Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Favorites

Some of the things I heard this year and some of my favorite memories ....

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Driving down to the lake front Gil tells me ....

“Some of my favorite childhood memories have happened in my mid 40’s”

Yeah, I know :)
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After sending the club an end of the year letter and telling them about registration for next year I got this from Dennis ....


“you had me at ‘Nice Jacket’ "


Oh, I should mention I started the letter with the fact that if you sign up for the club again you get a nice cycling jacket as part of your membership. The letter went on and on and on. I always have trouble knowing when to stop writing. If you haven't guessed that already when reading this blog.
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So Jane, Caroline, Barbara, Debbie and I stop for coffee after a run in November. Jane gets a scone and coffee. The rest of us just get a beverage. Jane offers us a piece of scone and we decline. So she says .....


"You guys probably don't eat sugar and butter huh?"


Did you hear us laughing? Cause it was loud. Very funny.

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Me, Jane, Barbara, MJ and Caroline sitting in back of SI’s Explorer, driving on dark lower Wacker drive after a swim, all of us exchanging phones numbers and giggling. I felt like I was at a 5th grade at a slumber party.
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Riding with Rick this winter, I can't believe we were able to ride in December. We were probably about 5 miles from the Speedway but there is a spot an Delany when you look west the track seems like it's a block away. I ride up to Rick to tell him I hate this part of the ride and he beats me to it. Yup, that's why I like riding with Rick :)
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I love the the Clinton Trail run. It was 30 miles of fun. Don't get me wrong. It was hard and I was hurting at about mile 21 but I have great memories from doing it.
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Rockman - nothing but good memories. Some crappy stuff happened that week-end. Tom's bike falling off the car. The weather. But the laughter and the stories we have from that week-end. I thought nothing would top IMOO and what we shared but this was a great time and one that I will tell forever.
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Michelle's cancer returned this year. No this isn't a good memory. How someone elses cancer could suffocate me is still hard for me to understand but it did. I cried for 4 days. She is fighting it. She's winning. SHE'S WINNING!!! Fuck'n cancer. It has messed with so many, she's kicking it in the ass.
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Seeing Sex and the City with Patty and Jessica and laughing. Then knowing I had to see it again with Deb's. Not the kind of "I had to", had to, but I wanted to had to. We could relate to a lot of what happened. Well, not that dramatic but we could relate. I guess a lot of women could, that's why it was so popular.
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Going to Disney with Scott and the kids. We talk about the trip all the time. Somebody remembers a part that the rest of us forgot and we relive it over and over again. It was time and money well spent. :)
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And then this. Below is a message I got yesterday in my email. I don't open stuff from people I don't know but it was comment on my post back in April on the McNaughton Trail Run.

704 Studio said...
This is an awesome race report. Some of the stuff that happened to you was Bukowskiesque, in the sense that it seems so absurd that I could not help laughing (the monkey man story, the outhouse with the creepy runner, and Larry Bird having a tree fall on him!)I am planning to run my 1st 50 mile race at McNaughton in 2009, and am reading all the reports I can find - thanks for such a thorough description and for including pics - it really gives me a sense that it is going to be a war!
December 29, 2008 9:31 PM


So why does that make me feel better? Who knows but it did. Some how it validated my experience, don't ask why. I couldn't tell you. Now, I gotta write him and ask what the heck is Bukowskiewque, cause I have know idea.
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Ok, I'm almost done. 2009 is going to be a year of living by my words. Literally. I tell anyone who tells me they could never do an Ironman that yes they could. It's just a matter of training. Well, I'm about to have to prove it cause this year I took a break. Huge breaks in my running, swimming and biking. When it was happening I beat myself up for doing it but I needed the rest. But the rest is over. If I want to complete the Ironman in August there is no more rest time. I have a lot work so I can have more memories like these.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008



Well, my year started with training for the Clinton Lakes and McNaughton trail runs. Training for these runs consumed my life. I thought it was time well spent, I loved the Clinton run. Everything about it, I loved it. Who knew that just 3 weeks later I would never want to run on a trail again?! ....


We combined our March Madness party with Easter egg painting. What a blast we had. Hmm, I know I didn't lose MM this year but I can't remember who won. I think it was someone from Patty's family.


This is a picture of the club going to the Easter ride back in April. I love this pic. It's hard to see but the riders are on the other side of the fog.

