on the other side and should be settling in there okay by now. Sounds like she had a couple hours of sleep on the plane. I thought I'd post a few more of the photos from the park last night as long as I've got family peeking in to check on them...  Posted by Hello

This one was quite an ordeal, but I won't go into all the details... Much laughter ensued. Posted by Hello

This one has Kel's best friend Annie...  Posted by Hello

They've played on nearly all of the toys in the park by this point. Hey Hutch - see all of the green space back there? That's where the pirate ship and the tree/house or house on stilts use to be... Maybe you knew that, though. Did you take the boys there during your tour of the old town that day? Posted by Hello

And finally, here we all are at the end of our busy time at the park (or just before Gramps ran out of battery time on his camera)... Still to come - the girls climbing through the triangle rings you can see behind Kel in this last photo (if I post 'em). That's what set off this photo-taking frenzy... And no, Grandma and I did NOT climb through them. We COULD have, of course... we just didn't want to show the girls up with our speed and dexterity. *cough cough*  Posted by Hello

Okay. Time for me to go exercise. Gotta get logging some siginficant miles. I told VJ I'd join her in a workout yesterday and that turned into play time (as evidenced above and below). Now that I've napped I think I can make up for that.

Farewell Kel!

We had a little going away party for Kel last night. We started out at the folks' house where Kel and her girl cousins and her best friend went swimming in my folks' swimming pool, then they hung out and did a lot of giggling. Serious giggling. After that they had a great meal of spaghetti, raviolli, salad and toasted garlic bread (sound like a familiar celebratory meal around our place, Hutch?)... More serious giggling ensued. SERIOUS giggling, right Jen?

From there, the girls wanted to head to the park for some play time. I'm not sure the parents of little children who were at the park were very excited to see all of us pile out of the cars when we arrived, loud and boistrous as we were, but those girls wanted to play and they had energy and giggles to burn. After we'd been there for a while, one of them said, "Where is the video camera when you need it?" as another of them climbed through a tricky obstacle (by this time my facial muscles were seriously in pain from all of the smiles and laughter). And then they all started calling out, "Grandma, go home and get the camera, please??? You need to get a picture of this!" So Grandma did the next best thing. She had me get my cell phone from the car and call Grandpa at home and have HIM bring the camera up and take pictures of all his granddaughters (and friend) mugging it for the camera.

Here they are trying to get the merry-go-round to go fast enough... (as always, click on a picture to embiggen)

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And here is me coming to help speed things up because everytime they jumped on after trying to get it going fast enough, it dropped all speed...

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And the unfortunate result of that help... bye Erin!

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She's OKAY!

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From the merry-go-round it was off to demonstrate their coordination through the obstacle they'd created for themselves... I'll show the great pictures from that another time, perhaps. And then they were ready for group shots on other toys throughout the park. It was family photo night, basically. It's been a long time. They were so much fun and the pictures all turned out really cute.

It was a fun send-off for Kel. She really appreciated it, so thanks girls!

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Roll Call

for dying appliances/utilities in Keri's house (as seen at Busy Mom's this morning):

1. Dishwasher? Check
2. Hot Tub? Check
3. Overflow Freezer? Check
4. Spotlights (not bulbs) Above Fireplace? Check
5. Recessed Lights Above Window Seat? Check

Oh yeah. Sometimes I wonder who we had for an electrician when this house was built. I think rather than a certified electrician with a real brain, it was Skippy, the Contractor's 14-year-old nephew who needed a summer job.

She's Leavin', on a Jet Plane!

Ack! In less than 24 hours, my baby will be off on another trip! This time for a whole month!

It's going to be awfully quiet around here without her. I'm going to read more books. Do a lot more writing (because I've certainly let that little practice of mine fall by the wayside), and work on getting some of the out-of-control plants out of the gardens. What would you do if you suddenly had a month off from being a parent?


500 Mile Award

My very artistic mom-in-law sent me this adorable award to coincide with the Relay last weekend. It's what I'm holding in my current profile picture... I wore my Inspirations T-shirt for the photo when I noticed that there weren't any shots of me from the Relay that showed it very well. It is covered front and back (and sides) with the names of all of the people you sent me and that Keith and I met along the way on his cancer journey.  Posted by Hello

She also sent along a ribbon to place around my neck - and only the type of ribbon fit for a Diva - check out that fur! :) And you can't see the glitter, but believe me, it's there. My Diva sister's can appreciate this, I'm sure. Diva Katie, all that's missing is one of Sunaliza's scepters and a crown, don't you think? And a cape, of course...  Posted by Hello


Shopping disaster!

