Old Men, New Cars and a Crush

In January I was headed home from a friend’s birthday party when my beloved Santa Fe gave up the ghost after 12 years. It made a clunking sound, stopped accelerating, and then that was it. I rolled to the side of the road and waited for a tow truck.

January was an exciting month. My divorce was final on the 21st, I bought a new car, and hiked 15+ miles one day. The day of the Big D I arrived at the courthouse and I sat in a typical ‘People’s Court’ or ‘Judge Judy’ style courtroom with several other individuals seeking the same thing. One by one we were called up by a young woman with Bettie Page bangs and handed her our paperwork. The judge asked a few questions and that was it. I was back to work in a few hours. That evening while I was still at work, the ex called and in the midst of our conversation I let him know that we were a done deal. He responded, “Oh, okay,” as if I had told him I had a ham sandwich for dinner. Surprisingly enough I received a Valentines Day card from him with lots of apologies. He told me he sent it in advance and with extra postage to make sure I received it in time for Valentines Day. Unfortunately I don’t check my mail every day so it wasn’t until this past Tuesday I received it. It was kind of him. I’m not sure how to feel at this point. There’s still so much hurt there and while a part of me will always love him, I don’t think the damage that was done can ever be reversed.

So, I purchased a used car about a month ago. It’s fairly new with low miles. I do miss having the SUV though. There’s something about being a little higher up while driving. I have found myself hitting curbs more often now because I simply can’t see them, being so low to the ground. Actually purchasing the car was a challenge. I dealt with this little old man with a foreign accent. He tried to sell me the car at a much higher rate than what was listed on the Internet. When I tried to pull up the Internet listing for that dealership, it would flash on my phone for a second and go blank. Those stinkers. I was able to pull it up briefly enough for him to see that yes, indeed, the car was listed online for $3k less than what they were telling me it was. Nice try. Anyway, I’m now the proud new broke owner of a shiny blue car with XM Radio (bonus!).

At the end of January I did the National Trail Trek which is a monster hike over South Mountain and the Estrellas here in Phoenix. I didn’t stick with my hiking group because I knew I’d be taking it slow due to a knee injury from December. It took six hours but I finished. Man, I was ready to drop! I ended up finishing before the group did and I saw a few members while I waited for the shuttle to take me back to the car. I waved from a distance but just needed to sit after that. That evening I had to meet the tow truck driver outside my house to receive the Santa Fe back into my driveway. It’s hard to trade in a vehicle that has a dead engine so it is sitting in my driveway until I figure out what I want to do with it (or the HOA gives me hell). The tow truck driver seemed a bit flirtatious. He asked why I was limping and I explained that I had just hiked a distance. He blew out a puff of smoke from his cigarette and said, “Yeah, I hike.” I made an excuse to go back into the house. Clearly what’s looking for me and what I’m looking for are two different things.

Speaking of which, I just gave up on someone I had a crush on for months. Oh my gosh, I somehow lost my head and turned into a 14 year old girl for a while there. Not very becoming at 45. I met D. at an 80s party back in October. We have some mutual friends that I had been speaking with and I noticed that there was this tall man in an 80s rocker wig dressed in a black concert t-shirt and jeans. He started telling me about the country he was born in and how he had lived in Boston when he first came here as a teenager. He has a slight accent which I learned was Mandarin Chinese. As he stood there talking to me I kept looking at him. He is quite possibly the most beautiful man I have ever set eyes on. To make a long story short, we probably hang out once a month or so and it’s always with mutual friends. Seeing it’s now February and things have not progressed much more than that, I’ve had to let it go.

But wait! There’s more. . .

Two weeks ago I joined a pub crawl with friends. Yes, D. was there. This was no ordinary pub crawl. We all wore white t-shirts and brought markers to write on each other’s shirts. D. wrote something in Chinese on my back in blue marker which I’m now assuming meant ‘I’m just not that into you.’ I didn’t get a full glimpse of it until I got home. It was written right next to the words ‘I want to tap that’ that some mystery attendee thought would be cute to add. So, yes, I walked around all night with that on my back. Another friend who doesn’t know D. asked who he was because ‘he seems so into you’. Well, this is how it has been for months. We show up at the same events and are each other’s impromptu date. Outside of a few comments or likes on Facebook, I never hear from him unless I’ve initiated a text first. He stood behind me at one of the stops on the crawl. I watched him chatting with friends and then I decided this was it. I was done. He walked me to my car at the end of the night and in a bold move I pulled him towards me and kissed him. He didn’t go screaming away from me in the parking lot. I backed up a few steps and I think we both stood there in shock for a moment. Then I pulled him back towards me and kissed him again. I wondered for months what that would be like or what that beautiful face would feel like. Now I know. I got in my car and drove home. Then I promptly bowed out of any mutual events we were signed up for.

