Friday, October 11, 2013

Lesson 264: Everything Has Changed

The warm glow of the fall is upon us, Readers.

The leaves are changing beautifully in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Autumn's splendor.

It really is something to see.

I snapped these photos in the Community Park, north of the Lamp Post.
The crowds have moved from the softball diamonds to the gridiron.  
The bleachers are empty.  
The dugouts, desolate.

The sky on Wednesday changed from blue to gold to this purple.

Moments later, when darkness fell, the moon appeared to give off a light of its own.

Upon a little further investigation (zooming), I found the reason.

I love writing this blog every Friday night.  I can see the moon from the Lamp Post window right now.  I like the quiet time alone to review the week.  The clicking of my fingers on the keys calms me as does the liquid in the green bottle sitting to my left.

Eloise enjoys responses from people about my posts and pictures.  Almost every week, I receive blog comments.  Most are anonymous.  I have my blogger account set to a "cannot reply" and cannot send a return e-mail.  This week, I got a comment worth mentioning.  It came from Palo Alto, California:

Al Roa said...
I Googled #AJO and came across your blog. I paid it forward here in Palo Alto, CA, at Starbucks. Great pics! Btw, we have a limited size bag policy out here at Stanford Stadium, but if you bring one it's searched by security.
Again, Alyssa O'Neill, thank you for the inspiration and motivation to promote kindness.  Because you lived, we are the better for it.  Amen.

October in northwestern Pennsylvania means small game hunting.  When I go for a run, I wear a circa 1970's hunting vest that used to belong to my father.  My parents who live next door, insist that I wear sufficient flame orange before I head out for a weekend trot.  My father hand delivered the vest to me several years ago. Like any daughter receiving unsought advice from a father, I rolled my eyes.  However, I have become very attached to this vest and it is my very favorite piece of colder weather running attire.  It fits loosely, is the perfect weight, and has pockets all the way around.  

My school district had a fall vacation day today, so Eloise set out on an early morning run.  I headed to my favorite colder weather spot--a nearby golf community subdivision, that sits atop a ridge and overlooks Lake Erie.  

I used to run this very subdivision day after day, alone.  The retirees that dominate the population got used to seeing me run by.  They would cheer and offer friendly comments as I'd trek by their manicured lawns and tastefully decorated, ranch style homes.  Their lap dogs would yap at me from inside their invisible fences. Offers of cups of coffee and blueberry muffins were a daily occurrence.  

I've been running more often with groups lately, and have not been to the subdivision in awhile.  I smiled this morning as a familiar face waved to me from inside her sparking clean picture window.  On my return trip through, this woman was waiting in the doorway for me.  "There you are!" she called.  "Norm and I have been worried about you!  We haven't seen you in awhile.  Were you hurt?"

The gentleman of the house, apparently named Norm, poked his head out from behind his wife.  "See any deer back there?" the familiar stranger questioned.

I stopped for a moment to tell the old familiar faces that I've found some running friends and have been trekking to different locations.  I assured them they'd be seeing more of Eloise (that subdivision has street lights), and they promised me a slice of pumpkin pie come Thanksgiving.

On Wednesdays, I reserve time to run with my daughters.  
We chased each other around the park this week.

Our Together Time is really one part movement and two parts Stop and Take Pictures.
The dandelions have gone to seed.

And Natalie can't resist watching the tiny umbrellas fly.

The sun was about to drop below the tree line and I was experimenting with camera angles.
Drat!  I kept getting pink sun spots, but I must admit, I do like this one.

And then Ellen stepped into the Just Right position.
I love this one.

The girls like to keep in shape by running a few miles a few times a week so they can participate in a 5K Race when one works with our schedule.  We always Save The Date for the Her Times 5K every year.  My friend Heather Cass organizes it.  It is a race out on the peninsula just for women every October.

This year it drew many of my teaching colleagues,

nieces and aunts,



and teammates.

The race is all about women encouraging one another.
If you've never participated in a 5K ladies, this would be a good race to try.

The Her Times attracts runners and walkers of various ages and fitness levels.  My sister Kenyan ran it this year.  She was at the front of the pack and finished 19th overall.  She always waits for us to finish (pees, changes her clothes, gets a snack, and then Eloise comes trotting in....).  Often Kenyan runs back to finish with us.  

Here is Kenyan (orange top) running in with Natalie.
Natalie is a natural runner and knows just what to do when she sprints to the chute.
Natalie usually finishes first.

Kenyan turns around to motivate Ellen.

And finally, a minute or so later, she finds her big sister.
She literally pushes me through the finish line.
Check out the expressions of the bystanders.......

This is Eloise, attempting to backhand her crazed sister.
Check out Jean, my sister in law.  She is looking for an escape route.
Can't say that I blame her.

Sibling relationships.

Gotta love them.

Of course this would be the very race that would become newsworthy for this reason:

Her Times 5k winners Aimee DeYoung, left, and Jill Brugger cross the finish line together at Presque Isle State Park in Erie on Oct. 5. DeYoung, 40, and Brugger, 34, said they'd never met before, but were battling back and forth throughout the race and decided to help each other finish strong in a tie. GREG WOHLFORD//ERIE TIMES-NEWS

Women getting fit and strong is good no matter how you finish.

Sam and his behavior chart (see below) gave Eloise an idea regarding women's clothing sizes. 
Instead of numbers like 2, 4, 6, and 8, Eloise suggests words instead:
Smokin' Hot!

Can you imagine?
  "I'm down 2 whole pants sizes!  I went from Awesomeness to Smokin' Hot!"

The denim industry needs Eloise.

My first grader made my family a copy of his classroom behavior visual reminder system.

This lovely piece is now in my living room.
Each member of our family has our name on a clothes pin, 
written in left-handed, first grade scrawl.

We "clip up" or "clip down" according to our behavior.
I got a clip down for letting a "dammit" slip out.
Dad got a clip down for not using his inside voice and being a poor sport.
(Hey!  The Pirates blew it!).
And Ellen.  Poor Ellen.  She can't seem to move up from Parent Contact no matter what she does.

For those joining me in my 58 Day Wellness Challenge, here is link to an excellent blog post on good health:

CLICK HERE to find some really honest and true health advice for women.  
The easy to read blog includes recipes and a shopping list, too!

The writer discusses what we are all after--to feel strong and healthy.
Girls, keep it up!
We will conquer the world!

My photos are set to a song by Taylor Swift---one young woman who holds the music world in her grasp.  

Taylor was my choice for the blog song this week for this reason:
On Tuesday, while radio surfing in my car, Taylor Swift songs were playing on 4 different Erie radio stations at the same time:
Classy 100
Star 104
Country 98
Happi 92.7

Now that is impressive!
So is this signature Coke can. (Eloise is a collector).

Let me know if you see it in Erie.  
I want the can, so let me know where you find it.
You can drink the Diet Coke (although I would not recommend it).
  I'll take the empty.

The song this week is from Taylor Swift's Red album.  It is called Everything Has Changed.  She sings with Ed Sheeran and they sound delightful together.  It's a catchy tune and it has been in my brain all week.

It is fall, and everything has changed.  That's fine though, because most of the time, change is for the better.

Fall in love with the fall this weekend,

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