Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grandparenting.

The cookie recipes are a bonus!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tuesday’s Training Tip: Get a Tennis Ball



If you’ve been training for a few weeks chances are you’ve had to deal with some aches and pains. Today's tip suggests it might be time to get a tennis ball.  You could be surprised at the many uses of these brightly colored orbs.  They’re not just for tennis players anymore!

Reasons to use tennis ball …
  • It fits under your foot and can be used to massage from heel to toe while sitting in a chair, even at work.  (I didn’t believe it until I tried it!)
  • A tennis ball can isolate sore spots in the upper calf.  Sit on the floor and roll it around under your leg.
  • Hamstrings – It works for these guys, too.
  • Gluts – Bye Bye, Sciatica! Position the tennis ball under your left or right Gluteus Maximus and roll around until you find the sore spot. You’ll know it!  Hold that position until you feel the muscle relax. Your nerve will thank you.
  • Tennis balls are inexpensive.
  • You can pack them in your purse, pocket, or gym bag.
  • When you are not using them for massage, they are a cheap form of entertainment.  You might want to learn to juggle – or not.
Don’t let those aches and pains go for too long.  If you don’t find relief quickly with your home remedies, seek help from someone who knows more than you.  Your family physician, massage therapists, and even the pros at your favorite running store should be able to help. Try a tennis ball first.  You don’t have to wait for an appointment and you can afford it.
Tune in every Tuesday for more training tips and visit my Training Tips page to find all the tips you may have missed.
Question: Do you have a training tip you would like to share?

Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grand-parenting. The cookie recipes are a bonus!

Happy Running!
Carol - aka Running Granny Green
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Monday, March 30, 2015

Miles from a Runner’s Perspective


 
Becoming a runner did some funny things to my brain.  It changed my perspective on a lot of things, especially miles. I recently ran across a quote that went something like this, “You know you’re a runner if you’ve ever seen a sign indicating the miles to the next town, exit, etc. and thought – I could run that.” It’s true, I’ve had those thoughts.
Runners track miles to know when to buy new running shoes or how many days until the next race. We even use them to gauge whether or not we can eat dessert.
There are miles we don’t track because we think they don’t count.  Unlike someone who walks for exercise (and I applaud all walkers, bikers, and swimmers for getting things moving) we runners do not count every step. When a walker tells you she did three miles, you can be confident that is exactly how far she walked. If a swimmer reports a mile swim, he probably did just that.  Bikers count their miles, too.
A runner makes a strong distinction between running and walking.  Although walking is a form of exercise, we usually discount those miles. 

Let me give you an example.
My running buddy, Susan, and I went for a four mile run last week. We walked to our meeting place a few hundred yards between our homes.  Those yards don’t count because we were not officially on our run, nor had we chosen our route.  We chose a four mile loop and walked a half mile to the starting point.  That half mile doesn’t count because we were only warming up and had not started running.  The loop brought us back to the starting point and we walked the half mile cool down back to where we met earlier.  The cool down half mile doesn’t count because we were not running. Then we stretched for a few minutes and each walked another few hundred yards to our home.  We covered about 5.5 miles. We reported a four mile run.
It occurred to me that this is common practice not only amongst runners, but amongst many of us, especially women.  We often discount our efforts or talents because we don’t think they are worthy or as good as someone else’s efforts or talents. We are afraid we may not measure up to the expectations of others, or worse yet, that we will never measure up to our own expectations.
Perhaps it is time to count all the miles, all the efforts, all the talents and give them the respect they deserve.  You may discover a different perspective.  Perhaps the runner in you should accept that sometimes it’s okay to walk a few miles, because even walking is progression.
Question: What things do you discount that ought to receive greater respect?
HAPPY RUNNING!
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Friday, March 27, 2015

Food Friday: Time to plant a garden


I
How does your garden grow?