The grams and the kidlins at Gracie's dance recital. It was a perfectly rainy morning :)






Gracie, Me and Zak at the Palos 1/2 Marathon





We were blessed to go to Disney this year. Here are a couple of the many pictures that were taken ....












What did I learn at Rockman this year?

I can camp. Well at least for one night.

You don't have to go to Universal Studios to ride like E.T.

I would have missed a great time because I was afraid I wasn't ready to race. I want to eleberate on this last sentence but I already have, several times, I'll let it rest. :)



Yes, the year was fill with some of the craziest weather I have ever experienced.


Jessica and the kids. She turned 21 this year. When old people used to say time passes in the blink of an eye, well they weren't lying. Does that mean I'm old? No, I have 40 more years before I'll consider myself old. No matter what the Sam's Club greeter says.




Pretty Lily. You brought us happiness for the short time you were with us. Thank you. Zak is still sad you are gone. He has taped your picture to his school folder and sleeps with your picture at the head of his bed.








And off they went.








We have a dry erase board. I need it. Heck, I can't believe how forgetful I am. Anyway, the kids will leave messages or draw on it from time to time. Which can be a bad thing cause they'll erase what I need to remember! But it's a good thing cause they leave stuff like this behind :)


Me and my friend.








What's this? .... anyone who watches college and pro football should know what this is. It's a quarterback cheatsheet keeper :)

Scott coaches footfall. Last year we had a terrible arguement about having a winning season or playing every kid.

For some the game is about winning. Scott started coaching because when you are 10 you want to win but you also want to play and learn and have fun. When he was 10 he didn't play in the games and was treated like crap. Well, in your face old idiot coaches. He paid for college playing football. So he decided no kid should feel like he did when he was 10. Every kid would play. Every kid would have fun. We are a part of many, many football players families because of this philosophy. I just came from one of their baby showers! I'm getting off track here. For some reason last season (2007) was different tho. That's why we had the arguement. I don't care what a parent tells you, look at the kid's face sitting on the bench. Don't ask him a thing just look at his face. You'll find out if he wants to win or if he wants to play.

This year, the kids got to play. It was tough on Scott. He brought out every tool you could think of to help the kids learn. Yes, every kid did play and not just the regulated "2" plays. He won 3 games. Think what you may, I'll bet everyone of those kids will be back next year and many have already told Scott they want to play for him. And that is one of the many things I love about my husband :)



Happy Halloween! What did the kids dress up as? Well, witch/Ironman, fairy/ninja, dancer/swamp creature, I could go on but won't. They love dressing up. Halloween is just another day for them.




This year I learned that you don't need gifts at Christmas. No gifts just Ginger Bread houses and felts stockings to decorate. We had the best time. The kids didn't see presents so they didn't miss them. Well, that's my understanding of it all. We're doing it again next year. I already have my Ginger Bread house! We don't eat so it won't matter that it's a year old. It probably already is a year old so it'll be 2 years old.


This year's Christmas picture. Flower Grandma made the costumes for the kids. Like I said they love to dress up.

I'm picky weird when it comes to the Christmas picture so I will confess that this the picture to the right is the picture I wanted to use.

Zak in his truest form, being silly.

Now, I just have to figure out how to nurture it and not get crazy angry with it :)

I have a couple more things to say about 2008 but I'll leave it at this for now....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Excuse me Pam, is that your insecurities showing?

I put the vote question out to the club.

I received some very nice emails back. From what I can tell, we won't be having an election.

BUT .... next year or maybe it will be 2010, an election will determine the next leader.

Honestly, way back in October 2007 an election did take place. It was determined I would be the leader, SI vice president, Laura secretary, Tom treasurer and it was written in stone. It was at that time SI agreed to take over things in 2009. Thanks for reminding me SI. I do remember it now and even think I have something written down to that affect but I'm learning that children turn your memory to mush.

Bernie, thank you for asking that question. It was a legitimate one. All bases should be covered and everyone should have a voice.

I told my sister what happened and she asked me "don't you wish we weren't so sensitive to things?"

No, I'm glad I'm so sensitive. I may turn nothing into something sometimes but I can say that when I feel pain, it hurts and when I feel joy, happiness, total and complete elation, well it doesn't get any better than that.

And now, I feel PEACE.

Tomorrow, well ..... :)

God bless and Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Why No Vote? That's a Shitty Thing

Last night I swam with the group.

