Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to me! Getting older is not something to be dreaded and denied, but rather another step on the path of the second - and best - half of my life.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Frostbite Doubles

I have to admit it seemed a bit weird donning short sleeves and a bare-legged skort to play tennis in December. However, apparently Mother Nature decided to grace us with beautiful weather for the Frostbite Doubles Tennis Tournament hosted by the City of Raleigh this weekend. Steve and I teamed up and decided to compete despite hardly practicing at all this fall and winter, and were promptly crushed in our first round. In our defense, though, our first-round competitors wound up being the team that ended up winning our entire division. We did somehow manage to pull out a win in the first consolation round, which was a surprising thrill. As our second round competitors elected to withdraw from the tournament, our default win there took us to the Consolation Finals. Although we fought hard, a win in the finals eluded us, but we were still quite pleased to accept the title of Consolation Finalists, and are looking forward to the Wake Forest Frostbite Doubles coming up next month.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

It’s Alive!

It's finally available - my new freelance writing and editing page is now up and running HERE.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Links Down

Due to server issues, my links are presently down. However, I'm currently working on the situation and hope to have that resolved soon.

Update - This unfortunately appears to have been a "fatal error" on the server. I'm looking into alternative methods for resolution, so please bear with me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Serendipity?

Apparently necessity is also the mother of REinvention, as fate has dropped me at the doorstep of reinventing myself here in middle age.  After spending the bulk of my youth in a career initiated over 20 years ago - the result of a temporary assignment through an employment agency - circumstances now demand a choice from me.  As The Clash would ask "Should I stay or should I go?", and for me, right here, right now, there is no other response except, I go.  I go to find myself.  I go to find what is important to me.  I go to ask the impossible questions and to seek the answers.

I've thought long and hard about who I believe I am and why I believe I'm here.  I'm still not sure of the answers to those questions, but I have discovered that I need my life to matter.  I need to know that when I'm gone from this plane of existence, the world - heck the universe even, dream big! - will be a better place because I was here.  It doesn't matter that my name is remembered or even that I am remembered, but simply that my being here made a positive difference.

It's scary reinventing myself at midlife.  What if I fail?  I'm not sure what I'm doing or how to do it.  Will I look foolish?  Will I even be given the opportunity to reinvent my career?  I'm not afraid to start at the bottom - a lot shorter distance to fall that way - but it's frightening to just be starting out again when most women my age are at or near the height of their careers.  I know I want to write; I know I want my career to be a part of who I am and not just a job, but who knows if a Creative Director will give me a chance?

What I don't have:

  • A big impressive portfolio.  I have mostly just magazine and newsletter articles I was fortunate enough to get published.  Although I don't have much in the way of design skills, I am practicing with the digital camera and working diligently on my Web development capabilities. 

  • A lot of real-world work experience at writing.  I really only have this blog and my articles - so far.  However, I know in my heart and soul that a writer is what I've always been and am destined to be.  I just need to find that Creative Director who is willing to believe in my potential.


What I do have:

  • Determination.  As a former 24-hour mountain bike racer, I know what it's like to have to dig deep inside for all the resolve you can muster, so far that it's terrifying, just to keep going.  Most times it's tough, racing between those hours of midnight and sunrise, and it's tempting to just give up.  I never did.

  • Creativity.  I grew up the daughter of a single mother who is also an artist.  Although she was formerly an advertising graphic designer for a large corporation, her layoff led her to trust her own instincts and she made a living for herself, my sister and me by painting.  She was self-taught, but she worked hard at her craft and was able to support our family using her own creativity.  She developed her own niche as a talented artist, which she still maintains, and I believe I inherited her creativity - For years she drove a VW Beetle painted red with black ladybug spots and I ride a leopard-skin painted bicycle.  Hmmmm.

  • Ambition.  I love learning new things, especially when they allow my creativity to break free.  I thrive on throwing myself wholeheartedly into everything I attempt.  I know failure is part of the learning process, but it's a necessary part and I try to learn from my failures, hoping to get a little closer to success the next time.  And the next.  And the next.

