July 2014


I know that as an old fart at the gym, I am an underachiever. I am not an under-performer, but no matter how hard I try to perform, I don’t achieve all that much. I also know that being off for two weeks means that I lost some of the gains I had made, simply due to inertia. I worked out twice while away, but they weren’t the same type of things I’m used to doing and so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but it wasn’t great. It was what it was and I had to deal with that.

Even knowing all that, I was really depressed about having to quit even though I knew it was the best thing. Crippling myself would have been even dumber. So I stopped before I was too hurt.

I got to work and both bosses were sitting there just waiting for the day to start. So I figured I would start it for them. I think I was more nervous telling them about wanting to retire than I was about telling them I wanted to be hired. They were very nice about it. I explained how I would help get a new person trained. I also stressed that I would be done by the end of February. If the new person isn’t hired or trained by that time, I will still be done by the end of February.

I got that out of the way and then after work I had a massage scheduled. Thank goodness because I was sore and full of knots, not from working out in the morning, but from waiting too long since my last massage and from hotel beds, flying, and all manner of being out of my routine. Billy did a great job.

I got up this morning and got ready for the box. I got there and saw them jumping rope and decided I’m going to have to put extra gear in the car or something because not seeing the WOD the night before means I don’t know if I have to bring anything extra along. I used one of their ropes.

I was talking with Ryan before class started and he has a 70 year old he is working with one on one. The guy is about as stiff and immobile as I was when I started. When he gets enough ROM and can do stuff, he will join group WODs and I will no longer be the oldest person at the box. I will still be the oldest woman at the box.

Warm-up was a 400 meter run and I ran out of steam even on a 300 meter run. I have no idea what I do differently one day to the next, but some days I can run it easily and some days I can’t even make that short distance. There was a bunch of other stuff and then we were warm.

Today’s WOD as written:
Push press 8 x 3 @ 55%
8 min AMRAP
RED
15 box jumps (24/20)
75 single unders
15 sit-ups
WHITE
15 box jumps (24/20)
30 double unders
15 v-ups
BLACK
15 box jumps (30/24)
30 double unders
15 toes to bar

I looked and had nothing written for a push press. I’m going to guess that what I had written as a one rep max for a strict press was really a push press because I never got to that weight throughout the series. But I worked up to a one rep max on my push press and got to 58#. I failed twice at 63# and decided I was just going to have to be happy with the lower number.

Surprising no one, I chose the red option for the WOD. But we could do step ups and I did. So I managed it as written. I remembered to change leading leg on the step-ups about half way through and on the first round I kept missing and tripping on the rope. The sit-ups helped me get my heart rate back down so I could keep working.

On the second round, I had to pause, but not for too long, before starting the single unders but got them done without stopping. On the third round, I managed the same thing. My heart rate was 178 when I got to the sit-ups part but the seconds were counting down. I didn’t look before I started the last box “jumps” and just kept going since there were only a few seconds left. I got 3 + 7 for a score. I felt much better about this than yesterday’s WOD. But my legs are still not happy with me. I hope I can still walk tomorrow.

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Last Friday I had to leave my sisters. This was my shortest sistercation ever and that was difficult to manage. But I had things to do and people to see and had to leave. Cheri and Pam brought me up to Columbus and Rose Ann came and picked me up. She delivered me to Elyria where Dick could get me and off we went to the next round of family things. I can’t believe she would do that for us. Childhood friends are the best.

Bellfield girls

Bellfield girls

We got to the hotel and then the next stop was going to Hazel’s Restaurant, established in 1945 unless it was 1948, but a long time ago. Cousin John’s wife either owns or manages the place. All the Higgins family cousins meet there on Fridays and have dinner together. Well, not all, because some of the cousins aren’t local. But Tom, John, Bill, and Dave and their families were there before the three Hysell siblings showed up. I had a Lake Erie perch dinner and it was fantastic. I love Lake Erie perch.

Saturday morning we met Joe and Sarah and two realtors (buyer and seller) at their new house so we could take a tour. It is lovely. There are so many built in things. The original owner was a carpenter and did all sorts of really neat things. The yard is huge and there a family next door with an above ground swimming pool. I’m thinking they might be the kids new best friends.

