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A Run to Start my Day

How about a Saturday Running Commentary to start the day?  Well, technically it does not start my day, because I had to run, then I showered and did a couple more chores… but you know what I mean (didn’t call you Shirley that time).

Full disclosure:  I had meant to be running in Liverpool this morning, from my sister Diane’s house.  But I did not have my act together to get packed and make the drive last night.  Did I mention that in last night’s post?  I’m too lazy to go back and check.  Uh, I mean I am too pressed for time.  Yeah, let’s go with the second one.

In a rare move for me, I got dressed and out running before coffee and a chance to change my mind.  I put on shorts and short sleeves before even checking the temperature.  It was 51 F, so that was OK (45 is my arbitrary and sometimes ignored cut-off for long sleeves and leggings).  It was foggy out, or “froggy” as my husband, Steven likes to call it.  He likes frogs.  I wished I was up to running up the hill to Herkimer College (formerly known as HCCC), to get a really good view of it.  Then again, the view from up there is prettier without the fog, and I am NOT up to running that hill (at least, I might make it up out of sheer stubbornness, but I sure wouldn’t feel good afterwards).  Anyways, I could see plenty of fog just looking down the street.

I turned right onto German Street.  The air felt cool on my ears and hands, but I felt secure in my wardrobe choices.  I crossed Main Street, since there was not much traffic that early, and decided to turn down the path over what used to be a hydraulic canal.  I want to walk down it with my great-nephew Sheppie sometime, because somebody painted places with certain steps:  march, jump, crab-crawl.  We used to call it crab-walk in my younger days.  It was my favorite, but I am not sure I would encourage anybody to do it on blacktop.  We used to do it in the grass.

My previous longest run was 27 minutes last Sunday (in this latest bout of getting back into running).  My runs during the week were shorter, after working all day.  Since I am not currently building up for a specific race, I decided not to worry if this was a short run.  For one reason, I was getting thirsty.  That is one advantage of pausing for coffee: I also drink water.  I just kept encouraging myself to keep going, bearing in mind that a nice bottle of water awaited me at my house.

The run ended up lasting 28 minutes. Woohoo!  I never got any of those endorphins, which quite frankly I could have used.  However, as usual, I felt good that I ran.  And now I feel good that I made a blog post.  On with the weekend!

 

An Afghan for Rocky

I am going to recount today’s minor Mohawk Valley adventure, not so much because it was an exciting adventure, but because it will advertise an upcoming event local readers may like to go to.

Regular readers know I like to crochet and watch movies or television.  The only thing I know how to crochet is afghans, and I have gotten pretty fast at making them.  As you may guess, they can pile up.  My solution is to donate them to worthy causes.  When I see a poster for a benefit fundraiser with a Chinese auction, I try to give a call and donate an afghan.  I’ve written about this before, not in the interest of tooting my own horn (I do that on Toot Your Horn Tuesday), but to call attention to one of my favorite things: people helping people.  I truly believe that we are the answers to each other’s prayers (but never mind the half-baked philosophy; that goes on Lame Post Friday).

Today’s cause is Rocky Rockwell, a local veteran who suffered a demolished home in recent flooding.  I believe this is the second time his home has suffered damage, and this time it was much worse.

I knew some time ago about the Flood Relief Benefit for Rocky Rockwell on Sept. 30.  Well, you know how it is:  when you know you’ve got to the end of the month to do something, you just naturally put it off.  At least I do.  If you do not, well that is an excellent habit to be in.  Keep up the good work.  Be that as it may (one of my favorite expressions), I finally called the number for the benefit organizers and found out I could drop the afghan by their meeting tonight at the VFW.  So I did.

I told you it was not all that exciting of an adventure, didn’t I?  BUT I think it will do as a plug for the benefit.  It is this Saturday, Sept. 30 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Herkimer VFW, 129 Mohawk St., Herkimer, NY.  You can find out more at the Facebook Event page (I love Facebook Events).  A motorcycle ride precedes the benefit, and at the benefit there will be a DJ, raffles, food, a Chinese auction, and cash bar.

I’ll be there, checking to see how many tickets get put in for my afghan.

 

Spoiler Alert! It’s a Two-Parter!

Sometimes, when you want to do something, you just decide to do it, then you do it.  Some of you are rolling your eyes saying, “I’ve been TELLING you that!”  Others, perhaps also with an eye roll, are asking me if it is really, truly that easy.  My good friends (I hope you know who you are) are saying, “Oh, good for you, Cindy, what did you do?”

