Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Marathon News

Well, I have to confess that I was unable to cross the finish line:( There is no telling just what makes a good run happen---do all of the stars have to be aligned just so? They weren't for me on Sunday. I was able to complete 19 miles...my longest run ever. I will continue to train and make another attempt after the first of the year. And since one of my other teammates was unable to run because of an injury, we will be able to train together and try again!
I am super proud of Jess and Vicki who did the whole thing. They are phenomenal women who made it all the way to the end. I am also super proud of the whole ARG team who have stuck it out all of these months. We wouldn't have been able to accomplish anything that we have without each other. Even the members who were unable to run were there with us for childcare and moral support!
A few things I did learn:
  1. Next time plan the Italian vacation post-race. Carbs are good for running but a weeks worth of pasta and pizza (oh yeah, and gelato and tiramisu) may not be the best diet pre-race!
  2. Marathons are not scary. Not everyone is out there to run it in 2 hours! They can be a lot of fun....so don't let nerves get the better of you and prevent you from sleeping the night or two prior to the race.
  3. If you are going to have to wait around awhile from arrival to start time, don't eat breakfast before leaving the villa. Bring breakfast with you and eat while waiting for the starting gun (a man we dubbed Chef Boyardee heeded this advice and seemed to be eating enough breakfast for all of us!)
  4. Even when you think you have all the problems worked out, chafe spots, clothing issues, shoes, etc., new ones spring up for no apparent reason. I now have 3 toes that are purple, one in particular that is swollen and purple and I am just praying the toenail stays on! Yuck!

There will be pictures forthcoming. We are going to have a big photoswap and I'll post them later. I just wanted to let everyone know the outcome. I am disappointed with myself but only more motivated to try again!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Only a week to go!

This morning I completed my final "long" run (8 miles) before the marathon. It's hard to believe that one week from today it will be for real! Jess and I had a GREAT run. Just what we needed to get our mental courage up for the race (actually I should only speak for myself...Jess always has great mental courage!).
The weather was chilly (46 degrees) and a the ground was wet. It was raining before we headed out and it started sprinkling just at the end. From forecasts of Italy next weekend, the weather for the marathon will be pretty similar. We are rethinking running apparel from shorts to leggings! Who would have thought?!
The biggest factor for me is that we are actually here. Thinking back to a mere 4-5 months ago when going on a 6 mile run was horrible, couldn't do it, a huge challenge.....to planning on running 26.2 in one week. WOW!
It wouldn't have been possible on my own. Gotta love my ARG team:)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Is It Winter Already?

It seems that fall has passed us by. Rather, fall never passed at all. After a very mild summer with only a few days that passed into the upper 80's/lower 90's, the weather has settled into winter. We are several days into a week that is forecast to be in the 40's and 50's during the day, freezing or near freezing at night. It's grey and overcast. Is snow not far behind? Whatever happens, it's the perfect weather for wanting nothing more than to snuggle on the sofa with a mug of cocoa, a warm flannel blanket and a good book or movie. Bring on the marshmallows:)

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Great Night With the Girls!

About a year ago, a friend told me that they had ready-to-eat cheesecake filling in their grocery store. "Really?" I say. "I haven't seen anything like that it my grocery store!" We went on to chat about what a great indulgence something like that would be. Seriously, open a can of cherry pie filling, the tub of cheesecake, grab yourself a spoon and you have the opportunity to have one great dessert. No prep, little clean-up. What could be better?!
Have you seen this stuff?

Well, the other night was better. First of all, the cheesecake filling is now in our store! And not only did I get to enjoy a little of it (for dessert of course. Eaten with a spoon directly out of the tub), I got to enjoy a large assortment of amazing european cheeses, bread, a few glasses of wine and a great chick flick with a few good friends who are also muddling through the RLBT. Thanks girls for the laughs! Until the next tub......

