Reindeer Run!

This morning I ran the Reindeer Run with some friends from run group.  It was a really interesting run, there was a lot to love about it and some things to really dislike.

Firstly, we had our “Winter Storm Benji” remnants arrive last night.  High winds, colder temperatures and lots and lots of rain, because after all, it’s Florida and not Flori-bama, so we do not get snow.

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It was pouring down a cold ran at 6 am, I was not amused.  I had somewhat unrealistic expectations for this race.  I was sure that with cooler temperatures that I would take some time off the time I ran at the Turkey Trot.  I forgot to take into account that I had run an INSANE hill training session on Thursday, and then swam two miles on Friday.  So I went into the race a little tired.

I picked up my packet yesterday. I had a free registration as I was representing my organization.  Our organization nicely provided an extra shirt for all employees to wear. This is part of our new campaign to raise more awareness of our organization, and I like it. It is a great organization to work for, and while I sometimes feel extremely stressed, I am appreciative of the fact that I have a great boss, flexibility, and good benefits.  in addition, I am proud of the care we provide. So I slapped on that shirt with pride.

Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 5.28.03 PM.pngThe Bib for the race was also the most ADORABLE BIB I’ve ever seen….

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I was a little sad because it got totally ruined in the rain.

The race started and I knew it was loops around a parking lot at a large shopping center. This is when I realized that my legs were not cooperating.  Nothing really hurt, but the effort I was putting out was not reflective of the pace I was running. My legs were still really really tired from running the hills. I kept trying to pick up the pace, but my body was not having it. So…it became a bit of a run through parking lots, puddles.  I freely admit I was a little frustrated, because things just didn’t go that well.

I have never been so glad to finish a race! I came in 6th out of 19 in my age group, and finished in the top half of the finishers so all is not lost. Plus we had some fun seeing each other!

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When I finished, I was handed a medal which I think I will remove from the ribbon and make into a Christmas ornament.  Much to my surprise this amazing goodie bag was also handed to me., making this one of the schwaggiest races of the year.

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For a free race, I sure lucked out. Inside this bag was all of these delightful little doo-dads. Most exciting is a race belt that expands to hold a phone.. I’m going to be trying that out tomorrow.


Fun with Friends!  YES!

Super Schwag!  YES!  especially for a 5K.

Organized event!  YES!!!

Easy Parking…YES!!!!

Boo to the race being run in a parking lot, but I think the other stuff makes up for it all… and lessons learned about “racing” when not really on plan…. learned.  My expectations…are tempered.

Happy Holidays everyone!  What is your favorite Holiday activity or race????




I got a second email yesterday stating that one of my Operation Christmas Child Shoe boxes went to Madagascar!!!!

I was pretty excited, as I imagined that all of my boxes were put in the same container to Uganda.  I am amazed that they somehow got separated.  I kind of wonder exactly how that happens.  All the same its pretty neat.

Here’s a video from Operation Christmas Child.

It’s pretty neat to see the kids looking at  things in their boxes.   All the kids got snorkles and masks in this video, and I am assuming that the masks were actually distributed with the boxes, not in the boxes.

Here is another video which illustrates some of the difficulties faced in Madagascar!

Happy Holidays to all!


That is where my Operation Christmas Child boxes went!

I got the cheery email this weekend.

Merry Christmas from Samaritan’s Purse! Thank you for participating in Operation Christmas Child and for choosing to Follow Your Boxes.Your gift box(es) went to Uganda. For photos, stories, and other information about Operation Christmas Child in this country, click here.

Please remember to pray for the children who will be receiving your shoe box gifts. Thank you, and may God richly bless you.

I am really thrilled with this!!!!  Primarily because I packed my boxes based on my knowledge of Africa, and was concerned that the boxes with no mittens or warm hats would end up in Romania. In addition, some of the things I packed were had English writing on them, and English is one of the main languages in Uganda.

Uganda is also a country in need of some Holiday cheer.  There has been a lot of talk about how Uganda has emerged as a Peaceful country after decades of incredible unrest.  

