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Fun at the Sugar Shack

My husband Steven reminded me that I neglected to make a blog post about one of our adventures in Vermont,  a visit to The Sugar Shack.

We almost always hit this place when we are in the vicinity.   I was especially anxious to get there this time because I wanted post cards.  Steven was anxious because we were out of maple syrup (or maple syrple, as I like to call it) ( with a nod to the late, great Roger Miller).

I loves me some real maple syrple!

You can purchase many things at The Sugar Shack: cheese, mustards, jellies, donuts, cookies and other yummy stuff. Also t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and other touristy stuff. Steven has previously purchased Vermont shot glasses, and we are the proud owners of a Sugar Shack coffee mug featuring Shack, one of the owner’s yellow labs.

The pooches don’t show up so good in this shot.

We chatted with owner Kim Hawley, and she posed for us with this photo collage of both her dogs.  You can check out many pictures of the pooches on the Sugar Shack Facebook page.

Can you read it? I should have taken more pictures.

The Sugar Shack is also the home of many displays from the Norman Rockwell museum.  We have purchased coffee mugs, prints, and post cards of work by that wonderful American artist.

We didn’t go into this building, but I got a shot of the exterior.

We had a fun if short visit.  I got my post cards and some yummy donuts.  I look forward to our next visit to Vermont,

I prevailed upon Steven to pose for one last shot.

The Sugar Shack is located at 29 Sugar Shack Lane, Arlington,  VT, 05250, phone number 802-375-6747.  They are open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday,  9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.  Their website is http://www.sugarshackvt.com.  you can also Like them on Facebook.

 

Sweat Gets In Your Eyes

You know, like that blues song, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”?  I often think of that when I run so decided to use it as a title for today’s Running Commentary post.

I ran five days in a row then took yesterday off. I was disinclined to run this morning but knew it would be a good idea.  For one reason,  my depression has been kicking my butt lately.  I just feel so sad and down!  Of course, there are many reasons for sadness, in the world and in my life, but sometimes what I feel is is out of proportion.  But one must not give way to despair.  Exercise is a potent antidepressant.  I got myself ready and went.

One way I got myself out the door was to plan a short, easy run.  Not very far, not very fast, I thought.  This would be great.

And it wasn’t bad.  My legs are getting into pretty good shape; they pump right along with few or no complaints.   I stuck to my plan for a 25 minute run, although I actually ran for 26.  Bonus points!  My mood was at its best when I paused to pet a nice dog.

As I walked my cool-down,  a lady came up behind me, walking at a brisk pace, obviously for exercise.  I got out of the way.

“You’re faster than me,” I said.  “I ran, this is my cool-down.”

When she said she didn’t run, I remarked that she was obviously doing something right, because she looked terrific.  She returned the compliment but went on to say she didn’t believe in running.

“It’s bad for your feet, your knees and your back.”

“I know,” I said, “but I love it.”

She said she didn’t understand that at all but told me to keep up the good work.

“You too,” I said, as she handily out-paced me.  I continued my cool-down walk,  blinking against the sweat in my eyes.

The run did improve my mood, as does getting a blog post published this early in the day.  Will I publish again and be one less post behind?  A little uncertainty adds interest to my day.

 

An Unexpectedly Good Run

I went for a long run this morning and am determined to make a Running Commentary post.  First,  as often happens, I decided I wasn’t going to run.  It was humid, it was going to rain, etc, etc.  Then I went.

I turned right at the end of my driveway instead of going towards German Street as I usually do, just for something different.   I did not intend to run for long; I often have problems breathing when it’s humid.  Besides, it was probably going to rain.

Right away it felt pretty good to run.  Maybe I could rock this after all.  Maybe run a hill, only that meant changing directions, because there aren’t many hills in Herkimer.  Should I or should I not make a detour through Meyer’s Park?   The sight of two dogs decided me.

“Can I pet your dogs?”  I always ask first, although one dog was already approaching me.

“One’s friendly,  one’s not,”  their person said.  I remembered those dogs; I petted the friendly one once before.

Feeling happy, because I love to pet a nice dog, I continued into the park, taking the V back to Park Avenue and heading towards Caroline Street.  I had decided to run up the hill by Valley Health. It took me a while to get there (YES, I run slow, I thought you knew that about me), and I began to wonder how long my run would end up being.  Could I even go for 40 minutes, which was my last longest time?  Extravagant thought!   Just keep running.

