Friday, December 28, 2012

2013 Predictions and To-Do List

Predictions
George Bush senior will die from pneumonia brought on by bronchitis.

Commercial fishing will see a decrease in fish bagged (particularly the tuna industry).

A series of tornadoes will hit the south (particularly Alabama and Tennessee) causing cities to be without power for up to a week.

There will be a direct correlation between the less ammo available for sale and the higher the gas prices will be.

Justin Bieber will be involved in a sex tape scandal. Local DJs will talk about it on morning shows and refer to it as the "Baby, Baby, Baby, O-Face Baby" tape.

To-Do List
Red Nose Half Marathon
Columbus RoadRunners 5k
Super Bowl 10K
Furry 5K
Publix Marathon (half) Atlanta
Turkey hunt
Camp over the summer
Hog hunt
Deer hunt
Lose 10 lbs and keep it off
Take general ed classes
Try to get into CSU
Learn something new
Actually give up something for the duration of Lent and stick to it

Friday, November 2, 2012

Ghost Adventures

I love ghosts and have been fascinated with ghosts for as long as I could remember. I spent countless weekends in my single days going to ghost towns and even staying at a haunted bed and breakfast with my sister for my birthday back in 2005. So you can imagine my delight when I discovered that here in Columbus, a group over the state line the Alabama Paranormal Research Team, hosts ghost tours and a few times a year does actual ghost hunts. Now I've been on a dozen ghost tours but NEVER an actual ghost hunt.

On October 27, Jesse, Crystal, and I met up at the Naval Museum for a 5 hour lock down from 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM. It was very informative as it consisted of a tour of the museum with historical background information and stories about ships, relics, and replicas of the museum. That lasted about an hour and then we broke up into groups to check out different areas.

The first room we went into had a giant ship that was burned and smells like burned wood for those who can smell. There's nothing horrible associated with the ship in terms of seeing battles or anything. He showed up late in the game. But there are spirits that haunt the area. We started out at one end of the ship and left to the bow of it. I have an EVP/EMF app that I have set on an auto record feature. Basically I can manually start and stop recording sessions, or if it senses any unusual frequencies, it will automatically record. Somewhere between us going from the front to the bow, it recorded someone telling our group to "come back here" and right as it finishes saying that, someone from our group whispers "listen" as if they just heard something.



We then met up again and had another regrouping and moved on to another room after about an hour in the room with the big ship. Our next venture was a lot more interactive and fun. We went to a replica hall designed to look like the inside of a ship. In there, we were all sitting on the ground in the hall when we started to hear knocking sounds. Upon asking around the room, we had concluded that none of us were doing anything to make noises or move and the knocking started to become more logical. We would then call out that we were going to do a knocking pattern and ask whatever was out there to copy what we did, like a repeat game. Much to our surprise, we got the same coherent responses. Upon doing that a few times, we started to ask yes or no questions with yes answers being one tap and no answers being two taps. It acknowledged that it understood and we started asking questions.

For whatever bizarre reason we can't figure out, the ghost liked to talk to Crystal and I. I guess we just were asking the right questions. Questions about food. It liked to talk about food and for whatever reason I think it was a man, somewhere between 20 and 30. Just a hunch. Guys in the group wanted to ask questions about the war and what not, we just wanted to know more about the ghost, who we were talking to. I dunno.

We then moved to another part of that same area where we could hear someone eating something crunchy. I don't really have anything more to say other than someone was eating something and food was a pretty big theme for the night.

We went back to the room with my "cook" and asked some more questions and at that point they were more involved with us. Someone tugged at the pants of one of the guys in the group and someone, I'm assuming my cook, touched my hand when Crystal asked if it could touch one of us. Not too long before we left that area for the evening, something also whispered something next to me. Take in mind I was at the end of the row of people and there was no one there, but it was on my cold side, or, the side where there was some sort of spirit.

Crystal and I spent the last half hour goofing around that replica area taking pictures with my night vision and thermal imaging apps because we're silly like that.

Crystal walking around the "kitchen" where we had contact with my chef...

Hellooo??? Is anyone out there???

Crystal points to the area on the floor where most of the knocking was coming from.

Hoping we would maybe get a ghost in our photo.
 We said, "OK, we're gonna take a picture, if you wanna be in it with us, just stand between us." Nothing. Boo.
 I asked my cook to take a picture with me. They never did. Boo again.
 Jesse the skeptic before our adventures started. He turned out to like it in the end.

Anyway, they're doing another Parafied event in February for my birthday weekend and I'm hoping we get to go to that. Just saying.

***********************************************

As if that weren't fun enough, we got to go to another ghost tour on Halloween night at one of my favorite places, the Springer Opera House. Now this was a first time they ever did this and a very rare and special event. The Opera House has a image it likes to uphold and it wants to be known as a cultural arts venue that preserves history and adds culture to town. It does not want to be known as some haunted ghost story tourist trap.

