In order to tie up some loose ends, this is going to be one of those posts that should really be a couple of smaller posts but that I’m going to jam together for my own convenience (because it’s all about me). There will, however, be dog pictures.

Mini post #1

Our dogs spent a fair amount of the holiday break like this.

Our corgi Lucy is recovering from her back surgery. Initially, the surgeon gave us a 50/50 prediction for her recovering the use of her back legs and controlling her bladder/bowels. Because she is a headstrong corg, which causes us all no end of grief when she is 100 percent healthy, she was peeing and pooping under her own control about 48 hours after we got her home. Maybe two days later, she could walk with weight on her back feet for short distances. And now, about three weeks out, she’s walking slowly around the block with all four limbs at about 80 percent working order.

Which just goes to show you that being stubborn can serve you well, if you can apply your mighty will to a goal. Keep this in mind the next time your two-year old makes you completely crazy by insisting she’ll do it herself. Play the long game and she’ll reap the rewards.

Lucy has decided that crate rest is not for her and is applying her mighty will to making us all nuts enough to let her out on her own recognizance. That’s not going to happen until her follow-up on January 23. My own stubborn streak has been honed by years of my own toddlers and through teaching undergrads.  I might have to break out the noise canceling headphones, though.

She is allowed small breaks from the dreaded crate if stays on the couch with us.

Mini post #2

Every now and again, I give the sermon at my local Unitarian Universalists church.

This surprises a lot of people. “You don’t seem especially church-y,” they say. They are right. But standing in front of a trapped audience and talking is right in my wheelhouse.

Preparing for these services is a lot like running a big race. There’s a lot to do during the weeks leading up to it. There are moments when you wonder why the heck you decided to do it. Then there’s the over-the-moon feeling once you cross the finish. Over the years, I’ve reflected on running and year-end rituals and women’s history during these sermons. This year’s is titled “T.B.D.,” which caused a couple of Abbott and Costello-style exchanges with church staff. 

Mini post #3

Operation Run All 50 is a go, if only because my husband gave me a way to track my progress.

I can’t turn back now that I have a visual reminder of my quest.

I’ve committed to coloring in at least two states this year: Louisiana and Wisconsin. I’ve got my tickets for New Orleans in February and will run Eau Claire as part of the retreat in May. I’m in the last weeks of training for NOLA. So far this winter, I’ve only flirted with hypothermia and slipping on the ice a few times. I have 13-14 on the schedule for this weekend and the high here will be 18. I’m preemptively looking forward to my post-run hot shower on Saturday — and to running a race someplace where the air doesn’t hurt my face.

I had to break out the knuckle lights at 4:30 p.m. on Monday because I live in a cold, dark place.

Any suggestions for where to eat or what to do in the Big Easy? Or in Eau Claire?