Thursday, December 30, 2010

Was there a Party?

The dogs LOOOOVe the holidays!!!

Most of you know that Coop loves his babies (and Levi steals them and hides them behind the pine tree in the yard NEVER to be found by Cooper again!!).  Well, he couldn't decide which baby to walk around with, so with some help from his mom, he enjoyed a double baby dose - and he walked around showing them off for HOURS!!

I decided to leave them home alone when I went to PA for Christmas.  A friend of mine told me that he suspects his cats hold parties when he is away, so it got me wondering...then I came upon these photos...

What do you think, do I have reason to worry???  

I hope everyone has a great day!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Never Too Late for Christmas

 Or a Christmas post.

I realize Christmas has come and gone, but I am still trying to dig out!  And NOT from snow....missed us completely!!!  I'm sure you can't help to have heard about the crazy amounts of snow that blanketed the East Coast...NOT ONE BIT here.  I think it is a bye from last year.  I'm sure there is more coming our way eventually.

Anyway, back to Christmas...

A lot of driving, which has become the norm of my life.  But, there is a companion that never lets me down.

Scary story...I pulled up to the drive through, ordered my Grande Skim 130 degree latte (as always) and merrily went on my way.  The next day, driving home from church, felt the urge for a 2nd day in a row latte.  I rolled into the drive through, placed my order and the voice in the big box says..."You really started something"  to which I responded, "excuse me?"  Turns out, after I headed on my way to PA, the 130 degree temperature took off like a ROCKET!!!  The kid working had remembered me from the day before and remembered my voice and the way I order (ok, a little creepy, but stick with me here).  I always thought I was weird (ok, I am, don't get distracted, just talking about the coffee issue here) but I didn't care.  I am a wimpy coffee drinker and if I get it at regular temperature I have to wait a full 30 minutes to drink it.  So, weird or not, I am ok with it.  But now, I'm feeling less weird OR the world is joining me.  Either way, it's all good.

Ok, back to Christmas.  As I passed through New Oxford, I saw a beautifully decorated building.  I stopped my car, leaned out the window and had to have this picture.  So simple, but I just thought it looked so pretty.

Then onto mom's for dinner and family (that's Grandma for those of you that don't know her....isn't she just the cutest??)

Then, Dad and Nancy chose home over Florida for Christmas, so I was able to swing in there for some  warm apple cinnamon wine and apple pie...yummo!

Anyway, Merry late Christmas to everyone.  I hope you enjoyed time with family and friends!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Levi look-alike!

Most of you are probably familiar with my 3 chocolate labs.


Most of you are probably also familiar with the fact that the breeder where I purchased the boys 4 years ago...not so reputable.  Or clean.  Or honest, it turns out.   (Here is Skip wishing he was ANYWHERE other than this!!!)

Let me preface this with the fact that I love what animal shelters and rescues do and I think they are the place to go for a family pet.  BUT, somehow my mind left me for a short vacation and I walked away from this breeder with not 1, but 2 chocolate lab puppies.  I think it turned into more of a rescue mission at that point.  My mom received a puppy from here for Christmas that year too (that's what go me in trouble..Skip asked me to go along and help pick one out!!!)

Anyway, the papers say I have 2 male chocolate labs...and I thought I did.  Until a few months down the road, when the body shape of levi, the behaviors, well, jut about everything but his color, made it very clear, there was an oopsie at the breeder.

Chocolate lab here...

Starting to be a bit questionable...check out the tail and ears!

Ok, there's no chocolate lab here... (and his sister, Jade, that my mom has....clearly his sister and also NOT a chocolate lab)

Turns out...the vet doesn't think Coop is all chocolate lab either.  Grandma or Grandpa...not lab.  At this same breeder, they also sold German short-haired pointers...there it is...mystery solved. 

So I came upon this picture and he is a...pure bred German short-haired pointer!  If I didn't know it wasn't Levi, I would swear it was!!!

He's SUCH a good dog...just a little misunderstood!!

