December 12, 2012

12-12-12 - Celebrating an Anniversary Alone

I have always been fascinated by repeating dates.  I reenlisted in the Army once on 7-7-77.  So I have kept my eye on repeating dates as they approached.  A couple of years ago, I realized that our wedding anniversary would be 12-12-12.  I just thought that it would be some sort of magical day.  How many marriages last 31 years??  I even began to notice the Louisiana State Inspection Sticker on my car in 2007.  The inspection sticker said 8-8 (it would expire in August 2008).  So I strategically got my car inspected on the first date of the month after it was due.  My goal was to keep the car until at least December 2012.  So each year, I was so proud of myself as the stickers began: 9-9, 10-10, 11-11.

Then when Steve died, the significance sort of died also.  It wasn't as fun any more.  I have a 12-12 sticker now, but the next one is sort of a let down.  If I get it this month, it will read 12-13 or I could wait until January and the sticker will be 1-14.   Not any numerical significance with either choice. Theoretically, doing this for 10 years has saved me a whopping $10.00.

So this day has been kind of rough, several mini meltdowns.  For some reason this year has been harder than last year.  We probably wouldn't have done anything today since it is in the middle of the week.  But, I know that I would have gotten flowers or a plant.  And Steve would have figured out something to get me that I would have really enjoyed even though I would have told him not to get me anything.  He has gotten me great presents over the years.

So when a plant arrived today, the tears just started flowing.

Obviously, it was from someone who knew me well.  My daughter, Jennifer, had sent me a plant.

Daughters just don't get any better than this.

December 6, 2012

ANOTHER Catch Up Blog......

Time flies even when you aren't having fun.  10 weeks since the last time that I blogged.  Unfortunately, this is becoming a bad habit. I try to keep busy.  Keeping busy helps with depression, but then all of a sudden out of the blue something hits me hard and I just start crying.  I usually snap out of it quickly.  Life is still so hard without Steve.  I do find comfort every week reading Widows Speak Up!  There I have a network of women who really understand what it is like to loose their husband.

Jim from 50 after 40, met my daughter, Jennifer, at Team RWB at the Baton Rouge Half Marathon Expo.  He was kind enough to mention my blog in his.  That sort of puts pressure on me to keep mine up.  This post has been in draft form for a while, finally getting the pictures in. 

October 6, 2012 - Geaux Blue Triathlon, Lake Charles, LA

1st Triathlon ever held by McNeese University.  Overall, was very good especially for 1st timers.  Only had 1 or 2 people run the wrong route on the run. My friend Julie did her 2nd Triathlon and her twin sister Jennifer (15) won her age group.

October 18 - 21, 2012 - Army Ten Miler and trip to Philadelphia

The Army Ten Miler is one of my favorite races.  I love running in DC.  Plus the trip gives me an opportunity to visit something historical.  Jennifer and Brandy wanted to visit cupcake bakeries in Georgetown.  I went for a few - then had enough calories.  I headed over to Arlington National Cemetary to see the Women in Military Service Memorial.  We just happened to arrive when they were having the 15 year anniversary ceremony.  For any woman who has worn a military uniform, this has to be on your "must do" list.

I had originally had a goal of finishing the ATM  in 1:45, but my training just hadn't been what it needed to be.  So I thought what a good opportunity to run with my daughter and just run for fun and see the sights.  I had a good time running with Snow White.


I look like I am in pain - Jennifer and Brandy are happy
After running, we hit the Hooah Tents, but the Gumbo was all gone.  We showered then caught the Metro downtown and took Amtrak to Philadelphia for a short 2 day visit.  I love traveling by train.

Fran, Jennifer, and Rita (Steve's Mother)

October 27, 2012 - Steve "Hootie" Gibson Memorial Poker Run

My daughter Jennifer, and members of the CVMA organized a Memorial Poker Run in Steve's honor.  The poker run was an overwhelming success and raised nerly $8,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project and the Fort Polk Warrior Transition Unit.

Vanessa Price's painting of my husband took me by suprise.

Jennifer did a great job organizing the Poker Run.
We are wearing the T-shirt that she designed.
Thanks Mike for the kind words

Sign at the Infirmary, one of the stops of the poker run

November 5, 2012 - Philadelphia Eagles vs New Orleans Saints

One of the raffle items at the poker run were 3 box seat tickets behind the Philadelphia Eagle sidelines for the Monday Night football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints.  Of Course, since Steve was from Philadelphia, we have always been Eagles fans.  I bid on the tickets and WON!! This year has not been good.  This was a game where maybe the Eagles could turn there season around.  Well it was not to happen.  We did have a great time at the game, even if they did loose.