Last night I hung out with my hiker friends, who I haven’t been keeping up with much. It hit me how much I’ve missed them and just how much I’ve let hiking fall by the wayside. It brings me so much peace. It seems like this year has just been crazy with obligations and things that just need to be taken care of. I’ve spent way too much time on Facebook and way too much time hanging out in places that don’t offer the same peace as being outdoors does. While I love to dance, I’ve spent way too much time around the drinking crowd, which, don’t get me wrong. I know some great people, but there isn’t the same fulfilling feeling in say, a bar, as I get from being on the mountains, laughing and hiking with friends. That point was brought home yesterday while hiking in Sedona with several friends I know well.

Well, off to walk the dog.

Beer Making 101

A girlfriend of mine recently put together an event for beer making.  There were 5 of us altogether that went to try this.  Beer making consists of three stages; the first, which was held last weekend, involved a taste testing to decide which type of beer we would like to make.  We chose a blonde ale, which tastes similar to a Blue Moon beer.  The process wasn’t quite involved as I was thinking.  The beer mixture had already been boiled so our job that evening was to transfer the mixture into a 10-gallon bucket and then stir.  Later we added the yeast and the bucket was put away until last night.   On our second visit, we took the temperature of the beer, which should be between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  Using a laser gun, I measured the concoction and it was a balmy 70 degrees.  Perfect!  The yeast had done its job (so I was told).  Next up was take a measurement using a thermometer type device which was just dropped into the beer.  It bobbed a few times and according to the attendant, it was where it needed to be.  We then siphoned the mixture into a container that looked just like the office water cooler bottle but with a must fancier name that escapes me now.  In two weeks we will return to bottle it.  We got to pick out a label as well and add our names to it.  It will be fun handing out bottles of my own brew when I have friends over for the holidays.

The same shop also allows you to make your own wine.  One of the samples they gave us that first evening was of a black cherry merlot.  Let me tell you, that was one of the best things I have ever tasted!  We are going to return in January to create this concoction.  It should be ready by the time the holidays roll around next year so there is a bit more of a commitment on this one.

beer making

End Of Summer

Taking a Hike

Here we are at the end of August already.  My gosh, how time flies.  This summer, so far, I’ve done a lot of hiking.  Two of the best trips took place in Sedona, with one being at the beginning of this month.  Years of exploring Sedona and I never knew of these hidden gems.  The most recent hike had us traveling along the red rock which opened up into a swimming hole.  People jumped off the cliffs into the water.  It was a very hot day so the water proved to be very refreshing.  Athletica has also joined the same hiking group that I belong to.  Here is a picture of the swimming hole:

The Rules Have Changed (Apparently)

Athletica was asked out on date recently by someone in our hiking group.  According to her it wasn’t a date, but being the great friend I am it didn’t stop me from razzing her about it.  I texted her to ask her how her ‘date’ was.  She responded with, “It’s not a date!”

“Okay,” I texted back.  “How was your ‘it’s-not-a-date’ date?”  No response (lol).  She told me later that it couldn’t possibly be a date because he had used a Groupon to pay for dinner.  So that’s how it is determined these days.  Guess the rules really have changed in the past decade.  Who knew?

Motorcycle Summer

 This summer has been one of the funnest ones on record.  Outside of the crazy heat I will be sad to see the seasons change.  I went with Matteo about a month ago to a biker bar to see a band play.  Let me tell you I saw some crazy stuff that night!  Very fun though.  I got in at 3:30am!

Its been interesting hanging with Matteo.  Back in Boston in the 1970s bikers there were either stared at in awe or were feared.  We had a biker bar down the street and I remember my father discouraging me from looking at them as we drove by.  I remember being on the freeway in the family station wagon and peering out the window in the most casual manner my 10 year old self could muster, at the couple on the Harley passing us.  A thin tan blonde woman sat on the back of the bike.  She wore leather pants with matching bikini top.  Her long hair was woven into two braids.  I don’t quite recall what the man looked like but most then had long hair and bushy beards.     Riding with Matteo has fished these memories to the surface.  Sometimes I’ll hear his bike pull up to the driveway and I’ll peek out the slats of the kitchen shutters at him, dressed in his bike garb.  I swear I lose my breath for a second.  Maybe it’s just my rebellious Catholic school girl nature.  I don’t know.  But where there is this tall, dark handsome man standing in my driveway next to a Harley, I can’t help myself.  (I can still hear my sister’s voice from that day on the freeway back in the 1970s: “Dad told you not to look”).  I started wearing a bandana around my face when we ride because Matteo has taken the windshield off the bike.  He reminded me that I should probably remove it before we entered a liquor store this past weekend.  I guess I would have made a few folks a little nervous.

Speaking of Matteo, he is off to New Mexico for the weekend for his highschool reunion.   He has become a great friend and sometimes when I’m with him I realize how many great experiences I’ve had since I let go of the past.  I’ve come to realize that letting go, as hard as it is or as scary as it may seem, often opens the doors for new things.   With that being said though, there are still things that need to be let go of.

