Yurt not trusting me

This weekend we had plans with friends to stay at a yurt. It seemed like a great idea after a few drinks while talking with Tom and Lisa at our daughter’s wedding. It still seemed like a good idea when Lisa booked the trip in February the next day.

The yurt is located in the middle of nowhere in some state park in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It was going to take a couple hours to drive there. Apparently it does not have electricity nor does it have running water. Winter camping at its finest with a vault toilet nearby. The only amenities are a couple bunk beds, a table, and a wood stove with wood to keep a fire going so nobody freezes to death.

Freezing to death…it’s been a cold week here in Wisconsin. I’ve heard of several reports of people freezing to death within this past week. Will, without a car, was still planning on riding his bike to work. Not only is it cold, it is icy because salt doesn’t melt ice well when it’s 20 below. I don’t think I could live with myself if I saw a picture of him dead on the morning news. So I let my daughter borrow my car so he would have a way to work.

I gave my friend Lisa a call this week to plan the trip to the yurt. Lisa said their snowmobile wasn’t working. They ordered parts they thought might fix it which were supposed to show up on Tuesday but didn’t arrive until Wednesday. To get to the yurt, we would need to hike almost 5 miles on a snow covered path or breeze in on a snowmobile.

I reminded myself of the not so fond memory of the last time I ‘ran’ 5 miles over a year ago. It was the last race I ever did. I almost didn’t finish. Not too long before that, I finished my first 50k. Yes, a 50k! It was at that point I knew something was wrong. I ran about half the race then I had this horrible pain in my ankle where I could barely walk. I found out later that under exertion I have a bone spur which hits a nerve. At times I can barely walk and the next minute it’s fine. I also had a terrible backache.

Back in the day, Lisa and I used to run together. That was before her daughter died, before she moved away. Those days were some of the best times in my life. We trained together. She was a better runner than me but she kept me on my toes. Between the two of us, we could place in almost every small town race. I typically placed in the top 10% of my age group in 10k’s and half-marathons. I was finally able to achieve at a sport after always being picked last as a kid for teams in gym class. I even had to do extra credit in middle school to pass gym class. Turns out I was better at writing book reports than doing any kind of sport. But running I guess you could say I ran with it.

Now my daughter Angel is training for her first half-marathon. At times I see her hard on herself if she has a bad run. I too was very hard on myself on bad running days. Recently I told her that even a bad run, she is still able to run. What I wouldn’t give now for a bad run. These are things you can say once it’s gone. But it is truly not gone because I am able to enjoy the process through her.

The part for the snowmobile came in and it didn’t fix the problem. Today Tom bought a new battery and it still didn’t work. Now they are thinking the starter on the snowmobile needs fixing and they will need to take it in somewhere to be fixed.

Today I made the decision to not go to the yurt if the snowmobile wasn’t working. The high for tomorrow is 3 with lows below zero. Maybe I would’ve gone if I didn’t have to walk 5 miles through the snow in subzero temperatures with all our gear and try to get there before dark. A couple years ago nothing would’ve stopped me. But now I can’t even trust myself anymore. With spotty phone coverage, who knows? I might end up on the news and not in a good way. Although I’m a planner, I haven’t given too much thought to my funeral yet.

I feel bad for wimping out. But I also know my limitations. All the self-discipline in the world won’t change a thing when my body doesn’t listen to my mind anymore. Looks like I’ll have some time to take Arabella car shopping after all.

Gratitude week 161

  1. We met up with our best friends and new friends to plan a road trip to Traverse City, Michigan this spring. We ate supper together, played a game, and laughed a lot. It was a fun evening.
  2. Angel’s mole that was removed is benign.
  3. Angel just signed up for her first half-marathon. It’s pretty cool she is following in my footsteps.
  4. Volunteer time, it feels good to be able to help other people.
  5. Couples therapy, I think we are making a lot of headway.
  6. We hosted a planning committee for the summer sailing season.
  7. I did a lot of planning this week for work and for fun. I could literally sit and plan for hours and enjoy it.
  8. I’m grateful my son is spending his time when he works limited hours to work on the garage apartment remodeling project. There are two unfinished rooms upstairs. One that is very small which he wants to use as a recording studio. His buddies and him are putting up the wall and put in a door. Then there is a very large room which they are planning on making into a living room that they are drywalling.
  9. This seems to be a relative period of harmony where everyone is working together. I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.
  10. I was able to spend time with my kids this week and that is always a good thing.
  11. Paul, Dan, and Alex are working on my son’s car today as some parts came in. It is bitterly cold outside so the car wouldn’t start. It looks like my husband finally got it started.
  12. Fires in our fireplace on cold winter evenings.

