Thursday, September 29, 2016

Waconia Nickle Dickle 10K/5K/Half Mile Tickle 2016 (Badger Pride)


Waconia Nickle Dickle 10K/5K/Half Mile Tickle (3.15 miles)
Average Pace 12:18/mile

Disclaimer: As I said in my previous post, I am incredibly behind in race recaps right now.  So ... that means I will probably forget many major details on these next few recaps and just end up glossing through them.  Sorry! 


Waconia's Nickle Dickle has been on my radar for several years.  Being the fall festival of a neighboring community, I've always thought to myself "I should really go to that".  But, for whatever reason, every year I've ended up with a conflict. 

Imagine my surprise, then, when I happened to hear Nickle Dickle was on September 17th in 2016, and ... I was free to attend!

How that happened, I don't know.  But so be it! 

Not wanting to be outdone anymore, apparently my husband decided he wanted to join in, too.  So on race morning, away the three of us went to Waconia to run the 5K!


Upon arriving to race check in, I could tell that this race has been a well oiled machine for some time.  Not only was check in incredibly well organized AND staffed, I was fully impressed to discover after receiving my bib that the race was chipped timed ... via our bibs.  No chip to wear around my ankle or tie to my shoe?!  Score!

The high level of organization surprised me quite a bit, as trying to find registration information for this race online was ... seedy, at best.  Even as I type this blog, there are still several links out on Google that reference the Nickle Dickle race and community festivities, many of which link to old sites (IE the 2014 race page, etc).  Hopefully the race organizers can work to improve that issue for future races.

Regardless, despite the confusion online about where to access race day information, everything else leading up to race day was exceptional - email information regarding pre-race process, check in, etc.  I was even pleasantly surprised at how friendly the staff was when I checked in.  Even more so when you consider it was a Badger game day, so I was wearing Wisconsin gear ... at a race taking place in Minnesota ... which was being staffed by U of M and Iowa alumni. 

Of course, they couldn't let me leave check-in without a few friendly barbs.  I think the exact quote from the Iowa guy was "Maybe you should just take this bib here and ... uh ... pin it over that badger, no?  Might make the shirt look a little better."

Haha - well played.

Since check in went so smoothly, I ended up with a bit of time to kill pre-race.  Luckily, a regular student of mine from the gym ran into me (who recently had a baby herself), so we compared baby notes and such until just before gun time.  I'm sure that was a little boring for my husband, but whatever - he and I had an entire 5K together to come, so ...

About 5-10 minutes pre gun, my friend and I ended up parting ways in order for both of us to make a few last minute preparations.  And at roughly the same time, the 10K runners lined up, the national anthem was played, and then the 10K runners had their gun.

After that first crowd of runners and spectators cleared out, since the 10K was on their way, my husband and I moseyed over to the start line in preparation for the 5K group.  Unfortunately though, my husband was a bit insistent about us staying to the back (since we had the stroller).  That meant that when it was finally our gun time, we spent the first few minutes either waiting for the crowd to thin out or being stuck behind various walkers.  Arg.

Fortunately, the good news was that the first stretch of the race was on a city street with the entire street blocked off to traffic, so we had lots of space to work around the inevitable groups who insisted on walking 5 wide, etc. And finally, at about a quarter of a mile in, we settled into our rhythm.  We even found a fellow stroller runner keeping a similar pace that we could tuck behind.  Convenient for us, but maybe not so loved by a few teenaged kids who passed us by, saying under their breath "What is this?  A frickin' stroller parade?"


While we were being snarked at for our strollers, the race course took us down hill and into a park.  When there, we merged onto a walking trail.  At this point, I happened to also overhear a woman slightly ahead of me talking about this transition.  She said something to her running partner about how the course didn't go this way last year, that she didn't like the new course thus far, and that she thought the transition onto the park trail was weird (which I had to agree with, as we went from having the entire width of a city street down to a trail barely wide enough to accommodate 2-3 runners wide, so there was a giant bottle neck at this point in the race).  After hearing her comment, I began to wonder if they would follow the same route again in 2017 based on this issue.  I guess time will tell.


