Monday, October 30, 2006

Almost Halloween!

Being my birthday, Halloween has always been my favorite holiday and Regis indulges me by carving one of these fancy pumpkins every year. We had a Marilyn Monroe pattern for the other pumpkin that we bought but it had already started to turn to mush so we had to forget about that. Isn't this one great?
We walked a mile last night...with the dogs. About two blocks from home, there were two huge huskies, unleashed, in a yard. They came charging at Bert and Kramer, who, being terriers, put on their most ugly fighting faces. It was a brief, but unpleasant battle. The owner of the dogs was there and called them off. I'm not much help in a crisis...I clap my hands over my ears and shriek. Other than that heart-pounding excitement, it was a pleasant walk.

From Regis - OK, so the walks with the dogs can be a little exciting. I am going to have to start carrying some pepper spray or someting. The problem last night is that I was too busy talking and thus was not paying attention. Usually I have the awareness of a Ninja turtle. Last night I had only a turtle's reflexes. What kind of a moron leaves two apparently aggressive huskies unattended in his front yard? When the smoke had cleared there was no damage and Teresa was a half block away. Those two nitwit dogs of ours are Terriers through and through and never back down from a fight. I suspect that Kramer is actually working undercover. When you see him around people he is totally gentle, he is so blind that he will attack lawn art because he thinks it is a rabbit or something, and he is as dumb as a box of rocks. You'd have to see him when you walk into a room and see him just standing there staring off into space as though he were receiving signals from the Mothership. In battle however he has phenomenal instincts. He manages to latch on to his target in such a way as it can't bite back. When we finally separated them last night, and I was sure that Kramer would be maimed, there he was latched on to the Huskie's throat.
Yes, we carved the pumpkin last night. The witch turned out well, but the pumpkin was highly suspect. It was way too dry, but it only has to go a couple of days so it should survive. Anyone know where October went?


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Our new start

Regis and I talked this morning about our walking. He was feeling some stress, too, about falling behind and wanted to either make a new commitment or forget it. We have a plan for walking on his long days...I'm going to stay awake until he gets home. Doing it in the morning is just too hard with all the other things we do in the morning. On our weekends, we're going to make it a priority no matter what our plans are. I said we could take the dogs most days, and walk the mile and a half loop around our neighborhood but he agreed to go other places from time to time, like the arboretum or the river path...and leave the dogs at home. It feels like a sentence to have to walk the same way every day. So, there you go. Back on the trail of 500 miles.

A new week

I took a whole week off from walking which has set me back quite a bit. I'm not going to think about that and I'm going to get started again today, but with a new attitude. I don't think I can do this by sheer force of will. I have to find a way to enjoy it and to do it differently.
I spent yesterday at an all-day, silent retreat for my class on mindfullness-based stress reduction. I went to the arboretum at Gustavus at 8:30 in the morning and spent most of the day without speaking or making eye contact. We did all kinds of meditation practices that we'd learned: the body scan, seated meditation, walking meditation, and some guided meditation. At the beginning of the class, I thought this would be impossible but I enjoyed it and thought it was a profound, almost spiritual, experience. To be in a room with a dozen people, mostly strangers, and spend a day without talking makes you feel things on a different level. At the end, when we could talk, it was hard to put your voice out there, and every word had to be weighed. I wondered how much air space I fill with empty words.
It's been a wonderful weekend. Friday night, we had dinner at Whiskey River with some old friends, Jan and Anders. Michael Perry, the author of Population 458: Meeting Your Neighbors One at a Time. He talked about his writing...what a sweet and engaging man. We had Manhattans, which we always have with Jan and Anders, we sat by the window and watched the leaves fall and the deer romp and the wild turkeys strut. It was almost magical. Last night, Tiffany came down about 5 and went to Hermie's for dinner. Hermie's is a bait shop/burger joint. The bait shop always had a better bathroom than the restaurant until they remodeled. I kind of enjoyed walking by the minnow tanks and racks of fishing lures. After we ate, we went to see Ella and Bob; Emily was at work. Ella entertained us with funny noises (she's great at noises and learns them quickly) and funny faces. Tiffany adores her. When Regis got home, we watched Good Night and Good Luck, the movie about Edward R. Murrow's fight with Joe McCarthy. Interesting movie in light of the Current Occupant of the White House. You know who I mean.
I slept late this morning and Regis made breakfast so I woke to bacon, eggs, and toast. Funny how even coffee tastes better when someone else makes it. Joan is coming down later to teach me some tai chi and I thought we could go for a walk in the arboretum. I'm going out later when it warms up to plant daffodils...a hundred daffodils. If the moles don't snack on them this winter, we'll have waves of sunshine in the yard in the spring.
It's been a great weekend.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Aches and pains

