Monthly Archives: November 2015

Happy 72 to ME!

A decade ago Donny took me to Paris via London for my 62nd birthday. We covered a lot of ground in the two nights and one day that we were in London. I decided it would be fun to title my LiveJournal post about it all London in Six Hundred and Sixty-Two minutes which of course we didn’t pace quite that fast but almost.


The London Eye makes a great halo!

The condensed version

1. Struggle out of bed
2. Eat complimentary hotel breakfast at 7th floor restaurant – great panoramic view looking west over the city
3. Buy bus ticket around the corner
4. Hop bus to London Bridge
5. Get bus map (finally) at London Bridge Station/ big and bustling
6. Leave station; Donny asks about old cathedral close by; I say it must be a lesser place as it is not noted on my walking tour guide
7. Walk down Nancy’s Steps (from Oliver Twist) to cathedral
8. Discover cathedral is Southwark, very important; Shakespeare’s brother and John Harvard (university founder) both worshipped here
9. Get nice private tour talk from Welcomer lady
10. Walk to St Mary Overie Dock where replica of Golden Hinde (Sir Francis Drake’s ship) is docked; very small, intimate place
11. Pass by rose window; remains of Bishop of Winchester’s Palace
12. Pass by The Clink, BofW’s personal prison
13. Continue walk along Thames, this whole area called Bankside; then outside London proper so not subject to city regulations
14. Have coffee at Starbucks next to Globe Theatre; not impressed with Globe
15. Finish coffee; walk round the corner; see real Globe; now impressed
16. Amazed at the three 17th century houses next door rather tucked away in the middle of all this commerce; they are for let; Provost Lodging
17. Note Cardinal’s Cap Alley; very narrow walkway typical of the 1500’s
18. Overwhelmed by Tate Gallery of Modern Art (will go inside another trip), partially housed in first London public power station; it is huge; we walk through garden
19. Cross Millennium Bridge; called wobbly bridge as it had to be closed for a year to fix constant wobbling that resulted from too many people on it at same time
20. Wonder about odd look of St Paul’s; as we get closer discover we have been looking at cloth façade covering sand blasting
21. Get city map from Tourist Information; at last a guide to the rest of London
22. Do not chose to pay fee to see St Paul’s inside; walk through garden
23. Head back toward Thames; pass St Andrew’s By-The-Wardrobe
24. Pass Blackfriars Bridge; walking is fun but the levels and lack of pedestrian crosswalks in places make it challenging; I tell Donny we need a 3-D map too
25. Find the river walk; pass many war memorials
26. Pass Somerset House
27. Pass Charing Cross Station
28. Marvel at Obelisk and history of it; make friends here with a lone tourist that we photograph on his camera phone in front of the adjacent Sphinx; he takes our picture
29. Pause across from the Eye; Donny takes my picture with it as my halo; see our friend and take his picture with Eye; decide not to cross over to find out why it is not running (even at night we never catch it running)
30. Approach Big Ben and House of Parliament
31. Turn away from river at Westminster Bridge
32. Circle Parliament Square noting protest signs
33. Walk around Westminster Abbey; do not pay to go in
34. Pass Jewel Tower which looks interesting but it is getting toward dusk and we have more to see
35. Confused about where Diana got married (I think St Paul’s as the steps are better for showing off the gown) we also cannot decide where her funeral service was held; Donny thinks he remembers a walk from Buckingham
36. Walk on to Westminster Cathedral which I have noticed on the map near Buckingham so maybe the service was here
37. Arrive at this Roman Catholic place of worship so beautiful in its red Byzantine style after walk down Victoria St
38. Photo interesting huge (wider than the church) flag spread out in cathedral outside entry courtyard (it is gone by the time we leave)
39. Happy there is no fee we go in; contributions to offset the daily operating costs (L3000) are welcome
40. Stop at adjacent McDonald’s (at the separate “McD’s Café” inside) for bathroom break
41. Need to shop for some gloves for Donny; we are in a shopping district and it flows toward Buckingham Palace; but no gloves are found here
42. Reach Buckingham Palace as a car is entering; much searching is going on; it is now dark and the whole scene is very clandestine-like
43. Have to backtrack on ourselves to simply cross the street to walk down The Mall
44. Walk down The Mall past St James Park toward Trafalgar Square; it is dark
45. Intend to see the tree in Trafalgar Square (which was lit yesterday) by night we come upon it just as we planned (it is tall but skinny)
46. Go inside St Martin’s in the Field which is diagonally across from the square
47. Hungry, we dine amongst the dead in the Crypt Café; we have stumbled upon the best in London for church meals; it is equal to a five star restaurant
48. Hustled out (but we did get to eat at a nice pace) because a sold out concert is about to start and the cafe is closing
49. Buy expensive StM’s academy and chorus Christmas cd in the bookstore as it is closing (the partially pulled down metal security doorway, literally, on Donny’s head as he walks into it leaving – nice bruise, no blood)
50. Head for Covent Garden which is supposed to be beautiful at night
51. Climb Duke of York steps
52. Consider theater tickets at Leicester Square
53. Would go to Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart but starts 6/12 (6 December)
54. Have been stopped three times(including once by a bus driver) for directions; we pass for Brits
55. Find gloves at a shop (Next) in Covent Garden
56. Weave our way through narrow cobblestone walkwaysinto the square
57. Photo tree from good side; side without garishly lit Santa (note Covent Garden literature also photos non-Santa side)
58. Aim for bus stop
59. Board bus to Shoreditch (Globe Theatre originally in this district) and hotel
60. Arrive at St Gregory
61. Shower and pack for early departure
62. Happy Birthday #62

