Keeping it simple

Did you ever wonder what would happen if we yanked the cord on everything?

When did it get all so complicated?

Even reading, one of my favorite pastimes is getting high tech.

I do have a thing for books. I read them all, ..well most of them. I was using the library quite a bit but after supporting the building of a new library wing with the fines I accumulated I decided it was easier to buy than to borrow.

After a year or two the books started to breed in my basement, and closets and when we moved it became evident I had a problem.

So I became a library partron again.

I then got the notion that I could be earth friendly, space friendly and still have all the books I wanted if I got a Kindlle or a Nook e-reader.

I was just about to take the plunge when the I-pad came out and my techy friend wait until this other thing comes out with even newer technology and you’ll be all set.


My desire to be “green” and make the techno leap vanished. I found a favorite book and leafed through the pages wistfully.

I yearned for simplicity. So I decided to go for a run. This should be easy and simple. I wish…this is how it played out..

Put on running clothes and shoes. Walk outside, check the weather, back inside. Oh wait need my phone for safety, need my running pouch ( spi it) Garmin running watch for time, speed, distance. Need to turn it on so it can find the satellite. Water, do I need water? Music..where’s my IPOD. Uh oh, Garmin is set for biking, need to set it for running. Looking for my ear phones, bathroom break. Find hat and sunglasses….40 minutes later I go running. much for simplicity

My techy friend read this and claimed the “simple” solution was to get an I-phone.


Think I will just go put on my PF Flyers so I can run faster and jump higher..maybe I can jump back in time?

Anyone with me??


More than just a daily walk

Long before I started running I was a walker.

5:15 every week-day morning found me rolling out my bed and out the door.

In the winter I appreciated the dark mornings that camouflaged my ratty, “grab what is warm” attire.  In the summer I appreciated sunglasses and hats to hide tracings of yesterdays mascara and my wild woman hair.

Most of all I appreciated what got me out of bed and moving my body, my walking partner Francy.

Just knowing she was waiting was enough to get me up and going.  We walked , griped, rejoiced and laughed for 2 miles every morning for over  10 years.

We agreed that what was “said on the walk stayed on the walk ” so no subject was taboo and there was a sense of trust and freedom with what we shared with each other.

Francy was walking long before I joined her. I initially started walking with her as a way to fit in some physical activity in my way too busy life, however those two miles became much more than exercise.

It was an incredible way to start the day sharing, pharmacy laughing, griping. We celebrated family milestones and even became grandparents for the first time in the same year. Later 2 of our grandchildren would be born on the same day!

People who routinely drove past us on their way to work either thought we were crazy or admired our dedication.

It really became a morning ritual that filled me in every way. I think it did for Francy as well

When I moved I have to say that this was one of things I missed most. It will remain one of those special times in my life that always makes me smile.

I hope you have a daily ritual or habit  that fills you in every way.

I found this photo I had taken early one morning and put this quote with it as a gift to Francy ( made one for myself as well) I think it sums up our walks pretty well.

Bless yourself with a walk this week..and take a friend along. Great things will come your way!

“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day”  Thoreau



Tasty apple and a carrot a day….


Many of you probably thought I got lost in a snow drift here in Virginia.  It was a possibility considering we got almost 5 years worth of snow in Jan and Feb.  Guess that means we won’t get any for the next 4 years.  Not likely..makes me long the days we lived in Hawaii.

Nevertheless I am back.  And every Tuesday will feature a recipe that not only I have tried but so has my family and more importantly lived to tell about it.

When it comes to new recipes, especially those that involve the words healthy my family would like it if I hired a food taster or at least find that kid, Mikey, from the old Life Cereal commercials..

“Let Mikey try it, he hates everything”

MMM..that kid is probably in his thirties by now.  Wonder if he is for hire.

Since a big part of staying in shape and being healthy involves food it came to me that I should share some of these recipes.

Perhaps you should know that I DID  NOT inherit the family cooking gene.

