My injured arm/shoulder really enjoyed my absence from the gym. It really was nice to give myself a bit of time to heal. It isn’t perfect yet, but it is much improved. I can put in a ponytail without wincing and my left arm can reach overhead, although not as far as my right.

When doing yoga, I can almost get to “cactus arms” while in a twist, but not quite. It still can wake me up at night and if I pull on my yarn in the perfectly incorrect way, I get a stabbing pain. So, not completely healed, but getting better.

I love going to the gym. I’m not where I want to be there, either. Mostly because I have maintained highly unrealistic expectations even in the face of abject failure. Still, I love having muscles and being able to lift or carry things. I love the feeling of competence even as I bemoan my imagined incompetence.

For instance, I bought groceries and was just going to carry them to the car. It was two cloth bags and bunch of chicken breasts in a plastic bag. I was grabbing them out of the cart when an employee asked if I needed help. I swung the two bags over my shoulder near my purse, picked up the chicken and told her I was okay. She said, “I know you are strong,” as she carefully watched to see if I was going to topple over. When I got home, I weighed the damn things because I thought it was light. Twenty pounds. She was worried about me picking up twenty pounds.

I guess many people my age would have used the cart to push that massive pack out to the car. It never even occurred to me to make that much work.

So I go to the gym on a regular basis. I was there Friday and it was a bit much. There were 100 weighted squats (25 back squats and 75 thrusters) on the board. Then there was the warm-up stuff to go with it. I did all the back squats and just did front squats for the thrusters because I can’t put weight over my head and still cut back on the reps. And then I had to cut back some more because I couldn’t keep up after my luxurious absence. I could still barely walk on Saturday.

I rested over the weekend and looked at the WOD for today. I cursed under my breath. I may have even cursed out loud. It was jerks for the skill and then kettlebell swings for the conditioning. That’s a lot of overhead stuff for someone who can’t overhead right now. I went to gym anyway because I really haven’t got the sense God gave spit.

I felt sorry for Laura, but I really need to burn up some of this excess energy. She gave me something to do while the rest of the gang worked on jerks. I did banded curls and banded lateral pulls. Neither of those movements hurt my arm.

I then could do Russian KBS without any pain in my arm or shoulder. Even the burpees didn’t hurt at all today. The last time I did them, there was a twinge with each push back up. So I know my arm is improving and I know that if I don’t push too much now, that will continue. However, there is a desire to push the envelope anyway.

Instead, I behaved and did what did not hurt me. Hopefully I scaled back enough to keep myself on the “improving” side of the injury. This being patient stuff is not at all as fun as it might sound. It is not what I’m best known for. It is, in fact, quite the opposite of what I am known for. But it is the way to get fully back in the gym, so I am pretending I’m not a complete idiot and giving this old carcass a chance to get with the program.

And for that, I believe I deserve a gold star.

kettlebell-swing2

A much younger woman making the same face I use while doing KBS. 

Advertisements

The Sisters decided many years ago that we did not like coming home to dirty laundry. We always over pack and have lots of clean clothes to bring back home even if we don’t shop for more. We always shop for more anyway. Sometimes we even buy. Then the clean and dirty are mixed in one suitcase which isn’t good for anything.

Because of this, we do laundry on the last day of Sistercation making sure the weary travelers get home with at least that task already done. We had three loads of laundry to do in order to get everyone home with a suitcase (or two) of fresh clothing.

We had Beer Cheese Soup on the menu for lunch but I didn’t have the right cheese in the house. I was also getting low on eggs and the English muffins had disappeared. Obviously it was time to get to a store. Since I also NEEDED some baby white yarn, I opted to get my groceries at Walmart. I just happened to find a really pretty shade of orange yarn, too, but that’s a different story.

We went to Walmart and each sister purchased the things they needed to end the trip. This included some snack foods for the drive back up to Ohio.

By the time we got home, it was time to make lunch and start the laundry. We each were working on one last baby afghan. Pam’s main goal was to not have to drag that last one home and leave it for the Linus Project people here in South Carolina. We spent the afternoon finishing up our individual projects, watching out for yarn shortages, and telling even more stories.