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us marathon

Roughly the halfway mark. Yes, rain, wind, sun, no snow but hey why not OBX you threw everything else at us.

“Do not let that bus through!” Suzanne and I are in Manteo, the high school track is within reach of our bone tired bodies. As we approach the last intersection, we both silently beg the traffic officer to let us pass before allowing the bus to cross. We cannot bear the thought of even a momentary stop. The officer feels our pain, he holds up the bus. Victory is in our sights.

This is the final installment of the marathonettes adventures in training. Thanks for coming along. Suzanne did go on to run the next OBX Marathon with no walking start to finish. Her pace was always far superior to mine. Even when we ran on the beach during Beach Pump days she always finished first. Those were the days when I would question why was I even doing this and then follow up with telling myself that no one was making me do it, so stop whining. And quit eating so much junk food. Man up girl. I did. So much so that the year following our inaugural marathon run I became an official Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon series Rock Star. Then there were only five in the series to qualify, now there are too many to count. That and related stories in future posts. Here’s my LiveJournal entry about marathon day 2006. There’s also a link to a short video Donny took. He, Bill, Becki & Katelyn sang the National Anthem at the start.

Suzanne did better at 5:56:43. And at that she was pacing with me, so next marathon we turn her loose!

We came in 1372 and 1375 out of 1517 finishers, 889 men and 628 women.

I have the best family and friends!

They sent notes, made posters, sat in the cold downpour to see me dash by, saved balloons, took pictures, raced from spot to spot to spot my progress, waved from their cars and porches, cheering cheering cheering to the end.

At the finish Donny put my medal around my neck. That was special and sweet, probably the saving thing from me throwing up. Becki and the girls rushed onto the track to walk with me. And later I soaked in a huge bubble bath in their claw footed tub. Talk about a treat.

inaugural medal

My first finisher’s medal!

Last night Donny took me to dinner with Lynda & George. I can get used to this marathon pampering. Only 26.2 more miles to the high life.

I have a cousin who has run a 3:15 marathon. And she is just in it for the fun. Son Andrew is another stellar finisher at 3:38 for his first marathon. So there are family genes for those fast twitch muscles but I did not get any. Still my time was way under the official cut off. I never did best that which usually happens with marathon runners.

I was set to in San Antonio, my last marathon to date. I was having a great run without any walking then around mile 21 I noticed a girl keep stopping to stretch her ham strings and then run a sprint to make up time. Finally she started walking. I stopped and asked her if she was okay. She admitted to under training and her ham strings were tightening up. This was her first marathon. I offered to walk with her. She accepted and later admitted that she was ready to bail out when I came along. We didn’t talk much just walked the distance side by side.