From there, we went to the wedding and Leanne was gorgeous. She was wearing her mother’s wedding dress. Everything was low key and the evening was delightful. Joe and his family came and the kids danced the night away. Dylan was worried about having the right dance steps so he and Joe would go outside and develop new moves.

Wedding party

Wedding party

Sunday we had the kids all day while Joe moved all the big stuff from the rental house to a storage place. They have to be out before they get the keys to the new house so they will be staying with Amy for about a week until they can have possession. We had the kids in the pool, took them out to lunch, put them back in the pool, and then we all met at Bubba’s BBQ for dinner. Dylan and Morgan could barely keep their eyes open. Aiden had no problem. But of course, he is much bigger – he had a growth spurt since we last saw him and he is at least four inches taller than when they moved north.

Monday was spent flying home. All the flights were on time and there were no problems. We got back to the house by 7 PM and then I had a couple loads of laundry to do so I had clothes for the week. Well, I mostly needed clean underwear as I have closets full of clothes. But I did the laundry I needed and then it was back to work on Tuesday.

I set the alarm for this morning and was up with the birds – possibly before them. Getting back to working out is difficult. While I was gone, they decided they would no longer post the workout the night before. So I had to go in there blind, as it were, not knowing at all what I would be doing. This was not a good omen but probably a great choice since if I had seen the WOD, I would have freaked out.

We began our warm-up with a 400 meter run and all I could think of was how delighted both Cheri and Marge would have been. We did lots of other stuff and then some mobility. The part that is the most irritating for me is that I can no longer copy and paste the WOD into a blog and have to type it out. That is just too much!

The other thing they did was scale the WODs on the board. Red is beginner or people with injuries or limitations like being older than dirt or something. I’m a Red. White is for people who are CrossFitters but don’t care to compete. Black is for the competitors. They will get calls for no reps as needed and are held to a higher standard. Yesterday, each color had a different scaling. Today, white and black shared the WOD.

Today’s WOD as not written:
Red
15 pull-ups
15 squat cleans (65/45)
15 push-ups
30 overhead lunges (25/10)
800 meter run
30 overhead lunges (25/10)
15 push-ups
15 squat cleans (65/45)
15 pull-ups

The White and Black had 25 of each of the 15 rep moves and 50 lunges and higher weights. The cleans were 95 and 65 and the squats were 45 and 25. The run was the same for everybody.

Just what I needed after being off for two weeks. I was told I could shorten the run which was nice. I used the weights as listed and used a green band for pull-ups but no kipping. When using a band, they have to be strict.

The last time I tried weighted lunges was long ago and I hurt myself. I have assiduously avoided them since, but if I ever want to improve, I need to at least try. I got the pull-ups done and had to break up the cleans in sets of two or three because my heart rate was so high. I got the push-ups, strict from my knees and in sets of five and then the lunges. They nearly killed me but I got them done.

I walked the entire way for my run and cut it in half. I got back and got 18 lunges done when I had to stop. My body was in revolt. I was sure I was going to puke and everything I had hurt. I had been working for 21+ minutes and I was simply done.

With discretion as the better part of valor, I simply stopped and figured out that I can come back tomorrow and work some more. So that is what I will do. It’s not the best thing in the world, but it is a plan. And I will get back in the swing of working out and by next week, I will still be old and feeble, but hopefully, I will be able to finish the WOD.

Thursday was the last full day of sistercation for me. Next year, when it is at my house, I won’t have to miss a single minute of it. But that’s next year. This year, I’m leaving today to finish up my vacation in a different part of the state.

We got ready to head off to the Dunbar household. I was told to bring a bathing suit. I did not pack a suit and it was in the sixties yesterday morning. I didn’t think the option of swimming was going to hold much allure for me. I was okay with having one more day of avoiding a swimming pool. I would have jumped in if someone was drowning and in dire need of rescue. I think.

As we were getting ready here, Heather posted to Facebook that she needed information about who was going to be where when since she was lonely. We gave her the information she was seeking. She still had one kid asleep, but at least had a plan.

