Monday, September 26, 2016


Well, as of yesterday, I am a grandchild orphan.  I know pretty much every adult goes through this, including many people at a much younger age, but it makes me feel older than 41 to know I don't have anyone to call Grandpa any more.  In this case though, it really was a blessing.  He had been in the hospital for the last two months, and really didn't have any quality of life.  I'm glad he's not in pain, and I'm glad he's with my grandmother, who has been waiting over 26 years for him.  I wish it were easier for my dad. 

Incidentally, I think he died while I was running my last long run.  Possibly about 15 minutes before my watch died (which happened at mile 12.04). 

Other notable happenings on my 22 miler:

We passed a possum in the road that appeared to be roadkill.

4 miles later we passed him again going the other direction and he was sitting up.  I was certain he'd been hit again and moved into a weird position by the second car, but as we got closer, he was indeed alive.  Maybe someone ruffied him?  He seemed really out of it.

Just past mile 20, we got caught in a massive downpour.  Two weeks in a row with flash flood type rains during our long runs.  That's weird for Dallas in September.

The rain yesterday was so weird.  I could see it as I approached but I didn't really comprehend it.  It was right by a big football statue and just past the finish line of a 5k (that we had crossed going the opposite direction from the race, but we didn't see anyone else finishing, seemed to be mostly over).  I actually thought maybe there was some weird temporary fountain or a huge sprinkler set up for the race.  A couple seconds later, I got a few big drops, and then the massive rain that was so heavy, I could barely see 15 feet in front of me.  Glad it didn't happen 1-20 miles earlier though. 

But with the rain came a break in temps.  This morning it was still raining but it was only 69 degrees.  But instead of enjoying it, I slept in.  Even though I was expecting the news, it was still an emotionally draining day.  And I'm tapering now, so it was easy to take a pass when I woke up to rain. 

Friday, September 23, 2016


I had to put it here, in my official record, that I officially felt a chill in the air yesterday morning in Dallas!  I was running through a park with my running buddies at about 5:18 a.m. on September 22, 2016, and I could tell that Fall is coming!

I'm in the habit of not even looking at the weather before I run -- I wear the same thing every day, shorts and a tank.

But yesterday morning when I got home from my run (and, incidentally, when I started as well, according to what I read), it was 74 degrees!  Brrrrrr!  I'm so excited!!!  And I swear that breeze was way cooler than 74. 

Weather says temps are going to break on Sunday -- right after I run my 22 miles I believe.  Yeah!

Thursday, September 22, 2016


I meant to write this post about six months ago.  I actually saved the photo as a draft post. 

As I mentioned back in April, my cousin (John) and his wife were in Dallas while their son was having surgery here. 

My cousin said something to me that my husband had told him that he'd take care of something my cousin needed, and my cousin said something about what a good guy my husband is.  Not news to me, but sweet. 

But the next morning after that conversation, for whatever reason, I looked at my husband's text messages.  I think I couldn't find my phone and I was going to text something to my cousin about when we'd be by the hospital that day. 

And I looked at just what was on the screen of existing texts between my husband and my cousin:

And it made me feel all melty inside.  Having my cousin and family around and staying with us for an extended period of time could have irritated some people, but my husband is so easy going, and outright generous with his time, his heart, his resources, his skills, pretty much everything.  I love so much that he is so good to my family.  I think he's the sweetest guy in the world. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Two Weekends

We leave on vacation exactly one month from today!!! 

And I just realized I basically only have two weekends left before we go. 

Next weekend is my last long-long run.  Still trying to decide if it will be 20 or 22 miles.  Usually I do a 22, but due to the long run math error, I already did 22 a few weeks ago, so I'm not overly determined to do a second one.  It will depend on weather I guess.  Yesterday's long run was my worst yet.  It was only 15 miles, but even at 5:30 a.m., it was 79 degrees and 80+% humidity.  The weather turned during the run -- wind and then a massive rainstorm.  The temps cooled off and humidity went down; by the time the rain stopped, we had about 5.5 miles to go.  It was miserable.  I'd been fading during the pace work and the rain just shut me down.  My shoes felt like they weighed 20 pounds each.  And it got worse each street we crossed, most of which seemed like small streams.  I'm hoping it was just fatigue.  Last week was another week over 50 miles (but 16 of them were Colorado miles, those don't really count because they were so beautiful!).  Let's just say I'm ready to taper.