I, of course, talked but only for a while. She told me her name but I couldn’t figure it out and didn’t want to ask her to keep repeating it or even spell it so I called her Austin which is where she was from. A new lawyer. That much I did learn before I figured out she needed companionship only, no conversation. She never cut me off just minced her words. She was channelling all of her energy into getting to the end. As we approached the last mile I wanted to cut loose and run but didn’t. We were in this together. “C’mon Austin we’ve got it.” I hung back and let her finish just ahead of me. She earned it.

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Oh DEAR the Marathonettes Are Trailing

deer perch“Sun screen,” Suzanne turns and whispers to me. We are looking for the marathon connecting trail out of Nags Head Woods. Sure we could ask but it’s more fun to find the make shift markers. We sort of know where it is but not exactly and so have found ourselves running out of trail. When Suzanne asks what should we do. I tell her we need to turn back. She has been following me because she doesn’t like the endless spider webs. They don’t bother me. Now that we have turned back Suzanne is in the lead. Why is she talking about sunscreen I wonder since we are in the shade of the trees. As I get closer to her she repeats, “Sun screen,” pointing upward. I look up and scream. I also instantly figure out that, “Don’t scream,” is what Suzanne has been actually saying.

suzanne deerA deer hunter complete with bow and total camouflage is sitting in a tree watching us. I tell him that we are looking for the marathon trail. He says that he is thinning the herd. We move on. Suzanne and I sprint for the car to get the camera, this is too good a photo opt to miss.

Of course he is not there when we get back we have ruined his quiet woods, but his perch is, “Let’s climb up,” Suzanne urges me. This time I am the hesitant one. What if he comes back. He has a bow. He looks fierce with his face all blackened. Finally I relent. After all it’s an opportunity not to be missed. Probably my favorite story of our training adventures.

Along the way we have run at night. We have run in the early morning on golf course cart trails. We have run in circles to round out the needed miles on our Garmin. We have run past the famous yellow house in Nags Head Woods more times than we want to know. We even got a look inside before it got boarded up.

night running mirror usyellow house wild horse and us  virginiapup and bike

We have found the wild horse hangout behind the dunes in Corolla after which for a lark we drove eleven miles up the beach to Virginia. Yes we could have run but it was unknown to us and we wanted to scope it out first. And then we just never got back to run on that flat glorious beach. On another training day we spy a guy and his dog biking. We drool over the idea of cycling over running but both of us want to be the one in the basket so we jog on.

We have gotten lost. We have lost things. And found them again even when not looking.

1. one cheap watch lost and found when not even bothering to look for it.
2. one expensive digital camera lost and found when seriously looking for it
3. one jacket lost and found when neither of us even realized it was lost (we were circling the monument that day too)
4. one crystal lost, among the briars we thought, and then found in the laundry weeks later (okay so not while running but still found)
5. one 5K bib lost and then found two weeks later quite by happenstance.
6. AND, the latest, one gel energy pack lost but not worth looking for when we discovered the casualty miles later. Curses, I think, there goes our perfect l&f record. We’ll never find such a small thing, it could be anywhere. Oh me of little faith, upon our return, which was not an exact repeat of the going out course, we find ourselves eventually back on the original trail anyway and therein layeth the lost gel pack squished once by a bicycle but mostly intact.

We take all this to signify, we occasionally wander but are pretty much on the right course.

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Filed under OBX Marathon 2006, Running

We’re Hot Very HOT


“I talked,” Suzanne tells me wide eyed. I look at her puzzled, she talks all the time. Not as much as me, but she carries her share of the conversation. When we start our training Suzanne tells Jack, her husband, that before it’s all over she and I will know everything and more about each other. And we do for sure cover a lot of territory. But this is her confession after we wave the runner below on his way. “You don’t understand,” she continues. “I don’t talk to people. Ever. I just can’t. It makes me too nervous.” I tell her that she talked to the runner very competently. A big smile spreads across her face. Marathon training brings all sorts of bonus victories.

About 1/2 way into our run we see a guy coming towards us. There’s a real runner proclaims S. As he approached he flags us down and asks if we run this route regularly. At our nod he asks if we know where the Marathon starts. Boy, has he ever asked the right people. We tell him and then discover he doesn’t know about the connecting path to KH and the start. He is delighted as he usually stops short of it and turns around.

Our new friend is visiting his parent’s home nearby. S is right, he is a real runner. He has run 15 marathons, he has run Boston, he has run 70 miles straight. He admires my Garmin and we compare notes on my new model versus his older one. We wave goodbye and continue on.