Our goal for the day, as you can see in the above pace chart, was to run at least 1 mile continuous, and then see how the rest of the run went.  That meant that at the 1 mile mark, we took a well earned walk break and then took off again. 

The announcer pre-gun had made us a little nervous talking about the "big hills" on course, so after the first mile we set a conservative pace goal.  Originally we were shooting for another half or full mile continuous run ... until we hit the water stop.  LOL - figures.  Overall, the second mile was mostly a continuous run, with a couple of minor breaks/water stops included.

By the time we hit mile three, though, as you can see above ... well, I had pretty much had it.  First of all, my endurance right now is almost nothing.  Second, the course at that point had fed into an active road where we were to run in the shoulder, with little more than a white stripe insulating us from traffic.  Third, we finally hit the "big hill" the announcer mentioned pre-race.  When those three points intersected I kind of went "F IT!" and just decided to walk.

I think my husband was secretly disappointed that I checked out, since the rest of our run had gone surprisingly well. But sometimes your brain just wins, and that was one of those days.  At least all was not lost though, because when we finally leveled back out to a flat course, we took off for one last run around the block ... and then there it was - the finish line!

Thankfully, we made it through another family race - hooray! 

After clearing the finish line, we buzzed over to the treat table where there were bananas, bags of pretzels, bottles of water, and my husband's favorite find - mini nut rolls.  After enjoying a brief moment of rest and a quick snack, we headed back to the car ... and then as fast as we could we cleaned up at home so I could go get a NEW car.


**Footnote: many thanks to the race photographers who provided the above photos free of charge.  Also, if you are wondering what the shirt was for this race, just check out any people above wearing a white performance shirt with the race logo on it.


And that's the story of how race bib #75 joined my collection.  Here's to another race soon ... which is technically the last of 3 race recaps I'm past due on.  I'm trying to get caught up, I promise!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lake Run 5K 2016 (Racing Cars)

Lake Run 5K (3.15 miles)
Average Pace 11:20/mile

Disclaimer: I am incredibly behind in race recaps right now, and this one is already 2+ weeks overdue.  So ... that means I will probably forget many major details on these next few recaps and just end up glossing through them.  Sorry! 


The year 2016 marks my 6th year competing in the Shell Lake "Lake Run" 5K.  My history with this race started back in 2011 (when I placed first in my age category), continued on in 2012, and then began being featured on this blog with reports in 2013, 2014, and 2015

And - FUN FACT: if you revisit my 2015 post, you may see a hint of me saying I was pregnant at this race and knew it ... without officially saying I was pregnant.  If you've ever experienced morning sickness, go back and re-read that blog - you'll know what I'm talking about.  Officially, though, I didn't announce my pregnancy until some weeks later.  Sneaky, right?

Ooof.  I DO NOT miss morning sickness. 


Well now that I think of it - this was officially my first race after I found out I was for sure pregnant.  So I guess it seems appropriate that it was my first race as a full family unit, too, huh?


Hooray for a family of runners!  :-)

Oh ... and sorry to my little boy for the face full of sun in that selfie.  HA!  I guess you can see from the photo, then, that on a pleasantly cool and sunny morning the THREE of us packed up from the cabin and took off to Shell Lake's coffee hot spot - The Potter's Shed - to prepare for our first ever family 5K race. 

Since this race is on the smaller side, check in for pre-registered runners is fairly fast and efficient.  Within in a few minutes of arriving, I had my husband and my swag and bibs set to go.

Hm ... wait a minute.  After pinning on our bibs, it dawned on me that this race allows free registration for children and I didn't pick up my son's bib.  Back to the check in table.

Since children are free, it took a little bit of checking to find Quinn's bib (as he didn't have an accompanying "swag bag").  Eventually we realized his bib was in a "kids only" pile, with a note attached stating a kid's shirt is $10 if desired. 

I joked with the woman at check in that unless they had onesies, I wasn't interested, pointing at my husband and the stroller in the distance.  Seeing what I meant, she chuckled and handed me the bib.