Our last task for the day was a second round of Heirloom Tomato Pie. It’s really a cheese pie with heirloom tomatoes on top. Dick was willing to test out the cheese part of the pie as long as he didn’t have to eat any tomatoes. I had individual tart pans so I could make that happen. I both adjusted the recipe in places and actually followed it in others and the dish turned out much closer to the original we purchased from the farmers’ market.

I really had pure mozzarella cheese instead of blend which I believe helped the creaminess of the end project. I had real mayo instead of Miracle Whip which got the sugar out, and I changed the spices and put in oregano and basil, removing the chives, thyme, and parsley. We also precooked the onions which made a big difference.

We thought the second round was better tasting than the first. I got rid of the other half of the very expensive cheese before it molded, and we have Rose Ann happy, since this is getting much closer to the way it “should” be and will be ready for a taste test when she gets to Arizona next January.

We continued to race the clock to get last minute blankets done and then toddled off to bed.

This morning was time to pack up suitcases and get the food packed up for the drive, then load up the car, and cry and know that we have another year in between our get togethers. In just eleven and a half months or so, we can do this all again.

IMAG3123

When the Roberts girls spin yarns, they spin.

IMAG3126

A wide variety of beautiful blankets.

IMAG3127

Gned already missing his brothers.

After the beautiful Saturday drive to nothing, Cheri was careful to have directions to the correct church and at the correct time. She and Pam went off and actually attended Mass without incident. There was no leaking roof and the electricity stayed on for the entire event. It was a fairly routine excursion. They blamed the previous week’s catastrophe on the heathen.

Cheri called to tell me she was at Meijer and asked if I needed anything. I didn’t even know we had that chain down here. If we did, I wasn’t sure what kind of store it was. Apparently it is Ohio code for Walmart. Who knew?

We did nothing much for the rest of the day. We laughed, told stories (some of them even real), and made more baby blankets. The stack continues to grow. Cheri finished her loop blanket, Pam threw hers away after too many mistakes made it no longer fun to work with. We think Cheri’s variegated colors made it easier to work with and find the missing loops along the way whereas Pam’s solid color made it far more likely one of the little buggers could hide somewhere.

I finished a blanket with a massive two feet of yarn left over at the end. I am glad when I use up all the yarn, but I really don’t like worrying about having enough stuff to finish my project. That was only one issue with that blanket. I had made a mistake and had to tear out two rows to get back to fix it and so when it was almost done, it should have been finished. This did not endear me to the pile of yarn not yet a complete afghan.

I left the other two sisters still awake and toddled off to bed. They got Cheri set up on her phone with audio books and Pam taught her how to use her library to be able to get books to listen to as she drives back and forth to work.

That took care of Sunday.

Yesterday, we had a leisurely start to the day. No rush, no fuss. Then we piled in the car to again make our way to the beach. The skies remained clear or with white puffy clouds. There was no storming and no nasty weather at all.

I am a timid driver when I don’t know where I’m going. I had the navigation all set to get me where I needed to be, but it still makes me very nervous to get somewhere unfamiliar. We made it. I always make it, but it still always makes me nervous.

Our goal was not to sit in the hot sun, working on our skin cancer. It was to collect a bit of sand and some shells for Emery. She has them from the north coast (Lake Erie) and the west coast (Pacific Ocean). She obviously needed to round out her set with some east coast (Atlantic Ocean) sand.

We accosted some poor man walking along the beach, minding his own business. We had him take some pictures of the three of us together. He was, of course, as I believe at least one-third of South Carolina is, a native Ohioan. He was from Cleveland and knew Elyria. That was fun.

We then went to Coconut Joe’s and had a delicious lunch. We each got fish, but it was a different dish for each of us. All of us were pleased with our choices. I then was able to get us back home safely and we could perch ourselves back in our chairs, pick up our crochet hooks, and settle in for laughing and loving and breathing the same air.

This time it was Pam who was worried about not having enough yarn to finish her project. She had a huge bulk skein to work with and maybe would have been better off making the turn to the other decreasing half the blanket one or two rows earlier, but she finished with some yarn to spare. It just isn’t enough to do the edging on another blanket as she had planned.