On the Operation Christmas Child Facebook site, there was a note allowing members of the group to comment and list where their shoeboxes had gone.  Many people commented that they had to look up their African countries- places like Burkina Faso, Seychelles, or Chad seemed to be really unfamiliar to most of the donators.  For me, not so much.  I’ve seen first hand the life in these places and for the most part, it is so different than an average life in more developed countries.  I love the fact that the shoebox gift not only blesses a child personally, but it also seems to be giving back and providing education to many of the donators.  So many said they read about these places and tried to imagine what the child who received their box would be like.  It seems small, but looking beyond oneself, and thinking beyond just the gifts in the box, to the actual day to day lives of these children and families can only bring us all one step closer to more fully understanding each other, don’t you think?

Well.  That said. back to Uganda.

Uganda was the birth place of what is considered the most effective guerilla Army, the Lord’s Resistance Army.   In my opinion, the LRA uses God’s name in vain.   God would never ever permit or condone the type of behaviors that this group is known for.  At least not the God of the New Testament.  Jesus, the son of God taught us to Love they Neighbour and Turn the other cheek, not to bludgeon them to death and cut off the body parts of 8 year old girls.  I will be quite honest, in looking up info on the LRA, I realize that they did and probably still do operate in South Sudan, where I worked for a year with Medecins Sans Frontieres.  Learning this, safe in my home, I still got shivers down my spine.  Uganda actually seems to have done well in the recent year and LRA activity seems to be more centered in the surrounding countries.

These days….the Tourism Uganda Website sweeps all the difficulties under the rug and has produced quite an appealing website for would be travelers.

But yeah, I do not think I will be booking my trip any time soon.  Not to Uganda, or actually the DRC or even South Sudan, where I actually lived with permission of some sort of Southern Sudanese Government.

Still things do seem to be improving for the country and these gifts can only help.

This video is from a visit to Uganda where Shoeboxes were distributed….the music is actually in Swahili which is the second official language in Uganda, after English.

Forgot to make a shoebox?  There’s always time.  Samaritans Purse accepts Shoebox donations ALL YEAR LONG!  You can simply mail your box to North Carolina.  Here’s a Link to the address.  

In addition, you can Make a shoebox on line, though the price is a little steep, if you ask me!!!

And Happy Christmas to all who are celebrating.  Take a Moment during this season to focus out and spread the Joy that is Christmas.

“As Seen on TV”

I had a fairly nice Holiday. 

Actually that is a complete lie.  I did not enjoy my Christmas Day at all. I had patients who were literally Psychotic.  Carolers came, at the typical worst moment.   I was unable to eat my lunch until it was very very cold, and I put waaay too much butter in my potato casserole.  Who knew one could have too much butter? I had an argument with a Physician who is a jerk, and also sort of had some issues with the Charge RN who is not exactly a princess either. 
THe day after Christmas I had a Migraine, and ended up at the Urgent care with intractable vomiting.  Yuck.  The Urgent care though, did make me feel much better with Imitrex .  Thank goodness I dont get the bad headaches all that often.
Now back to my Nice holiday.  The whole holiday season was alright.  I enjoyed the Music on the radio and all the hustle and bustle.  I received some gifts this year that were definitely from Info-mercials.  Now,  I never order anything off an infomercial or even off of QVC etc.  I have been tempted on occasion, so I was keen to try both of these items.
    The first one I received was from my Secret Santa at work.  It was a "counter Cook"  Kitchen chopper.  A very very small, food processor.  I looked it up on the Internet and couldn't find the brand name…..
This is from Black and Decker but very similar to the chopper I received.  I had seen this sort of thing advertised on television and I really wanted to try it because it looked great.  So….How does it work?  Well.  I think the small size is great, but it is very very difficult to use.  All of the pieces lock in tight so that there is no risk of chopping off fingers.  I appreciate this safety feature, but I would appreciate not having to be the hulk to snap and unsnap the pieces!  But, how does it chop?
Well, I've used it for onions.  It does chop ok, but it tends to not just dice up the veggies, it tends to pulverize them.  
I'm going to keep using it, but I am glad I got it as a gift.  If looking for a small ktichen counter chopper…I'd go for something a little more high end, still very reasonably priced….
this one.
It is Cuisinart,  It holds a little more with 4 cups, and has the two settings, chop and grind.   It's about 39.00 via the internet. 
So, as far as being as perfect as the TV commercials led me to believe, this was a huge let down!  But still a useful item.
The Second "As Seen on TV" Item I received was from  my Mom.  It is a "fur glove"  
We see this on television as a great grooming aid for furry animals.  It usually shows a large amount of fur coming off the dog or even a long haired cat.  Since Teulu is not exactly a fan of being groomed,  and he does have a fair bit of hair…I was intrigued.
Does it do the trick?   Alas No,  I found he really enjoyed being petted with or without the glove, but the glove seemed to pick up about 6 hairs, mostly it seems due to static electricity.  
Instead of the glove, I recommend  a regular steel toothed comb.  On the up side, Teulu really rather loves to play with the glove as a toy!
So as far as "As seen on TV"  I'm not really a total fan.  So far the products I got don't really live up to the full promises… but….they were gifts.  I find after this I'm rather less tempted by the Infomercials!!!!!