Then, with just a little bit more work, we were finally all bibbed up and ready to go.


Now, as I have mentioned the last few years I've recapped this race, this hasn't been my favorite 5K in the past.  But, being that I had some new company on course to help me celebrate the day ... my attitude regarding this year's run changed a little.  Even lining up in the scatter-goose crowd pre gun was tolerable (this race is typically challenged with walkers lining up towards the front line, ahead of many runners).

And for as long as I can remember at this race - so I guess you can say as per "the usual" - the race has been pre-gamed with a local musician preforming the national anthem.  This year it was a young girl playing solo - impressive!  When she finished the song, with hardly a pause after her completion, the gun was fired and we were off!

Away we go!


As I've said before, the course for this race is pretty basic: a flat out and back that follows along the road that services those who live on the lake.  My husband, having heard me talk about not loving this course in years past, started goading me as soon as we rounded the first bend and turned towards a view of the lake. 

Him: "What are you talking about?!  This is a nice course - look!  We will be able to see the lake for the whole run!"

Me: "Yeah, that slice right there is the only view you're going to get of the lake, and we're barely a quarter of a mile in, so you better enjoy it.  Once we merge on to that road up there, all you'll see is lake cabins."

Him: " ... oh ... "


Hahaha.  I say this, but in the end it doesn't really matter.  I run this race for the workout.  The view isn't really a deal breaker.  And on the plus side, many of the people who own cabins along the course sit out and cheer for the runners, so that makes things a little more fun too.

Well, the cheering ... and listening to the conversations happening via the runners around you helps pass the time, too.

6 year old girl to dad: "We're going to have to run faster to win!"
Dad: "It doesn't matter if we win.  Let's just focus on running and staying out of traffic."
**Car drives by in opposite shoulder**
Girl: "I bet I know who's going to win - that car!"
Me: holding back snickers and giving my husband the side eye

Since this was my husband's first 5K race in ages and he hadn't been training (I began running over 5-6 years ago, and he only joined me at one race way back then), we decided to approach this run using the 2/1 interval I've mentioned in my last few race recaps.  Running for 2 minutes followed by walking for recovery 1 minute has served me well in my current undertrained state, so it seemed like a no brainer that he'd be able to maintain that as well - especially since I was taking on the "handicap" of pushing the running stroller.  Sure enough, it did!

Secretly, as we ran, I also wondered if my husband has been closet training.  I was sucking air trying to keep pace with him while he was smoking down the road.  LOL! 

I suppose it helps that he's 6'2", while I'm 5'8" and stuck with a stroller.

Before I knew it, we were already at the turn around point and water stop!  Time to head on back!

Feeling tired and undertrained, the second half of the run became more of a personal challenge to myself to (1) finish - obviously and (2) not let my husband upstage me in running.  As you can tell, I'm a tad competitive for totally unnecessary reasons.  But whatever, my childish ways served me well at this race, since it gave me the motivation I needed to finish out the run.  Especially when we were within 1/10 of a mile from the finish line, with people gaining on our heels.  Not wanting to be beat to the finish by anyone else I just said "LET'S PUSH" to my husband and took off.

Bing-bang-boom.  The three of us crossed the finish line and that was that.

I'm still trying to figure out, though, how my son finished a good 30+ seconds ahead of me ... when I was pushing the stroller he was in. 

That's a real head scratcher that he was apparently quite excited about.

If you look at the official race results some time you will see what I mean.  And in case you're wondering, yes - I took his official results for the time noted at the top of this recap.  I was pushing him after all.

Back on topic.

Keeping my competitive side sharp, despite finishing well towards the back of the pack, I insisted on hanging around at the finish line post race.  Much to my husband's dismay, I wanted to see age grade awards distributed.  Thankfully, there were bananas and bagels to help fill his mouth (as opposed to filling his mouth with protesting) ... though nothing provided post race helped cover his eye rolls at me when the awards ceremony started a predictable 30 minutes later than promised.  Oh well.