I have been trying, without much notable success, to keep from prosing on about my dreadful headaches (my computer seems to think “prosing” is not a word, but I’m sure I’ve seen it used elsewhere).  However, to convey my real sense of accomplishment today, I must emphasize that I have been suffering terribly from painful headaches, often accompanied by nausea.

These headaches often begin in the middle of the night, my most hated kind of headache.  I mean, if you get a headache during the day, you feel that in the last resort you can always lie down to try to get rid of it.  If you wake up with it, what are you going to do?  If you wake up with it in the middle of the night, go back to sleep with it, and wake up with it feeling even worse, I think you may be forgiven for feeling extremely ill-used.

And that is all the whining about my headaches that I have been trying so hard to keep out of the blog.  I am truly mortified. Is anybody still reading?  Should I erase the last two paragraphs and start over again?  Should I mention or refrain from mentioning that I have a pounding headache now which is making it difficult to write?  Should I further mention that I am running out of adjectives to describe my headaches?

What a big, fat baby I am.  My apologies.  At least you can all feel a frisson of virtue that YOU do not complain so much about your aches and pains

Be all that as it may, the last time I ran was Christmas Day, when I took a short run in the cold followed by, you guessed it, a worsening of my headache.  I have walked and shoveled snow for exercise since then.  I did not want to wait too long to begin running again.  When Steven left for work shortly before 9:30 this morning (New Year’s Day; ignore the date under the title), I got ready and set out.

It was snowing and just above freezing temperature, so I dressed extra warmly.  I had it in my head to run up the hill to Herkimer College (which I persist in referring to as HCCC).  I had meant to run up that hill BEFORE 2016, but one does not always meet one’s goals and I find it is best to refrain from beating oneself up but to keep striving.  I turned down German Street, picking my way down the icy sidewalk.  It was not glare ice, but thick, uneven ice, the kind you can easily turn your ankle on.

The falling snow was pretty.  It would have been a nice day for a walk with a dog.  I felt sad all over again, missing my dear departed schnoodle, Tabby.  At least I had the happiness of knowing her.

Would I really run up the hill to the college?  I was out here running at all, I thought that was pretty good.  I could probably feel pleased with myself no matter what I did, short run, long run, no hill, little hill… hill by Valley Health?  Back way to HCCC?  I pondered as I went.  I can’t say I was rocking it as I ran, but it wasn’t too painful either.

If this was in a book, I thought, it would be very important to make it to the top of the hill.  If I made it to the top of the hill, it would mean I would meet all my goals for 2016.  I would finish my novel, do a great job directing for Ilion Little Theatre, lose 15 pounds, clean my house, grow a vegetable garden…  And if I got halfway up the hill and turned around, I would probably be homeless by March, friendless and despised.

I knew, of course, that I was being silly.  For one reason, if I started running up the hill to HCCC, I was going to make it to the top.  I pretty much always do.

Hey, I just noticed something:  I am over 700 words already.  That is a long blog post for me.  I’m going to sign off here and make this a two parter (what, parter isn’t a word either?  What’s that all about, computer?).  Did I make to the top of the hill?  Did I try?  Did I continue to get silly?  Tune in tomorrow, for the first Saturday Running Commentary of 2016!

 

Herkimer Hop

Instead of  Wuss-out Wednesday, how about a brief overview of Steven’s and my running around Sunday afternoon (before it became Wrist to Forehead Sunday).  We made several stops in our hometown of  Herkimer, NY, so we’ll call it a minor Mohawk Valley adventure.

We first went to Hummel’s Office Plus, because Steven wanted to purchase some small yellow envelopes  for a prop for that play we’re in (can’t help but mention Roxy, can I?).  He found what he wanted easily.  I took the opportunity to pick up a couple of the pens I currently like best (ballpoint with a find point, excellent for how small I like to write on post cards).

After a quick stop for gas and cash, we went to T & J’s Fruits and Vegetables, to get fixings for a salad for my lunch (yet another attempt on my part to lose that last 15 pounds) (to give you an idea of how well I’m doing on that, it was previously the last 10 pounds I was trying to lose).  I got romaine lettuce, tomatoes and sharp cheddar cheese.  I had other vegetables at home.  I did not put the cheese in the salad, but I just love sharp cheddar cheese.

From there we went to Family Dollar, where I found two water bottles suitable for bringing to work.   We ran into another cast member from Roxy (just can’t get away from that play, can I?).  Our last stop was at Valley Wine and Liquor, where we purchased a bottle of Pinot Grigio, because we thought we might like to enjoy a glass of wine on the deck, time permitting (it did).