  • Dedication.  I tend to immerse myself completely into whatever project I'm working on at any given time.  Some may say that's a fault, but I believe it is what it is.

  • Conviction.  I try to see all sides of an issue before making a decision, but I will never be untrue to myself.

  • Focus.  I live with a husband, two needy rescue dogs and two rescue kittens.  Let's face it:  I've become quite adept at working around distractions.

  • Passion.  I love to write.  I live to write.  It's what makes the sun rise for me each morning and makes the moon rise at night.  I've come to realize that my life is happening right now at this very moment, not tomorrow or the next day, so let's put pen to paper and write about it!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Gorgeous Green-Eyed Gentleman

Gorgeous Green-Eyed Gentleman

Funny Spyder

Funny Spyder

The Grandparents’ Visit

My mom and dad came up for a visit today - which Steve and I greatly enjoyed - and the animals certainly pulled out all the stops, putting on quite a SHOW for their "grandparents".  Venus was particularly excited about meeting them for the first time, providing plenty of action for "Grandma" to capture on her camera.

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Zoe and Spyder were their usual funny, friendly selves.

 

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Of course, Andy, the gorgeous green-eyed gentleman, remains as always the handsomest cat I know.

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Showing off for Grandma

Showing off for Grandma

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Part of the Pack

Hard playing deserves equally hard napping, and Venus has proven that she is no slouch at either.  She puts forth 100 percent when she plays and 100 percent when she naps, and is quite the little CUDDLEBUG then as well!

 

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She has also definitively ingrained herself as part of the family "pack" now, endearing herself to Spyder sufficiently for him to happily play the role of kitten pillow.

 

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She and Andy have also officially bonded now, apparently having become best buddies!

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Kitten Pillow

Kitten Pillow

Cuddlebug

Cuddlebug

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fair Game

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Andy is jumping for joy since Venus has decided she likes him and is ready to play with him now!  The vet's office removed her spay sutures yesterday evening and her incision appears to have completely healed.  She is so happy to have those itchy threads gone (and so are we!) and the two kitties have spent the better part of the evening either playing together with their toys, getting petted by mom and dad, or just lounging around in the beanbag after a hearty meal.  Yeah, LIFE'S GOOD.

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Life is Good

Life is Good

Jumping for Joy

Jumping for Joy

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Itchy and Scratchy

I know from experience that the healing process of sutures is an itchy one, particularly as healing gets closer to completion.  Venus's spay sutures have been no exception and she is now wanting to chew her stitches.  After speaking with my vet's office, I tried the many helpful suggestions they provided to encourage Venus not to chew.  As you can see in many of the PHOTOS, I've tried tee-shirts to cover the incision, "tube" style collars, E-collars, socks with the toe cut out to cover the incision line, etc.  She is growing so fast that the prior E-collar Steve had made her was no longer preventing her from reaching the stitches, and she found ways around the other options - she's quite the clever girl!  So last evening Steve made her a new E-collar from the same comfy packing foam as before, only this time with a bit longer "cone", and this seems to be working beautifully.  Since tomorrow morning will be 10 days post-spay, we plan to call our vet to see if the sutures can go ahead and come out.  Her incision appears to be completely healed at this point, so that really the only way you can even tell it's there is by seeing the suture thread itself.

We have been allowing Venus to come out of her crate at will pretty much anytime we're here to supervise her, and she and Andy have really become best buddies.  They play together, sleep next to one another, and drink together.

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I still have to feed them separately because Andy thinks kitten food is just yummy, but I think once Venus has progressed to the "all life stages" food Andy eats, they will be fine eating together since he is happy to let her sit right next to him while he eats.  Venus also just loves "her" dogs, and they think she's pretty cool, too.

