Sunday, December 31, 2017

'Twas the Last day of 2017.... And Things Were COLD!

Celebrating Wisconsin,   The Best way.
This Mornings Temp in Iowa. -5!
Greetings From WISCONSIN!  Beer Capitol of America.   (For the moment...anyway.)  We are currently in the balmy state of Wisconsin!   Well,  balmy by Iowa standards currently.

 It appears this area of the mid-west is under the Deep Freeze.   This has not stopped Cheryl from running thought.   For the better part of the week,  she has braved the elements: cold, wind, snow, and many other miserable things...   to try to stay on that Marathon Running Track.    Until all three elements hit at the same time!

Bitter Wind Chills!

She took a day off.   Because the snow was deep,  the temps were SUB-zero, and the Wind was dangerously strong and blow-ie.  The weather channel advised AGAINST being outside at all that day.   I could barely stand being out in it for longer than a moment without protective gear on.   Wind-chills really cut to the bone and cause exposed parts of the body to shrivel up.   Not the best to run in at all.
Iowa in the Deep Freeze.
Snow Blindness.

We prepare for the New Year Dash. 
And so it is that Cheryl is going to run in the New Year Dash.    The temps are supposed to dip below -15!   Perhaps things will warm up a bit by gun time, but we will be staying in the nice warm hotel watching the start line as it starts.   ( We learned this from last year.)
Last Year's New Year's Day Dash.  

Speaking of last year!   This is my last post of 2017....  so lets look back at some of the cool and adventurous things we accomplished this year.  ( and try to forget the bad stuff,  which there was much and too many to mention in this "short"blog posting.
Cheryl Shows off her Medal,  Notice the sun and Lack of snow.

Last year,  Cheryl ran this very race in much friendlier  weather.   We thought it would set the tone for the over all year.   And, from a weather perspective,  that was true. 

And February...
Shorts in January!
The spring was more wet than snowy.   Battling the rain seemed to be the most pressing thing we had to deal with.   Cheryl was even able to run in shorts during the month of January!

Hiro Shows off his cone.
AND his lovely Scar...

Along with Marathon training,   Comes the Usual "January Surprise!"   For 2017,  it was Hiro getting into a scrap with some outdoor ruffian cat.   His little experience showed him that there are dangerous things out in the world,  and wearing a cone for a month is not a fun thing.

One of the BIG things that needs to be remembered ( and forgotten) about 2017.... Is the BOSTON MARATHON!    That is right!   Cheryl ran the Boston Marathon.... mostly.    I should spin it as: She finished!   The BOSTON MARATHON!   Got the shirt, the jacket, and the medal.   And was able to tick off another world marathon majors city off the list.  So...Mission accomplished!

Showing off the Spoils.

I suppose I could clarify the details,   but better to just look back and read the lengthy blog postings back in April.   Let's sum it up as the Boston dream quickly spiraled into a bad dream...but stayed out of "nightmare" territory....just barely.  It proves that with everything going well leading up to race day does not mean that the race itself will be equally as awesome.  A dark cloud over what should have been an otherwise sunny and perfect day.  But isn't that how life is most of the time...?

After Boston,   Cheryl's running schedule seemed to shudder a bit.   She ran Mad Town  and won an award.  (Proving that she was still capable of running a decent race when things go well.

She ran the Firecracker 10K with the three Elvises.   Proving that she can break through any wall that gets in her way.

But then she got hurt towards the end of July.   This caused her to have to take a serous break from running.    Time to find other things to occupy ourselves with.

Enter:   The Farmer's Market!  Over several weeks,  Cheryl slowly built up a small arsenal of felt items to sell there.   Saving us from bankruptcy and starvation!

Cheryl's folks came to visit....  some time after Boston.   It's always good to see the folks.

