Thursday, June 15, 2017

I lost a friend today


Ramona as a child -the oldest one in the middle

1. Today a friend of mine, Ramona,  died of ovarian cancer. She wasn't a super close friend, though i've known her for over 30 years from our school district work. Her mom Hildegard lived in my condo community and was a good friend of our good friend Dorothy who died ten years ago so our paths kept crossing occasionally. (I always got a kick out of Hildegard.) 

When Hildegard died over a year and a half ago that's when Ramona and i started getting together. And a few months after, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She sent me a message and said she hoped i would be a part of her support team, but added that she understood if i was uncomfortable with that. That's the part that got me -  that Ramona knew it was not something people might be able to do. And truthfully i wasn't sure i was up to it, but i felt i might be ...because of my mom. So i wrote her back and said let's hook up. 

2. My 82 year mom Elodie is a survivor of ovarian cancer- She was diagnosed with stage 4 when she was 65 years old. I went to the doctor's appointment with her that day because Elodie doesn't listen well and doesn't ask questions. 

There were two doctors in the room at Madigan who told Elodie she had stage four. My dad i'm pretty sure did not know what that meant. But I did because i had researched before the appointment. And when my mom hugged the two doctors and seemed excited i was certain she didn't know either. It wasn't until later that i understood that she thought there were TEN stages. We never told her that stage 4 was the worst... (especially for ovarian cancer). And 17 years later my mom is still alive and i think it's in part because she had such a great attitude and didn't know. 

Ramona wasn't uniformed about her diagnosis of course, but she did have that same kind of positive attitude and i thought it would get her through too- maybe not like my mom, (because Elodie is indestructible, like a cockroach, and will outlive us all),  but i thought Ramona had lots more time. 

3. I was not expecting to be so sad today when i heard this news. She was not my very best friend. She's not my longest friend. And we didn't do a lot together until the last year and a half. 

But i realized what it was that i am missing already.... and it's selfish i have to admit.  I didn't do THAT much for her but she made me feel like i did a lot. I am not that funny, but she let me know that she thought i was, especially on Facebook. In other words, she made me feel like i was a better person than i feel i am. Only a few people make me feel that way, which i deserve - considering my personality. 

4. What i really came to like about her is that she was so positive about so much. AND i loved that she was in no way passive aggressive, or pouty, or seething.... if something bothered her, she said told you. Ramona was very straightforward. A long time ago i made an offhand remark - some jokey thing about her flirting with guys (this was before she was married to her husband Paul) - and she called me on the phone later that day and told me that she didn't appreciate it. And i thanked her because she was right. And we were okay all the times i saw her next. Ramona was pretty fucking low maintenance, even when she shouldn't have been. 

5. Here's something about her teaching: About 15 years ago she had a little girl in her classroom who just happened to live in my condo community. I knew the little girl and her older brother well as they were always at the pool during the summer. Nice kids. And they had a VERY nice dad who was devoted to those kids but who later was sent to jail for something i don't know. And you could see it in the kids that they were troubled and missed their dad. When Ramona noticed that the girl started coming to school wearing her older brother's clothes she called me and Dorothy since we knew them. She was raising money to take the girl shopping to get clothes. Recently Ramona and I talked about that and she told me the student never wore the clothes that were purchased from the fundraising and we both laughed that she may have gotten it wrong because she realized the girl liked wearing her brother's clothes. 

She retired from teaching elementary school a few years ago. I was thinking today how she made me feel better about who i am and how as a teacher how wonderfully that must have translated to her students, the ones who really count. 

Rest in Peace, Ramona. I'm grateful that I did get the chance to know you better beyond just Facebook and the school district and the union. I really thought we had at least a few more games of Scrabble at Bur's and many more cups of coffee at Starbucks. It's weird because I keep waiting for you to 'like' a post on Facebook or to send a text. I hope that somehow you are able to read all of the Facebook posts about how much you will be missed. I will miss you too. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

She Died Doing Something She Hated..... (explained in # 3)

Let's just start the list.

 I couldn't run one more step once i crossed that finish line. They caught me smiling but only because I am looking at Brian.

1. I turned 60 earlier this month. In January I decided to train for another half marathon AND I set a dream goal to place first in my age division. The race was last Sunday.

I gave it my all - to the point that i started to feel sick at mile 9 hill, so i slowed down.  It was a warm day, it was a hilly course, (which i  had totally forgotten from the time i ran it four years before). Crossing the finish line i still felt a bit ill, but at least not in danger of throwing up.