Monday, December 20, 2010


I'm so excited!  I officially signed up to coach Girls On The Run again in the Spring!  I had such a great experience with this over the Fall that I am really looking forward to it again. 

Some of the girls will be returning and we'll have quite a few new faces too! 

Happy Monday everyone!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

1st Real Snow in Poolesville AND 1st Day Without Back Pain

Two firsts in one day...I am guessing the lack of back pain was to prepare me for needing to shovel the driveway!!!

The dogs always LOVE the snow

And I took advantage of the cold and snuggled up by the fire (it's not exploding, the picture just looks like that!!)

I guess this is the official start to the snow season here in the DC suburbs BUT that means it's one day closer to Spring!  Yay!!!  And I can jump back into my training program since I'm feeling back pain free after 2 weeks.  Time seems to go soooo slow when you are trying to recover!!

Happy Friday everyone!

Monday, December 13, 2010


Why am I so cold sitting here in my office???  I know it is 22 degrees outside (yikes!!!) and the wind is HOWLING terribly, so I'm sure it feels like 10 degrees.

But, the heat is working!!

I feel it coming out, but I think I am fighting a losing battle!!!  Is it too early to wish for Spring??????

Sunday, December 12, 2010

BFF Christmas Dinner

After having to deal with work issues all day, our annual BFF Christmas Dinner was SUCH a welcome event in my day!!

The dinner is held at Monica's every year and we have a great time just hanging out and (of course) eating!!

ALWAYS with dessert!

We love to take a girls' picture in front of the tree each year (and the tree was BEAUTIFUL as always).  But sometimes our giggling leads to the need for multiple takes...

Ok, let's try again...

Better...Getting 4 woman to agree on a picture that looks ok is no small task. 

We had a great time and are already looking forward to next year.

Friday, December 10, 2010


I've seen some swirling flurries here in DC, but today...snow.  Actual snow.  Pretty.  But I'm thankful it stopped as I'm having flashback of last winter's blizzard.  Three nights in my office...not ready for that again anytime soon!!!

Here's to a beautiful (but a little less snowy) Winter!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Most Important Thing About An Injury...

Is Accepting It!!!  And Not Ignoring It (which I would like to do!!)

Saturday and Sunday were rest days from running this week.  I'm not sure how I can run miles and miles and feel great, then lean over to pick up a dust bunny and be crippled up for a week!!!

My best guess is that I have a herniated disc which is irritating my sciatic nerve.  I've talked to a couple of people with this injury (and I had a major sciatic nerve injury ~7 years ago - again, leaning over to pick up my nephew from his stroller...I didn't even start to lift him yet!) and have done some pretty extensive research on it.  Anyone that has experienced this, I'd be happy to hear your input as well!.  Since Advil and ice don't touch it, yet I feel perfect when standing straight or lying down, I have to assume it's not muscle and it's not due to excessive inflammation.  My assumption is that it's a slight herniation that is "reaching out and slightly touching" my sciatic nerve.  So, I rest it and allow it to heal.  I will take the rest of the week off from running and will attempt it again this weekend.  Based on my results...who knows.  I am positively thinking I will be running again VERY SOON!  Thank goodness I have all the extra time to train for the Half Marathon, right????

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Pull Toward Hibernation

I don't know what it is about the beginning of Winter.  I feel such a pull toward hibernation.  I would be so happy if I could just crawl under some wonderfully fluffy blankets, close my eyes and wake up in the Spring.

Does anyone else second that???????

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sadness and Joy During the Same Hour

What a Beautiful (but VERY cold!!) weekend.  Snow flurries whirling around everywhere and Christmas decorations going up all over the place.

Given my current (unfortunate, sometimes seemingly lousy) situation, I've used the mental picture of me and the 3 dogs living in a refrigerator box as a coping mechanism.  With most things, I tend to look at my worst case scenario and if I can handle that, all else is fine.  In reality, I am so very blessed.  I know there are many people that would take me in if I really needed it (now don't be scared...don't say it if you don't mean it!!).  I whine because things aren't as I would like them to be while I work through this.  I whine when I have to park really far from the front door of a restaurant or store and the wind is whipping in my face.  I whine because I can't spend $20 on a bottle of wine without feeling guilty for 2 weeks.  I whine about a lot of things.  I think we all do.  It makes us feel better somehow!