Unfortunately, staying late for the 5K awards bit us - we had wanted to try and hit up the pancake breakfast at the local airport post race, but it was PACKED by the time we got there at about 9:45-10ish.  Rather than spend another 1-2 hours out, we decided to bag it and just head home to let our little boy nap and model our new race t's instead.


And that's the story of how race bib #74 joined my collection.  Here's to another race soon ... which is technically already 2 races past due.  I'm trying to get caught up, I promise!!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Thursday, August 25, 2016

7 Changes For Weight Loss

Today I came across an article titled "7 Changes To Make If You Want To Lose 20 Pounds Or More".

While typically I don't endorse those kinds of articles, I thought this one in particular was quite good.  Here's my summary of their 7 points.  You can click on the link above if you want to read their exact verbiage.

1 - Think Long Term

Basically, this means rather than "fast fix" diets, shakes or exercise routines, you need to approach whatever you take on as a "new normal".  Don't do anything new that you can't see yourself doing for the rest of your life, or eventually you'll stop doing it and the weight loss will not stick

2 - Focus on the Big Stuff

Rather than nit picking your minor day to day habits (like using a healthier creamer option for your coffee), think bigger picture when you adopt lifestyle changes.  For example, focus on adding more vegetables to your plate or drinking water over soda.  You can worry about the little stuff later, after you have the more important points under control first.

3 - Forget the Scale

Everyone I know CONSTANTLY talks numbers.  In reality, what the scale tells you doesn't matter if you are working out and getting healthy.  Plus, seeing the scale make minor fluctuations from one day to the next can be frustrating and demotivating.  Instead, force yourself to ignore the scale for a week or two at a time.

4 - Seize Opportunities

If you have a chance to do something simple like take the stairs, park further away and walk in, etc - take them!  All those little things add up to big change over time.

5 - Progressively Cut Calories

This one I feel a little ... meh on.  The article says shave more calories from your diet as you lose weight (IE 500 a day at first, and then maybe up to 600 a day after you lose 5-10 pounds).  I understand their justification for what they're saying ... but at some point, rather than say you need to cut 600 a day, I'd rather just see people focus on lifestyle adaptations that are maintainable long term.  So maybe once you've tweaked your lifestyle for big stuff like more vegetables and more exercise, you start to focus on smaller changes like using less dressing on your vegetables or going for a run instead of a walk ... stuff like that.

6 - LIFT

Yes!  I know cardio burns calories.  But ellipticals are not the answers to all life's woes.  The more muscle mass you carry, the higher your metabolism operates.  Get into a weight lifting routine that helps you build muscle as well as burn calories.  (AHEM - TBC anyone?!)

7 - Love Yourself

You know?  I really love that this is the final point in the article.  So many people forget to appreciate their body for what it is when they start a weight loss program.  The truth is, everyone out there has something they need to work on with their body - weight loss, muscle tone, whatever.  There's nothing wrong with that.  If you've made it this far, you've acknowledged you need to take steps towards making yourself healthier, so being OK with your body wherever it is today is exactly what you should be doing!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Eating Out - Health Tips

In order to keep my GroupX instructor certification current, I've been reading a book about sports nutrition by Nancy Clark.  It's somewhat interesting if you're curious to read it yourself, though it's fairly elementary information if you're someone more versed in nutrition like myself.


Anyway, commentary aside, I saw some information in there the other day that I found interesting.  Though I'm not a fan of eating fast food on a regular basis, I do understand that there's the occasion where it is unavoidable - for whatever reason.  Knowing that, I thought I would share the below.  Enjoy!



Thursday, August 18, 2016

Webster Education Foundation 5K 2016 (Pushin' a Stroller)


Webster Education Foundation 5K (3.15 miles)
Average Pace 12:13/mile

Well, folks, it's August.  I suppose that means it's time for another go at the Webster Education Foundation 5K.