That gene went disproportinately to my two sisters and sister in law .  Okay she is only related by marriage but she somehow got the gene as well.  arghhhh

This is actually good news for all of you.  The recipes I will be sharing are simple, yummy and good for you.  If your family shudders at the words “good for you” or equates that phrase with castor oil or brussel sprouts just leave it out and DO NOT share the ingredients until they already love it.

Also one other word of comfort from those familiar with my original cooking.  These are recipes from real cooks..all credit is given to the cook….

I hear a huge sigh of relief from those who have experienced my original recipes first hand .

This recipe comes from a great book  ” Eat for Health” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.    It doesn’t last long in my house and my husband has NEVER noticed that I didn’t use mayonaise.

Okay now he knows!

Who can not like something called Sunshine Slaw ??  Try it , you’ll like it!

Sunshine Slaw ( from Eat for Health by SDr. Joel Fuhrman)

4 carrots grated

1 1/2 apples, peeled and chopped ( I use 2 or eat the other half 🙂

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup slivered or sliced almonds

1/3 cup low salt mayo or Vegenaise ( found in organic aisle) its great!

Directions:  Toss carrots and apples with lemon juice, Add raisins and almonds, Mix in low salt mayo or Veganaise.


I tried to include a photo but come to find out grated carrots and apple pieces , raisins and almonds are camera shy.

Stayed tuned tomorrow for “Whatever Wednesday”


Active Life Fitness promotes community spirit

I rolled out of bed on Saturday morning wishing it was a little warmer and grateful that the training team I joined for the Ukrops Monument 10 k was meeting at 8:30 rather than 8am.

I have no idea why 30 minutes makes a difference but it does. Maybe because its a Sat. morning.

Nancy Burnett is the head coach this year and the owner and founder of  the new fitness center ( Active Life Fitness) under construction in New Kent County.

I arrived to find a large group of runners and walkers ready to start training for the 10k on March 27th.

What I witnessed was communtiy spirit at its best.

The fitness center is barely under construction however we were able to warm up and fill out forms in a building nearby that is almost completed, generously opened up for this occasion.

A day care center ( Stay and Play)was available for those with little ones  AND we were encouraged to use the bathrooms at the Village Market and Deli because they were  expecting  welcoming us and it was so nice to go there after the run for a warm cup of coffee.

The run was great but what I thought about during the run was how everyone worked together and how the training team was already part of the community.

While the building for Active Life Fitness is just beginning, the spirit and what it will add to the communtiy is already evident.

Hats off to Nancy Burnett, Stay and Play,and the Village  Market and Deli for really being  a village of support for one another.

I will readily jump out of bed next Sat.,not only for the run but also for the community spirit.

Its not too late to join in the fun if you are local.  Registration info available at



A great idea or a trip to the ER?

I have had one thing on my gift list for awhile and my husband kept ignoring it.

He was against it.

He told me he was never going to get it for me because in his best italian/ mafia imitation he said

“Ya gonna break a your face”

So when he handed me the small rectangular box for my birthday with the words “I am totally against this”  I was thrilled because I knew what was inside!

Bike pedals, specifically clipless bike pedals.

Those of you who already have them or have been telling me to get them are sighing and thinking “Well, its about time”

For those of you who don’t bike, clipless bike pedals fit into a special bike shoe and “locks” your foot onto the pedal.   You can easily unlock your foot or so I am told.

This is the part where I actually could “breaka my face” if I can’t get “unlocked”

And lets not forget it makes you look like a cool biker dude.

Also according to my sources, asthma reliable and otherwise it will “optimize” the energy I use because it will allow me to

“pedal in complete circles” /”spin”
be more energy efficient
have faster, longer, more enjoyable rides

Want to know a secret??

I ‘m a little afraid that I may “break my face” or some other part of my body that I would like to stay in one piece.

This is why I have waited and not bought them for myself.  A little excuse to camouflage to my apprehension.

I am not the most coordinated person in the world and I have NO rhythm, so this will be a challenge.

Its been a relief that January has been really busy and more importantly cold, snowy and wet so outside biking has been out.

Feb 1st is my date with the bike shop to get my bike outfitted with all my new stuff.

Hold me accountable, photos are promised.