2022 recap

It’s hard to believe in a couple days we will be kissing 2022 good-bye. It’s been an interesting year with a lot of changes. I’ll highlight the highs and lows of the year.

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. In January of this year, we had to put down our 14 year old Beagle. We had him since he was a puppy. It was hard to let him go, but I feel good we were able to provide him with a loving home the time he was with us.

This year I was diagnosed with arthritis. This was the first year in over a decade that I didn’t log any running miles or do any races. This has been a huge change for me and at times hard for me to accept.

This year I travelled within the United States. Here is the list of areas I visited:

  1. Nevada
  2. Michigan
  3. Illinois
  4. Idaho
  5. Montana
  6. Wyoming
  7. Washington D.C.
  8. Maryland
  9. Delaware

I crossed 4 out of 9 off my bucket list.

My husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in Yellowstone by Old Faithful. It’s hard to believe we have been married 25 years already and I’ve known my husband half of his life. It’s something worth celebrating.

Our daughter got married this year to a wonderful guy. They bought their first house, have great jobs, and are 100% independent. What a blessing they have been to each other and us.

We tackled some big remodeling projects.

We joined a new church.

This is the first full year ALL of our children are adults and are living their own lives which has many ups and downs. I’ve had to learn to let go of a lot of things and no one is ever totally ready for that.

That’s about all I can think of right now.

What are my plans for 2023? I don’t do resolutions. I want to think I try to be the best person I can be every day. I don’t have any big goals. I want to continue to help others. I want to continue to work on my issues for a stronger marriage and a healthier me. I want to continue travelling and plan on crossing South America off my bucket list in February. Other than that, the rest is just life which I will be writing about as it unfolds.

Happy New Year!!

I dropped off the edge of WP

Sorry if it seems I dropped off the edge of WP. The day after my last post, I came down with the flu. I spent way too many days in bed staring at the ripples on the ceiling and talking gibberish to my dead grandma. After the fever went away, I ended up with a bout of colitis. Let me tell you, fun times. I am still not eating solid foods and every time I move too fast I hack up a lung. But I am slowly improving to the point where I can finally do the laundry, clean the house, and turn on my computer again.

I blame it on trying to do too much and not getting enough rest. Apparently I am not 25 anymore. I didn’t sleep well the night before Thanksgiving. That one was my own fault. I changed my cartilage earring from a stud to a hoop. The hoop was way too tight which swelled up my ear which woke me up in the middle of the night in throbbing pain. I spent hours starring at the ceiling wondering if I should get out of my warm bed to change it. That made Thanksgiving morning come way too early. Then Paul and Angel were off to run the Turkey Trot race. I stayed home by myself to keep an eye on the turkey, cook, clean, and decorate for the party at noon. No one was home so I blasted my music and got to work.

After Paul and Angel got back, my mom and Matt were the first to arrive to the party. When my mom arrived I turned off my music, then she came into the kitchen and turned her music on without asking. She yelled at my brother Matt for where he was setting things down which is out of character for her. Paul and Angel were talking about the race and my mom asked me if I ran too. I was getting upset at this point and told her I did not run for a year. Besides there was no way we would put the turkey in the oven and leave the house for several hours.

Everyone seemed to arrive at once. My best friend’s son brought his new girlfriend. He introduced me to her as the matriarch of the family which I thought was really sweet of him. My mom put him in his place and told him I wasn’t the matriarch, she was. It was a very awkward experience. This may or may not have been the point when I started drinking. Everyone was in the kitchen trying to talk and ask questions as Paul was trying to cut the turkey and I was mashing potatoes. My mom was asking where the bowls are. Paul’s step-dad Darryl was talking Paul’s ear off about hunting and fishing while his fiance asked if I wanted her to put whip cream on part of the Jello or all of it. I told her to go ahead and put it on the whole thing, then my mom came over a told her not to.