The truth of the matter is - I've never had to go without basic human needs.  Most of us haven't and most of us will never really know what that's like.

Last winter while I was thinking about this, I came across some information on the Cold Weather Shelter in Frederick.  It's a homeless shelter that's open during the night (6:30pm until 7am) from December - March.  I hate cold.  I know, I'm not normally that dramatic, but it's true.  I do not like cold AT ALL (remember the running gear post from last month). Thinking about people not having a place to go to keep warm...I can't even imagine.  Giving money is one thing, but providing the basic human need of shelter?  I felt a draw to help.  But I was too late when I finally came around to deciding to do this that I missed out.

That brings us to now.  As soon as I had to turn on the heat in the house, that same thought jumped into my head and I called and registered to attend a volunteer training.  The training was on Saturday morning.  That's the hour where sadness and joy both filled me equally - somehow, as weird as that seems, it's possible.

The sadness is obvious.  Seeing the reality of people's lives.  The people that come to this shelter have no where else to go.  They own the clothes on their back (some, one clear tub of personal things that they store a at the shelter so they don't appear homeless bringing all of their belongings to work).  They have no one to take them in.  The pull on me was incredible.  I knew it would be hard, but I didn't realize how hard.  Now, I'm not naive.  I know some people are homeless because they are criminals, thieves, druggies, whatever.  BUT, there are so many that aren't any of those things.  There are so many people that have NO WHERE TO GO.  And it's cold.  And it's going to get colder.

I've tried time and time again to actually imagine this.  But I can't.  Since I have a roof over my head and heat, I think the least I can do is help those that don't.

This is where the joy comes in.  The room of people at the volunteer training was PACKED!  Not full...PACKED.  I'm pretty sure it was a fire hazard.  Sixty people showed up when 20 were expected.  Now, you were supposed to register so they knew how many people to expect.....but I digress, that's another subject.  At least they were there.   All of those people wanted to help.  All of those people were willing to drive their cars into downtown Frederick in a back alley area to work from 9pm until midnight to help hand them a blanket and pillow and assign them a bed, to sign them up on a list for a time to take a warm shower, to provide them with some coffee and some friendly conversation, to give them a pack of clean socks, underwear and a t-shirt.  I was so moved. 

I know there is a lot of bad in our world.  A lot.  There might possibly be more bad than good, but Saturday showed me that there really is still some good out there.  A lot of good.

With all of that said, there are SO many opportunities to give of your money, time and talents, whatever it is you have to spare.  I just like to share the things I'm  involved in for some suggestions.

Take a couple of minutes to be thankful of all you have, even when it seems like you have nothing.

Friday, December 3, 2010

This is who I got to hang out with yesterday...

Unfortunately, he couldn't come home with me...I think Levi would have eaten him!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Best Soup Ever

I am expanding my cooking horizons.  Since deciding to not eat farm critters, it's been a challenge to be sure I am getting everything I need, nutritionally, especially while running when the demands can be even higher.

One thing I've never tried on my own is soup.  I always thought it was a lot of work when there are 8000 varieties at the store, fairly cheap, ready to go.  But, turns out there is good in making your own.  With the volume I made, it ended up being even cheaper than I ever could have bought it for, per serving, from the store. Plus, it's all fresh veggies (well, you can toss some frozen peas or corn in there, but they can sometimes be better than fresh!).  The problem with a veggie soup is you need protein, so adding some high protein Barilla pasta and beans solves that problem too!

And who doesn't love a big bowl of soup on a cold Fall (almost Winter...yikes!) day??

Have a great afternoon!  Anyone have any great soup recipes to share (they don't have to be vegetarian, not everyone who reads this is :-))?