Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


19 Comments

Musings

I’ve been thinking, since I’ve been injured, about how hard life can be when you have a disability.

I broke my little finger Saturday. Seems a small injury, but it’s wrapped up in a cumbersome cast that engulfs most of my right hand. And the same fall re-injured an older wrist problem on my left hand, so there’s a splint over there too.

It all makes me pretty useless.

For example, I was talking to my brother and sister-in-law who were concerned about my fall, with the phone propped awkwardly between my two useless hands, when I realized fibers from my cast on my right hand had become attached to the velcro on the splint around my left hand, essentially gluing my hands together. I kept talking while sort of waving the whole mess at my husband, silently asking for help.

Ridiculous.

Last night I couldn’t get my socks off. Neither hand could grasp the back of a sock much less had the strength to pull. I finally used the toes of one foot to push the sock off the other. Then repeated the maneuver.

And don’t even ask how taking a bath while one arm is encased in a garbage bag works. Turns out you can’t hold a washcloth or soap with that hand at all, which makes washing the opposing side of your body pretty much impossible. But hey, I had a nice warm soak which felt pretty wonderful.

Yesterday, the day after the injury, the dog asked to go out very early in the dark morning like usual. She doesn’t care about her mama’s finger. I got my shorts almost wrestled on using one hand but I couldn’t get the zipper up, the shorts were hung up low on my hips. Well, it was 3:30 and dark out, I figured I didn’t need them zipped.

Then I couldn’t get my sweatshirt on, my bound up hands didn’t fit through the cuffs. I left the sweatshirt hung up on my hands and half way over my shoulders. Obviously that didn’t zip either.

By then Katie was hopping up and down in anticipation and I couldn’t get the leash attached to her collar using my only my left hand. After much groaning and improvising, and some sweat, I managed, though my hand was starting to throb.

Katie and I wandered the yard, me hoping my shorts stayed up and for no cars to come by, her enjoying the cool morning breeze. I was looking up at the stars, thinking about nothing much when I realized I should probably be watching my feet instead. I couldn’t afford to trip, over Katie or a piece of sod. I didn’t have a spare hand to catch my fall. The Cheshire cat smile of a moon illuminated our path as we carefully made our way back to the house.

Today I’m in sweats and an oversized t-shirt and Katie walks the house dragging her leash. My hand doesn’t hurt as long as I keep up with the Tylenol and don’t bang it into things like walls or cupboard doors.

I didn’t bother with socks.

I have appointment tomorrow with a surgeon. I’m looking for good news. Meanwhile I’ll keep improvising.

I’m grateful this isn’t permanent.


22 Comments

Crim smiles

Saturday I ran my 14th or 15th Crim. It’s a road race in Flint Michigan, a fundraiser for Special Olympics. Every year 10,000 runners descend on a small city that usually doesn’t see much action. I figured it was the biggest smile in my week, so I’ll share here how it all went.

I haven’t run this race since 2012. I haven’t run much of anything since then, but I’ve missed my runner friends, the camaraderie, the connection of training together, even if we could only share our stories via email or Facebook.

So in January I registered for the race, figuring if I paid good money I’d be sure to get out and get the miles in. I started with just 2 or 3 miles at a time, adding more miles each week, until last week I had a decent 10 mile run/walk at my favorite park.

And then suddenly it was here. All those runs over all those months would have to be enough to get me through.

Friday afternoon a running friend came to my house to spend the night. We planned to meet other friends at the Expo where we would pick up our shirts and numbered bibs.

My running partner Betty arrives at the expo.

And do a little shopping. All I bought were a few gels and a fanny bag to carry my phone during the race. Then we all went out to eat our pre-race meal.

Betty and her husband decide what to order.

It was so nice to catch up with good friends. We haven’t all seen each other in a long time. I sort of wished we could just do this part and skip the whole running 10 miles thing.

The morning of the race we got up at 5, rubbed the sleep from our eyes and tried to get motivated. It was 52 degrees (11.11 C) outside. Perfect.

Early morning wait.

We arrived in downtown Flint before dawn, and sat in the car chatting. Soon it was time to go meet the rest of our friends, in front of a bank where once upon a time I was a branch manager. That was several lives ago; now the building is condos.

