Boise Ironman 70.3: A Recap from the Back of the Pack

I recently finished the Boise Ironman 70.3.  I wanted to write-up a recap for those who may consider doing this race in the future (if they get it again) and just to share my experience.  It has been quite a week for me and time prior to the event really takes a toll.

On Wednesday, I attended my grandmothers funeral.  We had set to leave that evening for Boise, but word of my grandfathers declining condition changed my plans.  I decided to stay at least one more day, and possibly miss the race so that I could be nearby where my heart-felt it wanted to be.  Thursday morning my grandfather passed.  We spent much of the day with family and left later that evening to go part way to Boise.

We got up early the next morning and headed out.  When we arrived in Boise in early afternoon we went directly to athlete check in.  It was well-organized and easy to navigate.  Upon check-in, however, bags must be dropped at two different locations.  I found myself very flustered trying to get everything in the bags last-minute and hoping I wouldn’t miss anything.  We dropped my run bag at the school and my bike up at Lucky Peak.  Apparently you can drop your bike the next morning, but it is a mad house and not advised. Here is my racked bike with my photo reminders of my mom, husband and two sidekicks who also sacrificed a lot of time playing playdough while I trained. Even though I didn’t get in quite the training that I wanted for the past few months, we made due and worked around it.  The day was here and there wasn’t any more time.

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Then off for family time and a chance to unwind for the even the next day. We had a little kids Ironman of our own.

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I met the shuttle just before 8 to head to Lucky Peak.  My family followed shortly behind.  Body marking went smoothly and quickly.  The event began at 10 AM, but my heat was not until 11 AM.  I spent a lot of time just hanging around.  Of course last-minute I became stressed and went to check my tire pressure, only to find all was well and I worried for nothing.  I had a great support crew and I am so thankful.  If you notice my arms, I had a few names written down.  I had Jean (my grandma) on one arm -look close, Lane (my grandpa) on the other and Dad on my hand because he felt so bad he wasn’t there.  I needed them to keep me going…and they did.

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Looking around can be quite intimidating.  People here are in incredible shape.  I donned my wetsuit anyway. I also had a neoprene cap and booties as well as earplugs to keep warm.  At ten minutes to my start time I went to the docks.  First problem.  Cramps in my feet. I wasn’t even in the water yet.  I had drank too much water and not enough electrolytes. Or maybe it was all the tears earlier in the week.  I am sure that didn’t add to my hydration. This was a bad start.  I was determined though and made my way to the water.  I knew I wouldn’t win so my plan here was to stay to the back and outside.  I wasn’t looking forward to getting kicked in the face.  I followed the plan.  It worked out well for me.  I moved slow and steady.  I continued to get cramps in my feet and legs.  I found myself on my back, feet flexed just swimming backstroke with my arms for most of the time. I would try to turn and crawl forward only to be pulled back over by the cramps.  In my head I thought there was no way I was going to finish the swim in time.  But alas…I kept moving. I wasn’t going to quit.  They would have to kick me off.  It was a poor showing, but I was happy when I finally was able to swim up the docks with a 56 minute swim time for 1.2 miles.  Not what I hoped for, but I made it.

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Off on the bike.  My least favorite part.  I have had issues before and I am just not a strong rider.  This is my most challenging part.  Right away I could still feel the cramps in my feet and my bike wasn’t shifting in four of my favorite gears.  I would try to use the gears and my chain would drop right off to the easiest level.  I was not happy.  Again…determined to make it I took inventory, realized which gears I couldn’t use and did my best to avoid them for the rest of the ride.  I was nervous about the hill coming over the bridge out of Lucky Peak, but it went smooth and I was feeling good. For the first 16 miles I was really happy with my ride.  I slowly climbed the big hill on Pleasant Valley Road.  For some reason the only time I would pass anyone on the bike was going up a hill.  I thanked my training here.  As I reached the top a woman coming the other direction said, “Incredible”.  I didn’t know if she said, “I’m” or “You’re” but I thought, “that sure is nice.” Then I reached the top of the hill and looked over and realized she was most certainly talking to herself and I almost peed my pants.  The other side was worse, much worse.  She was incredible and I wanted to be incredible too. I just kept spinning and decided I would worry later about the hill.

