Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Parma's First Annual Turkey Trot

Writing is like parenting. If you focus too heavily on one baby, the others get neglected. I have been attempting to be more consistent with my examiner.com work and I discovered my blog is not getting the attention it deserves. So much to write – so little time!

Really cool shirt

Parma's First Annual Turkey Trot was held Thanksgiving Day! The most official thing about it was the shirt … oh, and the distance – 5K.
Very tired shoes

We gathered before dinner in an attempt to burn some of the calories we were sure to consume. Clothed in our pretty red shirts, hats, gloves, and running shoes we followed a course on the edge of town. (Definition for those who live in the city: Town; a small residential cluster surrounding local businesses in a rural community.) Our group consisted of walkers, runners, and those who couldn't make up their mind. Run? Walk? Run/walk? It didn't matter, everyone got outside, breathed some fresh air, and burned off a few more calories than they would have had they remained inside watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Did I mentioned we ate cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate to celebrate? I also found that my Thanksgiving Dinner plate, loaded as usual, did not provide the usual anticipated guilt. Oh, I'm certain I consumed more calories than I needed for fuel that day, but I did offset it just a tad compared to years past. Besides, I got a really cool shirt!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Can't You Just Smell it?

Ahh, the aromas of Thanksgiving!  It has begun.  I cut up bread for turkey stuffing this morning and it is drying in the oven, filling my home with a warm yeasty scent.  I enjoy the smells of Thanksgiving almost as much as the flavors.  Maybe more.  After all, they don't leave me with the same over stuffed uncomfortable feeling as do the flavors!
Tomorrow I will bake pumpkin pies and prepare cranberry sauce filling my home with two very distinct and pleasant odors.
Thursday - aromatic awesomeness! I love the smell of turkey roasting with the savory scent of sage enticing me to sample stuffing long before it is time to dish it onto my dinner plate.
Fresh rolls!  Apple Pie!  Green beans! 
It is fortunate one cannot gain weight simply by inhaling.  I would be in some serious trouble!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Angel Walk - Part Two

Part Two as promised ...

And we're off!

Wait. Let's back up just a bit. May 14 was a big race day in the Treasure Valley. Hundreds participated in the Famous Idaho Potato Marathon event running 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon races. Others, myself included, ran in Homedale. We had no race clock nor bib numbers. Nobody strapped a chip timer to his or her ankle. There were no prizes or free stuff at the end of the race except for a paper cup full of water. Or was there a prize?
Homedale Band

The event, Angel Walk, was held in honor and support of Angel Rios-Salas, a second grader at Homedale Elementary suffering from Stage II Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Friends of the family organized the event. When I arrived about 45 minutes prior to the race to register and receive my “Angel Walk” t-shirt, I heard music and observed a small band. Children were cavorting and soon engaged in tug-of-war games with bragging rights going mostly to the young ladies! I am sure the boys were letting them win. Angel's second grade teacher emceed the event and his classmates sang The Star Spangled Banner. I cried when Angel and his parents were ushered on stage and smiled when Angel refused, with a grin and a shake of his head, to say anything to the crowd.

Then we ran, because we could. Others walked, because they could. Many of his friends rode their bikes three miles to support Angel, because they could. It was a beautiful day for a race and a wonderful way to celebrate life and to support a young man who is fighting for his.

Snake River in Homedale
When asked, “Why Idaho?” I often think of the mountain peaks, the lakes and rivers, and even the high desserts that form this land, but if I stop to truly reflect on Idaho, my answer ought to be, “Because angels walk here.”

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Angel Walk - Part One

This post was originally intended for another blog.  It was never published.  I am sharing it now. Part Two will follow.
Race Volunteers

The Treasure Valley is full of racing opportunities for everyone from the runner that prefers to “walk just a bit” to the serious athlete eager to take home top prize. Having determined that my best physical fitness trick is to always have a race to prepare for, I chose the Famous Idaho Potato event on May 14. My intent was to run the 10K. My training opportunities have not led me to that goal very effectively! I aborted the 10K mission and opted for a shorter race. Six miles is a bit daunting, but three miles is doable after training for a longer race. A 5K it is! I wanted to follow through on the date, so I found another race in Ontario, OR on the same day. My running partner found yet another race on May 14 and my plans changed once again!
Freedom to Serve

Although most races have a cause, such as “Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure” and “St. Luke's Women's Fitness Celebration,” the community of Homedale, ID is rallying around one of its own. A young boy is battling cancer and they have come together to support him. The Angel Walk is just one of their efforts. That is part of the beauty of rural Idaho. This state is dotted with small communities that come together like extended families. They know one another and when one of their own suffers, they all suffer – and then they take action!

The Angel Walk fits my needs perfectly. Homedale is a short drive away. I can feel good about my meager $15 registration fee because this cause will benefit someone directly. I don't have to fight crowds or park and ride a shuttle! If I really feel deserving after my race I can visit the Frosty Palace. If I'm too hot and tired when I get done, I can even jump in the Snake River to cool off. I probably won't - but I could! Best of all, I may even see the face of the young man I am there to support. I can participate in a bigger race another time. I've done it before and it was all about “Me.” Did I beat my time from last year? How much free chocolate milk can I have? How many people did I beat across the finish line?

