Monday, September 22, 2014

The Lake House

The Lake House. Lidia and Sawyer on the front porch looking towards the lake.

Cliff and I met this last decade with some life changes. Our girls are grown and out on their own now and we've found ourselves at the proverbial crossroads, where decisions are made to take you into the next decade and beyond. With the girls gone, our home seems so empty these days. Whitney and Jason are still in Colorado. And since Emily, Lidia and Sawyer moved to the upstate last year, it really seems empty. We don't get to see them on a regular basis, like before. Our home used to be filled with energy and chatter.

So, in our search for something, I came across a house on Lake Greenwood. It was only 40 something miles from Emily, Lidia and Sawyer and it was on the water. Sweet! That was on a Friday night. By Sunday afternoon, I was on the phone with the realtor and had an appointment to see the house on the following Friday. Friday came, we saw the house and that was it. We made an offer and the owners accepted it that same day. Talk about something falling into your lap....well, it did. It was meant to be.

We still have our primary home, we still have our little place at the beach and now we have a place at the lake. We feel so fortunate. I am happy that we have a place closer to the grandkids. It cuts out a lot of driving time.....just to be able to see them and be ever present in their lives. We've already been spending time there learning the area, getting to know the neighbors, visiting the local farmers market, checking out local restaurants, exploring places to run and for Cliff to bike. Lidia and Sawyer have been swimming, knee-boarding, kayaking and fishing. Cliff just bought them wetsuits and you would have thought it was Christmas. They were so excited and couldn't get them on quick enough. The idea is that the swimming season may be extended a little and the wetsuits do offer a little in the way of floatation. When Lidia and Sawyer come, they literally spend all day outdoors, at the dock, doing something. We have chosen not to have television service for now and there's no internet service, either. So we spend our time outside, mostly. It's wonderful. By the end of the day, we are so tired that bedtime can't come soon enough.

I'm excited about doing a little remodeling here and there...making it our own. I'm sure I'll share some of those projects as time goes by. And there's tons of yard work to do.  But for now, I'll leave you with a couple of pictures.

View from the screened porch;
my favorite place to have my morning cup of coffee.

The screened porch.

The view from the lake.

There's great potential and we love it!
Be back soon,

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Colorado Cemetery

The Dillon Cemetery
Dillon, Colorado

Whitney asked me the other day what was my obsession with cemeteries. HaHa! I don't have an obsession.....I just frequent them, doing ancestral searches. That eased her mind, but wonder what she's going to think about this post? The one where I show you that unusual cemetery I found in Colorado.....the one I promised to tell you about.

I call it unusual because our cemeteries here in SC don't look like this one in Colorado. The cemeteries here are flat and have grassy lawns that are mowed often and families of the people buried there, place flowers at the headstones.

This particular cemetery is in Dillon, CO. And unless you pay very close attention or know it's there, you will miss it. It's back off the road a little and it's on the side of a huge hill or small mountain, whichever you choose to call it. Coloradoans (is this a word?), take great care in preserving their environment. They reduce, reuse and recycle with the best of them. And, they leave their open spaces untouched as much as possible. So when you see the state of this cemetery, you will understand the reason it looks unkempt. It's scruffy with sagebrush and tall grasses, but look closer. It's a controlled unkempt, I think. You see native grasses and beautiful wildflowers. No doubt, just how these dear souls wanted it to be. And as unusual as it seems, it's also a beautiful place to be. Dead or alive. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Anyway, here are the pictures. Hope you enjoy.

A soldier from long ago.

Overlooking Lake Dillon and the Mountains.

Do you see the tiny little tombstones tucked snuggly among the sagebrush and grasses?

I hope not to offend this family, but it seems they have a great sense of humor. Their epitaph...."On The Road Again", is my theme song and has been for many years. I keep the roads hot. I might borrow this as my epitaph one day.



......and, Native grasses.
So peaceful!

Just missed a chipmunk that was perched on top of this stump.

Love this fence. It looks like they are taking advantage of the dead pine trees in the background, repurposing them as a fence.

The fence seems to go on forever.

Looks eternally beautiful to me,

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Day My Childhood Came To A Screeching Halt

Mary Corrine Wall

It happened on a day in September of 1974. The woman whom I adored and spent summers with, the woman who cooked the best collard greens and cornbread, the woman who would go out to the garden and pick fresh strawberries for dinner, the woman who caused me to love quilts, and so much more, was gone. On an unassuming day, she left this world for a better place. That woman was my Granny. She was a place of calm and reassurance. She was a giggle in my frustrations. She was a hoot while on the phone with her sister-in-law Floy and a helpmate to my PaPa.

Granny worked for 31 years in Spartanburg's Cotton Mills as an automatic spooler. She was a whopping 6' 1" tall. Granny, no doubt, inherited her height from her father, Willie Poole, who was 6' 2" tall.  Not sure where she inherited her good teeth from, HaHa. But, she never had a cavity in her life.