November 17, 2012 - CenLa Fall Festival Half Marathon

I was trying so hard for a PR.  I have been trying to get under 2:05 for the last 3 half marathons.  I keep missing the PR.  Something messes up my training.  Usually an injury but lately I just didn't feel like doing some of the training runs. 

My friend, Linsay, offered to run with me.  She is an awsome runner and so much faster than me.  So I think that I started out a little too fast, but felt good.  By the time I hit Miles 7 - 9 , I just couldn't keep the same pace.  I ended up running 2:06:20 - just need to work on 80 seconds.

Lindsay and me before the CenLa Half
Perfect weather  for a run

At Mile 9, I am slowing down, but Lindsay looks like she could run forever. 
Yes, she carried the flag the entire half marathon

December 1, 2012 - City of Lights 5k, Natchitoches, LA

Still trying to get a PR in the 5K.  This is the perfect course.  Along the Cane River in Natchitoches - completely flat.  We started out great and I felt fine until a little after the 2 mile point.  Had to slow down.  Julie was feeling better than me so took off.  My time was 27:28. 
Julie & me before the City of Light 5K
I grabbed a random stranger to take our picture
Besides having very lofty goals of PRing in the 5K and the Half Marathon within the next few months, both of my sons are expecting additions to their families.  Scott and his wife are expecting TWIN girls and Chris and his wife are expecting a boy.  Plenty to keep Grannie Frannie busy.  Plans are to blog a little more often.  As I tell Lindsay when she is adding weights to my routine, "We'll see."

September 13, 2012

Catch up Blog

It has been over 6 weeks since I have posted on the blog.  In some ways, that is a good thing.  It means that I am keeping busy and not dwelling on being alone.  This time of year is going to be so hard on me every year.  I keep thinking, "Steve was doing this", "We went here for dinner", or "Steve and I did ..."  Every memory of the last time we had done something together.  Where is Dr Brown and his flux capacitor when you need him.  Oh to be transported back to the fall of October 2011 and to be able to change history.  But then Dr Brown always warned Marty about changing history and the consequences that would result.

So, I just go on and try to figure out life without Steve.  This life of course revolves around Family and exercise (although my binge eating is counter-acting the exercise. I have put on 8 pounds in the last few months)

August 18, 2012 - Miles Perret Cancer Services Triathlon - Lafayette, LA

This was a charity fund raiser for a Lafayette Cancer Service center.  Very Casual Triathlon on the Campus of ULL. This was my friend, Julie's, first Triathlon.  She beat me by about a minute

We were eating at IHOP after the triathlon and a man happened to notice our T-shirts.  He commented to Julie that the Cancer Center had helped his wife get a wig at no charge while she was undergoing chemotherapy. So it sounds like our money went to a good cause.

August 26, 2012 - Women's Half Marathon - Bloomington, MN.

When we were in Minnesota last year for Grandma's Marathon. Jennifer saw an advertisement for the Women's Half Marathon in Bloomington, MN that would be held on her 30th birthday.  What better way to spend a birthday.  Little did we know that so much would happen over the next year.  But we were already registered and it was an opportunity to take Cole and Corbin to see the MN grandparents.

The course was so hilly - I still finished in a decent time of 2:20 - but I had been trying to get a PR.  By mile 2, I knew that the PR was out the window - So there was quite a bit of walking.

Cole with the Minnesota grandparents
Brandy, Fran, and Jennifer - after enduring the Women's Half Marathon

September 8, 2012 - Cole's 1st Birthday Party

Although Cole turned 1 on September 1st, this was the first opportunity to have a party.  The weather was good, except for the Love Bugs. Jennifer's Blog has more pictures, but here area few more.

Cole had fun with the balloon
Grannie Frannie and the birthday boy

Cole was so tired - barely kept his eyes open

September 9, 2012 - CajunMan Triathlon - Lafayette, LA

I did this triathlon 2 years ago.  I remember it being very hot around the airport and I preferred pool swims to the open water.  But some friends were doing this one and decided to do it again.  I was not very well trained, so the goal was just to finish.  I must say that thanks to my trainers who helped me get in better shape than I was 2 years ago.  My swim and run were both faster than in 2010.  The bike was slower - but then this year because of construction, the bike was 21.3 miles.

Fran still looking happy after 800meter swim

Fran finishing the run

My hero - Lindsay (my trainer) carried Old Glory
the entire run in support of Team RWB
Well, that about wraps up the last 6 weeks.  My next post will probably be after the New England / Canada cruise that I am going on with the in-laws next week.  Another event to look forward to - so I don't keep looking back.

July 30, 2012

RocketChix II - July 28, 2012

This was my first triathlon is a year.  Last year I did 5 triathlons, but this year, I just couldn't get motivated to do the training.  But my trainer, Lindsay did one earlier and talked about how fun it ws and my friend, Julie just got a new bike and wants to do I got inspired to start training.