I had been told it was an ugly course and that I would really struggle.  This is where Grandpa Lane came in for me.  I looked at things from his perspective and realized it really was a beautiful place.  I saw hills of hay and sprinklers.  The barbed wire fence had rolled up barbed wire on the old wood fence poles and I felt like I was back in my youth. It took me to another place for a minute and I was able to just keep rolling on.  I thought it was pretty, I liked the sound of the sprinklers and I knew my grandpa was looking out. I even lucked out on the wind with only a couple of windy spots.

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At Mile 30 it hit me.  I was just not that great of a bike rider.  I watched as three of my companion riders (those who had been moving with me consistently from the start) decided not to go on. I didn’t blame them.  It’s hard stuff riding this slow.  I realized then that I wasn’t in better shape, I hadn’t trained harder, but that I had my grandma on my side. I was just more stubborn than the rest and I was just going to keep spinning.  So I did.  One measly little leg push at a time. I made it up the big hill and told myself I too was incredible. At mile 40 I got to see my support crew.  I stopped for some high fives and much-needed encouragement and went on my way.  For some reason the last 16 miles I passed people.  Quite a few people. Boy Grandma really is stubborn.  It feels good.  Press on.  I met support crew 2 a couple of miles before the finish and used their energy for my final finish. I finished the 56 miles bike ride in a very slow 4:07 (but that is 20 minutes faster than I had planned).

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I made my way into transition and knew then and there, no doubt, I would finish this race.  Bike over…looking forward.  I started out along the trail and came out a little too quick on my first mile. I slowed it down and just kept moving.  I was told this run was in the shade…maybe for the competitors but for me..it was sunny most of the way and I was hot.  At aid station 4, I started walking through the stations while getting my drinks and ice.  At mile 7 I joined up with those who were on their second lap, and then I even got to pass right by the finish around Mile 8.  It was just rude.  I just kept moving though. I saw my support crew a few times along the way and had to stop for some high fives and hugs.

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The last three miles I felt really good and I was anxious to get to the finish.  When I finally had the finish line in site, I saw my biggest supporter just outside the fence.  Luckily my family was wearing Orange and they were easy to see.  He pushed me at the end running along the outside and encouraging me on.  I finished the 13.1 mile run in 2:28.

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Running across the finish was actually quite emotional, especially after the week I have had.  I finished and was really proud of the accomplishment.  I was thankful to have my family there and my angels looking out.  The good part about being at the back…it’s super quiet all the time.  Except the finish line…where when you come in alone, you are guaranteed to hear your name called out as you cross the finish line.  That alone is worth it!

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I got a nice leg massage by my sister and a chance to sit in the hot tub that evening.  The next morning I woke up feeling really good. I wasn’t that sore at all. It made me realize that I may have been more prepared that I thought I was.  Maybe my dad was right when he texted that morning and said, “take your head out of it and just let your body do what it was made to do.”  So glad I did.  Now…to kick this off the bucket list.

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The Teeny Tiny Lady

It is my grandmother’s funeral today.  She was such a wonderful kind lady, as you read here. When I was small and we slept at her home she would always read us the story of the Teeny Tiny Lady, which you can read here. Looking back, it should have been scary but her voice was just so magical. She was a wonderful story-teller. It was our favorite.  She herself was such a Teeny Tiny Lady but she had a great big heart that led to a great big life and great big hole left behind.  I wrote this poem for her today and I hope she knows just what a great big impact she made on my life.

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The Teeny Tiny Lady

A Teeny Tiny Lady lived in a Teeny Tiny House

She lived a great big life, as quietly as a mouse

This Teeny Tiny Lady would always answer the phone

With a “Hello Dolly,” “I love you”, and “It’s wonderful here at home”

Never did she ever, let her burdens fall

Onto another shoulder, never, not at all

 

This Teeny Tiny Lady was classy, but rugged tough

She’d give her all to others, and she thought that not enough

This Teeny Tiny Lady was the master of the meal

On big horse rides, or holidays, everyone got their fill

She waited, every meal, until last she’d eat

Even after all were done, with their ice cream treat

 

This Teeny Tiny Lady, she had a great big heart

No kids to bed, in cold sheets, no, a blower to warm the heart

And just hold still and wait a beat, “I’ll read just one to you”

This Teeny Tiny Lady, though, would often read a few

And in her many voices, you’d quickly fall to sleep

Then…“I love you darling, my precious, oh aren’t you so sweet”

 