 
It’s Food Friday and I am asking this question, “Have you planted your garden yet?” It’s that time of year.  I know it’s a lot of work, but the benefits of your own garden are bounteous. Here are a few reasons to grow your own vegetables this year:
  • Vegetables are healthier than cookies.
  • Gardening is a form of cross training.
  • Vegetables in the garden are cheaper than a trip to the grocery store.
  • You don’t have to mow grass where your garden grows.
  • The neighbors will think you are resourceful.
  • Overabundance of vegetables provides an opportunity for charity.  Give them to your neighbors.
Planting a garden is a sign of hope.  Hope that there will be water for the growing season. Hope that you will be around to harvest your crop.  Hope that seeds will germinate and grow. Hope in the future.
What are you waiting for?  Get your garden planted and watch it grow!

Question: What vegetables do you ALWAYS plant in your garden?

Read all my Food Friday posts HERE.

Happy Running!

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Guest Blogger: Jennifer shares some thoughts on happiness

My first Guest Blogger, Jennifer is back today with a few thoughts about happiness! Jennifer hails from Utah, but began her journey in Parma, Idaho.  Thank you, Jennifer, for contributing this week!


Well, hello again Friends!
When Carol asked me to guest post again I honestly had the hardest time coming up with a topic.  I like to think I’m pretty clever, but when you’re preparing a post for another person’s blog there seems to be a little bit of pressure that comes with it.  So I decided to treat it like I would if someone asked me to speak in church and told me I was free to choose my topic.  My guidelines for that situation is that it must be:

1-      Something I truly believe in.

2-      Something relevant to my life.

3-      Something that is appropriate and not TOO embarrassing.

------------------------------------------------------

I was standing in line at Target on Saturday and was casually listening to the conversation that the cashier and a shopper were having.  They were talking about life and getting super personal about marriage.  I’m not sure how it came up; maybe they knew each other. I just pretended to be really interested in the jerky and candy assortment in the checkout area so they didn’t get creeped out by my intense listening.  The conversation got really juicy when the cashier asked the shopper how many times she’d been married.  Long story short, I found out that they were both currently married to their second husband.  The cashier then said, “Yeah, they say the second marriage is the best and happiest marriage.”  The shopper agreed but then they went on to talk about how both of them were beaten in their first marriages and they now disagree and fight a lot in their second marriage. But boy, are they happier!
I didn’t even know what to say to the cashier when it was my turn to purchase my items because I was so sad for her.

I know it’s not my place to judge.  I know that my life isn’t better than theirs and that I’m not perfect.  I don’t know their lives, the situations that they really are in and the choices they have made to get them there. I do know, however, that life is short and we deserve to be happy and to be treated with respect.  There is nothing I hate more than settling.  OK, I also hate whales, “50 Shades of Grey,” drive-thru windows, and the stalky white part of romaine lettuce.  We’ll save that for another day.

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been judged for being “too picky” just because I’m single or people have given me sad puppy eyes because they think I’m some lonely old cat lady without a husband or kids.  Newsflash! I don’t have cats either.  I have a roommate I barely talk too and a picture of a bunny wearing a crown on the wallpaper of my phone because I can’t even commit to a pet right now.  That’s apartment life for you.  Oh, and did I mention that I don’t date? I don’t do anything to try to date but you get what I’m saying. I’m not picky, nor would I ever settle, and I would never wish someone to be in a relationship just for the sake of being in one.  I see this a lot and it makes me sad and a little angry.
No matter what faith you belong to, I hope you believe that there is something bigger than you out in the universe, that you are here for a reason, and that you are unique and special.  For me, I believe that God put us on this Earth and He wants us to be happy, to be kind to others, and to be kind to ourselves.  This can be hard.  People do rotten things sometimes. We get bugged by the way we look, we get down on the way our life is going because we think we are meant to do so much more or because we are comparing our successes to someone else’s.  And, “Why can’t we find our (immortal) Augustus Waters for crying out loud?!”  The truth is that life isn’t a feel-good movie.  Life isn’t perfect, but we can make choices that will help us have a happier life.

