Flood of memories

Flood of memories

A flood of memories took hold this morning after Lucy and I went to Bays Mountain. The first adventure Jason, Lisa and I had after we arrived in Kingsport almost two years ago.

This morning I needed more than just a run. I needed to get lost in the woods for a little while. So around 11, we started getting ready to go for a hike.

As soon as we arrived I spotted a chipmunk, which I haven’t seen since one of the first times we went hiking at Bays Mountain. The best part was Lucy had no idea what I was looking at, so I was able to capture a shot. A picture with food in his mouth.

I knew it was going to be a great hike after that.

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We first headed to the spot where that adventure took place. That adventure almost two years ago. An adventure that led us to a waterfall.

waterfall 3As soon as I heard the noise I became emotional. As soon as I stepped out near the top of the waterfall memories came flooding back.

I felt Jason with me . . . wishing he was beside me instead of hundreds of miles away.

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waterfall 1All of my memories from that day in May 2013 consumed me as I found a rock to sit on and take in the scenery. We had so much fun that afternoon exploring the outdoors of our new home.

IMG_3141 editWe created so many of our own little adventures that day. So many adventures that made me begin to beat my fear of heights, all with the help of Jason by my side.

The laughter filled my veins as I looked around, really looked around, and remembered the fun we had that afternoon.

IMG_3144 editI sat there on that rock for as long as Lucy let me.

IMG_3145 editFor as long as she allowed me to listen to the rushing water while sorting through my thoughts.

IMG_3146 editOf course those thoughts began tugging at the tears I somehow managed to prevent from falling. Happy tears. Happy tears of how far Jason and I have come since that day. Since that first adventure.

IMG_3151 editLucy finally had enough, so with a heavy heart we kept on hiking.

There was a smile on my face from that moment on, especially when the flood of memories continued of everything Jason and I have seen since we moved to Kingsport in May 2013. The smile was because a relationship that was already strong when me made that move together, has only grown leaps and bounds since then. That smile was because I have the heart of a man who will do anything to make me happy. This time a part has proven that on so many levels.

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IMG_3171 editThe further we hiked the Lakeside Trail the deeper in thought I became. There is just something about the outdoors that fully allows your mind to wander. Although I was deep in thought, the noises of the outdoors still captured me, as well as the beauty that lined the trails.

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IMG_3176 editI’m so glad I had Lucy with me. She brought me back into the moment as she too enjoyed the outdoors.

As always, here’s our hike through Lucy’s eyes.

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One of my hopes before leaving the house this morning was spotting signs of spring. I was so excited when I saw a tree along the water that was showing life again. The only tree along the path we decided to hike.

My trip was complete. I’ve been excited about spring all winter. It is one of my favorite seasons. There’s something special about watching nature come back to life.

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spring 2It’s hard to believe that tomorrow marks two weeks since Jason packed his car and headed to Florida to get us ready for our move. A move that would bring us closer to family and friends.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss Jason. There is not a day that goes by that I wish he was here with me, or I was there with him.

This transition period, however has shown me what I am capable of . . . what kind of strength I have. I have become independent on a level that has made me proud. A level of independence that has shown me I am much stronger than I have ever thought or gave myself credit for.

Today was a great day. A day that made me think of all the beautiful moments Jason and I have shared since moving to NE Tennessee.

Bittersweet

Bittersweet

The last two days I have been stuck in doors because of the rain. So, this morning after a good night’s sleep, Lucy and I headed to the Greenbelt.

The weather was gorgeous with temperatures climbing into the 50’s. There was not a cloud in the sky. It was the perfect morning to go for a 3.21-mile run.

As Lucy and I ran our old route, emotions were definitely tugging at me as I took in the scenery for all it was worth. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to the pure beauty of Northeast Tennessee.

This place will forever stay in my heart.

This area has given me a sense of peace that I cannot fully explain.

It’s definitely bittersweet.

So, half way through our run, we stopped, so Lucy could go to the bathroom, and I could enjoy one of my favorite places on the Greenbelt . . . a waterfall that was flowing pretty good today.

20150315_113227 editThis is one of my favorite sounds. The rushing of the water, the cascading of water down the rocks. The sound, and sight, pulls you in, clearing your thoughts, giving you a sense of clarity, all while mesmerizing you making it hard to look away.

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Although I know I will find a new favorite spot to run in Fort Myers with Lucy, I’m truly going to miss my home-away-from-home.

It’s my go to place, my therapy, my path that cures all stress.

I’m so happy Jason and I decided to move to Kingsport almost two years ago. It was a move that brought us closer as a couple. A move that gave us a deeper appreciation for the outdoors.

Our run this morning was so good for my soul. It gave me the clarity I needed once again to get through this time Jason and I are spending a part. Time that neither of us want to spend a part . . .

As always, here’s a glimpse of the Greenbelt through Lucy’s eyes.

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Race #2!!

Race #2!!

I have been worried about my Saturday, Feb. 28 race all month long because of the frigid temperatures and the tons of snow we have had throughout February.

