Monday, September 25, 2017

Another failed long run

I'm rather disappointed in having to take so much time off for my hip issues.  My 3 weeks off made me slower, which is understandable, of course it's going to affect my time and distance, but it's frustrating.  And honestly, I'm looking at my training schedule and I should have already done a 20 mile run . . . 3 weeks ago.

Yesterday I went out to run 19 miles, why 19?  Well, because I've been behind and I haven't been pushing myself, and last week I did 16.  I don't know if I can jump 4 miles in one week, so I decided 3 miles would be an okay jump .  . . except I didn't make it to 19. 

I guess, since I didn't post last week, I will back up a little.  A week ago yesterday I ran 16 miles, and while I felt it was hard, it wasn't that bad.  I finished, and felt good about it.  It was the first run since July 23rd that I ran the distance I set out to run.  I even went grocery shopping afterwards, don't get me wrong, my feet were really tired, but I did it. 
Then on Tuesday while I was running I felt a sharp pain in my right knee as I stepped down, and then again on the next step with the right foot.  I stopped, assessed, and it didn't feel bad, ran a few steps and it was gone, so I finished my 5 mile run.  On Wednesday I woke up and it was a little sore, but I was planning on resting that day anyway, so I didn't worry about it.  However, on Thursday it was really sore so I decided I should take that day off as well.  Friday came, and it felt better, but was still giving me a little irritation, so again I rested.

Saturday I got up bright and early and went for a 5 mile run.  No issues with my knee at all.  So it's a go for Sunday's long run.  Except I woke up on Sunday and didn't really feel like running.  I laid in bed, watched Orange is the New Black (why did I wait so long to watch the new season?!) and thought about skipping my run.  At about 9am Chris came in and asked me about my run, and I shrugged and said I didn't want to run.

Finally I got out of bed and got dressed and left for my run at about 9:45am.  Still not sure how far I was going to go.  Thinking I may cut it short and call it good.  Well, that's exactly what I did.  At about mile 9 I came to a road where I had to turn left to go farther, I was moving really slow at this point, or I could turn right and head home.  The thought of running 10 more miles seriously made me want to cry so I looked at mapmyrun, then Google Maps to figure out how far I was from home. I decided running 5 more miles to make 14 total sounded way better than running 10 more miles, so I turned right. 

I got about 2 miles down the road and realized I really, really had to use a bathroom.  Like now!  I text Chris, asked him to come get me, he didn't respond, then I remembered there was a church not very far ahead and thought I could maybe make it there.  I ended up walking to the church and thankfully was able to use the bathroom.  (This was eerily similar to my story 2 years ago. . . however, there were people there and I was able to ask, and I didn't spend the rest of my day in the bathroom, thankfully, oh and it wasn't a great run . . . so maybe not so similar.)  While I was sitting on the toilet I called Chris and asked him to come get me, but then I got out of the church and felt good.  I could have run the 2 more miles to the park where Chris was meeting me with Maddox.  =/  Oh well, I got 12 miles in. Honestly, I didn't feel bummed about not doing 19 miles, but I felt really upset that I didn't do 14.

You know what is usually the start of a bad run?  Me telling myself over and over that I don't want to run, and not telling myself that I'm going to run 19 miles no matter what.  Also, reading my old posts from marathon training 2 years ago today has made me realize that I am not fueling the same way, and maybe that's why I'm so tired.  2 years ago what I found best was 3 honey stingers every 2 miles, I am currently only doing 2 honey stingers every 2 miles.  I just bought some Nuun for last week's run, so I'm sipping that whenever I want, but maybe the honey stingers are another thing that's going wrong for me.

Once again, I am no where near where I should be in training for a marathon.  Maybe if I do enough of them, I will have figured it out and followed a training plan.  This year was going to be the year I followed the plan exactly, and I was going to run it under 4 hours . . .that is not going to happen.  I can't go back and fix my hip, I can't go back and make myself run more on my long runs, so I just need to go forward.  I saw on Facebook that they've added a half marathon option to the Tri-Cities Marathon, so maybe I'll do that.  I have until October 14th to decide (the last day of registering for the marathon) and I'll have gotten in 2 more long runs before that, so I'll know where I stand. 