Next weekend we've got dinners with friends both nights, but nothing planned during the days.  I'm hoping to book a massage and facial, and do some pre-trip shopping.

The following weekend I'm going to Virginia to surprise my bestie for her 40th birthday.  Her husband has 3 of us coming in and we're taking her wine tasting for a day.  I'm excited about it.  And then I'll fly from Virginia back to Colorado for work.

The weekend after that I'll be home (probably shopping and packing as much as I can) but my husband is going to see his parents I think.  They're not doing well.  His mom is so confused that she cries all the time and never wants to leave her apartment.  My husband and his brothers have divvied up days of the week to call her and remind her to go down to dinner and then to go visit their dad, but it's a struggle.  She cries and cries, says she has nothing to eat, but refuses to go downstairs for dinner.  I think he feels a lot of guilt living so far away.  I wish there was some way I could make it better. 

The weekend after that is the marathon and a visit with my best friend from law school.

And then we leave on the Wednesday of that week! 

I'm so so so so so ready for vacation.  We ended up doing some planning this past weekend.  We've bought flights to Easter Island, and then flights down to Bariloche and to Buenos Aires.  We booked a few hotels in Santiago, Valparaiso, Easter Island, Puerto Varas, Bariloche, Buenos Aires and Montevideo, but we still have a bunch of nights we'll need to figure out when we get there. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Wealthy friends

Most of our friends seem to have similar amounts of income to us.  I guess that's pretty common (especially since lots of people are friends with co-workers or former co-workers, who often have similar skills, education levels, earnings expectations, etc.).  We have a few friends who I would guess are very wealthy, and we have some friends for whom money is an issue frequently.  But for the most part, most of our friends are a lot like us -- not rich, but not poor.  Comfortable. 

Quite a while ago (maybe in the spring?), we went on a blind "couples date" with a co-worker of one of my friends and her husband.  We went to the Italian Club with the couple and ended up being seated at a table with a third couple.  The couple we were set up with were great, but they were in a very different life place -- younger than us, but also a different stage.  She was about 10 months pregnant (we picked the date knowing they'd have to reschedule if the baby came), with their first.  As nice as they were, we didn't seem to have a lot in common based on one dinner conversation, and while we'd be happy to have dinner with them again (even repeatedly, they were very nice), they didn't seem like people who would become good friends of ours.  But the third couple at the table were exactly up our alley -- they were close to our age and kid-free travelers who especially love Italy (she is actually Italian, he's British).  We totally hit it off with them. 

We exchanged numbers and emails that night and quickly started hanging out with this couple at least every few weeks (would have been more often except that the husband and I both were travelling a lot for work).  We'd be in touch with them often and were going out for dinner, sometimes going to see a movie, hanging out in each other's homes.  Totally awesome people.  Many times it felt like the restaurant staff was waiting for us to leave, or we were drinking in their garden and suddenly I'd realize it was about 4 hours before I had to get up and meet my friends to run.  Time just ran away.  We could talk forever. 

Not that it matters in terms of getting along with people, but when you meet new people, there are things you notice.  Race, age, sex, build, hair color, sense of humor, interests, political leanings, and sometimes you get a general sense of someone's rough income based on their job and/or where they live, or even just things they talk about.  With this couple, they drove a pretty reasonable car, but during one conversation, I found out that they'd wanted to buy a "fancy" car but couldn't because it turned out they had zero US credit history, and their income and foreign credit history didn't really matter, so they had to buy the car with cash.  I knew where he worked and what he did, and I knew where she wanted to work, but she actually wasn't working (hadn't found a job in the US).  And I knew they lived in a nice house in a nice section of Dallas.  But not a huge house, and not an ostentatious section of Dallas.  I generally assumed they were relatively similar to us in terms of income.  If I'd been pressed to guess, I would have guessed they earned more, based primarily on their beautifully furnished home. 

But as it turns out, they're significantly wealthier.  There were a couple hints (one of the cars they mentioned looking at before they found out they couldn't buy was a very expensive car).  But one night hanging out at their house, sitting around the table, eating and drinking, somehow we were deep in a conversation about ongoing changes and challenges in the economies of former African colonies, and we realized just how rich these people were. 

