That’s not true… that’s impossible!

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Preparing to join the Dark Side

SWDS medalsMy dad was very proud of me and my sister for our dedication to running. We both won some local awards and he told EVERYBODY. That’s how I know he’d be very excited about our new adventure.

We’ll spend our next sister weekend running in the Dark Side Challenge at Walt Disney World. Five weeks to go!

This will be our first challenge – 10k one day, half marathon the next. Plenty of good food and wine, and nerds. Like me.

I saw the original Star Wars in the theater, and it has remained my favorite movie. The characters have been a part of my life since I can remember. They’re my fantasy family. I was less than thrilled that the Empire Strikes Back, and couldn’t wait for the Return of the Jedi. I really needed to see Luke again. No joke. I don’t have a brother. I have Luke.

So yeah, my sis and I will be in costume. Nothing elaborate. I’ve seen that picture of the runner dressed as the Death Star, wearing a big spherical object. Or the other runner with the keyboard attached to portray the member of the Cantina Band. Our costumes will be a lot simpler. But my love of Star Wars is unconditional, and I’m so excited to be part of the inaugural Dark Side weekend at WDW.

I’m also REALLY looking forward to sampling the food and wine at the Flower and Garden Festival.

Most of all, can’t wait to get my Grand Marnier slushie near France. My personal favorite beverage in all of Disney World. Just don’t ask me to talk about the musical Billy Elliot after I imbibe, because it’s very hard to correctly say all of those syllables! It’s like saying “sea anemone” or “scientists.” It’s hard to know when to stop pronouncing those repetitive sounds.

I miss you, Disney World. See you soon.

Grief and living

N&G.exportingMy father died 9 days ago. He had a massive heart attack on Jan. 14 and then spent 50 days in ICU. Here are the lessons I’ve learned from this experience and from his life.

*You build a legacy through simple things like keeping family close and living with nature. We owe our beautiful life in the woods to him. He brought us up in the country and asked us to visit often, and eventually we moved onto his property and built a house of our own. My sister’s family lives less than an hour away and often stay with us. Her kids and mine are close friends/cousins, and we celebrate every birthday and holiday together. We have an amazing web of support and love, and I am unfathomably grateful for it.

*Humor is vital to life. My dad was a stellar patient. Determined, tolerant, and congenial. I was honored to be a family member of such a man. But he also laughed at the weird and unpleasant moments of hospitalization (and there were many). His eyebrow expressions became some of our favorite moments of the day. He couldn’t always talk due to some of the procedures, but he showed us how he felt with his eyes. And he cracked us up. The world is a weird, sometimes unpleasant, and remarkable place. Find something to enjoy.

*Never stop taking care of others. He tried to make the jobs of the staff members easier whenever he could. He worried about us and would send us home or to work when he thought we were tired. He also helped us understand that there is no bottom to the vast well of time and care that you want to give to those you love.

*Do what you love and SHARE IT. He often asked about his “babies,” his grandchildren. He was so concerned that they are happy in their pursuits. He wanted them to find what they’re good at, to work at it, and to contribute to their world through their gifts.

My dad never believed he would live a long life. His parents both died before he was 20 years old. He was incredibly thankful for his family and his home, and he told us so every day. I still imagine that he’ll be sitting at his computer, working on a new story when I walk over to my parents’ house. But I know with every fiber of my soul that he is standing right now beside his mother and father and sister. And he is still taking care of us.

 

Wine & Dine at last!

Wine_DineDespite a busy few months, my sister and I made it Orlando for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November! We had such a blast on our sister trip. Here are a few highlights.

Resort: We absolutely loved the Beach Club, mostly for its proximity to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The Beach Club rooms are bright and airy, and our balcony looked right out onto the lake. Great resort!

Expo: It was fine, but I’ve attended the music teacher conventions in Texas for many years, and it’s hard to top those. We visited some of our favorite vendors, but we were saving our $ for the parks. The line to get our packets was short, but the line for commemorative items was pretty long. We talked to some runDisney staff members who were aware of the problem and promised upcoming changes for future events.

Run: This was the part of the weekend that was unusual… The weather was mostly great and we wore shorts the whole time we were there. But on the night of the run, there was lightning in the area and the race was delayed for an hour, and therefore shortened to a 6.7 mile run. Disappointing, yes, but we were still so happy to be at Disney World again. Hanging out for an hour inside the Wide World of Sports was kindof fun. We got to see all the costumes up close. I really hope the guy in the head-to-toe thick fur outfit didn’t faint from heat exhaustion!

Parks: We made a family trip to WDW in June and were planning to run in November and April, so we purchased Annual Passes in June and have thoroughly enjoyed the benefits. On all of our previous family trips, we only went to 1 park/day. But with our APs (and the flexibility of moving around without 6 other people in tow), we were able to enjoy Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival each day. We ate almost all of our meals there! And we went to other parks each day for our favorite rides and other experiences.

Overall, I loved my experience and want to participate every year. I especially liked running at night and the (mostly) good weather. This was my first runDisney experience and they put on a great event. I do hope that they might consider adding a challenge to this weekend in the future.

I was in one of my favorite places with one of my favorite people, doing something together that we love and that challenges us. :))

Virtual running

Scary Run

I’ve had some fun with virtual runs, mostly through willrunforbling.com. Even though it rained all day yesterday, I’ve been working late this week and was unable to run enough, so I completed a 10k for the Scary Chocolate Run benefiting the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

There was a huge crawdad walking across the road around mile 4, and I snapped his photo since he was the color of chocolate and was scary-looking.

I’m facing the new challenge of running at night. We’ve been getting home late, and of course, we lose daylight savings time next weekend. Ugh! I’ve never been a night runner. I ordered some reflective gear and a head lamp.

But I’m less scared of cars and more worried about the big crawdads!

They made it rain!

My kiddo is behind the scenes of an amazing production: Singin’ in the Rain. I adore the movie with Gene Kelley, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor, but this student cast/crew are equally amazing.Umbrellas

A days ago I saw a preview performance for some elementary students, and when the production crew made it rain, the audience exploded into applause!

I was proud of my kid and thoroughly entertained. My toe wouldn’t stop tapping, my face wouldn’t stop grinning. It’s a great show from beginning to end.

But when they made it rain… oh my. Those moments which create a true thrill are rare and special, and this was one of them.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans ~ John Lennon