I'm taking a day off. My toe on my right foot aches like crazy and the joint is all red. My thumbs ache. What is this all about? Snow? I watched a new dvd on walking meditation and I fell asleep...that probably tells the story tonight. So, no walking news.
Poor Regis. Getting done with work in the dark and still having to drive home almost two hours. He sent an email and said he had to go out and let the air out of the sheep and the wind is frigid and feels like snow.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Weekend...four days off!

A fast update. I've managed to get my distance in but it's been a white-knuckle struggle. Yesterday, I put in a disc of Grey's Anatomy and walked two miles because the rest of the weekend, I'd been kind of a slacker. I've walked 28.5 miles so far, which may not sound like much if you're a person who exercises...BUT I DON'T.
Other than that, it's been a nice weekend. We took care of Ella on Thursday. She was a trooper, sleeping in the car, happy when we got her out. We went to Pet Expo where she was fascinated by the rabbits, the guineau pigs, the birds, and the ferrets. We went to Drummer's and bought baby pumpkins, and out for lunch where she left a million Cheerios under the table and we left a big tip on top of the table! When we got home, she slept until her mama got home so Regis and I got a nap, too. I'll post a picture of her sitting on the cold cement in front of Drummer's with the pumpkins and mums. Don't write to protest...she sat there for ten seconds so I don't think it means a future of arthritis and hemmorhoids.
We're busy getting ready for winter. I watered all the shrubs in the last two days, we got the bird feeder up and filled, and the hoses are ready to be disconnected. I have a hundred daffodil bulbs to plant. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Winter's coming!

We've been talking about snow all day. One forecaster says it will snow, the next says it won't. I hate driving my pick-up on the snow so Joanne is picking me up. It's a good thing that tomorrow is the last day of the work week...we have what we call MEA vacation. It's one of my favorite big meal, no obligations, nothing. Thursday we're taking care of Ella for the day so there may be pictures posted!
I walked a mile and a half on the treadmill. I couldn't bear to go out in the wind and cold and wet. I put Grey's Anatomy on and it actually felt pretty good...I think I have hormone issues and it made some of the aches and pains go away. Another thing I realized today is that I think the meditation has made the habits of the day seem comforting instead of irritating. I'm trying to do more things mindfully...dishes, cleaning tasks, putting things away.

Monday, October 16, 2006


I didn't walk yesterday but I was so tired after all the work I did, that I gave myself credit for one mile. Is that cheating?
I got home from work at 5, donned my walking shoes, stuck my iPod in my pocket and walked two miles...up 4th Street to the corner by the Redmen and then back down 3rd Street. Yay for me!!! I listened to Bill Maher, super-liberal on Real Time. Robin Williams was the guest. It was windy and cloudy but I enjoyed it. My butt was dragging a little by the time I got home but I still took the garbage cans down and made myself some dinner...a plate of cheese and rye bread, olives, and a glass of wine.
I saw a cloud of black birds that reshaped itself every few seconds. It was almost like an optical illusion against the gray autumn sky. It would look like a heart, then disappear, then shape itself into a double circle. Beautiful!
Regis took the dogs out last night late. I can't do that. We might be walking solo from now on. We have different ideas about what constitutes walking.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunday, October 15

A few days off. I walked some extra every day last week so I could take a weekend off when Mom came to visit. We went to Minneapolis on Saturday and had breakfast with Tiffany and Joan at the Uptown Diner, went to a yuppie consignment shop, and went over to St. Paul to see David's new clinic. It was a nice day except for the trips across the city on 94. Today I worked outside all day. I moved all the dirt in the garbage can that's been in our driveway since we did that cement project three years ago. Regis parked in the garage for the first time since before the tornado. I cleaned up the garden and all my flower pots and took a truck full of stuff to the compost site. I ache like crazy tonight.
Tomorrow, I get up early to do my walking and meditation.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Thursday, October 12