Finally the meal was ready and it was time to eat. As I was eating, my mom came over to the table with Matt and showed everyone his incisions from his gallbladder surgery. I didn’t have much of an appetite after that. Then it was time to clean up. Afterwards the drinks were flowing and we played games and opened the pool. The last guests left around midnight and I stumbled into bed once again not sleeping well.

The next morning Paul, Angel, Alex, Lexi, and I went to the Christmas tree farm and picked out two trees. I spent most the day decorating the house and trees with the kids. Then Paul and I went Black Friday shopping for a couple hours for a futon couch which we didn’t find. Saturday I went shopping again until I finally found a futon couch. Then I also stopped at Kohl’s because I needed socks and bras. Maybe this is more than you want to know, but I threw out 4 bras in the past month that were worn out. I no longer had any plain white socks either. Both items I don’t buy myself at the thrift stores. But I wanted to get them on sale. Sale, sale, sale. Then I spent the afternoon with Angel volunteering.

Sunday was church, then I spent the rest of the day shopping the sales online researching vacations and creating the family calendar for 2023. I turned my computer off at 9 PM exhausted. Then I was back at it again on Cyber Monday shopping the sales for Christmas on my computer. In the morning I shopped with Paul, then the afternoon I shopped with my mom. By that evening, I was sick and fell off the edge of WP. I think I am finally on the mend.

This uncertainty, part 4

Usually I have my whole life planned out. Well, maybe not that extreme but you get the point. I thought I would be one of the few marathon runners that would run into their 70’s. That didn’t happen. Sometimes I still dream of running. I hate exercising now. I told the doctor all I really wanted to be able to do is run again. She chuckled at this and told me if I did she would be replacing both my knees in the next two years. It’s been a whole year since I ran and this year my husband and daughter will be doing the last race I did without me. I am happy for them and don’t want them not to do it because I can’t. I just never expected my life to be this way.

I thought I would be checking Europe off my bucket list in the summer of 2020. You all know what happened with those plans. Who would have guessed? When I plan things I pretty much plan on it happening. But I also learned life doesn’t always work out the way we plan.

Usually by this time I have next year all planned out as far as travel goes. This year I have no idea what I want to do. Right now I’ve set aside several dates on the calendar for going on a trip. That’s about it. My husband and I are thinking of trying last minute deals with these dates. My only rule is that I want to go somewhere I haven’t already been. The problem with this plan is that we aren’t spontaneous people. Even if we have absolutely nothing going on, we both plan our days. We are by nature extreme planners. We like our structure and lists. On Mondays and Thursdays I wash towels. We are going to try this but we might not like it.

Typically I would get some input from my husband about where he wants to go and I would plan everything. Checking off all 50 states and all continents is huge on my bucket list, but my husband does not have these constraints. These are higher priority trips for me. Now my husband is getting involved in finding the deals. Since at heart he is a finance guy, he spent hours creating a financial calculator down to the penny to analyze which is the best deal. I could care less about that but I am concerned I will find something and it will be gone before he can decide what the better deal is. Then who is in charge of the planning. It has always been me and it’s something I really enjoy. I have a systematic way of doing things. Hopefully this is not going to create conflict. Now I think all this spontaneity might not work. Part of the fun is doing all the research and planning the details.

There is also some uncertainty about the next step in our business. There is uncertainty regarding the economy. In my mind there is still some uncertainty around COVID. This year we had to cancel a trip because of it. If anything I am getting better living with uncertainty, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I’m not one of those we’ll see how everything pans out kind of person.

1 week

Oh my gosh, I can’t believe the wedding is a week away. I feel the anxiety. There is a fine line between anxiety and excitement. My mind creeps over to worrying about the things I can’t control. What if I get sick? I worry about Angel and Dan getting sick. Angel who was always the one to get sick right before a big performance. The anxiety burns her body out and runs her right down. But the anxiety cannot be controlled either.

