OKC Memorial Marathon 2012

This year I ran a 5k on a relay team whose five members collectively finished the length of the OKC Memorial Marathon. It was a fabulous experience.
[Before my little family dropped me off downtown to watch the start]

Our team was called "The Smokin' Hot Mamas," and it was so fun to meet the three ladies on the team I didn't know. We all met a few blocks before the finish line after we were done with our legs to finish the race together. 

The Memorial Marathon is a "Run to Remember" and a tribute to the victims, family members, and survivors of the OKC bombing. It was a really emotional experience, and I found myself with tears in my eyes on more than one occasion. I loved the people lined up throughout the course to cheer on runners, provide comic relief, and lend support. It's definitely a community affair. When I was finished with my leg (I ran second), I was able to go home and cheer on the half marathoners as their course went right in front of Dot. If the course goes passed our house again next year (it usually runs a street south of us), I've got all sorts of plans. Speaking of half-marathons, my mother-in-law, Tracey, walked the half this year with a group of teachers from her school. YAY Moss teachers!    

I think my relationship with running has evolved, and I'm not exactly sure what I mean by that, other than I've been enjoying it. I had a time in mind for my split, I wanted to break 30, which was about the pace I'd been running at. I ended up running with a side stitch for a little over half of my race and came in at 31:29. I'm cool with it. Especially since I've really only been training for about four weeks after my whole foot fiasco, and it was just "hilly" enough to add an extra little challenge. I've planted a little thought in my mind that I'd like to run the half next year. I also really loved running on a team, and I think it would be fun to do a longer leg, but I like the idea of pushing myself and getting in the extra miles. I think I'm perfectly apt physically to "go the distance," but I'm not great at pushing myself mentally. I get "bored" while running. I think if I was running socially, it might change the game, but the idea of all of that training by myself with nothing but a race in the future to hold me accountable...whatever, I can do it.


Today my Grammy, Betty Jane McInnes Lund Lee, is 88.

What do you do for a woman with such a collection of years? Write 88 memories, of course.