It's winter here today. Cold, cold, cold and the snow is coming sideways. I walked on the treadmill again...too nasty outside. I had a meatloaf and baked potatoes in the oven for dinner. It smelled great.
Kramer got his teeth cleaned today. It started out to cost about a hundred dollars. Then we had to pay for a blood test. Then a sealant. Then an IV because his liver enzymes were high. The kept calling us to talk about his liver. I finally asked the vet if she thought we'd get him a liver transplant. Good grief. Regis was afraid that a lawyer would call for us to do a living will...or we'd be charged with neglect and lose custody of the dog. Both dogs have had their teeth cleaned once...and they've both reached their out of pocket lifetime maximum. It's Bert's birthday today. He's thirteen in human years. Send cards.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wednesday, October 11

I've gotten to enjoy writing this blog and I realize that I've veered from the original write about our walking adventure. There is something weird about writing, knowing that it's posted but nobody will read it. I always wondered why people would spend their time writing into cyberspace. Always room for a new experience, I guess.
I did my walking today...all on the treadmill. It was about 35 degrees here today with a very stiff wind. Most unpleasant weather. Even my hair stood on end. I put in the second disk of the first season of Grey's Anatomy. I saw Christina get pregnant...well not the actual act, George get syphillis, the chief have surgery for a tumor, and Issy and Christina do an illegal autopsy. Arrrghghghg!!!!! I could turn into one of those people who blogs about television dramas!!!!
I went to my meditation class tonight, too. I've gotten to like it, all but the yoga. I do have to practice non-judgment from time to time but I guess that's the point. I had a couple of revelations. I've been waiting for something magical to happen during the meditation. Not nirvana exactly but something close to a blissful state. I was a little frustrated that it didn't happen and thought I surely must be doing something wrong. Tonight, a doctor who has been through the class several times talked about stress. He said the point is not to reach a blissful state but to practice (they use this word a lot) to retrain your brain in new ways to react to stress. Well, that I think I can do. The bliss thing was out of my league.
Oh my God! Addison just showed up and Meredith didn't know that Derek was married.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Later on October 10, 2006

I walked a mile on the treadmill while watching Grey's Anatomy (Season 1), then walked down to our favorite watering hole, Patrick's to meet my friend Karen for a beer and a grilled cheese sandwich. We read essays for the education department at Gustavus and like to get together over a beer to talk about what we read. Actually, the essays turn the beer into a literary event. It's a dark and gloomy autumn evening. On my walk, I saw: a beautiful little ginko tree on Third Street, an iris blooming in Marie Drantell's front yard, a robin that probably should be heading south, the new sign at the bank, and Dave Dreessen, our old PE teacher who moved to South Dakota last summer.
I didn't take my cell phone, and when I got home, I had about a dozen missed calls. Ella had an allergic reaction to eggs and Emily had to take her to Urgent Care. Emily called, Bob called, Regis called, Tiffany called....and the phone was home on the table. All is fine now. Ella's back home with benedryl and an appointment with an allergist next week.
I have a pedometer but I can't read the damn thing. I don't know what all those numbers are for...good grief.

Tough day!

Sunday night was the worst. We didn't walk until Regis got home at 10, which is late for me. He likes to take the dogs and I think they're a pain in the ass. He puts his head down and goes like a bat out of hell and I like to wander and look at things so I could hardly keep up. He didn't feel good and was cranky and tired so I was ready to whip one of Bert's fully-loaded poop bags over my head like a whirly-bird. It was ugly. I quit after a mile and went home. Regis came home shortly after and fell into bed with his shoes and pants on. It was a long time before he could move enough to undress.
I've had one other unpleasant side effect. The first week, I was taking Alieve every 12 hours to keep from getting stiff and sore. By Sunday, I had this weird breathing thing going I couldn't get a deep breath. I finally went to see my doctor yesterday. She thinks it's a bronchial spasm caused by acid reflux caused by the Alieve. Good grief. In my yoga class, I get benign positional vertigo when I move my head too much. I think I was healthier when I was sedentary.
Last night, I walked a mile on the treadmill without stopping. When I started, it was a four-break deal to walk a mile so that's progress, eh? I like to put Grey's Anatomy on and watch that while I walk. Nothing like a little sex and drama to make the time fly. It makes it fairly painless.
I figured out on the calculator that we have to walk 1.4 miles every day. That means if you get behind, you're pretty much screwed. Unless we work up the stamina to go three miles at a time to catch up and I don't really see that happening. I like to go a little extra every day...some days that's hard. Tomorrow we're supposed to have freezing rain and snow. That won't be much fun.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tiffany and Ella

Tiffany and Ella were here for dinner last night. Beautiful girls!


