Ice and snow

November 30, 2006

It got COLD today. The pouring rain turned to sleet, and I woke up this morning to find my car covered in ice. I had to chisel it out with the scraper so I could get to work.

The sleet kept coming down all day. My boss finally told us to go home around 3:30 p.m. so we wouldn’t have to fight traffic along with the ice. By that time, it had started to snow, and it’s been snowing ever since. We’re supposed to get three to five inches by morning. I think we’ve already hit the low end of that estimate.

I got a couple of pictures of the dogs playing in the snow this evening. It was starting to get dark, and we were all getting cold, so I didn’t get anything really artsy, but I thought they were awfully cute playing out there. Here’s Songdog pestering Jason (as usual):

Jason and Song

And here’s Scout, hurrying toward the door. I don’t think she likes the snow as much as the boys do.

Scout in the snow

Since it’s too cold and slippery to go out and do anything, I’ve spent most of my evening building a new desk (really just a glorified shelf) for my office and moving the computer from the old desk to the new one. Here’s the new setup:

Desk

It’s not the prettiest desk in the world, but it makes my office much neater (or will, once I finish picking up the junk I had to pile on the floor while I was moving stuff around) and is a better use of the space in this room.

Something nice happened to me this morning.

I was getting ready for work, and I smacked my head really hard as I was picking something up off the floor in the bathroom. It was a sharp blow against a sharp corner, and if I hadn’t been thinking clearly at the time, it probably would have left me with a headache and a nasty goose egg, if not worse. But I didn’t have time for that this morning, and despite the fact that it was early and I was sleepy, I thought quickly enough to meet the claim with a quote from Science and Health:

Accidents are unknown to God.

And that was that — no pain, no headache, no bump, no evidence that anything had happened.

Every now and then, I get one right without having to call a practitioner. :)

I thought of that quote again this morning as I was driving to work in potentially treacherous road conditions, and as I was coming home in even scarier conditions. I really spent a lot of time working with the idea that there are no accidents and that I am “cared for, watched over, loved, and protected,” as one of my favorite hymns says.

I’m glad to be back home, and I’m even more glad that the weather is supposed to warm up tomorrow so this stuff will melt off, but I guess the cold and ice are good once in a while if they remind me that I am blessed and protected and loved.

Besides … the snow is kind of pretty, and I like the strange silence that comes with it.

Emily


Cool site, cold weather

November 29, 2006

It’s been unseasonably warm the last few days, but that came to a screeching halt this afternoon, when the sky opened up and dumped buckets of rain on us, and the temperature dropped by about 40 degrees. It’s supposed to get slick and yucky out tonight.

I saw a great big ladybug on my car yesterday. It was almost as big as my pinky nail and had lots of spots. I hope it found somewhere warm to hide today.

Mom just put me onto an awesome Web site: FreeCycle. It’s basically a clearinghouse for people to get rid of stuff they don’t want and pick up stuff they need. The idea is to get people to recycle stuff by giving it away instead of tossing it out.

So far, I’ve found people who need a stick blender, a coffeemaker, and a bookshelf — all of which I have and am not using. I also found someone who has a declawed, neutered Siamese cat to give away, but Ron is probably going to be mean and tell me I can’t have it like he always does when I ask for a cat. :(

I took off work this afternoon so I could run errands before the weather gets bad. I’ve spent the past couple of hours trying to clean my office. I bought materials to build myself a new desk (really just a shelf at desk level, tucked into a little niche in my office) and have been trying to pick up some of my junk to make room for it. Guess I’d better get offline and get to work on that. It’s storming now anyway, so I need to unplug the computer.

Emily


On the road again

November 27, 2006

Panhandle sunrise

Panhandle sunrise

As promised … photos and a full report from my adventures on the road. I shot the sunrise above from the Texas-history-themed rest area on I-40 near McLean, Texas. I tend to be a pretty nocturnal creature, so I seldom see a sunrise … unless I’ve pulled an all-nighter, as was the case Friday morning.

Vega project

My friend Tresa and I scraped paint at the historic Vega Motel on Route 66 in Vega, Texas. This work was the reason for my trip. Tresa and her husband, Harry, had to close the motel for about a year and a half because of a family emergency, and now they’re trying to get it ready to reopen.

San Jon sunset

It wouldn’t be a road trip if I didn’t bag a sunset for my friend Brad. Here y’go, mi’ijo — a wily southwestern sunset, stalked across the high desert and captured somewhere between San Jon and Tucumcari, N.M. Not as dazzling a specimen as that sunrise I caught in the Texas Panhandle, but nice enough to be blogworthy, I think. I like the way those big, golden rays are streaking through that cloud.

