Monday, August 5, 2013

FMM: My Community

I had such a great long weekend.  We flew to Pittsburgh very early on Wednesday morning and spent 5 days with my in-laws.  It was so wonderful.  I was very sad when we left, realizing that we'll never visit them in their condo again.  They move into an assisted living community in about a month.  Well, partially assisted living -- they'll have an apartment there that they'll live in until they need to move to the nursing home.  They will have their own kitchen in the apartment, but they'll have one meal per day in a dining room for the community. 

One of the main highlights of the trip, oddly enough, was running.  I had 8 miles of "rolling hills" on the schedule on Thursday, and a long run of 15 miles for the weekend. 

The hills I ran for the 8 miles on Thursday were anything but rolling.  They were so steep that I was insanely sore on Friday and wasn't even able to run a few easy miles. 

Saturday I found a running group by searching online and sending a few emails.  The store Elite Runners & Walkers has a training group connected with it, called In Motion Athletics, and their coaches invited me to join them for 15 miles with a drop-in fee of $15 to cover water/gatorade stops, etc.  It was awesome.  They had a variety of paces and I think I ended up running too fast up front, but I was talking to a guy (Stuart) who was so nice, and it just felt so good with the cooler temps.  I couldn't help it!  It rained for about the first 6 miles, and then it rained hard for about a mile, but then it slowed down and eventually stopped.  But running in the rain was refreshing, and having it be 25* cooler than Dallas weather, it was like a dream.  Just like in Dallas, I ended up having some awesome conversations with the people I ran with.  One guy is a metallurgical engineer who basically makes titanium.  The one I talked to the most works for a sporting goods retailer on a type of software that manages about a third of the stores' inventory, and we ended up covering such personal topics as why he thinks he got divorced (a question I love asking people in hopes that maybe I'll learn something valuable) (and oddly enough, we covered that topic before I asked in the final mile or so what his name was again!).  I ended up going out for a massive breakfast with about 6 people from the group afterward including Lara, Sue and Stuart.  That was kind of funny -- another common theme among running groups across the country -- a group breakfast involving many clean plates!  I had three huge pancakes and I ate every bite.  It was fun meeting everyone, hearing about their race plans.  One of the women was training for NY, and she'd been there and ready to run last year when the race was cancelled.  Lots of the other people were planning to run Columbus.  Anyway, it made for an amazing long run and I've already told them that next time I'm in town, I plan to link up with them to run again. 

Sunday I just had to run a few more miles.  I headed back out for a flat warm-up mile and then tackled a crazy hill that was straight up for about half a mile.  I just had to do it -- we don't have hills like that here, and with the 25* lower temps, it was just irresistible.  I can't wait to get to work today and connect my watch to my work computer where my ANT stick is so that I can see the elevation profile from my runs in Pittsburgh. 

Besides the running, of course, there was lots of fun family time.  Hanging out with a couple of hubby's brothers, and a great big dinner at a cousin's house with her kids there, one of hubby's brothers, plus hubby's parents and his aunt.  The time just went too fast.

I worked remotely on Wed, Thurs and Fri (saving all my vacation days for Europe).  Since his parents communicate a lot by shouting (in a lovely Italian way), it was kind of nice to be out of the house so much.  I got a lot of work done too!  It always stresses me out a bit since my family doesn't do much shouting.  I think it may have been worse this trip because his mom in particular is very stressed and distressed about the upcoming move.  But realistically, it's a good plan.  They're both in their 80s and not in good health.  His dad is in great physical shape, but he has dementia.  His mom is improving her physical health, but still overweight and shaky, so not in a great position to be a caregiver.  It will be good for them to have help nearby, but it's still going to be a hard transition. 

And now... Monday! 

FMM:  My Community
friend makin mondays

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

My Community
1. Where were you born? Did you grow up there? I was born in Milwaukee and lived there until the end of fourth grade.  I moved to Dallas after law school. 

2. Tell us about your favorite spot in your city.   Tough question!  I guess I'd say the lake is my favorite spot in Dallas.  I just did a big post about it last week, which is here.  I like running there, I like the water activities, I like the arboretum, overall it's probably my favorite spot in Dallas other than our home of course. 

3. Do you volunteer for any organizations? If so, will you tell us about it? Tons!  I think volunteering is very important.  I usually aim for 10 hours per month.  I would like to do more, but right now, there are just other ways that I seem to prefer to spend my time.  I volunteer with our local Italian club (which is where I met my husband, and I served on the Board of Directors there for years), and of course I volunteer with running-related groups.  I also do occasional events with a local homeless shelter, a shop that helps homeless people get clothing for job search, and then Habitat.  And there's the occasional charity of choice for an alumni group or something too. 

4. Tell us about your favorite local restaurant.  Dallas has a great dining scene, and I always claim to have two favorite restaurants within a short walk of my house.  Abacus, which is a five-star restaurant and an amazing dining experience with lovely staff that are lots of fun.  And Cafe Madrid, which is Spanish-style tapas, and always fun to share with friends. 

5. Has your city ever experienced tragedy? If so, how did it recover?  Not really.  There was a tornado that hit downtown Fort Worth right before I moved here, and we've had remnants of hurricanes, but that's just amounted to a lot of rain.  Our city's most famous tragedy was of course about 5 months shy of 50 years ago when Kennedy was assassinated. 

6. Share at least one unique thing about your neighborhood. Dallas is not a pedestrian-friendly city, but my neighborhood is very walkable, and a great mix of business and residential.  Within 1.5 blocks, I have at least 20 restaurants, a Starbucks, an Apple store, and about 6 great furniture stores, as well as a Crate & Barrel and a Z Gallery. 

7. If you could do one small thing to change your community, what would you do? I would set up real public transportation like a subway that went to places like the airport, where it would really be useful. 

8. The Powerball is currently up to 400 million dollars. Would you move to a different place if you won? We would probably keep a house in Dallas (perhaps even our current house, which is really all we want here), but I believe we would buy a house in Italy (probably in Pizzo Calabro, or in Nicastro, which is in Lamezia Terme), and we'd spend most of our time there.

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments! Happy Monday!


  1. My husband's grandparents are in a similar community where they can transition into the nursing home. It has really worked out well for them and I'm sure once your in-laws are settled, they will really enjoy their community as well.

    I loved reading your FMM since we had some very similar answers! Your answer for #3 made me realize that I didn't even put half of the stuff I volunteer for down... I guess I forget that my roles with the running club and alumni groups are volunteer positions half the time!

  2. I've never ran hills before and it sounds super challenging. You did 8 mile? That's incredible.

    Have a wonderful week.

  3. I enjoyed reading about your running, but Dallas sounds like an incredibly HOT place to run! Glad to see you participating in FMM - although I'm late this week! You can see my answers here -