The hill wasn’t much fun but I made it to the top and kept going on into the residential area up there.  I kept talking myself into going a little further.   After all, it wasn’t raining yet.  I even went up a minor upgrade, although I avoided a couple more challenging hills.

I stopped at the spring for a quick drink, after some arguments with myself as to whether or not I deserved it.  Who am I to judge these things anyways?  Soon I was back on German Street ,  headed for home.  As I reached Caroline, I saw two friendly dogs I have encountered before, and they were headed in my direction!

“Good morning!” I said. “I’ve petted these dogs before!”

“Yes, we’ve met before, ” the nice young man said, as the dogs jumped at me as if they remembered too.

I made it to 40 minutes by virtue of going around the block of Henry and Bellinger streets.  On Church Street, I saw Chico and Bear, two neighborhood pooches, with their person.  I happily crossed the street to pet them and exchange a few words with their Mom.

As I ran up Bellinger I greeted a man standing in front of his house.

“That’ll make you healthy,” he said.

“Either that or it’ll kill me, ” I answered.

Obviously it didn’t kill me.  Not yet, anyways, and I felt pretty darn good walking my cool-down.  As I make this blog post, the rain is pouring down, so I guess I timed it right.  Time to get on with the rest of my day!

 

I’m Running Again!

Saturday Running Commentary is back!  I am running again!  I know, I know, some people never stop, even if they are in a play.  Well, I can’t live up to every standard, even the ones I set for myself.  As it happens, I was not going to start running again today; I was going to content myself with a walk.  However, after a cup of coffee and some solitaire (with an actual deck of cards, OF COURSE), I thought I would give it a try.

It was 46 degrees out, above the temperature I usually go with shorts and short sleeves, but having not been running for at least a couple of weeks (I did not torture myself by figuring out the exact amount), I went with leggings and long sleeves.  I put on a wide headband to cover my ears.  I figured my ears were likely to get cold.

Right away things did not feel so good.  I was prepared for that and hunkered down for a slow, easy run.  Which way should I go?  I saw a woman walking across the road from me on German Street so turned in the opposite direction.  I did not need to see a walker outpacing me.  About a block ahead of me was a man walking two dogs.  I wanted to pet those dogs!  I doubted I would catch up with them.  Then, too, I did not recognize the dogs as any I had petted previously.  You can’t pet just any dog.  I always ask permission first.

As it happened, they crossed Caroline Street before I caught up with them, and I turned down Caroline.  That was OK.  The way my body felt, it I stopped to pet a dog, there was no guarantee I would start up again. But I persevered.  Eventually my legs stopped complaining.  My breathing was not too bad at any point.  That meant I was setting the right pace, I think.  Or maybe it was too slow of a pace, but I prefer not to second guess myself about these things.  Yesterday I got quite out of breath walking up the stairs at work carrying my bag with my lunch, notebook, etc.  I think it is a good idea I started running again.

It occurred to me that one reason the run was not completely horrible was that I have been successful at taking off a few pounds.  Not as many pounds as I want to take off, of course, but I have been doing better lately than I have in previous months.  Let’s hear it for salad! Let’s do a little better in laying off the treats!

I ended up running 24 minutes and walking 11 for my cool-down.  I really like my cool-down walk.  For one reason, it feels AWESOME to walk after running, and I drink water, which tastes SO good.  Additionally, I feel it enhances my progress toward my weight-loss goals.  I figure after running, my metabolism is all kicked up, so that walk burns more calories than it otherwise would.  If you are an expert at these things (or think you are, because you read a Facebook meme), and feel this is not the case, kindly do not disillusion me.

So I have made a blog post Saturday morning.  If I make another one before the end of the day, I will be back to one blog post behind.  Hey, that could happen.  After a good run, I feel I can do a lot of things!

 

Finally a Mid-Week Run!

How about a Running Commentary post instead of me whining about how tired I am and I can’t think of anything to write anyway?  If it doesn’t work out, we can always call it a Wuss-out Wednesday.  I’m flexible like that.