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Christmas Aftermath

Whew….The Holiday is over.  What an event….

I made the marathon drive to Pennsylvania, with the dog in tow.  The dog did very well. I had some problems.  Essentially I called and spoke with my Mom, then my Dad, then my Sister and then my brother in law at different intrevals.  In between, I listened to insipid Holiday Music on the radio.  I need to get Sirius radio.  So I arrived, dropped the dogs off at the vets, and went to Cresslers Market for my sisters various needs.  I as suddenly reminded that I was really really home, as everyone else in Cresslers market was Mennonite, Amish or some variety in-between.


At any rate, it was nice to be home.  Eventually all the gifts were wrapped and the nephews tucked into bed.

The Nephews were a wonderfully pleasant surprise!  M. has matured and is now able to concentrate on a project/game/toy for about 45 minutes at a time…A. who just turned 3 2 weeks ago has an incredible vocabulary and communicates very well.  This was very nice!  So we enjoyed a lot of play with Playmobil creatures from my childhood…surprisingly resilient, and entertaining for two little boys!


Christmas Morning was fun, though chaotic with the Children.  My father accidently took one of the children's stockings, rather than my Mothers, so that was a bit of a mix-up. Easily sorted.

The Kids were remarkably well behaved.  A of course was more interested in unwrapping the gifts, and attempted to assist all of us with the unwrapping…

M. on the other hand would periodically remind us if he had not recieved a gift in a while.  The games were a big hit.  The biggest hit was going for tractor rides with Grandpa…Grandpa was quite accomodating, probably because he likes to drive the tractor.

In general we had a fairly good day, no major kidlet meltdowns.


My only issue has been with running.  Frankly, it has sucked.  My parents live in an extremely rolling hilly area.  I am not used to hills and I am finding I am not killing them like I would like to.

On Christmas Day I ran 2.0 miles. Today, I managed less.  It started to snow while I was running and I became frustrated because I had no idea where I was going, and I kept running into essential dead ends.  It was alarming to run one mile, and then come to a stop because there was essentially either a highway or a cliff type edge. Turn around, i never really got into a rhythm, it started to snow, I just gave up.  I finally found the link on line to the Rails to trails trail which is local and 11 miles long today and I imagine I'll be trying it again tomorro.

So…the holiday is over.  People are happy.  We are all exhausted from the small Children.  They return to their home tomorro, so we shall all rest well.Best gift:  Full set of tires for the Katie-Mobile.  Wow what a difference they make.

Worst gift: Vest from my sister in a beautiful teal aquamarine…Blech. but I wore it anyway.

Looking sort of forward to the evening run on the 31st, but I am very very nervous as I seem to be struggling.  I can not believe I actually ran 8 miles last week.  I think I just have to adjust to the chilly temps and suck it up.

Hope everyone else had an enjoyable holiday.  What was the most memorable moment for you?

Mine was my nephew asking me to read "Twas the night before Christmas"  I said, oh a Christmas book…he says "Whats Christmas?" (4 years old!)


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Holiday Memories

I don't know that I want to try to find an exact amount of holiday memories to fill up each day before Christmas, but I do have a few that I thought would be nice to share.

Christmas is a vey big deal in my family.  I loved that time of year probably because I knew exactly what would happen because we tended to do the same things each year.  It was also the time of year when we got a lot of new stuff.  My Mom tended to wrap up exciting gifts for us kids like socks and underwear. 

