Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer!

August, you are one of my one true loves.  I run and your warmth gives me energy.
You are a bittersweet month, clinging to the last remnants of summer, not willing to give up on your dream of warm summer days and flower breezes gliding over tanned bodies.   Outstretched rays of sun reflect on the water as boaters and swimmers rejoice in your strength.
You make us forget the impossible grip of winter and its frigid ways. 
September is running up behind you to take you out, August!  You sprint ahead, but it's no use...September puts you in a head lock and takes the crown off your golden locks.  Cold rain drips off September's forehead and a cool wind quickly escorts you to your prison.  Please be good, August and maybe you can get paroled early and visit us in June.  Until then, we wrap ourselves up in layers to hold in the warmth of your memories and run with the hope of next summer

Monday, August 16, 2010

Feeling HOT HOT HOT!

In eight weeks I will be among thousands of runners at the sold out Portland Marathon.  October 10, 2010 or 10/10/10 cried out to me as a day I MUST run a race.  If only the race would start at 10:00 a.m.this year, it would be a PERFECT day. 

Deeming this the perfect day, I have set upon myself a seemingly impossible goal:  3:10.  Yes, it is rather lofty, especially considering my personal record (PR) is 3:17 WAY back when I was in my 30s.  In the last 2 years my marathon times have mostly been in the 3:20s and since I have entered the mysterious age of the 40s, finishing times have slipped into the 3:30 range.  I have many excuses reasons why my times have slowed:
  • I'm old (er)
  • I have no coach
  • I trained for a 50 mile race and my body adjusted quite well to the slower training pace
  • I enjoy dessert a little too often
Despite the news story:  Older Runners Getting Faster
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/ActiveAging/story?id=99468&page=1


My dog-eared copy of Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger (affectionately known as Pfitz) and Scott Douglas is walking me through a training program to get me race ready.  If I followed the program a little more closely, my race performance would improve dramatically.  For example, yesterday's scheduled run:  20 mile long run. 

According to Pfitz, "Long runs shouldn't be slow jogs during which you just accumulate time on your feet.  The most beneficial intensity range for your long runs is 10 to 20 percent slower than your goal marathon pace."
Okay then...let's say my goal marathon pace is 7:15 (for a 3:10 finish).  It's time for runner's math:
  • 7 x 60 + 15 = 435 seconds
  • 435 x .20 = 87 seconds
  • 435 + 87=522 seconds
  • 522/60= 8.7
  • .7 x 60 = 42
  • Thus, I would need to avg. 8:42 at my slowest during a long run. 
Math class came in handy at last! 

I have *loosely* been following the 70 miles per week 12 week schedule (referring back to the 55 MPW schedule when I'm feeling overwhelmed). The 70 MPW or more 18 week schedule helped me get my 3:17 PR at Boston in 2008. 
*Loosely (taken from Gingerpedia):  referring back to official schedule every other week and realize you did not complete any Lactate Threshhold or speed work but came close to total weekly mileage.

Back to yesterday's 20 miler.  I procratinated starting my run and each passing minute seemed to drive the heat up a degree.  I knew I had to do this alone and the more I thought about it, the bigger the task seemed.  I filled my camel pack with my iTouch, cell phone, Clif Shots, Ibuprofin, $20 (in case I needed a taxi), and Aquafor.  After dropping my daughter at a friend's house, I finally exited my driveway at 11:15 am.  A heat wave tried to dissuade me from leaving but I pushed through it.  I decided to wear a tank top and shorts and risk a heat rash.

King 5 News Reported: "
Temperatures on Sunday reached record breaking highs. SeaTac set a new record of 96 degrees, breaking the old record of 92 set in 1967. And Olympia hit a new record high of 97 and Bellingham with a high of 90s"

The camel pack sat on my back without mercy.  I trudged through the first few miles, running along a rural road, heat waves lapped at my feet.  Mile four, and sweet relief!  Sprinklers are on at a little league field.  I take a detour, stand in the cool water and stuff my tank top into my camel pack.  Modesty is out the window today. 