I surprised myself by going on the run.  I had spent the day trying to psyche myself into it, mostly to have something to make a blog post about. Naturally I was tired at the end of the day, and confirmed in my decision NOT to run the Boilermaker 15K.  So it didn’t MATTER if I didn’t run, did it?  Well, I suppose it never matters to anybody except me.  At any rate, when I went upstairs to take a shower, I realized I did NOT feel like taking a shower.  For some reason, running felt like less trouble, so I sought out a couple sports bras and got ready to go.

It was sunny with clouds out, cool air, especially when a breeze blew.  Still, it didn’t feel too bad in leggings and long sleeves.  I could rock this.  I was glad I had gotten myself out the door.

And then I was sorry, because my body did NOT feel like running.  Well, what a surprise, after a full day at work.  I have not been running after work in a while.  I need to get back into doing it on a regular basis.  I reminded myself that I only require myself to do 20 minutes on these mid-week runs.  Then I remembered that on my weekend runs, the run only started to feel really good after 20 minutes.  What’s a slacker to do?  Just keep going, I thought.  However far you go, you go.

As I ran, I noticed that other yards were not covered with crappy brown, flat, old leaves, like mine is.  It snowed before I finished raking, although I did make attempts last fall.  Had these folks been more ambitious last fall or this spring?  We did have a lovely weekend, during which I was too busy with a murder mystery and rehearsal to rake.  I admired a few Easter decorations and wondered in a vague sort of way when I might have time and ambition to do something.  Not in time for Easter, probably.  Still, I could put some fake flowers in the box on my front porch (it gets too much sun for the real thing).  I passed one house who had a nice display of those.

I only passed one dog, which I asked to pet.  The guy walking her told me the dog was scared of people, which she demonstrated when I put my hand out for her to sniff. She did give me a quick lick, so I contented myself with that and ran on.

A couple was sitting on their front porch, something I am looking forward to doing.

“I’m going inside to take a nap!” the man told me.  “You’re making me tired!”

“As soon as I get home, I’m taking a nap,” I assured him.  In fact, I have not napped yet, but I foresee an early bedtime.

I ended up running 22 minutes.  I can’t say things felt a whole lot better as I ran, but I persevered.  The cool-down walk felt wonderful as usual.  The chocolate milk recovery beverage was even better.  Yes, that is one reason I run: the promise of chocolate milk afterwards.

As usual with Running Commentaries, this has been my longest blog post in a while.  Has it entertained?  I hope so.  Tomorrow will be another hasty pre-rehearsal post so no promises.  But I hope you are having a lovely mid-week.

PS.  I did take a shower.  I knew some of you were concerned when I said earlier that I didn’t feel like it.

 

Running Out of 2018

Exercise is a potent but woefully underused anti-depressant.  It has an excellent effect on a post-Christmas letdown as well.  Today I try for a return of Saturday Running Commentary, even though my run was some hours ago.  I think I can remember parts of it.

I have been running at least somewhat since the Reindeer Run 5K.  Then the week before Christmas, I returned to the YMCA in Mohawk, NY.  I don’t know if I mentioned when I was going there before (OF COURSE I am too lazy to go back and check), but last winter I was going a few times a week, doing a little weight training and spending some time on the elliptical.  I have only been a few times recently and have only done the elliptical so far.  I hope to get to the weights and machines in January.  Anyways, my real love is to run outdoors.

It was raining in the night and although it got unseasonably warm yesterday, I knew it had cooled off overnight.  That could mean ice.  Still, it was above freezing by 7:30.  I decided to take a chance.

It felt warm!  Relatively speaking.  I ran in the road, noting copious icy patches on the sidewalk.  A runner in a bright orange jacket turned off German onto my street.  I was ready to say, “Good morning,” but he beat me to it.  I happily returned the greeting.  As I reached German, a lady was turning onto Bellinger.  It was my friend, whom I have seen several times running on weekend mornings.  We wished each other a Happy New Year.

“Look at us! Running in December!” she added.

“It’s awesome! I love it!” I called after her.

I headed toward the hill by Valley Health, since I have not been doing as much outdoor running as earlier in the year.  Still, I have been doing 30 minutes on the elliptical.  I thought I could run 30 minutes.  But even if I only did 20 minutes, my 10-minute cool-down walk would give me 30 minutes of exercise.  This would be great.