It did not take long to run our errands, and soon we were home and I was working on my blog post and dithering about auditions for  Lunch Hour, which were to take place that evening.  We felt pleased with our little burst of productivity.  I feel a little pleased that I wrote a blog post about something other than not writing a proper blog post.

 

Half a Fest Is Better than None

With all my activities yesterday, I missed a new Mohawk Valley event that I hope will be held annually:  Herkimer’s Diamond Festival and Gem Show.

The festival ran for two days throughout the Village of Herkimer.  Three indoor locations hosted gem dealers while street vendors lined Main Street, Park Avenue and Meyers Park.  There were raffles, music, face painting, all kinds of good food… and we missed most of it.

This morning (Sunday) Steven suggested we walk down and see what was still going on.  We figured Sunday wouldn’t be as good as Saturday, but it should still be worth a walk. It was supposed to be hot and humid, which does not agree with me.  Then again, I can’t hide myself in the house with the shades down all summer.  Facebook told us things started at 11 a.m.,  so we started out right at 11, to beat the heat.

We didn’t beat much.  Still, there was shade under trees and sometimes a breeze blew.  We walked to Meyers Park, where a lady at the Information booth gave us a map to the Festival.  As I had suspected, things had condensed somewhat since Saturday. She explained that $5 admission would get us into all three locations.

“And of course the street vendors are great,” she said.

We decided to check out the street vendors.  I was glad I had just eaten breakfast as we walked by the food vendors.  I am trying to get back into healthy eating habits, with no notable success so far.  Street vendor food, while quite yummy, would not have helped me reach my weight-loss goals.

We sampled some tea, admired some gems, jewelry and clothes, and I tried a Pain Relief lotion (I didn’t mention that I had a most dreadful headache, because I did not want to complain) (oops).  I was soon overheated and happy to head home before too long.

I was glad we had made it down to at least partially partake of the festivities.  I hope next summer is a little less busy for me, so I can attend the entire Herkimer Diamond Festival  and Gem Show.  It will probably make a really good blog post.  However, for Wrist to Forehead Sunday, I’m afraid this will have to do.

 

Not a Lame Run After All

I went for a long run this afternoon, so I thought I would do a Running Commentary instead of my usual Friday Lame Post.  However, it is Friday and I am feeling a little, well, lame.  I will begin typing and see what comes out.

 

It was cooler today than it has been but the sun was bright.   Good running weather, I told myself.  I had gone two days without running, instead of the three which I made a note to myself not to do again.  I feel I must make another note to don’t wait two days either.

 

As soon as I started running my body started complaining.  Oh come on, I thought.  It’s only been two days!  And we took a walk yesterday!  Maybe I would warm up as I went.  My plan was to do a long, challenging run.  Then I could do a lesser run tomorrow, when I have plans for later in the day.  Up the hill to Herkimer County Community College (HCCC) would be good, I thought.  Back way or front way would do.

 

Before I had gone two blocks I was thinking I would cut myself a break.  A short run, any run, just run.  Traffic was heavy enough that I thought I might not be able to cross German Street.  Then I would be off the hook.  I found a time to cross.

 

I decided to go up to HCCC the front way.  It’s steeper than the back way but shorter.  This run was really sucking.  I reminded myself that once I started up a hill there was no question that I would make it, the only question was how much it would suck.  Will going up this hill ever stop sucking?  I usually walk up the stairs at work.  That never seems to get easier either.

 

I tried to comfort myself by thinking how bad-ass I would be running the Boilermaker 15K.   If somebody asked me if I was running the 5K, I could say, “Huh.  I could run a 5K backwards.”  Then I wondered if that was true.  Maybe if I made that (admittedly obnoxious) boast, somebody would make a bet with me.  I’d say, “Fine, you run the 5K with me frontwards and make sure I don’t bang into anything.”  When I ran the DARE 5K last year,  which goes up the very hill I was on, a lady told me it was easier to go uphill backwards.  I tried it.

 

Then I remembered some running advice another soldier gave me.  When you feel you can’t run any more, run silly.  I swung one leg in front of the other, swinging my arms wildly to keep my balance.  Then I turned sideways and did the grapevine.  I would keep that trick in mind for future use.  Perhaps I could share it with other runners during the Boilermaker.

 

When I got to the top of the hill I did not continue up onto the campus but headed right to the back way to go down.  I was feeling better about the run, but this was cut myself a break day after all.  I hesitated again at Reservoir Road but downhill won.  I was about 20 minutes into the run.  Would I make it for 48 (the length of my longest run so far)?  I would see.

