Sunday, November 27, 2011

Post Thanksgiving Day Post

Hope whoever reads this had a good dinner with family and friends and lots of pie.

Ours was outstanding but (and) this is both expected and commonplace. We have a tradition that includes perfectly roasted turkey, a stuffing so good people ask "what's in there?!", sweet potato casserole with pecans (is that not the best nut in North America?) and a new entry this year, a squash casserole. All of this is lovingly prepared by our SIL and BIL whom I have described in the past as my role models in this farm life.

The only thing missing this year was the youth factor as neither of our kids were able to attend but looked at realistically, this did mean more for us! Hey, it's true, right?

Now, add to this two flocks of chickens and terrific weather, and what we have here is heaven. In one coop were some 12-15 Auracanas and in the other a mix of Barred Rock and banty Cochin hens. Outside the coops was an additional flock of banty Cochin roosters that have their freedom to wander around, sleep in the trees and start crowing at 3:56am. This doesn't bother me at all as my hearing isn't that great to begin with and I happen to like the sound but as we lay in bed giggling at it, John kept telling me there was an owl out there as well adding to the cacophony. That low sound didn't register period but I strained nonetheless to hear. Maddening. Only once did I actually hear it and then since I could not catch it a second time, I questioned the first.

Pleased to report that I am still on schedule with the plogging, turkey and all. Today is an easy day with 2.5 miles to go and next Sunday is the 6.5 mile.

Okay, a post is not complete without a beef, right? So here I go:

We stopped by IKEA in Houston to grab stuff for Borgasmord and left completely baffled by recent events. They have stopped selling cheese, caviar in tubes, brown beans, cookies and worst of all (maybe) museli! WHY?????????? and to add to the insult, everything now has the IKEA label. No more independent purveyors are there. No ABBAS anchovy, no Lars mustard, no Marabou chocolate..... why????

I guess I don't have to go by there anymore.....

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hmmmm.... Breaking in Shoes....

It doesn't mean what I think it means. I have been plogging along in a pair of Sketcher rolling walkers all this time. They are heavy and make you feet roll as you go which is nice and I do like them but I didn't think they would see me through 13 miles. Also they get hot. Or rather, hotter as I go but that might have something more to do with the thick socks I wear.

So, I bought a new pair of running shoes. Nike LunarGlide + and went for a run this morning. My first run in these new shoes and it was my Sunday run which, sticking to the schedule meant 5 miles.

Ok, these shoes are so light-weight and airy after the Sketchers I was flying! It felt so great! But I realized after some 8 minutes that the Nike lozenge wasn't recording the "mileage" correctly. I had done this route enough times to know when the 1 mile mark shows up and I was way past it and reading .68 miles.

Now my vision isn't great at 6am and bouncing up and down doesn't improve matters but I was finally able to focus on the small numbers that measure my "speed" (or lack thereof) and it said I was going at a speed of 22 minutes per mile. Running. I can walk faster than this. So something was clearly not right with my little device.

I stopped to look at the pouch and saw that I had put it on up-side down. I flipped it right and kept going.

Still, I figured it wasn't tracking anything correctly and wondered how I was going to calculate the distance after this amount of time had passed.

It didn't matter.....I decided I would just go til I had completed the 5 and measure it out later. I knew how long I will have run by then... that is useful.

But around 3.5 miles, both balls of the feet started to hurt.... terribly. I kept going.... scrunching my toes and running on the knife edge of the feet and doing what ever I could do to minimize this discomfort, all the while worrying 1. did I just waste $70.00? 2. What if I have done permanent injury? 3. Will it always be this way? 4. Why didn't I "break in the shoes? 5. What was I thinking?????

I limped home but I did the miles and just now went to measure the actual distance.

5.45 miles whoo-hoo indeed. I can't believe I am doing this. A few months ago, the thought of plogging 5 miles was laughable. A few weeks ago, the thought was worrisome. Today, the thought is entirely doable and I (can't believe I am writing this) actually look forward to the 6.5 the Sunday after next!

It is purely coincidental & happenstance that next Sunday, after Thanksgiving Pie Day, I only have a 2.5 run to do. So hopefully, with this week and next being easy runs, the shoes (if they are the problem) will be broken in and I have a better time of it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

What They Never Tell You

I just had this overwhelming wave of sadness.

I miss my parents intensely at times. This is one of them and it was the realization that I won't hear their voices again.

