• Tag Archives Running
  • Running Photo Blog ~ White Clay Creek

    I have gone back to my regular routine of running in White Clay Creek Preserve, near my home in Landenberg, PA. 

     

    Actually, walking and running. My sister wants to get in shape for summer, and due to arthritis and other painful issues, she can’t run. So we began walking together once or twice a week, carrying hand weights.

     

    Below are some of the sights from the past week.

     

    Today I walked with sis. We drove past this vineyard on our way to the parking lot.

     

     

    Following are photos from today’s walk.

     

     

    We walked along a section of the Penn Del trail and passed by the ruins (not pictured) of what once was the longest covered bridge in Landenberg. The bridge burned down in 1960 and was never rebuilt. The fire is generally thought to have been arson.

    According to an author friend who is doing research for a new book on the history of Landenberg, the bridge in question was built in 1874, and was 75 feet long and 14 feet wide.

    My online friend–he runs the Landenberg community Facebook Page–told the group that Landenberg once contained more covered bridges (a total of 10) than any other town in America.

    Chester County, where my family has lived since the early part of the 20th century, was the county with the most covered bridges, and the state of Pennsylvania held more covered bridges than any other state in the Union.

    As I have mentioned before, I get much of my inspiration for writing while running the trails next to the White Clay.

    Following is a scene from my book, The Notice, which makes mention of the bridge in question, along with the small church and graveyard just down the road. The church, London Tract Meeting House, was built around 1730. (I can’t remember the exact date off the top of my head.)

    London Tract Church is nicknamed Ticking Tomb Church, because one of the graves is said to emit a ticking sound. There’s a legend regarding this grave, but I can’t remember the details. It’s on google if you want to find out more.

    The sophomore asked if I wanted to see the area where she’d grown up.

    So we went for a drive. She directed me out Route 24 a little way, and then down various back roads, still in the late afternoon sun. We crossed into two other states and back before traveling down other creepy, overhung, winding roads and ending up back in the sticks somewhere.

    We drove by her parents’ house. I thought it looked like a mansion, high on top of a hill. I asked if she wanted to see them, and she just laughed. She said no, they didn’t need to know she was here, not right now. I got the impression they didn’t get along but I didn’t ask anything else. We rode around for a while, up and down hills on snaky little twisty back roads bordered by a creek, with old, rusting guardrails alongside. We passed road kill in various stages of decay, being fought over by vultures. More vultures circled lazily, high above an open field.

    We drove around for at least forty-five minutes, through woods and fields full of deer, cornfields and a few little churches, (none of them Catholic). We passed fieldstone houses and barns that looked hundreds of years old. A few stood so close to the road, it seemed they could have been touched by putting a hand out the car window. It was obvious some had once been inns or hotels. They were huge and rambling, maybe a little overgrown but still inhabited. Old structures stood in the middle of nowhere. Their fieldstone walls had been built up high, but now they were crumbling and not holding back anything anymore. We passed another strange sight. It was a fieldstone wall built into the side of a steep bank, with a tiny, arched, cave-like opening that may or may not have led somewhere.

    Horses, cows and sheep grazed in meadows next to long stretches of thick woods. Pastures full of cows bordered neighborhoods on the tops of hills, with huge houses, much bigger than the ones in my neighborhood. I’d never been through such a place in my life. The whole area came across as a different world, but what really stood out to me were all the bridges. They were everywhere, coming one after the other around every turn we took, and they were all shapes and sizes. Some were ancient covered bridges, so old I was surprised they were safe. I asked the sophomore why there were so many bridges. She replied that there was no way in or out of the area unless you crossed the creek. It wound in and out and around, and you had to cross it to get through the actual town. When I asked her nervously if we were almost there, she just laughed and said we’d been through already. I asked her when, and she replied that it wasn’t really a town, just a wide place in the road. An old store stood there, along with a church and another ancient bridge.

    I had no idea where I was. Up until then I hadn’t even known such places existed, especially that close to my hometown. Mom didn’t take us on vacations. She made it a point to expose us to what she deemed “culture,” and dragged us to New York City every summer to visit the Museum of Modern Art, the opera, science institutes, and off-Broadway plays. I hated every damn minute of it. I never complained, but unfortunately, with the exception of New York City, my only travels consisted of trips to the beach with Brad every summer. But I’m getting out. I’ll see the world…and I’ll forget her.

