Saturday, May 30, 2015

#29: 33for43 [101 in 1001]

Click here for more info on 101 in 1001.

Photos courtesy of Eric Dryden, Carmine DiBiase, Leah Mumpower, and me.  (They will be paid in Christmas cookies).

One of the best things about my county is the Chief Ladiga Trail.  Named after Muscogee Indian Chief Ladiga, the trail is an asphalt paved, 33-mile stretch of glorious Southern scenery.  Once part of the Southern Railway system, this byway is used for walks, runs, and rides of all types of non-motorized conveyances.

The Challenge

I've been walking/running and cycling parts of the trail for a couple of years but never experienced it in its entirety.  I'd hinted at riding the whole trail "sometime."  My training rides were a safe drop in the bucket that didn't challenge me enough to even consider being able to ride 33 miles.  Workout partners came and went.  The challenge seemed insurmountable.  And then, of course, was the repeated protest shouted in my mind, "You're too fat to do that!"

Ready, Set, Party!

Let's get this party started!
A few weeks before I left for the Journey Training (I refer to it in this post), I'd decided I would try it.  I'd have someone drop me off at the trailhead, I'd ride as far as I could, and my ride would pick me up at the end (or wherever I stopped).  My walking buddy, Leah, was all for it.  OK, that's safe enough.

Well, in comes the Journey Training, and I am messed up!  After all the changes I went through (and will go through at the completion of the training in June) I came away more bold than I'd been in a long time.  When I got home, I firmly committed to not only make the attempt, but to use the ride to celebrate my 43rd birthday.  Yes, I was actually going to TELL people what I was doing and celebrate it, even it I had to ride alone. 

I got up on the morning of the 30th feeling excited, but nervous as a cat in room full of rocking chairs. You know, that nervous gotta pee feeling.  Finding the trail was easy enough, but figuring out the correct riding direction wasn't so clear cut.  The "parking" area is a little piece from the official entrance, so we had to walk to the entrance arch to figure where to go.

Lovely entrance.  Too bad the welcome sign is all jacked up.

Leah shot a couple of pictures, we prayed, and I took off.  Equipped with my cell phone, camera, drinks, food, a change of clothes, and pepper spray, I thought What have I gotten myself into?  As I flew through the first few miles, my nerves faded and my confidence grew.  Then it happened.  Around mile marker 4 or 5, a friend joined in.  Hallelujah!  I'm not alone.  Eric, who knows every nook and cranny of  Chief Ladiga and Silver Comet trails, became my tour guide and photographer.  I would have enjoyed just the camaraderie of the ride, but he made sure I didn't miss anything.

Around mile marker 10, Susan joined in.

From there, we had great fun chatting on the way to our next stop at the welcome center in Piedmont, AL (mile marker 14).  I will definitely visit here again.


After a snack and potty break, we said goodbye to Susan and headed out again...oh wait, another cool spot in the area is Piedmont Springs.  We took a detour there for a few minutes.

The Wall
Just before we got to Jacksonville, the party on wheels kicked it up a notch.  My Anniston Runner's Club and Journey Training buddy, Carla and Susan's husband, Carmine joined in.  We pedaled, and laughed, and pedaled some more.  It really was a party on wheels.  We talked about a lot of everything and a lot of nothing.  We had no idea that a surprise was waiting for us at the rock wall past the turtle pond (mile marker 22). 

