Another Day

Today is another day.   It is the day after yesterday and the day before tomorrow.   For me is not some magical special day that I make resolutions, promises or goals tied to the new year.   It is a just day.  It is another 24 hours to be spent by me, if I am lucky followed by another   It is a day in my life.  Each one special and one of kind.

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Each morning somewhere between the time when I wake up and when I actually  start my day I reflect how do I want to use this day.  During the time when I do the routine morning tasks of cleaning up, eating and getting dressed I start to think about what this day holds.   I begin to organize my thoughts  recognizing what things I have to do today and the things I  want to do.   I want to fully experience life  each day, but I don’t want to get lost in all the externals that I don’t actively be me.    I don’t want to feel like at the end of the day  my existence did not make a difference. It is a balancing act.   What I plan for each day isn’t the same every day.  Many things influence my plan for the day, if I work or not, is there a commitment I need to fulfill or a deadline approaching, how do I feel, what my family needs, my friends,  and so much more.    Some days I have a simple wish, to walk more steps than I did yesterday or eat a healthy lunch.   Recently my goal was to  pray for a family who has lost a son and that I learn more about compassion and empathy because I can not imagine their pain. Some days it is to accomplish something at work, something that won’t likely change much of anything in the world.  While other days it is do a random act of kindness for someone who I don’t know.

Most days I pick several things for my daily goals and other days I just aspire to accomplish one thing.   I try to make it a mix of for tasks but sometimes  I when I feel spent  I just wish for a day for me.   This weekend  I gave myself the gift of nothing.   Nothing for me is to allow myself the luxury of doing what is calling me at the moment.   For me nothing can  be to read, sew, write, play in my studio, talk to my life-time friend, pull my camera out or take a walk.   My wish for the day can be a grand task impacting everyone I meet or just a single movement toward a lifetime quest that only I recognize.   It changes for me each day.

It is not about a resolution I make on the first day of the year.   Instead it is about my life list.   All those things I want to see, do and change.   My life list does include places I want to see and things that are personal goals, but it contains bigger unreachable items as well.   Those big things, like world peace,  I don’t serious believe I can change all by myself, nor will even see in my lifetime, but I want to be a drop in the water  that sends out waves or a butterfly wing that contributed to a distant tornado that is part of that change.    I want to waste one less minute than I did yesterday.   Today I want  to make better use of  the time allotted to me than I did  the previous day I was given.    I fully embrace each day no matter what day of the year it is.  I wish the same for each of you.

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She had the best smile and a natural twinkle to her eyes.

Yesterday my Aunt Arnie lost her courageous battle with cancer.   My heart breaks for my cousins and their families who lost their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who they loved so much.   It makes me a little sad to know that I can not be there when they hold her service, but geography, work, and economics make that impossible.   That is one of the unfortunate realities of being a grown up and living so far away.

My Aunt had been a widow for many years and lived in the house she raised her family in.   No return visit to the Midwest was not complete with out stopping by her house.  We would visit around the kitchen table catching up with her.. It was always wonderful to spend time at her house hearing how things were going and sharing with her what was happening on my end of the world.

Last night with my husband, we reflected on all the things that made her special.   There were so many things I remember about her, but the thing that I will always remember most of all is her smile.   I can’t remember a time when she did not have that smile that wrapped you with warmth.   To go with her smile she had a special kind of eyes that twinkled and went perfectly with her smile.   I am not sure what it was about her eyes but they truly did twinkle with little crinkles around her eyes that some joined up to go perfectly with her smile.

Somewhere in heaven today, Aunt Arnie sits with those who have gone before us, looking down on us as each of us figure out how life will go on differently now that she is gone.   She is enveloped in love with those she is reunited with, and smiling down on us with love, because she knows we will be ok and some day she will see us all again.

Cross That Off the List

After I walked 13.1 Miles in Choteau, MT

Yahoo!  I finished my first half-marathon.  I wanted to finish my first half-marathon walking an average of 20 minute miles.  I walked across the finish line in Choteau Montana 4 hours and 2 minutes after I started.  That means that I walked 13.1 miles averaging 18.5 minute miles.

I walked the Grizzly Marathon in Choteau, Montana. I chose this particular marathon for a host of reasons. The Grizzly hosts both a marathon and a half-marathon.   The altitude was less than my home altitude, hopefully giving me a little advantage. I had also spent 2 1/2 weeks in the Midwest at near sea level  just before this event.  This marathon was walker friendly.   Walkers don’t get a discount on their entry fee, but many marathons don’t really support the slower participant (roads are not closed long enough, aid/water stations close up etc.).  Lastly it is  a smaller, low-key event and for my first try at all of this that seamed a good idea.

I could not have made a better choice.   Walkers got to start an hour early.  We left the starting line at 5 am.  It was still dark and I was the slowest walker and the “bringing up the rear truck” followed me patiently  for the first 2 miles until the hints of sunlight were such that no one was going to sneak on the closed road and accidentally run me over.