I make it to the waterfront at about mile 7 and stop to use the restroom and top off my water.  Bonus: I could sit in the cool bathroom. 

A little over 8 miles and I see a foot ferry dock.  My pace has been slow and I decide that soaking my feet in the water would be heavenly.  Sitting at the dock for 10 minutes, reveling in the cold water, I take out my Garmin and see that my average time is around 10 minutes per mile.  Ugh.  I tuck it back in as I don't want to know my pace until I'm done.  Plus maybe today I can get a little color on my left wrist.

Reluctantly I put my shoes on and make it to the 10 mile turn around point and happily head back toward home.  I try not to think about me being on the waterfront and my home being nowhere near water.  At mile 13 I stop at the 76 station and get Gatorade and add it to my depleting camel pack.  Money did come in handy today. 
Mile 16 gifted me with the sprinklers again.  This time I practically bathed in them before dragging my sorry self back onto the pavement.

From this point onward, I would run from shade to shade and either completely stop or walk through it.  My driveway never looked so amazing!

Thankfully I never ran out of fluid and my body felt fine although exhausted from the heat. 

8:42 or better average?  Not today.  It was a 10:21.  One of my slowest training runs in a very long time. 

20 miles done, no heat rash or sunburn.  Normally this waterfront route has a number of runners and bikers.  Today's count:  4 bikes and one lone runner...me.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

First Race

Do you remember The Time?  Not as in, "the time when..." but the band The Time?  Let me refresh your memory.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82FacSRLtuA 

Step back in time for a moment:  parachute pants, shoulder pads, "feathered" hair, banana clips, break dancing during lunch, new wave music blasting from boom boxes - like "Take On Me" by A-Ha, and we were all "Just Say(ing) No."  

The top grossing film of the year?   Back To The Future

It's 9th grade and I am nearing the end of my first year in a new school.  The first day of school had felt like a nightmare that I couldn't wake from.  I had gained 20 pounds during the summer and it wasn't because I had grown 5 inches. To make my life even more exciting, I decided to get a short haircut.  My hairdresser and I had a very different idea of what "short" means.  

Imagine walking into a new school at age 14 (we all know how LOVELY 14 year olds can be), being self-conscious about weight gain and sporting a near-military cut. 

Cue popular boy:  "You're Ugly!" and insert laughter.  Welcome to math class.  I somehow manage to make it through day one and actually find some really nice friends during the school year.  I don't remember getting my hair cut again until the following summer.

It's track season and I decided to participate.  Actually I don't remember very much about that season.  I socialized with my friend, Hope...and I think I may have thrown the shotput.  Hope and I were on a quest to run in the 800, although nary a coach could be found who ever encouraged us.  We would "run" on our own during practice.

Walking into the head coach's office to receive my uniform, he informed me that I should really lose some weight as he handed me my gear.  He looked back down to his paperwork and that was the end of our motivational talk.

Hope and I lined up at the start of the 800.  Standing on a cinder track, scared out of our minds, we wished each other luck.  My shorts were so tiny and skin-tight, I felt like standing bratwurst.  As one website describes Dolfin shorts:

  "Take the scandalously high hot pants of the early 70’s, slit the sides and round the corners, trim with a contrasting color, and voilĂ , you’ve got the hottest thing to come out of the fitness craze of the 80’s".http://www.skooldays.com/categories/fashion/fa1286.htm   Hot on Daisy Duke, not on me.

The gun fires and cinder is flying as I pull away from the leaders.  My lungs are searing and I realize I need to pace myself.  Rounding the first corner I find myself being engulfed by runners on either side.  Down the back stretch and Hope and I have become the sweepers, only who will sweep us? 

The leaders are crossing the tape and I have to get out of the way...how humiliating.   Hope and I finished our race even though no one was watching anymore assuming everyone was done.  We were happy to cross the line together, knowing we'd never do that again.

And that was my first and what I thought was my last race.  It took a lot of internal coaxing for me to start running again as an adult.  Until that point, it was punishment for not doing a drill correctly in another sport.

Epilogue:  My then-track-coach is now a referree for my daughter's recreational soccer and isn't a very good one at that  (maybe I'm biased). 