This Teeny Tiny Lady thought your worst was quite enough

You were brilliant, and beautiful and very, very, tough

And though you’d fail she’d cheer quite big, as proud as she could be

An audience all her own, this Tiny Lady She

She’d never miss a time to see her child steal the show

From bench to floor, stage to door, she was proud and you would know

 

This Teeny Tiny Lady, she always could find joy

From a pretty day, to a lousy meal or a call from my girl or boy

“oh aren’t they sweet, and thanks so much” This little lady would say

“Don’t bother tomorrow, I know you care, call another day”

I wish I’d called her every day as each of her kids have done

What would I give to see her life before me on re-run

 

I know this tiny lady is happy now today

“I’m with my love, and your mom,” I’m certain she would say

And when I close my eyes and imagine where she’s at

I see her, no scarf, but she is wearing her hat

He picked it up, and her too, that grandpa of mine

And now I know, without a doubt, this lady’s doing fine

 

I know she’d say she loves me, and that she’s proud of me

This Teeny Tiny Lady’s one I can’t wait to see

Shoot a gun with my grandpa, and let him sing to you

Take a dance with my momma and tell her “I love you”

Please, Teeny Tiny Lady you are a special one

Your brand new journey up above, I know has just begun

 

But as for me, here left behind, I’m thankful for the time

Oh Teeny Tiny Lady, I’m so thankful that your mine

I promise that I’ll always try to be “that” good

You always saw in everyone and believed that they all could

I love you Tiny Lady and you left a great big space

I can’t wait to see you again, another time, another place

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Life’s Greatest Lessons

I feel an enormous amount of weight on my shoulders.  Everyday in my own life, an era is coming to an end.  I feel a great responsibility to step up to the plate. To love more. To be better.  I have had some of the very best teachers.  I know I should be grateful for the time that I have had, but I am not sure this apprentice is ready for the responsibility. I have so many questions.  So many stories I have missed.  So many moments that I want back.  I wish I would have held those moments more closely. I wish I would have spent more time.

He is the last man in my life from the greatest generation.  He is my grandpa.  He is my friend.

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He was my very first boss.  He paid me $2 per gopher that I could trap in the field.  I would keep track of how many I got per day and at the end of the week he would look at my notebook and pay me.  The other day my own daughter was down trapping gophers on those same fields when I offered her the same price of $2 a gofer. I realized then that if that is the going rate today, I was making pretty good money back then and I think my boss may have been over paying me.

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I spent a lot of time outside and at the field with my grandpa.  I could most often be found out playing basketball at my house, nearly every day.  My grandpa would drive by and I would follow him down to the field to shadow this great man.  He worked so hard.  I rarely today see a man tending to his cows the way my grandpa did.  He was there at least three times a day.  In the summer that means I got to see him three times a day. If by chance I didn’t make it to the field in time, he would always stop on the road, roll down his window “and how are you today” he would ask while reaching a Rolo out the window to me.  He was always happy.  Always happy to see me.

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I also got to help my grandpa take the cows out on the mountain and bring them back in each year.  We always fought to sit either next to grandpa, or my dad.  Grandpa first, then my dad.  He knew so much about the area.  He could tell stories about every piece of land and being right next to him, you could hear the most.  He was an incredible man.  I think he loved his cows.  Not just because they provided for the family, but I really feel he had a deep respect for the animal.  I remember watching him as we would prepare to gather the cows and bring them home.  He would stand beside his truck looking at the cows off in the distance.  My dad would often look through the binoculars, but my grandpa just seemed to have a sense.  He could tell if one of the cows on the ridge was his without even being able to see the tag.  He was always right too. Always.

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Grandma would make sure to feed us all well, but grandpa made specific requests.  In addition to grandmas sandwiches we always had coke, can’s of Beanie Weenies, Vienna Sausages, and some candy.  We all got a hefty dose of the sweet tooth from our grandpa.

On the way home, heavy with Benadryl I would often fall asleep on his lap or shoulder as we bounced down the old dirt road. But not without the memories of his old truck, the calendar stuck to the dashboard, a coke tucked between his legs and some treats rolling around somewhere in the truck or clenched tight in my palm.