I had driven the course the night before and knew what I was in for.   There was one monster hill and I wanted to get that done before the sun came up.   It worked perfect.   I was at the top and got to watch the sun come up over the Teton River Valley (though I did have to turn around to see it, which I did more than once.)  I wish you all could have been there to see it.

Choteau is known for wind, but I was disappointed.  People had warned  and talked up the wind in Choteau.  At home, Buxton, is also known for endless wind,and I wasn’t sure if I should expect wind like home or something worse.   No wind, not even a breeze would run by me the whole distance.  As the sun came up and it started getting warm, I grumbled a bit about the missing perennial wind, but was also thankful for the hour early start.  Montana might be far north, but our altitude makes the sun hot.

I had set a series of little goals for this race.  I wanted  to finish.   I wanted to average 20 minute miles or better.   I wanted to be at the top of that monster hill before the 6 o’clock runners came by.  I wanted to get through dreaded mile 9.   I wanted my gear to hold up.   I wanted to not use every port-a-potty I came  to.

If I had done 20 minute miles I would have been a little over 4 1/2 hours, instead I was just two minutes over 4 hours!  I did get to the top of the hill before the runners.  I worked through the 9th mile all alone, and the rest of the miles were just fine.    My gear problems did not stop me from finishing, or require attention until after I finished.  I only used two port-a-potties.  Yep I accomplished a lot!

But the most important of all the goals was to finish and that I did with flying colors.    I can now cross a half-marathon off my list.  I will take a little time to bask in the glow, and then pull out that life list and see what else I need to take care.

Dress for Success – Half Marathon Style

I used to work for a Fortune 500 company and was an entry-level manager. I used to dress for success every single day.

I have decided that “dress for success” also applies to walking a 1/2 marathon. That may not strike you as odd, but I am a plus sized woman. Not a little big, very big.  I haven’t shopped in the regular sized section of a store since I was in the 3rd grade.   OK, it hasn’t been that long, but I have struggled with my weight since about that time.

I am within two weeks of my first half-marathon, and I know finishing it is a reality, not just a possibility.    I can even imagine that I might finish with 19 minute miles.   The one thing that I have struggled with in all of this is what to wear.  I struggled because my thighs rub together when I walk.  I am aware of how hot it can get even in Montana in the summer.  I know the importance of  sweat-wicking fabric.  But I am also self-conscious of my fat deposits in places that no woman wants. Sweats were what I wanted to wear but they sure were not working for me.

I gave up the fight, or maybe I started to think like a winner.  I order plus sized compression running Capri pants from New Balance, and a sleeveless top.   When they came I put them and looked in the mirror.  OMG they show even the ripples of my cellulite!   My bat winged arms were seeing sunlight and not hidden in long-sleeved tops.     I could not imagine wearing these in public.   Then I thought  I spent good  money and decided that I bought them for function not fashion.  I was going to wear them for me and what someone else thought be damned.

After wearing them for my walks, I can say without a doubt they were a great purchase. There were worth every penny I spent.  I don’t even realize my thighs rub together anymore, that slick compression fabric was the prefect answer.   The outfit  wicks away the sweat and moisture better than I could have imagined.   The little pocket for my MP3 player in the small of my back I thought was stupid is great!   I walk on the frontage road, and can’t imagine what I look like from behind, but you know what I don’t care.

I am about to walk a 1/2 marathon.   I am about to cross something off my life list.   I am dressing for success, and sized doesn’t matter.

A Half-Marathon In My Future

I recently talked about my life list and how I had revisited it and made some adjustments. One of the things that was on my list was to complete a marathon. I thought lots about that one and realized this was an easy one to check off my list.  It was completely under my control.  It did not require lots of time or money.

I found the idea of a marathon  pretty daunting, so I decided that I could start a half marathon.  If I still feel the need to complete a marathon after I cross the finish line for this half marathon I can plan for that, or it may just be that the half marathon will be enough.

Those of you who know me, know that I am a big woman.   I am sure those trainers on the TV reality shows would love to get a hold of me.  In spite of this all I am happy to report I have picked my half-marathon and I have been training for the last 6 weeks.  I already have my miles down to about 21 minutes each.

I hesitated to share this initially as I was not sure that I would make it to the end.  Six weeks later, I am not sure that I will make it, but believe that by sharing it with all of you I will find the strength to do it.

To Do List – Life’s Goals – Bucket List – Life List – Things To Do Before You Check Out.

No matter what you call it we all have one.  Some of us have written it down and look at it often.  Others wrote it down when they graduated from High School or College and never looked at it again.   Maybe you created it in a class or a seminar.  Maybe that list exists on in your head.

I call it a life list.  I don’t really look at it much, but I think about it, at strange inopportune moments.    I recently re-evaluated mine.   There were things on the list that short of winning the lottery, just were not how I wanted to spend my money.   I took those off my list…going to Ireland…having an island vacation staying in a cabin that the tides came under.   If I wasn’t going to do it, or  if I did the whole time I was spending the money I would think about what I could have done with the money other ways, those things really were not my life goals.

That may sound like a disappointment to remove items from the list undone, but it was liberating.  I know the things on my list are important to me.   They are things that I control.    Look at your list and make sure that the things on it are important to you.