If someone in your life is making you feel like you aren’t a special creation of worth who is loved by God and others, then I believe you should seriously reevaluate that relationship.  I’m talking friendly or romantic here, people.  I think the best thing I’ve learned in my life is that if you truly love someone then you should be able to be open and honest with them about anything.  If someone you love is treating you like garbage or is making you feel sad then you need to talk about it!  Don’t tip-toe around it and hold your feelings in and only confide in the cashier at Target or other irrelevant people.  Be an adult and go to the source to solve the issue.  You can do it in a loving way without blaming.  Simply state what you’re having a hard time with.  Someone who truly loves you will work on it and try to do better.

When all is said and you’ve given 100% and if they still aren’t willing to meet you there ... then you do what you’ve got to do. (#BYEFELICIA). Please don’t just settle with unhappy friendships, relationships or situations just because you’re worried about what people will think or because you’re afraid of it getting worse. The world is filled with so many people and we aren’t meant to be besties with every one of them.  We are, however, meant to have a happy life filled with wonderful people we love and who love us back.
If you aren’t willing to have the conversation then you should really evaluate the relationship.  Do you really love them?  Do you respect and love yourself? Please find someone to talk to about this if the answer to these questions are no and you still can’t walk away.  I most likely don’t know you but I really believe that you are worth something.  Picture what advice you would give your best friend if they were in your same situation. You would probably tell them how they are worth way more and that they deserve better and to be happy. I bet you would.  Try to take that advice!  You should treat yourself like your best friend—a concept I’m still working to achieve.

{Now, I don’t want to downplay abuse at all.  If you’re scared and can’t find a way out then please seek professional help or go to another loved one who will help you get out of the situation safely. Abuse is disgusting and should never be tolerated.}
Resentment is gross and takes too much time.  Cut it out.  Find your worth and believe in it.  Try to be kind even when it hurts.  Respect others and expect that same respect back.

You, my dear, deserve to be happy :)
Jennifer Hansen :)

You can read more and follow Jennifer's own blog at Anything But Ordinary ! Find her first guest post HERE.
Stop by each Thursday to see what the rest of my Guest Bloggers have to say.
Happy Running!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How do you find time to write?


A pre-published author recently asked, “How do you find time to write?  When do you write?”  I don’t think the answer is in finding time. I believe it lies in making time for writing.  This can be easier said than done.
Momentum is a challenging thing, especially in the writing/publishing/marketing world.  I published my third book two months ago. I finished the writing and publishing process and launched into marketing mode.  As soon as my focus turned to marketing, my writing efforts were put on the back burner.  Although this is a natural flow, the busyness of marketing can derail future publishing efforts if the writer does not stay focused on her long term goals.
Here are a few ideas that help me keep writing.
Set goals – Whether your goal is to publish one book a year or write 5000 words a day, a defined goal will motivate you to press forward.
Make a schedule – This schedule can be fluid to allow for unforeseen interruptions, but an editorial schedule for your blog or a timeline for book chapters will keep you in your writing seat, especially if that schedule has been shared with someone.
Share your goals or schedules – Yes! Tell someone what you plan to do and then go about doing it.  Whether that someone is a book coach, your blog readers, or your significant other the fact that they know about your plan will hold you accountable, even if they have forgotten!
Have more than one project – We creative types can have trouble with goals and schedules that seem to confine us.  Perhaps that is why we need them so badly. A variety of writing projects can lend a sense of freedom to your goals and schedules.  When you don’t feel like working on your next book, you can work on your next blog post or press release. Be mindful, however, that you don’t get caught in Uncompleted Multi-tasking land! We creative types have trouble with that as well.
I am happy to announce that amongst the busyness of book marketing and blogging I have begun writing my next book.  I am carving out, or finding time to write each week so I can work on my long term project while meeting the editorial schedule of this blog and finding new ways to market my existing books. Watch for excerpts in the next few weeks. This one is going to be fun!
Question: Do you have a trick that helps you stay on task?  Share it in the comments below.
You can find The Hard Run and other books by Carol M Green on Amazon, Kindle, and in her Etsy shop.
Happy Writing!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuesdays Training Tip: Read something inspiring