Matteo’s bike:

   Florida/Race Bound

In a few weeks I will be flying to Florida for another fun trip with my best friend, Quasimomma .  We did this last year and had a blast.  I will fly into the gulf side and we will drive over to my aunt’s condo the next day.  The Smokester will be kenneled at her vet.  Not sure how I’ll handle Abby yet.

We are running in a 5k the first Saturday there.  We have always wanted to do a 5k together so I’m really ecstatic that our dream is coming into fruition.

Letting Go

Yesterday was not a good day.  I’ve been fighting with my ex for pretty much a week now.  While I haven’t mentioned it before, I will say that he has an addiction problem that he refuses to see.  It’s very frustrating.  We are still in contact although he is living really far away.  Sometimes I will call because I need an answer to something and I can hear in his voice that he is not sober.  I wish sometimes I could record his voice and play it back for him so he could hear how stupid he sounds.  When I ask him if he is drunk he will often lie and tell me he was asleep and that’s why his voice sounds that way.  It hit me the other night that I really do need to let go.  It’s not worth getting angry over anymore.  I’ve had a lot of anxiety over this the past couple of days and he is also scheduled to come back to Phoenix for a visit starting tonight.  We need to get together to talk about a few things.  It hit me today that we have been separated for almost a year.  He’s got until January 1st to get himself straight.  If not, then it’s time for me to move on for good.

I call this one Ruben:

So. . .I pretty much fought with him over text messaging on my way to work yesterday (I have the voice activated option so was not texting while driving).  I got into work to find the Internet down.  I looked up the number to our service provider from my phone.  I called and received that stupid recorded prompt which only told me to go their website for technical support.  Luckily I found another number and a man there was able to reset the modem from wherever he was.  I logged into email and found a scathing response from a client I had left a voice mail message for last week.  She had multiple changes to a project we are working on and each time she placed a change request she would promise it was the last one.  I simply asked her to sit with her documentation and outline all the changes in one fell swoop rather than piece mailing it.  I didn’t think I came off as angry or anything, but by her response I could tell she was ticked.  I did call her and straighten it out; however, it did get me thinking.
Was she angry because she felt that I was trying to rush her?  Or did I come off as threatening without even realizing it?  I’d have to say that my rapport with most clients is great.  Still though, I wonder at times if I come off a little abrasive.  I need to chat with my boss about this.

Last night I didn’t sleep well.  It was just one of those days.  Before work though I dedicate at least 30 minutes to prayer and meditation.  I say these out loud and as the words left my lips this morning I could feel such a release of tension.  Just a total letting go.  Letting go of the fight with the ex, letting go of the work stuff.  I felt lighter.

Camp Bound

Saturday morning I will pack up the SUV and head north to camp for another Labor Day weekend.  I won’t have the camper this year because the ex has the truck with him that I would usually use to pull it.  I did look into renting a U-Haul pick up truck but the connector for the brakes and lights isn’t correct.  Another place has the perfect truck that is affordable but the deposit is almost as much as my mortgage.  I just can’t risk that.  Looks like me, the pooch and the weasel are tenting it.  I’ve been so spoiled.  Hope we do okay.

And finally, more hiking. . .

  I’ve joined yet another hiking group and did a night hike Monday night.  It was really great fun and in addition to meeting some new people, one lady from Boston, too, we got to see some of the wild life that comes out at night in the desert.  Here is one of those said critters (yes, it’s a rattle snake): 

There’s another night hike tonight.  We’ll see what this trip yields.  🙂

Cruising the Past, Propelling Into the Future

Two posts in two days?  Hey, I am on a roll!  I so miss this!

In yesterday’s post I briefly mentioned my new bike which I picked up on my birthday after months of lay away.

 It had been at least 20 years since I had ridden a bike.  I was a bit frightened at the thought of trying to ride again after all these years.  Would I forget?  Heck, would I need training wheels?  On that first hot Saturday in April I took a deep breath, clamored onto this pink metal contraption complete with bell and basket and pushed myself into the street away from the safe harbor of the driveway.  I pedaled about and practiced going in circles in the cul-de-sac until the neighbors thought I had gone mad.

I was doing it!  After all these years I was doing it!  In an instant I went from 44 to about 7.  Suddenly all these memories of riding a bike as a child came back to me in a solid rush.  My first bike was a Huffy.  I believe it was purple with a flowered banana seat.  I had a bell and basket then, too.  Some things you never outgrow, nor should you.  I remembered my Dad removing the training wheels one summer night.  “Pedal, pedal,” he shouted to me.   Okay, I did end up losing control and crashing into a wagon full of youngster being pulled by their parents.  I sometimes wonder if those former children in my Boston neighborhood remember that incident (or have spent years in counseling).

Having a bike meant freedom.  Sweet freedom.  I raced around the neighborhood with my best friend (she is still my best friend after all these years) and we searched for the ice cream man.  We didn’t wear helmets.  That was unheard of in that time.  Somehow we survived into adulthood.

Back to that hot birthday night. . .