In Granny's family room was a closet she called Noah's Ark because it had a little bit of everything in it and after the chores were done and dinner was served, we would sit in the family room and talk the evening away. I would sit in her goose neck rocker and do word searches. She would sit on the edge of her couch as she watched wrestling and acted out the massive headlock that Andre the Giant would put on one of the wrestlers. She wore thick stockings up to her knees and always wore dresses with an apron. Her hair was as white as snow. I can't put into words how much I loved my Granny and how much I felt love from her. I truly felt life would no longer be the same the day she died. My childhood came to a screeching halt that day. It was over....the making of summer memories with Granny would be no more. Life took a turn that day and having no choice, I entered a journey of uncertainty, of learning a new way to spend summers. It was a learn as you go time. But from the lessons I learned from Granny, I was a confident girl heading into waters unknown. I stepped into my teens with ideas of what I wanted out of life. I don't remember much of our conversations, but I do remember the feelings of love and safety, while in her care. I feel so blessed for having such a loving, caring Granny. I hope that I live the kind of life that creates an atmosphere of love and safety, of reassurance and confidence, of good food and crafting. And I hope that my days of being an influence on my own grandchildren will result in their lives being fuller and richer and that this world will be a better place for having lived in it.

I was not lucky enough to inherit one of Granny's quilts, but I did inherit her thimble.
I was literally in tears, when I used it to make my first quilt.
Granny's goose neck rocker, newly covered a few years ago.
I wouldn't take a million dollars for it. Oh the memories I have of sitting in this rocker all those evenings spent with Granny.

A close-up of the goose's neck.

Remembering my Granny,

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Boy and His Dreams

Sawyer has fallen head-over-heals in love with fishing. It's clearly his passion! He talks about it constantly. He wants to fish all the time. He will give up swimming, video games, Legos and food just to be able to fish.

He even baits his own hook!

A Boy and His Dream.
I love him!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Upstate Country Run

Tried my feet in a new adventure this week. Remember, we bought a lake house? It's in the upstate, in the foothills. It's a whole new place to explore.

I have been hesitant about running here because it's hilly, but I needed to I went. Just a few words to describe it:

HILLS - Not unlike Colorado, but at least I can breathe here.

CURVES - Not only is our road hilly, but it's narrow and curvy. There's no shoulder. I cringe, if a car comes by. By the way, only two came by. So, I cringed twice.

DOGS - Barked at by three. Thank heavens they were in a fence. Doesn't matter, still scared the bejeebies out of me.

And then.......

UNKNOWN CRITTER: As I was rounding the last curve and descending the last hill, I saw a critter in the road. I couldn't make it out.

MY THOUGHTS: Could be a squirrel. If it's a squirrel, he'll run off by the time I get there. Oh wait, that's too big to be a squirrel. OMG! I hope it's not a skunk. Hope I scare the "C" word out of him so he will run off. Oh great, he's not moving. Wait, there's my driveway. It's ok, I'll turn before I get close to him. OMG!! OMG!! Now, it's moving towards me. Run feet, run!

REALITY: Bark, bark, woof, woof, bark, bark! Oh Lord, it's just Paul's dog.

FINAL THOUGHTS: He better not bite me!

HaHa! Only in LaLa Land!


Friday, September 5, 2014

Revel Rockies Half Marathon

I've been completely engrossed in for the past couple of months. I've been researching my family history for years, off and on. And I really do just love it to pieces. I get so engrossed that everything else goes on the back burner....that's why I do it off and on.  The underlying theme with my family, maternal and paternal, is that I come from a long, long, long line of farmers and the men in my family served in every military conflict and war. Maybe that's why I love a garden and it's bounty and why I'm drawn to the military. Could be! Anyway, I've been so engrossed these last few weeks that I've neglected to get my Revel Rockies Half Marathon post to you. I apologize....profusely. So without further ado.......I give you the race report.

Warning No. 1: Well, I guess I will release these photos. But, grody, I take awful pics.
Warning No. 2: This is long, but I was sure you wanted to know everythang.

Originally, we planned our trip to Colorado for Cliff to train. And then, Whitney sent me a message with a link about the Revel Rockies Half Marathon. She said, "You will be here on August 17th....just saying". I looked at the website and saw that it was all downhill and that was all it took. I figured I wouldn't get this chance again, so I signed up right away. I told Whitney if I was going to run it, she had to run it with me. And the child did!

Although I started training for this race in May or June, once we got to Colorado, I only had three weeks to get over the altitude sickness and acclimate to the lack of oxygen up there. Remember, we were staying at a 9000 ft. elevation. That, my friends, was a whole different ballgame. And, I am so glad it's over. I got over the altitude sickness pretty quickly, but danged if wasn't hard to breathe out there. My training suffered that way, but that coupled with climbing three flights of stairs everyday, more than once, prepared my legs. I felt strong and excited to run this half marathon.