One last thing before I'm done.  My failed 19 mile run yesterday was along the beginning of my long runs from 2 years ago.  I was a little leery about running that way because there were a couple houses with dogs, and I have definitely developed an aversion to dogs while I run (honestly, they scare me more than being attacked by humans), I like dogs, I'm not scared of them, but farm dogs are territorial and usually not on leashes or fenced in, and no one is around.  Anyway, I did it and passed Donald again.  I had forgotten about Donald and his peanut wagon.
 
They've definitely done more work to him and cleaned up the area around him.  =)
From 2015
I noticed the solar panel yesterday, I didn't remember it from 2 years ago, and now I'm curious what it is powering.  Maybe I'll have to drive out there one evening to see.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Leavenworth weekend

I have a standing desk at work, well it adjusts to a standing or sitting desk.  I've wanted one for years and years, and finally got one at this job.  I find that when I stand at my desk I tend to move around more.  I tend to go for walks down the hall (mostly to look for someone to talk to) ; ) but also just more fidgety at my desk than if I sit.  I think that is actually the reason they say you should use a standing desk. 

Anyway, this weekend my sister and I went to Leavenworth for the Wine Walk.  My post last week talked about this being the 5th year we've done it (I found pictures for 5 years, and skipped one year) but then I was talking to my sister and I was right originally, this is the 4th year we've done it.  It's the 6th year we've done a trip just her and I.  The very first year we did a trip was to Leavenworth, but not for the Wine Walk, we didn't know about it yet.  The second year we went to Winthrop which is why I couldn't find a picture of our Leavenworth trip in 2013, we didn't go there.  =) 
Anyway, this weekend was the Wine Walk, and it was fun.  The Wine Walk is exactly what it sounds like.  It's a town-wide wine tasting.  Different wineries set up booths in stores in downtown Leavenworth, some have actual tasting rooms that are there all year round (more now than 4 years ago).  At the beginning of the day you get a map with the locations of the wineries that are participating and a wine glass and you walk from place to place and taste their wines.  I always buy a couple of bottles, and I save the bottles that I get from this weekend.  I'm developing quite a collection.  =)  I have no idea what I'm going to use the bottles of wine for, but I don't want to open them.  I always say they're for a special occasion but I have yet to meet an occasion special enough.  ; ) 

Anyway, this year we went a day earlier than we have in the past.  We left Thursday after work so we would have a full day to enjoy the sun and the pool, which we totally did.  Friday morning we went to breakfast (the hotel we've stayed at last year and this year has a great complimentary breakfast) and Nancy asked me if I was going to go run.  I said I hadn't really decided yet, and she told me to go, I would regret it if I didn't.  So I went for a run.

I ran 6 miles out of town, and it didn't suck.  ; ) 
After my run I convinced my sister to get in the outside pool (she did lap swim in the inside pool while I was running . . . she's a swimmer, not a runner), so we lounged around for an hour or so and then went looking for food.  We found a sandwich place that she LOVES (which is strange because she doesn't like sandwiches) a couple years ago, so now we go there once a trip. After lunch we went for a walk on a trail that goes by a river and loops through an island, and then we went back to the pool for the afternoon.  It was a very nice way to spend Friday.  =) 

Saturday was the Wine Walk which is best expressed in pictures. =)



And then back to the hotel to sober up a little.  We got in the hot tub for a short time, and then went back to our room and watched some TV. 
We finally decided we should eat dinner, so we tried somewhere new.  I'll admit, we mostly chose the place because of the name, which was "Wok About Mongolian Grill" and had cool names for their drinks like "Wok-a-tini." =)  I got a much needed fortune, which I'm sure will come true!
It says "You will inherit an unexpected
sum of money within the year."
On our walk back to the hotel we saw a quartet playing Alpen horns, which was really, really cool.

Then back to the hotel where we drank some more wine and passed out.  =)

And Sunday we came home.  Damian was late leaving Mount Vernon to pick me up, so we stopped and got pedicures while we waited for him.

All-in-all, it was a good weekend.  I was not ready to come to work today, but I guess that's where I'm at.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Running and Leavenworth

So I just posted a post that I wrote last week but hadn't quite finished it yet (mostly just adding pictures) and then forgot about it.  I actually was getting on to write about what's been going on in the last week, so you'll get two posts in a row.  =)

I think I ended my last post (that I literally just looked at and posted, but don't remember) with my 7 mile run on August 20th.  So that week I ran 3 miles, then 5 miles and then 5 miles race pace . . . Nope, I lied, I ended with my 11 mile run on the 27th.  I was feeling good about that particular run, I had been thinking 8, then switched it to 11.  I was tired afterwards, but I did it without problems. 

