Friday, May 29, 2015

Woman's Tour Bike Training

My bike in 2011...down by the beach.

You've read a snippet or two about the Woman's Bike Tour that I will be going on in July. It's a 6-day tour through part of the Grand Tetons and I've been in training for a few weeks now.  I'm so excited!

The Woman's Tour has many tour packages, but I chose this one because it was rated for beginners. However, Cliff keeps reminding me there will be hills and I keep reiterating that it's rated for beginners. I think I might be trying to convince myself of that, but in the meantime, I will ride my little legs off to make sure I'm ready for this tour.  The first day on the tour, we will ride approximately 12 miles. The rest of the week we will ride anywhere from 20-40 miles a day, from point to point staying in Inns at night. The rides are in the mornings and then we have little side excursions in the afternoon. One day, we'll float on a river and one day we'll have a yoga session. I'm really excited about that, too. And now, since I most assuredly have to train for this week-long riding tour, you get to hear all about my training. Ha!


I've been riding my bike on the porch at the lake with the help of a trainer.

The Woman's Tour sent me a six-week training schedule to follow. I started early to make sure I would be ready and I will wrap up their schedule next week. But, I still have almost two months before the trip. So, I will continue training....taking longer rides, until the day I leave for Wyoming.

I've had to re-think how I normally train because I'm all about the miles and when I give you stats, they will be in miles. But, the Woman's Tour training schedule has me riding by time. When I started a few weeks ago riding half an hour two days a week and then an hour on Saturdays, I could tell that the training was not enough for me. So, I thought, I'll just tweak their plan to fit my ability. Well gah, I didn't have to! The training has picked up now and it's very challenging. Time on the seat is most crucial. And Sunday, I rode for 3 hours. I'm not gonna lie, it was a little painful. Especially for the ischial tuberosity! My next long ride will be 4 hours. Holy Ouch!! I ride outside, when I can. And when I can't, I set my bike up on the trainer and ride indoors or on the porch. My biggest fear is not the hills or how bad the tush is going to feel, but the traffic. From all I've read, the Woman's Tour courses are on less traveled roads or on bike paths. I'm counting heavily on this. If you would whisper a prayer for safety, I would love you forever. For now, I will follow their schedule and continue to, throughout June and July. I'm sure I'll be ready!

So....in case you were wondering, my stats are as follows:
Week of Apr 26  - 14.36 miles
Week of May 3   - 10.82 miles
Week of May 10 - 26.5 miles
Week of May 17 - 41.67 miles
Week of May 24 - to be continued...but so far, 38.50 and I still have 2 more days of riding this week.

Trusting my training,
Laurie

Oh wait, before you go......take a look at the sunset Cliff and I were watching this evening at the lake.

The gloaming.....a magical time of day.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Whitney's Praise Report

Remember the post I wrote about Whitney, the young mother with cancer, from my hometown? If not, you can read that post here. I know many of you prayed for her and some of you now follow her blog. Well, Whitney had another scan last week and I am sure you would love to know how she's doing. So...with Whitney's blessing, I'm bringing you her praise report.

If by chance, you have not visited Whitney's blog, This Little Light of Mine, you can visit her here. She has an amazing story of faith and hope and I'm sure you'll feel the same, after reading her blog.

Please join me and countless others as we continue to pray for Whitney and her family. I know for a fact that she appreciates each and every one.  I won't keep you any longer.....please read Whitney's story below.

**********


Scan and Update



 Chemo #13

We talked to Dr. Saylors about my scan today! All my tumors, nodules, everything has continued to decrease in size. Some of them are too small to even be measured! The tumors on my liver were measuring 4 cm. They are now around 1 cm! My lymph nodes were the size of ping pong balls and are now the size of lima beans.  Praise God!

We have come to the point where the harm from chemo outweighs the benefit. I am so very tired and I'm tired all the time.  I want to feel good again.  I will finish this cycle (a cycle for me is carboplatin + taxol one week, taxol only the next week, then a week off) and maybe one more cycle. Then I will stop chemo.  I will be checked regularly and I will go back on the chemo, if the tumors grow.

I am happy with this decision. Yes, I still have cancer.  But I am alive, and I will live on!  This is not to say that God will not take this cancer from my body this instant!  I still believe God will heal me. My idea of a miracle was that the tumors would disappear, but THIS is a miracle, too.  I will elaborate on this in a future blog; there is a lot I'd like to say on this subject.  My most fervent prayer was that I would watch my children grow up, and I will!  I am thankful!  I will continue to walk by faith; even more so while I am not taking treatment.  God is so good!  My Father truly has His hands over me.  He is my shield, my anchor, my refuge.  He is everything!  Though I am weak, I lean into His strength and His grace and I am whole.  I am swaddled in His love!
Thank you all for your prayers and support!!  By His stripes, I am healed.
 