The Memory I want to share today involves Christmas shopping, and my mother.  My Mother has often been overshadowed by my Dad.  My Dad is a writer, and tneds to be somewhat well known in his circle, goes traveling on speaking gigs and visiting Universities etc… My Mom sort of held the home front down, and her talents are many, but often  not noticed.

    When I was about 5 years old the life size dolls (ie kid sized dolls) that could "walk with you" were quite the rage.  My sister and I wanted one each.  Since I was only going half days in Kindergarten, i ended up doing a lot of Holiday shopping with my Mom.  We went into what I think was then actually Woolworths to look at these dolls.  They were all so neat.  My Mom asked me which one I liked the best and which one my sister would like.  We chose out one that "Looked" like my sister (Long blonde hair was really the only similarity), and then I decided I wanted a different, one, completely based on the very cool satiny dress the doll was wearing.  While we were debating this, a salelady came up to help us  My mom, being ever sensitive to the world of young children at Christmas time, asked her nicely if she had some way to let Santa Claus know what little girls wanted.  She went on to say how much I was hoping Santa would know I wanted this doll, adn that my sister would like the other one.  The salesgirl fortunately understood about Santa, and didn't ruin my 5 year old Christmas.  but she surely didn't understand abotu the doll I wanted.  You see, being like many 5 year olds, I was mostly attracted to the clothing of the doll.  I failed to notice the doll was an "African American" doll.  Frankly, she wasn't very African American.  She had caucasian features and long black hair.  her plastic skin was brown.  If you have asked me, I would have said the doll looked like my friend Sujata (who was from India).  The Sales lady got all in a tizzy and said, "Oh No, you don't want that doll, it is black.  You want a white doll honey"  Being 5 and extremely shy, I just kind of looked at her.  But I wanted that doll, because the blue shiny dress was just the best. My Mom though (Not being 5 and not being shy) got really red in the face.  She then said, Well…I think Santa will get this for her.  Santa knows what is right and wrong.  And Santa always does what is right.  With that we left the store.  I thought it a little strange that we didn't buy anything we had put in the cart and instead went to K-Mart and got all the same stuff. 

    and On Christmas morning….there was my doll sitting under the Christmas tree!

I would love to think of that as a lesson in Equality and tolerance etc.  But I will freely admit that I did not understand the dynamics of that little interaction until I was much much older and realized how awesome my mom really was.  I grew up in a small town that was very homogeneously white/christian with one or two families of different races brought in by the university where my Dad taught.  The beliefs held by my parents at that time were foreign in that area.  At best, I can say that since my Mom didn't agree with the shop lady, I didn't develop an idea that I needed caucasian toys in my life because I was caucasian…

But whenever I think of this memory I think my Mom rocks the house!!!  And these days, I'm pleased to say Wool worths is no longer in business in our town. 


I tried desperately to find a pic on the net of these dolls, but couldn't so this will be an imageless post, where you get to use your imagination!!!  

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Shoes, and the past….

I bought my Dad his Christmas gift today…

These beauties.


The Nike Vintage Elite!!!

Buying these shoes was really fun for me.  I'm feeling quite nostalgic.

My Dad bought me these shoes when I was about 7.  Mine however were blue and yellow. He ran in several models, all of which he found later made his leg issues worse.  (My Dad is a polio survivor and has very flat feet, as well as one leg slightly (not noticable) than the other, causing him some unique challenges). This was during the first marathon craze in the Seventies.  And these shoes were considered super high tech!!!! In my mind, I was so sure because they were designed for running I was sure to be the fastest runner ever…. right.  Fast forward to recess…

My running dreams were shot to heck at recess that day when essentially ALL the boys lined up to race m in my fast shoes….and they pretty much all beat me.  I ran like a girl.  A slower than the boys girl.  So, I had a pretty strong lesson regarding gear and gadgets.  They really don't make you better, or faster. Probably because of this experience I try to downplay or avoid too much technical gear because I know I'm not in a competitive range so I feel a little silly spending billions of specialty shirts/visors/pants when a cotton T does the same for me.  Shoes are a different story as the right ones prevent injury…something my Dad learned after attempting to run in those first  Nike Air models…(Too soft for pronators, not enough support, injury city…the Air models have improved greatly over the years BTW.) 

So this year, with the remake out, which looks exactly like the old version…I decided to honor my Dad and get him a pair.    I'm quite nervous and I am hoping he will think they are as cool as I do….

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