She still enjoys sitting on our laps and being petted, and during one of these petting sessions, I noticed that she has the cutest little light grey "heart" on the back of each ear!  The photo doesn't show them very clearly even though they are quite vivid in person, because my little cheapie camera doesn't do the best job at close-ups, but you can sort of make them out along the outer edges of her ears.

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Heart Ears

Heart Ears

Playing Together

Playing Together

Friday, August 17, 2007

Scratching Post

Scratching Post

Playtime Bonding

Since Venus appears now to have accepted Andy as her buddy, she is being allowed to stay outside the kennel to PLAY for longer periods of time.  In fact, she is allowed out of the kennel most of the time when we're home to supervise her, generally only going back in when we're at work or otherwise away from home or asleep at night (or when she is getting too wild and needs a "break", at least until her sutures are removed next week).

She and Andy actually seem to be becoming true buddies now, playing happily together with their toys.  They both are particularly fond of the "ring" cat toy which seems to provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation.

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She is still figuring out the whole scratching post thing and exactly how that works, but I'm sure she'll get it eventually.  Perhaps Andy will explain that process to her this weekend!

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Andy also has been showing Venus good hiding places from the dogs, as well as bringing her some of his other favorite toys.  They spend a lot of time together, and she looks to him for guidance when faced with things out of the ordinary such as an unfamiliar noise, etc., just like a big brother!  They play chase, "pawing" games (fortunately with no claws out), and "Halloween cat", and Andy even lets Venus play "pounce" on him without getting upset.  She really likes all the toys he's showed her, but one of her favorites remains the "tail"...

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The Tail Game

The Tail Game

Ring Toy

Ring Toy

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Venus and Her Siblings

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 Since Venus has virtually stopped with the grumbling and hissing and has actually even been friendly and happy appearing, we let her come into the kitchen for a bit, under our close supervision of course, to visit with her siblings.  Venus decided that the "big kid" water bowl was just fascinating, and Spyder is perfectly content to dine next to her.  She is completely at ease around the dogs and they have already very easily accepted her into the family "pack" - naturally with such a size difference we continue to monitor all interactions between them though, at least until she is older, bigger and her spay incision has completely healed.

Steve and I continue to have "quality time" petting sessions with her a few times a day, once in the mornings before we leave for work, and then a couple of times in the evenings after we get home and before bed.  She really seems to enjoy those, and lately has even been letting Andy get in on the attention as well, with no growling, hissing or aggressive swatting!

Andy himself has just been the most amazing little gentleman.  He has continued to show absolutely no signs of aggression, resentment, jealousy or anxiety, remaining the calm, sweet, loving little boy he has always been.  In fact, even Venus seems to be coming around to realize just what a special and loving friend he is.  New photos are HERE and the earlier ones remain HERE.

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Venus and Andy

Venus and Andy

Venus and Spyder

Venus and Spyder

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Custom Collar

Custom Collar

Adjustments

Today marks the second full day of Venus living with us.  We have moved her kennel into the living area of our home and changed her kitty litter to the "pearls" type to hopefully stop her from licking her spay incision suture line.  She slept quite well last night, has a good appetite for food and water, and her bowels and bladder appear to be working normally.  She has been playing with her jingly ball toys and even pulled the cloth I had wiped Andy with into her crate and slept with it overnight.  However, she still grumbles and swats at him anytime he gets too near her kennel.  Surprisingly enough, though, she will let Spyder actually touch noses with her and offers absolutely no irritability toward him at all.  I guess that could be perhaps because he is a dog and is much, much larger than her, but she shows no evidence of any fear or or timidity toward him.  Of course, she shows no fear toward anything - she just apparently isn't ready yet for Andy to share any of her personal space.

This morning, she started licking her sutures just a little bit again, so to hopefully distract her until we can get her a surgical collar this afternoon, I placed a hanging scratcher in the corner of her kennel and also hung an elastic swinging feather cat toy from the ceiling bars.  She seems to enjoy the swinging feathers a lot.