**********
 
I think Whitney said it best, "lean into His strength and His grace".
Such wise and wonderful words from this young woman.

And by the way, today is Whitney's 28th birthday and she said that she will spend it celebrating life.
 Happy Birthday, Whitney!
 
God Bless,
Laurie

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

KneeBoarding History

 
We spent some time, Sunday, on the lake with our neighbor's daughter and her family. The kids were wakeboarding and kneeboarding. Lidia and Sawyer have been kneeboarding before, but today, Lidia made history. She crossed the wake for the first time! Holla! 
 
  
 
 
 
 
Now y'all, that's the face of sheer determination and pride right there. She grinned the whole time. These are the times we live for.....times when our grandchildren experience something for the first time, the times they dig in and not give up no matter how hard the task may be, the pride in their accomplishment and gaining such great confidence......that feeling that they can do anything, if they put their minds to it. Don't you remember those feelings?
 
All I can say is......"Lidia, you go girl!"
 
And talk about faces.....Lordy, they showed us a couple more.
 
Before going home, Monday. Lidia and Sawyer got a little silly.
This is their best impressions of the ever popular......Duck Face.
 

 
HaHa!
 
Love my babies,
Laurie
 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

I Nearly Killed Mama

I feel so guilty! Mama told me to not think a thing of it, that she wasn't holding it against me. Well, dear Lord, that just made me feel even more guilty. Let me explain.....

My daughter, Emily, makes homemade soaps, lotions, detergents and such. All natural, some organic. So I thought I would follow suit and make some laundry detergent for myself and share it with mama. It was January, when I made the huge batch of detergent. I gave mama a heaping container of it. She was so excited to try it. I've been using it since January and still have a couple of quarts left, plus what was left of mama's. She won't be needing hers anymore.

Mama called one day last week to tell me she thought she was allergic to the detergent. She described a rash she had broken out with. It started on her abdomen and spread up from there onto her torso, then to the creases of her arms and now onto her face and neck. Apparently, this has been going on for about 3 weeks. Once mama concluded that it had to be the detergent, she stopped using it. She re-washed all the towels and wash cloths because she thought this was where she was getting the most exposure. The way she described the rash was that it was very red and itched a little. She had been using some over the counter stuff to treat it. One of my sisters called that same day, very concerned....she felt mama should go to the doctor. So, I went to mamas to check on her and OMG! Her face and neck was so red! It look like she had a very, very bad sunburn...almost like she had been scalded. I've never seen anything like it and I was alarmed. I tried to get her to go to the doctor, but since she had an appointment in a couple of days, she decided to wait. In the meantime, I went through the list with her..."so you've re-washed the towels, etc." Yes, she had done all that. "What about the sheets", I asked. She had not....so we stripped her bed and put on fresh sheets that she knew had been re-washed.  Wednesday morning, I carried her to the doctor. I couldn't imagine that she was still breaking out after stopping using the detergent 3 weeks ago or that it had taken since January to affect her. I was wondering, if it was shingles. After seeing the doctor, she agreed with mama that she thought it was the detergent, too. If mama had gone to her 3 days or so earlier, she could have been treated with steroids. But the doctor didn't think they would be of help this far into it. She told mama to get some aloe vera gel, chill it in the fridge and then rub it on her face as needed. Y'all, I felt terrible! I apologized and said, "Mama, I didn't mean to nearly kill you." We laughed and she assured me she didn't hold it against me. Ha! I didn't take a picture of her, that would have just been wrong. But, y'all should have seen it. I'm serious!

Mama makes her doctor appointments all on the same day, so after leaving her medical doctor we drove to the next appointment in Georgetown. Her eye appointment was later in the afternoon. We had some time to kill so we drove over to the beach for lunch and then with still more time to kill, drove around Georgetown for a bit. I took a few pictures.....see below.

Mama's eye appointment was making her nervous because the doctor mentioned at her last appointment that she was developing a cataract and she might want to consider having it removed soon. So mama was fully expecting him to tell her at this appointment that it was time. Well, after seeing the eye doctor he told her the cataract wasn't in need of surgery anytime soon. Mama was elated about that, but he then told her she was developing glaucoma. Again, it is very early and he didn't want to start her on eye drops, yet. They are watching and waiting. Y'all, I couldn't help myself. This was one of those times that I had to take advantage of the situation. I gleefully said, "Hey mama, you'll have to get some marijuana, a little Tijuana BamBam." HaHa! She laughed that one off and said, "I don't think so!"