That’s right, I said READ something inspiring.  I’m not talking about a fortune cookie, or a subway print found on Pinterest, or even this blog – although I am grateful you are here!  I’m talking about reading a book that inspires you and leaves you wanting to do and be more.
My daughter sent me a text to tell me her six year-old can read Green Eggs and Ham.  It’s one of my favorites, 1) because it is challenging and entertaining to read aloud, and 2) its message is to try new things.  I love to read it to my grandchildren and now they can begin to read it to me.

I once read “Mary Kay” by Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics. It left me feeling encouraged and capable.

The Hobbit brought my nightmares to life and taught me that everyone has talents and purpose. I haven’t read it as many times as I’ve read Green Eggs and Ham or my favorite book of scripture, but it’s a repeated read.

I am currently reading Running the Edge loaned to me be a cousin of one of the authors.  I’m learning some things about running that I did not know.
Why read as part of a training plan? 

Reading something that inspires, uplifts, or encourages doing ones best helps her stay on the path both mentally and physically. Sometimes we need a mental or emotional boost to keep doing things that are hard, and running is hard, but it’s worth it!

Question: Have you read a book that truly inspired you?

Tune in every Tuesday for more training tips and visit my Training Tips page to find all the tips you may have missed.
Happy Running!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Book excerpt: When Pain Means STOP!



This excerpt from The Hard Run: Painful Lessons from a Running Granny, is the introduction to the first section of the book. Enjoy!

When Pain Means STOP! 

When I began running in my late forties I developed a new relationship with pain. I had opportunities to reflect on many new and unusual types of discomfort. It is not that I had never suffered unease before.  One doesn’t reach her late forties without a few of life’s bumps and bruises. The running pains simply offered new insights into the other kinds of pains that life presents. Running allowed me time to reflect upon the various things that cause discomfort, the relationship that I had with discomfort, and the need to endure or change the circumstances surrounding each kind of discomfort.

 Pain is a funny thing. It is difficult to measure, especially when it is being experienced by someone else.  Some medical caregivers have adopted a Smilie face chart to help identify the level of discomfort a patient is experiencing. They compare the expression on the patient’s face to a caricature on a poster in an attempt to assess the patient’s pain level. Unfortunately, caregivers are not always familiar enough with the patient to discern the nature of his or her expression. Perhaps, the patient is simply unhappy with the misfortune of being in need of care. Another tool used for assessing pain is a number scale. The patient is asked to rate their pain with ten being the worst pain they have ever experienced and one indicating no discomfort. These assessments can help, but pain and discomfort are difficult to compare from one individual to another. Some people are as disturbed by the anticipation of pain as by the actual physical irritation. Others have a high tolerance for aches and irritations, while some are uncomfortable with any divergence from their normal level of well-being. I don’t understand what makes you hurt, nor do you understand what bothers me most and that is what makes pain so difficult to measure.

I have learned that discomfort is mostly a signal that something has changed.  Something physical or emotional is different than usual and we don’t like the way it feels. Naturally, the sufferer wants the discomfort to stop.  In many situations, eliminating the thing that is causing the hurt is the best practice. Allowing a wound to heal, removing the offender whether it is inanimate or human, or taking the sufferer out of the uncomfortable situation are all ways that the pain can be stopped.

This section of the book is dedicated to sharing experiences that illustrate when and how pain should and can be eliminated by stopping the very activity that is causing the discomfort. The challenge is learning to discern when stopping is truly the answer.
You can find The Hard Run and other books by Carol M Green on Amazon, Kindle, and in her Etsy shop.