Mean boy flirted with me in Safeway a few years ago, not knowing who I was.  Please, Gag me with a spoon!  That was totally grody!


RIP 9th Grade Ginger
You have no idea how Totally Awesome your life will be!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Unexpected Moments

I had to break down and go to the grocery store today.  Before leaving I peruse my Taste of Home magazine for dinner recipes.  I find this asian inspired dish that called for sesame oil and I know that I used the last of mine weeks ago. 

I find myself in the baking aisle, my back turned to all the chocolately goodness just 3 feet away.  I'm sure I have chocolate in my pantry so I must not look. 

Ah-ha!  Oil...canola, vegetable, safflower, corn, olive, light olive, garlic infused olive, virgin, extra virgin.  Great!  Now I'm singing a Madonna song in my head that I haven't purposely listened to since junior high.

Another woman is apparently in the same oil dilemma as I am since she's been standing near me, looking perplexed.  I see her in my peripheral vision and wonder if she's looking at me. 

Sesame oil...grab it but continue to look for another sesame oil in case I can save a little money.  No such luck.  I turn to leave the aisle but the woman is immediately to my right and absently blocking my escape.

I'm about to excuse my way past her but she is staring wide-eyed at me and is crying.   I stop and ask her if everything is alright.  Tears are falling faster and she quietly says, "You look like my sister...just like her.  She died three years ago.  I can't believe how much you look like her."

Speechless for a moment, I tell her I'm so sorry. 

She told me her sister was in surgery for a very simple procedure.  She was allergic to the medicine/anesthesia and had a heart attack.  She was 35.

I see this look of hope in her eye as she asks me my name.  I get this feeling she's hoping I'll say her sister's name.

"Ginger."  She looks down and I can see the sadness overwhelm her again.  I tell her my sister also passed away at age 35.  I gave her a hug and I can tell she's thankful and maybe had her last bit of closure and a hug goodbye to her sister since she didn't get that chance three years ago.

Moments like these are ours for the taking.  I could have brushed by this woman because I needed to get home 20 minutes ago.  I wonder how many times I have hurried through life, not seeing what was right in front of me.

Tacoma Narrows Half-Marathon - Race Time!

After the National Anthem, we are herded across the start line. The first couple of miles are flat with an out and back in the first mile. I see many friends in front and behind me. The leaders are already putting a sizeable gap on the rest of the field.

We head across the newer Tacoma Narrows Bridge and I relish in the fact that the sidewinds are very light today. Nearing the end of the bridge, I steady my nerves as I know what's coming...the dreaded off ramp, cross the road and up through a memorial park. Up, up, up. My plan is to maintain even effort up the hill. I still manage to get a side stitch which eventually leaves by mile 6. I try to listen to my own advice I gave one of my friends about uphills: when you get to the top, keep pushing, don't slow down, you can recover and race at the same time.

Jeff has been driving ahead to various spots on the course to cheer for me and is prepared to give me ibuprofin if I think death is nearing.  I happily wave him off as I'm feeling surprisingly light on my feet even though I know my finish time will be slower than my last Tacoma Narrows Half.

I get a great boost of encouragement from Annie as she waits on her bike just off the course.  Fellow marathon and ultramarathon runner, Annie brings out the best in everyone she meets as well as herself.  She's a local celebrity runner, winning many races and is friend to everyone.

Mile 9 brings us on a quick tour through Cheney Stadium.  We enter through the lot into the stadium to be greeted by rockin' music and live footage on the jumbotron of yourself running.  I glance up, think my legs look appropriately jumbo sized and quickly move out of the camera's view.

Just ahead I see my good friend, Pedro.  I can see he's slowing and encourage him to help pace me.  He yells at me to "Go get Tony", the 1:30 pacer.  I know with 3.5 miles to go, I don't have enough road to catch him.  Pedro tells me at the finish line that his longest run had been 5 weeks ago and the last 3 weeks he's barely run at all due to work and family circumstances.  Trust me, Pedro is an amazing runner, recently clocking 3:15 and better marathon times.

