Is That All There Is?

Having a good close friend who is 86 years old and nearly 40 years older than me is often thought provoking. My friend experienced a traumatic brain injury about six weeks ago and has had encountered many challenges during the rehabilitation process. One of the most difficult things for her is letting go of some freedom and asking for help from others. You see, she’s a very independent lady.

She was lucky she was able to move back to her condo and live independently. She’s happy to be back, but misses some of the perks she had previously. Mainly, her driving priviledges. She is not ready to give that up and asked me point blank the other day as she sat with her television guide(her link to the outside world) nestled in her lap, “You know,  I have to ask, is that all there is to life?”

Maybe that is why reality tv is so popular. It’s connecting with “real” people from the safety of my own couch. Maybe that is all there is to life. I hope not, but is it?

Turn that frown upside down

Some days are simply better than others.  For me, it’s not always what happens throughout the day that makes it good or bad, it’s my attitude about the day.

So, instead of dwelling on what I don’t have, I’m going to focus on what I do have. And I have a lot to be grateful for. I have a wonderful husband, fantastic friends, caring neighbors and live in a beautiful part of this country. I’m surrounded by beauty.

I think a good “to do” list might help my situation and perhaps some Spring cleaning. Clutter has a way of bringing me down. What lifts my spirits? Running with others. And how thankful am I that I’ve found some people to run with here in Reno. For me, friendships begin by putting one foot in front of the other and of course…turning that frown upside down!

I can’t!

Yesterday I posted this on my Facebook status,

Your biggest challenge isn’t someone else. It’s the ache in your lungs and the burning in your legs, and the voice inside you that yells “CAN’T”, but you don’t listen. You just push harder. And then you hear the voice whisper “can”. And you discover that the person you thought you were is no match for the one you really are.

Today I put that posting to the test. You see, I joined a racing team about a month ago. We meet each Wednesday night for practice. It’s an amazing feeling to be on a team consisting of elite athletes and just regular folk like me. The workouts have been incredibly difficult but tonight I encountered a difficulty that made we say over and over again, “I can’t!”

We had to climb over a fence to get to the high school track. With some assistance, I was able to do it without too much freaking out. But, after the workout it was a different situation. The entire team was cheering me on and pushing and pulling me to get me over. I felt like one of those 1,000 pound women on one of those learning channels being assisted out of bed, out the door and into the ambulance. It was not a pretty sight, but I did it. 

I CAN do this! But, not by myself. It’s all about being a member of a winning team. I’m honored to be on such a team!

Strawberry Fields Forever

I was amazed when I went to a potluck and saw fresh strawberries on a platter. Fresh strawberries in March? The woman who brought the strawberries exclaimed, “Yes, I brought them. After all, they are in season!” In season? Back in Minnesota strawberries aren’t in season ’til June or July. She then explained she brought them from California. Biting into one of those strawberries was a day brightener.  When I visit Minnesota, you can bet I’ll be biting into a fresh strawberry.

There are even strawberry plants bordering the community swimming pool. When strawberries are in so much abundance it’s easy to take them for granted. About seven years ago I encountered a gentleman who had just eaten a strawberry after nearly 16 years. You see, he was incarcerated for murder and had a life sentence.  The chance of eating a fresh strawberry while in prison is slim to none. But, it happened for him.

I was there on a video shoot and during the lunch break, the video crew ventured to the cafeteria for lunch. As was explained to me, you eat what the prisoners eat for lunch as you don’t want prisoners making “special” food for staff or visitors. As I ate lunch with three inmates (the chairs are bolted into the ground so there is only room for four people at each table), one inmate commented that he was sorry if his table manners weren’t up to par, after all he hadn’t eaten a meal with a lady for 16 years. And then he said, ” Just last night I went to a graduation ceremony where they  served fresh strawberries. This is a great week for me.” 

Ah, strawberries!

Redeye

  As I sit here on my first leg of my first redeye flight I can see lots of clouds. I’m headed to Seattle, WA from Reno, NV. Can’t seem to get a straight flight to Minneapolis, MN for nothing. I have never even heard of Horizon Airlines, but here I am on the plane. My next leg of the flight (the real redeye version) will take place on Alaskan Airlines. I guess they are partners with Delta. Go figure.

 The excitement I feel on my first trip back to Minnesota is much like I experienced as a child on Christmas Eve waiting to open Christmas presents. It’s just an all out giddyness that I haven’t experienced in quite some time. Ah, going home. Seeing my peeps, embracing my hubby and just being back in my home that I miss so much.

 I’ve learned over the past 5 weeks that there’s no place like home, however, you can make a home wherever you roam. Reno rocks and I’m so blessed to be able to go home for two weeks! I can’t wait for all the excitement. The marathon is the only thing I’m dreading!

Lost in Reno

When I embarked on my run this morning, I wasn’t thinking very clearly. I forgot my sunglasses, put on minimal sunscreen,a map, grabbed a bottle of water and headed out the door.  Since it was intended to be a 20 miler, I should have planned a little better.

I started out about 8:30 a.m. The sun was shining brightly. I began to run. I felt great. It’s so fun to explore when you are on your feet poking around the neighborhoods, running past restaurants you’d love to try, making mental notes of neighborhoods you’d love to live in if a windfall profit came my way. But, I was prepared for all the dead animals along the road. Let’s see, I ran into a dead wolverine, domestic cat OR small mountain cat, dead morning dove, a whole mess of other dead birds and a dead squirrel. The live animals were much better: many barking dogs contained behind gates, a pheasant, a herd of cows, llamas, horses and sheep.

What a delight! I wasn’t prepared for getting lost though. I missed a turn and ended up running up Mount Rose with a group of runners in this big 198 mile relay. Yikes! Running up a mountain is HARD work! When I figured out I was lost, I made a U turn, back down the mountain and quickly entered a convenience store for another round of Vitamin Water and Water. I even purchased some almonds. I was getting more and more hot, sunburned and a bit delirious.

Eventually, I made it back home with just 17.5 miles, not the 20 I intended, but considering my state of mind, I felt it was a wise choice to stop. How I’m going to run that marathon in Duluth, MN in two weeks is beyond me.

Territorial

I am elated that Mark has come to visit me here in Reno.  I was excited for him to see where I reside. When we arrived, I promptly took his bags and put them in the guest room and explained he would place all his belongings in this room and get primary use of the guest bathroom.  I, on the other hand, get the master bedroom and the master bathroom.  However, since he’s my husband I’d love for him to sleep with me in my big bed with the fancy new duvet.

He was amazed by all the ammenities and is eager to move in. That’s when I got to thinking, I’ve only lived here 10 days and I’m already territorial. It wasn’t 15 minutes that he had passed over the thresshold and he was looking in the refridgerator to see what I had on hand. He noticed I was low on milk and wondered why I wasn’t storing my milk on the refridgerator door and why I was buying soy milk and all those little cartons of sorbets in the freezer. What was the purpose?

We’ve been going out to eat at least twice a day and even had some leftover pizza. When I brought that out last night as we were watching a movie, he noted that this type of food should be eaten at the breakfast bar, not on the couch. Ha! I told him that lots of things happen in this apartment without his approval including eating in the livingroom EACH evening!

I now see why couples who each have separate homes must sell them both and then move into a whole new place altogether. After all, we get territorial with our stuff and our dwellings.  I never knew I was like that. Go figure.