    The area surrounding us seemed surreal. I was reminded of that painter Brad’s mom liked, the one who painted farms, a lot of barns, all in muted tones. The image of a huge pig flashed through my mind and was gone as fast as it came. We crawled down another winding road along the creek and then on through some kind of deserted little crossroad next to an old stone church and a graveyard. The place was enclosed by a fieldstone wall, half falling down. The gravestones slanted this way and that. Next to the road stood a tall stone with a plaque mounted on it. I pulled over hastily to read it, thinking it might tell me where I was, but the words that jumped out of the dimness were “Indiantown,” and “William Penn,” along with the date: 1683. Then the sophomore began talking about the graveyard. Apparently, one of the graves was haunted. She called it Ticking Tomb, whatever the hell that meant.

    The words Mason-Dixon jumped out of her chatter, but all I noticed were the lightning bugs, flickering and flashing among the gravestones. Then I let out the clutch and we squealed away. The whole thing was giving me the creeps. As I sped on, she warned me not to turn off toward what looked like a place I could pull over. I need to take a leak. This place is creepy.

    The sophomore told me to keep straight on the road, or else we’d come to a dead end where stood the ruins of another covered bridge. It was burned down by arsonists fifty years earlier, and never rebuilt. She said it would have taken us to the next state again if we could have driven that way another quarter mile. I went on straight, still needing to take a whiz. Then we came to yet another little one-lane bridge, looming in the dim light of dusk. It humped in the middle and I was almost afraid to go up it, not knowing what might be lurking on the other side. MaybeBilly Penn’s ghost, or some pissed off Lenape holding a hatchet.

    My hair seemed to stand on end. I shivered, even though it was eighty-five degrees, as we finally went on. After the bridge the road narrowed even more. It became mostly gravel and I hoped Brad’s car didn’t get hit by tar chips. I can’t afford a new paint job. I navigated potholes, stepped on the clutch and shifted into low gear to get the Trans Am up a steep hill that was bordered on either side by high banks and more trees. They arched gloomily over the road in the twilight before it widened a little again, and we went down the other side. Where the hell are we? This place is creepy as shit.

    I asked her if she knew where we were, and she laughed again as we continued on up another hill, passing more cornfields on the left and dark woods on the right. She told me to take the next right. Go out the back way; we’d be back on the highway in ten minutes. It was getting dark as I turned at the stop sign, and we went on down another stretch of road. It was perfectly flat, bordered on either side by nothing but meadows and cornfields and one old farmhouse, way back at the edge of the woods. Damn…what a place for a race. Wish I knew about this a few years ago when Ceej and that little punk bastard were racing. This place would have been perfect. That little stuck up punk…wonder whatever happened to him…

    Her next words—something to the effect that the place had been known as the Flats for as long as anyone could remember, and that her uncle used to race his ‘68 GTO there before he went on to be killed in Vietnam—made my hair stand on end again. But then I saw the sign. Some state park buried out there in the boonies.

     

    The above scene is told from the POV of protagonist Jason, who while a high school senior had a fling with a mysterious older woman known as the sophomore. (For more on the sophomore, please read book 3 in my series).

    Though told from Jason’s POV, I wrote what I saw as child in my own hometown, and what I see today while running. Some readers grow impatient with my dreamy flashback scenes, but I want my grandchildren to someday read my vision of the town where their great-great grandparents lived.

     

    Here are some shots from the past week or so.

    White Clay Creek
    View of White Clay Creek. Taken in Delaware.
    A bridge in Landenberg Pennsylvania
    This is the bridge that Jason was nervous about crossing. It does hump in the middle, and it’s difficult to see what might be waiting on the opposite side. Located on Sharpless Road, a short distance from London Tract Meetinghouse.
    White Clay Creek Preserve, Landenberg, PA
    Snowdrops next to Sharpless Road.

    Sharpless Road, Landenberg. This is the other side of the hill that Jason and the sophomore drove down.

     

    This morning, sis and I drove home on the above road. (Sis didn’t really know it existed!) It’s one of my favorite places to run, since the view from the top of the hill is stunning no matter the season. Note the slight tinge of red buds in the trees.