Ready to go!

They had the start area sectioned off for people who ran different speeds. Two of my friends and I went to wait in our section, very near the back of the pack based on our projections of a slow finish time.

Standing at the back of the pack.

It was pretty much a party back there.

Still plenty of people behind us.

At 8 a.m. they began releasing the runners, section by section. We finally began our race at 8:20.

Ready to go!

We started out slow, slow enough to smell the roses…or the zinnias.

Pretty planting.

There was plenty of cool stuff for us to look at along the way,from murals…

Kinda how I felt during mile 2.

…to vintage cars.

Lots of old cars parked along the route.

Even reading the backs of people’s shirts was fun.

“If found on ground please drag to finish line.”

Lots of people came out to support us at water stations…

Water and popsicles.

…and just sitting in chairs ringing cowbells or clapping.

Cowbells ringing.

There were frat guys passing out beer, and there were mimosas available at this table.

Yum, but not today.

But all I ever took was water. Even though it was still very cool for August I knew I had to keep drinking water. I tried to take cups of water from the kids that were handing them out, they got such a kick out of passing them out.

We saw lots of cool things.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Along the way we ran through an old neighborhood with beautiful homes…

Beautiful old homes.

…and lots of shade.

Lovely shade.

There was several musical groups too, from this jazz group…

Great music.

to high school bands.

Great kids.

The Bradley Hills, at mile 5 were just has tough as always.

Climbing what feels like endless hills.

But eventually we made it around the last corner; we could see the finish line.

Almost there.

The last few blocks are run on the old red brick road of downtown Flint. Treacherous footing at best and we all know to be careful. But still, I managed to catch a toe on a bump and down I went, face and right hand taking most of damage. I was only 2 blocks from the finish.

Medical teams wanted to take me off the course but I insisted on finishing.

The swag.

Then I went to the medical tent. Doc there said I dislocated my little finger. I ended up going to the ER where xrays showed it was broken at the base.

Ouch.

But I’m still smiling because it was a great race! Perfect weather, great friends.

Could have skipped that last little bit though.

Still smiling


35 Comments

Finally!

Katie here. You might have noticed a distinct lack of Katie-related posts on mama’s blog this summer.

Here I am at my park!

OK sure, she went to Norway, and then Washington DC and then she went camping, all without me.

Pretty in blue.

I guess she had a really busy summer and she didn’t have too much time to spend taking me to my parks. Oh, she says that the reason we haven’t gone to the park in forever is because it’s been really hot.

Mama said the light was magical.

Sure mama.

Though, to be honest, and I’m nothing if not honest, it has been pretty hot here. I haven’t wanted to go out and sit on my deck, or sit in my outside pen either. So she might have a point.

Invasive beauty.

Anyway…tonight mama told daddy that since it was cooler she was thinking about taking me to my park after supper. I didn’t get excited because I’m pretty deaf now and I didn’t hear her.

I had such a good time!

But daddy remembered, and later on in the evening he woke mama up from her nap in her big comfortable chair and asked why she wasn’t taking me to my park!

Goldenrod starting to bloom.

And mama said, let’s go Katie! I didn’t hear that either, but I saw her pack up my park bag and I got pretty excited. And boy! When we got to my park I was spinning circles!

Light shines through the grasses.

Mama said the evening light was pretty magical and she spent a lot of time taking pictures of stuff that was not me. I didn’t really mind, though I did have to take myself on my walk a good part of the time.

Giving mama the stinkeye because she’s lagging behind.

And I also remembered my contract with mama; one photo, one treat. So even when she wasn’t focused on me, when she lifted her head from the camera and looked at me I trotted right over to get my treat.

At first she laughed and said, “No silly, if you’re not the model you don’t get a treat.”

These are mama’s favorite trees.

Really mama? I’m not moving until you pay up. And eventually she understood. One picture, no matter what it was, one treat to me.

Can’t beat this kind of light!

The walk went a lot better after we understood each other.

Little sunflowers hiding in the dusky evening.

It was a wonderful walk through wonderful golden light. I even did a short little run for mama while she figured out how her new camera did multiple shots.

Coming in for treats mama!

I got five pieces of kibble for that one.