My friends (and Worship Pastors) Bob and Angie met our party with encouragement, hugs, laughs, and cold water.  This was so sweet.  Thanks for the love, y'all!
From Left to right:  Eric, Carla, Angie, Bob, me, Carmine.
At Germania Springs Park, we met up with Leah (my walking buddy and partner in this mess) for a quick hug and photos... and for her to see that I wasn't dead. (mile marker 24)
We headed on into town, said goodbye to Eric, and took our lunch break at the train depot.  After 26 miles, I was so sweaty and icky.  I changed clothes, said goodbye to Carla, and Carmine and I headed to finish this thing.
The Other Wall
I've heard my fellow runners and cyclists talking about hitting the wall or bonking.  I've only had a similar experience on runs where I was too ill to be running or on bike rides when mechanical problems forced me to get off and push.  This is the first time in the ride that I actually thought I wouldn't finish.  Thinking that I would probably bonk at mile marker 31 (the inclined section of Weaver that satan built), I figured I'd be fine on the portion from the depot to that spot .  Ha!  Right at the welcome sign at Weaver I had to get off and have a moment.
I was gasping for breath like I'd chain smoked six packs of Camel cigarettes straight, my heart was playing the Spider drum cadence in my chest, and the back of my head and neck hurt like I'd be hit with and aluminum folding chair at a rasslin' match.  What the hay?!  Three miles left and I'm falling apart?  Get it together, woman!  Praise the Lord, no vomit was involved.  Thankful for Carmine's patience, I drank water and Gatorade, stretched my neck, blew my nose, and hopped back on the bike.  My goal was to not get off again until I completed the ride. 
Tired, hungry, and in need of a four hour shower and a 100-count bottle of Ibuprofen, I'd DONE IT!  I finished all 33 miles.  Carmine honored me; he who cycles like a mad man and finished the Cheaha Challenge, said he was proud of me.  I know you're not supposed to say this, but quite frankly I was very proud of me.  This is what we call at the Journey Training a CHAMPION MOMENT.
So, am I done with cycling?  Absolutely NOT!  All this does is make me hungry to ride more (after a little break, of course).  Who knows?  Soon you may see pictures from parts of the Silver Comet Trail.  Stay tuned.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Five Minute Friday: "Blue."

Our Mistress of Ceremonies for the Five Minute Friday is Kate over at Heading Home.  Hope you link up with us and join the fun.

I like blue.  I love using the color blue in my art.  It's a very calming color.  The color of ocean, sky, and various flowers. I like blueberries.  I like the old blues music of my parent's generation.  The songs Blue Suede Shoes and Blue Monday come to mind.  Makes me smile.  Blue can bring joy.
However, blue can bring sorrow also.  I don't like feeling blue, and I have been lately.  Instead of the relaxing color of calm, blue becomes the engulfing hole of despair.
I may use blue to come out of my blues.  I still have a couple of canvases and some watercolor paper, so I think a painting marathon is in order this week.  Taking picture of pretty scenery with blue is in order.  Maybe I can do that on my ride tomorrow. 
I need to rise out of the blue.
Some of my "blue" work:



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Memorable Feedback: The Weekly Hodgepodge

Want to join the party?  Go on over to From This Side of the Pond  for the Hodgepodge link-up!

Did you do anything 'memorable' this past weekend?
Ronald Reagan is quoted as saying, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."  

Your thoughts? Do you somehow acknowledge and appreciate the freedoms you enjoy? Did your upbringing contribute to that sense of appreciation? If you're a parent, are there specific things you do to pass on this sense of responsibility and appreciation to your own children in regard to the freedoms they enjoy?
I do appreciate the freedoms I enjoy.  If I lived in any other country, I would never be able to do the things I do or have the dreams I have.  My parents grew up when segregation and open racism were the norm.  Knowing what they went through is not my reality makes me very thankful.  Yes, I deal with individual racism and race baiting by the media, but I've never had a fire hose turned on me or had to drink from a water fountain marked "colored" and have the government fully backing it.
Reagan's  views that freedom is one generation away from extinction is spot on.  I see it everywhere; people crying racism over everything.  They forget what our parents and grandparents went through.  They forget that they don't have to bow to what the media or their favorite entertainer declares as "truth."  They've forgotten that they can use their heads for something other than a hat rack.
Loudest noise you've ever heard?
As a musician, I've heard various volumes of feedback that could split a room in half.  
What was the last thing you ate that might be considered 'junk food'? Did you enjoy it?
I drank a Coca-Cola.  I didn't necessarily enjoy it since I was consuming it to get rid of nausea.
When was the last time you were somewhere the crowd felt 'packed in like sardines'?
I always feel that way going through the halls at church.  We have gangs of elderly people who take over the halls and don't understand that there are others who need to pass. 
Are you organized when it comes to packing for a trip? Do you make a list weeks in advance or toss items in last minute? Are you a carry-on only sort of packer or do you need an entire suitcase for your shoes?
As of yet, I don't travel much.  But when I do, I plan out in my mind what I'll need.  Since my trips are only for a few days, I pack the day before. I do my best to keep it to a minimum.
What was the last sporting event you attended in person? Did your team win? Did you care?
I attended a Jacksonville State University football game two years ago.  Yes, we did win (Go Gamecocks!), and yes, I did care.
Insert your own random thought here.
I'm not sure what to write.  I've got big plans for this weekend, but I'm not having such a good week.  I'm fighting something.  I'm not sure if it's physical, mental, spiritual, or all three.  I haven't felt this low in a long time.  I'm just going to keep trying to nourish myself in all areas and try not to stay in bed all day.  This is shameful!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sheeple: The Simple Woman's Daybook