I road down to the canals and went up and down until the sun was only a faint memory in the sky.  As it got darker I headed back to my neighborhood and road near the local park.  A group played volleyball in the greenway and there was just this certain sense of peace over the whole neighborhood, over the whole evening.  A slight breeze blew my hair back and rinsed over my skin.  My gosh, I had forgotten how that felt!  Who would have thought something so simple as a bike ride would conjure up memories and thoughts.  Even the sound of the chain churning as I pedaled drew out a certain deja vu from the depths of my memory.

Earlier in the week my boss, who is about my age, asked me if life in my 40s is what I thought about in my 20s.  This was a very interesting question. During that bike ride that birthday evening I started compiling a list in my mind of the things I’ve done in my 40s.  I never thought that far ahead in my 20s, truth be told.  Here’s what I came up with.

I never thought I would:

  • live in Arizona
  • ride a bike
  • run races
  • be a blonde!
  • speak Spanish (not as well as I used to  –I’ll never be fluent)
  • lift weights
  • have the same amazing people in my life as I did back in my 20s
  • have a job I absolutely adore
  • do 50 guy push-ups (let alone 1 push up!)
  • own a cute little stucco house with a Spanish tiled roof
  • wear a bikini
  • blog (4 years now)
  • be this happy on my own

So that’s it.  If I sat here long enough I could probably think of more things.  What about you?  What are some of the things in your life that you are doing/have done that you would have never thought you’d do in your younger years?  Do tell!

March, In A Nutshell

 

  Okay, I admit it.  I’ve been a blogging lame-o, but here is a run down of some things that have been going on.  The first two weeks of March I participated in two 5ks; the first one I did my second worst on.  For some reason when I crossed the start line my body was telling me it just did not want to run.  Plus the cute little running skort I purchased only a week before chafed my thighs until they were raw.  Note to self: do a test run after purchasing any new work-out gear.  The second race was the following weekend and I did a bit better.  My timing was 30 seconds quicker than the weekend before and this run included a few hills. 

After that last run I drove down to meet our blogging buddy Maureen in Tucson.  We did a photo shoot which was so much fun.  As you might know, Maureen is a wonderful photographer and I got to meet a few of her favorite subjects; the horses.  Maureen’s home is a desert dream with a spectacular view of the nearby mountains.  There is a southwest print in my kitchen by the artist Downe Burns.  Everytime I look at it I think of Maureen’s home in the desert. 

Ana came out for two weeks.  We had a wonderful time which included many dinners out and some great chats over a glass of wine sipped in the evening on the back patio.  We hiked in Sedona and also here in Phoenix.  It was a pretty full two weeks.  Ana must have really enjoyed herself because she came back with her son this past Monday night.  What can I say?  She is the ultimate house guest.  I’d arrive home after work and the dishes would be done, along with a bouquet of fresh flowers on the kitchen counter. 

Athletica and I went to Carlsbad, CA for the race at the very end of March.  Carlsbad is this small seaside town that was a really fun place to visit.  We flew into San Diego, rented a car, and then drove up to Ocean Beach.  We walked the boardwalk on a very chilly day.  There were surfing lessons going on and people out getting some exercise.  At one point a tough looking bunch of guys road by on low-rider bikes that looked custom.  They wore shades despite the cloudy weather, however the tough guy image was soon diminished as soon as one of them rang their bell to get our attention.  Only in California.  We had breakfast overlooking the ocean and then headed up to the hotel in Carlsbad.

The race was pretty good and the course stretched along Pacific Coast Highway.  There were five 5ks altogether and they started us ‘old folks’ (40 and over) first.  The men went and then the ladies.  That is the first race I’ve done where they’ve arranged things that way.  There were lots of hills so there was a bit of challenge there.  What I really liked about this race was that at each mile marker they had the time listed.  I did 11 minute miles for the first two miles and then by the third my legs felt like they were locking up.  I was having pain in my left knee and hip.  I walked a good portion of it but decided towards the end that I would run despite the pain.  I passed a woman walking who said to no one in particular, “I don’t know why I do this.  I sign up and I get to it, and then I hate it.”  While I don’t hate running by any stretch, my sentiments at the very moment were quite the same.  However, I laughed and kept going.  I arrived only a few seconds later than my last race so I wasn’t too disappointed with my time, especially given the size of the inclines on this course. 

I limped over the finish line, met Athletica, and then headed back to the hotel to shower and change.  We hit up the beer garden afterwards and chatted with some of the other racers.  After two beers we were really feeling it.  I admit I probably should have stopped at one but hey, too late to take that back now.  As Ana says, you don’t buy beer, you rent it.  That being the case we needed to find a bathroom and the only thing available were the typical race port-o-potties.  Unfortunately there were no hand sanitizers available.  We headed over to the expo which was still in full swing.  We happened across an unmanned booth that contained a table with some a container with a pump on the top which I naturally assumed was hand sanitizer.  I was just about to squirt some of the liquid into my hand when a 30-something woman came over and said she’d be happy to help me, miss.  I’ll admit I gave her brownie points for calling me miss and not ma’am.  She then went on to explain that her product was not hand sanitizer at all.  It was the equivalent of what marathon runners refer to as ‘Gu’.  It comes in a small packet and contains sugar and caffeine to help stimulate energy.  Runners will take this when they need a boost (and not when they need their hands sanitized).  I felt so dumb, but as Jamie Foxx sings, “blame it on the al-al-al-al-al-al-cohol.”