Who are they making clothing for these days??? Supermodels and 14-year-olds only???

Keli found an adorable sundress - reversable. She looks totally sweet in it. Photo will be posted when she gets into it again and I can slow her down long enough to capture one.

I found? A blouse. Sleeveless. Hopefully my mother would have told me if I had um, what did Marn call them in a recent post of hers? oh yes... Kimono arm... Mom saw me in the sleeveless blouse and hopefully she would have told me if I had a serious or even not so serious case of kimono arm and not let me buy it. It is bright pink and quite pretty.

I also tried on a black dress with white polka dots, meant for the sixteen year old crowd, I believe. I tried on a really hot black suit. It was great. I meant for it to go with the pink blouse. And it was great from the top down to about the knees. That's where it started to fall apart on me. Because it was meant for a supermodel. Even in my 5-inch pumps, which I owned at one time (no more, however - I could NEVER walk in them today), and actually wore to work when I was a computer systems analyst (yep, I had a real job at one time), and walked around in them for 8-hour days... Even in those tallest of tall shoes, these slacks would have been in a puddle around the floor because those shoes would have taken me up to all of a 5' 9" stature... Not over the 6' that the slacks would have required. And by the time you got to the bottom of each leg? The opening on them would have fit an elephant's foot! They weren't bell-bottoms, but they were WIDE! What's up with that? Who are they making these clothes for?

I loved that suit. It looked so cute! Well. Until you got down toward the floor. Then it looked just plain silly.

Oh. And then there was the other little black dress. I had a little black dress back in my real job days. I loved it. It was so cute. So when I saw this hanging on the rack I thought, "Little black dress!" and I ran over and grabbed it. That's when I realized that it felt a little like a parachute. A stretchy parachute. And it was kinda shiny. And it was lined in bright red that showed all around the edges of the arm holes and neck opening. But I took it back anyway. Because it still sort of reminded me of that little black dress. A little bit. Kind of. It was the first thing I tried on. I zipped it up the back. It made me feel a little sexy in a way because I haven't had anything fitted on in a long time. Years probably. Shh. Don't tell my daughter I said sexy. She'll roll her eyes. Again. But it was shiny and stretchy and weird. Not in a good way. More in a dominatrixy kinda way maybe... Anyway. Took that off. Not an option.

So I had high hopes for the suit. Oh well. I bought the blouse. Mom invited me over to her place. She said if I liked the suit she had something I might want to try on. So I did. She had a black suit! And it was really cute! With black slacks that were normal! And she's got these strappy little sandals with colorful beads on them including bright pink... I'm gonna wear that tomorrow. I have a shower to attend. At a Tea House place. Never been there, but it should be fun. Now that I've finally recovered from the shopping experience.

Unfortunately, she suggested that I just come over to her place early to dress. That way, after the shower, I can just return there and change back into my clothes and won't have to get her clothes back to her later. Isn't that convenient? How does she expect me to steal her adorable suit and strappy sandals when she makes things so difficult? I think she had my number all along...

Quiet Saturday in Blogland...

including here...

but I'll be back. I'm shopping!


For Marv...

Today's run was for the father of an old high school friend, D. I guess I should just say SCHOOL friend, though. He and I have been friends since at least second grade. I remember when he drew my name in the Christmas gift exchange that year and I received a Raggedy Anne pin from him. We were in the same class until at least fifth grade and then off and on again until graduation. I haven't seen him now for a good 15 years I guess, since our 5 year class reunion. His dad passed away after last year's Relay. I got to see most of his family at that Relay and had hoped to see them there again this year, but I think most of them are out of town now.

Today's miles: 4.5
Total so far: 105.7
Still to go for goal: 394.3

It sure doesn't feel like summer. I enjoy the lack of bugs. But I don't like feeling like I need to "bundle up" when I go outside and having to keep the windows and doors shut most of the time because the house is just too cold when I open it up.

New blog friend...

I added a new blog to my list of reads today because I learned about her from Busy Mom. VJ just learned that her mom has cancer. If you are reading here, you are friend or family and you know that this is an important topic. Go over and leave her a message of encouragement if you can, please.


Had a call from the Relay for Life Chairperson last night. She was calling to let all of the team captains know that the Honorary Chairperson who had just spoken at our event on Friday night had passed away. From the newspaper...

Just days after leading the survivors lap at the local Relay For Life, Hudsonite Eric Pechacek, 32, died from his cancer Wednesday night.