They both had wonderful voices. My mother was swedish and had a beautiful lyrical sound to her voice. She was unintentionally hilarious.

She said things like, "Let's stop and get a Yumbo Yack." You know.... Yack-in-the-Box?

"Oh look! They're having a Yanuary Sale at NeimanandMarcus!" She would slur the name of the retail store together, never pausing to read that there is no "and" in it.

My SIL has a favorite story/memory of Mother trying hopelessly to express her desire to get the leftover spaghetti sauce either into or out of "the YAR!' the YAR!!!!!" neman!!!

She had this infuriating habit of asking someone to hand her the___fill in the blank__________ by waving her finger in some general direction...but never actually sounding the word of the desired object in question. I was remarkable in the family for my ability to read her mind and know exactly what she wanted but my sister would stand there and finally say, "I need a noun. Can you give me a noun, .......a clue .... anything!" This would then launch an argument. Every time.

Mother had no end of admirers either, concerning this accent of hers. People would ask her where she was from and she would answer, in this Swedish accent, "East Texas".

There is something about the italian language that makes me swoon..... it flows and slows and then rushes forward like a running stream and I just love it! My father was Italian and made everything he said sound like music. Especially when he got hot under the collar. Then he'd let fly with the italian and all heck would let loose. It was a rich firm strong awesome voice and I'd just sit there and listen to the song of it all. It's a real shame he didn't sing.

It was also great fun to be an adult and in his presence because he loved a good joke and told them like a professional. Then we'd die laughing together. We watched back to back to back episodes of Fawlty Towers and would collapse in tears, looking at and keeling over at the sight of the other.

Lord I miss them both. People who talk about death tell you that, yeah, you miss the person terribly but they don't warn you about the specifics of what you'll miss. So when the realization finally hits, it's a sucker-punch.

Friday, November 18, 2011

We Went For A Drive Today

Just me, John and three roosters looking nervous in the back.

They settled down once we hit 42mph. It was a short drive to the Feed n Seed where we take unwanted chickens..... or so I learned.

We had a bit of a rodeo catching them. They eat out of my hand and I am able to touch them but they stopped liking to be picked up about 2 weeks ago. So, when I reached out to snag one, the eldest, he let out such a fuss, even Rooster Stu clucked in alarm. It took me faking them with the scratch and John swooping in. Still, what a racket!

John got the white one, Ghost, screaming and squawking until he held him upside down and his wings just drooped dejectedly. He drooled a little as well. In the cage with him.

The last one, the one I hatched, let me pick him up like he was okay with it, not exactly happy with the arrangement, and in he went and off we went.

When we got there, they brought out two cages and we easily moved them from one to the other. The men were surprised at how calm they were. And handsome. They really are good-looking.

At this point I was starting to get upset, myself with this arrangement, so we left quickly.

I hope they go someplace happy and homey. It's not their fault they are roosters but I can't have birds going for me or disrupting the happy coop for the others and that was definitely beginning to happen!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It Was Bound To Happen, Right?

Out of the four chickies that hatched this summer, it is looking like three of them are indeed of the male persuasion.

Dagnabbit! This is the luck of the draw, I know, I know, but how does one dispose of unwanted chickens?

I love Rooster Stu, he is a great bird. He has never ever rushed me or intimidated me and now I have a chicken that went from a sweet little guy to a hormone-crazed fiend on steroids.

I came home the other evening to John steaming because when he tried to close them up for the night, two birds were still out in the run, in the dark(!) and one of them came at him with passion. He had to fight the chicken off with his feet as he left the gate open. When I went out, the four "babies" were nestled together in a laybox, all sweet and cuddly. But the next morning, darn if he didn't try to corral ME! I had to get a long stick to keep him at bay.

Now, this morning all was well in the world and I spent time feeding them kale by hand, all normal but I was keeping a weather eye on this chicken all the while. Everything was as it had been. I know too that this won't last.

So, we went around town trying offload the roos to anyone who would take them. No takers. A friend with chickens is my go-to gal and I asked her what she does with unwanted chickens. "I've been known to take them for rides." Don't you love a southern sense of humor?

"Leave the gun. Take the canolis."

Of course, this evening as I went to give them some scratch, this crazy bird mounted a Buff Orp and Stu whooped into him like a red-headed step-child! Which I find a tad amusing because I remember how comical his first attempts were back last year and he got chased around the run for his clumsy moves.

