Lent Day 31-32: On vacation!

IMG_2849

Yesterday was a picture taking frenzy!  We went to Sea World, which I have huge mixed emotions about .  I loved Sea World as a child, I was always fascinated with Dolphin and Killer Whales.  Originally when I was younger, I had wanted to be a trainer at Sea World, a meteorologist, and a writer.  Unfortunately, only a few of those dreams come true, and after I had watched “The Cove,” I was decidedly against anything to do with Sea World.  My children love it, and it’s a place where they can learn about sea animals and learn about conservation.

IMG_3053

So of course we saw this lovely mainstay of Sea World.  The shows had changed completely from when I was a child.  The trainers are no longer in the water with the animals, so the shows are now just displays of the whales seeking revenge on unsuspecting tourist sitting in the front rows.  They splash the audience in the first 15 seats relentlessly.

IMG_2980 IMG_2976 IMG_2991

Personally I go for the aquariums.  The creatures in the aquariums are second to none, and I have figured out how to take pictures of the creatures without it looking like I am taking pictures through the glass.

IMG_2996 IMG_2863

Birds are common in both Busch Gardens and Sea World parks…  They are some of my favorite subjects, probably because their wings are clipped and they are used to posing for photos.

IMG_2867

And the kids had a blast feeding the sting rays.  I love paddle boarding in the bayous and seeing the rays swim up to my board.  Of course the water is not that clear, and I am afraid to take my camera with me.

IMG_2963 IMG_2982

I love the Dolphin show, and I was happy to hear that Sea World was addressing the some of the claims from the movie the Cove.  Though I would like to see the Dolphin in the wild, I understand that they are in the aquarium.  The trained dolphin at Sea World are no longer from the Japanese Cove, they were a product of a mass stranding, and cannot be returned to the wild due to health concerns.  Unfortunately, once dolphin are exposed to humans, they don’t usually return to the wild.

Lent Day 23-30: Big News…

IMG_2811

I have not written in over a week, and there is a very good reason for this.  On March 12th, I left for Miami.  I spent a short stint in Orlando, with my parents.  Then I drove on to Miami by myself.  It has been awhile since I drove by myself, and it’s been even longer since I have gone somewhere to further my career.  That is precisely what I was doing, furthering my career…

Let me start from the beginning, before the Air Force, photography, and almost before writing (I started writing in high school).  When I was a sophomore in High School, I was taking a Life Fitness course, and my teacher made me a deal.  She would pass me on the physical fitness part of the class, if I would join High School track.  That was when my love affair with running started.  It was almost 24 years ago.  Fitting that next year I will be doing the 40th Grandma’s, the year I turn 40, and my 25th Anniversary of running.  Anyway, I have run a LOT during the waning years of my childhood, and now as an adult.  I have completed 10 marathons, over 30 half marathons, and too many shorter races to even count.  And now, I will have the opportunity to share that love and passion I have had for running with others.  Yesterday I completed my test.  A few weeks ago I was CPR certified, and now besides my NASM personal training certification, I am a certified running coach.

This is not a certification I intend on hanging on my wall without actually doing anything with it.  I am happy to say that I am opening my own business.  I am in the process of writing a business plan.  I am pricing out insurance policies, building a new website, setting my prices, and making business cards.  My coaching business as of right now is going to be called Buff Chick Running.  The name has two distinct meanings.  The last 18 years I have either worked with, or have been married to an airplane.  It is the B-52.  One of the oldest airplanes in the military.  This word is paying homage to the fact that I am both a Veteran and Military Spouse. These are two hats I wear proudly.  I also consider myself in shape, and buff is a word we used to use to describe someone who is fit.  Chick simply because I am a woman.  I don’t take myself too seriously, and I don’t seeing as calling myself a chick as something insulting or demeaning of my sex.  I see it as a cultural term– akin to Chica, which is Spanish for woman.  I don’t remember much Spanish from High School, so I shorten it to Chica.  I was tossed as to whether to call myself Running or Coaching.  I elected Running, because coaching implies that I want to focus on all forms of coaching rather than just running.