As I said last year, this race is one of the few that I've participated in every year since conception.  And it's particularly special to me now, for two reasons: I placed first it my age category there in 2013 (though I couldn't quite repeat that in 2014), and I ran it in 2015 when I was just suspecting I might be pregnant with my baby boy.

It's only fitting, then, that this race marked my first go at running with a baby stroller in tow!  Right?  Right! 

Let's run!


On Saturday morning at about 7:45, after a lot of rushing around trying to get not just me but also baby ready for our first race together, my husband drove our SUV up to the 5-12 school in Webster and put it in park. 

Yes, you read that right.  A 7:45 arrival for a race at 8:00.  Quite a bit later than my usual 30+ minute check in.  What can I say?  Life changes when you have a kid.  (Not to mention, I value my sleep more these days, too.)

Even though my arrival was later than normal for me, since this is a smaller race without a lot of hullabaloo around it, I had plenty of time.  In a matter of minutes I was in and out with bibs and race t in hand - yes that's plural bibs, singular T ... we gotta work on these races to start offering onesies or baby Ts I guess, LOL!

Here's this year's T:


And yes, once again this shirt may look familiar to you, since it's the 2014 and 2015 design on a different color base.  This shirt the last two years now has been a wicking T, which you know I'm not a huge fan of, but at least this one is a heavier weight meshy style fabric ... so, I'll allow it.  *cheeseball grin*  I still prefer cotton, though.

As I exited the school building, I had a large grin on my face.  Making my way back to the car, I proceeded to pin our bibs on. 

Why the grin, you ask?  Well, because ... I finally got to be #1! 


And of course, what's #1 without a trusty #2 right by my side?!



This kid definitely knows something about #2, too.  Let me tell you!  (Yes, that was a gratuitous poop joke.  Moving along ...)

You'll notice in the above photos that I put a mosquito netting over the jogging stroller prior to our run.  Having just completed the bug-ma-geddon that was the Gandy Fly In 5K a few weeks back, I decided I had better start learning from my mistakes and preparing better for less than desirable run conditions.  Preparation - something that is especially important now that I have a kid along for the ride.  #adulting

Of course I say this, and then what happens?  It starts to rain on race morning.  Which I was not prepared for AT ALL.  Whomp-whomp.

At least the rain was only an intermittent fine mist, which actually was just light enough that it beaded up on the netting and rolled right off, so the inside of the stroller stayed completely dry the entire morning.  Plus, the overcast weather ended up keeping the overall temps relatively cool/comfortable.  So ... win for me on that one.  But loss for me too, since the mist was just enough to remove any bug spray I applied.  A huge issue later in the run.  More on that later.

(Side note to self - better order a rain shield for the stroller, too. Time to turn on that money sucker known as

Despite the mist and overcast skies, and my late arrival, my GPS was a champ on race morning.  Just a minute before I needed to line up for the run, I clicked that thing on and it was good to go.  I can't figure out why, given my issues in a previous race ... but ok then!

With a happy GPS and an even happier baby (who was babbling and cooing away, loving the excited energy of the crowd), I pushed the stroller towards the start line and mentally prepared for what was to come: zero training, with or without stroller. 

Well, here goes!

Shoot!  Suddenly I realized I should probably tuck my phone into the diaper bag and keep it protected from the mist during the run.  So of course, as I'm doing this, I hear the race announcer yell "on your mark, get set ..." 

In a rush, I shoved my phone away, barely managing to fumble the diaper bag zipper shut while a very loud bang of an official track gun went off. 

Shoot again!  Not even thinking pre-race about my choice of start point, or how loud the gun was and how close I was to it, I nervously looked up to check on what was happening inside the stroller.  To my amazement, instead of crying I heard an excited laugh.  Could he really be this happy to be in a 5K?  Must have been all that racing I did while pregnant, eh?! 

Alright, the gun has been fired and you're ready to go.  Let's run little boy!


In years past, this course made a figure 8 of sorts through "downtown" Webster and along the Gandy Dancer trail.  Since we headed along that usual path, crossing over the main street of town, I figured we were on track for a repeat again in 2016.  But then we kept going, and going, and going ...