1. She was born on April 25, 1924 in Barstow, California to James King and Isabel[le] Maxwell McInnes.
2. She would become the oldest of six children, five brothers and one sister. Buddy, Hannah, Drew, Murray, and Max.
3. She couldn't say James when she was little, so she called her brother Buddy, and it stuck for life.
4. She married Irl J. Lund when she was 17. The ceremony took place at 7 PM on August 26, 1941 at her parents' home in front of the fireplace with beautiful flowers all around.
5. She wore a pale green dress and new Spectator pumps that were white and brown.
6. Her ring cost ten dollars and was a little gold band with rosebuds around it.
7. Friends of Irl's mother made dinner. It included roast beef with potatoes and suet pudding with lemon sauce.
8. What she remembers most from the ceremony was the officiant saying "if you will get up and make your husband breakfast and lunch every morning before he leaves for work, you will have a good life." They also repeated a little poem, "With this ring, I thee wed, and all my worldly goods, I thee endow."
9. After Irl had been dead for a month or two, she had a dream: he was standing next to her bed wearing a green uniform (from Parker Crosby's lumber business). He said, "Well, Sleepy Head, aren't you going to get up and fix my breakfast?"
10. They met at the Arvizona dance hall in Eagar Arizona when she was 15 on December 31, 1939.
11. Their first dance was a polka. She was wearing a wine colored dress, black shoes, and had her hair done at the beauty shoppe where her mom washed towels in exchange for services.
12. She thought he was dashing and could hardly believe he was interested in her.
13. Irl served in the navy on a transport ship during World War II. At first he wasn't accepted on account of his hand (he was missing the fingers on his left hand from a childhood accident), but he inquired later and was accepted. "The bottom dropped out of [her] world."
14. She stayed with his parents with their two young daughters while he was deployed.
15. They rendezvoused in San Diego during his leave.
16. Lifelong friendships were made with the women in her community who shared the common experience of having loved ones away for so long. Loween, Aurora, and Grammy were the "three musketeers," going to dances and movies with one another in attempts to keep the loneliness at bay.
17. Nathel, Irl's sister, was visiting her parents while Tom, her husband was away. She was out on the back porch doing laundry while Grammy was inside listening to the radio. She heard the news that the war was over. She went out to Nathel, they grabbed onto one another and danced and cried and laughed because their loves would soon be home.
18. After the war, my grandparents worked to build a house together on the corner of 5th and Eagar in Eagar, Arizona.
19. It would be home to eight children and one bathroom (after the bathroom was finished) for decades.
20.She had a wringer washing machine the early 90s. I loved watching her muscle through the laundry in the "washroom."
21. Lace curtains - she has always had beautiful window coverings.
22. Mrs. Dash - after my grandpa developed special dietary needs, this seasoning was a staple. I don't know how many different varieties she had in her cupboard.
23. The El Jo - I lived with my grandparent for several months when I was young, and Grammy worked at a motel in town. Grandpa would take me and let me ring the bell on the counter.
24. Pancakes - she would make pancakes anytime my heart desired them. We'd pull out a big tub of Country Crock and either Mrs. Butterworth's or Aunt Jemima's syrup and go to town.
25. KFC - there was one right up the street. An easy dinner and I always got to eat the leftover gravy with a spoon or just drink it straight from the styrofoam bowl. I think these meals had a big part in KFC being my first official place of employment when I turned 16. I already practically knew the menu by heart.
26. We got into an accident in Payson coming home from Dustie's wedding. She was nervous but kept her cool and used a common line in our family about how vehicles can be replaced but people can't when talking to the other driver who was having an all out freak out.
27. Her relationship with her mother - They were lifelong best friends.
28. She has been a prolific letter writer throughout her life. She always kept several memo pads which were her choice stationary.
29. Nice pens. She never wrote with your average Joe Bic ballpoint.
30. She can iron clothes better than anyone I've seen. Her clothes are always so crisp and lovely.
21. She never had much money, but always wanted her kids to look sharp, so she would wash and mend and iron. One of her children's school teachers later in life said that her children always looked so nice, and it was a tremendous compliment.
32. Que Sera Sera - she was out with friends one night many (many many many) years ago and she started singing this song in the car. When she was done her friends said, "Oh, Betty, sing it again," and she did.
33. When I was little, I thought it was pretty boring, but as I've grown older, I appreciate having been able to tag along with my grandparents for game nights with old friends.
34. Visiting Vail who was sick with cancer. One time we took her Jamba Juice.
35. Taking Grammy to Jamba Juice for the first time.
36. She used to take me to church when I was little.
37. Curling irons with bristles.
38. Makeup - she always had great makeup, and let me use it whenever I wanted to. I still have one compact of eyeshadow she gave me. I know it goes against all of the hygienic rules of makeup expiration.
39. She can make up a lovely bed.
40. "More room out than in."
41. When I was 5 she had this crazy virus that attacked her nervous system. When the ambulance came to my house to get her, I laughed in the midst of all of my crying cousins as we sat staring out the back window of her old yellow Granada. It was the first time I realized it was okay to express feelings differently.
42. She was in the hospital for a month, and I was a frequent visitor. I was often chatting it up in the nurses station. A nurse was showing me pictures on her desk. She was in a bikini in one of them, and I told her it was immodest. :/
43. She took great care of people like "Sister" Randall and little Jessica Baggett.
44. She's sent most of her life being "healthy as a horse."
45. The way she cried when she thought no one was watching when she was going through letters in her attic just before selling the home where she raised her family.
46. The miscarriage she had between her sixth and seventh children. All the blood, the worry, the way she had locked the door before she realized what was happening, and Grandpa pushing his way in.
47. She was pregnant with her daughters. Weird. ;)
48. Physical therapy after her knee surgery, twice.
49. The first time she rooty tooted in the mall and went on like nothing happened all the while I ducked behind a clothing rack laughing hysterically.
50. Crushing cans for recycling.
51. Taking the said crushed cans to the recycling center in large burlap sacks and using the money we got from them for to go to the dollar movie and Sonic.
52. She always ordered a number 2 from Sonic with jalapeños.
53. She would hack into one of those big hay stacks of Shredded Wheat for breakfast. When I found out that Frosted mini-wheats had gelatin and were not vegan, I felt legit devastation. Are you reading this Kellogg's?
54. She always bought Post Raisin Bran for my grandpa because he liked it best.
55. There was always some sort of treat in her freezer.
56. Swiskers. She got a cat after we had to give my dog and cat away because of a move. She let me name her and everything.
57. Tide and April Fresh Downy. I used to sit in the "dryer room" on top of the dryer breathing in all the clean clothes goodness.
58. I liked helping her Liquid Gold all of her kitchen cabinets.
59. She still calls a refrigerator an ice box. And I called it an ice box until 7th grade when some boy asked what that was.
60. Her collection of China that we got from Basha's using about a million of those little stamps you used to get as a reward for buying groceries.
61. She was 61 when I, her 33rd of 39 grandchildren, was born.
62. 2701 E Allred Ave. 11. Mesa, Az. 85204.
63. Her kissing my grandpa in the nursing home portion of the VA hospital where he was recovering from a stroke. It was perhaps the first time I'd seen that type of display of affection.
64. Second time. See above. When I was little, they stayed the night at our house, and I ran in early one morning and woke them up. My grandpa moved his hand to her hip, and I pushed it away because she was mine. They laughed at my possessiveness.
65. She let my great aunt Belle, her sister-in-law, who never had any children, name her fifth daughter and seventh child, Kristin Joy.
66. She wanted to name my mom, her eighth and final child, Allison, but my grandpa won and Linette it is.
67. She was 18 when she had her first child, and I can't tell you how many times she has relayed the story, but I love hearing it every single time: "when they put that little baby in my arms, I never knew I could love anyone so much."
68. She gained almost 70 pounds with her first pregnancy because she really loved Hershey Bars.
69. She is a major picture collector.
70. She's had pretty much the same hairstyle for decades.
71. She has maintained a beautiful relationship with her siblings, and before two of them passed away last year, she would talk of how great it would be if they could just all go together.
72. My grandpa got her a vinyl lace table cloth the Christmas before he passed away. It stayed on the table for years, even if it was under another table cloth. As it started wearing, she would mend the tears with Scotch tape.
73. She didn't get her driver's license until she was in her mid-thirties.
74. I cried after her first date with Art Lee because I knew she was going to get married to a man I didn't know. I mean, that's what older people do when they go out on a date with someone, time is of the essence.
75. They got married in August and soon found out Art had cancer. Jake and I went to visit for Christmas. Art was in the hospital. This woman wearing jeans that buttoned and zipped (no elastic waistband) came walking down the hall to greet us, and I was so thankful for this stranger who made her smile the way she did.
76. I didn't know where to divert my eyes when her and Art were giving one another a goodbye make-out before a bunch of us left the hospital for lunch.
77. The night I unexpectedly showed up at her house and she put my troubled heart at ease.
78. I wore a dress on every first day of school through seventh grade due to her old fashioned ways because "that's just what you did."
79. She always bought me some sort of article of clothing for school.
80. 844-4266
81. When my mom found out she was pregnant with me, Grammy promised she would help take care of me in whatever way she could, and she always has.
82. She deeply misses her loved ones who've already passed from this life.
83. She's almost always purchased two different sized shoes. A ten for one foot and an eleven for the other.
84. Growing up around "old" people was pretty much as rad as it gets.
85. She's had an unfailing testimony of her Father in Heaven, her savior, Jesus Christ, and the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints throughout her life.
86. Her favorite color is red.
87. Raising her children was her favorite time in life.
88. Her family is her most prized possession and her greatest desire is for each member to live the best life they can.