One of the coaches, who I completely respect, and I'm not just saying that cause I found out he reads this blog, asked me - "Why no vote?" Meaning why wasn't there a vote for a person to replace me when I left the club.

WOW, where did that question come from? I mean, why didn't I think of that?

He deserved an honest answer. I just told him, I didn't think of having a vote. I went on to say more but as I was talking I was wondering how could have missed not letting the club have a say in the whole thing. I have about 10 excuses to that question but that's all they are my excuses.

For some reason I keep hearing my brother tell me, "that was a really shitty thing you did". I think shitty things are done intentionally and this wasn't intentional. I would like to think that anyone who knows me, KNOWS I would never intentionally do a shitty thing. But I must say right now I'm feeling shitty.

Sorry for the bad language. There's just no other way to describe it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

12/15 - 12/21/08

Monday

Gracie's first day back to school since the surgery. We have an ice storm the night before. I tell her I'm going to drive her to school, her first day back and all and she starts to cry. She wants to take the bus.

I make a final attempt to find a 4XL woman's coat at Burlington Coat Factory. And I found one!!! All the stores at the mall go to 3XL. That's it. The store outside the mall had a 5XL and the sales woman tries to convince me to buy it. That would suck, getting the next size bigger as a Christmas present. I would be really pissed if that happened to me.

Tuesday

I have lunch with the girls from high school. We laugh our way thru burgers at Wild Fire in Oak Brook. I'm blessed to still talked to such great people. Care and I drive home just as the next snow storm starts to hit. I'm 3 minutes late getting the kids off the bus. Thankfully I have several favors and I called one in on the neighbor up the street.

Wednesday


I brought the kids their presents. Every year we get 2 childrens names from the Chicago Suntimes. I'm thinking I'm ahead of the game getting the gift down there on Wednesday until I'm getting ready to leave and get the address from the letter and discover the gifts are due TODAY!!! UGH! I start thinking OMG what if I waited until tomorrow or worse Friday! Don't ask me why I think this way. Fortunately I get down there by 10 a.m. I love, LOVE delivering to the school! Last year, we delivered to children in a very poor neighborhood. I didn't feel safe. I was in the heart of the west side of Chicago. I've never seen a drug deal before but if I wasn't mistaken there was one happening on the corner as we left the school. Well, this year we were south of the city, near the lake. It was a poor neighborhood but nothing like last year. I have to say, every time I deliver the presents I get a gift bigger and better than anything that could be wrapped. I'm met with warm smiles, HUGE hugs and a thank you that is big enough to last a life time. I was smiling that feel good smile the rest of the day

Thursday

Busy, busy, busy ....

The kids have their Christmas program in the morning. The grandma's arrive around 9:00 and we leave at 9:15. We end up waiting in the car because the school thought it was a good idea to have senior citizens and mothers with small children waiting outside. We were let in the school 5 minutes before the program. Once inside, I find the grandma's a seat and then stake my spot in the back for the best video taping.

After the amazing performance ;) I blow lots of kisses to the kids and then the grams and I go for some breakfast. We eat and talk and laugh until 12:00! Yikes, I had to be back to the school at 12:15 so I can volunteer for Gracie's class.

12:20, I arrive to help the children make ornaments for Christmas. The teacher is worried the ice/snow storm predicted is going to cancel school tomorrow, so we make 2 kinds ornaments today. I love helping in Gracie's class. All the girls come and give me a big hug when I get there and when I leave I'm met by a choir of "Thank you Gracie's mom!" Gracie's mom. Zak's mom. There are times I still can't believe it. I'm a mom.

It's my mom's birthday so the family heads over to my mom's house for dinner. On the way there I pick up a Bakers Square Candy Cane Pie. If you like pepperminty stuff then you will love this pie! It has chocolate in it too! mmmmmmm :) We are home by 8:30 and the kids are in bed by 9.

Friday

I wake up at 5:30. Scott's coming back in the house. Work is cancelled thanks to the 2 inches of ice that has now covered the outside surfaces. I go on-line to check if school is closed, it isn't. And then check my email. I find a message from the tri-club president. Literally a chill runs down my spine and I feel panic. I stepped aside from representing the club but hadn't announced it to everyone yet. Part of me didn't want to. Part of me wanted to hang on to it as long as I could. Well, then why step aside you ask, well, honestly it was time for a change. The club was growing and we needed a new face. I had been doing it for 3 years now. I've grown to think of these people as family. When I write or say I love them, I really do. They deserved a change. Well, Danny was indirectly telling them before I could. So, did the best I could and put together a short email explaining things and sent it off to cyberspace. Then went downstairs and bawled on Scott's shoulder for about 10 minutes. I'm still a part of the club but I just let my "tri-mate kids" go. SI is going to do a great job.