It was disappointing not to break two hours because i had been on track to do that before that 9 mile hill.  (My time was 2:03, five minutes slower 2013; average mile split time= 9:26).  When got home i received an email that evening congratulating me - my time was good enough to place first! AND when considering the younger division ahead of mine  - 85 runners both divisions, i placed 3rd. (Overall, including men, out of 1000+ runners, i was in the top third crossing the finish line, not too shabby for someone 60 years old. )

Running for me is mental as well as physical.  I kept a spreadsheet and compared it to my past training spreadsheets (no surprise for those who know me.) It's about time, not miles- i never have an idea of how fast i am running. I just record minutes.  This year i made sure i logged in more training time than i did four years ago because i knew i would need that mental advantage.

I cannot pretend to not be proud of what i accomplished.  I'm basically a lazy person (except for how cleaning and organizing stuff in my home) and I'm really not much of an overachiever or a competitor. Turning 60 this year was my motivation.

2. So i'm 60. And now i can retired from racing. I will NEVER run another one again. I have nothing more to prove to myself. It was too f*cking boring training that last couple of months during the long runs.

3. Here's the thing. I don't love running. I am not just saying that. Each morning i get up, put on my running clothes and then procrastinate for about three or four or five hours before i get out there. I've even been known to start dusting the whole house, under the beds, on top of the refrigerator and door jams - that kind of dusting, just to put it off.

I told Brian if i ever drop dead on a run ( like the famous Jim Fixx runner who wrote books) he should put in my obituary" "She died doing something she hated."

4. I do hope to be able to run just or exercise at least a couple of more years. I also am going to start yoga again, because it does make me feel better in the morning, even if it does stress me out with the folks who show up late and make noise at the Y. I might get some good blogging stories from yoga.

5 . Enough of running. Talking about running is as boring to people who don't run as it it would be to me if a Born Again Christian wanted to talk to me about Jesus.(Not that i don't love Jesus, i just don't like talking about Him as if He was my best friend.)  Truthfully, Jesus could very well be a best friend, considering that He can change water into wine. (Jesus are you reading my blog? )

6. Today Gregg Allman died. Chris Cornell last week. All so young. Makes me glad i am not so talented or married to someone who is super talented (though he is pretty talented). Too many demons, too short a life.

7. Today was about 84 degees outside. After THE WORST winter and spring on record. Not my opinion, it's a fact. Rained more these past seasons than 1895 or something like that. This week is the first time they have forecasted more than 5 days of sunshine with no rain since last September.

8. I love the sun, but i can't deny that i also love the rain. When you like to read a lot and binge watch Netflix and On Demand DVRs of ER (remember that show?)... you need a little rain and cloudy days so you don't feel guilty. (Last time i checked my DVR of ER there were 49 episodes saved! hahahahaha... See what i mean by lazy?)

9. The Best Thing that Happened: As mentioned, it was my birthday recently. My husband and i kind of go all out on each other's birthdays and Christmas, i think because we don't have kids.We have LOTS of gifts for each other, but some are funny, like for example - he knows i love Haribo gummie bears and so he always buys them and wraps them up. But the best thing he gave me this year is not a present at all. It's what he said.

We don't celebrate our anniversary with presents or cards or going out to dinner. I got this idea from the Yaya board years ago (I wish i knew whose idea it was.) I bought us each a very nice journal. Each year we write in it about our year, around our anniversary and capture what happened in the writing. We don't always exchange the journals and in fact haven't read them in i think two or three years, but we keep writing in them. What i like about this is that one day one of us will be dead and the other will have these journals to read for comfort. AND it also is a timeline and diary of what happened because we don't write flowery, poetic goofy shit, a lot of it is what we did in the way of remodeling - sometimes as silly as talking about bowling or watching American Idol, Brian's bands, etc.

This year he wrapped up the journal and said to me, "you don't have to read it yet but i wrote in there 60 things about you that i really like because you turned 60". And then he added this...and this WAS the present..... He said: "It was so easy to write 60 things."

I need to leave on that note. Baybee....I know you don't read this blog anymore but maybe if i die before you and you are reading this years from now, just know that THAT was the best gift ever. That you thought it was easy. Because i don't think many people, even my immediate family and friends think that.

More race photos:

Made it! 
First hill, around mile 2. Still with it. 


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Testing 1-2-3. I am going to start blogging again.

Even if no one is here, and why would they be since i have not been here since Dec. 3, 2016. But i think i want to start blogging more and doing Facebook less. I've been using FB as a blog anyway but i don't want some of the other stuff of FB so maybe if i blog i will check FB maybe less. I'll be back.