Food! And Holidays

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Growing up I had an Italian-American Grandfather, and two Polish-American Grandparents on my dad’s side.  Holiday’s were about church and FOOD.  Christmas may have belonged to my Italian Grandfather, but Easter, that belonged to my Polish Grandmother.

Kielbasa, Pierogis, Ham, Golabki, and on and on until you are really full.  Oh, and then candy, you cannot forget the candy.

My grandparents are all gone now, and if you have read any of my earlier posts, you know I am not exactly a chef.  I do try to carry on some traditions.  Right now my girls are grown and on their own, and I do not have any Grandchildren yet, so Easter is a quiet holiday for us.  I decided this year to make Easter dinner.  This is not the first time I have made Easter dinner, but today I am thinking about the foods of my childhood.  I am on a diet, so any excuse to think about food seems reasonable.

I cannot make the labor intensive foods like pierogis and golabki, but I can make a ham, and grill up some kielbasa.  Also, deviled eggs were always around on this holiday, guess they needed to do something with all of those dyed eggs, and they are easy enough to make.

I see a Monday morning workout in my future.  I intend to enjoy every nostalgic bite.  Maybe even a peanut butter egg for dessert.

Happy Easter!

Lady General

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Today is the fourth anniversary of my mothers passing. I miss her every day. When going through some old files a few days ago, I came across this letter that I wrote for my mom for her retirement dinner, many years ago. It is not sophisticated, but it does share just a little of how I feel about her.
Lady General –
Thought a lot about what I was going to talk about tonight. It leads me to a nickname my mom has, that ties together experiences of those who have worked with her over the years and those that she raised, her family.
The nickname “General” was given to my mom. If you know my mom I do not even need to explain it to you, she is in control, running the show, leading the troops, anytime she is involved.
I joke with friends I have met over the years, especially those I have met since living away from home, those who do not know my mom. I joke that even in my forties and several hundred miles from home, she can command my attention and get me to do what she wants.
I titled this little story “Lady General” because for a while that was my mother’s AOL screen name, the one she would send me countless chain emails from, you know the kind that tells you if you do not read it and send it to 2500 of your closest friends that you will get hit by a bus tomorrow.
But I picked the title “Lady General” because despite being the General of the family, my mom was and is always a mom, always a lady. She has worked hard for a lot of years, raising four kids, while keeping all of you in line at Crozer. I said to her just yesterday, I still do not know how she raised us and worked, yet still had dinner on the table, and we all sat down and ate together, most nights. I have been a working mother for almost 20 years now, and gave up on trying to do this and just married a man who could cook and was home more than me.
Sometimes when I remember you being there, I remember you barking out orders and making sure everyone was doing what they were supposed to do (aka what you wanted them to do), that is where the general comes in. I always remember you being there, for events, for dinner, sometimes even when I didn’t want you to be there, for that, I will always see you as a Lady, a mother.
Thanks Mom.

The Inevitable Thankful post

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First, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  This is my favorite holiday because I get to be with my family with only the expectation to eat, and laugh, and love.  We have so much fun!  I will miss my extended family this year, but with just my immediate family alone a good comedy writer could come up with a sitcom.

I have not posted a daily “thankful” post online at all but today I do want to say a few of the things I am thankful for, because there are many, and it is important to reconcile them on occasion.

I am thankful for –

1.  My family – they cost me money, they make me think, I feel so much love for them, they make me cry, but most importantly they make me laugh and keep me real.

2.  The women in my life – I have so many amazing women in my life, women that are amazing and women that help me remember that not everyone can be trusted.  But mostly amazing women, women that inspired me to write this post  (and I have a few more to add to this).

3.  My health – a little over a year ago I would not have been able to say this.

4.  My ability to run and workout – After being so unhealthy for so long, to have run two half-marathons, with three more scheduled, to go to boot camp several times a week, feels amazing!  I am certainly thankful to be able to do these things.

5.  The amazing people I have met through running – the encouragement from those far better than me, and the kinship of those pushing through the same odds as me are invaluable in their ability to inspire.  If you do not run, you should start, the people are kind and amazing.

6.  My relationship with my father – my mother passed this past spring, I have learned more about my father in that time than in the past 49 years.  He still gets mad at me, which hasn’t changed since I was a teen.  I will miss my mom as long as I am on this planet.

7.  My job – and the people there that have taught me so much.

8.  The OPP – I will not say any more about this one :).

9.  Old Friends – those who remind me to be kind, those who remind to visit, those who remind that I will be there for them and they for me NO MATTER WHAT.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.  Enjoy everything around you and be aware of all of the things you have to be thankful for every day.

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A Stroll in the Park

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Hi all!  I am almost 1-week into my healthy eating challenge and everything is going well; actually easier than I thought it would be.  Although I did slip one day and had to list a Kind Bar and a Vodka and Diet Coke to my snacks on my food tracker, not as serious as it sounds, just an end of the work week, please give me respite kind of snack.

Do you think one of the most common excuses for not exercising and not eating healthy is “I do not have enough time.”?

I know that over the years I have used that more times than I could count or care to admit.  Constantly telling myself I do not have time to exercise; I do not have time to cook all of my meals so they are healthier.  Well, that is BS!  When I measure all the time I have wasted instead of giving it the value it deserves, I get a little upset.  But alas hindsight is 20/20 and we cannot go back, so I am over the regret and looking to the future.