Thankfully I had Zak's class party to go to and help with. I love helping in his class. Completely different than Gracie's. I get one hug. Ok, 2 hugs. One from Zak, one from the little girl who rides the bus with the kids. These children love to play LOUD! That's fine with me. Children should play loud. When I left I was met with the choir of thank you "Mrs. Erickson" :) Wait, I think they said "Merry Christmas Mrs. Erickson!"


Saturday


Kids had soccer! Oh yeah. This is a blast to watch. 14 children all trying to kick the ball at once. For 40 minutes. Yup, it's good. Unfortunately our team lost. It's funny tho. They are at an age where the care for all of, oooo, let's say 5 minutes. Then it's time to get a juice box and treats. Then go home and play in the snow. I ran home from the game. Almost 4 miles. I didn't do a straight shot home. Saw a friend that I worked with while I was running. It gave a me nice boost to see someone.



Went to Costco in the afternoon. Let me just say that even tho they have food handouts at Costco, I was starving by the time we finished paying for our stuff. I think I inhaled a Costco hot dog and some coca cola. Mmm, that sounds good right now, some Coca Cola.


Later Saturday night I went shopping with Patty. I always tease her that she's keeping the economy going. She always tells me she only spends when I'm with her. Hmmm. We stopped at Best Buy to price compare TV's. I'm almost certain we will be buying one from Costco.



Sunday



I guess I should start this in Saturday. Dennis writes me - are you going if the weather is crappy? Meaning am I running Sunday morning if it's wicked cold like the weather forecast is predicting? Yup I tell him. What he doesn't know or remember is it was just about a year ago I said I would go run with him and SI but didn't show because of the weather. I regretted it. Honestly, it's stuck with me for a whole year. There was no way I wasn't going to show. Even if I ran by myself I was ok with that.



I'm at the run spot 10 minutes early. The Forest Ranger kicks me out of the parking lot so he can finish plowing. I park at the enterence and who pulls up, SI. Oh, yeah! I will be able to right the wrong from last year. Dennis arrives and we go park about a mile up the street. The Forest Ranger was very diligent in removing that snow.





Here's a pic of us just before we got started. I would say don't I look scary but I'm standing with 2 men wearing masks! Oh, I normally have a face shield like SI but couldn't find it this morning. I hate that!


It was -2. Doug's words are going thru my head. There is no such thing as bad weather only bad gear. Honestly he's right. Once you get moving you warm up. The frost on my face and Dennis's eyelashes are proof of that. :) We went 4 miles. Luckily we got lost twice, nothing like trying to run a route backwards in blowing snow. If we didn't get lost we would have run less miles! It was all good. It was tough. I have a lot of work ahead of me. But it was all good. :)







Nice lashes Bubba :)



My upper lip was burning after the run. It's fine now :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Slide Show

Ok, so I put this slide show together on Tuesday. I delayed the project due to Gracie's surgery. It always takes me a while to put it together but I thought for sure I would have the entire thing done and burned to DVD by Thursday.

Well, things never go as planned. I was still trying to burn it to DVD on Saturday at 1:30 a.m. I was unsuccessful and ended up taking a bad copy that never did play on my tri-mates DVD player, along with a copy of the file on a flash stick. Fortunately Ken was able to get the file downloaded and burned. YAH!!

Here it is.


video


Oh, if you read my blog last week - here's a pic of me and SI running in the Jingle Bell Run. My mother was right when she warned me that my face could freeze like that, it did :) UGH - I'm looking at the picture, you can tell how slow SI is moving and I'm rolling my left shoulder, it's time to get serious about training :) :)



Monday, December 8, 2008

Jingle All the Way

So I ran the Jingle Bell Run again this year. It's always cold and always fun. SI said he would run again with me. I warned him I was going to keep and 8 - 8:30 pace. He was fine with that. I wasn't, well for him, I know he can run much faster. Even with his break from training.

We warmed up, it was good. The sun was out. The sky was clear. There was wind but the buildings were blocking it. Ok, I was ready.