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This afternoon, Steve, ever the handyman, made her a surgical collar (complete with a Velcro closure!) from a soft comfortable foam that was used as packing for his bicycle.  It actually appears to be working quite well at keeping her away from her incision line while still allowing her to eat and drink, and she has been surprisingly accepting of it.

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She also continues batting her ball toys around the kennel and really enjoys her petting sessions, but naturally starts to cry just a tiny bit as soon as I close her kennel door afterwards.  This gradually stops after a couple of minutes, but it sure does break my heart to to have to shut her in.  I have to be strong, though, because I know she is not ready to be turned loose in the house yet, with a fresh surgical incision, still being so small in a house with two large, albeit friendly, dogs and a large cat who she is not yet completely tolerating.

We did let her out into the kitchen for a short bit this afternoon while Andy was in the spare bedroom birdwatching from a favorite window, so she could explore just a little and spend some quality time with her new "Mom" and "Dad" (and, of course, the ever-present Spyder), which she seemed to enjoy a lot.  I think it was a nice break for her, and she even went willingly back into her kennel after the brief respite from "captivity".

Andy, though, being the quintessential gentleman and friendly lapcat that he is, still can't understand why she seems to like everyone but him, but fortunately it doesn't seem to have affected his sweet disposition.  He remains as loving toward us and "his" dogs as ever and hasn't demonstrated any evidence of jealousy or resentment toward Venus, the dogs or us.  Poor sweet guy!

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Hopefully Venus will very soon come to appreciate Andy for the absolutely wonderful friend he wants to be for her.  He is trying so hard to convince her that he wants to be her buddy.  He seems to be making a real effort not to appear threatening or intimidating toward her in any way, and he seems genuinely concerned when she cries for more attention after her petting sessions.  I hope that it won't be too long before Venus comes around and decides Andy is worthy of her friendship, because he most definitely is.

Sad Eyes Andy

Sad Eyes Andy

Swinging Feathers

Swinging Feathers

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Next Day

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  Venus awoke this morning around 5:15, climbed on top of her carrier/bed and yowled for a while until I got up to go pet her.  At this point, she was still somewhat groggy and irritable from her surgery and would periodically growl and hiss randomly.  She finally went back to sleep about a half-hour later.  By this afternoon, however, she has been up and summoning petting sessions from both myself and Steve, to which she responds with monstrous purring that belies her tiny size!  She has had a couple of small meals of dry kitten crunchies and some water, and has had a couple of big tinkles as well as a normal looking "poop".  She is using her litter box and playing with some of her toys - she likes the jingly balls the best.  I rubbed Andy with a washcloth and laid it near Venus' bed for her to accustom herself to his scent (that is the green towel you see in the picture just outside her carrier).  She initially was granted the run of our bedroom while Andy, Spyder and Zoe were happily "confined" to the remainder of the house, which was fine with them since the living room is where they spend most of their time anyway.

Andy's former foster mom came by to visit all the animals this evening and of course, it was at this time that Venus decided her litter box was a great place to sleep which prompted itching of her abdominal incision and subsequently some chewing at the sutures.  On Kathy's advice, we moved Venus' kennel into a quiet corner of the living room where she could see and be seen by the other animals but still be protected by the wire cage which would hopefully distract her from her itchy sutures.  Steve also went out and picked up some of the "pearls" type cat litter since she did not like the shredded stuff and we feared the clumping variety might be causing some of the incisional itching (Venus really likes to throw the litter around!).  This seems to be effective, as she has not slept in her litter box or even looked at her incision line since we changed to the "pearls" litter.

So far, things have been pretty calm since the change of scenery for the new kitty, with virtually no growling or hissing at the dogs when they come to see her.  Also, the grumbling and hissing exchanged between her and Andy is diminishing dramatically, with them now spending most of the time either doing their own thing in opposite ends of the room, or just lying down watching each other curiously, with only the very occasional weak hiss.