And it was pretty great.  I ran around in the residential area behind Valley Health.  I only saw one dog and his person, far ahead of me.  I did not think I could catch them so did not try.  For one reason, they were going up a big hill and I was not pushing myself too hard.  I did keep going for 30 minutes, though, so I’ll call it a win.

I got to pet one nice dog on my cool-down walk.  I was walking down Prospect when a young man and a lovely white dog were walking across Church Street.

“Good morning!” I called.  “That’s a beautiful dog!”  The dog immediately changed direction to walk toward me.  “Can I pet him, her?”

The young man graciously gave me permission.  “I’ve had her a year and a half,” he said.  “Every time she hears ‘beautiful’ or ‘pretty,’ she heads right over.”

“She says, ‘I know you’re talking about me,’ ” I said.  I wished him a pleasant day and we went our separate ways.

As usual when I get to the end of my blog post, I remember at least four or five things I noticed on my run that might have been fun to mention.  Then again, I am over 500 words.  Perhaps you have better things to do than to read my blog post.  So I say thank you for tuning in, and I hope to see you again on Wrist to Forehead Sunday.

 

Labor Day Run

I had been going to call this one “Labored Run,” but that began to seem a trifle melodramatic.  The humidity is up, up, up, and I am still not back in shape.  I simply must remember that at my age, one’s body slips backward FAST.  But never mind that, I had a few good things happen on this run, so here is a Monday Running Commentary for our holiday.

I almost did not run again today, because I slept in till after six, then enjoyed a leisurely cup of coffee.  Even after seven years at my current place of employment (how the time flies!), Monday holidays still feel like a big deal to me.  Shortly after seven, I changed my mind and got into running gear.  I wore my Big Sur Marathon t-shirt, for encouragement.  I did not run the marathon; I have the t-shirt because I volunteered back in 1998 (what did I say about time flying?).  I really would like to run a marathon one day.  Maybe I can make that happen in 2019.

To begin with, it was not much fun.  As I said earlier, it was humid. Oh, the humidity! (I love that joke.)  Still, one must persevere.  I ran up German Street to Valley Health and up the hill on the far side of that building.  I felt this was a necessary effort if I am ever to get back into shape (that is, a shape other than round and puffy).  I ran into the residential area I refer to as The Suburbs, knowing there were some very good hills there but making up my mind to avoid them.  I would turn right here not there… oh no, there was a couple walking along with a cute little dog.  I love to pet a cute little dog.

“Can I pet your dog?” I asked.

“You sure can,”  the lady picked him up.  “He’s a scaredy cat.”

I let him sniff my hand and petted him gently.  “I love dogs.”

We wished each other a good day and I ran on.  Soon I was feeling a little better about the run.  My legs were not complaining at all, and my breathing was really not that bad. I saw a lady running toward me wearing a bright green Boilermaker t-shirt. Regular readers may recall that I have run the Boilermaker 15K.  I thought it was cool that we were both wearing running shirts.  She called a friendly good morning.

“Good morning,” I returned.  “We’ve got to get out while the gettin’s good!”

“It’s still hard!” she said.  I felt a little better to think she was having a hard time too, because she looked to be in marvelous shape.

My run ended up going better than I expected.  I ran for 22 minutes on Saturday and missed Sunday (because I wanted to sleep in AND go to church), and did not intend to go a whole lot further than 20 minutes.  Then I thought I could go a little further than 20 minutes.  I would see how far I went.  As I approached my street, I started thinking I could actually go for 30 minutes.  All I would have to do is go past my house.  It! Could! Work! (That’s a line from Young Frankenstein.)

On my street, I heard footsteps behind me.  It was my new friend in the Boilermaker t-shirt!

“You’re faster than me!” I said.

“It doesn’t feel like it!”

“At least we’re out here! That’s the important thing!”

“That’s right, we get 100 percent for that!”

“Eat some ice cream later!” I called as she went past me.  She agreed wholeheartedly.

As I walked down the street for my cool-down, I saw her walking towards me with a man and two dogs.  I used to always walk my cool-down with Tabby.  How I miss that!

When they got close enough I said, “I have got to get a dog so I can walk with him after my run!”