So, the morning of…Aug. 17, 2014….Whitney and I awoke at 3:45 a.m. to get ready to leave for the half. We had coffee and peanut butter toast for breakfast. Left for the race venue to catch the bus to the start at 4:20 a.m. Arrived to the Bandemeer Speedway and what looked like hundreds of cars all trying to get into the parking lot. We parked and walked straight to a bus, which left within five minutes of our arriving for the race start. The start was in Evergreen, CO. It was cold! In the 40’s for sure. We were provided one of those very thin Mylar blankets and a pair of gloves. I didn’t use either. I just jumped up and down to warm up.
The race started and immediately, we had two steep hills to climb. Whitney and I decided to run our own races. She wanted to finish in under 2:30 hours, so I told her to go for it. Even with an ITB issue (she wore compression pants and an ITB strap), she took off like a streak of lightning. She ran the hills, which she states she’s good at, and I walked them. I was still dealing with a cold and didn’t want to lose my breath at the start. After the two uphills, we began descending and it was downhill the rest of the way. Sometimes it flattened out a bit and sometimes the downhill was in switchbacks (steepish), but mostly it was a gentle descent. I walked some, especially through the water stations. When I could, I would use the switchbacks to make up time. But, back on the course, even though there were those two hills in the beginning, what got me the most was when the road twisted and banked on the switchbacks. Running on a slanted road was horrible on my feet and ankles. But, I quickly learned how to run the flattest portion.

You know me…I always see the most unusual things on the road when running and this race day was no different. You know what it was? SPIT. Yes, spit. I saw more spit than the law allows. Heck, I even spit a few times myself. I was really hoping for lots of funny things to tell you, but everyone was pretty much normal this time. HaHa! I was passed by many runners, but I also passed a few myself. I could definitely see an improvement. There was this one lady that was running/walking and I felt like she was trying to pass me and stay out front. But, what’s a race if you don’t have a little cat and mouse chase, right? So, I would pass her when she walked and then she would pass me when she started to run. I could tell that she wouldn’t be able to keep this up for long. So when we hit the switchbacks around mile 9, I pushed it. I used gravity and quick, short steps to pick up the pace. I left her and she never caught back up. Later, I saw a deer grazing on the side of the mountain. But other than that and the beautiful surroundings, nothing much happened. Oh, there was this one older lady that was apparently in awe that we were running so far. She asked me, “Honey, you’ve been running the whole way”? When I answered, yes ma’am….she just shook her head and smiled.
I took a few pictures. The quality was not good as I was using my cell phone and I didn’t take my time. The sun angle was bad….it was early morning and we were running straight into it. But I’m including them in this post anyway, because I’m sure you’re curious as to what it looked like out there. It was totally gorgeous. The pictures just doesn’t capture how gorgeous.
This and the following pictures were taken on
the run route from Evergreen to Morrison, CO.


To get to the finish line, we had to climb one last steep hill. I wanted so bad to run it, but I just couldn’t. I walked the hill and waiting at the top was Whitney. She had finished a good 45 minutes or so before me. But bless it, she met me at the top of the hill to run with me to the finish. The downhill to the finish line was a rock and gravel road that was killing my already sore feet, but running it in with Whitney was worth the pain.
Whitney, approaching the finish.
Whitney running to the finish with me.
I finished in 2:55 hours. Whitney finished in 2:08 hours. This was her first half and my third….and we both PR’d. Woo Hoo!!! I shaved 3 minutes off my time from the Diva's Half in April.
A little Revel Rockies bling, bling!
So, after the race and a couple of pictures, we went back to Whitney’s, showered and then went to Chili’s for lunch. After lunch, Cliff and I headed back to Dillon. I went straight to bed and took a three-hour nap. Took it easy the rest of the day. Soreness was starting to settle in by that night. Monday, I was very sore in my quads, hips and hip flexors and sides. It felt like I had just given birth. Oddly enough, my feet and calves were not sore. And I was still junky headed from the cold.

Over all, considering this flatlander was running a half marathon at an elevation of 7000 feet, I would say this race was really good. Granted, I had been training at 9000 feet. And although I had conquered altitude sickness, I still had problems breathing. didn’t help that I had been battling a cold all week. My early goal was to finish in 2:45 hours and who knows, if I had not had a cold, I may have achieved that goal. I am happy with my results, though. And I am even happier that I got to run it with Whitney.