At present, though, most everyone seems more interested in napping in their respective areas than anything else, especially following a huge open-mouth yawn! 

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Yawn

Yawn

Waking Up

Waking Up

Friday, August 10, 2007

The First Evening

p8100086  Surprisingly enough, the veterinarian who performed Venus' spay procedure this morning released her to come home with us late this afternoon.  She is still quite groggy and wobbly this evening as well as understandably irritable.  She has spent the first couple of hours here sleeping in her travel carrier inside her protective kennel in our quiet bedroom, away from the paws of her curious new brothers and sister, but still within smell.  We have been very careful to be at least, if not more than, as affectionate and attentive to Andy, Spyder and Zoe as usual today to reassure them of their exalted status in the household.  Both dogs have been surprisingly nonchalant about the whole "new kitty" thing, while Andy has been cautiously curious but no one has shown even the slightest hint of aggression - well, except Venus herself who will occasionally hiss if someone stares at her too long or gets too close.  However, I understand that totally in light of her postsurgical/anesthetic haze.  She did look up when I came in to take her picture, but is still really sleepy so I just snapped a couple of quick shots and then left her alone to continue her nap.  We've been checking on her about every hour, just to make sure she is not in great distress and so far she seems about as I would expect after surgery.  Our regular vet is aware of her and has given us her emergency numbers in case we have any questions or need any advice or anything, but I think Venus will be just fine and hopefully back to her usual self within the next couple of days.  I'm glad that our resident animals seem so comfortable with her being here and I think once she recuperates sufficiently to interact with them, it's going to be a lot of fun around here!

Sleeping it off

Sleeping it off.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Countdown to the New Arrival!

After much careful consideration and discussion, we've decided we're ready to adopt another cat from Franklin County Humane Society.  We visited a couple of their rescue kitties, but the one who won our hearts was Benita.  She just doesn't look like a Benita to us, though, so we have renamed her Venus which means love and beauty.  She is going in for her spay procedure tomorrow morning and will probably be ready to come home the following morning after an overnight observation period at the animal hospital.  She's a gorgeous grey tabby who is quite bold and very comfortable with both large dogs and cats, and is just a sweetheart.  To provide her safe refuge during her postsurgical recovery period since she is young and still a bit small, we have set up a kennel for her in our bedroom.  As you can see, Andy is quite interested in this new arrangement and seems completely prepared to be the welcoming committee for his new playmate!

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The Welcoming Committee

The Welcoming Committee checks out the kennel.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

We love Companion Chi and Green Hope Farm!

We love Companion Chi and Green Hope Farm!

Oodles

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  A week ago Friday I saw a listing on Petfinder for a dog in the local shelter who really caught my eye.  Although Steve and I just cannot take on any more dogs ourselves currently, I felt I somehow had to save her from euthanasia.  So I contacted the Franklin County Humane Society who in turn learned that Mitchell Mill Animal Rescue had retrieved this precious pup from the shelter.  Steve and I agreed to help sponsor her since we couldn't realistically adopt her ourselves.  We went out to meet her last Tuesday shortly after she was spayed - so she was rather sleepy and sedate that day.  Today we went to see her again and take her some toys, and saw the Real Oodles!  She is most likely a terrier/lab mix, is about 25 pounds currently and they think she is a young adult - I would guess maybe a year old? - so I doubt she is going to be much over 40 pounds at the most.  She is extremely high energy but also extremely loving and friendly, and good with other dogs and cats.  She is playful and very intelligent, just Oodles of fun!  My hope is that she will soon find a loving, caring forever home with people who can appreciate her charming and energetic personality.  She is going to make some lucky family a wonderful addition.  Adoption information on Oodles is available at (919) 266-8177.  