Later in the day we could hear drumming.  We followed the sound to a drumming circle where a very pregnant lady with dreadlocks and a peasant skirt invited us in to dance.  The group had gathered on a small patch of grass above the beach.  She took our hands and lead us in where one couldn’t help but move to the beat.  It was one of the neatest and most randomest things I’ve ever stumbled upon. 

We stayed one more night and then visited an old mission that was built in the late 1700s called San Luis Rey de Francia.  I love places like that.  We drove down to San Diego and had lunch on the water before visiting the USS Midway which was decommissioned some time ago. 

Like I mentioned earlier, Ana is back.  She, her son, Athletica and I will be heading to Tucson this weekend.  Myself and Athletica have a race and then we will meet up with Ana later to hang out by the hotel pool. 

So, that’s really been whats going on here.  Work has been completely crazy.  My breaks have been at a minimum as of late so I haven’t been able to get on here to post or read other posts.  I’m hoping to soon though!

One More Race On Tap & Cheers to the Weekend!

 Today I decided to officially sign up for the Carlsbad race.  At first I was going to be a spectator but after being caught up in the energy of the whole experience in Sedona between hanging out with other runners, to the award’s ceremony, I knew that it would be so much more fun to participate.  They do get expensive after a while so I’ve had to pace myself (no pun intended) on registrations.  My closet is also getting filled up with t-shirts!

Athletica has also filled me in on the best places to grab a post-race beer.  As a desert dweller I also get the added bonus of seeing the ocean.  Can’t wait for that!

Thank goodness it’s Friday!  Between some late nights this week with a meeting with my women’s group, to church stuff because of Ash Wednesday, and then attempting to get my taxes done again last night (the first time they ran out of time and last night the Internet was down) I am ready for bed!  Then of course the workouts at 5am and getting used to a new eating plan are somewhat wearing me out.  Next week should be a calmer week and I look forward to hitting the hay at a decent hour.

Do I look 68 to you?

For Lent I decided to give up Facebook.  This has already proven to be hard because I’m somewhat of a social creature by nature.  My best friend texted me yesterday that she caught me on it already.  I actually hadn’t been on it but I guess it showed me as on.  Not sure what was up with that.  It’s going to be a long 40 days!  Regardless, maybe this will actually be encouragement to pick up the phone and call someone instead of Facebook. 

My cousin, who I thought had long left for Afghanistan, saw my post and texted me asking why I was giving this up.  It turns out he is still in the states for a few more weeks.  He will be shipping out shortly though.  I said that hopefully the time will go by quick and he’ll be back before he knows it.  His response: “Hopefully. . .lol. But we never count on hopefullies.”  I found it a bit chilling but real.  I don’t have the best feeling about his being away.  Its something I can’t place my finger on but I really hope this just stems from my own worry and nothing substantial.

Tomorrow I will begin the day with another work out.  This time I can sleep in a bit as it doesn’t start until 8am.  My endurance must be improving because I no longer feel like I’m going to hurl at the end.  After this I scheduled a day of beauty and will get my hair cut and colored.  My eyebrows also need to be waxed.  I’m looking forward to this. 

Well, here’s to a great weekend! 

 

More Tales from The Gym (& a Mysterious Scale)

So last Friday I arrived at the gym at 5am to see that neither Athletica or Brian (the trainer)’s wife were there.  I was the sole candidate for early morning torture and Brian let me know I was in for it.  Where the heck was Athletica, I’m thinking.  I pictured her sound asleep in her warm bed, with her little chihuahua dog curled up next to her.  I was tempted to call her, laugh maniacally, and then hang up.  That will teach her to leave me on a killer solo workout. 

I will be honest.  This has been quite far the toughest workout I have ever done.  Slowly though, I’m starting to see some small changes, mainly in my arms.  Of course no one is exactly asking me for directions to the gun show yet but hey, that’s not why I’m doing this.  I am sore.  Each day something different hurts but it is a good kind of sore.  The other night I had no difficulty opening a jar of olives without the former other half’s help (now about that parallel parking thing. . .just kidding.  I grew up in a city so its second nature).

Just to give an idea of some of the exercises, one of the sets involves flipping a tractor tire up and back the length of the gym.  Here is a picture that shows the tractor with said tire.  It is the bigger tire, and man was that hard!