We have to make time to get more time in the future.  The time we spend now on being healthy will be years we add to our lives, and what are you doing with the time you are wasting anyway?  Watching TV, going online, or working?  I believe that idle time has value, but should be in moderation.

I am sure there are a million arguments to my simple statements today about time being something that we all have and I know everyone leads different lives.  However could you find 30 minutes a day to exercise?  Or a couple of hours on the weekend to prepare meals?

Today I am forgoing my run to take a walk in the park with my daughter, I will still get my activity in for the day, just going to take my time and enjoy the scenery and the company.  Kind of like multitasking to save time ;).

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Beautiful day in the park with my beautiful daughter!

Until next time…

The Amazing Race

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This is not a great picture but it is the only one I have from today’s race.  Today I ran a 1/4 marathon with my daughter, I love when my daughter races with me and it has been a while since we have done one together.

A little about the race course – The finish line was at home plate at our local minor league baseball stadium so the last bit of the race we got to lap the outfield and finish at home plate, that was a lot of fun.  Oh and another great thing about this race because it started and ended at the stadium there were actual bathrooms and not PoP…woot!  The course was almost completely flat, one small hill, and most of it was through our downtown area, lots to look at and talk about.  Not much of a crowd presence on the course, and entertainment and such was limited, which I found I really did not mind.  At one point on the course we were running through a neighborhood and one man was outside with about five kids, they had bubbles and were cheering us on as we went by, that was really cute.

Today was an amazing race!  Not because I PR’d or I won a place for my age, but because my daughter and I ran together and had a lot of fun doing it!  We kept our pace for the first five miles of the race, the last mile and a half of our 1/4 course was also the end of the 1/2 so we slowed down a bit and enjoyed watching some of the fast 1/2 runners whiz by us, we do not often (and by often I mean never) get to run with the fast folks.  We kept a good pace this last stretch just a little slower than the rest of the race.

Because our quarter course was the same as the half course for 6 or so miles we did not have to maintain a fast pace, which made it nice.  Do not get me wrong I like to compete and always strive to push myself each race, but daughter time is important too.

So, today was an amazing race, I felt so great afterwards, all that worry about my back, and thankfully no issues. If I had endless funds I think all of my training runs would be local races of different lengths, I love the inspiration of the elite runners, and the crowds, and the fun of having the other runners around.

Next week we have a 15K in Lexington, that one will have a LOT more hills, but looking forward to running with my daughter again.

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Until Tomorrow…

One More Day with Charlie

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Hi everyone!  I have not posted recently, been pretty busy training for my next half in September.  I have not posted mostly because my running has not motivated me to post.  Not that I am not running, that is happening for sure; had one of my best runs ever last weekend.  It is just that I have not been motivated to post about running.

When I started this blog I did it with the intent of blogging mostly about my journey “From Here to Me” and right now involves a lot of running and lifestyle changes.  For some reason I have not been able to write about these things lately; so I am thinking maybe a change for a bit.

Maybe I will post what it is like to be a peri-menopausal 49-year old with the goal of sliding into fifty fit, fabulous, and sane :).

Today my post is going to be about Charlie.  Charlie is our 15-year old Russian Blue, he is affectionately known as Charlie Man around the house.  Charlie came to us about 4-years ago when a neighbor of ours passed away.  Timmons’ (our neighbor) family did not want him and asked if we would take him.  Being an animal rescue household, we were not going to say no; and every day since has been a joy.

I want to tell you first about Timmons, our fantastic neighbor.  Timmons was a WWII vet who had been a prisoner of war in Germany, as a career (he was long since retired when we met him) he was an Ad Man, you know in the 50s and 60s like on Madmen, after retirement he became a fixture in the Louisville area social scene.

Timmons was also married for over 30 years and had children.  30 years into his marriage he let everyone know that he preferred the company of a male partner and from that day forward was able to live his life with a man he loved; they were together for over 30 years.  We loved Timmons and miss him dearly.

Back to Charlie – when we first took Charlie we also took a chair from Timmons family and a pair of Timmons pants.  For a month Charlie laid in our bedroom on that chair and pair of pants.  It took my daughter visiting from college to bring him out of the room.  Since that time we have all fallen in love with Charlie and his charming ways.  A few days ago Charlie, who has been getting thinner, was showing distress in his breathing so we took him to the vet.  It turns out his lungs were full of fluid; so we had the vet drain the fluid and brought him home.  The vet said with medication, which we started that next day, and follow-up he could be fine.

Well, last night Charlie had a seizure, it was scary and sad.  My daughter works part-time at the local animal shelter and she was working today, so we thought we might decide to put him down.  She was working until 6 pm so she asked that we wait until the end of her shift.  But today Charlie had a good day.  He ate some, laid with me while I napped and laid with my husband a bit, this is pretty much his normal routine at 15-years old.  We decided not to take him to the shelter, and I took the day off tomorrow to see how he does tonight and tomorrow.

My daughter’s other job is at a Vets office, so she will talk to them on Monday and see what they say.

We never want to see him suffer, but we certainly do not want to take away his life if he is feeling better.  This is a really tough decision; how do we decide when quality of life is not good and it is time to end it?  I am really struggling with this decision.  We love our animals like family, so on one hand we do not want them to suffer, on the other, we do not want to lose them.

So, here we are, enjoying one more day with Charlie, and perhaps another, or maybe not.