IMG_0796Grandpa hasn’t forgotten a thing.  Still today he can tell you every place he has ever lived, most of the roads he has been on, the people he met there, and the reason he was there.  I love sitting at the table and listening to his stories of when he worked in the mines, or the old gas station.  I love hearing him tell the story about how he met my grandma.  She was his best friend since the 2nd grade.  He always knew he loved her.  “She’s my best friend.” He still says.  He will care for her no matter what.  This last post was a perfect example of that. No matter what, he will take care of Grandma.  He will give it his all, for her, until his last breath.

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He loves my grandma so.  He respects her and supports her.  She does the same for him. I asked him once what grandma thought of the tractor and he said that she didn’t care to be on the tractor very much but she liked to watch.  He would see her over by the fence watching him work. “She’s my best friend.”  There is was again.

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He taught me how to clean a fish.  I watched him cut and prepare the meat from the game that he or the kids got on the hunt.  I watched him for years as he worked at the sawmill and got to spend plenty of time with him playing in the sawdust.  He taught me that there is an appropriate use for words like, “shit, damn and hell” and that he would always be the one that gets up to kiss his bride. Look at my Dad (and the rest of his kids).  You will see the legacy that he has made.  To raise a man like that…you must be an incredible man and example. “Not a bad one in the bunch,” Grandpa would say. He and grandma both have a part in that.

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Grandpa never ages at heart.  He still is a joker and loves to play.  I love the way his whole face lights up when something is said.  Just the other day I got to see this as his sister Janett was teasing him about how he used to tease her and pinch her nose.  He laughed and clearly lied when he said, “now I don’t remember that.”

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He plays with the kids still.  They walk in the door and he will ask them to “come sit right here” and pull them onto his lap.  He plays hide and seek still tries to bounce the kids like a horse on his foot.  I long when I see him to hear the words, “I love you,” and “that’s just right”, and especially, “you bet”. I know he loved me.  He told me and he showed me every time I was in the room with him. I sure hope he knows just how much I love him too.

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I love sharing treats with my grandpa, and talking with him. I love seeing the world through his eyes.  Everything is wonderful to him.  He doesn’t always show this in his actions, but if you listen to the stories he tells, really listen, you will see how much he learned and took in from every situation.  He loved experiencing the world.  He loved being apart of people’s lives.

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He loved driving bus and getting to know all of the kids.  He was one of the biggest supporters of the high school sports and was especially active when one of his grand-kids was playing.  He came to most of my games and even when I was coaching he and my Grandma drove over 6 hours to watch me coach just one game.  If it was important to me, it was important to him.

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He never expected people to do anything for him or his family.  He worked hard for everything that he has and worked hard to provide for my grandma and for his kids.  Still today it is his greatest concern that they not be a burden to anyone.  If only he knew just how much the world owes him, how much I owe him.  He is a great man.  I wonderful grandpa.  A wonderful friend.

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I am so very thankful for the wonderful lessons that my grandpa has taught me. After all, he was my very first boss. He taught me about the world and how to work hard.  He showed me by example exactly what that looks like.  He taught me to always put family first and just how easy it is to say “I love you.”  IMG_3577

Tonight I am going to have a bowl of ice cream…with caramel…maybe some popcorn and some m&m’s…an Oreo or two…and a Rolo. Follow that up with a coke and realize that in life what really matters is sharing treats, stories, and time.

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Memorial Day 2015

In Honor of Memorial Day 2015 I would like to say thank you to all who have served our country and all who have left a mark on my life.  I am incredibly grateful.  I wrote this quick poem for a Veteran attending the National Honor Flight and also thought of my grandfather and other friends and family who have graciously served.

God Bless The Veteran

For every day you spent away

On foreign ground you had to pray

For the ultimate price you had to pay

God bless the Veteran

For the days so long no sleep did come

And every day you carried a gun

For your service that is never done

God bless the Veteran

For the dreams that keep you up at night

And every day you had to fight

when others do not treat you right

God bless the Veteran

For every night I get to pray

And all the words I get to say

For all the games I get to play

God bless the Veteran

For every night I’m safe at home

And every night I’m not alone

For every happiness I have known

God bless the Veteran

For the flag flying strong and true

For our colors red white and blue

For every little thing you do

God bless the Veteran

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The Wonderful Lady

I am currently in the process of a long goodbye.  I’m losing my grandmother.  The mother of my mother.  The last tie I truly have.  You see, there is an order.  Parents should never lose a child.  I have always understood this looking at it as a parent myself, but I never took the time to really think about the other end of things.  I am losing my grandmother. A wonderful woman.  A motherly figure in my life. It is at times like this I really miss my mom.  I should have here now.  We should be leaning on each other.

