Wednesday, November 26, 2014


This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for everything.  (Yes, everything.)

I'm thankful for some of the obvious things, such as my family and their health, for a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food on the table.  For living in such a beautiful place.  For a back yard that overlooks the water.  For being able to complete a half marathon.  For friends.  For laughter.

But I'm also thankful for the very things I tend to complain about.  The brutal commute takes me to a job--which I also complain about--that pays my bills.  Mostly. The long drives to Daughter's sporting events mean that she is healthy enough and happy enough and doing well enough in school to play sports.  The blog which I haven't had time to properly focus on for several year now?  That has connected me to some of the most wonderful people I've ever met.  I'm even thankful for that NASTY EVIL feisty artificial Christmas tree which fights me each and every year.  When we come to some sort of an agreement and it's propped up in a corner finally standing all decorated in the corner, I know there will be quiet moments of joy spent with Son and Daughter reminiscing about this or that ornament.

(Oh no.  It's Christmas again? Didn't I just put that tree away?)

Anyway, I do complain about a lot of things in my life.  But I am able to stand back from all that and realize that I have it good.  Really good.  And I take nothing for granted anymore.  I'm grateful for everything.

Perhaps most of all, I'm grateful we're not spending this Thanksgiving at the Golden Corral. We've actually done that before.  It was, shall we say, an experience. No, thankfully, this year all I have to do is trot across the yard and sit down at my parents' dining room table with Son , Daughter and Baby Sis.  My mother will do the majority of the cooking.  (I'll ask if I can do anything and then will not question it when she tells me no.)  

So, I am also especially grateful for what is shaping up to be a relatively stress-free Thanksgiving.

To read about a previous Thanksgiving which wasn't so relaxing, necessarily, click here for the recap of Thanksgiving 2012

Thank you for reading and my very special thanks to those of you who read and comment regularly.

I'm very grateful.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2014


Saturday was a fun-filled day thanks to an excursion to the Northern Neck that included pit stops at Merroir and the Tides Inn, where I took some pictures of these boats.

A friend I haven't seen since the days of rotary phones and 8-track cassettes came for a brief visit from Florida.

During the meandering, I was pleasantly 
surprised to discover Mathews County's own Peggy moored at the Tides Inn.

The weekend was great, but it's back to the races again this week.  Tonight after work and my 100-mile round-trip commute, I race to Daughter's cross country banquet.  Tomorrow after work and another 100 miles of driving, I race to Daughter's physical therapy appointment (to strengthen a knee that she injured a while ago). Wednesday I'll put in another 150 miles round trip as I race to Norfolk for Son's pre-op appointment.  Thursday is the feeding frenzy of Thanksgiving, and by Friday I'll be ready for the sanatorium a break.

Hope all is well in your world and that your week involves minimal to no racing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


There are lots of signs of various descriptions in Mathews County, and one of the most commonly seen is the No Trespassing sign.  I confess to being simultaneously intimidated and challenged whenever I see one of these signs.

For example, above, the sign partners with the closed gate to say very definitively: No.

But, below, upon closer inspection of what's happening on the left, the sign seems to beg to be challenged.  "I'm trying to say stay out, but if you just step over here, there's nothing holding you back except a little swamp mud."  (And your conscience.)

Not that I would ever disobey a sign.  I'm just telling you what goes through my mind when I see things like this. My mind is a frightening place, especially when I'm exhausted--as happens to be the case tonight.

Then you have your road signs that clearly mean well--with the best of intentions--but have been tampered with and rendered absolutely useless.

For example, this sign seems to say, "Watch out!  It's 15 miles per hour as you leave the roadway, venture into the ditch, back up for a moment, and then take off into flight at a 45-degree angle."

Even though it's only Tuesday as I write this, I feel like I've been working for forty thousand days straight.