My Best glimpse of the Total Solar Eclipse.  
In August,   a TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE happened.   And I missed it.  Even though I was  less than 100 miles from the Shadow line,   I did manage to capture a "sliver of cookie" from between the clouds.   I was very excited about that.   I was lucky that I even saw that much.   Many people had cloudy skies and were not able to see it despite being in the center of the shadow path.  Perhaps one day, I will see a true total solar eclipse from the shadow.  We shall see.

As Summer ended and fall began,  Cheryl began to run again.  By this time, however,   she was forced to miss all of her Fall races and her Quad Cities Marathon.  The only other race she was able to run was the Turkey Trot in Des Moines.  Unfortunately,  there was no medal,  only a coffee mug to remember the race by.
Cheryl enjoys her Mug.
Stockings!   Lots of Dogs Stockings....
And finally Stockings pretty much took over the last two months of 2017.   They always do.  I think this year was fairly average in total sales.   It may have seemed a little down because we never allowed ourselves to fall behind in production.  Cheryl's numerous specific dog breed designs also seemed to cut down on the custom order requests.   One of the few things that was a positive in having all that time on our hands during the Fall.

Speaking of Dogs!   Guess what year.
And that is pretty much the highlights.   Well, the ones worth remembering.   I conveniently left out the trouble with Subie,  the unemployment issue,  the weeks of slow sales, no running, and minor apartment disasters.   But let's just say that I'm looking forward to 2018.
All these qualities and MORE!
  It is the year of the DOG!   And that is pretty darn Cool!   I was born in the year of the Dog... and I love dogs.   Dogs have many Excellent qualities that people Often overlook.   Dogs are faithful, loyal, hardworking, team players.   They support whoever is in charge and make the unit better.   I have high hopes during this time.   Cheryl's sign is a Tiger.  And Dogs and Tigers work well together. 

So sayonara 2017!   Let's bring in that New year and see what will happen.   Or as Mr. Burns says:   Release the Hounds!   Woof!  Woof!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

An Exercise in Crazy...

Subie says it is COLD!
It is cold.   VERY cold!   This is not impossible for Iowa, but it  is pretty rare when temps dip below zero.   Subie's "Ball-Park" thermometer read -6 as the current temp outside this morning.   According to Cheryl's phone,   it was -10 and not about to climb up above that until after noon.  Of all the ideas that come to mind,  Being outside in weather like this does not sound like a good one.

Cheryl's phone says it is COLD-ER!

Bundled for Joy...
And so it goes that Cheryl chose to run anyway.   Why?   I don't know.   She complains that she has to sew stockings and can't run.    She complains that she has to score and can't run.  But when Mother Nature tells her, "No!"   She suddenly decides to play the "rebellious teen" card.

So calm and Peaceful....
So bleak and desolate...

So bright and sunny...
So cold! Face, hand, and Feet numbing cold!
Not that that is a bad thing.   Mankind is build on the thought that people refuse to accept their fate/destiny.  We do the impossible because someone tells us we can't!   Seems like a dumb way to do things,  but that is how it works.  Along with the good  comes a lot of bad, though.   You can't jump off a cliff and survive...   seems like a pretty smart thing to say.   But people jump off cliffs anyway....

Cheryl's face is frozen.

So where am I going with all this?   Well,   Cheryl wants to run the trail and says she will only run one mile.   Somehow....  she talks me into it.   And then one mile becomes two... three... four..   SIX!   Six miles out in the sub-zero cold. 
Arctic survival.  A lot has changed in 24 years

Now I used to run out in this temperature when I was in the Army in Alaska.   I was young then.... and dumb.  Now I'm older. 

Who is this guy? 
Looking forward to the Weekend...
So apparently,  my aging has not brought much wisdom.   But it had brought fragility.   I biked along with Cheryl those 6 miles and held my complaining until the end.   She got nice and warm running.  I got nice and cold biking.  Frozen hands,  feet, nose, legs, and rear-end.   It's funny how your butt gets so cold while riding a bike.

But we survived.  Cheryl is so happy for transferring her misery onto me.   But I'm warm now, and comfy.  I'm not looking forward to tomorrow.   Subie does not like this weather much either...  and Subie and I are kindred spirits.  I'm a little concerned about this coming weekend.   Cheryl's race may be cancelled if things do not warm up  in the next couple of days.   Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Merry After Christmas... Christmas!

