Monday, April 24, 2017

We Did It!

The Sun Run was yesterday morning.  The forecast was for clouds and showers, which we were really hoping would come true, as that would have kept us cooler.  On the drive in, we went through some pretty heavy rain, which was a bit concerning, but eventually drove out of it.  The sky was looking much better in the direction we were heading, too much better in fact, and I said that I didn't want to see any blue sky.  And sure enough there were some patches of blue.  When Larry dropped us off it was hard to know what clothing to take.  We both had on little jackets that we were willing to donate, and I had some yoga pants on as well over my shorts.  Stripped those jackets and yoga pants off before we got to the start line.  Meredith started out with her running jacket on, and I had a little waterproof jacket stuffed into my water bottle belt.  It stayed mostly cloudy, felt one drop of rain, but it got warm at times.  

We got across the start line just before 9:30.  We were running together of course, and you get into a certain pace, and just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Very gradually Meredith eased off and was slightly behind me, but I could just turn my head a bit and see her red jacket out of the corner of my eye.  She gradually slipped back farther (she said she felt really crummy at the start of the race) but I keep glancing back and could still see her.  Then she took her jacket if off and it was hard to pick her blue shirt out of the thousands of other blue shirts back there.  She said she could see me (in my bright green) turning around and looking and she kept waving me to go on, but I didn't see that.  At the half way mark there is a very steep hill to go up, before starting over the Burrard Street bridge.  At the top of the hill I ran in place for 30 seconds to see if I could see Meredith coming, but didn't, so kept going.  I was finding it really tough, but just kept planting one foot in front of the other.  I didn't even seem to have much in reserve to really take advantage of the downhills.  By this point I am totally exhausted, feeling awful and thinking that I am NEVER EVER doing this again.  Between about km 7 and 9 it is a long straight flat stretch.  I was exhausted.  I wanted to walk, but told myself no, can't walk, in four previous 10 k's, I've never walked.  Finally I just had to walk, so walked for about a minute and then got my self moving a bit faster again.  Just after that I got a pat on the shoulder from a woman going by, 'Good job, keep it up' she said.  I didn't know her from Adam, but maybe she had seen me walk and then start running again, who knows.  Appreciated the gesture, but as I looked at her run off ahead, she was one of those tall, very slim runners who just make it look so effortless.  I think I would have appreciated the gesture more if she had looked like she was  struggling like me ;-)

The last kilometre or so starts with the up the ramp to the Cambie Street bridge.  I'm proud to say I ran up all the hills.  The bridge itself is not much of a hill once you get up the entrance ramp.  Then there is down hill towards the finish line.  Most people were able to pick up the pace a bit, including me, but then the downhill runs out and there is a decent straight stretch to the finish line, and it was a struggle to maintain the pace to get there.  I had timed myself but didn't get the timer stopped right away, but was pleased to see I was around the 1:04 mark (one hour, four minutes).  Meredith came in a couple of minutes after me.  After crossing the line I almost felt that I could pass out, but that feeling went, and it was surprising how quickly I started to feel good.

A little red in the face, but happy we are done!

This morning I was expecting all my joints to be sore and achey, but they are not.  A bit of stiffness in my quads after I have been sitting for a while.  The longest toe, the second one on my right foot really hurt this morning.  It seems to get slammed into the front of the runner.  I thought I had laced my runner well enough to prevent that, but obviously not.  The pain from that has gone now.  While running yesterday I swore I was never ever doing it again, but kind of like childbirth, the pain has faded and the 'high' from gettin 'er done! is here, so it may happen again.....we shall see.

OFFICIAL TIME01:03:40.06:22/km10 km01:03:40.01248042936310:29:55

My stats.  I'm taking 30 seconds off that, for the time I spent waiting for Meredith ;-).  So that puts me only 20 seconds away from my fastest time of 1:02:50.  I'm pretty happy with that because I sure didn't feel like I was running well.    So I was in 12480 place out of a total of 39,769 finishers.  I placed 4293 out of 20901 women, and 63 out of 656 women in the 60-65 category.

The funniest sign I saw held up along the way read something like...
Run like United Airlines wants your seat!

Meredith is doing another run at the end of May.  Good luck to her.  I'll be at the farmers market instead.