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Oodles Running

Oodles Running

Oodles

Oodles closeup

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Quantum Healing

Over the past eight years, Spyder's storm/noise phobia has gradually been escalating, so I was delighted when Susan King of Companion Chi agreed to enroll him in a Quantum Healing trial to hopefully address this concern.  At Susan's suggestion, I also started Spyder on some flower essences from Green Hope Farm whose employees were extremely helpful in advising me on which essences were recommended for Spyder based on his fears and reactions to loud noises.  Susan has now been working with us for a couple of months and I'm delighted to report that Spyder has shown an incredibly dramatic change.  He no longer gets hysterical and inconsolable with storms and other loud noises, and even slept through the bulk of our latest big thunderstorm last evening!   I'm not sure whether it's the essences or Companion Chi's Quantum Healing techniques or a combination of both - although my best guess would be the combination - which has given Spyder such amazing results.  All I know for sure is that I am beyond happy to see my baby getting such tremendous relief from his anxiety.  I plan to continue him on the flower essences, as he seems to derive much benefit from them, even "asking" for them in times of stress.  Additionally, Susan has indicated that Spyder appears to be capable now of instituting calming techniques for noise phobia control on his own, so no longer needs her assistance in this area.  However, she is going to work with us further on addressing some of his additional anxieties which, according to her, most likely originated from his youth as a stray and then being confined at the animal shelter for so long prior to his adoption into our home - and our hearts.  I'm deeply grateful to Green Hope Farm and Companion Chi for their kind assistance in helping us with Spyder's anxieties and he and I highly recommend them both to anyone seeking to improve the quality of life for themselves and their pets.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Tennis Grand Opening

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This past weekend was all about tennis, as our local association, WFATA, held its Grand Opening to celebrate the addition of four brand-new courts to go along with the existing four, as well as stadium quality lighting.  We had a huge celebration which began Friday night with the ribbon cutting for the new courts; various tennis events all day long Saturday including games and drills for kids and adults, video stroke analysis, racket demos courtesy of Todd from Omega Sports who was extremely knowledgeable and helpful; and culminating in a Mini-Tournament open to all interested on Sunday afternoon.  It was a great weekend of tennis where we reconnected with some old friends and met many new ones, and the new tennis center is really quite beautiful.  We're very excited about all the programs for both kids and adults becoming available this summer and the opportunity to play at such a lovely facility so close by!

Mini-Tournament

WFATA Grand Opening Mini-Tournament

Sunday, July 1, 2007

On the road again…

On the road again...

On The Road Again…

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  Yeah, I know, I know - I keep saying I'm not going to buy another bike and then I go and do it anyway.  Well, yesterday was no exception.  Honestly, we were just "stopping by" the bike shop to say hello and maybe look around for something for Steve.  After all, it was his birthday Thursday.  And yet, here I am out riding my brand new Road Bike this afternoon!  I have to say, though, for my first "real" road ride in probably more than a year, this bike actually made it fun for me again, which is no small feat, considering how difficult cycling has been since the surgery. 

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  The ride of the Lemond Versailles is very smooth and the bike has a solid, secure feel, while still being plenty snappy and easy handling.  It carves the turns nicely for me and overall is just plain fun!  Zoe and Andy were pretty nonplussed about the whole thing, but Spyder really seemed psyched about the new addition!

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Oh and by the way, Steve's new Trek Madone should be here within the next couple of weeks...

Lemond Versaille

Lemond Versailles

Spyder likes the Versailles

Spyder likes the Versailles

On the road again

On the road again

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Cowbell Challenge 2007

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To test out the healing process of my post-surgical knee, Steve and I decided to compete as a Coed Duo in the 6-Hour division at the Cowbell Challenge Mountain Bike race yesterday.  It was painful, difficult and slow-going for me on the challenging 10-mile trail, especially on some of the particularly rooty and rocky climbs, as well as the rough, twisty descents.  However, I somehow managed to turn out two laps which, combined with Steve's two laps, brought us to a grand total of four laps.  I was actually quite happy with my 20-mile total, even though it took me close to four hours to achieve it. 