    Besides the benefits to my health, running also takes off any load of worry or anxiety I may be having. And it’s also a great way to get inspiration.

    Below is an abandoned farmhouse nearby. We walked past it today. This is what it looked like last summer.

     

     

     

    Related Posts:

    Photo Blog ~ Running as Therapy and Inspiration

    I Love Dogs

    Shameless Self Promotion

    Above is a one minute video. Check out what people are saying about The Notice, and if you want to find out more, go to the sidebar on your right for a free preview. Only $2.99!


  • Spring Cleaning

    My husband took a week off from work so we can get our house into shape. 

    Well, not only the house, but cars, motorcycle and other things. For the past few months we’ve been working on renovating and redecorating certain rooms of our home. It’s a work in progress, and won’t be complete for another year.

    The first thing we did was turn our old bathroom into a powder room by removing the shower stall. (It was approximately the size of a coffin, and I’m glad it’s gone). The powder room is beautiful, making up for the fact that I have to go all the way upstairs for a shower now, until we finally finish the home makeover with a new master bath.

    We changed out two rooms. Off the kitchen, we had a sitting area with a tiny TV inside an antique sideboard. Since we don’t watch much TV, this was the perfect set up. We could catch the weather in the morning, and go downstairs to watch Netflix in the evenings.

    Now our dining room furniture occupies the space formerly known as a sitting room, and the room we used as a dining room is a formal living room.

    A new master bedroom is next on the list, before the master bath. It’s quite a project, so my husband took this week to finish some painting and other needed jobs, like changing the oil in his Harley-Davidson and my car, and installing shocks or something. Plus, getting some seedlings ready for the garden.

    I’m getting ready for Easter, and a baby shower for my son & daughter-in-law, whose little boy was born 10 weeks early. The baby is doing well in the NICU, and has already gained back all the weight he lost after birth, plus 3 ounces 🙂

    So, there is spring cleaning going on. I’ve been washing all my quilts as I take them off the walls. Today I washed a few I hadn’t gotten to.

     

    quilts2
    A few of my quilts. I made all three. The Double Irish Chain quilt was my first. The Sunbonnet Girls were hand appliquéd and embroidered, using 1930s reproduction fabric. The other quilt is a Monkey Wrench or Churn Dash pattern which I made for my daughter, also using reproduction fabrics.

     

    I have always enjoyed hanging out my laundry. I take after my mother in this respect. (She lives next door and we share a clothesline). Mom has been hanging her laundry since she was married in 1956, and probably for much longer. She  loves hanging the laundry, and I do, too.

    I barely use a clothes dryer. I hang everything outside year round, unless the cold is too bitter or the snow is too deep. On those days I use the dryer, or a clothes rack. My mother hangs her clothes in her basement.

    Mom has a dryer now, but we never had one when I was growing up. This led to certain issues at times. During the winter, our jeans didn’t always get dry overnight on the basement clothesline, so every once in a while, my sister and I would go to school wearing damp jeans. Brrr.

    Cleaning the house is a pain, but after it’s finished, I always feel better.

     

    A comment on one of my recent posts stated that it was “all over the place,” and while it wasn’t true of that post, its seems it is with this post. Sometimes my mind needs a spring cleaning as well.

    Not really a cleaning; there’s nothing dirty there, or at least not that I know of. I just need some down time, or a change, to get myself out of the winter blues. This winter wasn’t bad weather-wise, in fact it was one of the best, but so many things have happened that I find I need to clear my head. If this post seems to be rambling, its because I’ve been under a lot of stress. Writing is therapy.

    Today I went running, which is also serious therapy.

    white clay
    Scenes from my run in White Clay Creek Preserve, here in Southern Chester Co., PA. The barn, top right, is not in the park, but on a road nearby.

     

    While running, I usually pray the Rosary and then listen to music. Today I prayed the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and then ran without the music for awhile, praying for my little grandson, and others who came to mind.

    It’s a terrible thing to see friends so torn up about the candidates for president. I hate the division. This time in America seems the worst in my lifetime, and I am so concerned that I find I must just let go and let God, or else worry myself sick.

    I have been praying for God to send us a leader every day for months now. I find that asking and then saying “Your will be done,” takes away my anxiety. I don’t know what His answer will be, but I do trust that whatever happens, it will be for my good, the good of my loved ones, and the good of everyone who follows Him.