May All Be Fed

I was putting together our weekly dinner menu this morning. I usually make a few standards, then I look through cookbooks and favorite cooking sites. I was looking for our Lotsa Pasta recipe [a pasta salad with a creamy Italian dressing] in a book by John Robbins called May All Be Fed: Diet for a New World.  The book is full of terrific quotes and prayers, including one containing the books namesake.

May all be fed. May all be healed. May all be loved. 

If I was into vinyl lettering, I would plaster, er, peel and stick that baby up on my kitchen wall. When I was browsing through the pages, I found a Unitarian prayer that I read a few times over, wrote down on my grocery list, and let linger in my mind all day.

The food which we are about to eat
Is Earth, Water, and Sun,
Compounded through the alchemy of many plants.
Therefore Earth, Water, and Sun will become part of us.
This food is also the fruit of the labor of many beings and creatures.
We are grateful for it.
May it give us strength, health, joy.
And may it increase our love.

It made me think about Marilyn and Carl, the AMAZING couple who graciously opened their home to us in Hawaii during a music festival we attended in the summer of 2006. Food was so artful to them. All of their meals prepared at home were simple and beautiful. Marilyn talked about how people used to give thanks for every part of the animal they used and consumed. They knew their lives depended on animal's sacrifice of life. Now everything is so easy, we don't have to think about the life that's lost. It made me more grateful. I would always say a prayer in my heart over the the actual animal whose life was taken away to add to my own.

[Marilyn preparing our breakfast - Do you see their fruit bowl in the background?]

Every morning she would cut up fresh fruit for our breakfast and arrange it thoughtfully on our plates. One evening we arrived home to a simple salad that became a meal, another late night, she was making risotto for Carl, but shared with us. The process was fascinating, making rice creamy. The end result was delicious. She made Brie in Pastry in honor of me, complete with Granny Smith apples. The flavors were wonderful together. I was 21 and had never had Brie cheese before. They took Jake and me out for sushi for our first time. Their relationship with food was transformative for us. I will be forever grateful for our two and a half week stay with them. I love them. I miss them. I want our girls to meet them some day. I mean, Marilyn is the one who taught me how to cut up a pineapple.