Jen had arrived safely in the middle of the night and she and her kids had been deposited with Monica. We got there and eventually Heather and her kids showed up. Poor Jason. He was the only boy type person there and was probably quite happy when it was eventually time for work and his ability to leave all the estrogen storm.

Before Jason could leave, there was a window of time where the girls wanted to get in the pool. Olivia, Hannah, Emma, and Lily were permitted in the pool. Quinn and Zoe were stuck in the house with the three nanas and Hecker, Jen, and Monica. Jason was brave enough to go out there with the big girls while the babies were inside.

When everyone was completely frozen through, the big girls came back in and Jason could eventually get out of that mess and into work where, even though they own a restaurant/bar, was probably quieter than the house.

Cheri and I made one last trip to a grocery store and got the rest of the things needed for a cookout dinner. We picked up the last few things and then made sure Steve knew he was also invited. We had to call to invite him a bit earlier because between all the self-starting women there, no one was sure how to hook a propane tank to a grill and the tank already there was empty. We were going to get it off and a new one available, but we couldn’t get that, either. Steve came and got us a fresh tank installed and then the burgers, dogs, and metts could be grilled.

After our picnic, Steve asked me if I would like a ride on the Harley. He had asked earlier in the week and I told him I was considering it. It was now or never. Even when Dick owned a motorcycle, I didn’t ride on it. They scare me. I simply avoid them.

I was with an experienced rider (nearly a quarter million miles) and there was a huge touring Harley sitting right there. The evening was filled with sunshine and cool temps. There was going to be no better time. It was now or never. He had Cheri’s helmet and jacket with him. Would I go?

As I sat there filled with fear, he started the bike with me perched behind him. I whispered that I was scared half to death and please be nice. Cheri said later that she had never seen him take off so carefully. I knew he was being extra nice. I was expecting a little ride around the block. We were gone for about thirty minutes or so. As we were stopped at a light, I leaned forward and asked if Cheri always wore long pants and he said yes, why. I mentioned that his leather fringe was whipping my legs. As we continued our journey (and were getting close to where the speed limit was 55 which I didn’t know until after the fact) he pulled off the side of the road. He had a way to tie the fringe up. We got that to stop whipping me and the ride became much more enjoyable.

As we rode along on this perfect evening, the next stumbling block became apparent. Since I thought I was going on a five minute bike ride, I didn’t put on sunscreen. As I mentioned, it was a sunny evening. I burn even drawing a yellow sun in the corner of a kid’s picture. I was going to burn here for sure.

Although I had had a death grip on the strap that let me feel a bit safer, I was going to have to let go with one hand and cover my leg with the leather jacket sleeve. I’m sure the ride would have been longer if I hadn’t mentioned that I was getting sunburned but Steve was nice enough to get us back home. He asked if I wanted the long or short way back. The long way was 15 to 20 minutes and I could manage that. As we headed back home, I had to switch which hand had the death grip and which was covering my bare leg. We got back home and there were all the other people heading to the park.

I got off the Harley, joined all the girls going to the park, and Steve took off into the setting sun or something nice like that. I didn’t die going outside my comfort zone. In fact, it was fun.

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Half the kids were in strollers with the bigger half of the kids pushing them. Everyone got to play on the toys at the park and then we walked back home to Monica’s house. It was finally time to say good night and head back to Cheri’s house. With all the hubbub and confusion, I made sure to kiss all the people who wouldn’t be on the trip to Pass the Patti. But for those I would be seeing again today, I knew it was okay.

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We got home and our plans for today changed. Kathy decided she was not coming so there was no need for Jen and her kids and Heather and her kids to tag along to Columbus. Now there were people I hadn’t kissed goodbye. We have a way to fix that.

It was after midnight and time for me to surrender to having to end my last full day of sistercation. There is always next time.

 

Three years ago we went out to lunch at that place over there. We got there only to find it was closed. We saw another likely lunch spot and went there. We sat down with menus and tried to find something edible. We walked out. At least one of us had a smart phone (I’m assuming Cheri) and we searched for a place and there, not too far down the road was a place we thought we might try. It was wonderful.