 The true test will be how my endurance is for running.  There is a run coming up on 3/10 that I’ve started training for.  It looks like my trainer is going as well.  Athletica and a few other people from the gym are doing that one race, too.  Monday morning we did lunges, squats and push ups (no girl push ups allowed, ugh).  In between we sprinted on the treadmill for 2 minute intervals.  The cool thing about all this is that I know I would never have pushed myself as hard as Brian pushes us.  When I looked down at the treadmill speed and realized how fast I was actually running I thought, wow, I can do this.  I can really do this! 

Running really is mind over matter at times.  I think that sometimes in a race I will stop myself and just start to walk when I know I could really be running. 

Brian has this special scale he uses which measures body fat, bone density and dehydration.  You basically stand on it like any other scale and then you hold onto these two handles that come up out of the scale.  This was rather an interesting tool.  Here I am thinking I am in such good shape and then I got a harsh dose of reality.  Although I’ve lost 45 lbs in the past couple of years, the scale showed my body fat being much higher than I thought.  My body also thinks it’s 68 years old (I’m 43).  Hmm.  I wondered how accurate it was.  Athletica stepped on and although she is in her mid-50s, her body shows as being that of a 28-year-old (hence why I call her Athletica).  So…I guess I have some work to still do.  At least my bone density is good and I’m not showing a lot of fat around my organs, which is important.  I can only imagine what the scale would have said if I were still 45lbs heavier.  Yikes!

The scale here is similar to the one Brian uses but the handles are on the sides.

 

In addition to this new workout regime, I started a new eating plan that was provided with the gym membership.  It is sooo much food!  Yesterday was the first day and I wondered to myself if this was correct.  My boss is a fitness guru so I asked him about it today and he said that sounded about right.  There are five meals a day which contain carbohydrates, proteins and fats.  Certain fruits and veggies are counted as carbohydrates, as well as some dairy, too.  This is all very interesting.  I’ll be curious to see what the results will  yield. 

 

New Beginnings, Great Food and a Veritable Ending

Friday night Athletica and I went to a group activity at a local bar & grille that featured a classic rock and blues band.  The singer in the band was the host of the activities group that sponsored this event.  It was fun but a bit loud when trying to speak to people.  We ordered a small pitcher of beer and sat with the rest of the folks in the group who were all from back east.  I met a girl from Virginia who is a hair dresser and a guy from Florida in his 20s who flashed open his sweatshirt revealing a Dropkick Murphys t-shirt when I mentioned I was from Boston.  It was really fun getting out that night.  We didn’t stay all that late.  When the band finished up their set we decided to call it a night.  Athletica had a race the next afternoon and we had plans to meet at her gym that morning.  We said goodbye to the group and the activities leader and band member, Steve, came over to say goodbye.  He shook my hand a little longer than necessary and I just got this strange feeling by the way he was looking at me that he was interested.  On the way home Athletica called and said, “That guy likes you.”  I let her know that I had figured that out.    Its becoming increasingly clear that what’s looking for me and what I will eventually be looking for are two different things.

Saturday morning I joined Athletica’s gym.  We were both riding the stationary bikes to warm up when Brian, our trainer, announced that we were to go directly to the bulletin board to read something he had posted.  Apparently he had seen my Facebook check-in at the bar the night before and wanted to brush us up on how alcohol works as a detriment to fat loss and weight training.  Note to self; either don’t friend trainer or stop checking in at bars.  😉  I thought it was kind of funny actually.  I guess I won’t be posting anymore pics of my exotic martinis either.

I made a six month committment to this gym.  This will require 5am workouts at least twice a week.  Tomorrow will be my first pre-work workout.  Wish me luck!

Saturday night was the Chinese Hot Pot dinner.  I drove out to the east valley and I was actually thinking of backing out.  I’m so glad I didn’t.  I sat at a table with three other ladies that I had never met.  We were given slips of paper to fill out what we wanted to add to the hot pot.  The 4 of us had to decide what broth we wanted in the pot.  We could choose 2.  In the center of the table was a small burner for the hot pot. 

 I chose udon noodles, tofu, Korean pumpkin and taro for my dishes.  The restaurant also provided two different types of soy based dipping sauces.  It was absolutely scrumptious!  I felt like I was talking to old friends rather than three ladies I had just met.  One of the ladies was from Cuba originally and another was from my home town.  That was really fun.  The other lady was so into food.  She talked about some of the more sumptuous meals she had and she described them as ‘orgasmic’.  We split a piece of Japanese green tea cheesecake which was so good that it almost brought tears to my eyes.  The owner of the restaurant has them flown in from a Japanese bakery in San Francisco. 

Food has long been a topic of discussion in my family.  We love food.  I felt like I was with them.  It was so wonderful.  I can hardly wait for the next event.

 I sent DGF an email today ending my friendship with him.  On Thursday evening I received a text from him that was completely inappropriate for someone who had a supposed girlfriend.  I asked him if he were really ready for a relationship.  He responded back that he probably wasn’t.  Shocker.  The more I thought about it over the weekend the more I knew I just needed to put an end to all this for my own well-being.  I told him that I cared very deeply for him but this is where the story ends.  My gosh, wasn’t it only a little over  a year ago that we were making plans for he and his wife to go out with me and my husband for dinner?  Sometimes I feel like I am living in the Twilight Zone.  Or maybe Alice through the looking-glass?  Nothing is what it seems, or at least what it was.