Last week I ran in the gym for 3 miles.  I'm not going to lie, my last 5 mile run on the trail near my work freaked me out a little.  I didn't like the trail before, but then to see the 3 people shooting up at the end of the trail made me think maybe I shouldn't run that trail. 

Don't get me wrong, I work in the social service field, I am well used to seeing people high.  I have been working with homeless adults about 7 years now, I know how they live and what they do to survive.  But meeting with my clients and working with them (even driving them places) is different than running into strangers while running.  My clients know me and (I hope) respect me, I'm not scared of them.  Strangers are a different matter.

Anyway, I was going to run on that trail last week, but I decided I really didn't want to this time.  I don't know if I will again. . .

Five miles on Thursday . . . with the plan to do 6 mile race pace on Saturday.  Well, Damian wasn't home Saturday morning and he's been watching Maddox a lot lately, so I didn't want to make him come home.  I decided to run with Maddox on his bike, I knew it wouldn't be race pace, but I thought it sounded fun.  He was pretty much done at 3 miles so we went home (up hill for the last half mile, poor kid).  My neighbors agreed to watch him for a little bit so I did 3 miles at race pace, which sadly wasn't any faster than my normal race pace even though it was shorter.  I did those 3 miles on my normally hilly route and not my normal flat race pace route (I did that for Maddox's 3 miles). 

The run with Maddox was pretty fun.  I think he enjoyed it, and I enjoyed it, even if it was a little slow.  =)  I think I will do that more often with him.
Sunday I was going to run 15 miles.  My schedule (if I had stayed on the schedule) says I should be at 19 miles, but obviously that isn't happening.  I was trying to catch up and thought 15 miles this week, 18 next week (when I should be at 20) and I'd probably hit 20 before the end of September.  Well, I was pretty tired on my run and knew I wouldn't get 15 done.  So I thought that 14 would be okay.  I called Chris to see if someone could pick me up, but doing math in my head when I'm tired isn't good, and I ended up with only 13 miles at my pick up point.  I walked away from that run thinking that I could have done another mile.  I hate that feeling.
My last 13 mile run was an average 9.28 min/mile, so I've gotten slower.  It was also in July when I was still on track for the marathon.  I think I can get my mileage up to marathon ready, but I don't think I'm going to get my pace up to be under a 4 hour marathon.  =(  Oh well.  Plus, with the heat and the bad smoke in the air, I'm not running as often as I "should" be.  My midweek runs are not up to what they should be either.  I'm getting 4 runs in a week, not 5 and I'm at about 25 miles a week instead of 39.

Yesterday I ran 5 miles which I extended during my run.  I actually was going to run my normal route but I wanted some comparison pictures of the smoke in the air so I ran to the river instead. 

 Yesterdays run is above.
August 20th is below.

The air is very, very smokey here right now from all the fires that are pretty much surrounding us.

Today I'm going to Leavenworth with my sister for the weekend.  So that means that I'll be running less than I usually do.  I'm going to go to the gym today during lunch and do 3 (maybe 4) miles.  I don't know if I'll run while I'm there.  My sister suggested the treadmill while she walks, but she also said she'd swim if I ran outside . . . so I guess I'll have to do something since she wants to.  =) 

We are going over there for our annual trip to the Wine Walk.  This will be our 4th year.  It's a blast and I look forward to it every year.  I actually just searched my posts for Leavenworth and the first year we went was in 2012, so this is our 5th year.  I can't believe we've been going so long.  =)  Well, I can't find a picture from 2013, so maybe we didn't go that year.  But here are all the others. =)
2012
2014


2015
2016

Forgotten post

I didn't realize I didn't finish this.  I started this last week.  Sorry!

My last post was really heavy.  My home life is in a difficult spot, but we will survive.  Chris is okay, he is working part time and has another round of dr appts coming up, we are pretty lucky his eyesight was the only thing affected by his stroke and one way or another, his heart will get better (they are talking pacemaker if the meds don't work). 