I have been trying to stay healthy. One of the biggest things I’ve been trying to do is drink more water. I started taking more vitamin D. I try to make healthy food choices and exercise every day even if it’s just a walk around the block. It’s been hard to give up sugar, not because I crave it but because it is in everything. Look at labels and you will be surprised. Pinto beans? Seriously, there is sugar in canned beans. What I miss most is sweetened coffee creamer. But I realize I could do everything right and still get sick. Maybe I’m being anxious thinking if I carry around some sort of rabbit’s foot I’ll have good luck. If I try extra hard to be healthy I won’t get sick.

I also wanted to lose a few pounds. The overweight comment by the doctor a few months back really stung. I feel old now. I felt really good up until 45. That was the year everything happened with my dad. Then right after that was when my daughter attempted suicide. Followed by COVID a couple months after that. Then I started having health problems. Maybe it would’ve happened anyway. It’s hard to say but no doubt the stress probably didn’t help.

I’ve aged a lot over the past 3 years. I stopped coloring my hair. It’s been two years now and no color remains. I haven’t had my hair cut since January and have no plans of cutting or coloring it soon. Angel says she likes my gray hair. I have to say the color is very unique, a sandy blondish brownish gray.

Nobody says I need to lose weight for the wedding. No one really cares but me. I just don’t feel like me anymore. Maybe I just want to feel young again. Today I went to the pet store and bought a 20lb box of cat litter. The young lady that checked me out called me ma’am and asked if I needed assistance carrying the cat litter to my car. Three years ago I ran a 50k and now I look feeble enough to need help carrying something to my car?

I swear I am trapped in someone else’s body. What really scares me is that I see my dad in myself as I age. He never exercised a day in his life, is obese, and has a lot of aches and pains. He is everything I don’t want to be, yet I find myself like him in some ways.

I’m afraid my arthritis will be acting up and I’ll end up sitting in a chair all night and not cutting up the dance floor. I’ve found that having arthritis is a delicate balance between not overdoing it and not doing anything at all. Today I would do anything just to be able to go running again like I used to.

I’m going to try to relax and not freak out so much about everything. But that is easier said than done. I was invited to a party tonight but opted not to go to avoid being in groups right before the wedding. Gotta stay healthy. The funny thing is I didn’t want to go anyway so it’s not much of a sacrifice. Why would I feel guilty skipping a party I didn’t really want to go to anyway? Am I obligated to go if I have nothing else going on?

Yesterday Arabella found out she has mono. In the last month she has had COVID, an ear infection, and now mono. She is sick all the time and her immune system is garbage. But she does nothing to take care of herself.

I just have to keep telling myself that regardless of what happens, Angel is marrying the right guy. It’s not about who gets sick or stays healthy. It’s not about whether or not my dress is a little tight around the waist. It’s not about whether the day is cold and rainy or if snow flurries fall. It’s not about how much I get out on the dance floor.

One week left, I have to stay focused on what really matters.

24 days

In 24 days my daughter is getting married. Until now, the date seemed so far away. July was the bachelorette party with friends at the cabin up north. August was the bridal shower. Our 25th anniversary trip in between those events, still the wedding seemed far away. The calendar on my wall flipped once again and now it is less than a month away.

Time keeps marching on although I wanted it to slow down a little. Maybe we could go back to when Angel was still young and holding my hand. I find myself wishing for things that have already passed. I haven’t experienced a lot of longing for the past in my life up until now. The other day I had a dream she was leaving me. The feelings seem silly because she will always be our daughter even though she will no longer carry our name.

I have been busying myself getting everyone else ready for the wedding. I made the appointment for Paul to get his tux fitted. Yesterday I took Arabella shopping. I want my other children to have something nice to wear to their sister’s wedding. I don’t know why I thought I could just waltz into a store and find something. I haven’t seriously shopped for a nice dress for my daughter since before COVID. Remember when department stores had racks and racks of homecoming and party dresses? It’s not like that anymore. The only dresses I found a lot of looked like nightgowns, pajama dresses.