It's a good thing mama takes me with a grain of salt. She never knows what I'm going to throw at her. I bought her the aloe vera before taking her home. With freshly washed towels in her regular detergent, nice crisp clean sheets and some chilled aloe vera, every thing is right again with mama.

And now, the pictures from around Georgetown....

The old, old bridge that used to lead to the beaches.

The newer bridge and the one traveled to Pawley's Island and Myrtle Beach.
I ran a half-marathon across that bridge.

And, I ran across this bridge from Satan in the same half-marathon.
It leads to Charleston.

The waterway runs behind Front St. and boats will anchor back there.

Anyone have Gilligan and the Skipper's number, I found their boat.

A fish house. It might not look like one, but it sure smelled like one.

Someone probably would spit, if they knew I was calling these boats.
I guess, technically, they are sailboats.

Isn't this gorgeous? This old house overlooks the waterway. I would love to walk through it. Georgetown is full of gorgeous old homes. You should visit. Take a tour. Bring your sailboat.

A little something to guide boats through the waterway.

A dock, beckoning for a few seagulls to rest upon her railings.
 
I'm so glad I took my camera with me that day.
 
Later Y'all,
Laurie




Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Our Little Place At The Beach


We have a little place at the beach. It's not very big...it's just right for our family. We call it the beach house, but it's not really a house at all. It's located in an oceanfront campground on a permanent site. Our little beach house is called a park model which is basically a road ready, glorified camper/mobile home with a Carolina Room attached to one side. We are a little over a block away from the ocean and we have a small lake across the street....not to be confused with our lake house in the upstate.


Now, I don't call myself a decorator and I don't blog about decorating, but Cliff and I have been doing a little spiffing up...as in...spring cleaning the outside, a little painting and a little rearranging of my porch d├ęcor. And I thought I would give you a little peek.




We love it here! Lakewood is our get away, our place of no stress. It's in a gated community, which really doesn't mean much when it comes to thievery. Oh wait, that definitely could be conceived as a direct contrast to the no stress thing. And I'm not gonna lie, the whole fern fiasco a few weeks ago had me out of sorts for a few days. But really, that's one of the only times we've had any trouble. Well, there was the time that some young boys stole a bunch of quarters out of Cliff's Jeep and the one time someone threw overripe peaches at our house. But generally, it truly is a no stress zone for us.


We really enjoy the porch; it's my favorite spot. It's a great place to read or have dinner or relax in the rockers....watching the ducks and geese swimming in the lake across the street.

Included in Lakewood's amenities are a couple of pools and a water slide...there's biking, kayaking and all sorts of games......a summer/weekly music variety show and even church right on the grounds. It's a great place for families. And, we have really good neighbors.

   

Since our house is so small, I can have it completely cleaned in an hour and that includes the bathroom, dusting, vacuuming and mopping. I'm telling you this because that's how I spent one of my days last week. And afterwards, I rode my bike 6 miles, showered, had lunch with Cliff and then laid out on the beach. It looked sort of deserted. But by June, there will be so many people on the beach that it will be hard to find a spot to lay out on. You either have to go out very early in the morning and claim a spot with your chair, cooler and umbrella or do like I do and just wait until later in the afternoon. It's my favorite time of day to go out on the beach, anyway. There is still plenty of sun and the afternoon breezes have kicked in. It's so peaceful. I usually fall asleep. Ha! I set an alarm on my phone so I can turn before I burn.

So that's our little place at the beach. You can find us bumming there quite often. Come on down and dip your feet in the ocean or bury your toes in the sand. I'll leave the light on.

Laurie





Monday, May 18, 2015

What's Blooming?

The first thing I do, when I arrive at the lake is check the yard to see if there's something new that I haven't seen before and it's confirmed.....all sorts of new things are blooming. Eeeek, I am so excited to tell you the peony bloomed!

So far, it looks like I only have one peony plant and it only had one bloom. Pure gorgeousness!


Then, there are the Daylilies.

The little house the flying squirrel was living in.

The same house now has a family of birds living in it. I wasn't quick enough to capture the mama coming and going, but I spent a few minutes this morning listening to the babies.

And this is the tree that the birdhouse is attached to.
Can anyone tell me what it is? I don't have a clue.

A well established Hosta.

Brace yourself.

I'm fighting a new beast! Deer! They are wreaking havoc. Help!