We finally had to admit it was late enough to call it a day since it was already the next one and we went off to bed knowing that our time together is soon coming to an end.

2232

The boys at the beach.

We had a whirlwind morning. We “needed” more yarn. You see, we have made adjustments in our usage of what is on hand and needed to fill in the gaps. We hadn’t hit all the craft stores anyway.

So the plan was to hit the craft stores and return to Burlington. Pam had seen a really cute wall hanging and hemmed and hawed over it and decided not to purchase. Then she ruminated over her decision. We would return so she could buy and transport the thing. It was the transport part that was the issue all along.

The easiest way to hit all the stores was to do A.C. Moore first, get back on Rivers to the next strip mall and hit Michael’s next, get back on Rivers to the next strip mall and hit Hobby Lobby and then cross Rivers to Burlington. So that’s what we did.

At our first stop, the yarn that was on sale last week was no longer on sale but there was other stuff that was. My favorite yarn for making baby blankets is Lion Brand’s Mandala stuff. Two skeins is the perfect size, I love the weight of the yarn, it is soft, and the different beautiful colors are enchanting. It was the door buster item and I have never seen it as cheap as it was sitting in there in huge masses of temptation.

They also had some packs of yarn that were cheaper than usual and enticing. Pam and Cheri have been eyeing the Loop It stuff for days now. We knew it took three skeins of product to make one blanket and it has been deemed too expensive. However, there was a bunch of the stuff in the clearance section and it was three for five dollars. They each bought three.

They had stuff on the clearance rack for me as well and I walked out of there laden with more yarn. It really doesn’t fit in my yarn storage spot and so I now have overflow, but I have lots of yarn to work with in the near future.

We went on to the other two craft stores where only Cheri made a couple small purchases. We then went across the street to Burlington and Pam went in search of her item. Unfortunately, we should have gone there first. It was there earlier in the day as another customer had seen it, but it was all gone by the time Pam showed up.

We came home and made our own tomato pie. It was good, but it wasn’t as delicious as the one we got last week. Part of that was my own damn fault and part was that it simply wasn’t spiced the same as the one we purchased ready to bake. I can change that the next time I make this.

Pam and Cheri had no idea what to do with their looped yarn. So they needed instruction. They went to the ever popular You Tube and found a variety of videos that were deemed helpful – well, at least some of them were. There is a definite scale of helpfulness when seeking instruction from You Tube. They eventually found out what to do, but could not find an actual pattern for a blanket. They needed to know how many loops to put in the first row. This took debate, math, consternation, concentration, and winging it.

Somewhere it said you could make this project in an hour. I’m not sure where that was, who said it, or even what the project was. I can verify that it takes much more than an hour to make a baby blanket. They worked on their blankets for over an hour when it was time for church.

Cheri said she would take Pam to Mass and I could be left entirely out of the church traveling portion of the day. I made sure she had the correct church set up in Google Maps and off they went. It wasn’t talking to Cheri, so she switched to Apple Maps and they continued on their way to St. John’s Catholic Church.

They made it. It was a place they had never seen before. They were only one minute late getting there except it was the wrong there. They were taken to a church in North Charleston. They needed a Beloved Saint John in Summerville. The church they were at started Mass at 5:00 rather than at the half hour.

They turned around and managed to find their way back home. They were laughing and had a heroic adventure to share and Cheri promised to take Pam to Mass at a Beloved Saint John’s place in the morning.

We spent the rest of the evening as usual. Pam’s shoulders started to hurt from her position sitting at the kitchen table and looping for so long, so she still has more than a skein of yarn left. Cheri finished looping her second skein. The blankets will be lovely when finished but they will have certainly taken a bit more than an hour to make.

IMAG3118

The boys found some lazy relatives. 

IMAG3119

Pam’s pile of loops.

We had a very quiet Fourth of July. Dick cooked ribs on the grill and we made things to go with that and had a wonderful dinner. We laughed and talked and crafted and computed and simply wasted the day away.