It’s even more difficult to find something nice in the plus sizes. The only acceptable dresses that didn’t look like nightgowns were dresses my grandmother would be too young to wear, never mind a teenage girl. I ended up ordering a dress on Facebook marketplace and I’m praying it is going to work because my daughter is extremely busty. Thankfully she does have one nice dress she could wear if it doesn’t work.

I had a heck of a time finding shoes. My daughter wants me to wear nude dress shoes since I am standing up in the wedding. I do not own a nice pair of nude colored dress shoes. I started that search several weeks ago and came up empty handed until last night. I don’t wear dress shoes anymore. (Plus I hate the color). The only thing I could find looked either like ballet shoes or were two inch stilettos. No way! I did find a cute pair that looked promising only to try them on to experience excruciating pain with my arthritis and bunion. There was no way I could stand to have them on my feet much less stand up with them for the wedding. Last night I found an ugly pair of dress sandals on clearance that don’t make me feel like someone is sawing off my foot. Done.

Yesterday I started a new diet. Okay, I will tell you right now I am an incredibly vain woman. A couple months back when I was diagnosed with arthritis, I also got diagnosed with being overweight. The doctor said I should exercise more. Funny thing was before I started being in pain all the time I was at the gym 3 times a week and was running marathons. I was in a strength training class. I prided myself on maintaining a youthful figure. I thought it would always be that way until my own body humbled me. Now I’m all squishy. Not that anyone expects me to look like I’m 25 besides me when I’m almost twice that.

Yesterday I started the diet of no alcohol, gluten, dairy, and sugar. I’ve done it before after the bad bout of colitis I had. I did feel a lot better, but it is hard to maintain. I am hoping to lose some weight, but mainly to just feel better. I am not going to be super anal about it. But I would like to get back to being healthier again.

I thought I would write about getting ready for the wedding as that is what is happening in my life right now. I feel like I dropped the ball a little with everything being a super organized planner and all. In some ways I don’t think I’ve had to do a lot of worrying because my daughter is also a super organized worrier at planning her own wedding and I don’t want to step on her feet. I really didn’t think about it all that much and here we are at 24 days already.

Gratitude week 128

  1. I took an upper level sailing class, and I passed. I wasn’t sure I would.
  2. As much as I like to get away, I’m always grateful to sleep in my own bed.
  3. We purchased a quarter cow. I’m grateful to have meat in the freezer from a local farmer. I’m hoping this will save us money at the store.
  4. Paul and Angel ran a 10k yesterday. It was my daughter’s first time running a 10k and my first time watching instead of running. It was a bittersweet moment. I’m grateful I inspired my daughter to be a runner, yet was sad I could no longer run. It was a strange feeling. I felt nostalgia for the days of running, happiness watching my daughter (and husband) run, a great sadness I will never run again, and a part of me felt relief.
  5. I’m grateful as a previous runner of the race that I had inside knowledge of the best places to be an observer.
  6. Spring; warm days and cool nights. I’m trying to go the whole summer without A/C. We’ll see how far I get this year.
  7. An old friend from college was in the area and stopped by. I haven’t seen her in over 5 years.
  8. I also got an unplanned visit the same night from my best friend.
  9. After working two weeks straight, my husband has the next couple days off.
  10. I’m grateful to go out to eat with family and friends this past week.
  11. After the race, Paul made his famous homemade pizza.

My run is over

It’s official. My run is over.

Tuesday I had an appointment with the rheumatoid doctor I waited 4 months to see. It started out a little rough. The nurse asked what tests I had done. Tests?? What? None, I replied. She said that my visit was probably a wild goose chase and they would end up sending me back to my doctor. I felt discouraged. I knew something was wrong. I mean, just this week I started having a hard time bending my toes. I am in almost constant pain. It’s more of a dull ache, but still.

Next the doctor came in. She listened to all I had to say…that I was a runner for 15 years…started having pain in my joints…having a hard time bending my toes. She did an exam. She heard my knees grind when I bent them. I can no longer bend over and touch my toes. Then there was the pain in my hands and feet. She told me I have osteoarthritis. I also have a bunion on my right foot which is a great source of my pain.