They actually showed us the money: 

They're billionaires!!!! 

Wait, no, they're actually multi-billionaires!  Who keeps 51 billion dollars just sitting around?  Apparently these people do. 

Strike that, they're trillionaires!!!!

And they seemed so down-to-earth...

As an aside, I love that they went to Zimbabwe while traveling, just to check it out.  Very adventurous. 

Monday, September 12, 2016


So when I got the call on a Tuesday morning that my grandpa was not well, I got a plane ticket and flew home that day.  I only stayed a couple days.  The plan was that my husband would come on Friday or Saturday if I needed him to, but in the end, that wasn't the case.

When I packed, I pulled "my funeral dress" out of the closet.  I didn't pack it, but I hung it sideways so that my husband could pack it when he came if necessary.


(Very messy closet, it's been busy...)

Thankfully, not necessary.  My grandpa is pretty stable in general.  He's declining, and there's no chance he'll get better (maybe if I were more religious I'd believe a miracle could happen?  those seem pretty rare in the over-90 set though).  He won't be going home ever again, and he can't even be moved to a nursing home.  The only options are remaining in the hospital or going into hospice. 

I am so glad I went home though.  I'm also so glad I had the money to make it happen, and a job that was understanding.  I actually ended up working from the hospital room, so I didn't have to take sick time or vacation (not sure how it even works in our system).  Most days, I just sat next to him and held his hand, talked to him some, and worked.  I told my husband I'd be home, so he didn't need to come up.  But just getting to spend a few quality days there really meant a lot to me. 

I'm so glad that my grandpa knew I was there.  He smiled when he saw me.  It was a huge shock to see him.  He's been shrinking my whole life it seems, I think I passed him up in height when I was about 14, but he is tiny now.  He looked almost like a skeleton with skin.  In the two weeks before he went into the hospital and in his first week in the hospital (before they realized his g-tube had perforated his colon), he went from about 140 pounds to 108.  It was shocking and scary to see him.  He sleeps a lot, but when he's awake, he's alert -- and somewhat ornery. 

Here are the three things I want to remember:

1.  He said thank you when I put a blanket over him (after a nurse moved it to take vitals).
2.  I left the room as a nurse was going to change him, and on my way out, I told her that I was his granddaughter.  He said to the nurse as I was leaving, "she's my lawyer!" 
3.  He was frequently crabby when staff had to mess with him (taking vitals, etc.).  I think in a VA hospital, they're probably particularly used to dealing with this.  On the last full day I was there, a young male doctor came in.  As with all providers, he was very clear in saying what exactly he was going to do.  He said something like, "Leroy, I'm going to listen to your chest.  We've increased your fluids and I need to make sure you're doing okay."  My grandpa is pretty hard to understand since his stroke, but as the doctor was checking his heart/lungs with a stethoscope, my grandpa said something we didn't understand.  The doc asked him to repeat, and my grandpa asked, fairly clearly, "how'd you like it if I shove that up your ass?"  The doc didn't miss a beat and said "I don't think I'd like that at all.  Tell you what, I won't stick it up your ass and you don't stick it up mine." 

I came back to Dallas, and since then went to San Fran and Lake Tahoe for 6 days around Labor Day -- wow!  Then went to Philly later in the day on the day we got back from San Fran -- beating!  And this coming week, I'm working Colorado. 

I told my dad that I'd come back whenever he wanted me to, if grandpa's condition changes, or for the funeral, whenever that is.  This is so hard for my dad.  I've never gone through this before.  My other three grandparents died quickly, no prolonged illnesses.  Two of them were up and about one day, and gone by the next.  One was up and about (working on a catering job), then had a stroke or heart attack, was in the hospital and unconscious for about 2-4 days, then died.  So nothing like this, years in a wheelchair with a feeding tube after a stroke, and now weeks (or months?) in a hospital in a slow decline.  It might be easier to make a decision about hospice or ending his pain if my grandpa were declining mentally, but he's clearly still himself and alert at least some of the time. 

One of the scariest things was once when my grandpa turned away from me to see who was walking in the hospital room, and the back of his head looked so much like my dad.  I dread seeing my own parents get older, particularly to this point.