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I laid next to my grandmother today and I swear I could smell my mother.  The curve of her chin bone could almost have been hers too.  They are a piece of one another.  A piece of me.  I am going to miss her.  I am going to miss the small piece of my mother that was also still her lingering with my grandmother.  There are so many things I will miss.

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I learned so much from this wise grandmother of mine.  She loves so deeply.  She is a truly, genuinely, good person.

She had such a strong love.  We were her dolly’s.  We were her precious darlings, so loved.  We were the best at violin, the best at sports, the best at plays…the best.  She was our biggest fan.  She came to every sporting event I ever had.  She and grandpa would sit up close and cheer ever so softly.  Yet the softness of her voice, would reach me and I knew she was there.  She came to every play. Whether it be in school, a talent show, or just in her basement with the cousins she was front row.  She was a whole audience all to herself.

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She was the very best storyteller.  She would read us stories when we were younger and she had a thousand voices.  She could also tell a story about grandpa that would light up the very room.  The time they first met when he gathered her hat.  The time on the bus where he pretended to be asleep on her shoulder and she all but held her breath so she wouldn’t move and make him stir from his pretend sleep.  The time he made her wait for a wedding ring because she hadn’t been sure, but then she was and he was not taking her back.  But then he did. About the times he held  her hand and sang, “I love you, a bushel and a peck.”

Grandma was a hard worker too.  Everything in her house ran like a well oiled machine.  It’s possible that this was because everything was used a minimum of 10 times. This goes for plastic bags and foil too.  Things knew what to do because they were well-worn in. Like her coat and her boots and every single turtleneck. She didn’t waste.  Not a thing.  She ate everything on her plate and only served what she could finish.  She was in charge of feeding the whole cattle crew in the desert.  She pulled off the meals while watching the little ones and keeping the camp clean.  That is no easy chore.

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My sidekick would use this term, but it fits best for grandma.  She’s the cheese on the pizza that keeps all the toppings in place.  There is something about grandma that she can make everyone come together and stick together even when this is the last thing they want to do.  There has been a family reunion every year.  Every single year.  For grandma.  She knows whats going on with everyone too and can remember every reason for every one that couldn’t make it. She not only knows and remembers all of her great-grandkid’s name, but she knows what they like, their favorite color, and things to say to make them smile.

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My “sisters” and I sat today and talked about grandma.  We talked about how sleepovers were the very best.  She would let us have two vitamin c’s before bed.  Just two because any more than that would overdose us.  Then she would take us downstairs and let us jump from bed to bed about four times.  She would have us lay down on her feather pillows, tuck the blankets around us tight then lift just a corner so she could put the hair dryer in there to warm us up.  She would tell us just to lay still like that and we would stay warm.  Then she would read us only 1 story, then come back for at least one more before we finally went to sleep.  Then we would wake to the best pancakes ever.  She also makes the best wheat bread and sugar cookies.

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We also decided that grandma is going to have a few black marks against her in Heaven.  She is a fibber.  This grandma of mine can tell you a story so tall you would think it is a tree and not even change her face.  Such as: “I feel great.” “It was a wonderful, just wonderful day.” “You are the very best at that.” “You are the most beautiful.”

Although…now that I look at it.  Maybe she wasn’t really fibbing all these years.  Maybe she really believed those things because she just has an incredible perspective and outlook on life.  I hope to be like her someday.

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We spent hours spitting seeds from frozen cherries and peeling rhubarb so we could put salt on it and eat it. Grandma could spit the farthest every time.  She taught us how to roll the legs of our pants up to wade in the river and showed us that you can be down to earth and classy at the same time.   A few months ago I went to her house and she was just feeling frumpy.  I gave her a quick trim and set to work for a quick manicure.  I never knew that my grandma was very particular about her nails, but I learned pretty quick that day as she made sure I did them just right. I realized then, more than any other time that she was more like my mother than I think she ever knew.

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She loved looking out her windows and playing with the kids.  The noise didn’t bother her at all and if she could, she would be up with them every step of the way.  Like playing swords and pirates with my wee child because that was important to my girl so it was important to my grandma.