Happy Running!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tuesdays Training Tip: Examine your soles


Welcome to Tuesday’s Training Tip!  Today’s tip is to examine your soles. Take a look at the tread wear on the bottom of your running shoes. It can tell you a lot!
If you’ve been following this blog then you already know that I have been whining about Achilles tendonitis. You also know that I recently felt impressed to take a look at the wear patterns on my shoes.  The wear patterns indicated that I was heel striking with my left foot – pounding away at an already inflamed Achilles tendon.  (Notice the smoothness on the heel of the left shoe in the photo above.) The wear pattern showed me that I needed to change my gait or run a little lighter so I could land on the middle of my foot. I have made a conscious effort to do that and the tendon is improving!
Here are a few things you can learn by examining the soles of your running shoes.
·         Do you need to make corrections in your form?  Ideally, the wear pattern should be generalized with more wear in the middle of the shoe.

·         Are you favoring one leg?  Wear patterns should be similar on both shoes.

·         Do you need a different style of running shoe?  You made need help with this decision.  Take your worn shoes to a running store and have them help you discover which shoe is best for you. It’s worth it!

·         Is it time for new shoes?  If you have worn through any layers of the sole, you are past due!  Go get some new shoes!
The right pair of shoes coupled with proper form will help to keep you running and injury free.

Tune in every Tuesday for more training tips and visit my Training Tips page to find all the tips you may have missed.


Question: Do you have a training tip you would like to share?
Happy Running!
Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Book Review: Thoughts from a reader



I received this book review from a reader. She recently finished The Hard Run, and wanted to share her thoughts. One of the greatest paybacks for a writer is when a reader gives feedback that indicates they heard exactly what the writer was attempting to communicate. Thanks, Kristie, for sharing your thoughts and your experience of laughing while learning.

“What a great read! I love the quote "Learn to Laugh & Laugh while you Learn!" That should be in every school & place of business. When I got to Distractions I was reminded of a trip to Disneyland. My little family, two of my youngest nephews & my Mom. Mom not a fan of roller coasters was in a very intense conversation with my husband Danny, (he knew what he was doing)! Before Mom knew it she was getting on the California Adventure Roller Coaster, too late to turn back. She went & has never forgotten that trip. We still laugh about it 11yrs later. I also liked your thinking on overthinking. Overthinking a problem seldom solves it. Stop thinking & listen to the music! Thank you Carol keep on running & writing you inspire so many, Kristie Moltke Renfro.”

Keep the book reviews coming!
You can find The Hard Run and other books by Carol M Green on Amazon, Kindle, and in her Etsy shop.

Happy Running!
Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Food Friday Recipe: Sourdough pancakes with huckleberries


 
It's Food Friday and I am sharing this recipe for Sourdough Pancakes with Huckleberries.  I realize not everyone has a sourdough starter and fewer still may have huckleberries on hand. I can help you with the sourdough (see link below), but you will have to find your own huckleberries.  Hunt for them in July.  In the meantime, you can substitute blueberries in your sourdough pancakes.  Enjoy!

Sourdough Pancakes with Huckleberries

Remove 1 1/2 C sourdough starter from fridge 30 minutes before preparing this recipe.

1 C flour
3 T sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 C sourdough
1/2 C milk
1 egg (slightly beaten)3 T vegetable oil
Huckleberries or blueberries as desired.

Preheat griddle to 375 degrees.  Combine dry ingredients and set aside.  Mix together beaten egg, oil, and milk.  Combine wet and dry ingredients and add the 1 1/2 cup sourdough.  Mix well.

Pour 1/3 - 1/2 cup pancake batter onto hot griddle. Sprinkle berries on wet batter while cooking. (See photo) When the berries sink and pancake is bubbly - flip and continue cooking until done.

 
Serve with your choice of syrup.  (I like to heat light corn syrup and a few berries to make my own huckleberry syrup.) Yum!

Find instructions to make your own Sourdough Starter HERE.

Find more of my favorite recipes HERE.

Question: Do you have a recipe to share?  Comment below.