If you would like to join in and post your own Daybook, please head on over to visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today:  Sunday, May 24, 2015

Outside my window …  Beautiful blue skies and a beaming sun giving a summer preview.  Baby it's hot outside.

I am thinking...   About the phrase "getting my life back."  I hear that phrase over and over again with people attempting to change their lives.  I honestly don't get that.  I'm not trying to get my life back; I'm trying to get a life period.  I've spent the first 40 years of my life merely existing with spurts of real living thrown in.  I've done more changing in the past three years than ever.  Several people have said me that this is "my year."  I hope they're right.

I am thankful...  for positive changes in my life.

In the kitchen... I should be getting back to my A-Z challenge this week.  Stay tuned.
From the Workshop...  

Nearly got it together.  Just need to finish the sky and the appliques.  You, my dear friends, will get a chance to own this piece of art.  As soon as it's finished, I'll post details here and on my sister blog.

I am reading...   Still working on the same books as last week.  I've had a very hard time concentrating this week, so not much progress has been made.  Hopefully, this week will be better.
I am looking forward to...  my birthday.  Saturday, I'm celebrating my 43rd birthday in a different way:

You are cordially invited to join me in the celebration of my 43rd birthday, Saturday, May 30, 2015.  We will celebrate “Taking 33 for 43.”  What is the 33, you ask.  It is the 33 miles of the Chief Ladiga Trail.  The plan is to bike from the connection with the Silver Comet Trail at the Alabama/Georgia line to the end of the trail in Anniston, Alabama.

Ways you can join the celebration:

Join the ride.  Whether you feel comfortable starting at the head of the trail or somewhere along the away, come celebrate with me.  RIDE STARTS AT 8:00 A.M. SHARP!

Cheer me on – location updates will be posted via my personal Facebook page.
Pray for me – either because you want me to finish or because you think I’m crazy. :)

I am learning…   that waiting on others will get me nowhere.  I realize that no one should become and island unto himself, however even those who make promises and commitments rarely keep them.  I have to look at where I've sewn seeds of unfaithfulness and endeavor to make them right.  I also have to continue to work on becoming someone to whom it is worth keeping a commitment.
Around the house...  other than laundry, nothing much.
A favorite quote for today... 

"Let us not fall into the error of letting our passions and carnal appetites ride in triumph while our nobler powers walk in the dust." - Charles Spurgeon

"Never let cares or tribulations separate you from the fact that God loves you." - Oswald Chambers

From The Journey Training:

One of my favorite things... 

My sister, Ida, gave this dispenser to me.  She found it at a yard sale and said it reminded her of me.  It's on the sink in the kitchen and cracks me up every time I get soap out of it.

A few plans for the rest of the week:   finishing the blanket, job hunting, celebrating my birthday weekend (or more).  I've got a new toy I need to learn the inner workings of.

A peek into my days... Still trying to recover from my Tulsa trip.  It's been a hard week.  My mind is wanting to do more than my body will allow.  I've been lethargic and easily distracted, bordering on depressive mode.  I believe this week will be much better.

And now for something totally different...

Saw mention of this story on Twitter.  Apparently, the organizers of the Cannes Film Festival have banned from the red carpet women who are not wearing high heels.  Now, I don't care about the festival, nor do I care for break neck high heels either.  However, this is beyond absurd.  What do shoes have to do with a woman's ability to produce films?  How does the height of a shoe heel determine worth?  It's maddening because so many things that should never determine the value of women are what we ladies are told to hold so dear.  Just burns my grits!