Pechacek was diagnosed with leukemia last November and underwent numerous rounds of chemotherapy and an unsuccessful bone marrow transplant. He decided late last week to stop treatments for the illness.

He came from the hospital Friday night, however, and spoke to the Relay For Life crowd at Hudson's Relay For Life at Newton Field. With his wife Chyanne at his side, he told the crowd of survivors, caregivers and Relay team members that he did not want to focus on the negative things that had happened to him.

He spoke to the crowd with emotion about the love of his wife, children and family members and then was one of the leaders in the survivors lap to open the event.

"I've learned something more important from all of this - I am stronger than I ever thought I could be because of the people around me," said Pechacek. He spoke with emotion about his wife's devotion and the love he had for their two children, Peyton and Hayden. He also thanked the members of his family who have been at his side through his ordeal and to the many friends and strangers who have reached out to help his family.

"You all know what I'm talking about ... All of you are here for the same reason. It's about loving someone and supporting them. God has blessed me with my family and friends and all of you. I wanted to be here to tell you that."

Pechacek was back in the hospital Saturday.

Relay Photo Essay (since Dad sent some nice photos)

Click on any photo to embiggen!

Our campsite was set up that afternoon with care. We had a great spot, right on the track but on the outer edge where we were allowed to have a campfire and staked-down tent (important the way the wind was blowing) and how cold it got that night - don't let Caitlin's little t-shirt deceive you, the wind was chilly!  Posted by Hello

First there was the Survivor's Lap, in which my two honey's walked hand-in-hand... Posted by Hello

Next we had the team parade and marched along with our team banner and remembering those we've lost to cancer and honoring those who have won the battle both on the flags you see here and all over my shirt (I'm behind the team banner, though)... Don't we have a great looking team??? Posted by Hello

Next came team photos, a lot of walking, visiting with friends and family, and eventually after it got dark, the luminaria ceremony. This is an example of what some of the luminarias looked like... Posted by Hello

And then it got cold. Really cold.  Posted by Hello

Did I say cold??? Posted by Hello

And we got tired. Really tired. Extraordinarily tired. Exhausted even... Posted by Hello

Oh.so.tired. Posted by Hello

But eventually, the sun came up! And so did the temperature... And somebody was out on that track walking all night long from every team. There were at least two or three from our team walking all night. And the cold and the exhaustion? They were so worth it. This is a great event. This is a great cause. And we'll do it until it isn't needed anymore. And I sure hope that day is soon. Because nobody wants anyone else to suffer or to die from cancer.  Posted by Hello


Mowing the Phone...

I decided to mow the lawn today. Dad had called yesterday morning, but Kel and I had a very late night the night before and I didn't have any allergy meds and was really feeling it so I begged off and we agreed that Friday would be the day since Thursday is a day of golf for him. Well, today was pretty nice - chilly and low on bugs, plus I had replenished the claritin-D yesterday during my Target run - so I decided to get out there and spare Dad the gory dust and bumpy ride if I could.

I stuck my phone in the cup holder so I could call Kel at the house in case of emergency and off I rode, confident that the blades would start.  

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It was brilliant really. Dad had disconnected one of the safety features that was really causing us some grief (if you got out of the seat the blades shut down, sometimes losing us the ability to ever get them started again, well for that mowing session anyway), so I knew that I had that one licked...

Early into the mow, I got stuck. Really stuck... in a low section of the yard. I called Kel and told her to get warm clothes on and come down and steer the tractor while I hooked up the car and pulled the thing out. Just a couple of weeks ago, that wouldn't have been possible without shutting off the blades unless she could have slipped into the seat with me still in it and we could have tricked it into believing I'd never left...

Long story short, I managed to finish the WHOLE FIELD and along the driveway and EVERYWHERE without the blades shutting down, even though I bet I got stuck 7 times and had to disengage the transmission and push myself out of being stuck or hook the tractor up to the car three of those times. After a couple of hours, I was finished.

I got out the push mower and did the hand stuff. I went in the house and got out the stuff for pancakes. Then Kel told me she wanted to go to a friend's house. So I went out to get the phone to send with her.

That's when I realized it was gone. :( AAAAAAARRRRGGGHHH!!

