Long walk

For me, anyway. For some people, short little hike, no big deal. I did my morning walk, I walk about 3 days a week and this is my longest walk of the week because I have more time. More time to do and to recover. 

I took a bottle of water, room temperature,  with me and I’m glad I did. It was awkward carrying it and I need to wear pants with pockets. Although it’s only 79 degrees F I am sweating like a politician on the witness stand. I even sweated off my eyebrows. 

Besides sweating a lot, I feel accomplished. It takes effort, just making myself get up and drive to the river was hard today. I knew I was going to do 6 miles and that I haven’t walked that far in almost a year. I managed 5 miles but one more was intimidating and a little frightening. I told myself I could do this, I could go slow, I could rest if I needed, it’s okay. 

I did stop once, to go pee between a couple of fir trees. Got pee on my leg, poked by a tree branch and hoped nobody saw me, especially the truck passing on the bridge on my left.  

As I turned around and started back I said “you’re more than halfway there.” I repeated it and checked off the streets and bridges as I passed them on my way back. Once I made it to my car and changed my shoes I began thinking about the other stuff I need to do today. After I conquered this, and I feel conquer is the right word, I feel like I can do anything now, today. 

 Yeah, I need to pluck those brows.

Post race

Last Sunday morning I was downtown, in the dark and cold with 19,000 other people. I signed up for the Memorial Marathon, the 5K weenie race. I want to say it was because I believe in supporting the museum and as a remembrance to those who died April 19,1995. I admit it was more about a tech shirt and keeping up a pattern of doing this race every year. The other stuff yeah, the main reasons why there are nearly 20,000 people out there every year and why they keep coming back.

I went downtown Friday after work and picked up my packet. I decided last minute to go ahead and do this thing so my name wasn’t in the self check-in computers. I got my packet from a kindly volunteer, an older woman who assured me I was okay to go. She handed me a clear plastic bag with my bib in it and I mentioned I was just doing the 5K not the half or full marathon, the real races. She replied that every person, no matter which race they were doing, GOT THE PLASTIC BAG. The same bag. This is a big deal, because 2 years ago when I went to pick up my 5K packet I was told that only the half and full marathon people were deemed worthy of a bag. 5K people were not. I had a little feeling of shame that grew and multiplied when I learned this. I did not run or walk much that year, I was slow, old and knew I was good to do the 5K but not to ask more of my body. I had done the half, that was in 2012 but that nearly wiped me out because I ran more than I should have but still, I knew my lumpy little body was capable of doing more.

I had a good excuse for not running or walking. The previous June my husband passed away and most of the usual things I did I stopped doing. Although I enjoyed getting outside and solitude most of the time this year was not the same. It felt like a burden and the endorphins just weren’t kicking in. But I still managed to do the freaking 5K, in part because I knew he would have expected me to do it. So I did, I took my sad little loser 5K shirt and did the race in 2015.

I didn’t do the race in 2016. I couldn’t afford the $60 entry fee and somehow it didn’t feel like something I wanted to do. I was tired and didn’t want to hear about remembering the dead and being positive, about being better or stronger for the experience.  It seemed personal and intrusive in a way the previous year hadn’t. So I slept in and went to Mass instead.

This year I thought about it and tried to decide if I would or not do the race. My mind said to train for the half again, the sticker on my car needed a replacement. My body said forget that, do the 5K, it’s enough and besides you got other stuff to think about. The other stuff being my son’s wedding in Vietnam. My body won this round, as it usually does and I was not ready for the half. So I debated the merits of doing the race and the merits of sitting it out. My pride won out, as it often does, and I signed up online. i told myself to prepare to pick up my loser shirt and bring a bag.

So when this woman handed me the bag I felt grateful and humbled. Grateful that I had a bag to swing around like the big kids doing the real races. Humbled because it’s just a 3 mile race but it is important enough to provide every person with their own gear bag. I stammered something about picking up my packet 2 years before and how I was, wow, surprised and thank you.

The next step was getting my shirt. There was an expo, booths selling running shoes, clothes, protein gels, display racks for your medals, any and every thing that could be imagined for sale. I walked about five minutes before I got distracted and nearly forgot where I was going. But I found my way out of the maze and found several people in line for their shirts and took my place in line. When I got closer I saw only blue shirts. I told the man behind the counter I was just doing the 5K, that I didn’t get a half or full race shirt. He just asked what size I wanted. All the shirts were for the race: 5K, half, relay or full. I was stunned again. I babbled that last year there were different colors for the 5k, half and full. All blue and I told him I’d take a large. There were finisher shirts after the race, for the half and full but we were all in the same shirt starting out. Different bibs but the same shirt.