There's lots going on (my workload is doubling; my commute remains an hour each way; I need to buy a new car and a new refrigerator but have no time to research either, Daughter's basketball season is underway, which means multiple games per week after that commute from work; Daughter is ramping up for the college application process next year; Son will be undergoing another major surgery next month to reverse a procedure done two years ago; Thanksgiving and Christmas are breathing down my neck; and nothing in my house seems to be working-- for example).  

As I do from time to time, I may cut back on blogging until things level out.  I'll post here and there as time permits but not on any fixed schedule.

Also, if you will, can you tell me how that last sign could possibly have been bent in that direction? Did a speedboat in the ditch hit it?  Did the people cutting grass just decide to back up and push it this way? Or did they cut it facing traffic and just completely disregard the sign?  How do you not notice a sign like this if your job is cutting the grass roadside?

It's questions like these that keep me amused.

For hours.

I look forward to hearing your theories.

Monday, November 17, 2014


This gorgeous tree lives in my front yard.

Most of the time, it goes unnoticed. 

It's just one of several I pass 
on my way out of the driveway every day.

Once a year, though, this tree gets all dolled up.

She puts on quite the show for about a week.

These were taken at her peak Saturday morning.

As of Sunday, the leaves were already starting to drop.

Friday I FROZE TO DEATH cheered on the Mathews cross country teams at the state meet outside of Warrenton.  Both teams came in third overall, and we had two individual runners place in the top 15 finishers.  Click here for pictures from that successful event.

Now Daughter will be flung head first into basketball, which means the time I spend on the road will quadruple, once the games start up.

My car currently has 195,000 miles on it and is absolutely begging me to retire from the daily trips to Williamsburg and beyond.  As soon as I identify a logical, affordable replacement, the old Saturn Vue will be bequeathed to Daughter, who gets her license in December.  The Saturn won't mind shuffling Daughter to and from high school. Not one bit.

It's hard to believe next week is Thanksgiving--which means December really isn't that far off.

Time continues to fly by in spite of all my requests that it not.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

OBX Half Marathon 2014

Over the weekend, Baby Sis and I made our annual trek to the Outer Banks to run a half marathon, and except for the fact that an 80-year-old woman beat us, we were pleased with our time of 2 hours and 15 minutes, our best thus far.

In fact, we were absolutely thrilled with our time-- until we learned that  the 80-year-old woman beat us by almost TEN minutes.  So, to recap, that is a woman, 80 years old, running 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 6 minutes.  Baby Sis is 44, and I will be 50 (!) next January.  She's over 30 years older than we are!

We were fit to be tied when we learned this.  Baby Sis went so far as to accuse her of stealing a golf cart to make such good time.  I'm pretty sure a race official would have noticed an 80-year-old on a golf cart, but Baby Sis won't let go of her theory.

To help ease the sting of this astonishing news, we indulged in some free beer.

I'd like to take a moment to recognize that, although I'm not a beer drinker, there is almost nothing better than a cold, free beer or three after exercising for over two hours without stopping.  It's a little slice of heaven, I tell you.

I think it was about 9:30 in the morning here.  Sunday morning, in fact.
While some folks were hunkered down in church, we were having our own worship service of sorts.

In addition to the free beer, there was my other favorite thing:  free food!  And live music.

And lots and lots of people watching.

This bear was everywhere. Just sort of there.
Not doing anything.  Just lurking. It was only slightly creepy. 

Baby Sis and I always seem to attract people who like to laugh and be silly.  The guy below came trotting over because he liked the fact that we were laughing loudly.  Still giddy from the endorphins and free beer at 9:30 on a Sunday morning in downtown Manteo, I had no problem telling him that the actual reason we were laughing was because he looked like a clown.  Although you can't tell from this picture, he had slathered on far too much free sunscreen they gave away at the expo, and there wasn't a hint of sun in the sky.

Note to Self: Where, exactly, is my upper lip?  I thought I had one.
Instead, I look like Frank Burns on MASH,
and I have the nerve to call someone else a clown?

We met some amazing people at the post-race party.  The two gentlemen below ran the full marathon with incredible times.