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart
        and lean not on your own understanding;
    in all your ways submit to him,
        and he will make your paths straight.

    Proverbs 3: 5-6

    This verse has helped me tremendously. Any scripture regarding trust is a help to me, since I have spent parts of the past 7 years in a fog of crippling fear.

    Fear of Obamacare (which my family was blessed to have escaped), fear of my religious freedom being yanked away by the Democrats and their HHS mandate, fear of unemployment as my husbands job was outsourced, and when the contract was broken, watching him be forced to reapply for the same job he had been doing for over 20 years, seeing my sister struggle with unemployment, and the list goes on.

    The past 8 years have been a train wreck for many Americans. For me it culminated when I watched the man occupying the White House standing with his hand on his heart in front of a mural of Che Guevara in Cuba, alongside Fidel Castro’s brother.

    What a colossal slap in the face to all of us. And then the news of another terror attack in Europe. It’s too much, but I suppose I should get ready for more. Obama has almost a full year to further degrade us.

    I didn’t expect him to fly home from Cuba the way any other President would; I knew he would ever do that. I was sort of surprised to see him dancing the Tango in Argentina, though. Seems he can always go lower.

    The only consolation is that he will be gone next January. I hope God answers my prayers, and the the prayers of millions of other Americans who have suffered so much, and have been asking for a leader. We need a leader. We don’t need someone who believes it’s “her turn.”
    For those who vote with their vaginas, I hope you will not have to endure what many of us have had to endure. Even if some of your social issues do not progress in the way to which you have become accustomed, (my way or the highway) at least you will be safer with a strong Military, and counterterrorism measures put in place. So there will be an upside for you, as well as for the rest of us.

    Many prayers for the people of Brussels. I’m very sorry for what happened. America is weeping right along with you.

    Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
    and let perpetual light shine upon them.
    May the souls of the faithful departed,
    through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
    Amen.

     


  • Photo-Blog ~ Running as Therapy and Inspiration

    I began running 7 years ago. It’s therapy for me, and also a source of inspiration for my writing. Yesterday’s run was exceptionally beautiful, so here it is, captured in photos.

    When I began running 7 years ago, I usually went to nearby parks and ran laps. This was because I was a beginner, and I needed to develop stamina. But running the same laps over and over quickly became boring, no matter how pretty the parks were. I needed a change and a challenge, so I began running in White Clay Creek Preserve, 5 minutes from my home by car. Actually, I can, and have, run to the park from my home. This occurred while I was training for the Delaware Half-Marathon, when I had to run 8, 9 and10 milers on weekends.But I’m training this year. I’m too busy writing the last book in The Storms Series to train, though once the book is published (I’m shooting for May), I may decide to train for a fall race.

    The linked article has the history and a map of the area. The park is huge, and encompasses acres of Pennsylvania and Delaware. There is quite a bit of history. I grew up in the area, and sometimes I take it for granted. However, it must have been hiding in the back of my mind, since the park is featured in the Storms Series.

    Yesterday’s run began at parking lot one, the closest to my house. I clipped on my old iPod shuffle and began running on the Penn-Del trail, listening to Bruce Springsteen. The trail runs along an old railroad bed. The trains stopped running back in the 1940s. To my left was the White Clay, running slowly, and to my right was a swampy place, with cattails and other stalky grasses. Beaver are building a dam here. Again, it’s strange the way this park figures into my writing. The railroad bed and the beaver are mentioned in book 2 of my series, The Notice.

    About half a mile down, the trail takes a turn to the left, leaving the swamp behind, and continues next to the White Clay. For the next mile or so I ran along the trail, stopping at intervals to take photos.

    White Clay Creek Preserve creekbank White Clay Creek, Pennsylvania Fall in Pennsylvania Landenberg, PA

    IMO, this Fall has been exceptionally beautiful. The foliage is bright and clean and colorful, without a hint of drabness. 

    Running next to the creek is soothing and therapeutic. The iPod’s volume is on low, so the running water filters through, along with the sounds of birds, squirrels and the leaves crunching under my feet. It smells good there. I lose myself in visions of scenes I want to write. The music also inspires. If I get tired I shuffle the iPod until Santana begins playing, making me run faster. (IMO, no running playlist is complete without Santana’s Jingo).