I'll keep my (2) readers updated on Chris, but this post is about running.  ; )

While Chris was in the hospital I started running again.  I couldn't handle not running while there was so much stress going on in my life. Chris was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday night and I went for a run on Thursday.  I didn't feel like I could go run after work, so I decided to go to the gym and run, but I got on the treadmill and decided that it wasn't going to work for me.  Thankfully all of my outside running stuff was still in my gym bag from our vacation (I took it just in case, but never ran on vacation). 

I went back to the locker room and grabbed my pepper spray (Everett is not the greatest town, and the mall, where my gym is, is in one of the worst areas), Garmin, and sunglasses.  I decided I was just going to run through some neighborhoods, however as soon as I left the mall parking lot I saw a sign for a trail, which I went down.  I will say, that trail is probably the sketchiest trail I've ever been on.  That run was the first in close to 3 and a half weeks. 

I went for another run that Saturday.  I felt a little bad, but I needed those runs badly.  Plus, Chris's Dad and brother had come into town on Friday night, so I figured they were at the hospital first thing.  I had to wait until I had someone to watch Maddox, so I didn't get out and run until 9am.  I got to the hospital at about 10, and Chris's Dad and brother had only been there about 20 min.  And waiting in the lobby was his Mom and step-dad.   Let me tell you, that was an interesting day.  Chris's Dad, brother, Mom and step-dad for 8 hours or more. 

Sunday I didn't know how far I should run.  My hip has been doing okay.  I've been icing it and taking ibuprofen (when needed, usually only once a day or less) and it doesn't bother me a lot.  I decided I'd try for 7 miles and see how I felt.  After no long runs for 3 weeks I figured I shouldn't try to go out and run 17 miles (which was what was on the schedule for marathon training).  7 miles turned out okay.  My hip didn't bother me much afterwards, or the next day.  Although I might have taken  more ibuprofen that day. 

Last week (this is actually 2 weeks ago) I ran on the trail in Everett again 2 times, one 3 miles and one 5 miles.  That trail is skeeeetchyyyy!  at the end of the trail, just before turning around I passed 3 people shooting up (drugs).  I won't go that far again.  I am very glad that I have had my pepper spray in my bag. 

I decided last (2) Saturday(s ago) that I would try to do a marathon pace run to see where I was at.  I didn't know how far I could go, but I decided on 5 miles.  My last one was 6 miles at a 8.49 min/mile, but that was 4 (5) weeks ago.  I was able to do 5 miles at a 8.42 min/mile, but I was dead, I don't know if I could have gone another mile.  I'm supposed to be up to 9 miles for my pace runs, but that's not happening, at least not yet.

On (2) Sunday(s ago), I again didn't know how far I should attempt to run.  I was supposed to run a half marathon, which I probably could have done, but I also would like to get up to marathon distance (with only 8 weeks or so left).  I decided I'd go for 8 miles, but was thinking maybe 12 miles and ended up with 11 miles. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Long road

So much has happened since my last post.  August 14th was my last post, which I actually didn't realize I had posted.  Looking at it, I took a lot of selfies on vacation, and I left out the best picture I took of Chris.
Let's just start at the beginning.  August 15th.  Chris woke up and told me he couldn't see out of his left eye.  I just figured he was still half asleep, he was going to go take a shower and wash the junk out of his eye.  He came out and told me that he still couldn't see anything in his left peripheral vision, he thought maybe he had scratched his eye in his sleep.  He decided he was going to go to work and see if it got better.  He had a trainee (someone he was training to do the work), so he was going to make that person drive for him.  While at work he text me and told me it wasn't getting better and if it was still bad, he was going to go to the dr "tomorrow."  I told him he should go to Urgent Care after work since they're open until 7pm.

I had ridden the bus that day because Damian was taking the car to go overnight backpacking, so I didn't get home until after 6.  While on the bus Chris text me again to let me know that the Urgent Care was walking him to the ER, he said it was because of his blood pressure being too high.  When I got to Mount Vernon I went straight to the hospital, I walked into the ER room as Chris was talking to the Dr.  He was saying "yeah, I went off my blood pressure meds about 7 or 8 months ago."  I said "What!?" and the Dr turned around and noticed me there.  Oh, and he said that he stopped taking aspirin as well, which is something that everyone with high blood pressure should be taking, along with meds.
I had to go home and get Maddox from his daycare, I asked our neighbors if they would mind watching Maddox while we were in the ER.  They said they would even though their oldest son was leaving early the next day to go to college and they were having people come over, but they were really great, and actually, Maddox loves their oldest son, so it turned out okay.  I went back to the ER where they were getting ready to do some tests to find out if he had a stroke.