Happy Running!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Guest Blogger Thursday: Call for bloggers

 
Guest Blogger Thursday has been a fun addition to this blog. I will soon be inviting many of my first time guests back for a repeat performance.  They have added value to this site and I thank them for contributing their experience and words of encouragement to my readers. Their posts have been some of the most popular.

In the meantime ... I am looking for more Guest Bloggers! Do you think you have something to contribute to this site?  Read the information below. If you feel you can fit this criteria, message me at cmgwrites@msn.com with "Guest Blogger Thursday" in the subject line, or comment below.  We will see what we can work out.


Guest Blogger Thursday
Info Sheet

 I am looking forward to featuring you on my blog, Running Granny Green. These instructions should help us both make the most of this opportunity. I have chosen you because you are an encourager!  The purpose of this blog is to motivate the reader to try a little harder, work a little smarter, be a little kinder, and live a little better. I think you can help do that. 

What I need from you …

1 – A photo and short biography to introduce you to my readers.

2 – Up to three links to your blog, website, Etsy shop, etc. You may include other links in the body of the post as well.

3 – Your feel good post (300 – 600 +/- words) about a subject of your choice that fits the feel of the blog – exercise, nutrition, positive attitude, overcoming obstacles, prayer, comfort food, friendship, etc. I will proof read, but I do not intend to do a lot of editing. I have confidence in you or I would not have invited you!

4 – Email copy and photos to cmgwrites@msn.com. You may include additional photos with your post.

5 – Deadline – Wednesday AM prior to your scheduled Thursday.  That gives me ample time to get it up and running.

6 – Re-post and share the links to help spread the good news!

What you get from me …

1 – I will publish your article on Thursday at 10:00 AM and I will send you a link to the published post.

2 – I will encourage my readers to visit your sites and I will share the post on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

3 – The post will be added to my Guest Bloggers page so readers will have an opportunity to find you again and again.

4 – You may be invited back from time to time!

I hope that this project is beneficial for both of us.  I see it adding value and depth to my blog and hopefully driving reader traffic to your sites as well as mine.

Have fun with it!

I look forward to hearing from you! Remember to comment below or email me at cmgwrites@msn.com with "Guest Blogger Thursday" in the subject line.

Happy Running!

 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Injured? Examine your foundation


 
I’ve been battling, enduring, putting up with, and trying to ignore a nagging case of Achilles tendonitis in my left ankle.  I’ve dealt with this kind of injury in the past.  I even wrote about it in my latest book, The Hard Run.  I ignored it for some time because I was very focused on getting over a case of sciatica that was making me want to cry! When the sciatica improved, the tendonitis was brought into focus. (There is another lesson.) I scaled back my mileage and purchased new shoes.  I’ve been using Vitamin I and Deep Blue, but the inflammation is still present.  Tendonitis is like that – it hangs on for a long time.
Yesterday I was somehow impressed to examine the soles of my new running shoes for wear patterns.  (We runners get a little obsessed with our shoes!)  Guess what? All the wear was on the heel of the left shoe indicating that I have been heel striking with my left foot – pounding away at the inflamed tendon. Experience has taught me that if I correct my gait I will eliminate the cause of the injury.  It will take some time to heal completely, but I will no longer be aggravating the injury. I look forward to improvement!

What can we learn from this running injury?
When you are fighting a battle in life and feel that you are not making any progress, it might be wise to examine your foundation. Are you doing something while in pursuit of a worthy goal that is preventing you from achieving that goal? Are you going about it from the wrong direction?  Perhaps you need to change your approach.

Question: Can you share an example of a change of behavior that improved your success?