    Finally I emerged from the trail onto Sharpless Road, an isolated country lane. Nearby is London Tract Meeting House, also known as Ticking Tomb Church, because of the legend of the  Ticking Tomb. Please click the link for the legend, and a possible connection to “The Telltale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe. The area was  the home of Native Americans of the Lenni Lenape tribe until it was sold to William Penn in 1683. (The church and the plaque commemorating the sale of the Indian lands to Billy Penn is featured in another scene in The Notice).

    Once on Sharpless Road I turned right, away from the church. I hadn’t run up the following hill since last spring, so I decided to try it.

    uphill

    I didn’t make it. I slacked all summer long, and I didn’t have the stamina to run to the top, so I power walked. My goal is to run up this hill the way I used to by the end of the month.

    Here’s the view from the top. It’s always worth the pain of the hill.

    Landenberg, PA

    I continued on this isolated road, one of the prettiest in Landenberg. Cornfields were here until recently.

    Country Cornfield

    Landenberg, PA

    At the bottom of the first hill two hunters had parked. Deer hunting is permitted in the park, both archery and shotgun. My husband still gets his hunting license every year, however, he doesn’t go out like he used to. When my children were young I felt like a single mom at times, due to his habit of spending every late afternoon deer hunting. He’s a pretty good shot with bow and arrow. We always eat the deer he shoots.

    These days there seems to be an outcry against hunting, and sometimes, hunters. It’s rather frustrating. I’ve seen comments online referring to people like my husband, son and brother-in-law as “rednecks.” People seem to believe the hunters are dangerous. Um… excuse me? This is country life. If you don’t like country ways, move back to where you came from. In the seven years that I’ve been running regularly in the park, never once have I been scared by a hunter. Not once. I’ve seen plenty of hunters of course, but I’ve never felt threatened in the least. The only people who have ever frightened me are dog owners who ignore the leash rule. I was even bitten once by an unleashed dog. Unlike some dog owners who seem to think rules are for other people, the hunters are considerate of others. I trust the hunters much more than the dog owners.

    After passing the spot where the hunters had left their trucks, I came to the smaller hill on Sharpless Rd, and began running up it.

    Landenberg, PA

    This is one of my favorite stretches of road, since this is the place where the idea for the book that would ultimately become a trilogy came to me while running in July of 2009.

    While running along after praying the Rosary I was at a loss as to what would become of America. I felt terrible sense of fear and dread at the thought of Socialized medicine and other such threats to freedom. Again, this was in July, and the fields were full of corn.

    White Clay Creek, Landenberg, PA

    It was here that the idea exploded, just as I crested the hill. The tops of the corn blades were visible through the trees at the top of the bank, and by the time I was on the other side of the hill the idea was firmly planted in my mind. I went home that day and began writing about a young pregnant woman hiding in the corn, and my life was never the same.

    Sharpless Rd. Landenberg, PA

    Above are more fields which will, most likely, be sprouting corn next April. Then I came to the end of Sharpless Road and turned right.

    The Flats,Broad Run Rd., Landenberg, PA

    The Flats, Broad Run Rd.

    Above is the last stretch of road, nicknamed The Flats. I have a vague memory of hearing that it was once used for drag racing, way back when.

    Of course, like so many landmarks near my home, the Flats also made it into the Storms Series. By the time I got there I was feeling tired but also renewed. Like I said, running is therapeutic, especially with so much beauty to gaze upon while doing it. And it’s also inspiring. The combination of running, music and the White Clay Creek just do it for me. I feel like the words will come bubbling to the top when I sit down with my laptop.

    My run ended back at parking lot one, below. I’ll be going back tomorrow for more therapy and inspiration.

    White Clay4


  • I Love Dogs

    While viewing some recently taken photos, I realized that I needed to get back into running asap. Because I’ve been spending every spare minute writing blogs & stories, working on my novel and promoting my books, I have slacked off. My regular fitness routine went on hiatus.

    So, in order to burn calories and get my big, flabby, not ready for prime time triceps into shape for summer, I went running today. (Burns fat; tomorrow I will work my arms with weights).