Now, despite the fact it is known as a historic and functioning theater venue, it is also a place of confirmed hauntings, all of which ghosts are apparently very nice. As we started our tour we got some stories of the entrance area and upon walking from the ticket booth towards the saloon, a weird mist cloud met at eye level between myself and Jesse as we stopped in front of the Emily Woodruff portrait. I actually don't think that was her but think it was actually Edwin Booth. There was no body or features to this cloud, but I had a hunch it was male and an even stronger one it was him since it was very near his portrait and he seemed like he was going back to it.

A little walk further in we went to other rooms including the dressing rooms...




The costume shop and warehouse...


And the prop shop...



While we were in the green room, I noticed a strange shadow passing in front of a blue light yet there was nothing anywhere near it that could cast any shadows that large as the light was on the ceiling and the shadow was along a spot on the wall at least 15 feet up.

After the green room, we got to go onto the stage. There was a very strange cold spot on the stage behind me and I don't know what it was but assume it was a ghost. There was nothing more to it outside of it just being cold.

Our tour took us back to the main hall where it started and it came to an end. During the closing comments and Q&A session, I saw what I could only presume was Emily Woodruff on the stairs peeking out to see what was going on and then vanishing. She was a faint greyish white figure composed mostly of outlines of which I could best describe as a desaturated/lightened photoshop transparency in real life.

After our Q&A, our tour guide took the remainder of our group to a few more spots because we were very interested in the history of the building outside of just the ghosts. One of the things people rarely know about me is that I'm kind of an archetecture nerd and love great structural design. I also appreciate decorative arts history, so this was quite a treat to me to be able to go to the peanut gallery and see the original seating from the 1870s.

The tour was actually kind of long and lasted for about two hours but it was fantastic. We learned a lot about the building, its history, heard some ghost stories, and of course experienced some ghosts. The Springer is very lively both with the living and deceased spirits that occupy it.

Anyway, that concludes the experiences we had this week with ghost on this lovely All Soul's Day.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ghosts of the South

I have clued Jesse in to a certain degree to the ghosts of our apartment. I want to say there are two but I know for sure of one. He likes Jinky a lot. He's always petting her and she will sit there loving being petted. Often times, she'll be on the bed or in the living room or what not and he'll pet her head. She'll just be loving away, being happy to have her head petted. It's cute. As for the guy, he's pretty cool. He just hangs out. He likes the piano in the house and enjoys the music. Sometimes when I'm folding laundry in the bedroom, he'll peek over my shoulder to see what I'm doing. I can tell he's there because you can just feel the coldness of him. Jesse says he hasn't had any knowledge of him but I'm pretty sure it's because he's not as fond of Jesse as he is of me and Jinky. Jinky is just too cute and me, I'm guessing I remind him of someone. I told Jesse he probably should just be used to the concept of ghosts considering where we live and how many people probably died around here. He's kind of like "whatever" towards it all. I'm pretty happy. I like ghosts provided they're not assholes. Fortunately, we haven't dealt with any asshole ghosts. Although I could see Reno being a good place for asshole ghosts, but we never dealt with any out there, thank God. I still say the strangest ones are the ones at my parent's house and I still feel creeped out whenever I go there.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Well Oiled Machine

Sometimes I forget how crazy my life is until I see it in writing. That being said, I need to remind myself of how my life went from busy to hectic in about a week. At one point, my life was about as busy as stay at home mom and freelancer, to full time job, less freelancing, and family. About a year ago, marathon training was added into the mix. Last week, part time school was lumped on. Now, art show (if you want to call it that) and sewing cloth diaper covers are the cherry on top. I'm not sure how I function like this, but I'm pretty sure I just function in auto-pilot, which, I am completely OK with. I enjoy being a machine and not having to deal with frivolous emotions of being human. I know they make pills for that, but I think I just answered the question to my age-old problem. If I don't want the medications, I need to be busy. It's just how I thrive.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