Happy Running!
If you enjoyed this post you might also like The Hard Run: Painful Lessons from a Running Granny. Find it on Etsy and Amazon.  Available in Kindle, too!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tuesday's Training Tip: Cover new ground


 
My regular running buddy and I were recently joined by another friend.  Our route was unfamiliar to her and she commented that it kind of made the running easier because she didn’t know where she was going. She was just running. (Or perhaps we were too slow for her!)
Covering new ground can make your route more interesting and tolerable.  During my night run of the Grand Teton Relay 2014, I was all alone.  It was dark and the course was off road, so I had no familiar landmarks.  A few glow sticks were placed along the path, but they were easy to overlook.  I forgot to start my run clock and had no idea how much terrain I had covered until a volunteer shouted, “Turn here!”  I paused, removed my headphones and asked, “How far?”  I thought I had another half mile. When he told me I only had 100 feet I sprinted gleefully to the end!  I was surprised that my run was over.

It can work for you.  Join a friend on her regular routes or research a safe place to run on your next vacation.  You might be surprised how much you can do when you don’t really know what you are doing.

Tune in every Tuesday for more training tips and visit my Training Tips page to find all the tips you may have missed.
 
Question: Do you have a training tip you would like to share?
 
Happy Running!
 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Monday Mood Mender: A story about a mushroom





This story is from my first book, Gold Pans and Iron Skillets. I hope it makes you smile.

New Mexico Puffball Incident 

My childhood was crowded with adventures, many of them real, some imagined. To the impressionable young mind of a five-year-old, even threatened adventures can be horrific. So it was with the New Mexico Puffball Incident.

Giant Puffball Mushrooms, technically known as Lycoperdon Maximum, can appear extremely menacing to a youngster upon first encounter. One particular puffball was discovered alone in a grassy field in the hills of New Mexico. The Miner Forty-niner, a.k.a. Wells, had taken his youngest girls and their mother on yet another adventure, mining Mica and Amazonite with the assistance of some New Mexico Natives and a few sticks of dynamite. On one damp morning the Giant Puffball was discovered. The Miner declared that Esther would be fixing this tasty dish for dinner. After all, we were living off the land. The idea did not seem too incredible as we were also residing in a pickup and camper, bathing in ponds and making imaginary motorcycles out of old tree stumps. Never having encountered a puffball, I was somewhat apprehensive. It resembled a batch of bread dough, minus the bowl and warm yeasty scent. I still associate the aroma of damp milkweed with bulging puffballs—and danger!

Esther, ever ready to play along, ceremoniously presented the monstrous mushroom on a large dinner plate. I was certain my parents were going to make me bite into that thing! Only when the knife was inserted and a triangle slice removed was I certain they could not force me to take a bite! The interior was dark olive green goo. Disgusting! It was so disgusting that my younger and older siblings have both blocked the experience from their memories. Esther denies it. Wells is no longer here to argue about it. But I know there was a puffball with a knife in it on a plate in a camper in New Mexico!

Lycoperdon Maximum. It is edible while yet unripe. It can grow to nearly 20 inches in diameter. Ominous! When ripe the flesh turns green, flaccid, and mushy. Odor and flavor become, yes, disgusting! As it continues to age, the green flesh dries and becomes a dark powdery sponge that escapes its skin, scattering spores to give life to yet more puffballs. If conditions are right—humidity and temperature allowing—additional ominous edible mushrooms may appear.
 Now I knew I didn’t like the looks of the thing when I first saw it. The Miner’s threat of consumption made it even more disagreeable; and on closer inspection, it was apparent that I would forgo the edible experience—at all costs! Fortunately, it wasn’t necessary that I snub my proper upbringing by refusing to clean up my plate—another sign of danger. The Giant Puffball itself saved me. Its hideous flesh had the last laugh, for neither of my prankster parents could bring themselves to partake of that green gooey surprise!


Buy it here!


Find all my books in my Etsy shop or on Amazon and Kindle.

Happy Running!
Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.



Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Excerpt: Winter Survival


 
 
This one is for my family and friends in the east.  We've got blue skies and promises of spring here in the high desert of southwest Idaho, while many are still battling snow and freezing temps on the other side of the country.  This excerpt from Gold Pans and Iron Skillets is for you.
 