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She made the best special blankets.  She always had juice and ice cream for the kids.  Ice cream bars or vanilla ice cream with chocolate powder.  She cherished every drawing, colored page and picture because they were treasures and just so precious.

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I think that is the greatest lesson I learned from my grandma.  I matter.  Everyone matters.  She sees the best in everyone.  She blocks out the bad and only sees the good because that is what matters.  Everything else…well…”it’s just whatever, it doesn’t matter anyway.”

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Redmond Clay: A Testimonial

Sidekick 1 had a rough couple of days.  She already had a broken foot but was pressing through.  We went to visit our family and on vacation she just happened to get stung by a bee…on her other foot.  The problem is, Sidekick is allergic to bee stings.  Two epi pens later we found ourselves at the clinic.  She did great. She is a trooper.

That night we went by, and into the next day.  Her foot began to swell. We thought it was just a reaction to the bee sting in general. But then it started itching even more than normal, and swelling even more than normal. Swelling in excess more than just around the site of the sting.  In the space of a couple of hours it started traveling up her leg. Swelling and turning red as it progressed.  I was worried so I immediately called the doctor.  He said, “bring her in.”

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We did.  It turns out, that bee stings can cause Cellulitis, especially when they are ground nesters which this one was.  Apparently their butts are actually quite dirty..I should have guessed.  Cellulitis, used to be called blood poisoning even though it is actually a skin infection.  Interesting as it was, it was very concerning.  She was put on a hefty dose of antibiotics (she’s also allergic to the shot that can be helpful..fun times).  To relieve the itching and pain we had tried everything: toothpaste, cortisone, Benadryl cream, potatoes, honey and essential oils. My sister found a concoction that followed with a period of relief, but then quickly returned.

The next day when she woke up she had a stomach virus and could not keep the antibiotics down.  What an episode.  I shared this with my friends and luckily one responded that he may have something to help.  He brought over some Redmond Clay.  I was willing to try anything to help sidekick with her discomfort. RTC-90255-2

I followed the directions by putting the clay directly on the bite area and wrapping it in plastic wrap.  She immediately felt relief.  She said it was the best she had felt.  When it dried, it does start to itch again, but I simply cleaned and re-applied.  The next day we could see a visible difference and within two days a dramatic one.  I will forever be a believer in Redmond Clay.

Is it a miracle worker? I am  not sure I would say that, but as a desperate mother trying anything at all to help my sidekick feel better, if even for a moment, it made that difference for me.  It is the best itch reliever that I have ever put on my children.I will absolutely use it again and I highly recommend you look into for you next interaction with nature.

A few days later I found myself with a pretty good blister.  I tried the clay on this as well as was surprised at the relief and healing time. On a side note, I have been reluctant to try “drinking it” but I am going to and I will report back on what I find.  In the meantime-you should definitely check it out here.  You can buy it so you can mix it yourself or they sell it pre-mixed in a first aid tube.  That is what I used.  Good luck and let me know your experience as well.

firstaid

If you want more information, feel free to buy this informative book.  It’s only .99 and worth it!  It’s called: We Eat Clay (and wear it too!) Available on Amazon here!

They also sell salt and other cool natural things.  Be sure to check them out.  Support them.  It really made a difference to me and I owe my friend a lot!

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Dear Judgmental Mr. Bicycle Man

Dear Mr. Bicycle Man,

Today is Mother’s Day and  no surprise, it’s a hard day for those with Mothers in Heaven.  I try to stay busy today.  To keep occupied.  It has been raining incessantly and my husband hasn’t been able to mow our yard for days.  I decided that there was a break in the rain, I needed something to do, and I wanted to be able to lighten his load a little as he hasn’t had a day off in months-really.  So, I mowed the lawn today.  While mowing, you passed by on a bicycle and gave me a look.  It was a look that seemed to ask, “why are you mowing on Mother’s Day.”  The problem with this, is not that you were judging me, but more so, that you was judging my husband. I am fine when others judge me, but not my family. What you don’t know Mr. Bicycle Man (probably the same one that refused to wave at me last week while I was running) is this:

My husband loves his yard.  In case you couldn’t tell, it always looks perfect.  I don’t mow-ever.  In fact, today when my husband gets home he will probably look at the grass and in his mind, wonder why I bothered, but instead he will come in the house, hug me and tell me thanks.  He knows what today is.  He gets it.