No Way To Rationalize

Anxiety and panic attacks are interesting. I had a discussion with someone about anxiety, panic attacks, and medications. I was told by the person that their medications for panic attacks weren't working and they thought their doctor was giving them placebos. The person stated they felt helpless sometimes with stress of things building up and what not and no matter what, the stress would not go away. I then concluded to tell them about my experiences with anxiety and panic attacks and how ultimately my attacks and anxiety often wound up with an urgent conviction death was eminent. I responded that I had been put on Xanax a few months back and it was actually working for me for problems I never considered to be anxiety related problems and I had never even considered anxiety or panic attacks, but thought my problems were due to my asthma. I do get post traumatic stress that often leads to anxiety and ultimately panic attacks. I'm convinced it started a decade ago when I was hospitalized for a severe allergic reaction to Reglan. Something about my body being helpless, muscles hardening, not being able to breathe, hearing the old lady next to me screaming because she had to give a mucus sample to test for pneumonia, swearing at that moment I was going to die at the ripe age of 20, alone and in a cold, sterile ER room strapped to a stretcher. That feeling of remembering what it's like to truly feel like you are going to die. How often I am so physically exhausted, but mentally awake, my body starts to relax as I go to bed - my heart rate slows down as I go into sleep mode, my muscles relax, then my brain notices how long it is between the times my heart beats or I take another breath and I remember: I am going to die now. I pay attention to my breathing and heart rate and try to get it elevated a bit because I am not ready to die yet. Next thing I know, my heart is beating frantically and I am fully awake lying in bed in fear that I am going to die, but my heart is beating fast, so I am alive and fine, but now I will have a heart attack out of fear. I take deep breaths to try and calm myself, sometimes I'll get up, or turn around and hold onto Jesse. I tell myself I'm OK and it's fine. But another part of me is certain I am still dying. And sometimes I do wind up calming down and it's OK and I'll lay in bed awake for a few hours afraid to go to sleep so I don't die. And sometimes, I'll now just take a Xanax or two and calm down and go back to bed. But it's not just in my sleep. Sometimes, when I have a hard time breathing, which I thought was my asthma, but is actually reflux, I would start to have these panic attacks. It would be the same combination of physical rapid heartbeats and mental state of fear and really there is no better way to describe it than fear. The anxiety part is interesting, too. Sometimes, random things will trigger a deep sense of fear on me. I can't explain this fear or why I have it, what I'm afraid of. I just feel fear of something bad happening. I could be sitting doing absolutely nothing and suddenly be overcome by fear. Usually it will only last for a few seconds, maybe a few minutes. Most of the time, I'll get so engulfed trying to figure out why I'm afraid, that I'll completely forget I had that fear. Its a strange phenomena. I am OK with dealing with stress in life, curve balls that are thrown at me, accepting the fact I can't fix things I have no control over and that I should not stress those things. I accept stress. I understand it is a driving force for me to perform at my best. But trying to comprehend how my body goes into fear mode at random or thinking it is about to expire is beyond me. Maybe it's a natural mechanism that all people have.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Southern Luaus

Today we ran 15 miles. Training for the Soldier Marathon is on track and doing well. I've been really lucky this year in the sense I have not had any of the issues I had last season when I was training for LA. I'm guessing there's a number of factors contributing to this. First off, when I trained for LA, the farthest I ever ran was a 5K. I'm going into this training with one marathon under my belt. Second, when I was training for LA, I did not have good form. I was a over striding heel striker. Since I transitioned from my Mizuno Wave Inspire 8s (which I do still love and use often, especially on treadmills) to my minimalist Brooks Pure Cadence, I have noticed I have not been having the issues I had last season. I do have a few aches, which I'm sure I will never finish any run over 10 miles without some form of an ache, but it's not nearly what it was like last season. Anyway, today we had the most pleasant surprise at the 5 mile mark. One of the other ladies in the Columbus Jeff Galloway Program has a husband who as become a bit of a local legend among the Galloway group. Last year, he started to create these little sag stations for the long runs. There was a St. Patrick's Day green themed station in March, an Easter themed station in April. Today he showed up again with a truly awesome luau set up for the summer. Armed with tropical fruits like pineapples, bananas, and grapes, along with other runner snacks like pretzels, ice cold water and Gatorade, and completely decked out in a true luau fashion with a grass skirt around the table, a lei around his neck, a pink flamingo pegged into the ground and playing Jimmy Buffet, it was truly a tropical treat for the entire group.


I had to ask him how early he got up to set this up and it was a bit of an ungodly hour to be up for anyone on their day off. The fact he was out there doing this was awesome because he was out there supporting his wife (which is super cute), and the entire group (which is super awesome). Did I mention he was up around 6:45 on a Saturday to do this? I'm pretty sure he's definitely a contender for the awesome husband award this month. He definitely needs a medal from the group for all he does.


Volunteers are always appreciated at races. I know every runner I know always thanks those handing out water or guiding us on our routes. But sometimes there's the unsung heroes of races. The people who aren't part of the organizations running an event, the people who are just there because and for whatever reason decide they want to support the runners with food and snacks they purchase on their own. These people are awesome. So are the people who create signs and stay out all day long, even to support the people who are coming in long after the races cut off time ends. Anyway, this is kind of a big ol' shout out of THANKS to anyone who has ever volunteered to help organize, operate, run, hand out water, hand out snacks, and anything at a race, and to anyone who has ever just been nice to runners just because and devoted their time to being awesome. Seriously, it's the little things, guys.