Where the heck is the Gandy trail?! Don't we usually hit that within the first mile of the run?  I thought. 

Am I really running that slowly?  Ugh, if I am, this is going to be one long race. 

Despite my happy start, my internal running narrative was becoming none too chipper.  Trying to keep myself distracted, and to keep my son entertained, I echoed back the excited coos coming from in the stroller (and very likely sounded insane to anyone within ear shot of me).  Thankfully, before I could get into too much of a hate spiral, my watch beeped that I had completed mile one. 

10:40?!  What the heck?!  I never would have expected to run a mile that fast with the ZERO training I've done, especially with the addition of a stroller.  Pat yourself on the back, lady!

Once I cleared the first mile, I realized there must have been a course change for 2016 and my mood vastly improved. 

Since I was making OK time (and also sucking air), I decided to slow for a walk break and debated my pacing strategy for the rest of the run. 

Strategizing was tough.  While I was happy with my 10:40 continuous run on my first mile, and I really would have liked to try to run a continuous third mile in this race, I doubted the viability of being able to make that happen.  Realistically, I knew that the mile I just completed felt hard, and I wasn't sure I could repeat that a second time.  Sure, I could push and potentially peter myself out prior to hitting the finish line ... if I were running alone ... but I had a kid with me that I was responsible for getting to the finish.  Knowing that, I figured another full mile wasn't in the cards for me. 

So, having no real strategy beyond finishing with a decent pace, I followed a rough 3/3 interval for mile two (three minutes running, three minutes walking).  It was during this mile, at where I estimated to be the 1.5 mile mark, that I got a little nervous - I finally passed the 1 mile marker and started to wonder if my GPS was off.  Not to worry, shortly after I passed the 2 mile marker ... so I figure that was just a mistake in sign placement. 

Anyway!  Going back to my race strategy and intervals, remember how I said it was misting and my bug spray was getting washed off?  Take a look at my intervals in mile two versus mile three.

Can you guess what started happening? 

Let's just say ... they don't make mesh running netting in adult sizes.  LOL!

And by the way, you know the bugs are bad when (1) the cops directing race traffic are ALL complaining about it, every time you pass them and (2) the woman at the finish line asks you if you're OK because you're covered in hives from your neck to your ankles.  Seriously, as I'm writing this it's already 3 days post race and I STILL look like I have the chicken pox.  Ugh!

Lucky for me, despite the mobs of mosquitos, I was well into my 3rd mile by now and coming back towards our start point.  Trying to pretend I wasn't getting eaten alive, I waved to my husband and headed towards the final stretch on the school's track.


Oh, that reminds me.  When I first entered the field just outside of where the race course joined the track, I was pleasantly surprised to see a 35 on the clock in the distance, and debated if I could pick up the pace and pull off at a 36 and change.  But the harder I pushed, the worse I started to feel.  Not wanting to really overdo it in my victory lap, I decided to just keep a level pace and do my best.

Which takes me to the last photo you see above - right into the finisher's chute, where I was handed TWO of these babies (which were generously provided by an unmentioned donor - ahem):

After finishing the race, my husband greeted me in the stands and was amazed to see a gleeful baby in the stroller.  Unbeknownst to us, he thought cowbells were GREAT and was over the top to hear people ringing them and cheering as more runners came through the chute.  While he giggled away, I grabbed a banana, a bottle of water and a coconut granola bar from the snack table and took a rest on a nearby bleacher.

That's when I saw this:

A dog in a race T and a finisher's medal?!  YES!  I had to take a picture.

In addition to this amazing dog, my husband and I had to chuckle at the chatter amongst the crowd.  We were sitting nearby a man who had just finished walking.  Ready to go home, he was warned by another spectator he couldn't leave yet, since age grade awards were about to begin.  With a loud bellow and a snicker, he proclaimed "Well might as well sign me up for the 100+ category because I'm going to win that goddamn thing!  I'm 73.  Everybody I know is having a heart attack and my doctor says I'm as healthy as a horse!"