    Following is a screenshot of what fitbit says I accomplished:

     

    IMG_2399

    The amount of steps is correct. The milage is not. I run a 15 minute mile, and my workout lasted one hour. I stopped to take photos and smell the wild flowers, and I also power walked for at least five minutes. That means I actually covered 3.5 – 3.7 miles. (Still a decent workout for me).

    I saw lovely scenes on the trail. The White Clay Creek is a great place for downtime. I always pray the rosary while running.

    IMG_2400 2

    On the trail I passed fishermen with strings of trout, and saw families and children wading and playing in the creek. I passed trail bikers. Most of them were very considerate. They made sure to warn me that they would be passing me. They smiled, and I smiled back.

    Of course there are those cyclists who seem to feel the entire trail should be theirs. They do not smile as they speed past, sometimes almost forcing me off the creek bank. I understand that they are doing their own workout, but so am I. However, most of the time I say nothing when such inconsiderate behavior is thrown my way. This is the new reality. For many Americans, manners are a thing of the past, so why stress about it?

    There is, however, one single behavior of other people in the park that I can’t seem to get past, and that is dog owners who allow their dogs to run unleashed. My fear stems from having been bitten by such a dog four years ago. The dog (a labrador retriever) lunged and nipped the back of my leg. It was on a country road about a mile away from where I ran today.

    IMG_2401 2

    Even though the dog’s teeth didn’t break the skin, the experience was sort of traumatizing. Especially when the owner of the dog refused to take responsibility for the dog’s behavior. Such dog owners seem oblivious to clearly posted signs stating all dogs must be on leashes. I guess their dogs are better than other people’s dogs.

    The result of being bitten was that every unleashed dog I see looks like this:

    Off-leash-dog

    It doesn’t matter what kind of dog it is. Today there were many considerate dog owners on the trail. Their dogs were adorable. They were also on leashes. There were also two inconsiderate dog owners.  I passed them on my way toward the Delaware line. Each had a dog. Neither were leashed. I’m not sure what breed the dogs were; I was too busy getting ready to pull my pepper spray. Thankfully, neither dog (both of whom were the size of a lab or golden retriever) approached me as I ran past.

    Until I ran back. Again… it doesn’t matter to me what an unleashed dog looks like. An unleashed dog could actually resemble this:

    images

    Doesn’t matter. In my eyes, if a dog is unleashed I see this:

    Off-leash-dog

     

    So when I saw the young girls and their unleashed dogs up ahead, I stopped. I waited a few minutes (disrupting my own workout) and then ran on. I went around bend in the trail, and there they were. I stopped, but it was too late. One of the dogs was running toward me. The nice owner got control of her dog right away, telling me he was friendly, etc. I told her I was bitten by an unleashed dog, and that’s why I seemed nervous. We sort of laughed and went our separate ways. At least she wasn’t oblivious.

    In my five plus years of running in this particular park, I have been scared by too many dogs to count. It’s become just a part of running. I just expect it. The most memorable of these scares (next to actually being bitten) took place on a high ridge next to the creek. On my right was a very steep bank leading down to the creek (it could almost but not quite be termed a cliff) and on my left were woods and underbrush. All of a sudden there was a dog ahead. There was no owner in sight… just a barking hound dog. The dog (whose name turned out to be Andy) rushed me. I was pinned against a tree. Andy would not back off until I sprayed him. I felt horrible!

    It wasn’t poor Andy’s fault. It was his clueless owner who was to blame. After Andy yelped and ran away, I ran on. A few minutes later I came across a woman. She was climbing the trail with a leash in her hand, softly calling “Andy… Andy…Andy…”

    Imagine her surprise when I screamed in her face. I told her Andy was up the trail, recovering from  pepper spray. I asked if she could read, and told her to grow up and follow the freaking rules. Then I ran away so fast that I almost tripped on an exposed tree root.

    What a terrible experience. Why can’t some normal, grown-up, seemingly educated Americans understand that rules are for them, too?


