gentleman politely opened a door for me and called me Ma’am, until he got a look at my razor stubble, and followed with,”Or, whatever you are.” I was an ugly woman! Still, this race was refreshing. It was new and I got a chance to leave Evansville, and it was my last race of the year, so if I died I didn't have to worry about missing any upcoming races. It was also partially off road, and that meant mud and fun! I just kept a steady pace and tried to think of how great it would be to climb into a warm car, not how miserable I felt. I finished in 3:36:39, 76th of 615 runners, beating my April time by over five minutes, and my 2012 marathon time by 12 minutes, my second best marathon ever! I have to divide my runs into "then" and "modern times", because there was a 19 year gap between my first and second competitive marathons. So I just ran my fastest marathon of modern times, despite the rain and mud and big old rain jacket. Like I wrote before—a pretty boring year except racing was fun. Ten races--two half marathons, three full marathons, two 112 mile bicycle rides, and the 12 longest swims of my life.
As far as non-sports thing, I have no intimate human love, and that's what I crave from the bottom of my soul. I have to stay active or I'll lose my mind. On July 24, my friend Cindy and I went to see the Monkees in Nashville, Tennessee, minus the late Davy Jones, who would've really smelled up the stage and creeped out the fans had they wheeled him onstage and told everyone he wasn't dead but in the middle of a daydream, and we were believers. The concert was smashing! First time I'd ever seen Michael Nesmith, my favorite Monkee! I laughed, I cried, I sang, I waved my arms during "Daydream Believer" like you're supposed to. I tried to stand still but my ears flapped to the beat. Then on October 25, Cindy and her brother Mark and I went to see Mickey Dolenz (lead singer of the Monkees--again!) and Herman's Hermits staring Peter Noone at the Riverpark Center in Owensboro, Kentucky. Mickey was good, but Peter Noone blew me away. The 65 year-old Noone was so funny, so energetic, so ridiculous, like that grandpa who sits you down to tell you the story about his first colonoscopy, and uses props and special effects, then brings out the colonoscope used in the process and wants you to have it. You don't want to laugh but you can't help it. Peter brought out his daughter, Natalie, who surprised us more than Peter (but she didn't make us laugh as hard as Dad did). She may be a better musician than Papa. So now I have a man crush on Peter and am trying to find all the music I can from Peter and Natalie Noone. Best concert eva! If you ever get a chance, go see Herman's Hermits staring Peter Noone--you won't regret it!
My 47th year ends on a sad note. This is difficult for me to talk about, but Gizmo's stomach had been getting larger and he gained two pounds in a little over a week, so I took him to the doctor. They told me he is experiencing heart failure. It's something that comes with age. He's as perky and annoying as ever, but I'm a wreck, stumbling around the house trying to imagine my little friend may not be with me much longer. He's more than a friend, he's a part of me. For 11 1/2 years it's just been me and Gizmo, and all the fakers who phonied their way into my life, ripped bits and pieces off me while I tried to love them, and hid behind their "niceness" or their church, but this loud, un-civilized animal has shown them all up. He knows what love is.
He's on two medications for the rest of his life, however long that is. He's shown no slow-down in his activity. Seems I'm the only one who is suffering. Gizmo is happy as could be. And that makes it hard for me to look at him. He doesn't look the slightest bit sick. I gave him my coveted Polartec Mt. Washington blanket for his cage and he won't come out--it's so comfortable. I just see two big green eyes staring back at me as if to say,"You come in here--I'm not letting you have this thing back".
It's a slow process and all we can do is prolong his very, very special little life. The doctor told me Gizmo has an enlarged heart. I've always known that. At this moment he's running around, being silly, wanting to play, wanting to cuddle, wanting to be that one light that hasn't blown out. I pray the Lord gives us many, many good years together.
I tried to love, to forgive, to forget hurt, but what I want to do, I don't do, and what I don't want to do, I do. I give it to God. He holds little Gizmo's heart in his hand, and Gizmo holds my heart in his beautiful opal eyes. If I could love this little imperfect creature as much as I do with my imperfect love, then why can't I trust the all powerful God who gave Himself as a sacrifice for me, who loves me with a perfect love, to take care of me? I'm praying for a miracle, a miracle that will reconcile me with those I love and once loved, my church, place me in a church home, and find me a reason to live. Surprise me! Many thanks to my friends Cindy, Mark, and Soozi for their constant support, without whom this past year would've been pretty uneventful. But all glory be to God--I couldn't have made it through the year without Him.