“Yes, the cool down!” she said.

“Get a rescue!” the man said.  “Always a rescue!”

“Definitely!” I said.  I WILL get a rescue.

I kept going straight down my street instead of around the block, because I saw another man walking a dog and thought I might be able to pet her (it turned out to be a her).  He pulled the dog up a handy driveway and told her to sit as I approached.

“Can I pet your dog?” He said I could, and she nicely sat while I petted her.  What a good dog!

So it was a not bad run.  I petted two dogs, exchanged remarks with another runner, and went further than I thought I would.  And I’ve already written my blog post for the day.  I say it’s a good start to my holiday Monday.

 

Waste Not, Want Not

As I have mentioned many times, when I run, I narrate in my head, as if I am writing my running commentary as I go.  Sometime later, when I sit down and type in my Running Commentary post, I never use all the good stuff.  I usually remember it later and say, Damn!  Well, since today is Non-Sequitur Thursday, I’m going to share a couple of stories from different runs that did not make it through my porous mind into the post that day.

During a recent run in what I call The Suburbs, I had a nice canine encounter (that is an expression I just now made up, “canine encounter,”  do you like it?).  “The Suburbs” are not really suburbs, of course.  I don’t think Herkimer is large enough to rate real suburbs. It is a nice, hilly residential section behind Valley Health Services.  There are no sidewalks, which I prefer to run on, but there is not much traffic.

Regular readers know that when I run, if I see a nice dog, I always ask if I can pet him or her.  On this particular run, I met a lady walking two cute little ones.

“Can I pet your dogs?”

The lady said that the boy dog would let me, but the girl might not.  Sure enough, one dog walked right over, wagging his cute little tail.  I tried to greet his sister, too, but she backed off.  He was an adorable black and white dog.  He reminded me of our much missed Spunky.  Considering the resemblance and since I do not run with a camera, I’ll share a picture of Spunkman.  I think illustrations add punch to a blog post.

How I miss my poocher!

The nice dog I petted did not have Spunky’s underbite.  I ran on, turning here and there, choosing some hills and avoiding others.  Soon I saw that I was approaching the lady and her two dogs again.  I thought I would not bother her by asking to pet them again.  However, as I got closer, my little black and white friend started walking towards me.

“He says, ‘I’ll take more pets!'”  the lady said.

“I’ll give you pets, you friendly fellow,” I said.  I love dogs!

I can’t believe I left that little story out of my running commentary that day.

The other story concerns a cool-down walk.  Regular readers know I always walk around the block, drinking water after a run.  I usually take about ten minutes.  I figure, my metabolism is all kicked up from the run, so I burn more calories walking around the block than I would otherwise.  Also, it feels awesome to walk after a run.  Well, I was about a block and a half away from home when I saw a folded piece of paper on the sidewalk, so I picked it up and unfolded it.

Well, who doesn’t?

I brought the note home and gave it to Steve.

“I think your girlfriend dropped this before she had a chance to give it to you,” I said.

He did not deny it.

 

I Wasn’t Too Tired to Run!

How about a Running Commentary post instead of my usual Tired Tuesday or Bad Attituesday?  Once again I admit that what I do is called running only by the most generous definition of the word.  Then again, I like to think of myself as a generous person, although I daresay I am no more generous than anybody else.  Well, maybe more generous than some self-serving, stingy, I-got-mine cusses such as we all know, but I digress.

I had a bargain with myself that if it was raining after work I would go to the YMCA, if not, I would run. I wondered if I oughtn’t to go to the Y anyways, because I have not done any upper body or ab work in a while.  However, when I left work it was breezy and cool.  How could I waste that? It will be warm and muggy again before you know it.  Oh, I will run then, too, but why not enjoy some cool air while I can?  So that is what I did.

I put a load of laundry in the washing machine before I took off, so I could multi-task.  In general I don’t believe in multi-tasking.  I feel it is better to do on thing at a time and do it well.  But I don’t see how letting the machine wash while I thunk around the neighborhood could hurt anything.  This way I will not run out of clean handkerchiefs.

Right away my legs and feet were not happy with me.  I was not surprised.  Pretty much my whole body had been giving me grief all day.  I never got my Monday back-ache yesterday but made up for it today.  I tried not to dwell on it but just to keep going.  I had not been running since Saturday.  Sunday I had done strenuous yard work for an hour and twenty minutes.  Monday, well, you can judge me, that’s all.