On a final note, I decided to try Gu finally. That's never gonna happen again. My issues with textures are so bad, I can't even deal with it despite it tasting like the most delicious coffee ever. I think I may have had half the packet and I nearly vomited on the spot. I could just imagine if I were some 20 something miles in what would happen. So yeah, Gu, never in a million years. Whoever said it was like eating frosting has never had frosting ever. It's like eating snot. Wonderfully flavored snot. And I don't like eating snot, so yeah. Back to Cliff Bars and Sport Beans for me. I'll give shot blocks another shot, too. They're just too chewy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Integrity For Sale

There's something to be said about creatives. Few professions in the world can create something of beauty for a client while having their beliefs criticized and mocked without compromising the integrity of the client's final project. We make our clients look good despite the fact we are insulted because our work means more to us than their words.Whether we are driven by professionalism to create a masterpiece that represents us as artists, or more sinister motives like money, the fact of the matter is no matter what people say or do to us, we will never tell you your beliefs are wrong or we disagree with you. Instead we'll take notes on what you want, devise something amazing, and make you look good. In the end, it's not you we hope to impress, but rather fulfill our own desires to be great, and to have those around us see us for who we truly are: amazing professionals with a talent for sale. Some artists might swear that no amount of money can make them compromise their integrity and that is a lie. Even the most dignified person has a price tag. Perhaps we are professional. Perhaps we're shrewd businessmen. Perhaps you, the client, will never know. You will never know whether we are conservative or liberal, religious or atheists, support your beliefs or disagree with them, you will just know you like our work and you will pay whatever it takes to have us representing you. And in the end, everyone wins.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Filling In The Blanks

So I haven't had a blog of "what's going on" kinda stuff in a while, so here's what's happening in no particular order:

Ran the LA Marathon last month. I might have had a whole blog devoted to that at some point in time or another but I still can't get over the fact I did it. I did realize that I should have got new shoes before I ran it, but oh well. I did buy new shoes this week, though. Went from the Mizuno Wave Inspire 7 to the  Mizuno Wave Inspire 8 and I've come to the conclusion that is very much my shoe and I'm super happy I found a shoe that fits me perfectly.

Next weekend I'm running a 5k. Haven't done one in forever and a day. Seems that way with all the marathon stuff. If anyone has ever ran a marathon, you'll know how it kinda becomes your life for the duration you train till you do it.

Charlie is excited about his birthday. We're doing a construction theme. Lori was supposed to come out and make his cake but I don't see that happening so we're gonna go the route of cupcakes and do a cupcake display. It's ok, I found some neat stuff to use for this awesome (crappy) display. I can't make cakes or cupcakes to save my life, so this will be interesting.

I'm dying my hair red again. I haven't been a red head in ages so it's time for a change. At least till I get bored of it and go back to black again. Because I always go back to black. I'm guessing I'll keep it a month or so. I doubt I'll have the patience to bleach and dye as often as red requires.

WMA turkey season opens in the locations we want to hunt this weekend. Doubt we'll go for another week or so. Hopefully we have better luck with turkey than we did with deer.

My mom is coming up next month, too. Yay!

That's all I got.

Monday, March 19, 2012

LA Marathon 2012

I've spent the past few months training for a grueling feat I have wanted to do all my life. Yesterday, I ran the Los Angeles Marathon. All the forces of nature were working against me, but I managed to finish. I swore I would finish, even if I had to crawl across the finish line on bloody hands and knees. Thursday I started to feel sick and that cold got even worse on Friday. Friday night I developed a cough and lost my voice in addition to the throbbing head from sinus pains and infection.

Saturday was my last real rest and hydration day. I spent that day going to Dodger Stadium with my mom to get my race bib and I also got my goodie bag. It was very much like going to Costco on a Sunday: lots of samples, lots of people, and just daunting in the end. Because it was cold, I needed to get something warmer to wear so I got some capri pants from the Asics booth along with a really cute green tech shirt and a marathon t-shirt. Their gear was 60% off since it was the last day of the expo. I also signed up for some other goodies and had fun at the expo. After, I had dinner with my mom and sister at Cheesecake Factory and got some fettucini alfredo, then it was off to home to get some shut eye.

At 4:30 am, I woke up and got ready for the day. Got ready and did everything same as usual. I won't waste so much time talking about taking the bus to Dodger Stadium from our parking spot in Santa Monica or the pre-race ruckus. I was supposed to meet a pace group but never found them and instead hung out with my bus-buddy talking running. She was a much faster runner but it was nice to have some company before the race.

By around 7 something, we decided to get in our pace areas in line. That's the point where I realized I am in fact running a marathon. It isn't real until you're there. Before then, it's just excitement and anticipation and dreams of finishing and all the good stuff. But sitting behind the corral is the moment of, "Oh shit, there's no backing down now." Well, there is, but we'll get to that later.

The marathon started off great. I was pretty motivated and feeling good. It took forever to get out of the start corral, but once out, I was feeling great. There were lots of great sights to see and people everywhere cheering for as far as you could see. Not to mention a wave of neon and bright colors flooding the streets of Los Angeles with runners. Everything is fantastic and awesome. Then mile 13 happens.