He didn’t respond right away and I figured he must be out with Miss Unaware canoodling somewhere for the Valentine’s holiday.  He emailed me back and suddenly he is single.  Go figure.  Being true to my word that this would be the last time I contacted him I let it go.

Classic Rock, Red Rocks, and a Little Race Called the Sedona Marathon

 Friday morning we left to go to Sedona for the race Saturday morning.  Classic rock tunes seem to be our soundtrack for the weekend.  Before checking into the hotel we headed straight to the expo at Tlaquepaque (tah-lak-ah-pack-ee) to pick up the bags and bibs for the race.  Vendors were set up selling everything from socks for runners to skin products.  What caught me right away was that there was just this energy among everyone there.  From the vendors to the fellow runners, everyone seem to be brimming with this energetic camaraderie. 

Athletica and I stopped at this one booth for a local fitness club.  The owner of the club spoke with us about a different technique he uses when training his runners.  I learned so much this weekend.  Running is so much more than slapping a pair of sneakers on and hitting the pavement.  He spoke about proper gait, etc…  The tent was decked out in exercise gear with a rope hanging from the front.  After speaking with the owner and one of his trainers (who were both highly attractive men, I may add) we went to leave and I walked headlong into the rope that was hanging from the tent, smacking my forehead.  I am still so socially awkward.  It’s a wonder I was ever married at all.  Yep, charming ’em all one at time!  (Or in this case, two at a time).  Athletica and I went to lunch and had a good laugh over it.

We checked into the hotel which we were pleased to see had the Comfort Number beds.  That was an interesting experience as it fills with air when you increase the dial numbers and then deflates the lower you go.  It doesn’t take much to amuse me sometimes.  Later we went to find the race route and then over the spaghetti dinner at the Elks Club. 

So many people from all over the country were there.  Many of them had traveled alone.  We met a woman from Seattle and a man from Dallas.  There was a couple from Maryland that had a goal of doing a race in every state.  So far they were 4 states in. 

We were up and out early the next day and man, was it cold!  Athletica always told me she did better in the cold than the hotter weather.  I’ve only raced in the heat it seems so didn’t know the difference.  Her race was first.  She did the half marathon.  I did the 5K.  I ran in a crowd of tutu’d women and a man with a giant fake moustache.  People were pumped and their energy was infectious.  What was really cool were the number of kids running.  Dads with their young sons and daughters were clearly at the head of the pack.  With the obesity problem for so many kiddos these days it was nice to see this.  Even the announcer brought it up before the race.

After the count down I was off.  The air was so cold that I could barely feel the tips of my fingers and toes.  Athetica was right.  Running in the cold seem to be better.  The sun came up right about that time and struck the red rocks.  What can I say?  It was absolutely beautiful.  No words can describe it.  The first 1.5 miles was pretty much uphill.  The half way point seem to come up awfully quick.  I wondered if the course was correct.  Athletica confirmed later that it was.  I did my absolute personal best on this race, even breaking my record from the first 5k I did back in my 20s.  I think there may be a 10k in my future. 

While running I remembered a dream I had a few years back that I was in a race and was moving effortlessly uphill.  I was on the edge of this mountain looking down into the valley where snow was melting into lush green fields.  It was an incredibly peaceful surrounding, much like Sedona.  At the time I had that dream I wasn’t even really running.  I’ve been told a couple of times now that when you increase your body’s strength that it also increase your mind’s strength.  So maybe I really owe it all to running for being able to make some tough decisions as of late.

  After the race I walked back to the car.  All participants got the medal above which I was so proud of!  They are shaped in wedges and will form a perfect circle after the next three years of Sedona races.  How cool is that?  I headed back to the hotel, showered and threw on some yoga pants and sweater.  I was grateful for such a hot shower with plenty of pressure.  After I picked Athetica up and we went to lunch at a funky little diner that is decked out in space ships and aliens.  Despite the kitschy decor they have the best burgers and beers.  They are also open later than any other place in Sedona. 

Later we attended the awards ceremony.  There was a beer garden which we partook in.  There was dancing, too.  Yeah, I couldn’t help myself.  It was very fun. 

The mayor of Sedona handed out the awards.  We didn’t stay for the whole thing but it was pretty impressive to see men and women in their 70s still out there running the full and half marathons.  We went back to the hotel and had dinner there.  Then at about 6pm we got in our p.j.s and watched several episodes of The Big Bang Theory.  I laughed til I cried.  Maybe it’s because I’ve worked in so many different engineering departments through the years that I could relate to the characters.  We were asleep by 9pm.  Party animals are we.