Winter Survival 

Winter survival is not a Boy Scout Merit Badge. It is a fact of life that long winters must be dealt with. There are a number of ways to do this ranging from hibernation to leaving the country. Neither of these options is very practical as one is not a bear, nor can the entire northern half of the country reside in Arizona. Suggestion? Don’t beat winter, enjoy it!

In the land of the Rocky Mountains in the winter there are two things a little girls needs—a pair of ice skates and a pair of snow boots. Oh, and quite possibly a couple of bread sacks to slip over her shoes enabling them to slide into her rubber snow boots. Those were the days!

Water does freeze and remain frozen long enough for outdoor ice skating entertainment. This can be done on a designated ice rink provided by flooding a vacant lot, or by skating on the frozen water remaining in the local irrigation canal, and sometimes on the street if the snow has been packed hard enough! First, one must don a coat, hat and mittens, then pull the bread sacks over her shoes, and stomp them into her snow boots. Then sling a pair of ice skates over her shoulder and brace to face the bitter cold outdoors.

If she is fortunate the trek to the ice rink will be short as her nostrils begin to stick together shortly after venturing outside. Upon reaching the rink she must locate a seat, usually a log or rock, on which to perch while removing her gloves, snow boots, bread sacks, and shoes. Then she must untie the knot joining her ice skate strings together. At this point she may need to pause to insert fingers into her mouth in order to thaw them enough to maintain dexterity. Inserting foot into ice skate, she then laces her skate and secures it with a bow. Again, she pauses for finger thawing then puts on the second skate. After skates are secured she quickly inserts her hands into mittens and puts her shoes and sacks into boots for safekeeping.

It is now time to enjoy the ice. Wobbling carefully onto the rink she soon finds herself caught up in the flow of skating traffic. So long as she remains upright and those around her do the same, she will continue to move in a counter clockwise direction, enjoying the glide of her skate blades across the ice. However, as with any forward moving traffic, there is inevitably a crash. It may be self inflicted or the result of another’s mishap, but the fall will come. If lucky, her feet will come out from under her and she will land on the padded most part of herself. Otherwise, her hands and knees will be the first to make contact with the ice, causing excruciating pain! She will pause to inspect the ice for indentations and cracks before returning to a standing position. When the joy has been had and she can no longer feel the pain of cold in her fingers and toes, it is time to return home. She must first remove her skates.

She removes her mittens as finger thawing must once again take place. It is not as effective as prior to skating for the girl is anxious to get home, and her fingers are much more frozen. Hopefully, she did not tie her skate strings too securely. She unlaces her skates and pries them from her frosty feet. Now, she must insert same feet into chilly shoes, bread sacks, and rubber boots. This process takes much longer than it did indoors prior to her skating venture. Her hands are cold. Her feet are cold. Her shoes, sacks, and boots are cold, thus refusing to slip easily into place. She attempts to tie her skate strings together, but aborts the effort as her fingers are now curled into a scratching claw-like position. She slowly pulls on her mittens, tucks an ice skate under each elbow, and trudges home.

Upon returning home the girl removes all of her outerwear and drops it conveniently just inside the front door where it warms and pools thawed ice all over the floor. Nose running, fingers stinging, and cheeks aflame, she heads immediately to the kitchen sink where someone has convinced her that running her fingers under cold water will warm them. When she can stand it no longer, she dries her hands, as best she can given the fact that they are not very cooperative, and proceeds to find some quiet indoor activity such as a nap.

Similar procedures (minus the skates) are required for snowman building, snow fort construction, and snowball fights. The outdoor gear must be donned and the thawing process occurs after the fun has been had.

What value this outdoor activity? Exercise, fresh air, sunshine, all of which are key to a healthy, happy existence. Esther swears that the winters she sent her children outside to play each day, they never experienced colds or flu. We justify our season ski passes as part of our overall health regimen. (Too bad the IRS doesn’t see it that way.) And it works. We are happier and healthier because we get out in it. Don’t ignore the cold. Don’t fight it. Embrace it. Experience it. Enjoy it. And send me the money saved on doctor visits.
 
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Happy Running!