The race was not bad, almost anti-climactic for me. The real effort was getting up at 4am and driving in rush hour traffic trying to find a parking place in a downtown perpetually under construction.  I finished, not my best time, but I felt good after. Getting free food and finding a short line at the port-a-potties helped too.




That’s a soccer ball on the right, it floated around before the 5K started. 

Buying stuff

I was broke, too broke to go to the thrift store, after my trip. My bills were paid, Porkchop and I had food but all I had in my purse was twenty cents til payday. Then like sunrise payday came and I breathed again. I also started spending money again. 

The first thing I bought was this Vera Bradley bag on shopgoodwill.com. A virtual thrift store, cheaper than ebay but shipping is high, usually more than the item you buy. The first Vera bag I bought was a Villager in Twirly Birds pink, this pattern. I think this is a Metropolitan, a small carryon with a laptop pocket. It was 7.99. 

Then I hit the most amazing estate sale this morning on my way to Wal-Mart. Most estate sales have better quality stuff than garage sales but higher prices. They also tend to have, well, boring stuff. Old people things, outdated electronics and the like. This started out that way, one of the first things I saw was a collection of giant rodeo belt buckles. Enticing to some but not my thing. I went on in and was glad I did. This is what I found.

Porkchop making himself comfortable on my loot.

Andy Warhol messenger bag, by LootNYC. My cost, $3.00. There’s a pink smudge on lower right Andy’s face but otherwise pristine. I plan to rock this bag at work on Monday. 

Kipling bag, from Fergie line a couple years ago. I saw this, then the Kipling tag and started hoping that woman looking at the pillows next to it would not pick it up. Please, dear lady, ignore it and move away. Soon as she did I swooped in on it and felt a little giddy. I really felt it when I saw it was 5.00. Has the tags and monkey. 

I nearly bought this because it looks like ‘SOD’ as in “sod off.” I chose it because it was .50 and a pretty box with notepaper inside but there was another bonus.

Victoria And Albert Museum. London, people. I’m an anglophile from way back and still hope to visit London and as much of England as possible. This is one less souvenir I’ll need to buy. There was a matching set of note paper and envelopes for $2. I may go back tomorrow when it’s half price and see if it’s still there.

From right to left: blank notes on silvery paper, Marcel Schurman Christmas cards I remember from my Borders days and cute dog and cat Christmas cards. $1 for each. I collect stationery and yes I might have a problem. 

Beautiful detailed book by the late Kevyn Aucoin, Louisiana boy who was a great makeup artist and full of great pictures. Published in 1997, it’s gorgeous and even someone who doesn’t spend a lot of time doing her own face can appreciate this book. $2.00. 

Kitty cat frame, I plan to put a picture of Porkchop in it and send to my son in Saigon. Porkchop had to check it out first. $1.00
 

Bubble wrap. No tag. Today’s total was 15.71

I’m back

I spent an extra day and uncomfortable night at Inchon airport in Seoul because I missed my connection to home. I ‘m still wired, on Saigon time so here are some pictures.  My sister Kandi picked me up at the airport and I gave her some highlights. More highlights below

I got hooked watching this, it’s really commercials for designer clothes but has some great, off the wall “what the heck did I watch?” moments.

www.fashiontvplus.com 

click on “fashion films”

The dreaded black egg. It takes 4 months to do this, it’s a delicacy. It tastes like a gummy egg, but I didn’t go for seconds

This was my room, the first night. Upgrade

My real room. Ptetty good, it had a mini fridge

From breakfast buffet

Good but no syrup

What I really came for

Tiger and Bear, Korean version

I think that’s spam but don’t quote me

Don’t know what it says but looks impressive Inchon airport

Book store, that says it all. Unfortunately no English language books

Welcome home, cart rental $4. Free at every other airport I’ve seen but in OKC?  Nooo. I schlepped my bags instead

I’m here

I came to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) for my son’s wedding. It’s been worth it. I listened to my Wings lose to the Rangers, with ice cream flavored oreos in a nice hotel room instead of at home with plain oreos.

Traveling was rough, no matter how well planned when there’s a 13 hr nonstop flight in the mix. I have a flat Indian butt, like the Princess in Princess and the Pea, I can feel it no matter what. I squirmed and shifted in my seat over several countries and the International date line. It took me nearly 2 days to adjust to the time difference, climate and the idea my child was going to be somebody’s husband. 