Anyway, after a CT scan and an EKG it was confirmed that Chris had had a stroke while he was sleeping sometime the night of the 14th and the morning of the 15th.  They admitted him to the hospital, they said that the first 24 to 48 hours is the most high risk of having another stroke.  I went home for the night to get Maddox and go to bed. 

Unfortunately, both Chris and I had used all of our PTO (paid time off, which includes sick and vacation leave) on our vacation the week before.  So I went to work on Wednesday with the thought I'd leave early if I could.  I was able to come home early Wednesday and stayed at the hospital with him. Wednesday they did an ultrasound on his heart to make sure there were no blockages, valve problems, or clots so they could release him . . . good news, none of that.  Bad news, it was discovered that Chris's heart is functioning at about 10%.  As one of his dr's said, a heart's normal functioning is at 60% , the remaining 40% are used as reserves to use when in danger, exercising, etc. 

For some reason we still thought he was going to be released on Thursday, however, when I visited with him before going to work, I talked to the nurse and she said at least another day, possibly more.  They wanted to keep him under surveillance.  After I got to work Chris called me later to tell me that he was told that during the night his heart had stopped 6 times in a row before getting back into it's normal rhythm.  I called the nurse to talk to her about it because Chris has had a arrhythmia for a long time, where his heart will skip a beat or two and then go back to normal.  The nurse said that there are many different arrhythmia's and his has evolved into a very dangerous kind.  He was attached to shock pads, sticky pads that have attachments to jump start his heart if it stops, but was still able to walk around.

I think Thursday was his hardest day, and of course, I was stuck at work.  His mom came by for awhile and was there when the dr came in to tell him about his heart stopping.  He was told he has to stop all nicotine and all alcohol and to take his meds like his life depends on it, because it does.  When I got there in the evening, I think he had talked to a different dr, possibly a cardiologist, and she gave him a little hope.  He was also moved to the "critical care" wing of the hospital, which we were told he should have been in all along, but they had no rooms.

Nothing new happened on Friday, although they did take off the shock pads.  Damian came home Wednesday and was hanging out with him some while he was in the hospital.  He took several days off to be around for him. 

Saturday morning they did a nuclear stress test, he was injected with nuclear fluid that they can see, and then given a med to speed up his heart.  (That was a very frustrating morning, the nurse working that day was awful, no communication at all, and told us that he wouldn't be getting the stress test, and then at noon, suddenly she's wheeling him away to do the stress test because the dr overrode something.  It was horrible communication with her.)  Anyway, after a couple hours the dr came in and said he was going to be released.  Nothing concerning, or new at least, came from the stress test.  He has to take it easy.  He is in danger of going into cardiac arrest, but he's okay to go home as long as he's resting a lot and not drinking at all.

He was cleared to go back to work on extreme light duty and was set up with a cardiologist appt and a regular dr appt.  He was told he needs to see a neurologist about his brain/eyesight but no where in Mt Vernon has any openings until November, so he's going to go to the town where I work so that he can get in sooner. 

He's been working about 4 hours a day since last Wednesday, but is very, very tired.  His job is an extremely active job, he installs cable for a contractor for Comcast, so he's unable to do much of anything.  He goes to the warehouse and stocks stuff and makes connector cables.  I think it's pretty boring for him. 

I've been pretty worried, not just about him, but also about our finances.  We had just begun to recover from 2015 when we lost our house and then had several big financial hits, plus Damian's graduation . . . needless to say, I've been extremely worried about being able to keep lights on in our house, or even be able to pay our rent . . .

My sister is amazing and started a gofundme page for us.  I hate asking people for money, and there is no way I would have done it myself.  I've had to swallow my pride on this one and get the word out there on Facebook and on Instagram.  It sucks.  I hate it. 

If you are able, please look at the gofundme page, donate, share on social media, and keep us in your thoughts.  Even though Chris is home, he's far from better and this will be a long journey for us.

https://www.gofundme.com/wheatcroft-family

Oh, and if you're on blood pressure meds, don't go off them.  His stroke was not "minor" it was considered "significant."  He just got lucky that it affected the part of his brain for his eyesight and not somewhere else, otherwise we would have way more problems than his eyesight and weak heart . . . oh, and the weak heart is likely because of his heavy drinking combined with his high blood pressure.