 

As  I headed toward the traffic light on German Street, I realized I had reached the coveted I Can Rock This stage of the run.  I don’t think I had endorphins, but  I was not feeling too bad.  My leg muscles were warm and supple.  I could run for 48 minutes.  This was going to be all right.

 

The feeling did not last.   I had headed away from my street.  Now I headed back toward the street.  I didn’t care if it was 48 minutes.  As I got closer to home, I felt a little better.  I was perhaps not rocking it as well as the first time I reached the I Can Rock This Stage, but I found that I could keep going after all.

 

By going past my house and around the block next to mine, I made it to 48 minutes.  My schnoodle, Tabby, graciously walked around our block with me to cool down.  I felt pretty happy that I ran.  I’ll run again tomorrow.  No more two days off!

 

Second Cup with a Cop

I was delighted to attend the second Coffee and Conversation with a Cop at the Baptist Church on Washington Street in Herkimer last Saturday morning (perhaps you read my blog post about the first one). I feel so pleased that this is going to be a monthly event and have great hopes as I do for any project meant to improve my beloved adopted hometown.

The event ran from 9 to 11 a.m. I arrived shortly after nine, signed in and put my name on a name tag. Jamie Lester Bell, the First Lady of the church, remembered me from last time. She was on her way out, having double booked herself, but she took time to greet me. She also asked me to leave information on how to get to my blog. I said I would post a link on the church’s Facebook page (note to self: remember to do that).

No cops were present as I walked in. They were out on a call. Chairs were arranged around two separate tables rather than the U formation they had been in last time. People were sitting around one table having a discussion. I got some coffee and a cookie and chatted with some people I remembered from last time.

When I saw a uniform come in the door I called, “There’s a cop!”

It was Officer Steve Elwood, who I had met at the Herkimer Police Department when I registered for the DARE 5K. He looked at the plate of donuts and said, “Is this a joke?”

I don’t know why it’s such a cliche of cops and donuts. A lot of people like donuts. I look like I eat a few too many myself. But I digress.

Officer Elwood asked me how I did on the run. We chatted a bit about that, then sat down at a table and others joined the conversation. Another officer showed up, whose name I did not get, so we had a cop at each table with two separate conversations going on. The atmosphere was very informal, which I gather is the intention.

My table chatted about all kinds of things. My novel came up, because I had been asking Officer Elwood questions for it the day I registered for the DARE run. I’d better make sure I finish that novel, I’ve mentioned it to so many people.

We asked a lot of questions about police work in general and the situation in Herkimer in particular. I really enjoyed how it felt more like a conversation with regular people than a question and answer session. As we talked about problems in our community it became a more serious discussion about economics and societal ills. We discussed how bringing more businesses in, particularly on Main Street, would help everything.

My big takeaway, both this time and last month, was what we as individuals can do. “If you see something, say something.” For example, there have been burglaries recently where the thieves just took stuff out of a house and drove away with it in broad daylight. Did the neighbors even notice? If so, why didn’t they make a phone call?

I said that it might be a problem on my street, because there are several rental properties. People are often moving in and out. Even as I said it, I realized my solution is actually what I try to do. When I’m out walking my dog, I speak to people. I can’t say I get to know all my neighbors, but I have a better shot at recognizing somebody who doesn’t belong.

Obviously any community needs more than just sitting around talking, drinking coffee and eating donuts (I ate a donut; I don’t think any of the cops did). But I like to think this is a step in the right direction. I hope that some of us try to do something to implement some of the ideas that were expressed. And I hope to see even more people at next month’s Conversation. I plan to be there.

Helping Herkimer Now

I’ve given a shout-out to Herkimer Now before. They are a group dedicated to revitalizing Herkimer, NY, beginning with Main Street. They recently held a fundraiser which worked out very well for me, at least.

The event was a Chinese Auction they held at the Polish Home on South Washington Street. Now, when I hear about a fundraiser for a worthy cause, I like to donate an afghan if I have one, which I usually do. I was not sure if they would want one, because I heard they were getting a lot of fabulous donations from area businesses. Of course it couldn’t hurt to ask.

Being me, I neglected to contact them till the event was less than a week away. However, the nice lady I emailed said they would love to have an afghan, could I drop it by the Polish Home Friday night when they would be setting up? I could.

It was just after seven when Steven and I dropped the afghan off. They were just getting started, but we could see that they had a lot of good stuff. They were pleased with my afghan, which was red, white and blue. They paired it with a patriotic pillow somebody else had donated, to make a kind of a theme.