We have talked about going there for lunch since we all got here. We had to look it up again, but this time we did it from home with big computers and stuff. Yesterday, we went. We had some other plans. We were going to go to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and then hit the place for a late lunch. Then we found out they have limited hours for lunch. So we decided to go to lunch and then go downtown.

We went to Mason for lunch at The Wildflower Café. They have an eclectic, organic, locally grown, sustainable menu. We knew it would be very different from the menu the last time we were there since it is based not only on season, but on what the chef has decided to do with it. There is a disclaimer on the menu saying if you make substitutions, they aren’t responsible for the way it tastes.

My lunch looked so good, I forgot to get a picture until it was half gone

My lunch looked so good, I forgot to get a picture until it was half gone

There were a couple things I was able to toss immediately from the “possible” list because they had stuff I don’t like included in the description. I had a difficult time choosing between three options. Cheri made her choice, also vacillating back and forth between a couple choices. Pam ordered a fancy salad which included a poached egg. After we ordered and the waitress left, Pam popped out of her chair and found her.

None of us likes runny eggs. I don’t think we have ever willingly eaten a soft boiled egg. We like the yolk to be cooked, not just warmed. The poached egg would be runny. Oozing slime all over the salad. Could it be cooked solid? The waitress thought it might be able to be done. The chef did not. It would ruin the entire salad to make it edible for the customer. There was a chance for Pam to just have the salad without the egg, but she demurred. There was nothing else on the menu she was willing to take have.

Cheri’s quiche de jour came – it was zucchini, goat cheese, and bacon with a side of green salad and a scoop of potato salad with a baguette on the side. My chicken waffle came – it had a base of mashed sweet potatoes, layered over that was sliced zucchini and yellow squash, then chunks of breaded with something really tasty and fried chicken, and then bite sized pieces of waffle as croutons and topped with a hollandaise sauce. Our meals were delicious.

There were three choices of dessert. I don’t remember the third choice but it was something to do with vanilla. Pam got the warmed white chocolate bread pudding and was thrilled with that. Cheri and I got the triple chocolate mousse cake which was literally melting in our mouths with each bite. This thing was fantastic.

It had been raining up to thunder storming all day. It was dry as we entered the restaurant, but it was raining again when we left. As we headed south to a place where we had no idea where we were going but did have plugged into the Garmin, it was pouring. There were trucks all over the three lanes of 71 and truck water spray and fogginess and too much water to really see.

As we got to the Montgomery Road esit, we convinced Cheri to stop driving and giving up the rest of the plan until next time. As she got off the road, she visibly relaxed. We said we could just go home, but we went to Trader Joe’s instead. They apparently didn’t want us there because it was so cold that even with our sweaters on, we were freezing. We bought a couple items and then left.

There was another cute store called Fresh Market (I think) and we shopped there for a very long time since they weren’t trying to freeze us out. We found several odd little taste treats there. By the time we were done shopping, the sun was out but it was too late to go downtown.

The next plan was go to the Mo-tivator’s house for Silver Shoes. My niece, Monica, is wanting to become a personal trainer. She does a workout with her mother and mother-in-law and last night, it included me. Marge and Cheri have a different expectation than the CrossFitter might and apparently, I might have made Mo a little nervous.

I was asked what to do with a warm-up and since we always start with something to get out heart rates up, I suggested a run again. We went outside and looked down the street. It had a 90⁰ turn about a football field away so I suggested a run to there and back. Monica and I were fine with this distance and Marge and Cheri were not quite as fine but they made it. We did squats, cherry pickers, and lunges and I told Marge and Cheri that I had to use a PVC pipe as a crutch when I started and when they used a crutch, they found them to be easier. When you don’t have to worry about falling over, you can actually do the moves.

We did a bunch of things with body weights and with dumbbells. I’m not familiar with any of these things, and I wasn’t particularly good at them. There was one that really stretched triceps and the next time I overdo and get that part of my anatomy in a snit, I’m doing these with a light weight to help stretch the offended and offending muscle.

We got through the workout and then it was time to get to Heather’s house to pick up the car seat for Quinn. We still hadn’t eaten dinner and it was almost 8 PM. We headed home and got sandwiches and chips and then waited until it was time to go to the airport and get Jen, Hannah, and Quinn to join the girls here for a few days.

