Thursday, January 29, 2015

Running and Weather

I woke up this morning at 5:30 when the cat settled onto my shoulder, his black, fuzzy face just inches from mine.
I reached for my phone and pressed the weather app. 27 degrees (-3Celcius)! That's practically a heat wave considering that I ran on Tuesday morning and it was 7 degrees (-14Celcius).
The app warned that snow or freezing rain were forecast for 7 a.m.
By the time I got out of bed, dressed and was dancing in the kitchen to Pitbull's "Time of Our Lives" before I headed out the door, it was 6:30.
As I headed down the walk, I felt a few thick drops hit my face and my lashes. Snow or rain was starting, but the roads were clear, so I joyfully ran about a mile and a half before the snowy mix increased. Soon, my hair was dripping and my fleece jacket hung heavy on my shoulders, but still, I was sweating from the run.
I stopped inside a bus shelter and pulled my fleece off, tying it around my waist.
I headed back toward home, feeling the icy material sticking to my thighs.
The black asphalt was shiny in places and I wondered whether I might slip. But each step felt fairly secure.
Then about half a mile from home, I felt a foot slide before the other one found a secure anchor. I stopped running and slid my feet along the street. Yep, solid ice.
I headed for the sidewalk, figuring I'd walk the rest of the way home. But the sidewalks were even more slippery, and as soon as I started walking, I felt the wetness of my clothes on my skin, the temperature still hovering around 27. Without the body heat from running, I felt sure I would soon succumb to hypothermia.
This was one of the first times that I felt like I had truly put myself in danger: soaking wet, 27-degree temperatures with icy roads.
There was nothing to it but to continue running in the hopes of keeping my body temperature up and getting home sooner.
So I headed back to the road. I changed my running stride. Rather than a lope, I was nearly running in place, bouncing up on each step then landing just inches in front of where I'd left. I was afraid to stretch out, picturing me ending up in a split if my front foot slid.
As cars passed close by, I tried to remind myself that if I fell I should roll toward my shoulder, rather than landing on my nose, like I did in September 2013. I figured, if I hit my head, I could just try to roll to the side of the road then the school kids would be on their way soon and they'd find me before I froze to death. (Yes, strange thoughts go through my head when I'm running alone in the dark freezing rain.)
Finally, I made it home. As I had run, I had come up with a plan. I knew that I couldn't hop into a hot shower with my skin so cold. I've experienced that burning and itching before. But I couldn't stay in my wet clothes. Luckily, I don't work until the evening today, so when I got home, I stripped off all my clothes, hung them on the clothes hamper and climbed into bed under the covers.
I stayed there for at least half an hour, until the skin on my stomach and thighs didn't feel cold to the touch any more.
By the time I finished a hot shower and got dressed, I was nearly human again. Earl texted me from his walk to the bus, "It's dangerous."
I tried to tell him.
I love running, but I know I need to be more aware of my surroundings and the weather before I take off in the mornings to enjoy an unfettered run.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday Intros -- Honeymoon in Paris

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.
Just yesterday I downloaded a book from the library, Honeymoon in Paris by JoJo Moyes. That's the first time I've borrowed a download,  and it was so simple. Then I went to the gym and hopped on the stationary bike, and before I knew it, I was almost finished with this short novel,
Here's the intro:
2002
Liv Halston holds tight to the guardrail of the Eiffel Tower, looks down through the diamond-strung wire at the whole of Paris laid out below, and wonders if anyone ever, has had a honeymoon as disastrous as this one.
Around her families of tourists squeal and duck back from the view, or lean against the mesh theatrically for their friends to take pictures, while an impassive secrity guard looks on. A glowering clump of storm clouds is moving toward them across the sky from the west. A brisk wind has turned her ears pink. 
It's a lovely escape to Paris with two honeymooning couples, one during 2002 and the other during 1912. The 1912 couple is the painter Edouard LeFevre and his shop-girl wife, Sophie, who was also his model.
I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else is reading.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Dreaming of France -- France on Pinterest

Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

One of the great things about being a Francophile is that there are so many other people who love France too. It's fun to make connections with them, to live vicariously through them, and to have them share my experiences too.
Mostly, I do that through my blog, and my novels, but today I made a discovery on Pinterest. There's a whole section called France full of people who are hankering for some Francetime, just like me.
My friend Sheila convinced me that I should join Pinterest to promote my books. She's on Pinterest because she's very crafty and also does interesting things with foods. I'm sure there are ways to promote my books on Pinterest, but I immediately got sucked into the France world.
I've created one "board" that's called "Places to Visit in 2015."
I put a map as the background and pinned 4 different places on it. I attached pictures to each place. Two of the places, I've never visited, so I could choose pictures from Pinterest. Two of the places, I've been before, so I uploaded my own pictures.
I'm not sure what to do with it now, but I guess we'll see what happens.
But the most fun will be looking at the things other people have posted. When I typed in "France," the screen that came up was full of exciting options about France. Many regions of France were represented too.

Okay, sorry, I'm back. After I posted that picture and the link, I went back to Pinterest and kind of got caught up reading the articles. And one of the new French words I learned was "hop," which is pronounced "up" and basically is used where we might mutter "okay" to ourselves. See how handy Pinterest is going to be, if I don't spend all my time reading the articles.
Hope everyone else has something lovely to share about France. Thanks for visiting and for leaving a comment. Please stop by the blogs of the others who share on Dreaming of France. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Still Laughing

It's nice to know that, after nearly 25 years of marriage, I can still make my husband laugh.
But the joke began a few days ago. From within the house, I heard a repetitive whining  noise.
"What is that?" I asked Earl.
He walked to the back door and saw a squirrel perched on the edge of the porch calling out.
"Maybe he's mad that there's no bird food on the ground," I suggested.
"Too bad we don't have any thing to feed him," Earl said.
We pondered the squirrel food question for a few minutes before I remembered the peanuts in the cabinet.
Not my picture. But adorable. http://ellecasey.com/squirrel/
Earl opened the door and threw some peanuts underneath the bird feeder. The squirrel, of course, ran away, but eventually made his way back to the grass where he gathered salted peanuts.
After that, the squirrel was a regular feature under the bird feeder. I'd see him every time I went out the back door to the garage or on a walk.
Tuesday morning I was headed toward the garage with Earl on our way to work and the little squirrel looked up expectantly.
"Hey Squirrelfriend," I said, in that voice you would say "Hey, girlfriend!"
And it cracked up Earl. Every time I saw him for the rest of the day, he would shake his head and say, "Squirrelfriend."