Monday, April 29, 2013

Goodbye Old Van

Fourteen years ago we bought a used 97 Caravan. We then proceeded to drive it all over the western side of the united states. It was never really very reliable, but we got to play as a family in it.

Last summer, and 184,000 miles later, the caravan gave up the ghost. It’s been sitting in our garage ever since.

Last week I decided that it was time to give it to a charity, we chose Sea Shepherd because we all love whales and the sea in general.


So, when I pulled it out onto the street for the towing company we decided that we should give it a proper send off… so we took some window paint and freaked out our generally conservative neighbors.







I love my kids.
 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Poem in your Pocket Day

Happy Poem in your Pocket Day!

What? You say?  Ok… I know that most of you who went to college got… you know… useful degrees, but there are a few of us who studied English Lit.  I know… I know…
But anyway, Poem in your Pocket Day is the one day where you are encouraged to take a poem, (one from a famous poet, or one of your own creation) put it in your pocket, and share with people as the muse requires.

I chose one that is a little light hearted this year because, well frankly, this week has kind of sucked.
And so I give you:

The Cremation of Sam McGee
By Robert W. Service

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he'd often say in his homely way that he'd "sooner live in hell".

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see;
It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request."

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
"It's the cursed cold, and it's got right hold till I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet 'tain't being dead -- it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains."

A pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say:
"You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it's up to you to cremate those last remains."

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows -- O God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I'd often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the "Alice May".
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then "Here," said I, with a sudden cry, "is my cre-ma-tor-eum."

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared -- such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn't like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don't know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: "I'll just take a peep inside.
I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked"; . . . then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door.
It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm --
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm."

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Now, since this is one of my favorite days, I could not leave you without one of my favorite Beat Poets… Michael Myers.


Have a great day my friends!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston

I can’t really form my thoughts and feelings into a coherent line of words today.  Yesterday I was so happy.  I got to work, and immediately put the coverage of the Boston Marathon on one of the two computer screens I stare at all day… every day.

Boston is one of those marathons that I will never be able to run.  At my age, coming into running so late in life, I will never be fast enough to qualify for such a prestigious event.  But I wanted to watch anyway.  I wanted to watch the elite runners as they pound out 5 minute miles, and to see if I could (possibly) catch a small glimpse of my friend Gemma (who’s fast like a freak) among the 21,000 other runners.

I wanted to live vicariously through those who were running, and even had thoughts of one day going to Boston to experience the marathon if only as a spectator.  I’m sure that now… I will, possibly next year.
The reason being is that acts like this definitely break bodies.  They do devastating things to the people who were unlucky enough to be close to the bomb when it went off.  But they can also break the spirit.  And runners have a lot of spirit.

I know that there will be those who will probably never run again, not because their bodies are broken, but because their spirits were broken yesterday.
Please don’t be broken. 

Ultra-Marathoner Dean Karnazes once said:
“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”

Never give up my friends, lace up your shoes and never give up.
My heart and my prayers are with Boston… I wish that I could do more than that.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Embrace the Suck




Last Saturday I found myself up in Park City running in the chill, high altitude air of spring in Utah, 18 long miles with the dozen members of Team in Training.  I was able to start out pretty strong, but somewhere around my 11th mile, things started to suck.  My legs started to hurt and started to loose energy, and I really started to struggle.
Some runners like the phrase “Embrace the Suck” meaning that no matter how tired you are, or how discouraged, or how sore you grab hold of all of that and push forward.  Relentless Forward Momentum, they sometimes call it.  Well, the embrace wasn’t happening for me, and as I was pushing forward to the finish, well into my 18th mile… I was done.  The “Giving Up” kind of done.  I was the last of the group still running, and had just been passed by Dianna (a team mate) with a mile left to go.

As I was cresting the final hill, and could see the finish a paltry half mile away, I could see Dianna running back toward me.
“Did you lose something?” I asked.

“Nope,” she said, “I just thought that I’d run in with you.  You know… the whole team thing.”
I almost cried, we started running again, I was able to match her pace (or she was matching mine.) and together we finished the 18.5 miles in some 3 hours 50 minutes.