  Sunday morning we packed up and then went hiking.  We drove back to an area Athletica had seen the day before on her run.  We hiked up to the top of this butte following Dow Trail which consisted of many switchbacks.  We were breathing like we were oxygen deprived due to the altitude.  We stopped to take a few pictures and felt a bit light-headed.  Best to stay away from the edge which was fairly sheer and dotted with cactus.  Ouch!  We made it to the top of the butte which also contained a very sheer drop and sat to have a snack, avoiding getting too close to the edge.  It was such a wonderful day for a hike.  The sun warmed everything quite nicely and there was a gentle breeze blowing.  It was so incredibly quiet. 

After our hike we stopped for lunch and then hit the road.  We had just gotten into the Phoenix city limits when Athletica realized she didn’t have her purse.  I pulled into a gas station parking lot and we searched for it.  No, it wasn’t there.  I called the restaurant in Sedona and sure enough they had it.  I put some more gas into the car and turned north back onto the I-17.  We headed back to Sedona.  The staff recognized us from a few hours earlier.  We decided to stay for some warm sopapillas and honey before heading home.  We ended up missing the Superbowl and all the illustrious commercials but all in all, I would not have changed a single thing about this past weekend.  When we left Sedona, the almost full moon illuminated the giant rocks below.  There is no show that can compare.  The adventure continues. 

 

Off To The Races. . .

Tomorrow Athletica and I leave for Sedona.  I really can’t wait just to be away.  In my mind I have prepared a mental checklist of all the things I need to pack.  It’s going to be chilly with the high of only 32 degrees Saturday morning when the race starts. 

 The former other half will be taking care of the dog while I am away.  In all honesty I wish he would just take her permanently.  She’s developed a few bad habits and I think she is on a mission to punish me for his leaving.  My livingroom set is something I worked very hard for and the livingroom is one of my favorite rooms in the house.  Lately I have seen the tell-tale signs that she has been sleeping up on the couch.  This is a new habit of hers and no matter how much I threaten with the paper and yell, she continues.  Oh, she’ll roll over submissively as if she is promising me she’ll never do it again, but if they ever gave out academy awards for dogs, she would definitely be in the running. 

A few weeks back she jumped up on the bed and was rolling around maniacally.  At first I watched in amusement, until, that is, I heard the unmistakable sound of fabric ripping.  I lifted up the comforter to find that she had completely stuck her through the sheet and was sitting there as if wearing a poncho giving me that goofy dog grin.  I have yet to replace the sheet and woke up one night with said sheet looped around my shoulder.  I guess she thought I needed my own version of the Snuggy.  Little bitch.

Today I got up and decided to treat myself to a little more care than I have been.  I picked out an outfit that I haven’t worn in a while, flat-ironed the heck out of my hair and put on a little more makeup than I am accustomed to wearing.  I gave myself a parting glance, thought, okay, I look good, and then headed out the door.  Gradually moving forward, I am. 

 A cousin of mine called the other night from the Boston area.  I have not seen him in close to 20 years but we were reacquainted back when I was home visiting over the holidays.  He is in the army now and is due to be deployed to Afghanistan any day now.  He is three years younger than me and I always considered him my little cousin.  It was nice that he called.  I was expecting him to be long gone.  He and his girlfriend were at a bar and all of his friends had been treating him to drinks not knowing when he’d be getting the call that he would be shoving off.  My cousin was somewhat wild growing up.  I do recall there being lots of trouble and in my grandmother’s later years she confessed to me that she really didn’t care for him that much.  I always thought that was so sad.  My cousin lost his Dad, my Uncle Bob, late last summer. 

I find it so interesting sometimes how paths cross over and over again in life.  When my cousin and I spoke at my Mom’s party I felt this familial connection with him that I hadn’t remembered feeling since we were little kids.  I remember my grandmother sitting with her latch hook rug kit and out of all of us kids she was babysitting, it was just my cousin and me who asked her to show us how this was done.  I remember her purchasing kits for each of us and the three of us sat in the livingroom of her little apartment while the rest of the kids played games or watched an old Elvis movie on tv.  My cousin’s rug kit was of Snoopy and his dog house and mine was of a sunset scene with a palm tree in the foreground (go figure).  I meant to ask my cousin if he remembered this and completely forgot.  At the end of the conversation, over the din of the bar noise I could have sworn he said “I love you.”  I was taken aback by this and think I responded with an “Ok” but it was nice to hear it from a family member who means it.  I will worry about him every single day he is away.  He’s such a tough guy though.  If death were to approach him I have a sneaking suspicion that death would get the surprise of its life with a swift kick to the teeth.  Such is my cousin.  Always was, always will be. 

I talked to the former other half last night.  He said he never saw himself as a divorced person.  I said I never saw myself married to someone who could do the things he’s done.  There was nothing he could say. 

Well, I’m pushing it a little harder today.  I feel the need to keep things organized and clean, more so than usual.  From my office to my home I feel the need for order.  It keeps me calm.  Yesterday I saw the following picture on Facebook and thought it was so true.  Enjoy!