You see this well established Lily, full of tender buds? I was so excited at the thought of seeing them in full bloom, wondering what color they would be......but, no more.
The beast ate every last bud! The poor thing is just left with little nubs.
I couldn't bear to take a picture of it.

Just wait, it gets more graphic.

This is one of my new Hostas, planted last fall. It's was just a little too tasty. Waah!

I planted three Hydrangeas and flanked them by the Hostas. I have high hopes for this combination. But as you can see, the beasts have been nibbling on them, too.

I remembered that Cliff's daddy once told me to place Irish Spring soap shavings around some Indian Hawthorns that I had planted at home. The deer were nibbling their leaves, too. The soap thing apparently worked...I didn't have any more trouble. So, I did the same thing at the lake. I'm hoping it works. I also placed a wind chime on a branch of a Crepe Myrtle that hangs right over the Hostas. If the deer goes back to that spot, I'm thinking that he'll bump the wind chimes and it will scare him away. Lordy, it's a battle!

And then there's this.......apparently, the beasts don't care for them.

Love this, but have no clue what it is.

The Gardenias smell heavenly!

And, last but not least, I bought this at Lowe's. It's Calibrocia.

I planted Geraniums and Creeping Jenny in a couple of planters by the back door, but forgot to get pictures. And I plan to place a large pot of geraniums on a bench going down the stairs to the dock. I'll try to remember to get pictures of those next time.

Changing Gears!

My bike training is coming along nicely. Saturday, I rode about 10 miles and Sunday, about 14. My legs felt like they could keep going for many more miles, but my sit bones were screaming. I ordered a pair of cycling underwear. I'm going to try them under my athletic skirts, because I can't stand the bike shorts that cyclists wear. I'll let you know, if they work.....who knows, maybe you want a pair for yourself. 

Emily and the children spent the weekend with us at the lake. Emily cooked dinner twice and did the dishes, too. I felt pampered! Lidia and Sawyer played in the lake the whole weekend. Cliff pulled them behind the boat on a kayak, on a raft, on a boogie board and even with them just holding on to the rope. They had a ball.

I've got a full load, this week. Tuesday and Thursdays is yoga, as well as 10 miles each day on the bike. I'm thinking of running Wednesday for some cross training. And then, I have some really long rides this weekend....an hour Saturday and three hours Sunday, which will be approximately 4o miles.

Talk more later,
Laurie

Friday, May 15, 2015

I'm Back.....With a Tale From the Sea

Hey y'all, I'm back. Miss Thang has been repaired. Seems like it was a hardware problem...a chip or a board or something and to think, I was blaming it on Windows. Anyway, I've got so much to tell you. I think I'll start with the Tropical Storm. 
 
Cliff.
The start of our walk/jog to the jetties and back.
 
Last weekend, Mother's Day to be exact, Tropical Storm Ana made landfall at Myrtle Beach. We stayed at Lakewood and had no problems. The rain and wind this storm produced was not bad at all. I mean, we've seen worse. By Sunday, Cliff and I were ready to get out of the house and do something.....so, we drove down to Huntington Beach State Park for a walk/jog on the beach and to the jetties at Murrells Inlet. From the parking lot at Huntington, it's about 4 miles round trip to the jetties and back. We knew it would be raining and that the wind would be a little rough, but we didn't mind. Rain ponchos come in handy at times like these. Especially those thin ones they sell at the Dollar Store. You can't beat 'em. ;)  I got a little excited at the thought of a wind/rain adventure, I'm not gonna lie. So, we suited up with rain jackets and ponchos and headed into the storm. I'll just let the pictures take over from here. Now, before you go getting all concerned....the rain was minimal, the wind a little more, but we were safe. The ponchos almost whipped us to death. Cliff's got stuck to his face one time and he nearly suffocated, but that was the extent of any dangerous perils we met that day.

The day was so gloomy that our photos looked almost sepia toned, with the exception of pops of color peeking out here and there.

I wondered where in the world this log floated up from.
You could tell that it was completely saturated with water.

 The end of the jetties...the waves splashing about.
 
Left over splashes.
 
 There I go, trying to tame the poncho beast.
That thing was nearly in shreds by the time we got back.
 
 We mostly walked, but every so often would start jogging. On the way back, Cliff would jog ahead and wait for me to catch up. While he was waiting, he penned this in the sand. He loves me!
 
Do you ever get the feeling you're being watched? Ha!
We saw him on the drive across the causeway as we were leaving.  
 
That little adventure was fun. By the time we got back to the park, we were wind whipped and drenched and we didn't care. That's what a change of clothes and a bathhouse are for.
 
Talk soon,
Laurie