I changed directions a couple of times because of traffic.  Sometimes it is easier to just turn down the sidewalk than to wonder if the driver is going to wave you by or run you over.  One driver waved me by before I turned, so that was nice.  I gave him the thank-you wave and sprinted.

Twice I stopped to take a quick sniff of peonies. Mine have not bloomed yet, but they’re getting there.  I saw some lilacs that were over. Alas!  I still don’t have any lilacs.  I would like to plant more flowers.  I only wish I were clever enough to plant varieties such that I could have something blooming all spring, summer and fall.

I also stopped to pet a few dogs.  First I saw my friends Chico and Bear with their Mom.  I greeted her and petted both.  Toward the end of my run I saw Pudge the pug crossing the street with his Mom.

“Is that my friend Pudge?”  I said.

“Oh, do you know Pudge?” she said.   I used to see Pudge out with his Dad all the time, but I have not seen him lately.  I petted Pudge and wished his Mom a good day.

It was really not a bad run at all.  I had moments of definite enjoyment, I mean when I was running, not just when I was petting the dogs.  There were a couple of brief stretches where I felt I could just go on, if not indefinitely, at least for a while.  By the end my feet were really hurting me, but I managed to persevere for 26 minute, the length of my last run.

As usual, I enjoyed my cool-down walk, although my water went down my Sunday throat once.  I hate it when that happens!  When I got back to the house, I was exhausted!  My body creaked when I stretched.  I made it to the basement to put the laundry into the drier.  When I got upstairs to take my shower, I wished I had one of those old lady shower chairs, so I could sit down while I washed.  Oh, just shower, I told myself, it’ll take you five minutes.  I certainly felt better after I was clean.

I felt even better after my recovery beverage of chocolate milk.  Now I am feeling tired again and not a little brain dead.  I think that is showing in this blog post, because I can’t seem to think of a conclusion.  How weird is that?  I know what:  I’ll close with a picture from my Media Library.  I’ll try to find something to do with running.

This is NOT what I wore to run today.

Will you look at that?  The only picture I have of me about to run is from the Little Falls Reindeer Run 5K last December!  I’ll have to see what I can do about that for future Running Commentary posts.

 

A Prohibition on Bald Dogs? It’s Non-Sequitur Thursday!

While I am stealing others’ ideas for my blog posts, I thought I might try for a Throwback Thursday today.  After all, I had fun making my Wordless Wednesday post.  Why not stick with it?  I think I have some pictures of the past in my Media Library.  If I mix them up a little, maybe this can be a Non-Sequitur Thursday as well.

When your cute little dog wants to take over your yarn basket for a bed, you let him.

First I strike a melancholy note with a picture of our dear, departed Spunky.  I was just thinking about Spunky earlier today.  Once when a four-year-old girl met him, she called him “Skunky.”  As a matter of fact, he was not the nicest smelling pooch ever, but we loved him.  Now I am feeling sad, so I will find a picture of a different sort.

Now there’s a nefarious bunch!

Here is the cast for Rubbed Out at Ruby’s, the interactive murder mystery that LiFT Theatre Company put on at the Overlook Mansion in Little Falls last February.  It was set in the 1920’s. I was just thinking this morning that I am having a kind of a craving for more 1920’s.  I want to find a new ’20’s outfit, dress up in it and go somewhere.  Maybe just to a party or a prohibition theme night at a bar (I went to one of those once).  I wonder if I still have that picture…

The real hottie on the left is my friend, Kim. I’m wearing the tiara and the red boa.

I’ll tell you what I really miss is my short hair!  I want to do another St. Baldrick’s Day event and shave it all off again.  I just love the look of hair growing back from bald.  I think it looks so sophisticated.

I just love doing a St. Baldrick’s Day.

I last did a St. Baldrick’s Day event in the spring of 2016.  I think I’m due for another one.  My only problem is, I hate asking people for money.  I know it’s not for me, but it’s still money they might prefer to spend on something else.  Well, I am not currently signed up for one, so I do not have to worry about it yet.  I’ll keep you posted, by writing a blog post about it, of course.