Sunday, April 16, 2017


On Friday I did the fourth to last training run before the big day, which is the 10k on April 23rd.  It was a particularly hard run, although should have been relatively easy compared to some we have done. It was hard because my running partner Meredith was a four hour drive away (we are in Oliver over Easter), and mostly because I am battling some sort of cold/chest infection.  I considered not running, but convinced myself that it wouldn't be too difficult.  It was only 3 x 10 minutes of running with a one minute walking break between each 10 minute run.  I found it really tough though, and didn't feel well in the evening, and than had a very crappy night, walking up a few times with me and the bed damp with sweat.  As a result I'm giving myself a bit of a break and I didn't run today.  I need my lungs to sort themselves out and recover.

A cool down on the dyke near the Mission Bridge.  Running on a long flat surface, where you can see long distances is boring, we realized.

Other than our visit to Oliver in February, Meredith and I have done all our training runs together.  I would meet her in Abbotsford after she was off work on Tuesdays.  She would come to our place to run on Thursdays after work, and stay for supper.  On the weekend we would try to pick somewhere a bit different and meet there.  Anything to make it a bit more interesting for us, take our minds off it, distract us, whatever. 

Sunset near Jubilee Hall at the end of Bradner Rd.  A few Thursdays we did this run in my neck of the woods.

 Neither of us are born runners, whatever that is.  Neither of us really like running, although will admit to feeling good about ourselves if our run went well.  In fact there are many times we could easily say that we hate running. Sometimes we wonder WHY are we doing this again.  This is my fourth time, and Meredith's fifth.  I think it is the challenge, and the discipline that it takes to meet that challenge.  The training program is all laid out for us.  We agree when and where we are meeting for the next run when we finish the run on any given day.  Of course something comes up at times and we have to make changes, but the fact that someone else is counting on you keeps a person going.

This year has come with it's own challenges.  Winter was bad, and Spring slow to come.  We have run  far too many times in the rain.  Light rain is fine, heavy rain not so much.  There were even a couple of evenings of doing the longest run of the week (Tuesdays), that it was raining so hard that we started running again during our five minute cool down at the end, so that we could get back to the car faster.  
Once our runs got longer, I gradually reduced the length of my leggings, and have been running in shorts for maybe the last few weeks.  I get so hot when I run, and CAN NOT stand to have my legs encased in lycra.  But, I stayed in full length leggings for weeks, because the weather never seemed to get any warmer.  Meredith, who does not have the same leg claustrophobia, is still in long ones.  I think there has only been one day that we ran without starting out with a jacket on. All my cool running jackets that I've picked up at the thrift stores, I've had loads of use out of them this year, as well as my cap, when it's rained.

One Saturday we met at Aldergrove Lake Park.  Larry came and took Jake for a walk, while Luna ran with us.  We are done here, and exhausted.

Finally a legitimate reason for me to say that it smells skunky around here.  Took me a few times to realize that the skunky smell that I would occasionally smell as we ran through a subdivision was not from a skunk, or skunk cabbage.....

Luna was hot too and was glad to have a quick lay down in a pool

I'm thinking that this may very well be my last year for the Sun Run.  My knees and right hip are not particularly happy.  My right knee is the one that felt like it blew up right before the Sun Run last year.  It gets stiff. The left one gives me more trouble though, a bit of pain sometimes when I first start to run, but then it goes away as I continue. All three joints are stiff afterwards.  A smart person would probably have quit a while back.  Once I have made my mind up about something, I want to finish.  So that is my plan for this year, and then I will just see how it goes after my knees have had a good rest.

Running a week ago Saturday at Fort Langley.  We did the Brae Island loop (Tavistock Point in these two photos) and then back to the mainland and along the river.  Another of those rainy runs.

Someone had decorated three bushes for Easter, alongside the path.

Yesterday we went on a two hour hike, and today we rode our bikes for 15 km on the flat, plus a couple of dog walks.  Not exactly laying around, but much easier than running!

Hope you had a nice Easter!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Feeling Proud

I sort of had another post in mind for the end of last week, didn't get it done, and then something else happened that I thought was a worthy post, and I've dawdled on that one too.  Time to get 'er done!

Thought I'd show you some of the pansies planted out.  This is at the front door.  Here is my token Easter decoration, $2 last Friday at the thrift store.  I'll probably just leave the rabbit hanging out with the rock geese, the Scotty dog and the little girl, or maybe find a spot in the garden to put it.

The rest of the pots up the side of the house and driveway have some colour in them now, so it all looks a bit more inviting.  I really should wash the pots though.

David and his girlfriend were heading to a special event last Saturday.  It was at one of those fancy hotels in downtown Vancouver.  We aren't hotel people, so one of those places we'll probably never stay at.  Rooms at well over $200 a night.
Trying to find a decent place to stand....check for dog poop!