The big day has come and gone.   It's over and now we can get back to almost reality.   Cheryl is already back at work, scoring papers for the GRE.   I have one coming up in February,  so unless something else comes up,  I'm sort of free for the next month.  
Our Humble Christmas

Overall,  Christmas was good this year.   Not GREAT,  Not awesome!  Just good.  I would say slightly better than fair.   It is difficult to get overly excited about things when you were able to get most of what you wanted before the big day.  
With Simon the Cat
  I got my Bike a month earlier than expected.   Cheryl got her shoes and clothes and New GARMIN.  I even got all my socks and underwear!   What was left to put under the tree was only stuff for the cat.   He certainly had a good time. 
Toys and treats.

Most of the Presents were for Hiro.

Being an only cat,  we tend to spoil him. 

Hiro tries to be festive.
And some new clothes
 With a little left over holiday cheer,  I was able to hook the local dogs up with a sizable, candy-cane, rawhide chewy!  I still have two left for the last neighbors dogs.   They must have went away for the holidays.   Hiro made sure to test it out before we could present it. 

Even Hiro had to take a break!
 I'm actually thankful it is over.   Not to be Scroogy or Grinchy,  but sometimes Christmas has more octane than your humble four cylinder engine can handle.   I imagine most people were having parties with relatives and friends, children, grandchildren, extra dogs and cats, and maybe even an Elephant.  But for us,   just Cheryl, me, and the cat are all that's required.   
Who doesn't have an elephant? 

Hiro tries to help with the puzzle.
Instead of loud brats..Children, barking dogs, hidden cats, loud music, high calorie foods, and barrels of alcohol,  We decided to put a 1000 piece puzzle together on our coffee table.   I told Cheryl that 1000 pieces was a little ambitious. Whenever we do one of these puzzle at her folks,  there are no less than 6 people putting it together at any time.  But for just the two of us...  Well,  it was an all day affair.   Even the cat tried to help.  I'm not sure he was very helpful though.  
He thinks there is a piece under the table.

In the end,  We finished about 50% before calling it.  Next year we should try a 500 piece puzzle.  

Lego movie...with a "message". (Boo!)
We finished the evening with a movie.  The Batman LEGO movie.   Pretty good.   Funny.  Lots of references for the older folks and fans.  Unfortunately, it ultimately had a "message" that all Hollywood movies are plagued with these days.  (Well,  Even in the old days, I guess.) 

One last note before wrapping up this long post:  The Weather!  
Cheryl sits by the fire.

And shows off her presents.
It has become bone-chilling COLD!  Cheryl ran in it yesterday, and it was so cold she called it after 5 miles!   Her new GARMIN quit on her after about a mile.   (She blames the cold.)   Today,  the temps are even COLDER!   Subie had a rough start this morning... Typical of temps in the single digits.   Good thing we are not going for a run today.   Cheryl tells me that the temps are supposed to stay like this for the remainder of the week.   I even found out that there is a winter storm named after me!  How Awesome is that!   Winter Storm Ethan.... Sounds so....POWERFUL!   Better to be named after a winter storm than say,  a drought. 

Hope it warms up for Baby New Year
Hope everyone who reads this has had a wonderful Christmas.   There are still a few Stockings that need to be made, And a few Christmas presents Cheryl and I have to acquire... with all that "Christmas Stocking money"...  (Shrug)  Cheryl still plans on running in the New Year... in Madison.   So next weekend, I  may have some more pictures to blog about.  Hopefully the weather is not too cold... as Baby New Year will be running the race naked... as usual.   No one wants to start the New Year off with Frost Bite or Hypothermia...  
Who doesn't want an Elephant for Christmas?

And make sure you keep that Christmas Elephant off the couch!   

And keep them warm...  they live in Africa, after all...   They like warm fireplaces.....


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