On our last long run, I had started to get serious pain in my left foot. I can't describe it other than my foot felt so swollen and tight and the muscles on my arch felt like they had been over stretched and tore. I've never had a serious injury but I assume that's what one feels like. I spent a lot of time resting and recovering before the race and I still was feeling some lingering pain up until Thursday before the race. However, by Saturday, I felt great and didn't think it would be an issue. But it was. It came back. And it felt worse than it did 3 weeks ago. I had to act fast. My first step was to address the mental. I could do it. Just walk through the pain and keep going. Distract myself with the excitement of people cheering me on and sights and taking lots of photos. But despite all that, the pain was too strong. So it was time to address the physical. I had read somewhere that tight calves sometimes caused arch pain, as does over use (long runs) and flat feet, which I happen to have very low arches that become flat when my feet swell on long runs. It was just another physical setback I had to deal with.

I did not have the power of the pack to help me through any of this. I was alone and I was in serious pain. I was thinking of stopping at a medical tent and quitting to avoid a more serious injury. Doing this would make me come home, in my mind, a loser. Someone who gave up. Someone who let down everyone who made it possible for me to do this. Someone who had the chance to do something incredible but gave up because it was too hard. I wanted more than anything to give into the pain. But I didn't want to give up. The next two miles were spent shivering in tears from the grueling pain determined to not give up.

Mile 16 came up. This was a turning point. It was no longer an issue of half-way there, but now a 10 miles left. 10 miles is nothing. You can do this. With a switch of interval timing and slowing down my pace, I trekked on. It was even more miserable. But I kept going. Mile 17 was another turning point. Single digits were left. Less than 10 miles. The pain got worse and worse despite my efforts of distraction and now other parts were hurting. The biggest relief was mile 20. That was the point where there were ONLY 6 miles left and that was a cinch. Unfortunately, the last 6 miles were also the longest. They were spent on straight roads in boring areas. There were no exciting photo ops. The crowds cheering you on were dwindling down, the weather was getting colder, and a high wind was coming at us from the ocean. Now my face was getting wind whipped and I had a gnarly sun burn. In addition to all of this, my phone battery was dying. I was losing access to my facebook support team of comments from friends and family cheering me on via the web. 22 miles was like that point in life where you pray for the strength to carry on. And then Jesus showed up. Literally. One of the runners was dressed up like Jesus. It was hilarious and inspiring. He was talking to some young guy about how he used to do a lot of drugs and cleaned up his life and it was the perfect distraction to my pain, which now included everything from hips down, including a pain I haven't felt in 4 years: my pelvic bone pains I had when I was pregnant, or as I like to call it, the most excrutiating pain I've ever felt in my life.

The good thing though: Jesus got me to mile 24, which was so close to the beach, you could feel the salt sucking all moisture from my skin. I was glad I was as hydrated as I was at that point because it didn't dawn on me till then that salt water air could be bad for hydration. I really loathed the run down San Vicente. The funny thing was, I knew, before I even got there, the first time I saw the course map, I would hate that part. I'm glad I know myself well enough to predict such things. Ha.

Once I got to the beach, I knew the finish line was just around the corner. Victory never tasted so good. In fact, it tastes like bacon. All I could do was think about how there was a medal at the end waiting for me. I kept going to the best of my ability, a sad little hobble, shuffle, limpity run, all the while smiling for the cameras. I was in so much pain when I finished. All I could do was think how the hell I would manage to get through LAX the next morning. That was going to be a daunting feat. I would have to carry my bags over my sunburned shoulders, adding weight to my already suffering feet. It seemed like a nightmare. I got my medal and found my mom and we walked back to the parking lot. I could no longer walk. I was in so much pain my body said, "Nope. None of your little brain tricks are gonna work on me. We're done. YOU'RE done." And you know what? I gave in. I said, "Sure. We got our medal. We finished our marathon. If you wanna crap out on me, by all means, GO AHEAD." So I plopped on the sidewalk on Ocean Ave. by the parking lot and laid there till my mom came back with the car.

Overall, I think this experience was the most absurd thing I've ever done. What would ever provoke me to run 26.2 miles or why is beyond me. All I know is I did something not many people have done. This is just as extreme as climbing a mountain. It's a test of your personal strengths and weaknesses. In the end, I can say I AM STRONG. Of the 23,000 people who registered to run, I am part of the 81% who finished. I didn't give up. So, I'll see LA again in 5 years from now to see if I can do it without getting injured, preferably with more training under my belt (I was a month short on my training due to the fact the group I trained with are training for the Nashville Country Music Marathon next month.)