Apache Motel

This is the historic Apache Motel in Tucumcari, N.M., where I spent Friday night. Normally, I’d stay at the indescribably gorgeous Blue Swallow Motel, just a few blocks west of the Apache, but the Swallow is closed for the season, and the Apache is under new ownership and has been remodeled recently, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I was not disappointed. The rates are very reasonable, and my room was big, clean, and very comfortable. The new owner is very sweet, too. I’m going to build him a Web site so more people will find out about his place.

On the way back to Vega from Tucumcari, I stopped in Adrian, Texas, to have breakfast at the wonderful Midpoint Cafe, home of the best pie on Route 66.  The owner, Fran, was there, and we had a nice visit. I hadn’t seen her in a while, so it was good to catch up a little bit.

Me

I don’t, as a rule, like to shoot self-portraits — they seldom turn out well enough to be worth the effort, and it seems a little arrogant to photograph myself — but in my room at the Bonanza Motel in Vega on Saturday night, the light from the bedside lamp was so lovely that I just had to take advantage of it. Since I was traveling solo,  I just pulled a Catra Corbett and burned a few ones and zeroes on myself. Self-portraits sometimes come out kind of edgy and distorted, but this bright, diffused light produced a more gentle image. I like that color, too — it looks sort of like a photo from the ’70s. Remember how the cyan would fade from those old prints first, leaving behind the red and yellow tones?

Arrow Motel

I wound up doing a U-turn and coming back to this old motel in Amarillo so I could record the sign for posterity. The place is abandoned and in disrepair, and a flurry of development in the area around it leads me to suspect that the building and sign may not be long for this world. I love that star on top of the sign. I imagine those were probably chasing lights on the star. It was probably quite lovely in its heyday. Now the ruins tell a story.

Texola angel

Tiny Texola, Okla., has just three or four light poles … but every one of them had a lighted tinsel angel on it. These angels remind me of the ones they used to put on the light poles in my hometown when I was a kid.

Motel Cabana

This old motel sign in Erick, Okla., has been dimmed for years, but somebody apparently thought enough of it to do just a wee bit of restoration work on it, replacing the lightbulbs in the crown and lighting them up. The sign originally said “Cabana Motel.” The motel is long gone, and a couple of new buildings have taken its place, but the sign remains. Notice the tinsel candle on the pole nearby. Roger Miller Boulevard and Sheb Wooley Boulevard were lined with these decorations. Erick is small, but its downtown is quite lovely, with lots of old brick storefronts. In addition to Roger Miller and Sheb Wooley, Erick is the home of Harley and Annabelle Russell, the “Mediocre Music Makers,” who perform for tourists all summer at the Sandhills Curiousity Shop a block off Route 66. If you haven’t seen the Russells in action, it’s definitely worth a trip out there. I wanted to stop and visit Sunday evening, but I had to get home so I could work today.

It was quite a weekend, anyhow. The weather was beautiful most of the time, although Friday morning was just chilly enough to necessitate a trip to Vega’s historic Roark Hardware (the oldest hardware store on the Mother Road) to pick up a warmer jacket. I found a nice Walls farm coat for $40, which I thought was a good buy. Definitely the most practical souvenir I’ve bought in a long time, as I needed a heavier jacket for this winter, and this one should hold up for a good long while.

New jacket, a gorgeous sunrise, an excuse to try two motels I hadn’t visited before, and a chance to spend an entire weekend hanging out with friends and investing a little elbow grease in a historic property I love dearly. What more could a girl want?

Hope your weekend was as good as mine.

Emily


Back home

November 26, 2006

Just got in from Vega a few minutes ago. My priorities this evening involve taking a shower to clean all the dust, paint chips, and Texas-Panhandle-wind-blown debris out of my hair; swilling down a bottle of Gatorade; and crashing for eight hours. If I hit the shower now, I’ll have time to do all that before I have to head to the office tomorrow morning.

I’ll try to post a full report, complete with photos, sometime tomorrow evening. In the meantime, I’ll just say that it was a good trip, I had a chance to help two historic motels in different ways, and I felt safe and protected on the road despite a couple of startling moments.

More later …

Emily


Blessings

November 23, 2006

Lance Armstrong would be a stud if he’d done nothing but kick cancer squarely in the butt and then win the Tour de France umpteen times. But if switching from cycling to running is half as hard as switching from running to cycling, Armstrong is not just a stud — he’s the Godolphin freakin’ Arabian.

I rode my bike six miles this evening, and it opened up a can of you-know-what on me. I loved every minute of it, too, even if I did have to get off and walk up a few hills because I was too tired to pedal.

Did you go walk around the block today? If not, get out there! You don’t have to run today. Just walk. And if you want to peek ahead at next week, I’m updating the training schedule for you as soon as I finish this post.