Despite the weakness, fatigue and pain, I was actually quite pleased with my ride.  I managed to ride most of the descents nearly as fast as I had in years past, and also made many of the climbs, despite still not being able to stand and pedal yet!  Steve even commented on how well he thought I was riding, and was surprised at some of the more technical climbs I was making.  I also had the opportunity to be a website race correspondent for this event which was a lot of fun as well.

The real surprise came at the end of the race, though, when the 6-Hour awards were being given, and mine and Steve's team, Chicken Slicks got called up to the top podium spot!  It turns out that we completed our fourth and final lap at 4:01 p.m., a mere 10 minutes ahead of the second place Coed Duo team whose fourth lap was completed at 4:11 p.m.  I love a close and exciting bike race finish! 

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Cowbell Awards

Chicken Slicks take First Place in Coed Duo 6-Hour!

Cowbell Challenge

2007 Cowbell Challenge Mountain Bike Race

Friday, June 15, 2007

Our Deepest Fear

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine as children do.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.  And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

---From A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Not Enough

Our tennis team had playoffs today but unfortunately we were only able to get one of the two wins needed in order to go to the State Championships in Pinehurst next month.  It was a valiant effort, but not enough to win it.  On the other hand, I wouldn't trade the experience I've had playing with this team for anything in the world.  I've been amazed at the camaraderie that has developed among nine women who didn't even know each other just a few short months ago, but now feel more like family. I feel like we had a great season and surpassed all my expectations, both in success on the court as well as in the friendships that developed.  Here's to you, ladies!  I can't thank you enough.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

And we’re in!

Well our tennis team had another match today and the win means we're heading to the Playoffs in June!!!  We still have two more regular matches before then, but today's win sealed our spot in the Playoff round competing to hopefully get the chance to represent our state later this summer.  More photos of today's action (thanks again Steve!) are available Here.

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We made it!

Heading to the Playoffs!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

One Step Closer!

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Our USTA Women's 2.5 team won again today, bringing us one step closer to the Playoffs!  We had a fantastic afternoon, winning all three of our matches, both doubles and singles.  Photos (thanks Steve!) from some of our matches are available in my Photo Galleries.  Wish us luck next weekend!

One Step Closer

One step closer to playoffs!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Today was mine and Steve's wedding anniversary.  He has been the most important person in my life for the past 13 years, and my husband for the past seven.  Happy Anniversary honey - I love you!

stevetammy

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Andy’s First Birthday

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   Andy turned one-year-old today!  He is such a happy boy, very loving and playful, and it seems like he's been a part of our family forever.  He celebrated his first birthday in typical Andy style - a thorough bath, followed by a pleasant snooze on the back of the couch.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Greetings From New Orleans!

New Orleans Wedding  Steve and I spent the last four days in New Orleans, celebrating the wedding of his cousin, Jacob, to his fiancee, Sophia.  It was wonderful to again visit with relatives we had not seen in many months, and meeting Sophia's delightful family as well.  We walked through the French Quarter, where our hotel was also located, and enjoyed the delicious brunches offered in this historic city.  Over the weekend, we attended the wedding rehearsal dinner, and then a beautiful evening wedding, followed by a fabulous night of dining, drinks and dancing at the wedding reception. 

 The evidence of Katrina's devastation sadly still remained in many parts of New Orleans, but it was also obvious that the locals love this city and the rebuilding continues. 

We had the pleasure of enjoying the entertainment provided by street musicians, as well as watching the mule-drawn carriages, streetcars, and riverboats pass by.  Shops filled with fabulous estate antiques were abundant, as well as tourist stores with Mardi Gras beads hanging from every window, and the palm trees swayed gracefully with every breeze through the parks surrounded by grand old southern homes.

It was definitely a weekend to remember and we always will.

  Dancing at the reception.

Dancing at the reception.

Steve and myself dancing at the reception.