Unfortunately, the second week of February was the last time I laced up my running shoes and went for a run. This of course adds to the worry because I haven’t been out there running, practicing, training, getting ready for my second race.

I guess this is what happens when you cancel a gym membership and live in a state that although does not get a ton of snow, has the potential of having a white winter.

It’s been pretty downhill since last Monday when the first true snow storm blew through and the snow has remained on the ground since.

I read on the local news website this morning that the Tri-Cities area has had 15.5″ of snow, breaking the season average of 13.3″ inches.  This is why I haven’t been running . . .

With all of this said, I traveled to the Renaissance Center here in Kingsport this afternoon to pick up my race packet for the KingsportARTS Paint the Town 5K.

IMG_20150227_142550It wasn’t until I walked out the door that the excitement for tomorrow completely consumed me. I left the worry at the door . . . I signed up for the race and I will brave the elements, whatever they may be tomorrow afternoon.

I just wish Jason didn’t have to work. It was comforting last time knowing he was on the sidelines waiting for me to cross the finish line.

I’m not nervous for this race, like I was for my first one Thanksgiving morning. I’m more excited that I have the opportunity to run!!! I’m going on a 17 day dry spell and it’s eating me alive!!

The sun has been shinning for the majority of the afternoon, hopefully melting some of the snow. Tomorrow’s forecast, a high near 39 degrees!!! Whooohooo above freezing!!!

 

Another layer of snow

Another layer of snow

This morning we woke to an absolutely gorgeous winter wonderland.

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For the first time so far this winter, the tree branches hung onto a pretty thick layer of new fluffy snow. I have to admit that is my favorite part about snow. There truly is nothing prettier than white covering the darker hue of the branches.

IMG_3047 editWithin a few hours the snow began falling from the trees making it look like it was snowing again. IMG_3053 edit IMG_3060 edut

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I’m so glad Lucy and I woke when we did this morning, a little after 7 a.m. to witness the beauty and quietness of a fresh snowfall from the night before.

We probably received another 5 inches of snow. This of course was on top of the layer of snow, yes even ice, that has been on the ground since Monday, Feb. 16. We have had snow on the ground for 11 days!

I’m so proud of Lucy. She is getting the hang of going outside running crazy in the snow and even going to the bathroom IN THE SNOW! This morning when we ventured outside the snow was a little deeper than we both expected. Her legs disappeared as she walked to find a spot to go to the bathroom. My little short leg puppy.

IMG_3064 editShe loves eating the snow, which is comical. Her new favorite game . . . chasing after snowballs.

Here are a few pictures from this morning. She needed to go outside and let off some steam . . . and well I needed to walk away from my desk.

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And then the running began .  . . my favorite picture of today . . . her running mid-stride towards me with her ears flapping . . .

IMG_3069 editPoor thing was covered in snow once she reached me.

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Here are a few more pictures from this morning of the snow that blanketed our backyard and the fence that runs the distance of the yard.

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IMG_3063 editThe snow is absolutely gorgeous to look at . . . but I have to admit I am ready for the spring to come, as well as the sunshine and warmer temperatures.

 

Fun in the snow

Fun in the snow

Yesterday was the first day in almost a week temperatures rose above freezing.

We started the week off with Winter Storm Octavia, which brought a good amount of snow on Monday that never really melted as the week went on. After we went to bed Friday, we woke up to even more snow the following morning, thanks to Winter Storm Pandora. A good portion of Saturday morning, the snow came down rather hard, leaving probably about 8 inches of snow on the ground.

After Jason got home from his day of work, Lucy and I joined him outside for some fun in the snow. The temperatures, although cold, were bearable enough to build a snowman, and let Lucy play.

Poor Lucy hasn’t had much exercise all week-long, well, besides running circles in the house. With the below freezing temperatures, I pretty much let her outside to go to the bathroom and then we were inside again.

Needless to say, she let loose once we took the leash off, jumping as high as she could through the snow.

The snow that fell Saturday was good packing snow, so I made a few snowballs and threw them in the air. Lucy took off chasing it trying to find where it landed. There was a couple of times she found the indent in the snow . . . The best part was watching her take a huge bite out of the snowball enjoying a rather cold drink.

So here are a few pictures of Lucy’s time in the snow . . .

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Lucy3 Jason found a stick, which Lucy enjoyed playing with too.

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Lucy and stick

It was pretty funny watching her chase after the stick, but not knowing where it landed. After the stick hit the top layer of the snow it sunk enough so it was out of sight.

So here’s the result, Lucy’s head in the snow.

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Lucy head in snow2We also built a snowman while we were out in the snow. Lucy thought the snowmen’s arms were her toys . . .

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Lucy and snowmanAfter being stuck in the house all week long it felt good to get outdoors for a little bit. I definitely had a case of cabin fever this week. I’m ready for the snow to melt, so I can head back out for my weekly running on the Greenbelt. This month has definitely been hard sticking to my weekly routine with the blast of winter!

Here are a few more snow pictures from around our house.

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Broke my heart

Broke my heart

My heart broke a little this morning.