I push myself knowing it's just a 5k!  Get through this mile and then we have the best two miles of the day to the finish line.  Flat and downhill! 

At mile 11,  I see a group of four men running together, a silent comaraderie between them.  I set a goal to reach them by mile 12 and begin slowly reeling them in.  I've reached the back of the group and am feeling strong.   One by one I pass them, each of them looking over and if they could have talked, I'm sure they would have given me a, "You go Girl".  Instead, I got the dazed and I've-just-been-chicked look which is fine.  Having been called a "stupid girl" while passing a man in a different race, I just take these comments and looks as compliments.  ;*)

Picking up my pace, I finally see the finish line, crossing within the 1:35 time that I predicted to Jeff at mile 10.  I feel happy about finishing and with a decent time. 

My goal was to have fun.  I told an amazing runner, Mary, that I have the most fun when I race and place well.   She laughed and said she feels the same way.  It's nice to have friends who understand me.


  
  • 1:35:23 11th female out of 467
  • 2nd out of 75 in age group
  • 68th overall out of 840
  • *Technically I took 3rd in my age roup, but the first master was in my age group and was taken out of the division.


Race splits for those that are number obsessed (like me):
13.17 Garmin distance
  1. 6:57
  2. 6:53
  3. 7:16
  4. 7:28
  5. 8:03
  6. 7:04
  7. 7:17
  8. 7:26
  9. 7:25
  10. 7:24
  11. 7:40
  12. 6:50
  13. 6:41
1:03 ( for last .17)

Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon - Pre Race

Race Morning:  I awoke at 5:15 after sleeping through the night, coffee's brewed and I was anxious to get my day rolling.  Race start is at a local airport, 25 minutes from home.  I love races close to home.  I can sleep in a little and I know where to find public restrooms all the way to the start.  Pre-race nerves turn my stomach into, well, not butterflies...it's more like Tyrannosaures Rex is tearing through my intestines.

Drinking coffee, looking at my race clothes, walking outside to check the weather...wondering how my body will feel today since yesterday's 4 mile jog revealed a strange twinge in my knee, an achy back and doubts about running faster than a 9:00 minute pace.  

Limiting myself 1 1/2 cups of coffee (my mug is a little large, so it's more like 3 cups if you want to be literal), I exit the safety zone of my kitchen and have a face off with my race outfit.  I put on my torquoise tank top and black shorts on top of a thick layer of Aquafor.  I will tempt fate and not wear compression shorts.  Looking in the mirror, I see that the Aquafor has left a greasy stain on my shirt.

Wear, don't wear, wear...I dig through my congested drawer of running clothes - one of many - and contemplate a hot pink tank with a beautiful floral design on it...and then I recall how I had angrily stuffed it to the bottom of my drawer after it had repeatedly rolled up and over my stomach like I was Gus-Gus from Cinderella during an easy run.  Pushing past it, I grab my reliable black tank that fits loosely over my chocolate-coated mid-section.

Nearly ready, I spent the remaining few minutes before we leave running in place to tell my body we're going out for a little bit today.  I ran to the bathroom one last time, saw I needed to scoop the cat litter - I know, it's a glamorous life - and we headed out the door to be greeted by rain showers. 

I only needed to stop once to use a bathroom.  It's a miracle!

We arrived at the airport 20 minutes before the start.  Cars are lined up on either side of the road with runners dashing in and out of cars as they make their way to the start.  Jeff drops me off while he leaves to park.  I'm on the hunt for my friend, Tony, who picked up my chip and bib for me.

I'm unable to find him anywhere but I do run into my friends Bob and his wife Marci inside the airport hangar.  I know Bob's pacing the 1:30 with Tony but he didn't know where he was at the moment. 

I head outside and decide I better get in line for the porta-potties.  I run across another awesome runner who you can spot a mile away in races because he always wears colorful wigs.  A casual observer would think he's a jogger having fun and they'd only be part right.  He is having fun but his running career has included a 4:16 mile, which definitely isn't jogging. 