Melissa had been working, and then gone to her parents to get her dress and get ready.  Tucker hadn't seen her all day, and was desperate to greet her.  Tucker's method of greeting is to race and jump up and plant his often muddy paws in the vicinity of your waist.  Our fault, because as a pup it was just so much easier to pat him if he jumped up, instead of having to bend right over.  Of course we keep encouraging a correct greeting, but often his enthusiasm takes precedence.  

Larry wrangled the pups while I managed to get a few shots.

And then their dogs watched them leave.

The event was the Silver Ring Ceremony for the graduating Forestry students.  They receive a silver ring, (which they have to pay for) to be worn on the little finger of their dominant hand.  It has a raised maple leaf on it.
David was called up for a special award.  He's probably feeling a bit embarrassed here!

He was the winner of the Charles Larre Memorial Graduating Prize.  The prize is awarded on the recommendation of the Department of Wood Science, Faculty of Forestry to the most outstanding graduating student of the Wood Products Processing Program.

That's my boy! Oh yeah, Larry's too ;-)

One week of classes to go, a couple of exams, and a decision to be made by tomorrow as to where he will be working.  Exciting times.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

10-1-15-1-20-1-10-1 and Other Random Stuff

You are probably wondering what those random numbers are all about.  Well that was what Meredith and I had to do for our 10km training on Tuesday night.  I was dreading it, and so was she.  We've been plugging along, doing okay, but yesterday was a big jump.  So first we do a 5 minute walk, and then those numbers, so 10 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking, then 15 minutes of running, and minute of walking, then 20 minutes of running....well you get the drift.  Add on 5 minutes of a cool down walk at the end, and then some stretches.  The previous couple of weeks we had worked up to 4  x 10 minutes of running, so this week it seemed a big jump to go to 55 minutes total, and having to run 20 minutes straight.  We are so thankful for those one minute walks.   Anyway, it did turn out okay, we managed to get it done, and actually felt easier for the last third compared to the middle third.   Four and a half more weeks to go.

This twirly thing hangs outside our dining room window.  I should have taken a picture of the whole thing, but was trying to be artistic and capture the rain drops on the bottom part.  The twisted part is long and gradually gets wider and there is another piece at the top.  We had a few birds hit the window before I hung it up, but it's doing it's job and there have been no concussions since.  I bought two of the twirlers at the thrift store (of course), thinking I would hang them near the blueberries or the fig tree in the summer.  Funny, today I was in Dollarama and they are selling almost exactly the same thing there.  $2.50 each.  Oh well, I got two from the thrift store for that price.

We seem to have exchanged our white (snow) for wet (rain).  Just lately we have had a few dry days, but we are in for more rain in the next week.  Today actually got quite nice and warm, and I did a bit of outside work.  It is the perfect time to garden, but there is so much to do, sometimes it is hard to know where to start.

My favourite nursery was clearing out these little Tete-a-Tete daffodils, and the Hyacinths, for two pots for $1.  Flats of pansies were $5, and more recently, the pansies were 2 flats for $5.

And see the little kale plants?  These two little boxes had double the amount of plants in them.  Usually they hold 6 plants, and these had 13.  I really need to get them transplanted.   Is anyone else like me?  I always look through all the different boxes and pick the ones that that have the most plants in them.  Why pay for 6 when you can pay the same amount for 13!
Of course I should be seeding them myself, and I will be, but often I can't resist buying some.

  Since not much is happening yet here with Spring flowers, I decided I needed to make my own bits of colour.  The pot behind Tucker, and two more further along the wall, are full of colourful pansies now.

I'm still trying to spend a bit of time in the sewing room each day.  I've made nearly 60 bibs now, although I still need to go through them all and cut off stray threads and weave the ends of the serger chain in and out of sight.  That's about 50 bibs more than I started with last year ;-)

Here's Tucker, as I look from the kitchen window.  At least this time he is chewing something appropriate, sort of.  The end of an old bone, if I recall correctly.  It seems like every day he eats something he shouldn't.  Sometimes I look out and he is running around madly with a plastic plant pot in his mouth, before he lays down and tries to eat it.  He needs to be supervised most of the time.  He's a little stinker, and a lot of fun, and a lot of work.  
We will enjoy him while we can, as David has only two weeks left of classes at University, and then will be moving in the near future to wherever his job will take him.
Tucker is 6 months old next week.