He will probably fix it, and make it look perfect and guess what, I won’t mind. Why, because he’s my other half and I know him just like he knows me. I know that when he said thank you, he meant it, but also that in his mind he was wondering how he was going to fix it.  I know I don’t mow well, I know I love my perfect yard and just how hard he works to make it a park for me.  I appreciate it and I also appreciate that today, I mowed the yard just to pass the time.  I appreciate that he is okay with that (today).

What you don’t know Mr. Bicycle Man is that my husband woke up early (really early) so he could go and grab a little something for my kids to make me for breakfast before he had to go to work.  A job that he does in service of others.  He left me flowers, candy and a note.  He is making my favorite meal tonight.  What you also don’t know is that this isn’t uncommon. He often cleans, he often cooks and everyday he shows me he loves me. In fact, tonight, when he gets home he will show me he loves me with every ounce of his tired soul.  I know this, because he does every day.

In addition, had you have looked a little closer you would have noticed my small boy walking in front of me, opening every single gate, door and lid for the garbage.  He helped me push the mower to put it away and cleaned up sticks around the yard.  He’s two.  Already he has learned this from his father.

Mr. Bicycle Man you are not a mother.  You may be a father, I don’t know, but you are not a mother.  You are not me and you don’t know how it feels to be in my shoes.  You don’t know how it feels for me on Mother’s Day to miss my mom.  You don’t know what this day really is. So when you looked at me with pity, judging my husband and I waved at you…what I really meant to say was, “go screw yourself,” and “why aren’t you with your wife or mother making their day perfect.”  Next time you feel like judging another, look in a mirror.  Save it.  Or better yet, stop and have a conversation, maybe we could have been friends.

Sincerely,

Bitter Me

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A Mother’s Day Eve

I think I have shared enough sadness for one Mother’s Day.  Today I got to spend a wonderful day with my kids and will again tomorrow.  I’m blessed.  I am a mother.  It is my day.

I still think of my own mother and her missing presence, but today while running in the rain with my sidekicks, sidekick one looking for me to make sure I was still there, I realized something.   She taught me, in her short time here, the most important lesson of motherhood.

The lesson: You show love by being there.

It may seem obvious..or maybe to some lacking, but I realized this.  I love them.  That is mine, that is about me.  I don’t need to just love them everyday. I do that anyway. I did that the very moment that I wished for them.  But for them, from their eyes, I can show them by being there. Then they feel love and I give my gift to them.

I have learned so much as a mother. So much that I wish I could tell my mother that I now see.  That I now understand, and that I am now thankful.  So much that I wish I could say a million sorry’s for all of the times I forgot to say thank you.  I wish I could tell her just how many times I saw her.

She didn’t love to be in the public’s eye.  She didn’t love attention but I saw her.  Always I saw her.

She was on the front row of every dance recital.  Or backstage when I needed her most.

She preferred the back row when it came to my basketball and volleyball games, yet somehow I always knew when she came in (before the game started) and snuck to the back row. I could always hear her voice when I played and I can distinctly recall how she would smack her hands on the top of her legs when she would get excited. I saw her.

She was at the spelling bee, and the geography bee where I took 3rd place.

She wiped my tears.

Kissed my sores.

Took me to the doctor, the dentist, the orthodontist, my lessons etc.

She made my lunches.

She held my bowl when I puked.

She wiped my butt when I was small.

She danced with me.

She made me laugh.

She was my biggest fan! I was so beautiful to her. I was smart. I was funny. To her..I was amazing.

She painted my room with clouds when I was away for a day, because I wanted it.

She watched me run, and ran with me when she could.

She left me notes..everywhere..she wanted me to know she was there, even when she wasn’t.

She helped me write papers, and proofread my stories.  She read my books, and gave me good honest feedback because that’s exactly what I asked for.

She answered my calls…most of the time…but would call back when she didn’t.

When she was busy at work and couldn’t talk, I got emails that said, “I know I didn’t sound available today, but you were the most important and I will do better tomorrow.”

If I ever said, “I need you.” She always said, “I am on my way.”

She helped me bring a child into the world.  She helped me learn how to be a mother, the tiny simple things that I felt so lost and confused.  Only a mom can do that, really, only a mom.

She came to my home.  To visit me, because she missed me and what my life looked like, mattered to her.

She LOVED Me. She was always there.

