Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I met Erin, Lucy and Emily yesterday at our local Applebee's for a quick Valentine's Day lunch together. As we were getting ready to leave, I noticed a woman standing at a table near the windows, aiming her cell phone camera at the barren tree just outside the window.

Puzzled, I followed her line of sight and saw birds in the tree. Not just any birds. Robins! The robins are back! Yes, we'll still have many more weeks of crappy cold and white fluffy stuff coming down but the robins have faith that the weather will get better. If they believe, I'll believe.

Here's photographic proof that they are really back. I drove past this Applebee's again today and saw two or three plump robins on the ground so it wasn't just a fluke that we saw them yesterday. You have to kinda squint to actually see the red breast but the shape is distinctively robin.

Seeing the robins made my whole day yesterday. Valentine's Day was wonderful all by itself but seeing the robins just made it all that much better.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hello, my deer

There's a deep ravine behind and beside our house -- we live on a corner. For living in a suburban area with relatively high density of homes, we have an amazingly private lot. During the summer, we can only see three neighbor's homes. In the cold months when the leaves are off the trees, we can see across the ravine but the homes are 400 to 500 feet away. Still pretty private.

Anyway. On Tuesday morning, I was opening the shades and saw several deer down by the creek that runs through the ravine. We see lots of wildlife down there including wild turkeys, rabbits, foxes, owls and run-of-the-mill animals like squirrels and chipmunks. Luckily we don't seem to have any skunks. So the deer were just awakening and getting up from their overnight slumber behind the house. So I grabbed the camera, opened the bedroom window on the second floor (temps were in the single digits) and tried to get a few shots. The deer heard me and were a bit skittish watching me. I went to the first floor and opened another window where I could get some better shots of them.

This is what I was able to shoot.

Pretty amazing resolution (I don't pretend for a second that it's my expertise) from a point-and-shoot, huh?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The curse of early adopter-ing

We (my then-husband and I) had one of the first microwave ovens and an automatic ice maker in our refrig in the early 70s.
I had an Osborne (cpm-operating system) portable computer (if you called 30+ pounds portable) in the mid-80s.
John bought a Saturn in 1991, the first year they were made.
John's had a cell phone since 1990 when the brick phone was the only thing available.
John bought Google TV as it was announced. Ditto with Roku.
We bought a Prius in 2005 -- yeah, we were kinda late on that one.

In addition, there is all manner of electronics that we have acquired before they really became popular such as digital cameras, the Kindle, electronic picture frames, HDTV, BlueTooth/handsfree attachments for driving and talking -- pretty much, if you name it, we probably had it earlier than most people. It's just what we seem to do.

It's no big deal, I guess and there's really no main point to this post, I just realized. Early adopting of technology just seems to come naturally to both of us. Anyway, I mention it because John, who gets up at 4:45 am every weekday morning for work, set the alarm on February 3rd so he could get up at 2:30 am and order his Verizon iPhone 4 at the earliest possible moment, 3 am. He wanted to be the earliest of early adopters on that one. He didn't hear the alarm so I urged him to awaken and then went back to sleep immediately. He was considerately very quiet, bless him.

His middle of the night excursion turned out positively, because he received his iPhone on Monday the 7th, three full days before they were available in stores. He's very tickled to have it. Me? Seriously, I couldn't care any less about having one. I'm happy with my two-function phone and don't even want his now abandoned iTouch. I can't figure what I would do with it.

When Holly and Mike were here for Christmas over Thanksgiving, she had an iPad and I was quite taken with it. Maybe if I can find a compelling reason someday, I'd get one of those. But in the meantime, I'll just stay comfortably in the middle of the pack on this one.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pride goeth before the fall...

Last Thursday I went to Fleet Feet to sign up for my 12 weeks of running/5K lessons. Lucy was with me and I was trying to act relatively competent and somewhat athletic with the 20-something kid who was helping me. Somewhere in our conversation I slipped in that I had walked two half marathons and a 5K and walked lots, blah blah blah, just so I didn't look like a 60 year old kinda overweight marathon wannabe (oh wait ....).

So I was looking at running shoes and the kid was helping me. I took off my jacket so I could walk on the treadmill, he could check my foot placement and make the best recommendations. Nothing unusual there -- standard practice.

I was seated, bending over to tie the shoes the kid was recommending. Lucy was sitting on the bench next to me and she said,

"Gwanma, I wike youh undewpants." Very clearly.

It gave me pause for a second. The kid chuckled and said, "they really will say anything, won't they?"

Not sure how you keep (or retrieve) your dignity after a comment like that.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I think I can, I think I can...

Just like the Little Engine That Could, I'm hoping I can. 

John and I did a half marathon -- walking -- in January 2006 for the Leukemia Foundation Team In Training. Mostly, I wanted the training they'd give us and was hoping for amazing weight loss. The training WAS awesome. The weight loss didn't exactly happen but that's not the training's fault. But I felt very empowered and much like an athlete as we trained and for quite a while afterwards. We subsequently did another half marathon on our own with Bridget and Erin in 2009. No hoopla at the finish line -- heck, there was no finish line -- but we did it, just the same.
Johnnie (r) and me (l) at the Phoenix PF Chang Rock N Roll Marathon, January 15, 2006
While my/our athletic activity level has been somewhat uneven since then -- we did a 12-week boot camp in the spring of 2006 but not a lot since then except walking with Bridget for 3-5 miles lots of early mornings -- I still (sometimes) feel like an athlete and really want to do more athletically. I've awakened to this whole exercise and athleticism thing really late in my life but I'm not ready to give up yet. I'm not competitive with anyone except myself in these things -- I'm just not young enough and speedy enough to consider it.

Anyway, our local Fleet Feet franchise is sponsoring a 12-week training for people who have never run or need to learn how to run, culminating in a 5K on May 1st. I've had trouble running in the past (tried to while we were training for the first half marathon in 2006) but my knees start acting up, there are bursitis shots involved and it's not a lot of fun. Add that to the continuing plantar fasciitis issues and my advancing age (shush) and, well, I don't look like a great candidate for running a 5K. Ever.

But, sniff, sniff, I wanna. I really wanna. During our 2006 training, I remember breaking away from Johnnie one day as we were walking and running ahead for a couple minutes. I think I felt the elusive runner's high that all runners talk about -- the euphoria of being apart from yourself, feeling free and completely exhilarated. Even though it didn't last very long, I crave that feeling at least once more.

So. I am going to sign up for the 12-week 5K training and see how it goes. They promise lots of coaching and mentoring for the newbies and I'll need plenty of it. I was encouraged at the information session last night that there were several other people who looked to be in my same age group who were interested in trying this too. Misery loves company, right? John is concerned about how my knees will react and, truthfully, I'm not sure either. In any case, I can always walk the 5K but I really want to give running one last try with the proper coaching and training.

I'll never know unless I give this a concerted try and, frankly, if I don't try soon, I'll definitely be too old to start.

Wish me luck -- I'll keep you posted!