I intend on opening my doors in May or June.  Though I will be doing some coaching of friends and family in the next few months just to practice.  What does this mean for everything else I enjoy like running, photography, etc?!  I will be probably dropping my photography right now.  I will always write, just will be my “night job” instead of my “day job.”

Lent Day 22: Super Photobomb…

IMG_2725

I went for a walk during my rest day.  My neighborhood is full of beautiful flowers.  I now know why everyone in my family is suffering from allergies this morning.  I only know a few of the flowers pictured, so please pardon my lack of knowledge and labels.  I was attempting to capture the doe and fawn that I have seen during runs, I also wanted to capture the Ospreys and Pelican.  Unfortunately, I missed the two deer, but here are some of the shots I got…

IMG_2727

Jasmine often grows as a weed out here.  Right now, you can’t really smell it, as there is a few trees that smell strongly.

IMG_2733

Flowering trees in my neighbor’s yard.  These are the most fragrant trees right now, and they have a musk-y perfume, unlike the Jasmine in the area.

IMG_2737

This is the roadway to a mansion that’s currently for sale, the list price is $7.1 million.  It has 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, a ballroom, an indoor and outdoor pool, it’s over 5,000 sq. ft., and has 17 acres.  There is over 18 feet of beach front.

IMG_2739

Pineapples and manatees adorn much of the properties in our area.

IMG_2757

Squirrels are everywhere.  They can be aggressive and bite, but so far no deer.

IMG_2777

This is another flower that has a strong odor.

IMG_2792

Sea Grass…  The water was not great today.  There were no birds on this side of the bridge.  I saw them swimming, fishing, and diving on the other side of the bridge.  I could not cross the bridge.

IMG_2796

And finally here’s my photobomb.  Here I was trying to take a picture of this beautiful creature, and this flower goes and jumps into my picture….  Oh well, hopefully it doesn’t ruin the picture too much.

Lent Day 21: Ugh… The Saga of Surgery and The Military Health Care System…

IMG_2622

Tomorrow is a rest day, and I feel like a turtle.  I hate rest days, passionately.  I dread them.  I feel like I don’t get anything accomplished when I take a rest day.  I know it’s necessary to recover, but I always feel like if I don’t workout, I’m not going to lose weight.  I feel like a lazy slug during rest days.

Today was not a rest day, but it was a day steeped in frustration.  I ran 4 miles, and then walked another 3.5 miles.

The Saga of Surgery…

My daughter needs to have oral surgery done.  We knew about the surgery since November.  We were told that the military would do the oral surgery in the dental clinic.  There is a pediatric dentist that will see some specialized patients (including my son).  We went in November to schedule the appointment, and had the surgery scheduled in January.  We went to the surgery in January.  Come to find out they messed up the schedule, and the surgery did not happen in January.  So we rescheduled the surgery for March.  We got a phone call yesterday, and the surgery was cancelled again.  I tried to reschedule the appointment yet again, and I’m told that the military is no longer doing dependent dental care!!  So now, we have to start all over again from scratch.  What makes it worse is that my daughter has braces, and the braces are not doing any good right now, because they are leaving the wire off until the surgery is done.  We are charged if the braces are on longer than a year, and at the rate that they are going with the surgery, we have lost 4 months, and we will be charged a significant amount of money because of this.  Needless to say, I’m slightly frustrated.

Lent Day 19 and 20: La Vidal Azul

IMG_2677

What is the La Vida Azul?  It’s “The Blue Life.”  It’s the only way to describe my life.  It has been the reality I have lived since 1997.  It is not a bad thing like one would assume with “blue” in the title, because blue is often associated with depression, feeling blue, or something bad.  “La Vida Azul” is mostly a good thing.  It is my life.

You know you are living a “Blue Life” when you pack up everything you own, uproot yourself and move every 2-5 years.  You have friends in every corner of the world.

You know you are living a “Blue Life” when you know phrases like “if you ain’t maintenance you ain’t shit,” “no comm, no bomb,” “have a nice poop,” “BOHICA,” and “fly, fight, win.”

You know you are living a “Blue Life” when the best memories you have a dear friend, who passed way too soon, was her at a naming ceremony suggesting “Asshole” or “FNG” for every newbie, and the names always fit.