Lindenhurst, NY - allegedly, a black family received this letter from an anonymous writer:

Photo via Facebook

First, is this even real?  If it isn't, shame on the family for race baiting--that kind of crap is getting old.  Stop hunting for racism where there is none. Second, if it is real, notice where this is coming from. Not Alabama, not Mississippi, nowhere in the southern United States; New York.  So those who keep thinking the that South is the only part of the country with racist, misogynistic, homophobes, try again.  Third, even if it is real, I say ignore it.  The writer didn't have the balls to sign it, so I equate it to a laptop gangster who's very brave behind an avatar and a fake name, but in reality is a sniveling, limp wristed, panty wasted, coward.  If the family moves somewhere else or walks around in fear, then the coward wins.

St. Louis, MO - Fredbird, the St. Louis Cardinals mascot stirs up internet fury with this photograph:

Photo via Fox News Insider

There were both supporters and opponents of the photo.  Here's my problem; why is this even controversial?  Only a criminal or an idiot would think that police lives don't matter.  For the handful of rogue cops, there are thousands of respectful public servants who really do "protect and serve."  As the truth of many of these high profile police brutality cases are brought out and race ends up not even being a factor, many people simply ignore the facts because they want to keep mess stirred up.  Those of us who wait for facts, look at both sides of an issue, and actually use our heads for something other than a hat rack are called "sheeple."  No, those who don't care about facts and let the media tell them what to think and how to think by making the major minor and vice versa are the real "sheeple." 

People were saying this sign was racist.  How?  Have you never seen a black, Latino, or Asian police officer?  These are the same fools who just pee themselves is someone says "white lives matter," "Latino lives matter," or "unborn lives matter" (gasp).  Grow up people!  ALL LIVES MATTER!  This is not the 1960's; it's 2015.  Fight the real racism and forget this other garbage!


From Twitter:  @WeirdHorse tweeted;  "Just got turned away from #Cannes2015 for having hooves. This is a disgrace."

From Twitter:  @GregBQuotes tweeted:  "How did you set THAT alarm? That's pretty impressive!" When Said He Broke Wind So Loud It Woke Him Up And Scared Him

From YouTube:  Steve Harvey shared:

And this one:

From Facebook:  W. Clark shared:

From Facebook:  D. Havens shared:

"Crust cutting level: Ninja.
This is going on my resume."

From Facebook:  T. Kingston shared: 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Five Minute Friday: "Rise"

Our Mistress of Ceremonies for the Five Minute Friday is Kate over at Heading Home.  Hope you link up with us and join the fun.

For those new to this prompt. A one word prompt is given and we write for five minutes with minimal editing or backtracking.  Just pure raw reaction. 
One of the devotionals I'm reading this year is Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest (a book that is a real struggle for me to get through).  The entry for May 19th hit home.  It was called "Out of the Wreck I Rise." 
Is this really possible?  Is it possible to rise out of the ashes and be something other than used up embers? 
I keep trying to rise and get knocked down time and time again.  I feel like I'm in a big whack-a-mole game where I am the mole.  OK, I'm up!  Whack! Ok, maybe now.  Whack!  Surely someday... Whack! No, this is NOT for you!
What am I doing wrong?  Maybe it is the act of trying to rise at all.  After all, who am I to think that I should?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Crocs and Crocks: The Weekly Hodgepodge

Want to join the party?  Go on over to From This Side of the Pond  for the Hodgepodge link-up!

Did you make someone laugh yesterday? Was it intentional?
Yes I did, and it was intentional.  I try to make people laugh whenever I'm around.  I used to hide behind the humor.  Now, it's just a pleasant part of my personality.  I am a comedian at heart.
What's a simple question with a complicated answer?
Why? It's a simple question with a complicated answer.  "Because I said so!" worked when I was a child.  As an adult, that doesn't cut it anymore.
Rhododendrons or have to choose. Are either currently blooming in your yard?
Neither are in the yard, but azaleas are my favorite.  I used to have them at my old apartment and plan to plant them when I get my own place.
This Pink Ice Azalea was my favorite.  I think my landlord cut it down (along with my roses) after I moved.

May 21st is National Waitstaff Day. Have you ever worked as a waiter/waitress? How would you rate the experience? What was the best/worst part of the job?
No, I've never worked as a server.  I'd be afraid to.  I'm not clumsy, but when I see the size of platters they must lift, I imagine myself spilling it all in the floor or on a customer.
What fashion trend for women should be outlawed? How about one for men?
For women; thongs and ridiculously high heeled shoes.  For men; flip flops, fish fin hair cuts, and any t-shirts containing profanity.  For everybody:  Crocs, hip hugger jeans, and anything that makes you say "I don't want to see all that!"