I don't think that I trained enough.  But, I am registered for 3 more over the next few months, so all I can do is improve.

Note to Self...Braid my hair before I stand in the sun for an hour
and my hands are all sweaty.

Christy, Heidi, and Fran before the tri

Fran waiting in the swim line

And she's off...

Running toward transition
The Swim and Bike portions felt good.  But they must have really drained my energy tank.  By the time that I got to the run, I was exhausted.  It was hot, but I just felt empty.  Usually on the run, I am passing people easily.  I still passed people, but got passed by others also.  It just means that I need to train more for the next triathlon on August 18

350 meter Swim:  9:41
11.3 mile Bike:  42:09 (16.1)
2 mile Run:  19:14 (9:37)

Even though I didn't feel like this was one of my best races, I stil placed 133rd out of 274 (road bike division) and placed 6th out of 21 (F - 55-59 Division)
Fran, Heidi, and Christy - RocketChix

July 6, 2012

4th of July with the Corbinator

I started out the day going on an "easy" run with some friends.  My Runner's World SmartCoach plan called for 2 miles at 10:45.  My friends are faster than me.  They will run a 9:00 minute pace and just chat away the whole time.  When I am at a 9:00 minute pace, I am just lucky to breathe.  I had to ask them to slow down a bit so that I would be able to hang with them.  I ended up running 3.24 miles in 30:51 (9:31 pace).  So much for a slow / easy run.

Andrew, my son-in-law, was coming over to chain saw for a while.  In my ever constant vigil to get the property looking better (part of Fran's therapy), I am clearing around trees, fence lines, and wood piles that have been over grown.  Note to self:  When you see that cute little oak or pine tree growing, pull it out or 5 years from now it will be a very big tree that you have to have chain sawed or pulled out with a tractor. Jennifer had to work, so I watched the boys while Andrew chain sawed.

Of course, it was very hot.  Andrew cut quite a few of the trees down, then he started cutting away at the Pampas grass.  I vow that the Pampas grass will be gone before the fall!!!  The sound of the chain saw was another emotional melt down for me.  I remember times when Steve would be out cutting up fire wood or a downed tree.  Then it was my job to stack the wood after he cut it. Good memories.

Steve cutting a downed tree August 2004.  This was the month before
Hurricane Rita came through and we ended up with 5 more downed trees
Corbin and I headed to the pool about noon.  I wished that I had taken a picture of him swimming - it would have made for a better blog.  Next time.  I swam laps with some friends while Corbin played in the shallow end.  When I finished swimming laps, Corbin and I played throwing a ball. Good way to cool off in the heat.

A bit warm outside
Freedom Fest was scheduled for Fort Polk from 4:00pm - Fireworks.  I hadn't seen fireworks in so many years, so wanted to go this year.  The 4th of July wasn't a major holiday for me personally, so I almost always volunteered to take call when I worked in surgery.  I couldn't go an watch the fireworks because I wouldn't have been able to get out and get to the hospital in 30 minutes.  Since I am not in surgery anymore, I have a bit more freedom.

We went to Freedom Fest about 6pm, parked in the designated parking lot, and took the shuttle bus to the field where everything was set up.  Gretchen Wilson was already playing and there were thousands of people enjoying the show.

The 4 lanes of Hwy 467 were blocked off for vendors and the smell of grease made me hungry, but Corbin had his eyes on the kid section with jump houses, slides, and games to play.  So we headed over to the carnival section. All the games were sponsored by military units and support groups for fund raising.  So it was a good cause.

First thing Corbin saw was a basketball game.  He made the goal at least twice and was very proud of his 39cent water pistol that he won.

Corbin waiting his turn to throw the basketball.

Corbin making his free throw

The next event was the dunking booth.  One of the commanders was sitting in the booth and was visibly wet from being dunked so many times.  There were several small children in front of Corbin.  Most couldn't hit the target or not hit it hard enough to cause the drop.  So they were allowed to just come hit the target so the man would drop.

Corbin at the Dunking Booth

Corbin got up there with his six balls.  I just figured that he would end up pushing the target with his hand.  On his second ball, he hit the target hard enough and in the right spot to sink the commander!!

Corbin spent quite a while jumping and sliding.  Then it was on to Pizza and Dippin Dots.

We listened to the 50 gun salute to the nation, then a concert by .38 special. Finally it was dark enough for the fireworks to begin.  Very good fireworks.  Back to the car and home by 10:30.  Long, but very good day.