I have lots to be thankful for today. My bike, for starters, and the fact that I have the strength and balance to ride it, even if I’m not very good at it yet. I’ll get there. I remember when running a mile was this hard, and now here I am with three Tulsa Runs, four half-marathons, and two full marathons under my belt … so Roger had better not laugh too much at my rookie incompetence, because I’m just liable to show up in Staunton some bright summer morning and nip at his heels for 30 miles. (Given my appetite for Krispy Kremes, it’s entirely possible that I could end up with a minus sign in front of my finish time, so I might do more than nip….)

Speaking of Krispy Kremes, I’m thankful for whipped-cream-filled doughnuts.

I’m also thankful for our great Thanksgiving service at church. I’m sure it’s kind of inconvenient for some people to get there (it starts at 10:30 a.m.), but it’s such a great way to start the morning — it’s kind of like a combination of a Sunday morning service and a Wednesday night testimony meeting, because you’ve got a Lesson and a solo and stuff like on Sunday morning, but the Lesson is shorter than usual, which leaves time for the members of the congregation to stand up and talk about the healings and blessings they’ve experienced over the past year. Their stories really focus you in on the point of the holiday.

We had an unexpected blessing this afternoon.

I had planned to pick up some stuff at Wild Oats on the way home from church and just fix a batch of posole or something before Ron went to work. (Posole has become kind of a holiday tradition at our house.)

But I am supposed to be leaving town in a few hours (I’m headed for Texas to do a Route 66 preservation project this weekend), and Ron didn’t want me to have to mess with cooking lunch and cleaning up afterward, so he announced that he would be taking me to Golden Saddle — a great restaurant over on the Admiral Place alignment of 66 — instead.

We figured we’d just hit the buffet, but we got there and discovered that the buffet was closed — because they were serving a free Thanksgiving dinner to all their customers. Ron is going to put an article about that on his blog tomorrow.

In the meantime, I will just tell you that the food was amazing (they serve sweet tea — need I say more?) and we got an extra treat in the form of a singer who performed while we ate. I had a ball watching a little girl struggle valiantly to suppress the urge to dance to “Brick House.”

I love it when businesses thank their customers — and their community — by doing stuff like that. You see it all the time on Route 66. Tally’s Cafe here in Tulsa does it every year. Al’s Route 66 Cafe, over in Sapulpa, did it today. I want to say it was the Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, Texas, that opened up one time during a blizzard and fed all the travelers who got stranded, and the owners of the Vega Motel have been known to share their dinner with customers who slide in on a glare of ice.

There’s so much love and kindness on this road, it almost makes me cry when I think about it. These aren’t wealthy people. These are ordinary folks who appreciate their blessings and who understand a basic concept that Mrs. Eddy explains like this:

Giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker, neither does withholding enrich us.

Add Route 66 — and the wonderful people who live and work along its shoulders — to my list of things I’m thankful for today.

I’ll be offline and on my beloved road for a couple of days. Don’t forget to check the training schedule and keep up with your runs this weekend. I’ll be back late Sunday or early Monday, and you know I’ll have pictures for you.

Emily


Ready to run?

November 22, 2006

“So many men seem destined to settle for something small/But I won’t rest until I know I’ll have it all.”
– Stephen Schwartz

Sorry I didn’t get online in time to remind you about your Tuesday workout. Did you walk around the block? If you did, congratulations! You’re now four blocks closer to your marathon!

If you didn’t go out and walk Tuesday, you can still jump in where you are. Go out today and circle the block again — but instead of walking the first block, run it. You can walk the other three.

I know this doesn’t sound like much, but believe me: The first steps are the toughest. What you are doing right now is establishing the habit of setting aside a little time to train. You are making a commitment to set a goal and work toward it diligently and systematically. You are making a commitment to overcome your self-imposed limitations and express the God-given traits you possess: strength, grace, perseverance, and joy.

Run with joy … and as you run, take some time to notice the beauty around you and to be thankful for it. Gratitude will make the long runs easier when we get to the high mileage weeks.

Emily


Race photos

November 20, 2006

“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.”– Richard Bach

Here are a few shots from the Route 66 run:

Terriann, Lynda and me

Terriann, Lynda and I were all smiles before the race started. We weren’t quite this chipper a few miles in, but we survived.

Finish line

That’s Lynda on the left, crossing the finish line with me. My friend Anne’s mom was right behind us. I have no idea how long she was back there. I didn’t even see her until we went to get our medals.

Fleet Feet crew

Christopher, Mike, and Fleet Feet owner Lori goofed around after the race. I think the guys led pace groups in the marathon.

Picture picture

I don’t know this guy, but I like his style. :)

Terriann

Terriann crossing the finish line. She posted a PR today — and not by a little bit. I think she beat her old record by more than 20 minutes. That’s a spectacular improvement.

Jennifer

Jennifer — a member of the Fleet Feet M4 group — finished her first marathon. I would like the record to show that the time she posted on her first marathon was way faster than my PR. M4 Rox!