[Breakfast plates]

Our journey into veganism has taken years. I love the awareness and the gratitude it has brought to me. I know that if we were all more aware of our food and the energy that goes into producing it, we could collectively find a way for all to be fed.

Here's what we had for dinner tonight:

What it needed to be

Today was wonderful. I went to the Y and hurried through a run, got ready in record time to make it home for visiting teachers at 11. I saw that I had a message when I got to the car, and one of my VTs said she was running late so they'd be there at 10:15. It was 10:53. I tried calling only the way home, no luck. I pulled up in front of my house at 10:55, yes, I live less than a mile away from the gym. Our garage is in our backyard and our driveway is along the street that runs on the side of our house. I always leave the car out front if I have more errands to run because it's easier (a shorter distance to walk). I thought about what I might have to do, and nothing came to mind, so I pulled our car (still nameless!) into the garage. And it didn't move.


We made sushi for lunch per Cora's request. Magnolia took a nap. I organized my craft stuff (my sewing machine has finally moved inside). Cora built a "spider web" with yarn all around the house and then a rocket out of the box my sewing machine had been in. Magnolia woke up. We had a pretzel snack and some juice.

We don't have juice very often around here, but I've been stuck on cran-raspberry. It reminds me of my Grammy who always had some at her house. A close second was pineapple orange. I skyped with her the other day, and it did my heart so good. Magnolia loves cran-ras as well, and I'm glad for that.

After the snack, we went to the park. Cora rode her bike. Magnolia rode in the stroller with her helmet on. I had packed up our winter stuff in one of those super awesome space bags earlier in the day, and she was so upset that her hats were in there. I had to show her she had some summer hats, but her helmet was also a good substitute.

My girls are seriously rad.

I learned a valuable lesson. I was only on-line for like 30 minutes today, not including the time after they went to bed. My girls were happier, my home was lovelier, my entire being was lighter. It's amazing what a mother giving herself to her children can do. It's something we all know, but rarely get time to test out with all of the (generally superficial) business we let get in the way. I'm going to work really hard at sticking to my guns in terms of priorities. Let me say this right here and now: My family is at the top of the list.

On a final note, I switched my wallflowers to my very favorite scent: pineapple orchid. All of my senses have been truly delighted this day (including the dusting I did after my craft stuff was up with orange pledge - that stuff in divine. Cora even commented on how great it smelled).


So for nearly the last week I was completely obsessed with the weather. While we did lose part of our fence to a strong wind gust (it was really only a matter of time), our city was spared the majorly major doom and gloom that had been predicted. I think that because I dedicated a few days almost solely to making sure we were prepared in case anything did happen, and we didn't even have a close call (the tornado sirens did go off at 2:30 Saturday morning, but the tornado was 20 miles northeast and moving further away), so I'm sort of like, "Now what?" I guess it's back to life as usual. Which is totally fine by me.

This week I'm hoping to ride my bike to take Cora to and from school at least once. According to the weather (I can't help it, I'm a frequent checker anyway), the next 10 days will be beautiful. I'm going to run my bohonkus off. Maybe I should run her to school. I'm going to make some legit plans for a fence because there's no putting it off now. I'm also hoping to dive into "Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone." It's a biography of the original Carter Family. I'm pretty sure I won't be able to put it down now that I'm not checking the weather every two seconds.

I finally had a real vision for the girls' room. I've been waiting for "the one" to come along. I have seen a clear picture in my mind, and it is glorious. I think I can even incorporate some of our old fence?

Does your littlest toe ever go numb for no apparent reason? Mine is tingling right now. It's so weird.

Spiders and Severe Weather

Yesterday as I was getting the girls into the car to go to Target, I saw a Brown Recluse (Fiddleback) spider on the wall of our garage. I killed a Black Widow several months ago. I'm freaked out simply because we just got shelves up in our office/den, so I'm ready to move all of my craft stuff in. It's all been stored in moving boxes in our garage since we moved. Brown Recluses love hiding in boxes, and they especially love cardboard. Ugh. Tonight I sprayed all around our house and garage (inside our garage too). Here's the eerie part: I was making Cora's bed this morning and there was a spider under her quilt. It was a harmless garden spider, but for real. He's dead.

