Sunday, November 20, 2011

My right foot, part 2

Three years ago, I wrote about how I faithfully read Runners' World magazine every month and how I wanted to be a runner. You can read that (if you want to) here. A thousand days later (more or less), I can now say I'm running. I may be a beginner, and I may be pathetically slow, but at least I'm doing it.

Thanks to a nifty Couch to 5K iPhone app and the Active Trainer, I'm now in week 3 of my running training program. I can run three whole minutes without stopping now - whee!!! I'm sure those of you who've been running awhile are probably guffawing, but if you know me, you understand that this is a big deal.

You see, I'm a person who's been plagued for years with issues with my right foot. I've sprained it, broken it, and even had surgery on it. I've had plantar fasciitis and tarsal tunnel syndrome. It's been a rough journey. But I can't blame everything on my right foot. Even when I was young and fit, I could never run more than a mile. Maybe because I didn't care to back then.

A few months ago, I visited with an orthopedist to discuss my right foot. After reviewing my very long case history, he took some new x-rays and gave me some good news: my right foot is perfectly healthy. He said there was no orthopedic reason that I shouldn't be able to run a little, if I followed a reasonable program. He fitted me in special brace that I could wear to keep my foot from wobbling, but so far (touch wood as my friend Eli says) I haven't needed it.

I'm paying close attention to my form now. I'm aware of how my entire body feels from the first nanosecond that my foot strikes the ground (at mid-foot, I've noticed) until it lifts off again and goes into the air. I've never paid attention like this before. Hopefully, if I can keep this focus, I can avoid future injuries. Maybe someday, I'll even run an entire 5K (supposedly, I'll be able to in six more weeks if I keep up with the program). Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Austrian wine

The Austrian seal of approval. :-)

It's usually challenging to find Austrian wine here, so we felt like we hit the jackpot at a Matthews wine shop last week.

Typically, if you're lucky you might find one shelf of Austrian wine, but here we found a whole section!

Most of the wines were from Niederösterreich (Lower Austria, the state that surrounds Vienna), including several from Krems.

Of course, seeing all this wine makes me want to go back to Austria . . .  now!!!

Unfortunately, I won't be making any trips across the pond anytime soon. Guess I'll have to console myself with an occasional glass of Grüner Veltliner or maybe try something new (to me) like the Blauer Zweigelt. At least I know where I can find it now. :-)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Peak weekend

It's peak fall color weekend in the Charlotte area. This was one of my views Friday morning. Our first "hard freeze" of the season was last night. It dipped down to 30F/-1C in Charlotte, and 24F/-4C at the farm. So it can be cold at night, but the temps are still quite warm (68-70F/20-21C) during the day. I know it won't last too much longer, but I sure do love fall. It's my favorite season!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Southern flavas

What will they think of next?!!! I haven't tried either of these, but I have to admit a certain curiosity. :-)

The burning bush

While traveling on Highway 51 in Matthews this past weekend, I spotted a colorful tree that stood apart from all the others. Thankfully, I was a passenger in the car and not the driver, so I put the window down and took these photos. Not bad considering I was in a moving vehicle! :-)

I have a special affinity for the trees whose leaves turn red. They're just so dramatic . . . especially when you live in the land of pine trees. Too bad the fall color doesn't last longer. I could get used to this view!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fall farm update

Dad's turnips are almost as big as your head.
The growing season may be over in some places, but not on our farm. We've got turnips, collard greens, lettuce and the most awesome cabbage ever!!! Some of the turnips are the size of small melons. I'll admit that I'm not the biggest fan of turnips . . . but maybe I just haven't found the right recipe yet.

Last weekend, we took the wood paneling down in the hallway of the farmhouse, and found some beautiful wood underneath! OK, so somebody painted it mint green a long time ago. And we found some termite damage in a few places, so some of the wood will have to be replaced.

I remember when the wood paneling was put up. It was 1971 or so . . . forty years ago! My Dad put it up, and this was our TV room for a few years until we moved into our new house. I remember watching TV shows like Laugh-In, Julia, UFO, and Little House on the Prairie on an old Sylvania black & white TV in this room!

Now that the weather's turning cooler, we'll be doing more indoor stuff. We've got a bunch of projects we want to do. It's hard to know where to start! We need to finish this room, and that will involve ripping up the floor and the ceiling, too. My head is spinning just thinking about it . . .