(The bear didn't run at all.  He just sat. And stared.)

Doug, below, won an award in his age bracket.  He completed the full 26.2 miles in just over 3 hours. He's run the Boston Marathon many times and also happens to be one hilarious human being.  He came all the way from Nashville just to run this race.

After a while, it started to turn cold, 

and our muscles and feet were telling us it was time to leave.

So we hopped on the shuttle where Baby Sis proceeded to spill her beer and headed back to the hotel.

We ate a lovely dinner at the Black Pelican 
and continued the wine laughter well into the evening.

A fantastic time was had by all.

For those of you wondering if we saw Kilt Man (from last year's adventure), we did. He was a pacer for the full marathon, and we chatted at the finish line.  Baby Sis controlled any urges to lift up the kilt. All in all, we were a little tamer better behaved this year, but that still didn't preclude us from having fun.

One of the things we learned from talking with so many runners--all of whom had better times than we did--was we need to do more races.  We've been running two half-marathons per year, thinking that was enough.  

If we want to beat that 80-year-old--and we do--we need to do more.

I turn 50 (!) next January, and I'd like to try a full marathon, perhaps next year this time at the Outer Banks.  To do that, I'm going to need to do at least two or three half marathons before that.

That's a whole lot of running.  

Right now, though, what I need most of all is a nap.

The End.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Hints of Red

These shots of three different red structures were taken last Sunday.

This first one is the boldest red--and also the farthest away.

(Above, the barn in the distance on the right tries to hide behind those pine trees.)

Here, another little red building is perfectly content on the side of Garden Creek Road.

This particular shed near the nursing home is more like a silver fox with some red streaks still visible.

I've taken pictures of the barn above for about eight years now, and it never gets old.  There's something about this whole scene that to me says Mathews.


Warning:  Change of topic forthcoming.  

This weekend, Baby Sis and I make our trek to the beaches of North Carolina to participate in the Outer Banks Half Marathon.  I look forward to it for the escape, not so much for the run.

Click here for an overview of last year's escapades.

I'll be back to blogging the middle of next week--assuming we make it across the finish line.

(We will.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

More From Bethel Beach

The marshland on the approach to Bethel Beach is something of a tree graveyard.

Although you can't tell so much in these pictures, there are many trees that still stand but are completely dead due to the salt water.  

As I was staring into the vast marshland, I noticed a heron.

As I've mentioned many times before, herons really don't care to have their photo taken.

And this one was no different.  He was highly suspicious.

He did allow me to take a few shots before squawking and flying away.

Today the Mathews cross country teams travel to Pocahontas State Park in Richmond for the regional meet.  If they do well, and they will, they advance to next week's state meet. Daughter is an alternate on the team, so she won't run unless there is an injury.  Nevertheless, we're all very excited.

I'm still struggling with the fact that it's November already, and, on top of that, the signs of December are cropping up.  Christmas decorations bombard you in the stores.  I've even heard some Christmas music coming from an office at work.

I'm really not ready for any of this.

Dear Universe, 

Could you please just slow down a bit?  The pace is way too crazy; we need time to enjoy the present.  
What's the hurry, anyway?

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Chesapeake Bay Woman

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bethel Beach

These are from yesterday's brutally cold trip to Bethel Beach, where I started and ended an hour-and-a-half run.  Next weekend, Baby Sis and I travel to the Outer Banks for another half-marathon. Although I'm not looking forward to the run, I am most definitely looking forward to our little adventure.

Speaking of adventures, Saturday my mother, daughter and I traveled to visit my son in Charlottesville.  He's doing well and regaled us with stories from all the Halloween parties the night before.  We ate a delicious lunch here, went shopping for essentials coffee, laundry detergent, chocolate candy, chips and salsa, and enjoyed catching up.

The weather turned blustery and cold Saturday night and Sunday.  Although we might see a few warmer days this week, it looks like the seasons they are a-changin'.

November is here.