We have quite a few inches of snow on the ground, which is beautiful. There’s just something peaceful about the grass blanketed with snow. A layer of white covering everything in sight. A certain kind of quietness takes hold as you become mesmerized by the tiny to large snowflakes falling in front of you.

This beauty, however, has been hard . . .

I’ve never experienced having a dog during the winter where there’s snow.

Lucy walking in the snow for the first time Monday, Feb. 16.

Lucy walking in the snow for the first time Monday, Feb. 16.

At first Lucy, our 13-month old puppy, loved playing in the snow before it accumulated and made a few inch layer over the grass. I have video of her running in circles picking up small pieces and tossing it in the air before eating little pieces.

One of the challenges I have found is Lucy finding somewhere to go to the bathroom. There are certain areas of the backyard where she will go, which are all off to the side of the property.

The first day we had snow she walked me over to her typical spot. When she couldn’t find the grass and leaves, she became confused and took me to another corner of the property.

As we walked, her little paws sunk into the snow, which made her balance shake a little. On our way back to the house, she found my foot prints and started using those to walk on. That’s one smart pup. Although this helped, at one point she stopped and began climbing up my leg, so I picked her up and carried her back to the house. I knew by that point, she could not handle the cold anymore.

You hear all the time that animals are affected by the cold weather too. That they too should be taken out of the elements.

I know how cold the temperatures are to me. I could only imagine how cold it is for Lucy. My feet are covered, as well as my entire body with layer upon layer. A dog has it’s fur, which I’m sure isn’t nearly as thick and warm as it needs to be to protect them from the cold.

As of this morning I have a full understanding of just how cold the elements are for my puppy.

We went outside, so she could go to the bathroom. We walked down the sidewalk around the side of the house. There’s an open space under our house that has some vegetation that hasn’t been touched by the snow. This is the only area I have found where she will go to the bathroom.

My little pokey puppy, however, had to check out the snow and sniff along the fence that runs alongside our property for a while all while sinking further into the snow turning her belly white. There is a beautiful German Shepherd that lives next door that runs along that fence. Lucy was smelling her scent.

I finally was able to talk her into walking back under the house when she finally did her business. After telling her what a good girl she was we started walking through the snow to reach the sidewalk to the front door.

As soon as I opened the door, Lucy walked inside.

This is when the tears almost took hold . . .

When I closed the door Lucy collapsed after taking a few steps. As soon as her hind legs gave out, she started whimpering and looked up at me with the saddest eyes. The whimpering went right through me . . .

I quickly scooped her up and walked into my office where the little space heater was running. I wiped off her paws with a towel and sat in front of the heater with her in my lap until she stopped shaking.

Now I know just how cold and unpleasant it is for this poor little puppy to be outdoors.

When she was comfortable, I sat down and clicked on Facebook because it was showing I had a message. As I was scrolling through the feed I saw an article about keeping animals safe during this kind of weather.

The article said that dogs and cats have good heat exchange through their feet and pads, which means it doesn’t take much time for them to get cold. Dogs, according to the article, can get frost bite too.

I sure hope that’s not what Lucy just experienced.

My heart goes out to the dogs that are left outside during this kind of weather. Animals should have some kind of safe haven they can go to during extreme temperatures and weather conditions.

I know my puppy does. She is spoiled beyond belief . . . blankets, space heaters and even a little sweater to keep her warm.

I just hope that pet owners are smart and give their animals the correct care during snow storms and cold fronts that are expected to dip down into the negatives over the next few days.

 

Lucy’s first snow experience

Lucy’s first snow experience

Yesterday, Feb. 16, Kingsport received its first good snow this winter as Winter Storm Octavia crossed our region. It started snowing yesterday morning and remained pretty consistent into the evening after the sun went down.

There were numerous times throughout the day that the falling snowflakes caught my attention, distracting me from working on my articles at my desk.

The best part of the storm has been watching Lucy, our year-old puppy, try to figure out what’s going on. She doesn’t quite understand that she can go to the bathroom on top of the snow. She’s been desperately looking for her grass.

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So here’s last night’s snowy conditions through Lucy’s eyes . . .

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Lucy’s paw prints . . . IMG_2922 editBefore the sun went down they closed off our road right in front of the house to the left of us. It was probably for the best, it gets pretty windy after our driveway.

IMG_2920 editJason, Lucy and I walked down the road, so I could take a few pictures, which of course was after Lucy ran around the backyard in the snow.

The result . . . priceless . . .

IMG_2923 editLucy snuggled on Jason’s chest fast asleep.

This morning after Lucy and I woke up we ventured back outside into a little deeper snow. Our poor little girl didn’t quite know what to do. Every step she took, she sunk covering her belly in snow and covering her poor paws. She instantly went to all the corners of our property where she normally goes to the bathroom and couldn’t find the grass.

Again . . . here is our snowy morning through Lucy’s eyes . . . .

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IMG_2957 editWe came inside and I bundled her up near our little space heater where she fell fast asleep.

Here are a few more snow pictures from around our house.

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IMG_2910 editI would guess we got between 5 to 7 inches yesterday. Hopefully we can make a snowman later when Jason gets home.