There wasn’t enough room in the car and so I got to sleep at a decent hour. I felt Pam come to bed and she wasn’t sobbing so I figured everyone was here and safe and all was well. Another great day.

Another great sister day. We went to Sharon Woods Park and decided to walk a few of the trails. First challenge – finding the trail we wanted. We finally got to the correct place to start and then we had to find the trail to follow. We had decided we wanted to walk on the paved walks for only part of the way and wanted to hike real trails for two different trails. We were definite about avoiding the Parkour trail.

We finally found a way to start and then had a bit of a problem finding the hiking trail we were hoping to walk. It was a beautiful walk with little overlooks built in. We saw some beautiful little falls as well as gorgeous scenery throughout. We came out of the hiking part to another parking lot and found a woman who could tell us where a bathroom was. Thank goodness for that.

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We were then rather lost and found another trail. We were on a paved path again but it was quite steep. There were stations along the way with little exercise options. We were on the Parkour trail. Oh my. We were seeking the overlook trail and never found it but we did find many wonderful things to see. We didn’t have enough steps and enough distance. We decided to walk around the lake but went in the opposite direction so “we wouldn’t get lost at the branch place” and off went. We knew to go just around the one lake rather than both since that would be far enough for distance and get the required steps in.

We came to a fork in the trail and took the one closest to the lake were walking around. It went to a sweet little lookout area and we could see, directly across the lake, where the car was parked. If we could have simply jumped and swam across the lake, it would be right there. The lake had this bloom of something that looked like no one wanted to get in the water with it, even the ducks.

Then we came to another parking lot and there was no more trail to be found. We had no idea where we really were and no idea of how to get to where the car was parked. We really didn’t even know where we were geographically let alone where we were in the park.

We saw some man in the parking lot and asked if he could help. He was from Florida, had no idea where he was either, and was killing time waiting for a client to get the proper permits so he and his crew could get to work. We decided to simply backtrack and find the car that way. We were almost exactly halfway anyway and would have the mileage and steps even if we went where we already had been. We turned around, asked the guy if he wanted to walk with us, and finally got back to the car. We sent him on to the beautiful trail we had found earlier.

We got back to a very hot car and were very thirsty and tired and opted to go to Frisch’s for lunch rather than come home and have to think of something to eat. We cooled off there and got home with a plan for order of who got to shower first, second, and third. The plan went slightly awry when Cheri fell asleep on the couch and took a little nap, but we eventually got showered, got laundry done, and were ready to have supper.

After we ate, we got hold of LouAnn and invited ourselves over. We got to see her new condo. It looked like this little place from the outside but from the inside it just kept growing and growing. I think it was a TARDIS and not a condo.

Cher had Graeter’s gift cards and so we took them, us, and LouAnn to the ice cream store and had a treat. The ice cream was wonderful and the laughter was better. We had to give LouAnn back and then we headed home to laugh and craft some more until we couldn’t keep our eyes open and had to surrender, once again, to sleep.

We were so busy eating our ice cream that we didn't let the boys have their photo op.

We were so busy eating our ice cream that we didn’t let the boys have their photo op.

This was the big day! We had to plan accordingly the night before to make sure that all would be well in the morning. We needed to be at A Stitch Above at the right time for Pam to pick up the supplies for her NEW craft. Just because it uses bits and pieces of other crafting techniques doesn’t make it not “really” new to anybody but Pam.

We still can’t figure out why Cheri’s car stopped talking to her. But we think it is the phone that stopped talking and not the car. We managed to get back to where we were and there was an array of fibers laid out for Pam to approve or change. Cheri brought her knitting and I brought my crochet project and we just listened to Pam’s chatter as we smiled and worked away. After she selected the stuff she wanted to include, we had time to kill while Dawn packaged it up and added notes.

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We walked around the corner to Coffee Please and got scones and coffee. They were the best scones I have had outside of Ireland and the coffee was perfect. We had a wonderful interlude and then it was back to the store for Pam to get instructions and pay for her NEW craft stuff. She will be posting pictures as she goes along on the project. She has at least one other project selected and several more in the wish list category. All we can say is NEW craft.