Jeff found Tony, and I gratefully accept my bag.  Reaching inside, I grab the timing chip which is supposed to velcro around my ankle.  I still have a scar on my ankle from May so I elect to wrap it through my laces and insure it with a safety pin. 

And then (cue hallelujah chorus)...I see my bib number.  F7.

Repeat, F7..BINGO!

I have arrived.  I have a bib number with an F on it.  I don't feel worthy of an F number today, but I happily pin it to my shorts. 

Two minutes to race start and I duck under a ribbon and find myself standing next to Betsy, another Marathon Maniac, and the Prez himself, Mr. Yee.  He's pacing the 1:50 group.  They're encouraging me to move up towards the front.  Up ahead, Bob is holding the 1:40 pace sign.  I slide in and out of the crowd and stand next to him.  He's volunteered to pace the 1:40 group at the last minute.  Bob will finish the race right on time, helping a few people get PRs and having a fun time doing it.

Another countdown begins and another race is about to be put in the books

Thursday, August 5, 2010

First Marathon

Sharlene, left and me, circa 1977 or so.
Happy Birthday Sharlene!  Today would have been my sister's 44th birthday.  She passed away in October of 2001 after a 3 year battle with cancer from a brain tumor. 

My First Marathon:  Portland Marathon, October, 2001.

My husband, Jeff, and I set out to run our first marathon.  We had been entering local road races, having fun and I would win an occasional age group award.  The thought of finishing a marathon was intoxicating.  And then...the training runs.  The idea may have been intoxicating, but training was excrutiating!   My body screamed at me to stop moving forward! 

Our plan was to get up to 21 miles for our longest run.  Galloway had the longest run over the marathon distance, but I didn't start my training early enough to get to that distance.  Each week the long run would increase a little, and I was certain I could never run further than that run.  EVER.  But then we'd go out again the next week and whine and cry about how much we hated this (okay...that may have been just me).

I religiously followed Jeff Galloway's "Marathon, You Can Do It!" book, reading it cover to cover and back again.  The binding eventually fell apart as I repeated the mantras he'd written:  You body is designed to run, each step is making me stronger, you earned this!  Jeff Galloway endorses walk breaks and that's one of the reasons I decided to go with his training program.  I couldn't imagine running so many miles without walking at all. 

The other Jeff aka my husband, absolutely HATED the walk break.  Loathed, despised, you get the picture.  We somehow worked it out as I would walk a minute once every five minutes during training, and he would just slow down a little and then I would eventually catch back up to him. 

Race morning:  weather is predicted to be warm and sunny.  I opted to wear shorts and a sports bra since it would be fairly warm.  Should I carry my Walkman (it's 2001, mind you)...no, I want to experience the marathon without background noise.

Jeff and I are at the start, freaking out amid the crowds of runners.  This is real!  Water bottles and clothing are being tossed to the side, runners are jumping up and down like they're on invisible pogo sticks, I see watches being examined and shoelaces being retied as the National Anthem is sung and the countdown begins. 

I squeeze Jeff's hand and wish him good luck...we decided to run our own race and find each other at the finish.  I'm inwardly hoping for a four hour finish but as I hear, "3, 2, 1..." I decided that just finishing is a pretty amazing feat!

Not even a half mile into the race and I HAVE to use a port-a-potty.  Rounding a corner, I see people running off course to the side of a building...waves of men facing the wall...what?  Okay, this is my first race and I have a lot to learn about race "etiquette".  Up ahead, I see the porta-potty and wait in line with mostly women.  Finally it's my turn, hold my breath, and hurry out before I suffocate. 

Following Galloway's plan, I would walk one minute after each mile.  I'm wishing I had worn compression shorts because I am beginning to have that hot rashy feeling...an aid station ahead is handing out little sticks with Vaseline and I greedily grab two.  Looking at Runner's World covers for months, I anticipated my legs would somehow transform into toned, non-thigh-rubbing running machines.  I did gain muscle but they were still drumstick-shaped and my thighs scratched together like boy scouts rubbing sticks together to make a fire.

I see Jeff ahead on the out and back section!  He's with the 3:15 pace group...amazing!  About 15 miles, I witness my first bare butt sighting as a woman squats down in front of a Charlie Brown tree.  I promise myself I will never do that.