I look back on my life and I realize that she was always there.  Even when it was hard, even when she was sick, even when she couldn’t be, she made sure I knew she was always there.  I guess she is still trying to tell me that now…but I am stubborn…I don’t listen…and I need more.

Thanks mom for the lessons.  I miss you everyday.  Happy Mother’s Day!

scan0093

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Author Interview

My first blog author interview.  Thank you so much Mandy Eve Barnett for taking the time to talk with me.  Remember this post?  She’s one of the great ones!

View my interview here on Mandy’s Blog!

http://mandyevebarnett.com/2015/03/05/welcome-newcomer-meriann-boxall/

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Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

It has been three years since you left me. Three years since I last talked with you. Three years.  So much has happened in these three years.  So many things.

  • Your grandson was born.  He’s incredible Mom.  He’s funny and sweet.  He was born without you.  He had his first bath without you. He crawled, he walked and he is finding his words.  He had 2 surgeries and one very scary time in the hospital with an illness.  I needed you.  He needed you. You weren’t there.
  • I quit my job.  The one that I loved.  I am home now, with my kids who need me more.  You would be so proud of me.  You always told me that I would be able to make it work and I do.  I work a lot of a little jobs but we make it and my kids are happy.  I figured it out now, even though there were so many times I grabbed the phone to call you, to discuss, to talk.  You didn’t answer.
  • I’ve run hundreds of miles. I’ve flown thousands. I have taken lots of classes and read lots of books.  I would have loved to share my journey with you.
  • I’ve written more books, and have a story that is actually published.  You didn’t get to read it.
  • I’ve learned to cook so many things that you would have loved to eat.  My small one loves to cook too.  You never got to try them.
  • I’ve moved.  I live in a home that I love, in a place that I love and that you would have too.  You’ve never been in my home and I have no memories of you here.
  • My Honey Cuffs are helping kids.  You helped me make the first one, but you didn’t get to see the patent in my hands.  You didn’t get to hear all the people they have helped.  You missed this.
  • Art has  new job too.  He’s good at it.  I am proud of him.  We would have even more in common and something to talk about.  We can’t share this.
  • Your granddaughter can read now.  She dances lovely.  She loves to sing and is so sweet mom.  She would make you laugh.  She hasn’t got to hear your laughter in three whole years.

I haven’t got to hear your laughter in three whole years.  People say it gets easier.  People lie.  I have learned to adapt my life.  It’s just my life now, with a piece missing.  A mostly complete puzzle.  I notice the piece is missing. I imagine what is there and I put that forward, a whole puzzle to the world. That piece is still missing. I always miss you.  Some day’s it is easier than others.  But there are times, Mom, times when I want to scream. Times that I feel are just so hard that my soul seeps right out through my eyes.  Times when my heart misses you so much that it balls up in my chest and I realize in those times that life just isn’t fair.

Sometimes the hard times come when I am least expecting them.  Sometimes it’s when I am cleaning my house.  When I am dusting off your ashes.  Keeping them clean so that somehow in my heart I can feel like you are watching over me, over my kids, but sometimes it just feels too hard.  There shouldn’t be dust on you.  You should be here.  I am thankful I have that memorial in my home.  My most treasured place includes you, my mom.  But then I miss you, we circle, and I just feel like crying again.

It happens every time my sidekick makes a wish.  Pennies, stars, eyelashes, and candles. Every one is a wish for Mimi to come back.  Every single one ends in tears.  How can I teach about dreams and hopes when I always have to say, “try again”.  How can I say it’s a beautiful world when she remembers everything. She remembers you and she misses you.  We all miss you.

It happens when I smell something that reminds me of you. It happens when I read a good book that I want to share with you. It happens with I get worked up and angry over something someone said and I know you would have a reasonable suggestion for interpretation that isn’t evil.  It happens when I drive, when I used to call you.  It happens on the boat. It happens when I sing, dance, or play your guitar.  It happens when my kids do something awesome that I know you would have liked. It happens today, on your birthday, on mother’s day, on my birthday, and the whole Christmas season.  It happens all the time. I miss talking to you. I wish I could talk about you more.  People skip the subject, they don’t want to see me cry.  They don’t want me to be sad, but the reality is, I like to know others remember  you too. I need to talk about you.  Three years gone. Three.  Where have you been?  I still need my mom. You have missed so much and we miss you too.

I love you Mom.

Love,

Me

mom3

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