Marge is my niece’s mother-in-law. She is simply the nicest person. The best thing is that she loves my niece. I don’t mean she says she loves my niece. I mean she loves my niece. Just like a mother. Perfect. She has welcomed Monica and her children into her heart and you cannot tell who in that family is genetically related to Marge and who is not. She loves them all. The same. Period. This is the sort of mother-in-law we all should have and one I would hope I can be. It is an aspiration to which I often fall short.

We met Marge for lunch at Panera’s even though we had just eaten those delicious scones 90 minutes before. This was not the best plan ever. But, thankfully, I can always eat something. I had deal at Panera’s for pick two, so I picked two and had soup and salad for a discount. Marge didn’t know about this deal stuff and will be able to get deals in the future now.

Last time we were here, LouAnn took us to an outlet mall and we liked the place so we thought it would be fun if all the grandmothers went there for the afternoon. But we couldn’t remember the name and so certainly couldn’t remember the directions. We finally found it with the help of Google maps and got there successfully with Marge’s phone talking to us from the back seat. This was not a perfect plan since the driver often missed what the phone said.

We shopped and shopped. And shopped. We didn’t do much buying, but we did lots and lots of shopping. We ended up after hours of this with two paring knives, two gel lids, two purses, and one dress between the four of us. But we certainly tried to buy more, just couldn’t quite come up with the goods.

Pam, Marge, Cheri, me and the gnomes

Pam, Marge, Cheri, me and the gnomes

We were in Hanes and they had sports bras on the clearance rack. They were going to cost $10 or $12.50 depending on the style. But I need to try these things on. So does Cheri. We picked out a variety of colors and styles and then we wandered around some more and eventually I found myself in the dressing room. I was not in there with Cheri. We will never know if this was a blessing in disguise or a poor choice.

I have several of these bras and most of them are from Jockey but there are some other brands in there. The ones from Hanes had a slicker, rubbery feel since they seemed to have more lycra or something. As an added bonus, my triceps are still not quite recovered from pulling my weight up an incline on the Total Gym and although I can reach straight up, I can’t really move my arms freely. I put the first one on. Well, I tried to, but it rolled up and then it stuck to me and then I was trapped. I could neither get it fully on nor off. I was trapped in my bra which was rolled up under my armpits. I started to panic. This was not good. And then I began to worry about my baby sister. She wasn’t even sure what was the right size and had tried different sizes. She could be trapped in a too small bra and she had sore arms, too. Then I got the giggles.

I had to pause and regroup and finally struggled out of the damn bra. Whew. One might think I was smart enough to not try that stunt again. One would be wrong. One of the bras I brought in had much different straps and I believed, erroneously, that it might go on easier. I tried again. In all honesty, I guess it did go on easier because I did get this one completely on after a great struggle. Then I tried some pretend double unders and found it didn’t even have enough support. I took it off. Let me rephrase that, I tried to take it off. I couldn’t get out of this one, either. I struggled. I looked at the button that said, “Ring for assistance” and tried to picture what that would look like and redoubled my efforts to get out of the damn bra. I was finally successful but it wasn’t pretty. I got dressed without trying the third one and took the offending items back to the rack only to find Cheri there with a flushed face.

She had the same problem I had been having. There we were, two grandmothers not able to really get in or out of a sports bra, both having eyed the call button and refusing to push it. Both all exhausted with sore arms. She has the added bonus of laughing so hard she wets her pants, which I don’t contend with. So she was in the dressing room and deciding whether all the panicking would cause a second problem and whether that was more of a problem than actually being trapped in her underwear. This is why there were no sports bras on the list of items purchased.

Marge bought her first-ever real Coach purse but she was really looking for a purse to take on her upcoming vacation this fall. She eyed a real vacation purse at Wilson leather early in the shopping trip and then compared purses to it throughout the day. At one store, she was looking at purses and then tried on some shoes and when we ready to leave, Cheri noticed there was no Coach bag in her hand. We frantically searched and found the bag right where it was dropped. Lucky us.

We successfully completed our shopping spree and then headed for home. Marge offered us dinner at Greenies on her, but we weren’t really hungry after all the eating we had done earlier in the day. We spent the evening working on our crafts and then, finally, had to surrender ourselves to sleep. Great day.