I trotted around my park like I owned it. Mama says I acted like I was a teenager again…and that made her very happy.

Pretty gold.

Between you and me I can’t wait for snow, but I don’t think mama is on board with that one, at least not yet.

A wide view.

Meanwhile I hope it stays cooler so mama and I can get out for more adventures. Though I might have to pay dad some sort of salary to keep waking her up. Cause she’s getting kinda old you know, and she needs her sleep.

Another good day at the park with my mama.

I think, though, if she gets out more she’ll act more like a teenager too.

And that would be a good thing for both of us.

That was fun mama!


20 Comments

Backyard birds are so much fun to watch

You know I like to go out to Kensington Metropark and hang out with the birds there. But I have to say that my own backyard has some pretty fun sights too. This past weekend I wasted spent quite a bit of time just sitting and watching what was going on right here at home.

See the red bellied woodpecker? Right below her (or him) is the juvenile.

Turns out there is a whole lot going on! In particular I enjoyed watching this red bellied woodpecker feeding his or her youngster. I have to admit I’ve never noticed young woodpeckers before. I don’t know if I’ve just never seen them, or if I mistook them for some other kind of woodpecker.

Here, have a bit of lunch sweetie.

Either way, this was obviously a juvenile being fed by a parent.

The youngster moved to a more open branch and I hoped the parent would feed it there, but being a teenager, the younger bird became impatient and flew off before mom or dad returned with more seed.

Though I wish the leaves of the birch tree they were sitting in hadn’t obscured the youngster’s head I’m still really glad I noticed this action going on just outside my kitchen window.

Well good, the little whippersnapper is gone. I get to eat this seed all by myself!

And of course the hummingbirds. They are really active at the feeder now, perhaps fueling up for their long trek across the Gulf of Mexico this fall.

Is this the only thing on the menu, lady?

Sometimes I’ve seen them over in the zinnia garden too. I can understand the allure of having a fence to sit on while eating.

Yum. WAY better than that empty caloried sugar water she serves at the house.

Kind of like going to a fancy restaurant v.s. a fast food place.

We have lots of goldfinches and titmice and cardinals and all the rest too. They are eating me out of house and seed, but I don’t mind.

This is MY orange, everyone else go find your own.

Seems a small price to pay for all the entertainment they provide.

Incoming!


15 Comments

Nancy Merrill’s A photo a Week Challenge: Yellow

If this challenge were later in the year I’d have all sorts of yellow forests to share with you. But, given this is mid-August, I’ll just scour the backyard and see what I can come up with.

Of course there’s always these hungry guys.

You’re interrupting my lunch , lady!

And over in the zinnia garden there’s this moth…

A moth shows off his pretty colors while sitting on a yellow zinnia.

…and as I was focused on the moth, this butterfly showed up.

Never lighting on any particular flower for long it was hard to capture his image.

It’s also the Dream Cruise weekend here, where hundreds of vintage cars are driving up and down Woodward Avenue. There’s a bit of yellow over there too.

They don’t make cars like this anymore.

In fact, if I looked through my files there’s probably way more yellow then I imagine. But let’s just focus on the yellow of late summer.

It’s a special time of year.

Sunflowers in August flaunt their yellow.


23 Comments

The last long run

The title of this post might be misleading for any number of reasons. Today’s run/walk was probably not the last long run I’ll ever do, and frankly there wasn’t all that much running involved.

But I have the much anticipated (at least by me) Crim race next Saturday, and today was my last long training run in preparation for actually accomplishing the ten hot and hilly miles next weekend.

Pontoon boats waiting for the weekenders to descend.

It’s not as though I’ve been training methodically. Or even with a plan. I just tried to run longer once a week than I did the week before. And I tried to get out there one or two other times during the week to do 3 or 4 miles.

Moving in formation away from the noisy, gasping, foot slapping runner.

And even then it wasn’t really running like I remember from the days when I was young. It was shuffle along for a quarter mile, gasp for air and walk at least part if not all of the next quarter, then pick up the speed and shuffle along again.

And if there was a big uphill, then all bets are off and walking was totally acceptable. Unless I wanted to prove something to myself, in which case I sometimes shuffled to the top just to say I could.

But not generally.