Off we went. It looked like just about everyone was dressed up in some type of holiday attire. SI had Santa shorts with hohoho on the back and a cap. I had on a red and green t-shirt with moose antlers. I must confess I wore the get up for the sole purpose of getting in Chicago Athlete magazine. Yes, I know, shameless.

About a half mile into the run I started asking myself when an 8 minute mile pace got so difficult. We passed the 1st mile marker. Try to keep it up I kept telling myself.

Then, SI starts talking, this was a leisurely pace for him. The conversation was light, nothing deep but what he was saying hit me. I could relate to what he was saying and for some strange reason I choked up. My eyes actually got tears in them, well maybe that was from the cold. Good thing I was out of breath while running the now 8:30 pace cause I almost started to cry. My one word, one breath answers hid my emotions well.

At the 2 mile mark I was able to swallow the lump in my throat and just be completely annoyed that I still had 1.1 miles left. It was just shortly after that that SI asked if we had passed any mile markers yet. Now I'm laughing and tell him yes, we passed 2. "Oh, I was to busy talking to notice" he says. And I thanked him for the distracting conversation.

We can see the finish now and I don't have it in me to remind him they moved the finish, we have a little farther to go than it looks. Then our photo op arrives. We get ready and just as the photog is going to take the picture, a woman in a sequenced Santa hat runs right in front of us, she's laughing and smiling. UGH - I wore this get up for nothing. OK, next year for sure.

A picture was snapped at the finish line and that was when I realized the smile on my face was frozen, for real. In the past I have written that it felt like it was frozen but Sunday morning it really was. I couldn't move my face. DOUBLE UGH! I'm afraid to see what the pic is gonna look like. Maybe it's a good thing sequent Santa ran in front of us a 1/4 mile earlier.

I finished the run with an 8:26 pace. (Now you don't have to stalk the time Dennis :) )

So we walk in the Mart and get our gear bags and find a seat. I love this race for the fact that after the run you can sit in the lobby of the Merchandise Mart and just relax. SI starts to change his shirt and "modestly" tells me not to look, so of course I turn, but not just my head I move my whole body and end up knocking over a lamp. So I didn't see him but the entire south section of the Mart got a good look at him. SORRY! Luckily the lamp wasn't broken. The girl stretching at the table next to us got a good laugh.

In the end we all enjoyed some hot chocolate that Rich's wife brought, none of us won a raffle prize - although I don't know how that happened since they kept calling number after number - oh well, next year for that too. Tom took 1st in his age group and so did Laura, oh yeah!!! Scott would have placed if he didn't run with me. Rich took 6th and believe it or not, I podiumed for the first time this year - I came in 3rd in my a/g.

Breakfast was good. And I was ready for a nap during the drive home.

I'm already strategizing for next year. The plan is to get in that goofy magazine and to keep up with SI so he can get his medal. :):)

Life is good.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gracie

Dear Friends and Family -

Thank you for all your prayers, phone calls, emails and text messages. Gracie surgery took 30 minutes tops and she's home and doing well. We are truly blessed to have you for our friends.

Love, Pam

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Queen of Worry

If worrying were an Olympic event I would win the gold. I would win the gold every 4 years probably until I died and then there would be a statue made in my likeness because I am so good at worrying. I would write books on how to worry and how to improve your worrying skills. Yes, I would be rich and famous all for how well I worry.

At first I thought I was good at hiding it until I started hearing Laura comment on me worrying. Why bother hiding it. I should wear it proudly. YES world I am a worrier.

According to Webster's dictionary the definition for worrying is ....
to feel or experience concern or anxiety : fret

Yup, that's what I do alright and all right.

Gracie is getting her tonsils out along with her adenoids and having tubes put in her ears. So of course I am worrying.

When she was 15 months old she had trouble breathing. We spent the night in the ER and she was admitted to the hospital by 6 a.m. the following morning. The doc came in and told me if she continued to struggle the way she was she would be transferred to the teaching hospital he was affiliated with. She seemed to be getting a little better. Scott came by and told me to go home and shower. I felt funny leaving but I did. While I was gone Gracie felt so relaxed laying in her daddy's arms that she took a deep breath in and let it all out and then forget to breath in again. All Scott remembers is alarms going off and the the doc and nurses rushing in. All I remember is the sound of the helicopter taking her away. Following that helicopter was the longest half hour drive I've ever driven.

Obviously Grace is fine now. And I know in my heart she will be fine Wednesday evening when the surgery is over. Until then I will sharpen my worry skills and say extra prayers.