Wandering a different path wasn't as relaxing as I thought it might be. There was a storm bearing down on us and I was listening to Bill Maher's Real Time. Talk about political agitation. I did take some nice pictures and I'll post a couple later when Regis gets them out of the camera for me. Other than the short walk and practicing meditation, I haven't done a thing today but sit on the couch, read, and nap. I could blame it on vertigo, but really I just needed a day to relax and read and nap.
I had three goals for 2006...learn to meditate, exercise more, and get rid of clutter. Regis and I read Clutter's Last Stand last winter. Since then, I've taken truck loads of stuff to the dump and to the thrift store and had a garage sale. You could get a car in our garage now if the garbage can full of dirt from the driveway project three years ago wasn't sitting in front of the door. There's still plenty of junk to go but I have a couple months left.
In September, I started taking Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, at the suggestion of my doctor. It's really interesting and something I always enjoyed reading about...the connection between mind and body. I just never did anything about it even though I have books, CD's, videos, etc. So, now every Wednesday night, I take my shoes off at the door of a room at the St. Peter Community Hospital and sit in silence with other people learning to meditate. I don't like the yoga part...I get what I have diagnosed via the internet as benign positional vertigo when I move my head too much or change positions. It's unpleasant. The other parts, I have learned to love...the body scan, the seated meditation, walking meditation, and doing things mindfully.
And if you are a regular reader of our blog ( anyone is) then you know that we signed up for the Walk 500 Challenge meaning that we have committed to walking 500 miles from October 1, 2006 to October 1, 2007. Last week, I walk 10.9 miles. I write it down but I'm trying not to focus so much on how (or how much) I'm doing but rather on why.

Day #8

I can see this will get pretty tedious if we stick to the same route every day. The writing, I mean. It's been a busy weekend but we managed a mile and a half Friday morning and a mile Saturday night. Nothing new with the dogs. Bert's gotten a little addled in his old age and he stops to poop whenever the mood hits him...even right under a streetlight on the sidewalk. He used to have enough discretion to get in the shadows. Because Kramer can't see very well, he's startled by every leaf that blows...and there are lots of them this time of year!
Tiffany was here this weekend. We had a nice time...went shopping, stopped to see Peter and their new dog, Odie, and had lunch at a Mexican restaurant. She got to see Ella last night. Ella, even when she didn't tolerate the rest of us very well, always like Tiffany. She stares at her face and sometimes puts her little hands on Tiffany's cheeks.
Looks like another gorgeous fall day in Minnesota...but snow showers coming Wednesday. It won't be the end of fall but a warning shot for winter.
I might take a walk today without the dogs...and just go where I feel like going.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Day #6

Yes, we went for a walk last night at 10:15. Took both dogs. Did the short one-mile trek. Got up at 5:30 this morning and did the longer mile and a half. The moon was gorgeous and the sky was clear as glass. Dogs were distracted by leaves and the wind and peeing on light poles.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Day #5

Ok, all you skeptics. Like there's a crowd reading this blog...hahahahha! It's 8:00 p.m. on Day #5 and no walk yet. Regis has just finished his seventh day of work...five of them ten hour days and he sayed over in Rochester. He'll be home by ten. I've had a wild week, too, and didn't go out this morning by myself like I planned. It was too cold and I was tired. Wah. We have a plan to take the dogs out when he gets home...we'll see if that really transpires.
On another note, not related to walking, I spent the evening with Bob and Emily and that beautiful baby Miss Ella. She is such a doll and such a character. She did every trick she knows at dinner...funny faces, funny noises, babbling, tossing peas over the side of the high chair. Of course, I laughed, then she laughed. She stands now for several seconds at a time, sometimes with her arms out like a ballerina. She won't take a step yet, though, but drops to her butt.
More later on the walk.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Day #4

We got up early again and walked a mile and a half. It was a beautiful fall morning. Even though it had stormed during the night, it was cool, breezy, and dry. Kramer has severe cataracts and can't see worth a darn so he chases every leaf. Bert likes to pee on everything he passes...grasses, trees, fence posts. They've learned to keep up though so we just forge ahead and they do their chasing and peeing as we walk. We rarely see another person walking at 6 a.m. so I don't know how many others in town are doing the Walk 500 Challenge.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Bert and Kramer: Evil Terriers Go for a Walk

Cranky? Me?