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Growing boys, shrinking bikes

The problem with children is that they seem to outgrow things. Shoes, pants, sleeping bags and absolutely anything else that comes in smaller sizes. Well, one thing we don't think of from season to season is the bicycle. It seems that, during the past year, the incredible shrinking machine has hit our storage shed.
Okay, so the boys haven't gotten their bikes out much this year, more like not at all, until just recently. L's was WAY to small for him and, if that wasn't enough, B's made him look a bit like a clown riding a miniature bike at a circus.
Off to the store we go to try to find new bicycles. Amazingly there were several great ones (with great prices) to choose from for son number two. Not so much for son number one. There were exactly two. The less expensive one was UGLY. The other was way out of the price range. So its off to try to find one online that will deliver to a PO box. I'm sure that will be simple! Perhaps it will be here in time for the first snowfall. I can only hope that there will be no more visits from the incredible shrinking machine!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Varied Hair of a Growing Boy

For the last two years, this mother has had an internal struggle approving the hairstyle of her eldest son. Dad says that as long as he is well behaved and takes care of it, he should be able to have the style he wants. And so it began.....
The Bleached Look

This picture was taken fall of '06. B stood to my shoulder.....
The Long Look
This was taken a few weeks ago. The boys were taking part in an activity that required a bit of "face paint". Thought I'd point that out since they look pretty dirty:)
The New Short Look
This was taken this morning. Who is this kid? Mom is SOOOO happy with this look! Everyone, including B, really likes it. The first comment that is made is "B, you look so much older!" That helps to fuel the 'like' factor with the son. And by the way, he is now nearly as tall as I am!

Monday, September 8, 2008

An extension....

We get to stay in our lovely countryside town until October 2010! The extension that we put in for has come through. It didn't end up being the full 3 years as we had hoped, but it still gives us more time to travel and buy antiques! The better half is adamant about moving to a bigger house. I'm not crazy about the idea...especially if we are only going to be living there a little over a year and a half. I'm willing to compromise though. A move means new furniture:) I'll keep you posted.
Us staying here doesn't only mean that we get an extension in our opportunities to travel, it also extends your opportunity to visit!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Saying Good-bye

The thing I love the most about the life we live is the vast number of people we meet and the great friends we have made. The downside of our transient lifestyle is that we, inevitably, must say good-bye to the people we love. Last night I said good-bye to one of those good friends.
We met two years ago when, after learning where our house was going to be, we took a shuttle to the neighborhood to have a look around. Rach and her husband invited us into their home to have a look around (the layout is the same as ours). And so it began, neighbors first, friends always. Even Christo was enamored with Scout, their German Shepherd.
So, to you my friend, I'll miss you. I will continue to pray for you as you face uncertainty and challenges. You will always be close to my heart.

No love, no friendship, can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever. ~Francois Mocuriac

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mrs. Fix-it

Today I changed the brakes in my car. Yes, that's right, the brakes. Brake pads, rotors, I also threw in a tire rotation, since they were off the car anyway, and an oil change. The RLBT has created quite the auto mechanic here! Last year I put on new tires and balanced them myself. I always do my own oil change. I think that my dad would be proud as well as our good friend JB who, suffice it to say, is quite particular about doing his own work on their vehicles.
I'm thrilled to say it all went well. There was only one problem with one of the caliper pins. It was stuck and the only way to get it out was to take a torch to it. No worries, I didn't do that myself! Everything is in great working order now and the brakes feel marvelous. There is something to be said in doing the work yourself and getting a little grimy. There is a great deal of satisfaction in it.
I took a camera to get a picture of me hard at work. The picture never got taken though. Working on a car is dirty business. After the first 5 minutes my hands were covered with a layer of 'yuck' that prevented me from touching the camera. Everyone else at the shop also had dirty hands. That happens I suppose when the only people around are also working on their vehicles. You see, here in our little community, is a place where I can go and rent a lift for the car. They also have all of the tools a person may need but not have. There are also mechanics who work to provide instruction and the occasional 'fire' power:)