Riding a bike looked infinitely more fun.

This morning I did my last long run/walk at my favorite park. It’s where I used to run long every weekend, often meeting one or more of my running friends to talk and run together.

Along the familiar route today I’d remember things from previous runs. A running partner with a frozen water supply line here, a couple of dancing cranes there, the spot that Katie rested before we headed back to the car on one of our walks.

Very tall water lillies. I need to come back here with the good camera and maybe a kayak.

And sometime during mile 7 as I was slogging up a little hill to round the flagpole, ensuring my total would be ten miles because I added that ‘little’ out and back at Turtlehead, I remembered that once, many years ago while training alone I had come up this very hill and found a flock of cedar waxwings swarming a tree. I looked up at the tree again, now perhaps twenty years later, and imagined those birds, their little bodies fliting among the branches, the color on their tails. I remembered how I stood there a long time watching them way back then. And I noticed birds flitting among the same trees, though my eyesight is much worse now than it was then, so I thought today’s birds were sparrows.

Until I got closer and heard the little snuffling tweets they made as they flew back and forth.

Such delicate little blue bell type flowers.

Could it be? Not possible! But yes, up in the top of the trees was a flock of cedar waxwings, yellow band on their tails the tell-tale sign. I had to laugh out loud, though to be honest, crawling up a hill in mile 7 of a ten mile run is not generally a time I spend a lot of time laughing.

I guess sometimes you can conjure up memories and make them real if you give your mind free reign.

Proof summer is sliding at an alarming pace into fall.

Anyway, I saw lots of things on this run, the pictures here are all taken with my phone, often while I was still moving. They aren’t great photogenically, but they tell you the story of a (very) long run during a grey, foggy morning, at my favorite park.

And I’m very very glad it’s done.

Hiding among the reeds to avoid the paparazzi.


16 Comments

Smile of the week.

When I got home from the latest camping trip this week I noticed the zinnia garden in the back yard was in full bloom.

Our little zinnia patch in full bloom.

Can’t frown around a big ole patch of zinnias, in fact every time I notice them out there I break out into a great big smile.

Brilliant color makes me smile.

What made you smile this week? Write a post, link it to Trent’s and join a merry band of smiling people from all over!


15 Comments

Some of my favorites

I’ve been camping, two different camp sites, six nights total. My goal was to figure out more about night sky photography…

This is at the top of a very long, very steep sand dune. There are signs at the top warning people not to run down because it’s so difficult to get back up. There’s a $3,000 fee to get rescued. Still, a whole cross country running team was climbing back up when I was there.

…but of course I didn’t sit around all day just waiting for it to get dark.

I saw lots of pretty stuff way up in northern Michigan. I took fewer photos than I would normally because I was looking for things I hadn’t shot before.

On a quick hike in the tip of Michigan’s little finger the sun hit these maple leaves and mesmerized me.

Sill….sometimes I couldn’t help myself, even if I’d seen it, shot it, and filed it before.

But today I think I’ll just share with you my four favorite images from this trip.

The tart cherry trees are still heavy with ripe fruit. I caught these red coated trees, standing with military precision, and had to go back for this shot. I walked down a long farmer’s lane, hoping not to get kicked off his land, and as I got halfway to my target I found a field filed with wildflowers. So I pushed my way into the middle of that field and shot the flowers in front of the trees. This image made me smile really wide, even before I saw it on a larger screen.

None of them were the image I was hoping to get, but that’s still out there and I’ll try again.

One evening I went up to the Mackinaw Bridge. I hadn’t been successful getting the stars, so I figured I’d concentrate on the bridge lit up. It was a wonderful evening. This was 15 seconds, F22, ISO 100.

That’s one of the fun things about photography, there’s always something more to accomplish.

My campsite at the Pigeon River Forest. I was too scared to wander away from my tent at night. But it was pretty there too.


3 Comments

Still smiling

Trent coordinates a smile a week blog post, asking people to share something that’s made them smile each week.

Well, currently I’m in one of my happy places.

Pt. Betsie on a windy wet afternoon.

And it sure makes me smile.

The Coast Guard on patrol.

What made you smile this week? Post about it and link up to Trent’s blog, he’ll recap on Monday.

Lots to smile about this week!