Around 4 PM, it got dark enough to be dusk. The clouds came rolling in and sat there menacingly. The evening before, on our way to Trivia, the sun was shining brightly and yet … it poured on us. Not a drizzle, not a light rain, not a nice shower – it poured. And then it stopped. It is all of four miles to get there and in that time we had sunshine, lightening, thunder, and buckets of rain and then we had overcast skies without sunshine and no rain.

Last Saturday, we had a torrential rain while the faithful prayed. When it rains here is South Carolina, it means business. So the darkening skies were enough to keep Pam from walking. Every half hour or so she would mutter, “If I had left when I thought about it, I would be home by now.” The rain continued to not fall.

Finally, after too many hours of sitting, she opted to go out for a walk. She made it around the block, about a ten to fifteen minute walk, and returned with damp hair. It was not raining, but it was misting. It never did rain for real.

Our plan for Friday was a trip to the beach and a lunch there on the water. But first, we went to Burlington to shop. We shopped and shopped and each of us even bought stuff. Since I had no need to pack up my purchases, I was able to buy the most crap. Well, that’s theory anyway. I did buy the most crap regardless of the reason.

As we left the store, the clouds were piling up and getting darker and darker. The beach is not terribly far from my house, but it is not walking distance, either. The weather might have been completely different on the coast. But it looked nasty here.

We decided to find a place for lunch right here and skip the beach. We picked Olive Garden. I did grab my car umbrella and took that in with us. Good thing.

While we were having our unlimited soup, salad, and bread sticks, the rain started. It pelted, it poured, it deluged. It came down in buckets. It rained and then it rained some more.

A secondary plan had been to continue shopping but the rain was wicked. I went to get the car. While the umbrella kept my head dry, the wind sprayed water on my body and my shoes were completely soaked by the time I made my way to the car. It felt like I was walking on sponges. I picked up Pam and Cheri at the door and they were wet before they could get themselves into the car.

We were going to leave the packages in the car when we got home. I’ve been parking in the driveway and I didn’t think it was worth it to grab the stuff. It looked like the rain had lessened and that it might not be too bad to grab the bags. That was a misjudgment. Although the rain had abated, it was still pouring and I was absolutely soaked by the time I grabbed the stuff and ran into the open, waiting garage.

We dried off, and spent the rest of the day in our sister mode, enjoying the togetherness while doing essentially nothing. We have been working on baby blankets and our count in increasing. So there is that. The incorrect yarn purchases by one could be offset by another of us and the work proceeds apace. The Linus Project is going to like Sistercation, too.

IMAG3115

The boys get to eat anything they want. 

Our first week together came to an end quietly. We spent the day doing pretty much the same things we have been doing. We shopped a little and we laughed a lot. We crocheted some and played with our various pieces of technology.

Dick grilled some salmon burgers for us and we had a delightful meal rounded out with no potato Potato Salad and watermelon. We laughed and talked and told stories. Since all of us have kissed the Blarney Stone, we are especially good at that last bit. It was a wonderful day even though it lacked glitter or luster. The act of being together for this short space of time makes it different than any other time of the year.

Wednesday was a bit busier. The goal was to hit the outlet mall and Cheri would find a pair of shoes. She has been searching for some sandals that didn’t hurt either foot. This, apparently, is much more difficult than one might imagine. Pam and I picked out shoes that might meet her requirements and found them in her size. If we guessed correctly, she would try them on. Each time was more frustrating than the last. Some shoes hurt her right foot and were comfortable for the left while others felt good on the left but hurt the right. She gave up, totally frustrated with the entire process.

I, on the other had, the person with maybe the most pairs of shoes already in her possession, found two more pairs of cute shoes on the clearance rack where the already marked down shoes were buy one, get the second half off. I now have some pale blue tennis shoes and some cute little black slip on shoes to add to my growing collection which remains under 50 pairs.

Pam was looking for a bright purple shirt in order for me to decorate it, but purple is not the going color this year. Plum is in vogue, but a nice bright purple seems to be out of season. She did find a white shirt with blue and red stars and I miraculously found another workout shirt. Cheri found stuff at the kitchen gadget store so we all had bags to load into the trunk.

We went from the mall to behind the mall and had lunch at Mellow Mushroom. We had been wearing our Sistercation shirts and had received several comments while we shopped. But the woman at the restaurant just loved our shirts and told us how she got to spend time with her Iowa sister and reveled in our delight as much as we do.