There was a lot going on, manoeuvring not just me but his 3 friends from OK. 2 of them have never traveled outside the US and none of us speak Vietnamese. When he took us out for bun bo hue (like pho) we recreated the cover of the Abbey Road album, all in line following Bear across the streets. He looked like a mama duck with 4 confused and slightly terrified baby ducks behind.

Tokyo Narita airport 

Saigon jewelry store, took this before security told me I couldn’t take pictures 

Indoor market stalls. 

Oanh told me Bear got his hair cut here, blue sign with gold scissors.

The church Nha Tho Nguyen Duy Kang

Some of Bear’s friends, including the Oklahoma Three

On the road to the bride’s village 

Food was good 

Karaoke list. 

Views from rooftop cafe and from my balcony 

Getting ready 

I’m flying to Saigon in 2 days. I’ve planned for this, had those plans changed, thwarted and planned again. 

I’ve learned how much can be stuffed into a suitcase and been amazed. I learned that suitcase is heavy as heck and might need to be emptied a little so I can move it. The wheel really is the greatest human invention, especially those tiny ones. It’s up there with spandex. 

I’m going to see my son and attend his wedding. There’s a lot of emotion in that sentence. I know his dad would be proud and thrilled and anxious. Bear admitted he can hear his dad’s voice in his head sometimes, and remembers little things he used to say. He also admitted he doesn’t think about his dad every day like he used to, but he misses him especially now.

I’m bringing stuff from home, things Bear can’t find in Vietnam. Most of the stuff he asked for is American food like grits and my suitcase has a substantial grocery section. 

Family members are sending gifts, small ones fortunately. I’m also taking a few presents for my future in-laws. I was able to tuck most of them into the suitcase and make it fit somehow; it looks like Tetris.

My clothes and personal stuff are in the 2 carryons. It’s interesting how a pair of jeans can fold down to a tight little cube. Also how that cube can explode and nearly hit you in the eye when you open that bag to stuff in a pair of socks.

Since most of this stuff is staying there I’ll have room for souvenirs. A couple of co-workers collect shot glasses and I promised to bring some back. But the main space is going to be full of strawberry, blueberry and coconut oreos. 

There are a few things to do before I leave. I still have a load of laundry, a trip to the bank to let them know any charges coming from Vietnam will be legit and to let them go through. I also need to have at least one more diet cherry limeade from Sonic. My sister is going to look after Porkchop and the house, because Porkchop can’t open cans. Yet. 

Another thing I’m taking with me is family pictures, old ones I’ve found in photo albums and saved on my phone and a USB. 

Thrift score and dead mouse

I had 2 surprises today, one good and one smelly. First the good one then the other one.

This morning I took my car in for a winter checkup and when I got there found 2 sales guys, no techs. They apologized and promised to reschedule me for next Friday. So while on my way home I somehow found myself at a thrift store.

My favorite thrift, they have discounts on tags, and today yellow tags were half off. I’ve been looking for another hoodie for work, a pullover with pockets. I haven’t really found any I like or that are cheap enough. I found cheap but cheap is lightweight and feels rough.

So I  wandered around the store, looking for gloves but nope. Then while looking at sweaters this bright green catches my eye. The name sounds familiar and after a quick Wikipedia search I am convinced this was put here for me. The half off yellow tag confirmed it.

According to Wikipedia,  the Minnesota North Stars hockey team relocated to Dallas in 1993. So this hoodie has probably been in somebody’s closet a long time. I am a fickle Stars fan, I watched them play back in the days we had cable. Mostly I liked the hoodie,  it’s warm, just big enough and it was 2.50. It looks almost new too.

 

Surprise #2 was a peculiar and familiar smell in the living room. Dead rodent, I recognized it from the years I had hamsters and when they met tragic ends behind the refrigerator. Stuff was scattered on the floor and Porkchop looked smug.

I ignored it as long as I could but finally psyched myself up to move the couch. The smell was the strongest there. I moved furniture, took off the pillows and had a trash can standing nearby. I managed to flip the couch over and looked. Nothing. An old kleenex but no dead animal.  The smell was strong and I poked the bottom of the couch with my foot.  There was a small hole in the fabric but nothing fell out. Apparently the darn mouse used the last of his strength to crawl into my couch and die.

I was partly relieved I didn’t have to deal with the tiny corpse but the smell was getting worse. I had the option of tearing the bottom lining of my couch to look for the dead mouse, and discover who knew what else or flip the couch back and spray a lot of air freshener. I chose option 2 and preserved the couch. That’s my solution, for now.Since there was nothing to see but some old kleenex there’s no picture.