Well this sure isn't much of a post, but at least you know I'm still alive and kicking!  
And Round Dancing on Wednesday nights.  Oh my.  We come home exhausted and sometimes, okay, most of the time, feeling frustrated at our inabilities to remember the steps.  Oh well, we are still sticking it out, still speaking to each other.  
Unfortunately a fellow and his wife that Larry used to work with, quit.  In her words 'we want to stay married'. 
She 'got it' much better than her husband did, and the frustration just became too much.
I understand how she felt, it's a familiar feeling some nights.

Dip back, maneuver, two right turns......

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Waiting on Spring

Well this post has been moldering away in the 'under construction' section for too many days, so since I made the effort to load the pictures, I might as well finish.  

We have had a winter to remember, although most of us would rather forget it.  Snow started at the beginning of December, we had a few clear weeks, or days that added up to a few weeks, in the last three months, but to summarize, we have just had TOO MUCH snow.

Last Saturday, it felt very springlike.  We has some sun and puffy clouds and a breeze, and it wasn't particularly warm, but it felt like Spring.  I cleaned out two chicken coops, Larry did some pruning, it was a nice day to be outside.  I was on my own with Jake and Luna as we took our late afternoon/early evening walk, and I heard my first frog croak from one of the ditches. 
Ah Spring!

And then the next morning, Sunday. there was snow on the ground.  Some places not far from us got snow on Saturday as well, but not us, we were enjoying Spring!
It wasn't a lot of snow, and it mostly melted as the day went on, but it was enough to make everything wet, and it wasn't very warm of course, so not pleasant to be doing many things outside.
And guess what, we have woken up four more mornings. to snow on the ground, including this morning.

It's getting to be such a drag.  The weather forecast is now just for rain in the next week. Not sure if that is an improvement though.  So much clean up etc to do outside.  Then all of a sudden we really will be in Spring, and the weeds will be going wild and there won't be enough energy in a day to keep up.
What would we do if we didn't have the weather to complain about!

When we were in Oliver a couple of weeks ago, I did make a visit to their thrift store.  I got myself a pair of Sorel snow boots for $3, and this little book for 50 cents.  It's kind of fun to look through, although I'll probably never make any of the recipes.  This is the second edition from 1945, so it's 72 years old.

There were a couple of clippings in it, this one was dated from 1962 on the back.  I make a ginger pear jam almost exactly the same as that clipping.

The writing on this clipping makes me think of Larry's mother  and some of the recipes she had written on a scrap of paper.  She had lovely hand writing, a bit similar to this, but nicer.  Larry has nice hand writing too,  the best I've seen from any man, and much nicer than mine.  I usually try to get him to write in any cards we send.

I got a kick out of this chapter, all one page of it!

And this one, on the preparation of your poultry

Since it's not been nice weather to work outside in, I have managed to get a bit done in the sewing room.  These are baby bibs, made out of flannelette.  They are double layered and two sided, and mothers have told me they like them because they pull over the head and the babies can't get them off.

As requested by a reader, here are some of the aprons I make.  A simple design, some with pockets, some without.  These two have pockets.  The pocket is a bit hard to see on the top one, as with the bottom one, I was able to match the fabric exactly.  Always fun when I am able to do that, but most of  the time it doesn't work out that way.

The children's aprons are a smaller version of the adults, with no pocket, and fun, kid appealing patterns I hope.

And speaking of kids, my grand puppy is growing up!  32 lbs and just over 5 months old now.  He's a smart cookie, and I've been having fun teaching him a few tricks.  One of these days I'll video some of them.

He's been on a few Land Rover adventures already. No, he doesn't ride in the back, he travels safely in the cab, where he can puke on the seat.  Yes, unfortunately he gets a bit carsick, but does seem to be getting better.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

On Holiday?

We just got back this afternoon from a holiday.  I'll bet when we first told our egg customers that we had to switch the egg delivery Sunday because we were going to be on holiday, that some of them had visions of us sitting on a warm beach, sipping whatever it is you sip in warm places.  

Well nope, we were off to the Okanagan and our little place at Oliver.  If anything a bit colder than here, but much drier.

On our drive out, we stopped off to see the Land Rover club event.  It was right on our way, and David was there with his Land Rover on display, as well as about 70 more Land Rovers belonging to club members, include one of our neighbours. David had Tucker with him, but when we were there Tucker really just wanted to curl up on the seat and sleep, and I didn't take any pictures.  But I saw this dog, his/her name was Chase, and he/she liked to sleep on the spare tire of his/her owner's Land Rover.
How cute is that? 
Maybe David can train Tucker to do the same thing!