Thirty-one and a half years ago, we ruined Craig’s life. We rooted his little self from the only place in the world that was fit to live and plopped him down in a new place that was totally unacceptable. Totally. His life was over. There was no surviving this upheaval. How could we do this to him? Worst thing ever.

We moved the poor boy to Larchwood Court. It was the most traumatic thing possible. Until ten years later when we wanted to move back to the same town we took him from and then that was the worst thing ever.

Larchwood Court was a cul-de-sac in one of the many small developments that made up Landon in Maineville, Ohio. The houses were smaller, starter homes just like the family we had. Each of the communities within Landon had their own pool and park, there were walking trails winding through the undeveloped nature land surrounding each community. Even better, in Montgomery Hills, there were the “muddy trails” down near the stream.

Amazingly enough, it wasn’t the end of the world. Ours was the yard without fencing all around and so our back yard became the baseball, football, and lacrosse field. We had a basketball hoop and so ours was the yard that became the basketball court. It was a lovely little house. But the best thing about our house, the most dramatically striking feature, was the neighbors.

When I started posting that sistercation would be in Ohio this year, Nancy graciously offered to see if she could get some of the old neighbors together so we could catch up. I haven’t lived there for twenty years and yet it was easy to get right back to the warm, fuzzy place of Larchwood Court even though we weren’t actually sitting on the side deck, watching the kids (who are now all adults, many with kids of their own) play while we sipped coffee, munched snacked, and laughed.

Cheri and Pam dropped me off and I walked backwards twenty years to my old friends and neighbors. We laughed and talked and laughed some more. There were some old pictures floating around, one even included the traveling toilet. There were so many funny stories about back then and so many wonderful stories about right now.

Not everyone could be there. Some people had moved away, some people were away on vacation, and sadly, two of my dear neighbor friends have died. Nancy and Debbie were missed at the gathering, but both were there with us in spirit and in our stories.

There were seven of us able to get together and between us we have eight and two-thirds kids. Many of the stories we told were not of the past, but of the present and our hopes for the future. Nancy (and John) and I are each blessed with two grandsons and two granddaughters. Irene and Bill are getting a grandson in November. We got to share some pictures of the future, too.

Nancy made us a wonderful lunch and the time zipped past in the blink of an eye. Cheri called from the driveway to say she was back and it was time to go. We all got posed together for a group shot. The Larchwood Court crew is looking pretty spry for a bunch of old farts.

Nancy and John, me, Fred and Gina, Bill and Irene

Nancy and John, me, Fred and Gina, Bill and Irene

After they picked me up, we sisters stopped at a few stores on the way home and got some more shopping done. While I was having fun, my sisters were out to lunch (literally, not disparagingly) and shopped but there is never really enough of that going on. Our last stop was the grocery store – again. We got some chicken for dinner. Pam and Steve would have instant mashed potatoes while I would fix some quinoa which came in a package and was flavored with mushroom and looked really scary when I put it into the pan. But I soldiered through and cooked it while Pam was in charge of potatoes and broccoli and Cheri in charge of the chicken.

Dick will not eat the bird seed. Steve wouldn’t even taste it. Pam gave it a taste but preferred her mashed potatoes. Cheri had some rice/quinoa mix leftover stuff in the fridge which she added to hers because she said it was too salty. I just ate it. It was good and the mushroom flavoring was probably some terrible chemical shitstorm, but what the heck – I’m on vacation.

We spent the evening laughing and talking and crafting. We had to calculate the exact time to leave the house so we could be at the shop to collect Pam’s new crafting supplies. We did go on a walk so the sisters could get their step requirements met. I just had a sister requirement and loved being outside and walking the neighborhood.

We had an absolutely lovely day and I’m so glad I got to see some of my old neighbors. I can’t thank Nancy enough both for thinking of this but also for getting it together and graciously hosting. I really did have a wonderful neighborhood in which to raise the boys. It was an idyllic place to grow up and I wish for all the kids of Larchwood Court the same experience as the next generation enters into what can be a scary place, but can be a place of love and laughter as well.

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