I told her that I could no longer run. The last time I ran I had a lot of back pain and a piercing stabbing pain in my ankle that would randomly come and go. She said I most likely have a bone spur on my ankle and when I would run it would pinch a nerve. The doctor said she didn’t recommend running anymore. Instead I should do low impact sports such as walking or swimming.

It’s difficult because I am sore when I get up in the morning. I’m sore if I sit too much. I can’t do any high impact exercise without a tremendous amount of pain. Even walking hurts. It just sucks. I tried walking with hand and leg weights and ended up with tendonitis in my shoulder. The doctor said I am overweight. Outside of being pregnant, I’m the heaviest I ever was. The doctor said I needed to exercise more. Yeah, I wish I could run and do everything I was able to do before. Of course I’m going to gain weight. I went from running marathons to Netflix marathons. I feel trapped in my own body. It no longer does what I want it to do anymore.

But I do feel better knowing I have arthritis. I knew something was wrong. How do you go from running to hardly being able to walk without something being wrong??

Next month Angel and Paul are running a 10k. This will be the first time I will be an observer of the sport I was once so passionate about. I am a little sad because the time I ran in races were some of the best years of my life. I felt so healthy and alive. I’ve accepted that my run is over. Recently, I donated or threw out most of my running gear. I guess it’s on to a new phase of my life whatever that will be.

I was worried (and pretty much everyone I told asked) I caused this arthritis in myself by being a long distance runner. The research says that is simply not true. You are at higher risk of developing arthritis if you are a professional athlete running 50+ miles a week which I am not. The research I found said you are more likely to develop arthritis if you are obese living a sedentary lifestyle and not as likely if you are a runner. Honestly, I don’t know why it happened to me. That’s life I guess…you just never know what’s going to happen next.

I once was a marathon runner. Now I have arthritis.

The old normal, part 6

Before COVID, I spent a lot of time at the gym. I don’t even have a gym membership anymore. How things have changed.

Back in the day, I used to go to the gym three times a week for at least an hour. In the summer, I would run the streets. I did countless marathons, a half Iron, and a 50k. When I first started blogging I wrote about training for my first marathon after reading a marathon training book written by a blogger. At the time I thought I could run a marathon and I could write on a blog, and I did. I even have running in the title of my blog. Over time this blog has morphed into something more than that.

I always thought I would be a runner. I didn’t often see a lot of older runners competing in races, but when I did I thought to myself that will be me someday. Running helped me burn off a lot of my anxiety and stress. I worried a lot about becoming injured because I didn’t think I would be sane without running. I know I have posted before if I couldn’t run someone would need to check on me because I would not be okay.

Then the world changed. When COVID hit my gym closed and all the races I was planning on running got cancelled. Not long after that, I had a 10 day bout of colitis that knocked me off my feet. A month later it was hard for me just to put the laundry from the washer into the dryer. I thought I would never be able to run again. I was able to but I lost most of what was left of my endurance. Then I started to experience joint pain which made it all but impossible to run without being in pain.

I’m not sure what is wrong. It could be a number of things or it could be nothing at all. I have an appointment scheduled with a specialist in May. My doctor thought the joint pain could be related to colitis. I recently read stress and trauma can cause inflammation like I have. Or maybe I overused my joints by all my long distance running. I also saw it could be a symptom of perimenopause. Or maybe I’m getting arthritis like some of my other relatives did. I started noticing bumps on the knuckles of my fingers. But until I see the doctor I’m just guessing.

I started doing low impact workouts but I find them to be frustrating because it doesn’t feel as if I am doing anything. I had to take a step back because I just couldn’t do it anymore. I miss running, I really do but I don’t feel like I will not be okay without it anymore. I don’t need to beat the hell out of my body anymore. But I don’t want to do nothing either. I’ve gained some weight. But is it realistic to think I’ll always be able to keep a youthful figure as I age?

Sometimes now I run into people from my running days. I’ve been asked what race I am training for. It’s hard to admit I am much more of a walker now. For 15 years I identified as a runner. Now it’s just another area of my life I don’t know who I am anymore. But one thing I can say for sure, I can live without running. I am okay. I never thought I would be saying that. Now it’s time for something new. I’m just not sure what that is yet.