A few things I learned from running a marathon:
- It's OK to go slow and to walk. Going slow and walking beats stopping.
- If it hurts, stretch it. Stretching makes it feel better and is sometimes the temporary quick-fix to get you one step further.
- Travel light. No sense in bringing food or hydration belts to a huge marathon like LA. There's so much food and fluids along the course.
- Expect the unexpected. I packed for 80 degree weather and the day I got out, it turned 50 degree and raining.
- Never give up. I wish my phone battery wasn't on the brinks of death because one of the best signs I saw was at Trader Joes by the Whisky and it said, "Ever Lose Faith In Humanity? Go Watch A Marathon."It's true. There is no better test of the human spirit than in watching people do such a daunting challenge.
- Even if you're alone, you're never alone. Support shows up everywhere. People will talk to you. People will help you out. You'll help people out. One gal was crouched on the side aching and another gal comes up and asks where she hurts and the girl says her calves. The other gal whips out a can of BenGay or something of the sort and sprays her calves. Towards the end, a guy and gal next to me were running low on energy. She says how she really wished she had some candy and her male running partner offers her some gel, which she refuses because she can't do gels. Knowing that problem all too well I offered her a pack of my sport beans, to which this made her day. That feeling of comradery between mankind during a time of physical pain and mental weakness is never seen or felt any greater.
- The last 6 miles are the home stretch. They are also the longest.
- There is nothing sweeter than the end when you cross that finish line, regardless of your time, you still feel like you just won the gold medal in the Olympics.

I'm so grateful to be able to do this. I'm thankful for all my friends and family who helped make it possible for me to be able to come out to LA. I never could have gotten anywhere remotely near 8 miles without the wonderful training I received from the Jeff Galloway running program through Big Dog Running Company. Many thanks to Shelly, who organizes it, Maureen and all the gals in my pace group, for keeping me on pace and all their insight and amusement over all our long runs. As much as I was hoping to finish long runs with them, I'll have to see how my foot recovers and follow up with my doctor on it. And if I can't make it to any of the long runs with them, I wish them all the best of luck in Nashville! I hope when I return to LA to try this again in 2017, I'll have some company. Maybe my sister and Jesse will join me and maybe some of my new running friends might feel up for a road trip to participate in one of the coolest marathons. If you've never been to LA, this is definitely the best way to see it. Literally, this is like sightseeing in the form of a marathon and it is epic!

Me and my Marathon bling at the end.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Seventeen

Seventeen miles aka the run that kicked the shit outta me. That's how far I ran today. It started half an hour earlier than our usual long runs. I didn't have any sport beans today just some energy bars and water. I learned I need a lot more energy bars if I am to use those in the future but more importantly, I need electrolytes. Sport beans have electrolytes. Anyway back to the run. We ran from Big Dog to the Marina to some place in the boonies by the river with really nice houses some 8.5 miles out. Around 6 miles into our run this cute dog started to chase me and Crystal to get him to go back home. We threw sticks for him to chase but in the end he followed us to the end of the 8.5 miles and back to the Marina. That was pro ably a total of 7 miles this dog ran with us. We all felt bad because the dog had several close calls almost getting hit by cars but it wasn't our dog and we did the best we could to watch it didn't get hurt. When we got to the Marina, the dog met some fishermen who took it from there. My guess is they took it to animal control or home. Lesson learned : if you have a dog and live in the boonies on acres of land,  put up a fence. On the way from the Marina back, I started feeling really crappy. I was out of fuel and needing electrolytes bad. The last 5 miles were like torture but we did them. I avoided a potentially bad accident and almost fell on imy own two feet on some crack on the sidewalk. I'm sure if I didn't catch my step I would have got a broken ankle and one or two messed up knees. It had the making of something nasty. Alas I was OK and made it back in one piece. All I could think of were Maureen's  Brownies and hoping there were still some left over. I lucked out. There were lots!  I ate my weight in Brownies and got some Gatorade and sport beans. To my surprise, I wasn't nearly as achy as I thought I'd be. Only one more long run with the group then I'm Marathon bound. Yikes.



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jinky

After we lost Lulu, we agreed no more dogs for a while. But after she was gone for two days, we knew it was time to search for another pug and fast. We thought, maybe a black male pug. That way its another pug but totally opposite of Lulu. Well, Pug Watch 2012 wasn't going very well. I came across dozens of scams or fawn pugs and eventually we thought we'd just take whatever we could get. My mom and Lori were looking in CA in the meantime to see if they had any pug leads. Just as I was about to spend $600 with a breeder two hours from here, Lori called to tell me about this pug she found in Reseda, CA by my mom's house. I told her if she wants to see it she can, at this point I trust her judgement.

Lori was going to check out the pug Monday night and I don't hear back from her for a while. I texted to see if she was going or not and she calls back completely excited and says she's at the house of the pug and it is super cute. OK. I told Jesse and asked what he thinks and he said it's my call, so I tell Lori, without even sleeping on it or anything, if she wants to get the pug, she can, but we need to figure out a way to get it out to Georgia. So Lori went to the ATM and I talked to my mom and told her I'd get her a plane ticket. She said she'd pay for half of it since we had just spent close to $600 on Lulu's cremation and vet costs. So we waited anxiously from Monday night till Thursday afternoon when my mom came out with Jinky.