New Orleans Wedding

At Jake and Sophia's wedding reception, with the French Quarter in the background.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Polar Doubles

Steve and I participated in the Polar Doubles tennis tournament this weekend at the lovely Cary Tennis Park and had an absolute blast, despite the cold temperatures and bitter winds.  As there were no other 5.0 mixed teams signed up, we were bumped up into the 6.0 category, so we knew going in we were going to be at a definite disadvantage, but were excited just to be playing and there was certainly no pressure!  With three other teams in our division, we played in a round-robin format which gave us three matches, two on Saturday and one today.  We did maintain our perfect loss record throughout the tournament, falling to each of our respective opposing teams, but met some great new friends and had a wonderful weekend together.  Besides, I was able to celebrate vicariously through my friends, Sherri and Julie, who ended up winning their division!  Also, I'm happy to report that my knee actually felt pretty good with the new Shields type brace.  I have been diligent with the brutally painful exercises prescribed for me by my physical therapist, and even though I lie on the floor and cry every evening while forcing myself through the pain, I believe it has been effective, as my range of motion is definitely increasing with each passing day.  As an added bonus, after our third and final match this afternoon, my opponent actually invited me to join her USTA league team!  So it looks like I'll be participating for the first time in some women's league tennis coming up in the next few weeks, something about which I'm very excited!  I'm really looking forward to meeting my new teammates and getting back out on the courts in the coming weeks, but now it's physical therapy exercise time...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Photo Album Updated

Andy loves boxes Spyder My photo album has been updated finally!  Andy continues to love playing in boxes, particularly those that are almost too small to accommodate him!  Meanwhile, Spyder still enjoys showing off and making us laugh.  More pictures of Andy and Spyder are now available HERE - enjoy!

Spyder

Spyder being silly.

Andy loves boxes

Andy hiding out in the electric toothbrush box!

Falling behind

Wow - I can't believe it's been so many weeks since my last entry.  I really don't like to fall behind like that but sometimes life has its own agenda and we have to follow it.  In the interim since I last wrote, quite a bit has happened.  I turned 45 last month, which I like to view as the transition into my "second adulthood", with the opportunity before me to start over as a grown-up, hopefully learning from mistakes made during my "first adulthood".  With this aging process, I've had many changes in my belief system and ethical values as well, including adopting a completely vegetarian lifestyle with which just feels "right" to me.

 I've also been continuing with my knee exercise program, although the progress has been very slow and frustrating much of the time.  In fact, due to apparently trying to compensate for the weakness in my knee and thigh, I've over-stressed my low back for which I'm currently in physical therapy as well, so now additionally am doing back strengthening exercises along with my knee regimen.  I know there has to be a light at the end of this muscle and joint tunnel somewhere, but I have to admit that it's rather difficult to find it sometimes.  I am continuing my walk/jog program as well as playing tennis regularly, although I still need the knee brace for those activities.  However, I can bicycle without the brace; I just continue to be unable to stand while pedaling.  The surgeon assures me that within several more months - argh - that should improve dramatically.  I certainly hope so!  Steve and I are signing up for a mixed doubles tennis tournament in a couple of weeks, and I just hope that I can be at least a somewhat productive and supportive partner for him in that; and ideally I'll be ready for some singles tennis matches again as well by this summer.

On the animal front, Spyder has now turned seven, although he certainly doesn't act his age.  He still seems like a puppy to me, with the only indication of his advancing years being the overwhelming grey on his muzzle now.  Zoe, at eleven, is beginning to definitely slow down due to her arthritis, but still appears happy and contented, just not quite as zippy as in years past.  Andy, however, is as wild and silly as ever.  He's barely a year old and already over fifteen pounds, yet still lean and trim - he's going to be a long tall kitty when he grows up.  His personality is also really starting to define itself.  He's the most affectionate cat I think I've ever known, and seems very intuitive as far as "reading" the people and animals around him.  He and Spyder love to nap curled up on either side of me, which is very sweet, but getting a bit crowded as neither of them is a small baby any more.  Of course I adore them both and wouldn't want things any other way!