29 February 2012

Home at Last

I thought I would jump right into blogging as soon as my hungry self could sit down at my mightily missed Mac and type away, but it didn't happen that way. It has taken time. Time to sit and relish being home after two months away. With my Honey after five weeks apart. To reclaim my space. In my beautiful, chosen surroundings. Unpack. Settle. Really be here. In my town, eating the local pizza, shopping the farmer's market, admiring the snow, now in the distance. Watching the dogwoods bloom.

Into the flow of contact with friends, sharing coffee and confidences. Back with our beloved language tutor, Marcello. After time in my favorite chair  in the morning sun by the french doors onto the balcony. After time to be around the books that matter to me. Is it possible to miss books? After time to read poetry with the luxury of so many books to chose from. To sit and think, sift through and take in the experiences of my time away.

After time to luxuriate in decorating magazines (my favorite magazines) picked up in the US, enjoy their seasonal spring color spreads and the endless clever, creative ways people express themselves through their home. After recognizing the signs of something brewing beneath my surface that needs attention, to be honored, to emerge in its own time.

Now, here I am, ready to write, share and, hopefully, gain clarity in the process.

26 February 2012

Half Marathon Update

From the 26.2 With Donna, Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer, website: of the 7753 finishers in the marathon and half marathon there were 57 finishers in the 65 - 69 age group for women. Of those 57, I came in 8th. My time last year was 2:47:02 and this year was 2:42:52. Even better results than I thought. The training was worth it. I'm surprised and pleased.

25 February 2012

TJ's Photo Award

This photo is of our dog, TJ, running down a hill in Maine the winter before he died. That dog loved the snow! He actually smiled when romping in the snow and I caught it this fine day. He was a handsome Alaskan Malamute, a northern breed working dog, who was happiest when hiking, pulling, sledding or just racing down snow covered paths in the park across the street from our house. It seems fitting at this time of year and brings back fond memories.

I submitted TJ's photo to Joan of The Retirement Chronicles in response to her photo contest on the theme: Dogs and Cats and won, or rather TJ won, first place. Check out Joan's amazing nature photography and her free monthly contests. See you there.

Enjoy your surroundings wholeheartedly wherever they may be.

12 February 2012

13.1 Because I'm Only Half Crazy

I ran in the National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer today. I ran the half marathon with a goal to better my time of last year, and I did this by 2 1/2 minutes. That's despite the fact that it was 32 degrees when we started and only warmed to 36 by the time I finished, in Florida! We've had weather in the 60's since I came a few days ago and it will go back to the 60's tomorrow. But this morning in the 30's? Seems cruel. Ironically, I stayed in Trinidad an extra three weeks to train so I'd be training in warm weather to be ready for Florida! Instead, my muscles took a long time to warm up and the wind on the bridges and beach was brutal! My run wasn't elegant as my tutor, Marcello, would say, but I finished. My niece walked the half marathon and bettered her time from last year as well. Good for us!

This is us after the race. Notice the red noses, gloves, jackets, and warming blanket, but also, finishing medals. Whereas I usually love to run as I get into it, today I was just glad to finish.

This was the fifth annual marathon so the shirts' stripe and medal ribbons coordinated. I liked it. A long soak in a hot Jacuzzi was terrific way to warm up and soothe tired muscles.

Also, the presence of fives continues for me this year (remember, for two months my Dad was 95, I was 65, my daughter was 35 and my granddaughter was 5?) with a five on the medal and a bib number of 5535. I don't know what it means but it must be auspicious!

I'll stay in Florida a week extra, especially to visit with my sister-in-law since Italy remains in the grip of a deep freeze and serial snow storms that is unprecedented and unwelcome after so long.

05 February 2012

A Hike to The Sea

From my daughter's home in the Rain Forest to the sea at Paria Bay is a sixteen mile round trip hike through primary forest. One morning my daughter invited me to hike this trail to take advantage of an up to then rare sunny day and an even rarer opportunity for time alone together. I was in so off we set.

This is the secluded beach we reached 3 1/2 hours of beautiful sights and good conversation later. 

The only way to reach Paria Bay is by hiking or by boat, no roads for cars, so we were the only people there for the first two hours. If you think of paradise, this is the beach you would think of.

My daughter, a great swimmer, went out beyond the waves to take a luxurious swim after her walk.

An interesting rock formation, seen above also, called Church Rock located at the southern end of the beach. The tide was high so we had to rock hop to get there. The surf was vigorous and swirled around the statue as it broke on the rocks. The sounds of nothing else but nature was indeed spiritual and made me realize how well named it is. A walk up and down the length of the beach refreshed my soul.

Leatherback turtles use Paria Bay Beach as one of their nesting sites. They lumber up onto the beach (next month) at night, dig a hole about four feet deep, lay some 80 eggs and cover up by flipping sand around so that the nest is no longer identifiable. Then off they swim leaving their offspring to make their hazardous journey over open stretches of sand back to the sea 60 days later. Not many make it.

On the way back we stopped at Paria Falls where the abundance of recent rain made the falls so full that the mist spray coming off it kept us from being able to get much closer and still see the falls. It was a beautiful diversion nonetheless and shows a bit of what the forest we hiked through looks like.

It felt good to be out in nature, to challenge my body and enjoy the company of someone I love. 
Sweet, as my grandson would say.