I would love to say that I want to go back next year and run the Revel Rockies Half again, but I just don’t think so. Running in high altitude IS NOT EASY. You can’t get enough oxygen and your legs feel like lead. I never had one run that felt easy. But I wouldn’t take anything for the experience. Once again, I learned that I can do far more than I thought I could. And the views were breathtaking… pun intended. Really, it was just plain beautiful in Colorado.

What’s next? Hmmm, I have another half marathon in October…..The Myrtle Beach Mini. And after that, I’m not sure. I’ll continue my running and I’m thinking to get back on the bike some and start lifting weights again. But, who knows? My love of adventure will surely take me somewhere. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Peace Out,



Friday, August 15, 2014

Winding It Down

Hike up Tenderfoot Mountain
August 2014
Hey y'all! I just got back from the Farmer's Market here in Dillon. It's been one of my Friday highlights. Love, love a farmer's market! I've just bought some of the plumpest corn I've ever seen. The farmer said, "This corn is the bomb! It's from Pueblo." HaHa! Hope it doesn't explode in the microwave. Have you ever microwaved your corn, shucks and all? I'm telling you, it's the way to go. Just throw a ear of corn in the microwave, left completely in the shucks, and heat for 3 minutes. It will be steamy hot when you pull it out. I grab it with a paper towel and peel back the shucks and the silk just pulls right off. Perfection!
Anyway, I was actually going to keep this post short, but as it turns out, I have lots to tell you. Cliff and I are winding down our Colorado trip. I know I sound like a broken record here, but this place is breathtakingly beautiful. There is 360 degrees of pure gorgeousness! I love how one minute you are in long pants and a jacket and the next, you're in shorts and short sleeves. I've learned to be prepared when stepping out the door. I've gotten caught in the rain several times, also. As a matter of fact, right now, the sun is shining so brightly and it's misting rain. We have slept with the windows and doors open every night. And let me tell you, it's been in the 40's every night. But, we just snuggle up and enjoy it because we know before long, it's back to the heat and humidity. I could definitely get used to the climate out here. However, the thin air is another thing. I am looking forward to being able to breathe again, without effort.
Last weekend, Whitney and I did our last long run....9.1 miles. We ran down the second crookedest street in the world.....and of course, it was all downhill. Remember, the one I called switchback city? So anyway, we went 5 miles out and turned around at Cliff's triathlon spot and headed back. The closer we got back to the condo, the more the clouds were rolling in. And just when we got back to switchback city, Cliff and Jason pulled up to take us home. I really wanted to finish the 10 miles, but they insisted that we were getting ready to get caught in a big storm with lightning. So Whitney and I called the long run, done!
On Sunday, Whitney, Jason, Cliff and I went on a short hike up Tenderfoot Mountain. It was an easy hike, and once again, so beautiful! This trail has reported bears in the area. I'm sure glad we didn't see any, but I was hoping to at least see a moose. They frequent the area around Lake Dillon. But, no moose sightings, either. The picture above is one from the hike with Lake Dillon in the back ground. You see what I mean? Isn't it breathtaking?
Here are a couple more pictures from that hike:
The Tenderfoot Mountain Trail meandering off into the distance.
Tree stumps, wild flowers and the lake in the background. Ahhh!

More wildflowers. I love purple flowers of any kind! Oh, by the way, do you see the fallen trees in the background? There's a pine beetle infestation here that's killing off the pine trees. I don't know how they are treating the problem, but we have seen so many dead trees standing and some cut down. It's so sad!
Oh, wait! On a run the other day, Cliff and I saw runners coming toward us with numbers on. We saw a group cheering on the runners and stopped to ask about the race. As it turns out, there was a Ragnar 200 Relay Race going on.  The leg these guys were running was 10 miles. They began at Copper Mountain and raced all the way around that chain....through Breckenridge, Keystone, Dillon, Frisco and I think, finish up at Vail. Two hundred miles of running hills is not for the faint of heart, but it was a relay race so I guess it wasn't too bad. They seemed to be having a ball.  This particular group was from Utah. I don't know any of them in this picture, but who knows....maybe someone reading this blog will. I wish I had gotten their email so that I could send them the turned out pretty good. And of course, that's Cliff in the back.
So, that's it for today. The Revel Rockies Half-Marathon is Sunday.  Ready or not, Whitney and I will be there. To top it off, I have been battling a cold all week. I could barely breathe, yesterday, on my run. I hope this won't be an issue. But honey lamb, nothing is keeping me from this race. I've been looking forward to it all summer. Worst case scenario, I won't have a PR (personal record). I am feeling better today, fingers crossed that I'm on the mend. So, it's off to Denver tomorrow for packet pick-up and then to The Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner. Yum!!!
I'll be back with another post highlighting the half-marathon next week. For now, have a great weekend!
Running the Rockies,
P.S. On one of our rides, Cliff and I found a cemetery unlike any I've ever seen. I'm going back to take pictures. I'll post those soon, too.