I kept hearing everyone say what a cute pug she was in California. My mom and sis both thought she was super cute, a ball of energy and a good girl and Lori kept sending me pictures at random. The pug's name was Jinky. We weren't sure about the name and thought of changing it to Bebe, but in the end, Jinky was somehow a better fit. Plus, Charlie couldn't remember her name and called her Stinky and that worked too.

Thursday afternoon I met the Jinkster and she was so happy to see me. I think she must have thought I was Lori at first, but I didn't mind. I had a curly-cute tail smushy face pug eye baby who wanted to jump into my arms in front of my work and I was ready to take her to see her new forever home.

The first few days with Jinky were definitely an adjustment period. She hung out with my mom and Charlie constantly. They went to the park and Charlie and Jinky napped together while Jesse and I were at work. We thought, "OK, she's gonna be Charlie's dog." She also kept having accidents in the house, but I attribute that to the plane trip, being on a new time zone schedule, and being in a new home away from her old one. I also think she's younger than the people told my sister. They said she was 8 months but she seems younger than that. We all agree.

Anyway, yesterday I took my mom home and it was our first night with Jink-a-link and she was so excited and happy to see us when we came home. She was a very good girl and didn't have any accidents or anything while we were gone. She slept in our bed with us, but did wake up to check on Charlie, and barked twice last night at the neighbor's TV. This morning, she was hanging out in bed with Charlie and Jesse and then came to hang out with me in the bathroom while I got ready, something Lulu did all the time. It made me feel a little better to know this new little pug was following in the footsteps of Lulu. I don't want to compare the two because they're totally different pugs, but it's nice to know both had/have similarities in behaviors.

Jinky is a pretty cool little pug, though. She's a bag of bones and needs to put on weight but she's got a good attitude. I think in a few years when she grows up and pugs out a bit, she'll be a top notch pug. I love how she looks unamused and like she's judging you when you take pictures of her. It's so far from what she's really like in person, but every pug has their look. Lulu's look was either guilty, sad, or happy. Jinky so far is unamused and judgemental. We all love Jinky and look forward to a long and happy life with her.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Lulu Pug

People who don't understand the impact of animals on people will never get it. I've heard it said time and time again, "It's just a dog." Lulu was not just a dog. Lulu was my golden child. No matter what horrible things she ever did, she was never capable of doing wrong. She was my baby and I even joked calling her my first born. I love my son, but I had never asked to get pregnant. I was happy when I had him. But Lulu, oh my baby pug, I had wanted a pug so much. I had never loved another four legged furry baby as much as I loved my Lulu.

In 2007, Lori got her papillon, Izzy. I wanted to get a dog as I was planning on moving out soon too and I wanted my pug. I had always wanted a pug. I loved their curly tails and big ol' pug dog eyes, how they'd snort and fart and I wanted a fawn pug. I spent months looking through the Pennysaver and classifieds, rescues and shelters, and even the pet stores. I had no luck with pugs. Finally, I found a listing on Craigslist out in Alhambra, CA for Lulu. Not much was said about her other than she was bought as a friend for the other pug, Obie. Obie was an alpha pug and had nothing of Lulu coming into his home, so her owners thought it would be best if she go somewhere that she could be an only child and loved the way she deserved. That's where I come in.

I emailed the gal about my misfortunes of trying to get a pug. A breeder in Lancaster, CA had one who was ready to adopt, but then they weren't ready. He had an eye infection. They were going camping. I spent almost two months hearing their excuses and my heart was breaking thinking I would never get a pug. I just wanted to come take Lulu and if she loved me, I would promise to be the best forever home she could dream of. The next day, I heard back from my email and the lady was completely touched by my story and wanted to meet me. So my mom drove me out to Alhambra (in the rare event I wound up getting Lulu, I had no way to take her home other than in my arms.) When I got out to her house, I saw a tiny little pug. This was Lulu. I learned her original name was something like Wuffie and the lady thought Lulu was a much better name for a pug. I couldn't help but agree. Lulu was far cuter in person than she was online. She was a scrawny little mutt when I saw her photos on Craigslist, but in person, she was a lot thicker and spunkier. She looked at me, growled, the hair on her back stood up and she barked like a mad dog and then ran away to hide. The lady was embarrassed and swore Lulu wasn't normally like this. She was a sweet dog. I looked at her and told the lady, "I have a feeling, despite her freaking out at me, that she will love me and we'll get along great." I gave her $300 which basically was a reimbursement for vet fees and we drove home. She said if Lulu didn't work out I could bring her back and she'd give me my money back, but I told her I don't think that will be happening. On April 30, 2007, Lulu was officially my baby.