Steven had to work the next day, but I found room in my busy schedule to go down and put in some chances. Gift certificates, baskets with various tantalizing contents, a gorgeous guitar, decor… I can’t even name all the stuff that was there. I put in for several of the baskets and a few of the gift certificates. I looked at the guitar, but since I don’t play I thought it better to leave it for those who do.

Anyone who bought tickets for the Chinese Auction was also entered to win the door prize, a beautiful floral arrangement. I also purchased tickets for the 50/50. Refreshments were available, but I was more interested in the prizes.

My awesome results? Two gift certificates and a Basket of Fun. The certificates were for Crazy Otto’s — a favorite of ours — and milk shakes from Stewarts’s — yum! The basket of fun included cards, dominoes, a jigsaw puzzle and a little stuffed bear.

I’m also pleased to support Herkimer Now, and I wish them success in their efforts to improve our village. For more information on Herkimer Now, you can visit their website at www.herkimernow.org and you can Like them on Facebook.

Happy Sunday

What a fun day I have just had. Mohawk Valley adventures galore! But it is getting late in the day, I must hit publish and start winding down my weekend (some of us work for a living, you know). I hope to write at greater length of my adventures as the week wears on. Today I will content myself with a preview of coming attractions.

A whole group of us went to the antique shops in Little Falls, NY. This consists of various vendors in two renovated old factories. It’s a cool setting offering interesting merchandise.

From there we drove to the Fly Creek Cider Mill, another popular destination in our area. We ate, we sampled, we shopped, we fed the ducks. It was great.

In between we drove over winding, hilly country roads. The scenery! The sights! It was awesome! The weather was beautiful, the company was the best. There was just very little lacking for it to be the perfect day.

And now I sit in my lovely Herkimer home (not be confused with Herkimer Home, another destination Mohawk Valley Girl likes to write about), relaxing with my loved ones and enjoying my usual Sunday evening television shows.

Have you guessed that my wrist is not on my forehead? Everything is delightful. I apologize that I cannot write more eloquently about it. I’ll try to do better as the week progresses. Happy Sunday, everybody.

Not Wrist, Walk

I feel it would be wrong to have Wrist to Forehead Sunday on Easter. And in any case it is unnecessary. My wrists are in their accustomed place, just beyond the edge of my keyboard, as I type. I shall offer instead a Pedestrian Post, utilizing a very nice walk I took with my schnoodle Tabby this morning.

I had to take my husband Steven to work at nine, in order to pick him up at one and go to Rome to my parents’ house for dinner. I have a list of things to accomplish in the meantime (I was taking my chances in doing this as such lists often send my wrist right to my forehead — “I’ll NEVER get these things done!”). I did the worst thing first, a sensible action I rarely take. I did the dishes. Then I did what promised to be one of the most pleasant: taking my dog for a walk.

It is as fine as an Easter morning ought to be: bright and sunny. Not awfully warm yet, but it’s early. At least I didn’t feel I needed my toque and insulated sweatshirt. Regular sweatshirt and crazy old lady hat. Prescription sunglasses and a couple of poop bags. I was ready.

Tabby was very happy to go. And stop. Of course dogs like to stop and sniff a lot, that is what they do. Today she seemed to find even more interesting spots than usual. I tried to indulge her as much as possible, although I do try to keep her from sticking her face into other dogs’ poo (WHY do these dog owners not pick it up like the rest of us do?).

We went by our favorite Historic Four Corners and down Main Street. We met a lady walking a very cute little white dog. The dog was quite interested in meeting Tabby. The lady and I petted each others’ dogs and chatted a little. It’s nice to meet another dog owner.

Heading up another street, we walked by a young man on a cell phone. He was too intent on his conversation to notice us. Tabby gave him an interested look but let him by. I saw a young lady further down the street on a cell phone, alternately talking into it and hollering at her kids not to come outside. I thought it would be funny if she was talking to the young man.

It was funny. I heard her say, “NOW do you know where you’re going?” and head back into the house. Then he headed towards that house. What did we do without cell phones? Got better directions and read house numbers, I suppose.

When we were almost home I saw a lady and little girl walking towards us. Tabby definitely wanted to meet them, because she walked right by our house towards them.

“My dog loves to meet people,” I told them.

The lady said her little girl was sometimes afraid of dogs, but I assured her Tabby was a good dog. They both petted her. The little girl seemed pretty OK with it. Really, Tabby is a most unthreatening pooch.

We enjoyed our Easter walk. Now I must see about crossing a few more things off that list before it’s time to pick up Steve (I guess I can at least cross off “Make blog post.”)