You know you are living a “Blue Life,” when you toast said friend with a shot of whiskey and state “Fly, Fight, Win, Vern.”

You know you are living a “Blue Life,” when you name any duty station and can think of at least five people you know there, or five people you knew who were stationed there.

You know you are living a “Blue Life,” when you tell your war stories, and those stories have more hand motions than words.

You know you are living a “Blue Life,” when you know people like Notch, Magnum, MZ, Vern, Cherry, Breeder, Blender, Uni-Ball (aka Uni-ball), and the stories of how they got those names are as varied and as funny as the names themselves.

You know you are living a “Blue Life,” when places and people start to run together.

You know you are living a “Blue Life,” when your spouse comes home with a list of new jobs, duty stations, and you realize that this is your last year here…

It’s La Vida Azul.  We have 365 more days in Florida…

Lent Day 18: Saturday…

IMG_2627

Today was kind of a quiet day.  My husband had to go into work today, there is no rest for the wicked.  I went for a short run on the treadmill.  Our treadmill is starting to make a loud noise, and I have to call Sears next week.  Starting Monday, I was going to start going to the gym to lift.  I’m done with physical therapy.  I’m not discharged, yet.  I can go back if need be.  I have been eyeing a few marathons and half marathons next year.  I will have to take the rest of the year off of races, I need the break to be honest, and it will give me time to get down to fighting weight.  So far my next season is shaping up to be this:

Disney’s Wine And Dine Half Marathon (November 2015):

This marathon is the last marathon in Disney that I have left to do.  I have done all the other Disney races– the full, the half, and the Goofy Challenge.  This will leave me with all the Disney Medals.  We are moving next year (2016), and if we end up going out west, I can go do any one of the Disneyland races, I will be able to get the run across the world medal for doing Disney World and Disneyland races.  This race will jump start my training.

Seaside Half Marathon (March 2016):

I do this race every year.  It’s sponsored by Vera Bradley.  I love Vera Bradley, and the race is a wonderful small half marathon along the Gulf of Mexico in a small community.  The race benefits the South Walton one-room school house.

Destin Marathon (April 2016):

Destin is starting it’s own race!  I’m going to do the inaugural running.  I don’t know if I am going try to PR it, or run it for “fun.”

Grandma’s Marathon (June 2016):

This will be my 40th birthday present to myself.  Grandma’s was my first marathon, and now I’m hoping it will be my Boston Qualifying race.  I have been informed a few weeks ago that I will be a featured athlete at Grandma’s, because I’m an alumni of St. Scholastica, and have run the race before.

After Grandma’s we will probably be leaving Florida for good 😦 (except to visit my parents).

Lent Day 17: The sun is finally shining today!

IMG_2623

I got outside to take pictures today.  I went to my normal spot, Turkey Creek.  First, thing in the morning, I ran 6 miles on the treadmill, and then walked another 40 minutes to get in my 15,000 steps.  All told, I walked an additional 3 miles at Turkey Creek.  The first picture is a picture of the reflection of the sun in the creek.

IMG_2638

The path is raised above the swamp.  They are currently refinishing and redoing all the wood on the pathway, here is a section of the path that’s brand new.

IMG_2626

The trees around here are starting to bloom.  Despite the below normal winter temperatures yesterday, there are little white blossoms on trees throughout the forest.

IMG_2651

New leaves are budding on some of the twigs.  No wonder my allergies are pretty bad these last few weeks.

IMG_2684

Even though this tree is dead, there is always still life :).  Fungus always grows everywhere with the moisture in the air.

IMG_2654

Moss growing on a fallen tree.  Even on dead things life grows.

IMG_2680 IMG_2679

More reflections on the water.  I used both ATV and MV formats on my camera.

IMG_2687

Another dead tree sitting in mud, I seem to think that dead things in the forest are beautiful.

IMG_2639 IMG_2697

Water lilies and other buds are forming near the water.  I keep coming back to the creek to see if they have opened up yet.  Once the flowers start budding this will be an absolutely beautiful and fragrant area to walk in.