In the meantime  I ‘m wondering if the county would consider padding all the curbs??  Stay tuned!IMG0072


Do it for those who can’t

There have been many times when I have not wanted to run , bike or swim.  Life gets busy , the to do list gets longer and workouts get put on the back burner.

Since April  16, 2007  , whenever I need a push I remember to get out there and do it for those who can’t.

On April 16,  2007 a  familiar place to our family and most of Virginia experienced a horrific tragedy when a student at VA Tech took the lives of 32 innocent people.

Our oldest daughter graduated from Tech. Our second daughter had been there in 2006 in the same dorm.

My heart ached for those families.  I desperately wanted to do something for them.  I wanted them to know that their loved ones would not be forgotten.

So I prayed and I ran.

I dedicated a run to each one of those who lost their life that day.  Before each run I read their biography posted by the family. I looked at their photos.  They were intelligent, fun, energetic people.  They had amazing futures ahead of them.  Many were adventuresome, and athletic.  Community leaders and contributors.   They had so much to give to us and the world and in an unbelievable moment of violence it was taken away.

So I ran because they could not.

Those runs gave me immense peace and deep gratitude for the simple things I often missed while putting one foot in front of the other.   I ran with purpose and prayer to honor their lives.

That week in April was one of grief and happiness for our family.

On Friday April 20th everyone was encouraged to wear Virginia Tech colors to honor those who lost their lives on April 16th.

It was also the day we welcomed our 4th grandchild into our family.  Her name had been picked out months before but it held special meaning that day.

Bella Angelina    Beautiful Angel

I thought of all the beautiful angels we honored that day wearing maroon and orange.  It was everywhere.

Newborn babies, new hope.

Dedicate your next workout to someone who can’t.

You will find new purpose in each stride, each push of the pedal, each swim stroke.  Do it because you can.

Bella AngelinaVT_BANNER


Rain rain go away

Its the most wonderful time of the year or so the song goes.  And actually it is a great time of year and I am getting better and better each year at focusing on the real reason for the season.

Here in Virginia at this time of year ( actually all year round) the weather is fairly unpredictable.  Last year we had snow one week and 70 degrees the next.

It makes life interesting.

It can ( and has) wreaked  havoc on my training plan.

We have had nothing but cold rainy weather for what seems like forever and since I much prefer to run or bike outside my inner brat optimist wants to believe that each day it will clear up enough and just at the right time for me to get outside and run or bike.


So I have not been doing much except pulling the covers over my head each morning when I hear the pounding would think we live in Seattle.  Arghhhh

From past experience I know f I take too many days off  that when I DO get out there I will be having a close intimate realtionship with a king size bottle of motrin and the heating skin care pad.

I hate to admit it and or play the age card but those are the realities when you hit the half century mark !

Boy do I hate seeing that in print!

Since Plan A ( wishing for dry weather) isn’t working I had to come up with other workout choices.

Move to a more cooperative weather climate

Go to the gym Join a gym

Learn to run/bike in the rain

Use our  fairly new eliptical.

My first choice would be to move but I am still traumatized by our last move two years ago and still unpacking.

Last time I joined a gym my money made it there more times than I did.

Well I could learn to endure the elements but I think not.

So..with more rain predicted I made a plan to use the eliptical when the weather doesn’t cooperate and looking into bike trainers ( hey good birthday gift hint hint)

So very early this morning I headed downstairs and made good use of the eliptical.  Happy to be back on track.

Just in time to see clear skies and the sun shining and I swear I heard some snickering.

Keep “triing” everyday….even when the weather is “trying”  Jenneeyore_rain


Great book, questionable gift giving technique!

My husband is very supportive of all my crazy ideas and adventures.  One bonus of signing up to do the triathlon is he had all kinds of new ideas for gifts for me.  He gets stressed over the holidays which sort of puzzles me since here is the list of people he buys for:

1. Me!!

He claims that the reason he stresses is because once he comes up with a good gift idea  he immediately has to come up with another because my birthday is in early Jan.

( Jan 4th to be exact if any or all of you want to send me a Happy Birthday greeting!)