June 30, 2012

Watermellon Festival 5K

I love running the local races.  Today, I ran a 5K race which is part of the Beauregard Watermelon Festival (Louisiana has a festival celebrating something every weekend of the year).  Last month, in another local 5K, I ran 27:03 - my goal for this race was 26:00.

I probably haven't trained enough for such a lofty goal.  But, I was going to try anyway. I have been doing speed work with Lindsay, my trainer, and doing my SmartCoach workouts.  The ultimate goal (for now) is to run the  Bloomington Women's Half Marathon under 2:00. 

The race started at 7:30am.  But in Louisiana, it can still be rather warm and humid.  It was probably 80 degrees and 80% humidity by the time the race started.  The is a loop course with several inclines and hills.  The heat and hills took its toll on me.  I also may have started out the first half mile way too fast.  My Garmin didn't quite catch up to me for about a half mile.  At first it said I was running at a 16:00 pace then all of a sudden it said 7:30.  For the rest of the race it acted normally.  But what do you expect from a Garmin Forunner 201 - I know that it is at least 8 years old.

Time according to Garmin: 0:27:46
Garmin Distance:  3.17
Garmin Pace:  8:45
Mile 1: 8:22
Mile 2: 8:49
Mile 3: 9:11
      .1:  1:24

My friend, Julie ran with me.  She is a faster runner than I am, but has only been running about once a week, so she thought that she would have trouble keeping up with me.  WRONG... I probably slowed her down.  I was struggling the last 2 miles and her little motivation syaings kept me going.  She kept me focused by saying, "make it to the fire truck", "run to the next corner", and "run to the top of the hill."  It was a tough race for me.  I know that I would have finished a lot slower if she hadn't been there.  Thanks Julie.

I did win the women's 55-59 age group.  One benefit of staying active as I get older.  Awards were only 1 deep since it was a small race.  There is usually someone faster than me in the local races.  She must have overslept this morning.

Me and Julie before the race

So, now the plan is to keep training for the Half Marathon in August.  There are several 5Ks in the fall and winter.  I will just have to keep my goal and work harder.

June 29, 2012

Master steps

Steve and Fran's Farmhouse - as my children have named it on Facebook is small.  It is approximately 1400 square feet.  But in this house we  have lived for nearly 22 years and raised 3 children.  For nearly the entire time that we lived in the house, I have been talking about remodeling.  It has fondly been called Fran's Master Plan.

Steve and Fran's Farmhouse - desperately in need of being bigger

Every time Steve would want to fix something or upgrade something, I would say, "But very soon we are going to be remodeling. Do we want to spend the money then just tear it down?"  Well, I said that for nearly 20 years.  Steve would give me one of his looks that said "we aren't ever going to remodel, but I will humor you for a while."

Last year though, I made a break through.  I finally hired a designer who had drawn up remodeling plans.  I showed Steve some of the first drafts.  He gave me his input and revisions were made.  I found the last draft in my e-mail in-box 2 days after Steve was killed. 

Now the dilemma - a house that was way too small for Steve and me seems too big for me alone.  So, I'm not making any major renovation decisions for at least a year. But that will be a blog farther down the road.

In the mean time....My friend Rachel, had a house built several years ago.  She tiled the entire house by herself.  She has listened to my remodeling stories for years and came up with an idea.  She had lots of tile left over from her house - She either bought too much, or the tile wasn't the right type, or not the right color.  She wasn't able to take any of the tile back.  So she offered to come over and teach / help me tile the 2 bathrooms.

This wasn't a major project, but it was more than I have done in 20 years on the house.  I would like to think that Steve was proud of me that I finally did something.

(Pardon the crazy blog.  I probably need some technical help with cutting, pasting, and getting things in the right place.  Trying to get better.)

We have 2 bathroom.  Both are very small.  Bathroom number one is in the Master Bedroom and the other is called the Kid's Bathroom

Master Bath Before renovation began.
Carpet has been in the house for over 22 years.

Kid's Bathroom.  The carpet was reomoved
about 12 years ago.  It had just a plain cement
floor (I actually painted it last summer when
Steve's sisters were coming to visit.

I had some prep work to do before we could begin the tile work.  I had to take out the carpet from the Master Bathroom.  When I pulled up the carpet, I discovered old linoleum that had to removed also.

The linoleum had a very strong PineSol  smell to it

Scraping off Very old linoleum 

So, I took off work on Monday  - a dedicating Tile day. Rachel showed me how to do everything, then we both got to work.  She was a bit faster than me, but I got better as better as we went along.

Rachel (Tile Guru) came dressed for the Tile Party

Fran mixing the cement

Fran spreading the cement and placing tiles

All the tiles are in place ...Cement needs to dry

Laying the grout

This can get messy...but fun...just like playing in the mud

Master Bath - Finished
Kid's Bathroom Finished