Monday, August 14, 2017

running contemplation and vacation

Well, I haven't run since August 1st, and before that was July 25th.  Other than that one 3 mile run on the first, I've had a 3 week hiatus from running.  And let me tell you, I'm actually not missing it that much.  Oh, I get twinges of missing the long run, but again, it's as I'm driving down the freeway and the morning is so pretty and I see that stretch of road I ran 2 years ago.  Is this the end of my running career?  Honestly, I just don't know. 

When was the last run that I finished that I felt great after?  Well, actually, my last long run of 13 miles was pretty great.  And after running 6 miles under 9 min/miles was really great.  But I'm not really itching to get out there and run right now, not like last year with my sprained ankle. 

And to be honest again, my hip still aches sometimes.  It's stiff when I get up from being in one position for a long time, and the other day after a long drive, I tried to sit down "Indian style"  (did you know "Indian style" is no longer a thing, kids now call it "crisscross applesauce") and I couldn't get my leg in the right place, I had to let it stretch out a min before I could actually sit that way.  For the most part it doesn't bother me at all, I don't even notice it.  So I don't know what to do.

Last week not running was actually not hard to do at all.  I wasn't even home.  We went to Deer Lake for the week.  It was a nice, hot week, but very hazy.  There are a lot of wildfires right now, and the smoke from the haze has been awful throughout Washington.  We were a little further north than where I live, and my understanding is that most of the haze is coming from Canada fires, so even though it was hot, it felt cloudy.  We didn't see any stars, and that's normally something we do a lot of, stargazing, while we're there.  The sunsets were basically just a big red ball disappearing into a cloud of haze way above the horizon.  Also, Damian didn't go, he thought it would be too boring, and he didn't take the time off of work.  It was still a very good week though.

I thought about waking up to run this morning, but that didn't happen.  The first day after vacation is probably not the best day to try to drag myself out of bed at 4:30am to run.  I may try this afternoon . . . or tomorrow.  I haven't completely decided yet.

After the last run I did on the 1st, I wore heels and I think that may have caused more discomfort than anything else, so I've also committed to wearing flat shoes, which at the moment is a much harder commitment than not running.  ; )

Last week I did a lot of paddle boarding.  I was usually on the water about 10am for a half hour or longer and then a little "putting around" in the afternoon and then again in the evening for another half hour or longer.  I went up and down the edges of the lake both ways.  The farthest I went was 2 miles, once one way and the next day the other way.  That took me an hour to go 2 miles.  I really enjoyed it, a lot.  But . . . I have a fear of water that I can't see the bottom of . . . and of things touching me in the water.  I grew up swimming in a swimming pool, so lakes freak me out.  I never went very far out, but I know it was way over my head and most of the time I couldn't see what was beneath me.  I would have little moments of nervousness (I was going to say little panic attacks, but it wasn't that severe) thinking about falling in.  I didn't fall in, but often thought it would have been good for me to, to at least see that I would be fine.  I couldn't force myself to jump in though.  Maybe next time.  ; )

Well, I think I will end this post with a photo dump.  Here is my week in photos =)




Maddox was really good on the paddleboard

This was my spot all week when I wasn't in
or on the water.

I discovered I loved this hat.  I didn't get it out till the middle
of our trip, but it was fantastic!

lots of reading happened too


Maddox made friends with the neighbors

I found a turtle one morning under my paddleboard


Chris on the paddleboard
My Mom even tried it, but she couldn't stand up

This was my outfit all week, swimsuit on, coverup
over it while not in the water.
What passed for a sunset through the haze
It really wouldn't have been vacation without
wine on the water.  =)

We saw quite a lot of wildlife this year.  Turkeys while driving there,
a garden snake, a skink (lizard with a blue tail) and this moose.
He's in the tully's in the water.
We watched movies in the evening because there
were no stars.
sitting with my butt in the water on the last day
because it was so hot.

Last sunset of the week.

Oh, and we passed several sunflower fields

They were looking at the bees.

The last night (Saturday) was my mom's birthday and we went
back to their house.  We also got to watch some of the Perseid
Meteor Shower there. The haze was not as bad there.