I can't believe he expects me to get cranky about this! I've been a good sport...I have several pair of new shoes, athletic socks, pants and a t-shirt that look like something a person who exercises might wear...and I walked a mile and a half this morning. Regis is usually the one who perseveres through bad weather, sore knees, and being tired. Maybe he's the wieness, after all.
I can't say it's fun to crawl out of bed before the sun comes up, especially after the neighbor's dog kept me awake half the night but I do feel good when it's done. And there are funny parts. Regis handles both dogs because he's the dog whisperer of our house. Bert and Kramer know that I am afraid they'll start a brawl with any cat, squirrel, or St. Bernard that comes along so I have no control over them. They go in every direction and get tangled up around my feet. Regis has a great leash in each hand, poop bags in his pockets, and down the road he goes. I try to stay slightly behind, at about the 7:00 position. When a dog lingers too long at a sniff or a whizz and gets behind, he tosses the leash over my head like a lariat and we're back on track. It's like synchronized dog walking or dog ballet. Can't you see it?
We do have different preferences for walking. I like to strike out whichever way my mood dictates and go a different way every time. Regis has several routes mapped out and he likes to follow one of them, depending on how far he wants to go. The problem with my method is that sometimes I get a long ways away from home, and then have to drag my sorry, tired butt home. He likes to take the dogs. I would prefer they stay home. I like to look at things and he likes to put his head down and get it done. At least that's how I see it.

Buns of resentment? Day#3

There is probably a psychological profile for those who choose to embark on an exercise regimen.
There are no doubt a series of steps or phases that comprise the entire experience. Examples would be: Step 1. The realization that one is out of shape. Step 2 would be to acquire motivation. Step three would be to set a date etc, etc all the way down to the step where you toss your hands in the air in what is either a signal of triumph or one of disgust. I think that I have gotten to the point where the little aches and pains have begun to take hold. It is the point where the muscles are sore from this strange activity called exercise. I have arrived at the point where gravity almost overcomes me in my effort to get out of bed at 5:30 AM. Yes, I have reached the point of inertia. I would venture to guess that the dogs are the only beings in our house who are still willing to hit the pavement at such an ungodly hour. All of this and it is but day three, the weather is still beautiful, and Teresa has yet to become cranky. And , by the way, if anyone might be interested Google has a feature called mapmyrun that will calculate the distance you have gone. It looks like a good excuse to buy a GPS unit if you ask me.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Buns of Butter Day #2

Regis told me that he called me a wieness (female version of wiener) in his post. Just because I have the sense to complain doesn't mean I am a wieness! It might have been better if we had started getting into shape six weeks ago but that would be a little bit like preparing for parenthood and anyone who's done that will tell you there's no way to prepare for midnight feedings, stomach flu, and teen-agers. Preparation is NOT like the real thing.
It was a gorgeous blue sky, a million stars, balmy temps. And I'm not even stiff yet!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Buns of Stone Day #1

Regis and I signed up to take the Walk 500 Challenge in St. Peter. That means we are committed to walking 500 miles in the next year starting today. We dragged our lazy butts around the 1.25 mile loop TWICE today. The last few blocks were tough so we amused ourselves by thinking of the witty and sarcastic things we could write in a blog to document our efforts. So, here we go.

Blah, Blah, Blah. She makes it sound as though we crawled home for those last two blocks. Truth be told Teresa was suggesting that we can the 500 mile goal and go for a more "realistic" number. That would be in total violation of the man law that states that no matter how foolish the goal we must plug away. Look at other famous men who have gone before. George Custer who said, "Where did all these Indians come from?" after having traveled way too far west. Or how about Robt Scott, the Antarctic explorer, who said, "Well, we must continue on." after the death of his pack horses. Wait, these guys both died untimely deaths. Hmmmm. Actually we are only paying the price for waiting until the last minute and not getting into shape. We'll muddle through. I am concerned for Bert (our Jack Russell). He will be 13 in a few weeks and although he made this morning's mile and an eighth with no trouble, tonight he began to resemble a car with a bad wheel. This is part of a Community Walk program for which we shelled out 15 bucks each and I'll be damned if my name is going to end up on a list some where with 5 miles litsed next to my name come this time next year. refer to man law 67.