What’s my point in telling you this?
When I started this journey with Team in Training, I thought that I’d just be raising a little money for something I really feel passionate about and at the same time that I’m becoming a bit of a better runner.  But, I began to learn some things.

When I’m running, I can stop and rest if my shins hurt, or if I’m tired, discouraged… or whatever.  Cancer Patients can’t.  They can’t just say “I don’t want to do this anymore.”  They don’t have a choice but to “Embrace the Suck.”
I’m constantly thinking of a friend of mine who is going through Chemo right now, and how positive she is, and seems to always be.  I know that I don’t see those times when she’s tired, scared, sick, or just “Done.”  It makes my little struggles seem so trivial.

I know that the money I’m trying to raise will really be of little comfort to those who are battling right now.  Maybe some of it can ease some of their financial pressures.  But in the end… it’s just money.  But if any of the money that is going to research, can save even one child, one Mom, one Dad, one brother or sister… one person.  Then it will all be worth it to me.
This has been a long journey for me, but it is but a moment for those who will still be fighting the good fight when I’ve crossed the finish line, and I hope that we all can be that team mate who is willing to run back to help the others cross that finish line marked “cured.”

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

March Overview... with a bit of April...


March Miles: 92 miles.  That’s a monthly record for me, and April should be bigger still.
Races: No races, no Time.

Next Race: Ogden Marathon in 6 weeks.
Reading: The Subterraneans, by Jack Kerouac.  With April being National Poetry month, I thought that I’d get a head start on the whole poetry thing by reading one of my favorite authors from the “Beat Generation.”  Yes, I know that The Subterraneans isn’t poetry, but it has such a frantic rhythm that it’s almost like poetry.

Listening: I started listening to some book about the D-Day invasion, but the reader was so dry that it was like a disk full of chloroform.
Latest Obsession: Arrow Making.  I’ve been in the process of making arrows for our upcoming tournament season that will begin on June 1st with the Loch Salann Arrow Elite Shoot.  Last year I scored a fat ZERO, (which isn’t uncommon for this kind of shoot) this year my goal is to put a point on the board.

Netflix Habit: Psych.  I finally gave in to my daughter’s endless pestering about how I NEED to watch Psych.  She was right, it’s good.  But, I also took a look at a show I’ve never heard of called Terra Nova.  You know… I kind of like it.
Blessing: My greatest thanks to all of the people who have given to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on my behalf.  I can’t believe the outpouring of generosity.  Thank You!

Irk:  April Freaking Fools Day!  I should probably wait until next month’s recap… but dang it!  I am such a sponge, no lie, I just soak up everything with pure faith that I’m not making an ass of myself.  So here I am last night, generally wasting time on the internet and I notice a new button on Google, “Google Nose” it’s called.  So, I click on it and it tells me that they found a way to transmit smells over the internet. “Crap!”  I’m thinking (without even thinking that it’s April 1st.)  So I click on the smell of a grapefruit.  The instructions said that you should put your nose close to the screen and smell.  So, I push the button and smell my screen.  I know!  Stupid!  And of course, here was no smell.  So I find a stronger smell in the list… a Cooked Turkey.  I push the button and smell… Nothing.  Still, I have not figured out that it’s a joke.  It wasn’t until I clicked on the trouble shooter that I figure out that it was an April Fool.  Google probably has a wall full of thousands of pictures of foreheads (from screen cams) trying to smell their screens.  I’m such a sponge!
Whoo Hoo!: Real Salt Lake beat Seattle on Saturday.  My wife and I went and had a blast.  The weather was warm and the people we were sitting by were a lot of fun.  One guy in our section was dressed in this whole Boba Fett uniform painted in RSL colors.  Pretty cool!

 
Oooo Ahhh:  I’ve been looking for some new compression socks because mine just are not cutting it anymore, and I just can’t bring myself to lay down another $60 for the ones I have.  That’s when I found SPUN… $35 bucks for a good looking pair of compression socks… sign me up!
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