We’re in, we grin. We are recognized as real runners!

first metal

My first ever medal

Suzanne & I have agreed that running some smaller real races before the main event is a good plan and sign up for several local ones. We do well placing in our age brackets regardless of the competition. Below a tiny comedic post about the SandBar 5K our last small race before we run the Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll half as prep for the OBX Marathon.

Rising tide, a small gale blowing, too many runners with a hard stride digging holes in the sand made this a tough race. But we prevailed. S came in third in her division. I’m not sure whether my right or left leg crossed first but at any rate I beat myself to win 1st place in my division.

This is a recap of our first long run from Kitty Hawk to Corolla where Jack works.

It’s been awhile. We’ve been trying to keep up but the summer schedule makes it a challenge sometimes, plus humid hot weather is not runner friendly.

early morningToday we bite the bullet and head north alongside a spectacular sunrise. We’ve started early, we want to reach our goal before it gets too hot.

20.5 miles later we’re there. Along the way, we get our feet soaked by the incoming tide, run bare foot awhile to let socks and shoes dry out some, discover the Audubon trail in quackerland, dart across an airfield, get lost in PI, lose the trail entirely after that and have to resort to roadside shoulder trekking, and finally, finally reached the birthday boy, Jack.

Sore toes and a few chafes are our only casualties. We’re hot, oh yeah very hot.

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Pride Goeth Before the SPRINT

keep out

Signs before the winding drive we dared to wander down. That’s not for us. It’s for everyone else. And what we found at the end.

“RUN I shout to Suzanne!” She does not need a second urging. We are well into our training and some days are just so boring that we create diversions. Or rather I do and Suzanne gamely follows along. Two classics from my other former blog, SandyBeachGirl on Blogspot, for your reading adventure.

So what do the Marathonettes do when they are hot and tired and still need to add some miles to their log?

They create an adventure.

The driveway is an off shoot of one of our favorite running spots when the heat’s on, Old Nags Head Woods Road. We try to turn down it on pre-5K day thinking it is the path to the meadow, only to be rebuffed by a not so friendly lady who happens to be driving out just as we turn in. Go, go, she waves us off. Okay, okay.

Curiosity reigns today and we wander down the curving paved lane, looking for bail out places and seeing nothing but dense undergrowth and marshy bamboo. Still we venture on. S more cautious than I.

We’ll turn back after the next bend, I assure S. We just need to see what that lady is protecting. S being a good sport, grabs a few sticks to thwart the imaginary or otherwise dogs and we keep going. The lane twists more than Colington Road. And then we hear it. The sound of a vehicle coming toward us. No!

Run, I shout to S who needs no prompting. We are sprinting at an amazing pace back up the lane. I realize we are not going to make the main road before being overtaken. Slow down, I shout, look like we’re just out for a run. We’ll look less guilty that way. We slow to a fast run, the vehicle stays behind us. By this time we are near the road, one steep hill and we’re out. We turn right knowing there is no vehicle outlet that way and keep running. The vehicle turns left. We round a bend and stop. Did you look? No, did you? No. Well, they’re gone now. Let’s go back.

We return and venture down the lane again. Finally we can see a sprawling house and the sound just beyond. The view is flat and panoramic with just enough trees to be breezy looking. The lane has yet more bends but we stop in a clearing and take pictures. Close enough for today we decide. We jog back to the road.

How’d you like that hill training, I grin at S

And then there’s this one.

more us

We were spot on with the selfies before the word was even a thing. Trend setters that’s us.

We were into about mile 15/16 of an 18 mile run. We were pretty tired and were doing some walking in our standard Jeff Galloway run/walk mode. We hear these gals start out for a morning walk somewhere behind us. We’re moving at a nice walk pace. They’re chatting and walking, typical gal stuff.

We’re at the point on our run where a few single words say it all, but actually we’ve minced even those, we’ve been quiet for awhile both thinking about tired feet and cool water.

We have to run, I whisper.

I know. They’re gaining on us.

Just til they’re out of sight.

Yeah, we can’t let them pass us.

I know.

Sheez, the things we do in the name of pride

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Wanna Go For a RUN?

with lydia

Suzanne, Lydia (future figure skating star already in training) and me.

