Thursday, July 25, 2013

here's good...

attributed to arthur ashe, who may have
cribbed it from teddy roosevelt, but whatever. 

it definitely didn't originate with a parent,
because it's way too calm and zen-like.
so, the missus started a new, office-based job this week.

which means she's no longer working from home and simultaneously keeping an eye on things there. like kids. and dogs. and other random acts of senselessness.

now we both work on the other side of town, which for the last seven years i've referred to as "the other side of the planet." because not only is it far from home, but it feels disconnected from home. in a way that phone calls and texts and emails can't bridge.

"the dog threw up? tsk, bummer, babe."
"the girl threw up? tsk, sorry to hear it, babe."
"there's a pack of rabid zombies roaming the neighborhood? tsk, drive away fast, babe."

see? no matter what was happening, i was completely unable to contribute anything helpful. i didn't like that feeling. still don't.

and now the missus understands. today, four days into the new gig, she called to tell me she feels like she's lost touch with what's going on at the house. i empathized. and added unnecessarily, "welcome to my world for the last seven years." i don't think she found that helpful, either.

we realize this is a first-world problem. there are lots of people who, for various reasons, would love to trade places with us. people who want to get away from their kids, for one. people who don't like fleeing from zombies, for another. and, of course, people who don't have jobs.

we get that. and, let's face it, we've made our choices. a house in seattle? check. food for a menagerie of semi-sentient beings? done. wine? uh, yeah and lots of it, please.

these things come at a cost ~ emotional, physical, spiritual ~ that we've been willing to pay for a long time. and will continue to pay, apparently. will we look at each other one day and say, "it was all worth it" or "i'd do it all again"? no, seriously, i'm asking...will we? because, standing here today i think it could go either way.

ha ha.

just for fun, let's entertain the prospect that one day we will look back and say, "what were we thinking?" wait, we're already asking that! ha ha again! twenty years to retirement (assuming we ever get to retire) and we're doubting the fundamental decisions of our life! what does this mean? how did we get here? what have we done?

no, seriously asking. again.

never mind. doesn't matter. what's done is done. the fact that we're posing the question is a sign of a healthy appreciation of what's important and what we want going forward. it's not a sign of an actual analysis of those things, mind you, because, uh, still no idea. but at least we're asking!

truthfully, we are now more than ever listening to the inner voices ~ emotional, physical, spiritual ~ that we've shushed for so long. it won't be easy, appeasing all the constituencies ~ especially from the other side of the planet. but we're telling each other we're going to try.

"start where you are. use what you have. do what you can."

so simple. how hard can it possibly be?

(note: i know the answer to this one, thanks.)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Thursday, July 11, 2013

miles to go

coast to coast to coast to coast.
out with the old, in with the new car smell.

it's just the smell that's new (maybe spritzed in at the dealership), because the car is a 2011 with 21K miles on it.

but as someone said, if you haven't seen it, it's new to you. us. whatever.

and it was long overdue. the previous car was purchased in 1999. it was with us a long time, and served well. right up to the point where it fell apart like the blues mobile at daley plaza.

fourteen is old for a car. older still for an american-made suv with multiple cross-country trips carrying kids and dogs and irritable adults.

and while it was time to move on, there was a moment at the dealership when the missus paused and said, "it feels weird to just leave it here. we've been through a lot together." her eyes welled up, just a little, and at that moment, it got me, too.

i thought, briefly, about the big dogs riding in the back, and much younger children in car seats. trips to the beach on the outer banks. countless bags of groceries, and the smell of shredded bark mulch. 

the time zipped by like a blur of trees on the side of the road.

it was just a car. but as i'm just now discovering, right this second...turns out the space inside it was filled up with life.

damn, it got me again.

there be bears, there...

yes, i've actually been to montana. once.
there are days that i think, "montana sounds good. a house on few acres near the mountains...lots of trails to run, lots of room for the dogs to roam. how much could that possibly cost?" 

this is one of those days...