Name a writer who inspires tell us why.
You want me to pick ONE?!  I'd have to say Beth Moore.  Like many of my favorite authors, she doesn't just tell people what to do, but shows how she's lived it herself.  Her books are like a girl's day out chat at the coffee shop.  Quite frankly, I love Beth Moore because she's a hot mess. 
What well known quote or saying sums up your plans for today or this week?
Insert your own random thought here.
I'm still reeling after my Tulsa trip.  It was NOT a vacation.  I'm going to need a vacation to recover from this thing.  The Journey Training was like nothing I've ever done.  It's like Celebrate Recovery, The Walking Dead, Marching Southerners Band Camp, and Marine Hell Week all in one...and I can't wait to get back to Tulsa in June.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Cornrows: The Simple Woman's Daybook

If you would like to join in and post your own Daybook, please head on over to visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today:  Monday, May 18, 2015

Outside my window … 

Sunday's view from my hotel window:  Sunset over Tulsa OK

I am thinking...   Oh man, my head is on overload.  Let's see:
  • I'm thinking about one of the devotionals I'm reading.  Years ago, I attempted to read My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers, but I gave up before I finished it.  I'm not sure why I gave up then, but I'm almost ready to quit reading it now.  While Morning By Morning by Charles Spurgeon has been a delightful daily read, Chambers' readings are getting harder to stomach.  He seems very harsh and graceless.  The first couple of months of entries were great, but now I begin my daily reading hoping it will get better.  So far, it hasn't.
  • I'm thinking about all that was crammed into my head this weekend and how to not go home to everything being the same.  I have changed and things must change with it.
I am thankful...  for the opportunity to experience the Journey Training.  I'm thankful for all the new friends I've made.  It's amazing how more than 30 people fell in love and became forever friends over a weekend.  This training was intense but so worth it.

In the kitchen...  Not a thing.
From the Workshop...  

I got a lot of crocheting done on the road.  It may not look like much, but the corner piece is 36 squares, the middle piece will be 48 squares, plus I started making baby booties out of some of the leftovers.  I finally have my purpose for this blanket.  Until I'm finished, it's a secret.  My goal is to finish it by the end of the week.
I am reading...   I'm about 1/3 of the way through The Blessing of the Lord.  I've been reading it between crochet sessions.  I was given a couple more books this weekend to add to the shelf:
I am looking forward to...  Going home and getting some rest.  I'm looking forward to finding to good job.  I'm looking forward to coming back to Tulsa in June for the second.

I am learning…   so much about myself.  As I process what I've learned this weekend, I'll be able to more succinctly share it. 
Around the house...  Not a thing.
A favorite quote for today...  From the Journey Training:  "Watch the cornrows!"
One of my favorite things...  Making new friends.

A few plans for the rest of the week:   Rest and processing what I've learned.

A peek into my days...

Tuesday:  Got in 11 miles on the trail before I headed off to OK.

The night view from the hotel Thursday night. 
After 11 hours on the road, this was wonderful to see.

One of the facilitators at the Journey Training was Danny Cahill, winner of  Biggest Loser season 8.  I've met me a new brother in bass.  We need to jam when I come back in June for the next part of the training.

And now for something totally different...  

At a stop in Arkansas on the way to the conference, we saw something absolutely crazy.  Across from the Exxon station where we fueled up was a series of trailers that looked like train box cars with the word "Motel" printed on them.  Now, you KNOW what those were for.  We affectionately referred to them as "Hoochie Boxes."  Yeah, even the "generic" gas station they were next to looked creepy.

From Twitter:  @HonestToddler tweeted: "Anthropologie is like if Instagram and Etsy had a baby and named it $800."

From Twitter:  @GregBQuotes tweeted:  "I love when the music's playin' they keep comin' back and goin' 'Your call's very important to us…' while your waiting for…hours."

From Twitter:  @bgrhubarb tweeted:  ""Dance like nobody's watching, and never give your money to a cat."- Craig Ferguson