Well, all this is to say that tomorrow morning I will take the last photos of the chickens that are exiting my little corner of the world and take away these pearls of wisdom.

"Don't let a chicken go broody"
"Get straight runs"
John would add, "All In. All Out"

Will someone out there please remind of this when I write a post about eggs in the future?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

You Didn't Miss Me...

... but I'm back......

It's been a busy few months and I think the rest of the year will go the same way. Hopefully 2012 will be calmer. at least til the election really gears up.

I've been working on, among other things, the garden, several quilts and watching a shower be refitted. It has taken quite a long time and is still not finished nor will be for another week but hey..... I have time. Lots of it I hope.

And I have been back to plogging. Now it's plogging with a Purpose. My cousin, who inspired the foray into plogging some months back (if you recall) told me about a Rock and Roll Marathon which will be held in New Orleans in March next year and that she was coming here to run in it. They also sponsor a Half Marathon and I think 5 & 10Ks as well.

sooooo... I said I'd go for the HM. My only goal is to finish it in under 4 hours. If you are seen to be going over that time, they pick you up in something called a Sag Wagon and I ain't gonna be seen in that. So a 4 hour 13.1 "run" is the goal.

She gave me the website for Galloway running and I am using his schedule for training to finish and I have been sticking to it! She recommended that I try what she does: ie she walks for a mile and then runs for a mile* and has this timing device that tells her when to stop and start each minute. I went by Academy to buy an Interval Timer but the only one they had was made by Everlast. I should have known. *Whoops! That should read MINUTE, not mile

I got the batteries into it and set the timer to 1 minute intervals. When the minute was up, the racket this thing made was amazing. The "vibrator" was as loud as the alarm on my phone and the bell sounded exactly like the one you'd hear at the end of a boxing match! Well, that was never going to work.

My daughter gave me another device that is made by Nike. You slip the gadget, a lozenge the size of a keyfob, into a pouch that attaches to you running shoe and the app on your cell phone calibrates and monitors the distance you go. It also tell you your running speed and averages your time. Pretty slick and very accurate! It plays music off the ipod as you go and tells you when you reach the halfway mark, what the time distance is and how much farther you have to the finish. It does NOT alert you to the One minute mark so I have to hold it in my hand as I run and time myself. That is a bit of a nuisance as I never get it right. I'll be going along and think "well that's been 55 seconds" but when I check, it's usually closer to the 32 second mark. and I think Omigosh..... I have 27 second to go ....... will I make it????? Plog plog plog... By the time I finished 5 ks or 3 mile or 45 minutes, I was tired! I'm 52 and out of shape, alright??? But I'm doing it ! I'm doing it! Plog. Plog . Plog. BTW>>>> My daughter is going to come here and do the HM with me!!!!!

So I have been fretting that with less than 3 months to go before the HM, I will not be physically ready to do this! A week ago, I was worried that I was going to have to go for 4 miles on Sunday and 5 miles the Sunday after THAT! (you train in increments) ...... and this is the Eat Drink weekend and I've been doing plenty of that, let me tell you!

But this is Monday morning, 5:15am and I did the 4 miles as the sun went down yesterday. Next week is 5 miles. And I have to say: I'm actually looking forward to it. Strange as that is to write, I really do. It was as though that 4 mile was a mental brick wall..... I was really concerned that I was going to falter.

Back in the days of college life, I ran every day. The farthest I ever ran continuously was 5.25 miles for a "cause" I don't remember now. People sponsored me 25 cent per mile and I had to run around a track as many times as I could for one hour. 5.25 miles and I remember not even being tired but I was 20 yrs old back then. and probably 25 lbs lighter as well! That is something that hasn't shifted an ounce since I started this, much to my sorrow. not one ounce.

And the hardest thing back then was putting the shoes on. Once I got that done, I figured I might as well go out the door! The easiest thing was convincing myself that one day off would not kill me but it always did. If I took one day off, it was easy to then take off anther and getting back ON the schedule was twice as hard. It's all psychological.

These days I don't beat myself up. (I let Life do me.. Life doesn't need your help) If the day does not permit me to do the required miles/minutes, I just do them the next day and I don't scold myself. But since I have a goal, (the HM) and the day will be here (soon), I really have no choice but to get out there and not embarrass myself.

Hey I figure it's like this: Get Up, Dress Up and Show up. Then the rest is up to me.