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

doma no mo

when you're on the right side of history, it's easy to shake your head at the folks who don't get it.

what's tough is to see things from the other side ~ the side that just saw its sad little aluminum can of churl crushed by the gentle caress of progress.

after much reading, the argument against marriage equality seems to be this: "i don't like it."

good news for anti-gay bigots: you still don't have to like it! dislike it all you like! simmer in that thin bland pasty porridge for the rest of your days, if that's what fills your soul with righteous insensate pique.

but know this: your feelings are irrelevant. i know...that sucks, right? especially after years of being in a privileged class used to getting its way, and feeling pretty smug about it. also, know that your feelings are unamerican.

many of you are law-and-order types who will cite any document with words on it if it suits your purpose. you were shocked, then, to learn that same-sex couples were denied hundreds of benefits, rights and protections provided on the basis of marital status under federal law. your respect for the law demanded a solution for your fellow americans being discriminated against so unfairly and egregiously. right? 

see, you're feeling better about this already, aren't you?

you knew all along, deep down, that "i don't like it" is no basis for a fair and just legal system. if it were, if america were made up of petty personal preferences and "the way things have always been," then you know, slaves. and i think we can agree we can't have a great country and slavery. or a great country and corporate personhood. or a great country full of faux congressional christians. such things just don't go together.

and you...well, you can't drive around with your "proud american" bumper sticker if you think it's defensible to legally discriminate against people just because you don't like them.

well, you can, but it's really nothing to be proud of.

racin' jason...

do you ever get a song stuck on "loop" in your head? and it just stays with you for hours, no matter what else you're doing?

of course you do. silly question.

this was mine on saturday as i ran a half marathon at taylor mountain...

you could do worse over the span of a couple hours, i just kinda played on background while the rest of me was on autopilot over 13.1 miles of ridiculous trail ranging all over the mountain.

the prerace briefing warned everybody about technical single-track trail and stream crossings and mud and loose rocks and heat and dehydration...all of which was spot-on. what it didn't mention was how much fun all that could be if you're feeling good and moving easily and have a breezy little tune playing in your head.

which would've been a pretty weird prerace meeting message, admittedly.

i don't have a coherent narrative for this event, just a bunch of free-floating impressions that are popping up as i write this.

there was mud. lots of it. more than once i saw someone plant a foot in the middle of the quagmire and come up without a shoe. they were obliged to go in elbow-deep to retrieve a shoe-shaped mud-thing. one guy reportedly schlurped through the muck for half an hour and came up empty, causing him to lurch the last few miles on one bare foot. which could not have been fun on the...

...long downhill strewn with loose rocks. you would think in a litigious america that race directors would never take a chance with this kind of liability exposure. thankfully, that wasn't the case at taylor mountain. i don't know how long it went on, this ankle-rolling knee-buckling teeth-jarring scree, but it wasn't long enough. getting through it unscathed was terrific, actual fun.
taylor mountain foliage.

narrow corridors of lush green foliage. there were places on the course where the growth of brush and ferns and wildflowers was so thick and unruly that it nearly closed off the path. the trail itself was pretty obscured, which meant you had to take many (many) steps on faith and hope for the best. some of the brush was composed of nettles and blackberry brambles, but still ~ beautiful.

horses (several). horse poop (lots).

streams...too wide to jump. the first one came early on, and my thought was, "i don't want to run the whole race with wet feet." so, all clever-like i daintily tiptoed my way across wet rocks and a mossy fallen tree trunk. dumb. wet rocks and mossy logs are a bone-fracture hazard, and dry feet were never an option this day. future reference: jump in, get through, get on with it.

roots. downed trees. low overhangs. steep, slippery switchbacks. thisclose to several full-on face-plants, complete with pupil-dilating adrenaline surge. awesome.

first race wearing my altra superiors. they hung in there on the sketchy terrain, and kept me upright where i might've deserved otherwise. the zero drop profile in these (and my altra torin road shoes) takes some getting used to, but now that i've made the adjustment ~ love 'em.

a great event put on by the folks at evergreen trail runs, who do a first-class job every time. now thinking about doing something slightly crazier toward the end of july, say the chuckanut mountain 30k.

"It has a little of everything and will test runners' skill on narrow and technical single track trails, long climbs and descents, a shorter steep climb, with some beautiful views from the Chuckanut Ridge, Fragrance Lake, and Lost Lake Trail. Course has about 5,000 feet of elevation gain."


s'ok. i couldn't catch anybody...

on my feet and moving.

Monday, July 01, 2013

if the shirt fits...

according to i'm "rangy."
apparently some people think i look skinny...

i prefer "lean."

"rangy" works, too.

running note that won't mean a thing to anyone but me

so, i've run a bunch of trail events this year, and done fairly well amongst the old guys (50-59).

but i noticed one guy in particular was always finishing a spot or two ahead of me, usually by just a couple minutes.

jay grubb is his name, and i've never met him. not even sure what he looks like, really. all i know is he's 52, and runs a lot of trail events (great, now it sounds like i'm stalking him).

we both ran the taylor mountain half marathon this weekend (june 29), and a look at the results reveals that i finished first in my category (16/125 overall) ...and 9 minutes ahead of jay grubb.

so, there's that.