Purple Haze

photo credit:  www.mymodernmet.com

Lavender: her favorite scent

    Soft, sensual, soothing

     When first they met

 he offered her its sweet gift

       A small token

He became heir apparent

  to her lifelong affection

Their affair is like a willow

        Easily bent

But with strong, long roots

His love for her plays like a flute

Tender, calming and gentle

     Almost like a whisper

For the first time and forever

She can bask in the warm glow

      of a healing heart

Another great Free Write Friday prompt from Kellie Elmore! This week we had a word bank: lavender, willow, sweet, bask, flute and heir.  http://kellieelmore.com/2013/05/31/fwf-free-write-friday-word-bank-7/

Race Day

photo credit:  fromthekitchentotheroad.wordpress.com

The forecast was ominous. Temps in the low fifties, rain and wind off the lake at twenty mph. Not great racing weather for the long distance runners who had trained hard for their marathon. Luckily, my fiance’ and I were sharing the length but we were still anxious about the predicted conditions.  Speaking for myself,  I found the forecast hard to believe because it had changed so quickly over a period of twenty- four hours.  I thought I was prepared enough with my gear; after all, I had run in much colder conditions. Long sleeves,  a layer of water proof on top and a pair of shorts seemed enough at packing time.

We could never have been so wrong!  As we drove the 200 miles north the day before the race, rain and wind pelted the car. When we arrived at the runner’s expo to pick up our numbers, we were assaulted by the cold, raw wind and plummeting temperatures. We needed to get more body protection for the starting line!  So we shopped a bit at the expo kiosks, finding hats for five dollars a piece. Everything else that we may have needed was severely overpriced (when did running become such a high-end fashion sport?) so we decided that a trip to a big  chain box store was in order. Well, this particular type of store is hard to come by in the state we were racing in ( in truth I like the idea) but luckily we were minutes from its location. We wanted cheap and “disposable” gear that we could peel off during the race. And we hit pay dirt-feeling relief that we would not freeze our arses off too much.

The night before a big race holds two important ingredients: a good meal along with a good night’s rest. We headed to the inn that was situated in the mountains.  As we ascended the mountain road, the precipitation increased and rapidly turned into snow! We were a little dismayed at the deteriorating conditions while still holding out hope that tomorrow would be a better day.  Dinner was delightful and we hit the sack early.

Race day arrived and greeted us with below freezing temps and enough snow that it stuck to the ground as well as our car. As we reached lower elevations and our destination, the snow disappeared and the temperature warmed a bit. We were grateful for our semi-toasty clothes but definitely not excited about the conditions! Actually, at one point -as my fiance’ and I huddled under the shared tent of our jackets- I said that we could change our minds and bag the whole thing. (My man had a cold and I didn’t want it to get worse).

In reality, when you train for an event of this nature you cannot back out unless you are injured or very, very ill. So, I assumed my place in the starting corral and began to feel a bit warmer from the body heat of the 4,999 other brave and crazy souls. And once the gun went off all thoughts of the discomfort from the adverse conditions exited from my brain. It was now up to me to navigate my way through the endless sea of humanity as well as the puddles and rushing water of the fine streets in Burlington, VT. By mile 1, my shoes were completely soaked and I feared I might blister. When I hit mile 5, I stripped myself of the cheap sweats and tossed them to the side of the road. My legs were warm and happy for the rest of the race! Yes, yes the wind whipped us about as we headed further north but the 12 piece percussion ensemble really revved us up.  By mile 8, the  country station truck was playing Miranda Lambert’s “Baggage Claim” and I  was so pumped that I high-fived the DJ!   For once in a race, I did not worry about pain nor pace; I was just running. By the time we circled back to the downtown area, the crowds were cheering loudly. Local drag queens strutted their stuff in support of us. Irish bands played on the corner. Then we headed south closer to the lake and even closer to the halfway point. Here the the race took on the zen-like quality that all runners experience.  I was in my own zone with just 5k to go and feeling no pain.

Things to Remember Redux*

          photo credit:www.masterpiece-beth.com

           Anger is a secondary emotion

And when directed at you is not about you

            Pain and Grief don’t last forever

But can give you strength to become a better person

             Shame and Fear can hold you hostage

But shedding these layers leads to enlightenment

                Joy can be found every day

And when experienced in small ways, multiplies

                   Trust is essential

And is the glue that holds all relationships together

                 Pride is sometimes helpful

But hubris can distance you from others

               Wonder and Anticipation can make you feel alive

And attracts others to your inner child

               Kindness and Patience are at times a challenge

But when practiced, lead to healthy relationships

            Hope is at once all we have and sometimes need

And the foundation for faith, peace and love


* Thanks to Kellie Elmore for the Free Write Friday Image Prompt: http://kellieelmore.com/2013/05/24/fwf-free-write-friday-image-prompt-8/

I took a lot of liberties with the image this week. It  reminded me that taking a road trip can be a solitary contemplative experience at times. I am heading out on one this weekend with loved ones. It is much needed after this week and even this past month !  And truly, I have used some of these recent experiences as fonder for the poem.