“We’re going to have a marathon!” my friend Lynda Wood grins at me, “but you can’t tell anyone yet.” The year is 2006, Lynda is the force behind the newly formed Outer Banks Education Foundation. DCEF’s then director, Amy Montgomery, has pitched this money making idea to the board. They love it even knowing how much work it will involve to get it in place. “We are still dialoguing with town officials and all the other players,” Lynda wraps up her secret. I have absolutely no hesitation that she will convince everyone to get on board and of course that is exactly what happens.

A marathon event intrigues me ever since seeing Frank Shorter win in 1972. I happen to have our newly acquired first ever color television turned on, actually it is such a novelty that we have it turned on more times than not. And there he is all alone turning into olympic stadium running passed cheering crowds that line the street. I am hooked. That looks like such a thrilling moment. But of course marathon running is for Olympians and their like, never mere mortals such as myself.

Until my dental hygienist can not contain her excitement as she cleans my teeth. “Right here in our own back yard,” she is so excited. I ponder. I consider. She is a runner. Me not so much. But wait I do run with Stephanie and the girls on Saturday morning. In her intense Beach Pump class, think bootcamp, we are put through our paces including running on the beach.

I can do this, I reason. But I need a training partner. I buttonhole Suzanne Deiss, fellow Beach Pump attendee as well as every other class the girls at the rec center offer. I’ve known Suzanne a long time. Jackie Sue was in my swimming classes. But I don’t know her that well. Still I catch her in a private moment and throw out my idea. She doesn’t take long to answer. We’re a team.

keep out me runhill run hill marker castle We are confident but have absolutely no clue about what we’re doing, and so we tell no one for weeks. Just in case we decide to quit, or worse fail. And then one day in class Denise DePedro point blank asks me if we’re training for the marathon. We fess up and now realize that we’ve got to make good on our intent. There’s no turning back.

We are so green in the beginning that we don’t even know about the sweeper. We think that if worse comes to worse we can walk the entire way. But we learn that the sweeper will pick you up if you’re too slow. Great. Now we have to really train seriously. We read books, I cruise the internet. We make a plan. And along the way some pretty hilarious things happen. As Jackie Sue, Suzanne’s daughter, tells her mom, “Mom when you go running with Sandy I never know when you’ll be back.” She may as well have added, “Or what mischief you’ll get into.”

She’s right. Most any adventure with me is a SandyBeachGirl experience. One time during our training we’re at the Youth Center having a water break when a guy drives up and puts down his window. “You’re SandyBeachGirl, right?” I look at him. How does he know that I ask. “Your pony tails.” Oh those, well I do aim to entertain. More on this particular SBG adventure soon.

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Filed under Beach Life, Life, Running


jeff and gang

Jeff Galloway seminar April 2006 Dare County Beach Youth Center

“We can walk 26.2 miles,” I tell my workout class friend Suzanne begging her to join me in training for the inaugural OBX Marathon scheduled for Veteran’s Day weekend 2006. Good friend that she is, she agrees and we begin what proves to be eight months of work, silliness and success. Neither of us know a thing about training for a marathon but we exercise every weekday together and run Saturday mornings in Stephanie’s Beach Pump, the original OBX bootcamp. We’re not worried, we’ll figure it out as we go along. Still at first we don’t tell a single soul what we’ve cooked up. Digging around in the archives of my LiveJournal posts I come up with this post shortly after the start of our training journey.

Suzanne Deiss and I are officially training for the first ever OBX Marathon. A trip to the dentist and a chat while getting my teeth cleaned (okay a listen) had me agreeing with Caryn. Imagine the T-shirt!

At first Suzanne and I were going to walk it (how hard could that be?) But pride got in the way and we decided that at the very least jogging (which is my form of running) would get us there before dark maybe and look a lot better.

We did some research and started training. Imagine our surprise when we found out that Olympian, Jeff Galloway, whom we both had discovered independently (me online, Suzanne in a running magazine, and had really liked his approach) was coming to the Youth Center, our home away from home, to do a workshop.

And so we spent today getting tips from and being evaluated by running guru Jeff. We are floating across the finish line.