Coach Paul

Often imitated, never duplicated: Paul Cox, Fleet Feet coach extraordinaire, fearless leader of the M4 crew, and all-around good guy. Paul coached me to my first marathon finish last fall, then correctly surmised that I was completely full of it when I said I was never, ever going to run another one. He even refrained from laughing at me when I showed up for a training run last spring and logged 20 miles with him after a three-month hiatus.
Terriann and Margaret

Terriann gets a hug from her mom at the finish line. Terriann’s mom probably could have run a marathon herself if she’d been in the mood this morning. She was awesome last week at the Mother Road 100 aid station.

Hope your weekend was good. Did you walk a block? Better get to it. We double the distance today with a two-block walk.

And lest you think I’ve been slacking off all day: After I finished my half-marathon this morning, we went to Target and bought me a shiny new Schwinn Jaguar beach cruiser. Dark blue, wide handlebars, seven speeds, hand brakes, and retro style. I took it out for a spin this evening. It kicked my butt for about a mile and a half. I love it. Can’t wait to get the lights hooked up so I can ride after work in the evenings. I think I’ll put streamers on the handlebars and a milk crate on the fender. I wonder if they still make Spokey-Doke beads?

Emily


Go walk a block.

November 19, 2006

Today was the Route 66 Marathon. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’d originally planned to run the full marathon, but I wound up dropping down to the half instead so I could pace my friend Lynda, who was running her first half-marathon.

Lynda crossed the finish line and earned her finisher’s medal, and our friend Terriann ran the full marathon, beating her old PR by a good 20 minutes. She’s been kicking my butt all season, and I can promise you that if I’d run the full marathon, I would have been at least 10 minutes behind her. I am so proud of her and Lynda both.

While I was waiting for Terriann, I saw a bunch of my Fleet Feet buddies crossing the finish line. Way to go, guys — as Coach Paul says: M4 ROX!

The finishers’ medals were really pretty. I’ll take a picture of mine and post it later, along with some race photos. Right now, Ron is taking me out to buy a bicycle. I promised myself I’d take up cycling after this run. I’m giving vague thought to a full marathon before the season is over, but I haven’t decided whether I want to mess with it. We’ll see how things go.

In the meantime, you, dear reader, owe me a block. Go walk it. I want to see you at the finish line in OKC.

Emily


I TRIPLE dog dare ya!

November 18, 2006

Did you notice my new little tab that says “Triple Dog Dare”? Click it if you’ve got the gumption. On that page are the instructions that will carry you from couch potato to marathon finisher.

Make your 2007 New Year’s resolution now, before the gym gets crowded and annoying. Get started on it tomorrow, before breakfast or after church or whenever your schedule allows it.

Oh — and as soon as you can afford it, reward yourself for trying something new by going out and buying a decent pair of running shoes. If there’s a Fleet Feet in your area, pop in and let them videotape your stride to help you pick the pair of shoes that will best suit your feet and your movements. A good pair of running shoes will generally set you back about $80 to $100. That sounds like a lot, but they’ll last about six months on this program, and those longer runs will be a lot more fun if you’re wearing shoes that were designed to be comfortable over the long haul.

Also, if you’re a girl, buy yourself a good sports bra. I’ll spare the guys an explanation of why this is important; just trust the voice of experience on this. Target has good prices and good product. Everlast — which I think is available at Wal-Mart — used to make a good zip-front model that’s easy to get on and off and VERY comfortable on long runs.

Now … go take a peek at the workout I’ve got planned for you tomorrow. Even if you’re sitting there thinking, “I’m not a runner. I can’t run a block, let alone 26.2 miles.” ESPECIALLY if you’re thinking that. Just go look at the first week’s schedule.

Try it. And let me know how it went. I want to know how many people have the cojones to take me up on this challenge. I’m making it as easy for you as I know how. Go take a look at the schedule, and then give it a try. You can always quit if you don’t like it. But I think you’ll stick with me. And if you happen to be in Oklahoma, I’ll sweeten the deal a little bit in a few weeks.

Come run with me!

Emily


Honey

November 16, 2006

Ron harvested honey the other day. The girls were not happy about having an intruder pulling frames out of their hive, but Ron appeased them by putting the spent frames back out so they could recycle what was left of the honey.

Spent honeycomb

We ended up with 10 half-pint jars of sweet, wonderful wildflower honey. I’ve only given away one jar at this point, but judging from the recipient’s response, I think our girls are going to make us very popular. I can’t take much credit for the end product. Ron does most of the maintenance on the hive. All I did was plant zinnias and sunflowers and nicotiana to supply nectar for the bees.

Speaking of flowers, my convolvulus is doing something interesting. It survived the frost and is blooming again, but instead of the usual midnight-blue blossoms, it’s putting out white ones:

Convolvulus

Hope your day was full of sweetness and surprises.

Emily


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