This race is different. It isn't about me. Maybe this race is actually the “bigger” race.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Reality Check?

I had to renew my driver's license this week.  That's right - I am having a birthday.  It's not a significant one.  That happened last year. 
I don't know why, but the driver's license renewal is just unappealing to me.  It is especially bothersome since Idaho went to the eight year plan. Daily stuff like making my bed and brushing my teeth do not present themselves as nuisances.  It's the annual things that get to me - taxes, vehicle registrations, and physical exams.  I just don't seem to have time for those! Those things on an eight year rotation ... why bother?
The driver's license renewal is a bit of an honesty check, is it not?  I'm really squeaking to pass the eye test!  I forgot and left my distance glasses home. (I seldom use them!) The weight question always gets me. 
"Is your weight still the same?"
"Well, no, it has gone down a bit, but actually it is closer to the weight listed.  Just leave it." (I've been lying about my DL weight for years!)
Hair color?  That changes all the time!
It is good, too, that they do the eye test prior to snapping the photo.  I couldn't see a thing afterwards!  I hope I recognize my signature.
Friends have been complaining about the "new" Idaho license design.  I don't think it has anything to do with the new design.  I think we just hate the whole experience.  It's just too revealing.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Square Ice Cream

Along the Snake River and through the mountains
To Grandma's house we went. 
Always a stop 
At the “Square Ice Cream Shop” 
In Swan Valley our money we spent. 
I didn't dare ask. 
Just hoped not to pass. 
Maybe Dad wanted a Maplenut treat. 
Sometimes he drove past,
Then doubled back 
To give us a scare. Such a tease! 
Ice cream cone in hand 
The true test began. 
Could I keep it square to the end? 
A lick up each side 
And one 'cross the top, 
I worked as swift as I could. 
But, alas, my nose ached! 
Melting cone he would take 
And round off the edges and drips. 
No more square ice cream passed my lips!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Another Reason to Run

I intend to be an octogenarian. It isn't really a lofty goal. You see, I come from a long line of octogenarians. It's in my genes. I also have stroke, Type II Diabetes, and heart disease as hereditary risk factors. And so … I run.
They way I see it, if I am going to be eighty-something, or even ninety-something (let's stop there!) I would like to keep my faculties as long as I can. What good does it do to reach a goal if one can't enjoy it once she arrives? And so … I run.
I am running away from a stroke. Running lowers my blood pressure.
I am running away from diabetes. Running keeps my weight down, thus controlling my blood sugar.
I am running from heart disease. Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.
Can I beat all the risk factors? Maybe not, but I figure my odds are better if I try to outrun them than if I open the door and invite them in!
And so … I run!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Voice Mail

My brother left a message on my answering machine just days before he unexpectedly passed away. It has been nearly four months since we said goodbye. The messages have been piling up. I didn't want to delete his message, but I wasn't courageous enough to listen for it as I deleted the others. I have been waiting for the “right time.” I tend to do that a lot. I put things off in hopes that I will somehow be stronger or more emotionally prepared for the task. Many of those things are left undone. The answering machine wouldn't wait. With only seconds of recording time left, I knew it was time to do the listening – ready or not.
So I listened. It was as if he were phoning me anew. His voice was the same as I remembered – the same inflections, the same pauses, the same dry wit.
The time was right. The message, itself really of no import, brought joy rather than the anticipated pain.
Aren't we blessed to have the gift of time? It truly does heal all wounds. With time, pain lessens and memories become sweeter.
Blessed, too, are we to have the gift of technology. It can help us embrace our gift of time.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Rushing rumbling rivers rolling rocks to reservoir,
Roughened ridges rounded now rest upon the shore.
Remember roaming? Wrestling? Reeling to the core?
Refined. Renewed. Resolved. Reach now for your reward.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Another Reason to Love My Life

Eagle Island State Park
I have a bowl of tomatoes on my counter - remnants of a bountiful garden. There is a pot of Butternut Squash Soup simmering on the stove top – my first attempt. The squash is also part of the last of the harvest. A batch of cinnamon rolls is baking in the oven – an overdue gift. As I look out the window, gold colored leaves scatter the green lawn, reminding me that there is work to do outdoors. The swaying trees also remind me that there is more work to come. The weatherman is promising snow for the weekend.
Scotch Pines Golf Course
I am trying to live in the moment. In the spring I can't wait for my newly planted garden to produce. In the fall I pray for a frost to slow the workload! Today, however, I am enjoying the season with its beauty, its unpredictability, and its ever changing vistas. As I roam the country roads, I marvel that the green and gold fields so recently blocking my view have become beige carpets neatly groomed and awaiting the interruption of spring. The wind, tho it hinders my forward progression, cleanses the air and clarifies the horizon.
I know that the thundershowers and snowstorms are coming. They, too, will have a beauty of their own. Today, I glory in the colors of the season.