  • Happy New Year

    I try not to make tons of New Year’s resolutions, since I inevitably let them go by the wayside. Instead I’d like to reflect on the year past. 2014 had its high points 🙂 Here’s a list:

    1. I remained in good physical health and so did my family.
    2. I’m at a healthy weight.
    3. I have a terrific family who love me despite my faults.
    4. I have a husband whom I adore, and who loves me even when I’m not at my best.
    5. I am blessed to still have my mother and mother-in-law.
    6. I have two cute, rambunctious, fun, happy, sweet, lovable grandchildren.
    7. Said grandchildren seem to want me around a lot.
    8. I have a part time job, despite the stagnant economy.
    9. My husband escaped the ax at work again, and remains employed.
    10. I published a book.
    11. People like my book. (A friend told me just today that she loves it and can’t put it down).
    12. I am ready to publish another book.
    13. I have made many new friends because of my writing endeavor.
    14. I still have many longtime friends.
    15. I ran a half marathon.
    16. I live in a cute, cozy house.
    17. I am blessed to have a husband who knows how to work on cars. That way we save money, which makes up for the embarrassment I feel when my brakes squeal.
    18. I have a flower garden and a vegetable garden.
    19. I have plenty of plans for the coming year.
    20. I have the love of Jesus Christ.

    If all of the above are sustained in 2015 I will have more than a great year 🙂 I wish each and every friend and reader a happy, healthy New Year.

    IMG_0295

     

     


  • Bring on Spring

    I know this sounds ridiculous since winter is barely two weeks old, but bring on spring. The days are already getting longer. I love this fact. Here are a few pictures of sights I’m longing to see.

    IMG_2336My husband and I haven’t gone riding since September. We were both too busy to do much riding this year. He’s been working on refinishing our basement/TV room, and I’ve been working on writing. Pictured above is a spring scene on a back country road near our home. It’s hard to see, but corn is sprouting in the field. I can’t wait to see such a sight again. Winter can be beautiful, but it’s just not my favorite season.

    IMG_2335I love Spring. Above are cherry blossoms. This tree is my favorite. The blossoms only last about a week, so I spend a lot of time under the tree each April. Below are Hyacinths, blooming under this same tree. I usually see them poking out of the ground in mid-February.

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    February is also the month I begin training for the DE Half Marathon. I haven’t decided whether or not I’m running this year. I need to make a decision soon. The race is an awesome experience. It gets me in shape and makes me feel accomplished, but training in winter is a drag. I have a few weeks to decide whether or not to enter. Here’s my best time, last year after my 10 miler.

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    After the race, it’s time for spring to really get going. The tulips bloom under the cherry tree in May. My granddaughter loved the flowers 🙂

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    It’s not that far away. I can do this! I’ll think of spring and enjoy the longer days. I don’t believe in wishing my life away, so I’ll enjoy winter’s beauty, but I can still dream of spring.

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    And then I can say, Bring on Summer. 🙂

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    My favorite season.


  • Fall

    Now that I’m no longer in denial about the fact that summer’s over, I find myself enjoying the beautiful days of fall. Though I dislike the short days, and chilly early mornings, fall has many positive aspects.

    The first, for me, has to do with running. Pictured is White Clay Creek, located in Southern Chester County, Pennsylvania.

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    Running through the park next to the White Clay is serious therapy year round, but it’s especially so in the fall, when the leaves change from the green pictured above, to red, gold, bronze and bright yellow.

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    Not only is the scenery interesting, but the temperatures are cool, making running much more pleasant than at any other time of year. Running in the spring is sketchy. It’s always raining, and the trails are muddy and cold. Winter is worse. Running through the park in winter can be beautiful too, except for the biting cold and wind, and the loneliness of the trails. The heavy snow and ice made it difficult to train for the Delaware Half Marathon, which I’ve run for the past two years. Training begins in February, a dismal month. Layering up for training is a pain. Still, I plan to enter the race again in 2015.

    Running during the summer  is fun, except for having to fight bugs, and chug gallons of Gatorade, but there’s not much to complain about during fall. I’m not training, so I don’t have to worry about pace. I can just listen to music, or pray the Rosary while getting much needed exercise.

    Speaking of music…today I decorated the house. While weeding, raking, deadheading zinnias and crafting a new wreath for the front door, I was able to listen to music. My husband is a Classic Rock junkie, too, and keeps a stereo in our garage. I can take my pick of almost any artist from A to Z, from his collection of CDs. Today I chose to listen to The Allman Brothers Band.

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    Music is very important to me. All Classic Rock, but mostly Springsteen. More on being the wife of a hard core music lover in a later post.