At the workshop, we learn that Jeff, an avid coffee drinker, is less than enthused with his morning java. I call Donny and he rises to the occasion promptly. He brings Jeff some real coffee and also takes a group photo for us. Jeff is awesome. He give us permission, no urges us, to incorporate a run walk time pattern into our system. He explains that switching out muscle groups keeps any one set from getting too fatigued. Brilliant. Suzanne and I are sold. Future posts will take you along on our adventures but today is about Jeff, our savior.

Jeff will be back on the Outer Banks in a few weeks and I urge you to sign up for his course. I can tell you from first hand experience, thanks to John Gillam who made all the arrangements including having Jeff and his amazing wife Barbara as house guests, that your investment will not be wasted. John & Muffin even arranged for us all to have cocktails at their home with Jeff and Barbara. Circumstances saw only six enjoying this lovely intimate evening which actually turned out to be incredible fun. Casually hanging out with such a down to earth icon. It just doesn’t get much better than that.



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Yo, I GOT This!

cat“Ma’am you cannot be up there!” I’m in Harris-Teeter trying to get our favorite Liberte lemon yogurt from its top shelf banishment. The only way to reach it is to climb on the very sturdy bottom of the refrigeration door. The stock is so high up even Donny cannot reach to the back of that shelf. But I’m careful. I’ve learned my lesson about unreliable top shelf ventures so documented in a LiveJournal entry that recently surfaced.

I went on my daily Thanksgiving store run this morning to knock off the latest list which included one more glass pie dish.

All that were left were green glass ones. I don’t care that they are in that designer gal’s line, I did not want a green pie dish. It is not a good pie dish color even if you are making a key lime pie, which I am not. Resignedly I put the dish in my buggy but then happily spy clear glass pie dishes on a top shelf.

Excellent! Just what I want. But I cannot reach the top shelf without stepping on the edge of the bottom shelf. That works except for the fact that on top of the stack of pie dishes is a set of three glass mixing bowls nested together under shrink wrap. The entire stack is just a bit too tall for me to lift off the bowls and get a pie dish even with the aid of the bottom shelf.

Of course there is no one around to help. On the opposite shelf are boxes of dishes that look sturdy enough to stand on. I move one in place and carefully lift off the set of bowls. Perfect…until the set starts slipping…right out of my hands.

This happens in excruciatingly slow motion.

puppiesI have time, or so it seems, to consider options to make the save. I want to leap off of the box, snatch the flying bowls midair, and neatly land on my feet. I do not feel this will happen quite as I envision and thus abandon the plan. I really do not want the bowls to hit the floor but they pay me no mind and land with an extremely loud crash.

I jump off of the box as two sales ladies immediately appear from around the corner asking if I am okay. Sure, if you don’t count chagrin and mortification. The bowls are smashed beyond recognition but luckily 99.9% of the glass is still under shrink wrap.

I apologize as I hastily return the borrowed box to its shelf. The sales ladies are too concerned that I am okay to care about the box, the bowls or what I was looking for. Of course I am okay. I only dropped my dignity.

I woefully look up at the out of reach pie dishes. The ladies are busy cleaning up. I decide to stick with the wrong, wrong, wrong green dish and move on to look at CD players. So okay the green dish is not completely wrong. It is after all a glass pie dish.

kittenCD player acquired I suddenly think about the button batteries I have finally remembered to get for our clock army. They are back on the pie dish aisle. I must go back. It has taken me forever to finally complete this task despite numerous notes to myself and every reminder I could come up with, including leaving the dead clocks by the back door where everyone got to look at their sad faces for months on end. The batteries were my first stop in the store and as they were much too small to put into the cart, I had been carrying them around in my hand. When I decided to tackle the pie dish issue I put the batteries in a baking dish. I could go back to the watch counter for more but that would leave the baking dish batteries homeless.

Bravely I return. The ladies are gone as is all the evidence of my clumsiness. And there, is the path I have cleared to the clear pie dishes. I put the green one back, get a clear one, scoop up the patiently waiting batteries and go to check out.

At the check out counter the cashier asks if I want a warranty for my CD player. It’s only $7.99. I never use them, but I feel a tiny bit bad about the smashed bowls. Still I have gotten the right pie dish free and clear. Well almost, I buy the warranty.

So I get busted at The Teeter. My new strategy becomes to reach what I can every time I shop. Our supply stays steady but low. And then I see a different stock clerk using the same refrigeration door step plan as me. Yo! I’m back in business.

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