I spent the next hour wandering the fields, around the pines (especially around the pines figuring a pine branch had grabbed the phone and snapped it out of the cup holder), and along the edge of the long grass looking for the phone. We tried calling it. The first couple of times it picked up right away. I got a little upset by this because I knew the phone was on. Did I run it over causing it to be smashed into a billion pieces? In the meantime, Kel left with her friend. I came back inside and decided to look on top of the mower deck with the flashlight. Nothing but a lot of grass. That was a stupid idea. I looked in the car. Not there, of course. I tried calling it from the phone in the garage. I HEARD IT RINGING! AT THE MOWER! IT WAS ON THE MOWER DECK! I took off the protective cover over the gears for the blades and as you can see, there it was... 

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And this is what the back of it looks like after having the wheel spin around on it for who knows how long. I've needed to replace this phone for a couple of years. The screen fades out completely on it on a regular basis so I can't see what I'm dialing or who is calling. I have to hit it to get it to come back and sometimes what comes back is gobbledy gook. But I don't mind really.

I think it is official. My daughter will probably never again be seen with my phone. :) Posted by Hello

Oh - the best part??? Even with the beating it took - It seems to be still working fine. Won't have to replace it yet! Heh...

And now it's time for those pancakes... I'm starving.


More Relay Stuff...

Well, today I figured out how to get Kel to Colorado without too much worry about the dog sitting and price of gasoline, etc. She's flying out. I somehow found a really inexpensive flight - roundtrip and only a week away.

Today we headed to the DMV and she got her permit. While there they said I could renew my license since it was within a year of expiration for me. I've had mine forever and it was an awful picture. I was glad to be rid of it. The new one doesn't seem a whole lot better. It's kind of stern looking in a smiley way... go figure.

And I finally got to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban! It was definitely different than the other two. And I liked the first two better. I admit it. I miss the old Dumbledore. But I like me some Snapes. There isn't enough of him in any of them. :)

Hutch is looking for more Relay photos. I have one I'd like to post. But I can't upon punishment of pain and suffering. And I didn't take very many. So while we wait until my Dad e-mails me some, we'll have to settle for the other few that I did take.

This is the survivors from across the field all spread out around the track taking their lap... Posted by Hello

Here come the survivors rounding the final curve on their kick-off lap of the Relay! This year we had the largest group of survivors with us we've ever had! It was beautiful...  Posted by Hello

We had visitors - Jerry and his daughter and grandkids stopped by. His wife Delores is on my list of Honorees... They came for the luminaria ceremony. I graduated with his daughter and it was really nice to see her and her kids.

Another really good friend of mine, Carolyn, came by with her husband and daughter. They were there from opening ceremony through the luminaria ceremony. John made a luminaria for his dad; they participated in the silent auction and took home a fishing pole; they stuffed some money in our dude's purse and visited with some friends; they had some dinner at the concession stand; they visited with us and offered to walk with us next year... all in all, I think they had a good time.

Our teammate Lauren's mom, Dawn, who was treated for breast cancer and only recently completed her treatments in fact, came by and walked in the survivor's lap. She stuck around for a couple of hours.

Hutch's sister came by after the luminaria ceremony. I had just taken off to let the dog out and feed him his very late dinner and to get myself some warmer clothes for the night time hours. I hurried as quickly as I could because I hate to miss any of the Relay, but I still managed to miss her visit. I got back to the school and headed to the campsite and said to Keith, "You know what? Donna didn't come tonight." And everybody on the team who happened to be sitting around the campfire just then said in chorus, "You just missed her!" I could have cried. I was torked that I'd had to leave. Next year, I'm getting a puppy sitter. I had to leave for part of it last year because of him, too. Or else I'm going to put him in his crate and take him to my folks' house so that he's a lot closer than that drive all the way to my house... *grumble grumble*

We had a lot of fun in the morning watching the Road to Recovery car races that the little kids take part in. They decorate cardboard boxes like cars and get inside them and run around the track in them. And they are just little kids who can barely make it around the track. We stood there screaming and whistling and clapping for them. We were about the only few people doing that. Nobody else really noticed them. We had to yell at some walkers to get out of their way because they were coming up to them and the walkers were blocking the whole track. Some of the kids were so little that when they heard us they thought they were finished. We had to yell to keep going so they'd know they had a ways to go still. One poor little boy (Big Dan) kept tripping over his untied shoe laces and his mom just kept picking him up and telling him to keep going.

The weather was so great. The sunset was incredible, but the sunrise, after being up all night... WOW.

Well, I guess that's enough for this post. My daughter is late getting home. I'm going to sign off and get out of the office and get my teeth brushed. Think I'll read for a bit. It sure is going to be a quiet month when she is gone...