I love people who have zero F's to give.  :-D

Shortly thereafter, as I finished my snacks, the top runners were given a second medal for their performances, and we all went home.


And that's the story of how race bib #73 joined my collection, which if you've been watching makes #2 for baby boy.  Here's to another race soon ... which *gasp* might include my whole fam-damily (me, baby AND husband)! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

About My Grandma

Ages ago, I did an "about me" post where I mentioned my Grandma.  Since it was awhile ago, you may not remember this photo.

That is my Grandma about 5-10 years ago (maybe).  She decided one day that she needed to take a badass photo, and borrowed her son's leather jacket and motorcycle so that she could pose accordingly in front of her house.  She's since sold the house, as she didn't need all that space all on her lonesome, but it still makes for a great photo.

More recently, maybe 3 or so years ago, I unexpectedly received a Christmas card in the mail that caught me off guard.

I guess my Grandma had some trouble with the law?  Hahaha.  In reality, she took advantage of a social connection and a great photo opportunity, and then maximized it by sending a copy to everyone at Christmas time.  Gotta love it.

One of my favorite stories about my Grandma, though, has to do with an automatic rifle and a hearing check.  The story goes that a few years ago on the 4th of July, she was on some private farm property where someone had shown up with an AK47 or equivalent automatic gun, and said person was trying to get some of the teenaged boys present to fire the gun.  The boys, all fearing the resulting kick of firing, nervously declined the opportunity.  My Grandma, not even missing a beat, smirked at the boys then stepped up and said "Well, somebody needs to shoot it.  I'm 97 years old, what have I got to lose?" - AND ACTUALLY FIRED THE GUN! 

So a few weeks later, after firing the gun, my Grandma goes in for her first hearing aid fitting.  The doctor goes through his run of the mill questions about health history, environmental factors, etc. - looking for any kind of triggers that may contribute to hearing loss.  One of his standard questions was something to the effect of "have you had any exposure to loud noises" or something like that.  Wanting to be honest, my Grandma said "Well, not really.  Except for the other weekend when I was shooting off that Russian machine gun. I guess that was kind of loud."

I'm sure you can about imagine the doctor's response to hearing that from a 97 year old woman!


Generally speaking, my Grandma has had a very interesting life.  She grew up in what I call "the real frontier" - her parents moved from Pittsburg to the wild west of Montana and homesteaded in the late 1800's, where she was eventually born in the early 1900's.  I have a digital copy of an audio CD she recorded a few years ago where she talks about her life and the progression she saw from living in essentially a "Little House on the Prairie" style cabin without electricity or pluming to the modern home you see above.  Her life is a fascinating story that takes you from a time when Native Americans still lived a nomadic lifestyle, through the Great Depression and the World Wars, and sees you up to raising a family in St. Paul during the 60s and 70s. 

Ok - pause here.  I know this is getting to be a lot of info.  But hang with me, I'm telling you all this information today for two reasons.

First of all, I'm telling you because at some point I may write a "non detailed" recap of what happened during my birthing process (or I may not, I haven't decided - the only reason I'm thinking I might is that so many people tell horror stories about their deliveries, and I want people to know that there are plenty of good stories during child birth too).  Anyway, in order for a line in my birthing story to make sense, you need to know the following: being that my Grandma lived in the "real frontier", and doctor access was limited, she would occasionally attend home births with her mother who was the equivalent of a home trained midwife that helped many local farm women during delivery.  As a result, my Grandma had a saying she would quote from time to time, thanks to her mother:

"God ought to have designed both men and women to give birth, then made it so men had to have the first child and women the second.  That way, when it came time to have a third, that would be the end of it.  Every family would only have two children."

Second of all, I'm telling you this story because just a week or two ago, my Grandma went out for tea with some family and they snapped this photo.

Yes, that is a tiara.  Knowing what you do about me, I have to pose the question: it possible that fashion sense is also genetic?

Anyway - the round about point to this post is: if some day I make it to 99 years old, I hope I can maintain my sense of fashion and humor just like her.