Heading up to the bridge I definitely feel on the edge of my limits.  I walk up to the top and am finally able to coax myself into running again as I cross the threshhold onto the bridge.  Up ahead, I see a woman wearing a t-shirt from a race near my hometown.  I'm intent on catching up with her so I can divert my mind to something other than running.

Coming along side her, I comment, "I've never run that race..." referring to her shirt, "but it's close to my home and was thinking I might run it next year."  She smiles at me and says it's a really fun race and I should run it. 
"Do you live in that town?" and she says, "No, I live in a small town across the water."
"Me, too!" and as it turns out, we live in the same small town...it is a small world.  And it's about to become microscopic.
She asks me if I work..."No, I stay at home and homeschool my kids...and you?"
She says she works at a convalescent home. 
We're crossing the bridge together when she tells me that she works as a nurse at the same convalescent home my sister lives in because of her brain tumor.
I mention this and she says, "Your sister is Sharlene?" and I'm having a hard time running.  She continues, "I work nights and take care of her!"
We both are amazed at this meeting.  I thank her for caring for my sister, especially now when things are getting even more difficult for Sharlene.
We continue together for a little while longer and she needs to slow down and I continue on my way.
For me, that moment of meeting someone who is taking care of my sister as we cross the bridge on my first marathon was a God designed moment.  You may call it coincidence, that's fine.  But I know He had a hand in arranging that meeting. 
I manage to get through the rest of the marathon, mile by mile, knowing that yes, this is hard, but it's nothing compared to what my sister is going through.  I finally see the finish line, 4:21 and Jeff is waiting for me.  He finished in 3:49 due to a tragic espresso gel in the eye incident.  That's his story and he's sticking to it.

Tears are running down my cheek, as they will at the finish of most of my marathons.  It's a mixture of immense happiness at the accomplishment and sadness that the journey is over.  I think that's why I continue to sign up for more races...I always have another journey to start.

I was able to show my sister the finisher's medal on one of my last visits with her.  She was really happy for Jeff and I.  The following visit was much more difficult as she wanted me to introduce her to my husband, whom she had known for 12 years.  She passed away November 10, 2001. 

Sharlene, I know this is true for you, even if you never lined up at the start of a road race.
2 Timothy 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Me, Jeff Galloway and my husband, Jeff at the awards ceremony. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How I Made $100 in 15 minutes - Not an Infomercial :)

I needed to run errands – getting daughter's license plates/tabs/taxes on the car, dropping books at library, store. It was about 10:30 am--Late!  I hadn’t run yet, and decided I’d do my errands first, come home, and then run. I usually would have done it the other way around but was stressing about the license plates.


I took a shower after debating about whether to just throw on my hat and sweats – nice matching sweats, of course! But I thought, noooo! I will not wear a ponytail today! I will not wear any running clothes today. I will take a shower, put on makeup, use a blow dryer (gasp!) and find SOMETHING in my closet I wouldn’t wear running. This is harder than it sounds!

I wore Levis – which I wasn’t thrilled about, but they were my newer ones and, you know, baby steps. I found a blouse, a real blouse that wasn’t T-shaped! And I wore ankle boots. I’m leaving the house, so proud of myself. I wouldn’t run in any of these things!

Courthouse first: arriving at DOL and there are so many people waiting. Why do I still feel like a kid when I go to these places? I found the take a number machine and thankfully found an empty seat. I didn’t want to stand in these boots too long!

Waiting waiting...30 minutes, and this elderly gentleman painstakingly makes his way to the machine, arm in a sling, limping slightly, skin color was as if death was knocking any moment. Another man, who was waiting before I got there, walks up and gets to the machine just before him. He reaches up and what!?! He takes a number!

Santa – that’s what he looked like, I promise! pockets the number and reaches into his other pocket and hands him his number he’s had forever! The older man looks confused and takes it, maybe not fully understanding what just happened. They announce the older man’s number in about one minute. Santa walks back to his seat smiling the whole way.