Anyway, it was the usual at Oliver.  We hadn't been there since the beginning of November, which is the longest time between visits since we have had the place.  All was good, which is always a relief.  David and his girlfriend had been there right after Christmas, and the furnace decided to act up.  Being mechanical like David is, he figured out the problem and bought the new part and all was well.  Lucky us, because if it had happened when we were there we would have had to call the repair guy.

So what did we do at Oliver?  Well since we had Jake and Luna, we did a LOT of walking.  Mostly along the dyke next to the Okanagan River.  Parts of the trail are paved, but the majority of it is not.  The first couple of days there were kind of gray, but after that there was lots of sunshine.

One day we saw all these tracks, loads and loads of them, and they went a long way along the trail, like someone was walking their unknown beast.  When we got back to the house I asked Professor Google, and determined they must be raccoon tracks.  

It's not the first time I've used money to measure something.  Our bills measure 6" x 2.75 ", which is a handy thing to know.

One morning we made a trip to the dog park.  I think that's the first time we have been there since Calli has been gone.  The dogs love to go and play fetch over and over, but really it's hard on their bodies, that repetitive motion, so now that they are older, we seldom go there.  
Since I'm training for the 10km Sun Run again, and I needed to do a run that day, I thought it would be easier on me if we didn't walk so far in the morning.  

Luna didn't care though.  This is how she looked after the dog park in the morning, then doing a 5 km run with me.  Her 'you are not going out of this door on an adventure without taking me with you' look.  

Sorry Luna.
We left her behind and went for a bike ride. 
It was such a nice afternoon.

Tuc-El-Nuit Lake was still frozen. We joked about trying to ride on it with our bikes.....

....but thought better of it and continued on to the park.  
There by the Community Centre was a Little Free Library!  
It's just new I think.  Larry found a book, and then last night we walked the dogs that way and added five more books to the shelf.
Jake and Luna were sure they were going back to the dog park....Sorry!

One day we drove up to the back side of the mountain closest to town, and then walked uphill for a change.

See the road that runs in a straight line at a bit of an angle about Luna's ears?  The truck is parked  the side of the road there just behind a tree above Luna's right ear.
Just take my word for it!

Slightly snowy mountains all the way around us.
Very pleasant there in the sun.  Just needed a comfortable chair and a good book!

All that grey on sweet Jake's face is making him look so old.  He's 12 and a half.

I had taken 'work' with me, to Oliver, so managed to get 15 aprons sewn while we were there, as well as oranges prepared and cooked to soften the peel, for three batches of marmalade.  As usual I had thought I would get much more done than that, but didn't, so brought one bag of apron fabric home untouched.  

One day we went on a dog free adventure and met two of Larry's brothers and a sister-in-law in Summerland and had a tour around and visited a couple of interesting spots.

We were in Oliver for seven full days, which is one of our longer visits.  This morning we woke up to a dusting of snow, but thankfully it didn't really affect our four hour drive home.  There was a bit of slushy packed snow on the road for about a 20 minute section, but that was it.

Looking forward to going back again in April.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Don't Forget to Look Up

This afternoon while I was the only one home, there was a lot of cackling going on in the chicken field close to the house. I glanced out and could tell just by the way they were stood, or gathered in groups, or heading for cover, that 'something' had them worried.  I ran outside and called the dogs and let them into the field and they had a run around.  I glanced quickly at the trees, and didn't notice anything, and the dogs didn't show any indication that a coyote had been in there.

What on earth could it be?  

And then I had a better look, and saw a juvenile Bald Eagle sitting near the top of the cottonwood tree.

That is the roof of the chicken coop in the bottom right in the picture above.  I may have looked up, into the closer trees, but obviously not up high enough to notice the eagle.  It was sitting on a branch that had broken in last week's ice storm.

Some of the hens were hidden under the Cotoneaster bush near where I was stood.  We do like to leave some overhanging growth for the chickens to hide under.

The eagle sat on that branch for the longest time, looking here and there, but never seemed to really focus on the chickens.

It was almost like it couldn't get comfortable, and changed positions a few times


Eventually I got bored and then the eagle must have too, as it was gone when I checked later.

Our snow has been slowly melting, but yesterday and overnight it was quite mild with some rain at times, and wind too.  Our hay field was still 6-8" deep in snow on Wednesday morning, but this Thursday morning it was all green. 
What a shock and a pleasant surprise!
Our ground is saturated with water, and mud is quick to form.
I must say that snow makes for much cleaner dogs.

Remember to look up!