I simply love their mushroom soup and gave it a five star rating before we got there. Cheri looked up all the nutritional stuff on their website before we went so she knew what was good for her dietary restrictions. I’ve already done that math and knew a small spinach salad (with apples, cranberries, pecans, but no feta for me) and added bacon would be a perfect meal. Pam followed my lead but did not add the bacon or subtract the cheese. We loved our meal.

The plan was to go on to more shopping, but we were close to rush hour and I was tired. We opted to come back home. We got to the car and my side of the car was shaded, but Pam’s side had sun beating on my black leather(ish) interior. I told her she was going to be on the hot seat. She got in and I started the car and the air conditioning started to blast. Pam jumped out of the car with a burning butt. The seat was way too hot.

The only solution was to sit on something. Luckily, I have a plethora of bags in the trunk. I have them from Publix, Harris Teeter, the Tea Plantation, as well as some generic ones. She found something to sit on and we could make our way home. I did beat the Air Force and Bosch traffic, but apparently Boeing gets out a bit earlier. Once we got past that, I could make my way home without crawling out of my skin. I hate stop and start creeping traffic.

We laughed, told stories, played around with technology, watched Facebook and Instagram not work at loading pictures and heard all the denizens of the platforms in misery over not being able to share worldwide. Then it was time to go on to the next bit of excitement.

Off we went to Trivia. We all showed up and Donna and Keith also had family visiting and so we had a very full table. We ended up in third place for the evening. It was another successful night.

We came back home and breathed the same air until we could finally fall asleep, knowing we still had time to be together.

IMAG3106

Frankie turned ten. Awesome sauce. Two digits. She is turning into quite the human. She is smart and strong and kind and generous and completely lovely. That may be just a bit biased, but I believe it is the way even other people see here, not just her Nana.

For her birthday, her parents arranged for ten surprises beginning with her dad “kidnapping” six friends and bringing them home to wake up Frankie. They continued on from there culminating in a water park day filled with laughter and picnics and cake and more giggles.

We went to see her and celebrate with a continuation of the fun. We got to play and talk and since we were there, eat! Dayna always makes sure we can eat. We got to see her medals from the year. One for smart; one for kind. There was a national math competition and Frankie’s school came in as one of the top three (not sure if second or third, but not first) and Frankie was the top score in her school. So she received a medal. Each month, a Student of the Month is chosen from each of the bazillion schools and then the Board of Education selects the best of the best to be awarded with a medal and certificate bestowed upon the student by the Mayor. Frankie was that student.

Craig got to tell his aunts about his new job as a firefighter. The last time they saw him, he was a small business owner/gym guy. Dayna and Cheri got to spend time with oils, something Cheri was very interested in and Dayna knows very much about. Everyone got to play with Frankie and she played her new piano for us.

We spent a lovely afternoon with them and then, because we were in the area, we went to the outlet mall just a mile or two from Craig’s house. Lo and behold, I was able to find more coffee to bring home! Pam found some other taste treat at Harry and David’s to add to the bag. Although Cheri tried and tried, she has remained unsuccessful in finding the perfect pair of shoes she wants. Dick got some new golf balls because you need them as much as you need yarn.

We drove home, all three sisters with their crochet in the car. Pam gets carsick and always rides shotgun – well, unless she is driving. So she and Dick were in the front seat. I’m not quite sure about the front seat, but both of the back seat passengers took a little nappy poo on the way home. I’m pretty sure the driver remained awake for the entire trip.

We got home and sat around talking laughing and working on crafts or computing devices – although no one had an actual computer out.

Even with my nap, I was the first to toddle off to bed. I’ve been working with an ever increasing sleep deficit and can’t seem to adequately catch up. I don’t want to miss a minute of the nights and I can’t sleep in and wake with the first hint of dawn approaching.

This seems like a rather short missive for such a full and fun day. It was filled with moments of love which are fleeting and yet the stuff that life is made for. Families together, all loving and kind, accepting and nurturing, laughing and loving. The best day so far.

0701191607a