I think, this man, maybe he is Santa, maybe he’s an angel. Maybe he’s just an unselfish man who sees opportunities to do things for others that I don’t because I’m so wrapped up in my own life. I was thinking the next time I get a take a number situation, I’ll take two so that I can give a number to a deserving person. See how selfish that is, taking two, not just mine and giving it up? I have some work here!

Finally get called up and pay $$$ to the county, get her plates/tabs and leave, knowing that everyone there must be so impressed with me wearing real clothing and I’m not wearing a ponytail...okay, it was just me that was impressed.

On to the library. As I turn the corner to the library, I see a huge group of men, about 20 or so, in front of the ferry pier, looking around, waiting? These are not shipyard men, by the way. I would not look twice if they were (because they are always near the ferry terminal), these were sophisticated Golf Digest-nearing-retirement-age men looking very out of place. I turned into the parking area next to the antique store because there was one space open next to the library. I just needed to drop books off this time, nothing on hold for the girls.

I pull up next to the space and shoot! My Cadillac SUV is too large! Of course!

I pull up, see the men again, decide I’ll park in the loading zone and do the bookdrop outside of the library. I get out, feeling like I’m on display for these men – you know, because how cool I look not wearing running clothes, walk around my vehicle, get my books, drop them in, look over again...ZOINKS! They’re all looking at me!

Oh dear, walk quickly back to my side, sit down, and see the Commander of the group walking towards me with the roll-down-your-window circular motion signal - I haven't had a car like that in 20 years!

Hmmm....rolling (at which point I’m stressing because my window has been sticking and once it wouldn’t roll back up until Jeff grabbed it with both hands and practically pulled a neck muscle wrestling it back into place).

“Excuse me, but uh, our taxis never showed up and we can’t get a shuttle...we don’t know if anyone is on the way or not and we really need to get to the Golf Course...” My eyes are wide with wonder at this point. “Is there any way you could take 5 of us there?” Well, of course, they were looking at my Cadillac, not me! Typical men.

Standing, hemming, hawing, hmmm...I've never actually picked up strangers.

Commander: “I’d pay you $100...cash...”

Me: “Uh, okay!” Can you believe me? They all looked so well-shaven and clean and had golf bags and were so nice-looking. I didn’t feel that bit of tension and anxiety at all like when something seems amiss.

I quickly grabbed stuff off the back seat (license plate stuff, bag of boas from girls’ dress up days– on my way to consignment shop – hoping they don’t see those!). Telling them my name is Ginger and seeing boas, they may get the wrong idea!

Here they come, loading up, $100 pocketed, thank you very much!

They were all so nice! They were all from Seattle area, doing a once a year boys' day. The front seat man made great conversation, found out his sister homeschooled all seven of her children! Got them there in plenty of time. As we neared, front man called his buddy, the Commander, to make sure he’d gotten a taxi. A taxi just pulled up as we were heading out. If not, he asked if I would get Commander as well for another $100! Why, of course!

But he’d gotten a taxi. The Commander told front seat man, his golf partner, that he would have to pay extra (they split it $20 each) because “he got to sit up front in a Cadillac with a hot babe!”

So that ends my tale of how I made $100 in 15 minutes. I kept thinking about Santa and how I should have not taken the money or so much, or called the golf course and offered to take them back to the ferry when they were done. But Jeff said, “No way! I’m so proud of You!” Ha-ha.

Chocolate ice cream for dessert!

Finding Time

Jeff, Crystal and Jessica - My Beautiful Family
I never have time to run, or clean...or maybe it's the other way around.  I always have time for chocolate!  Somehow I manage to squeeze all of them into my life, maybe not so much the cleaning, but I do have my priorities. 

Things you should know about me: 

  • I am a Christian although I hope at some point you would realize this without me putting it in writing.
  • I run.
  • A lot.
  • I love my family, even when they drive me crazy!
  • I drive my family crazy!
  • I love a clean, uncluttered home.
  • I don't have one.
  • Chocolate is a food group.
  • Homeschooling is not a freak show or anti-social.
  • People generally think I'm a quiet, sweet woman.
  • No comment :)