On the car ride home, she cried. Not a dog whimper but a cry. It sounded like a hysterical infant. She was only 7.5 months old and going to her third owner now, me. I would be her last. I got her a little pug bed and some toys and food that night at Petco and set up her spot in my room to sleep. She sniffed around the house and laid in her bed moping. Or at least she looked that way. Because Lulu always had an expression of looking either sad or guilty, unless she was hot and panting and then she looked like she had a big grin. Anyway, that night, I tucked Lulu into her bed. I got into my bed and turned on the TV and watched South Park. Next thing I know, I feel a THUMP! and a little pug walks up beside me and curls up on my pillow. We look at each other and I though, "OK, so these are gonna be the sleeping arrangements?"

Within a month, I would be moving up to Reno, NV with Jesse, who was at the time my boyfriend. He hadn't met Lulu yet, but a month later, he met Lulu and we moved up to Reno. I brought half my things up one weekend and then the following weekend, Jesse was out of school and he drove back up with me and Lulu. He did most of the driving as Lulu got spayed earlier in the week and still had her stitches and was taking her post-op medications. Fortunately, we made it up in one piece.

Lulu wasn't very sure of Jesse at first, but he grew on her. I think she was still kind of torn over the moving from one owner to another to me at my parent's house to me with Jesse and she went through some really bad separation anxiety the first six months I had her. She would destroy shoes, tear the trash out and place it at various places around the apartment, share my used tampon applicators with the couch. But even still, no matter how awful she could be, she was my baby pug. She could do no wrong. No matter what she did, all she had to do was look at me with her big pug dog eyes and I could just imagine her saying, "I LOVE YOU MOMMY! LOOK WHAT I DID!" She didn't know better. I could never be angry with her.

When I got pregnant, Lulu knew something was up. No matter how pregnant I was, a few weeks to ready to pop, she was always very careful around my belly. I'll never forget when Charlie started kicking and Lulu and I were laying down on the couch watching TV one evening. Jesse was working nights at that time, so Lulu and I spent a lot of evenings watching TV or laying in bed together. She was laying parallel to my belly when Charlie kicked. She jumped and turned around to see what happened and couldn't see anything. Then she sniffed my belly to see just what the heck was going on in there.

I always wondered what would happen when Charlie was born how it would affect Lulu. I had never been away from her and when I had to stay in the hospital for three days with my c-section, it tore her heart up. I came home and she was so happy to see me. She was jumping and her tail was wagging and it was the best day of her life to have Mommy home again. And I won't lie, I wanted to be around her more than I wanted to be around Charlie. She didn't cry constantly. She wasn't so needy. She was a provider of unconditional pug dog love and I could cuddle her all day if you let me. She was curious as to what Charlie was all about. She knew he was that thing that was growing in my belly that would kick her when she laid at my side.

We all had our own special relationships with Lulu. I was Mommy. I was the unconditional love to her that she was to me. We were partners in crime. She was with me all day long. My first nights home from the hospital she laid on the floor all night staring at me as I tried frustrated to get Charlie to eat. I called her to my side and her little tail wagged that she was allowed to sit with me by the thing we called a Charlie. Instead of a Boppy pillow, she offered her pudgy pug dog services. When I would sit rocking Charlie, she would curl up into the little crevices between me and the glider. I couldn't help but question all the time how uncomfortable she must have been squished up like that, but she didn't care. She was with Mommy.

When I lost my job after Charlie was born, Lulu helped keep me sane. No matter how frustrated I got sometimes, she would look at me as if to tell me, "It's going to be OK." When Charlie took naps, I sat with Lulu on my lap, petting her till she would fall asleep and start snoring. Sometimes, she would snore so hard, she would scare herself and wake up.

Lulu and I were very close. I always considered her my dog. Yes, the whole family loved her and she loved them too, but I always felt I was the one she loved most. Jesse was the fun one. He was Daddy and Lulu loved Daddy. He did all the crazy fun play and rough housing I didn't do. Charlie was Lulu's baby. She was so proud and protective of him. But as he got older, she started to realize she was no longer the alpha pug and had to listen to him and it confused her a bit as to why she now had to listen to the child she had spent the last three years protecting.

I have never felt the pain and heartbreak for anyone or anything ever that I felt this morning when we had to say goodbye to my beloved baby pug. I had never wanted anything more in my life than to have my darling little Lulu. She was my pride and joy and in an instant, she was injured beyond recovery. It tore me apart to have to say goodbye to her, but it would break my heart even more to have to see her spend the rest of her life in pain, agony, and miserable. I wish I could go back in time and protect her. I failed her as her Mommy. It was a freak accident, but it was an accident and could have been prevented. I'm at a loss for words and wish I could do anything to have my Lulu back.

I'm sorry you had to go Lulu. I love you more than your little pug heart could ever know. You're my baby and my heart aches that you are gone. I PUG LU!
One last kiss. Goodbye, baby pug. I'll see you at the rainbow bridge.