Thursday Morning

photo credit: www.steves-digicams.com

In the deep darkness just before dawn

She listens to the stone silence

by her bedroom window

The day slowly awakens along with her mind

Early drivers hum along quietly in the distance

Birds begin to chatter

The day shows no promise of sun

with the  misty gray sky standing in sharp contrast

To the deep, deep green of the oaks and maples

The grass is soaked with morning moisture

She breathes deeply

 She looks out from her perch

to the back forty

Two doe are breaking their fast

Tails twitching

Ears alert

Quickly, they stand at attention

Sensing danger, they seem to leap through the air

Seeking shelter and protection elsewhere

She wishes to stay here

away from the noise and clatter of her working day

This is her peace, her shelter, her nirvana

Another deep breath

Morning stretches

A cleansing run

She readies herself for a new day

10 Miles or 10 K?

“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But I don’t think that’s the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole. I believe many runners would agree”
Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

I am now in the last week of training for a partner’s marathon which is happening in six short days.  This past Sunday was to be my last longer run before the race. As I was sitting at the bonfire late Saturday night with friends, I was relaying the fact that I was scheduled for a 12 miler the next morning ( I was in fact just going for 10.5 since the course is outrageously hilly).  My friend Emily said “Twelve miles, after today’s events? You run a lot!”  My oldest, of course, had graduated from college that day and I had been up since 5 am and also spent the previous weeks preparing the house, working full-time and training extensively for the marathon. I knew she was right but I still went to bed -at midnight I might add and without much carbo loading that day-seriously considering one final assault on the course.

Well, morning broke early that’s for sure. I heard my dad get up at 3:30 am to leave for the airport. Then he texted me at 5:30 to say that he “had a ball” and for me to “go back to bed”. So I did; awakening again after 7 with a fatigue hangover.  The long run prospects were looking mighty dim at this point. Then I did what no runner ever usually does-I listened to my body!  I changed my plans and decided on a favorite 10k course that I had not run in a while.

My decision proved to be a smart one. I felt fantastic! In fact, I hope to feel this good during my half of the marathon this weekend.  Moreover, my decision to cut the run short got me contemplating the training program that I used for the race. Initially, I thought that I would use the advanced guide since I had used the intermediate one a few times before and I was in better shape this go ’round. However, it didn’t take too long for me to realize that it was killing me! Three weeks in and I was wiped and sore nearly constantly. I never run more than 3 days in a row and the program was requiring 4 days with longer runs plus two days of speed work mixed in. Plus, I had already been running extensively before the training started. So, I rebooted and went back to  the intermediate program with some of my own stuff (like 90 minutes of hot power yoga weekly-just the best!) in the mix.

Dedicated runners are remarkably adept at losing a few brain cells when it comes to training for races. On the one hand, you may have the competitive devil whispering fervently in one ear: “GO LONGER AND HARDER”; and on the other, the sensible angel sweetly saying: “USE YOUR COMMON SENSE.” Well, there is a time and place for everything and I do hope that I have approached my training with a mix of both-truth be told. I am in this sport because I love it; it is part of who I am and how I live my life.

In the end, I know that when I put my number on Sunday morning, I will be ready to give it my best knowing that I did my best to prepare for the race.  After all, my fiance’ will be out there at the halfway mark waiting for the hand off!

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”
Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Commence, Beloved.

Hi fellow bloggers!

Yesterday my oldest graduated from college. It was a beautiful spring Saturday full of life-long memories. We enjoyed a large party at the house with friends and family after the event. Festivities lasted until late in the night!

While we were waiting for graduation ceremony to start, his lovely girlfriend share a poem that she posted on her blog: JenniferAlyce.wordpress.com. The post, of course is about my son and it is an example of true love and just plain outstanding writing!

Please read it and try not to weep!

Things To Remember

photo credit: www.flickr.com

A sunrise on a new day

The way my lover looks at me across the room

Celebrations big and small with friends and family

Eating a good meal every day

The love I feel for my sons

The passion I have for running

The healing that yoga brings me

Nights snuggled under the covers with a good book

The peace I feel in my heart

This week’s post  is inspired by Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday prompt:http://kellieelmore.com/2013/05/17/fwf-free-write-friday-image-prompt-7/

Just Another Day At The Laundromat

photo credit: http://www.hercampus.com

For Mothers Day,  I like to keep things simple. This year, the boys asked me what I wanted to do and I told them: “Landscaping the yard, an easy meal at home and watching Finding Nemo with you guys. ” I wanted the three of us together under one roof without one of us (usually me) falling asleep after twenty minutes.