I went real grocery shopping for the first time in a couple of weeks. I'm a pretty regular once a week shopper. Usually on Wednesdays because it's double ad day at Sunflower. Anyway, today I also picked up the goods for our emergency kits. It is Spring time in Oklahoma, that means severe weather (and spiders). It contains things like water, non-perishable food items, a whistle in-case we get stuck somewhere. It also has diapers/wipes, sanitary items, copies of important documents (I need to make these!), a coloring book and some crayons. If you've ever been through a tornado warning, you know it can involve a lot of waiting. This year during the storm season, I'm going to keep our helmets attached to the bags all of our emergency stuff is in for extra protection from falling debris.

I've also made several plans for shelter based on how much warning we have and none of them involve riding it out in a bathtub. Dot has no interior rooms. But after last year's tornados, I'm getting underground every time. My worst fear happened to a mother in Piedmont, OK. She took shelter in the bathtub with her three children. The tornado destroyed their home and sent them all in various directions. They rushed her and two of her children to the hospital. One was missing. They found him a few days later in the pond across from what used to be their house, and his brother died from his injuries at the hospital. I just can't chance it.

If we have plenty of warning, I'm heading for the fortress that is the basement of the music school at OCU. If I don't have the car or it's in the middle of the night, I'm heading to a friend's basement in our neighborhood. And lastly, if it's a major emergency, I'm breaking out the basement window of our backyard neighbor's house. He's hardly ever home, but he did give me permission to take cover there if need be. I'm not going to lie, I hope I never have to do the latter. According to the forecast, Friday through Sunday will be very favorable for severe storms. I want to be prepared for them the best I can.

And onto some less frightening stuff: that gigantic rosebush in our backyard has started blooming. We have beautiful lipstick colored roses.

Good news/Bad news

The good news: It was just water.
The bad news: It came from Cora's stomach (with a few cashews and some gum mixed in).

Reason number four-hundred-seventy-five-thousand-million why I'm glad we have a leather couch: barf. Though it's probably at the top of the list.

The good news: After 6 weeks of not running because of an injured foot, I am running again. Today was my third run. It felt great.
The bad news: The marathon relay is just shy of three weeks away. I injured my foot foot 2 days after I said I wanted to run the relay. I'm sure I'll get up to the distance again, I'm pretty much there, but I'm slowly increasing my runs because I don't have time to re-injure my foot. I just fear a major tortuga pace.

Reason number one why I'm glad I didn't agree to run a longer leg than I did (you know, because I had all those extra weeks of training): surprise injuries.


Today I bought Cora panties for the first time. She's been potty trained for quite some time, don't be alarmed, but she has always always received cute panties from grandmas and aunts on birthdays or at Christmas. Her drawer at home is full of such panties, but we are not at home, and we forgot to pack panties for our overnight stay at Tracey and Vaughn's (aka Gram and Offey) house.

We always forget something.

So I ran to Walmart after dinner and stood in front of the the overwhelming rack of panties for little girls. There are boy shorts and hipsters and bikinis and briefs. And a million different brands. I know that Hanes fit her really well, but they don't have a resealable package that you can pull a pair out to see, which is lame. After about 15 minutes, I just picked the print I thought she'd like most: My Little Pony.

My girl is super into magical ponies and especially unicorns. Ponies were my only chance of competing with her super favorite Dora panties. She loved them. And so did Magnolia. As I type, Magnolia is in bed with a pair of panties on over her footed pj's. I tried to take them off before I laid her down, but there was instant lip quiver.

Tomorrow is Easter. I was going to participate in Lent this year, but I did not. I was going to give up facebook. But then I started thinking how rather than giving it up, I'd like to just exhibit more self control, which isn't hard these days because, let's face it, in the last several months facebook reads like one big forward email. Still, I flirt with the idea of giving it up. My 10 year high school reunion will be in 2013, and I remember how far off it seemed, and how much I would miss my friends and how different we would be, but the mystery is mostly gone because of the "great unifier." I miss mystery. I've proved this to myself by the mere fact that I am far more interested in people who don't live their lives on facebook vs. those who do. I felt so ashamed when I went through the phase of thinking in status updates. This whole facebook thing is really just a side note.


It would have been one thing for Christ to live a good life worthy of emulation. It would have been another thing for his story to be about overcoming physical death. He wasn't an either/or. His life is an example of loving kindness. And his death and resurrection will continue to give so many hope that life does continue beyond the grave.

I waiver from time to time on the latter point. I want there to be something more than this life. Most of the time, I feel very strongly that there is. But there are also times when I know that I really want to be okay with the idea that this is it. Does that ever diminish Jesus Christ to me? No. Hope is a powerful thing.  


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