On Dec. 26th the conversation goes something like this.  “Oh no, your birthday is in 9 days…now what am I going to do, I am out of ideas”   Geez excuse me for being born in Jan.  By the way I have a special place in my heart for those born in Dec. and Jan..more on that in another xanax post.

In our family when you hit big with a gift we call it good gift giving technique…in other words you have put some thought and time into it.

I’m sure Paul thought he had used GGT on the following gift related to our upcoming triathlon.


Pay attention to the title.  SLOW FAT TRIATHLETE!

Gee thanks sweetie, my heart is warm all over…NOT!

Fortunately knowing my husband we all got a good laugh.   The added bonus is this is really GOOD book..its written with humor and really helped me get ready for my first triathlon.  Jayne Williams is the real deal and tells it like is.  She doesn’t gloss over any mistakes she has made , she shares them and moves on.

So while it was questionable GGT, I still use the book, still smile about it and think it ended up being a great gift.

More gift ideas for your triathlete in my next post!!  Cheers, Jenn


Do these bike pants make my butt look big?? It depends….

The old saying “Once you learn how to ride a bike you never forget” is true except riding a bike when your 10 years old and then again when you’re in your forties is a whole different  kind of  ball game ride.

This is what I learned after several rides:

  • Some guy(s) had alot of fun one day designing a really uncomfortable bike seat
  • Maybe it was a woman because my husband complained more than I did
  • We found ourselves singing that old Billy Crystal tune from the  movie “City Slickers”   …rolling, rolling , rolling gee my a@#@ is swollen…

Seeking the advice of our local bike shop we invested in bike pants.

The best part of bike pants is the padding.

The worst part of the bike pants is the padding.

Last time I checked no one my age is anxious to add any more girth to their backside.

Comfort won out over vanity.

And in the words of my very funny  friend,  Mary Gediman

“Its good practice for depends”



Why Tri…or how did this all get started!

I was sitting at home one day, 6 years ago, when I realized how quickly my life had changed. Suddenly my husband and I were semi empty nesters. Our 16 year old son “lived” at home , at least I saw evidence of him, dirty dishes, dirty laundry, landfill for a bedroom. Our daughter Julie was a sophmore at Virginia Tech and our daughter Sarah had just gotten married in  a wonderfully fun filled large wedding.

Suddenly I had time for me! What a concept. Okay well that lasted about mmmm, not very long. Then I found were going to be grandparents!!

Holy cow!!!

I was thrilled of course but this is a lot to take in. I never even got the chance to nag for grandchildren.

Oh the deprivation.

Well at 46 I didn’t think I looked like a Grandma but it did make me take stock of what I wanted to do/be with the rest of my life. I had the fleeting thought that if I can be a young grandma then maybe I could stick around and be a great grandma.

Holy Cow Again!

Time to get healthy. And I finally had the time(?) , or at least did not have to cater to 4 other schedules, appetites, likes and dislikes. I gave myself a year. My deadline was my 25th wedding anniversary in July…this was now Oct.

Okay that’s not a year, math is not my thing.

I had been avoiding the scale so I’m not sure what my starting weight was.

I WISH this was the way to weigh!

I WISH this was the true!

I lost weight…very slowly and I ‘m not quite sure how much since I am not sure where I started.  I’ m  guessing between 20-30lbs.

I   became a Grandma in Nicholas. Such fun. And to fast forward a bit ..we have been blessed to welcome a grand baby every year since ( except this year 2009) for a total of 5 between our 2 daughters)

Okay onto the condensed version. Rediscovered my sense of adventure and decided to train for a 5k ( 3.2 miles) which is pretty adventuresome for someone who has never run. My husband signed up with me although this was a cake walk for him since he has been running for more than  30 years.

One 5k led to another.

And then  I caught a glimpse of the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon on TV. Much to my  surprise there were other triathlon  distances than the grueling Iron Man. One was called a Sprint Tri and it was a half mile swim, a 12 mile bike ride and you guessed it a 5k run!!

And the next one was over our wedding anniversary!!  In Minnesota!

Can you say ADVENTURE.

Nothing says love like sweating together.

So I signed us up without really even knowing what it involved.

Stay tuned…the tri adventure has just begun!