Springtime up here is in full bloom and we own enough land that it takes a team to resurrect it after the winter has beaten it down. The grass grows long after about fifteen minutes and what isn’t grass looks downright barren and sad without some annuals planted here and there.  The tulips that  I planted 2 years ago in memory of my mother are a ray of sunshine at the top of the driveway but everything else needs trimming and chopping.

So Sunday seemed simple enough. First, I would  go on my 10+ run and my oldest would meet me for the last four miles. Then it was a shower, refueling ( aah a soy latte’!) and back outside. My youngest was to be in charge of mowing our vast expanse (he had repaired the rider and pusher so he was pumped) while my oldest and I raked out  a large area for new top soil and flowers. Laundry for my youngest was on the list as well. He figured he could easily get it going and done when he was mowing. Then we would chow down on burritos while enjoying the show.

Well, I should have known that when I woke up to rain that things would not go exactly as planned!  There are few exceptions that can stop me from lacing up my shoes (blizzards, serious downpours, hurricanes, extreme heat) so I  added  a layer to my skimpy sleeveless running top and headed out the door.  By mile two, I was quite dewy but not uncomfortable. The rain would abate and resume in an unpredictable fashion throughout the course.  I felt unusually pain free and relaxed until… mile 8.5, when my son and I stopped to look at some ducks in the marsh. When I started running again, my left knee locked up and I spent the last two miles shuffling up the hills and cursing the downhills.

By the time my shower was done,  the sun began to peek out from behind the clouds and we agreed to just delay the yard work until…my youngest son got a call from his boss asking him to come in for a meeting to plan for the week ahead ( he works in the trades and business was picking up after a temporary slow down). He had no choice but to go in. My oldest and I threw him a lifeline and said we would take care of his laundry while we cleaned up the basement.

So things were humming along;  3 loads later and the basement and  raking were just starting to look good until…. my oldest noticed that the t-shirts were still damp in the dryer . We added a few minutes to the cycle and then threw the Carhart pants in, pressed the button and..  the dryer dies! In truth, it had been on its way out for a few months. I don’t remember when the noise started in the machine but it sounded possessed!  We got to the point where we would push the button, cover our ears, dash to the door, shut it and run up the stairs. The sound cut right through you but the dryer still worked. I knew that I was on borrowed time but I wanted to put off the expense for a while longer. I was shelling out quite a few dollars on the home renovation and hoped the dryer would last until late June.

No such luck. It was late afternoon and the laundromats around here do not stay open late. The clothes had to get done because we all had long  work days on Monday waiting.  Besides, we ran out of topsoil and no flowers were going to get planted anyway. ( Oh, did I mention that my oldest is graduating from college on Saturday and we are having a party? No pressure to get things done at all-HA!).

So we loaded up my son’s truck with 4 baskets of heavy wet clothes and 2 big baskets of dirty items and headed out to the next town. We decided to go to the big place that we know about and pulled in the lot. We were about to park and get out until… we noticed that it was closed!  UGH!  But there was still hope.  We noticed another one two strip malls down right next to a fitness chain.  And it was open!  We quickly went inside and found ourselves in a pristine laundromat replete with 2 television screens-one broadcasting a PBS cooking show and the other a major league baseball game. It even had a leather couch and a huge and very clean bathroom.

My oldest and I are a well-oiled organization team. We always try to go the most efficient and least expensive route whenever possible no matter what the task.  We figured we would be in and out in about 80-90 minutes. We settled down on the comfy couch, put our feet up and started reading our book and magazine until… we realized we had no game plan for dinner now. And would we be able to watch the movie? And when would his brother get home?  A stop at the nearest grocery store solved the problem. We bought 3 Newman’s frozen pizzas, called my youngest to preheat the oven and headed back home with the cleaned goods and some sustenance.

At this point, it was 7pm. The movie went in and we inhaled the pizza. And before we knew it, it was time to settle in for the night. The irony of the day was not lost on my oldest. Here I was doing my 20 year old’s laundry on Mothers Day! (Both boys have been doing their own laundry since 2005).  It goes to show that even the simplest plans can go awry.

So here it is Tuesday and the lawn still needs to be done before Saturday and soil still needs to be purchased for the flowers.  Party supplies and groceries are on the to-do list. Never mind the filthy kitchen floor. Plus my dad  is due in on Friday.  But we have developed a Plan B and that should go well until…

Mothers: Past, Present, Future

Greetings to my followers:

Poet Kellie Elmore posts a weekly Free Write Friday and this weeks challenge is “M is For Mom” (see link here if you want to check it out or participate: ( http://kellieelmore.com/2013/05/10/fwf-free-write-friday-m-is-for-mom/).  Here you can read entries from other bloggers about their moms.

This week I entered an older posting from October (with some edits ) entitled : Remembering My Mother.

I hope that you will read it here with this link: