Saturday, May 24, 2008

In about five hours we'll be motoring north of the border to the capital of Canada to participate in Ottawa's race weekend.

For the first time, we'll be spending Saturday night in Ottawa before Sunday's race. In past years I'd drive up to Ottawa on Saturday morning to get my race packet and peruse the vender's booths, and return home (it's a little over an hour's drive including clearing customs and immigration at the border). Then early Sunday morning D. and I would drive back for the race.

This year my adventuring compatriot decided to participate, as well as a few other employees of our work place. The price of gas, having risen above $4.10 / gal., makes it seem prudent to make the trip only once.

After a week of cold rainy weather, the forecast for Sunday is absolutely perfect. With a high of 73 degrees F. forecast for Sunday, it's a good guess that we'll start the 1/2 marathon at 9 AM and the temp will probably be in the mid fifties....just perfect!

To summarize:
A weekend in Canada's capital city!
With friends and co-workers,
Plus 30,000 race participants.
Festive atmosphere in a clean, friendly city-
Good food
Good wine
Good beer
Good exercise
Good fun!
There'll be no quitting before the finish line, even if I have to crawl across. ;) And this will be my third time returning to the 1/2 marathon in Ottawa.

Since we'll be away 'til Monday, Memorial day, and I think this post well qualifies for both Sunday Scribblings (#112 Quitting) and Writer's Island (#36 "The Return") prompts for this week, I'm going to link to them.

We move to camp on the river Monday....see y'all whenever................

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

For years she'd endured the abuse, mental to be sure, but abuse none the less. Many times she'd been driven to the edge of action and then her feminine side pulled her back and she delayed. She had delayed so many times that, infact, she surprised herself when in the last few weeks she had become so focused.

With diligence and careful planning she had acquired the pistol, tapped his phone and hired the P.I. to follow him and get the damning photos.

She'd made up her mind once and for all.

And then the damned gun jambed.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Soun Tu Di seated at his usual table, his back against the wall, the corners of his mouth turned up in a smile, looking into the eyes of the familiar waitress with the coy smile, gently touched her hand as she laid the menu on the table in front of him. The averages of anyone noticing this exchange were infantismally small.

His neck hair stood on end as he cought sight of the patron at the table directly across from him furtively staring at him. When the girl left, he returned the stare at the intrusive patron, who now refused to meet his gaze. After a moment or two, in puzzlement, raising his eyebrows in near recognition of the rude person whose face was partially hidden behind a cashmere scarf, he wracked his brain trying to bring forward who this person might be. He barely noticed his admirer scratching their chest and slowly sliding their hand under their coat.

He saw the gun just in time to react by diving to his right down to the floor in the aisle beside his table. Looking up as he heard the dull thunk of the lead bullet impacting the wall behind where only seconds ago he had sat, he was staring into the barrel of a pistol. Paralyzed, in shock, the next sound that registered in his brain was the click of a misfire, and then the scarf slipped away from the assailant's face---

It was her!


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ebb & Flow

Okay, let's go back in time: San Francisco, August, 2001.

For a long time I've been fascinated by the transient nature of the relationships we form throughout our daily lives. You find this curious phenomenon in most service oriented careers. For instance, in my job as a nurse anesthetist I've met and conversed with 10s of thousands of people and can recall only a tiny spattering of those encounters. I think that's to be expected.

Blogged has intensified my curiosity about the ebb and flow of relationships, i.e. friendships, acquaintances, and the effect of one time encounters, even lurkers who show show up consistently on your site meter. I wonder if there is a rhyme or reason to these encounters or if they are truly like ships passing in the night with little to no effect on our lives. Bloggers, unless you've experienced the rare personal effort to meet some, are basically a name and perhaps a photograph (not necessarily a picture of the writer) that communicates with you electronically across the internet and can vaporize into obscurity at a whim.

What, pray tell, you say, has this to do with San Francisco, 2001?

While mulling this wonderment over in my cluttered mind a day or two ago I was reminded of an encounter that occurred at a meeting I was attending, and how strange I found it to be on later reflection and how much like some blogging encounters I've experienced in the last two years.

I was at the Moscone convention center in the heart of San Francisco. Having arrived few minutes early, as is my custom, there were only a few other people there. The business session was going to begin in a half hour or so. Entering the huge meeting room where some 3000 or more chairs sat empty awaiting the arrival of my compatriots, I choose to sit on the near side and noticed in passing that there were no other people sitting on this side. Further to the front and on the other side was a group of attendees from my New York delegation, but I chose not to join them and sat down to peruse my hand outs and get a perfunctory idea of what was to transpire shortly.

An attractive dark haired woman approached me and asked in that sultry, Georgia peach type southern accent, if I minded if she sat in the chair next to me. I glance around and think, Ahh, excuse me there are 1500 empty chairs and you want to sit next to me....WTF. however I said; "why no young lady please, have a seat." And as she did so I examined her face more closely to see if I could discern whether this was a person I should know from a previous meeting, but alas no, my mind drew a blank.

We exchanged the usual pleasantries; where are you froms and so on. It turns out that she was from Alabama , not Georgia. I asked her where abouts in Alabama and she said, Birmingham. I thought and said "wow, what a coincidence"; "A good friend and classmate of mine from anesthesia school works in Birmingham". She inquired as to his name and did I know at which hospital he might work. It turns out that not only did she know him, he was her supervisor on the heart team. We continued to chat until the session got underway and then she left to join up with her group. I've never encountered her again, neither there at the meeting nor since.

Curious don't you think?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

#110 Telephone
"Hello?, hello! Oh, hi. Mom? Is that you Ma?

"Who am I looking for? Uh,I'm trying to get in touch with my mother."

"Her name? Oh yeah. Her name is Millie L.."

"Is this heaven?"

"Whadda ya mean; something like that?

" Yeah ok, so this is the place where people go after they die?"

"Good. Now is my mother there?

"I'm sure she IS busy, could you tell her that her son is on the phone?



"Hi ma"

"Whadda ya mean, who is this? It's me rel. You know, your son."

"I know, I know, I haven't called for an eternity, but I just found out that we could call there from here. And we can only do it between noon and 4 pm on Mother's day."

Yah, yah, I know; It's no excuse."

"What do I want?"

"Jesus Christ ma!"

"No, no, I want to talk to you, not Jesus. No, don't go get him. Mom....Stop."

"Yes I remember; be precise and say what I mean."

"I don't have any idea how much this is costing!"

" I called to say I love you and wish you a happy Mother's Day. Here's a little poem I found on the internet that says How I feel about you."

"Never mind what the internet is, just listen ok?

Before I was myself you made me, me
With love and patience, discipline and tears,
Then bit by bit stepped back to set me free,

Allowing me to sail upon my sea,
Though well within the headlands of your fears.
Before I was myself you made me, me

With dreams enough of what I was to be
And hopes that would be sculpted by the years,
Then bit by bit stepped back to set me free,

Relinquishing your powers gradually
To let me shape myself among my peers.
Before I was myself you made me, me,

And being good and wise, you gracefully
As dancers when the last sweet cadence nears
Bit by bit stepped back to set me free.

For love inspires learning naturally:
The mind assents to what the heart reveres.
And so it was through love you made me, me
By slowly stepping back to set me free.

"Bye ma."

"Thanks. Yeah, I love you too."

"Yes, I'm behaving myself! Go back to weeding the garden."

" Next year? Yeah, I'll remember."


Call Your Mother!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

#34 Faithful

"Semper Fidelis"
"Semper Fi"
Latin for "Always faithful".

In early 2005, a 59 year old father, former U.S. Navy/ fleet marine hospital corpsman emails his daughter and former U.S. Marine: "want to run the MCM (Marine Corps Marathon) with me?"

She responds: "You've been sampling too many of your anesthesia drugs! I'll come and watch."

Eventually I shamed her into saying yes, but she immediately called her mother to see how she could back out. They proposed to have my daughter's boyfriend substitute for her, and he grudgingly agreed. Mind you now, Josh was/ is a runner, I was not.

With eight months 'til race day, and never having run more than a mile, I went to my favorite book store, to find a book to guide my training. After reviewing a half dozen books on marathon running I settle on Jeff Galloway's book Marathon. Therein he advocates a run/walk technique. He developed this technique primarily for older runners such as myself, but advocates it for marathoners of all ages.

Having smoked cigarettes for thirty plus years (50+ pack year history), quitting at age fifty, here I was approaching age sixty and preparing to run a 26.2 mile race. In fact on the 30th of October, 2005 with the running of the thirtieth MCM, I would, in fact, be sixty years old.

Not to say that I was starting completely from scratch, because I've been a life-long exerciser; mostly strength training but have also been a consistent walker, especially since I quit smoking. Walking 3 to 4 miles a day 5 or 6 days a week with a few 100 ft. jogs was not going get me to the finish line.

Following Jeff's recommendation, I chose and followed the beginner's program titled "to finish." I followed the plan faithfully to the letter.


Serendipitously, I met Mr. Galloway at the Expo where we'd gone to pick up our race packets. While browsing around the various merchandise booths we happened upon a table staffed by two ladies and they were offering Jeff Galloway books for sale. While pointing out to Josh the book that I had used as my training guide, a well tanned, thin man wearing a ball cap, and standing off to the side of the table interjected, asking if I found the book helpful. I told him that I'd said at the start of my training that I would follow faithfully the plan outlined therein as long as it worked. If the projected results were not forthcoming, I'd trash can the book.
The man introduced himself as Jeff Galloway! Holy smokes! I'd not recognized him because in all the photos I'd seen of him he was not wearing a hat and is distinguished by male pattern baldness.

He asked me the fate of his book. I told him that the book was still on the kitchen table with well worn pages, and that I doubted if I'd be there if it hadn't been for his book.

As we chatted, he asked me how far my longest run had been prior to arriving in Washington, and at what run/walk interval I'd run. I told him I'd run/walked 23 miles two weeks prior and at a 8 and 2 interval (run 8 minutes, walk 2 min.). He said, "if I were you, just sayin', I'd run tomorrow at a 3 - 1 interval and at a pace 2 minutes per mile slower than your 1 mile test run.

The next day was MCM day and I again faithfully followed Jeff Galloway's advice.

I finished the 26.2 miles in 5 hrs. 50 min.


Friday, May 09, 2008

No judgement nor council
from me
will you get.
The path you have chosen
is well worn,
and fraught with regret.

Your decision was not
made lightly
of this I'm sure-

Today is all you've got;
Tomorrow but a fantasy.
Tread softly!

Semper Fi

Thursday, May 08, 2008

to the realm
Two weeks in the
bubble of Idealism.
To err is human, to forgive,devine (A. pope). Maybe it's good to be cautious with one's judgements!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

photo by © rel

This week has seen a paltry amount of writing from this author. Oh, I did put up a post on Monday and Thursday, but in reality, I've neglected my writing, reading and posting for the week. The fact that it is also the second week of vacation makes it seem worse to me since I should have had a surplus of time, time to attend to those things, such as writing, that I savor. I deplore excuses. They are poor apologies for not doing something you should have done and didn't and now your looking for absolution.

I've been in one of those doggedly unambitious moods and I just didn't feel like applying myself to too much that was constructive or required much mental exercise. Partly, this state of mind was brought about in concert with a melancholia precipitated by the deaths of two men my age, and the mid-week class and test I need to pass to maintain my certification and thereby my privileges to work at the hospital.

My Wife's recent retirement has fostered a resurgence of energy and zest for life in her that has had her busting her butt in the yard and flower gardens to get the manor spruced up. She has started a diet and kick started her exercise regime to include a start at some running. At this juncture I must say that she has not been a nag nor has she pushed me to do anything more than a few menial tasks. Of course her example did create a sense guilt enough so that I did keep up my exercise regime, welcomed the new diet regime and I did infact get some household tasks completed, but be assured that except for an 11 mile run, I did not bust my ass around here.

But, I digress:
This post is really about two deaths and a test. The test was anxiety producing only because I'm a professional procrastinator. In fact, if procrastinators got paid for their level of procrastination I'd be buying out Warren Buffet. Since I passed the test with flying colors I'll leave that as is.

On April 27th, 2008 Mike St. Andrews died. That would be last Sunday. Because he'd lived most of his adult life in Illinois his obit didn't appear in the local paper here until Wednesday. Mike was 61 years of age.

Mike was a year behind me in high school and therefore a year younger. We weren't friends in the traditional sense; we hung around with different people, came from opposite sides of the tracks, and lived in different worlds even in the same town. But in a greater sense we were family. We were siblings in the brotherhood of sports. Mike was a pitcher for our varsity baseball team....I was the catcher for that team. Mike was a quarterback for our football team. I was a guard and a linebacker on that team. That special commonality made us family.
I graduated and left for the military life. Mike had one year left 'til graduation. Things change and life moves on. It's the natural flow of things, and so you would be right to think that that was the end of our siblingry (-neologism-) so to speak.

February 16, 1966 I was waiting in the DaNang, South Vietnam airport to catch my flight back to CONUS (continental U.S.). I was goin' home from the war. As I watched the incoming soldiers and sailors deplaning I recognized one of the sailors...Mike St. Andrews.
We talked in the usual banalities. He was envious of my departure and I wished him all safety and good luck. And you know; hey man how are ya? And holy shit man it's good to see ya and yada yada yada. That was the last time I saw my bother; brother in sports, brother in arms. Mike with the calm, lamb like personnality and rel the boisterous, ferocious, lion.

The time is soon to be upon me Mike and I'll join you on the tarmac beyond this world.

Thursday last, David "Gordie" Warren died from complications from a stroke. He was sixty-two years old, same age as me. Gordie and I were siblings in the family of community. We live in the same town, his home town, my Dad's home town and my adopted home time. Gordie and I interacted countless times. Gordie was a smart, industrious, savvy guy. He could be everybody's friend but at the same time he brooked no bull shit. He embraced life and lived it to the fullest and he left us too soon....Gone, like a member of this extended family we call community.

Might as well get the third prompt in here while we're at it; identity.
Mike and I identified with each other on one plane. Same with Gordie and I. Each of us has many identities: son, daughter, husband, wife, mother, father, friend, worker and so on and on.
But in the end we will all share the same identity;


I penned a little to poem to express my feelings iterated above, and if you've read down this far I hope you finish up with this.


As turbulent times
Are wont to be,
This past week had
Ups and downs
For me.

A test to garner
My recert.,
On Wednesday I did spend.
Without success
Would my identity thereby end?

Bracketing the week
Front to back
Were two friends deaths.
One friend from long ago,
Just last week, the second said hello.

My friend from long times past
Was a meek and mild
Kind of guy.
While the other had a
Ferociousness from time to time.

Now they lay side by side
This lion and the lamb.
These two,
Members of
The family of man.

Sadly, over time
Their identities
Will be
On a stone.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Anesthesia Jargon

Laying on the gurney
Slipping off the end.
Wheeled down the hallway
To some unknown rend!

They xanaxed me,
I'm glad to say.
It allayed my anxiety
And kept high B/P at bay.

Moving to the OR table
My ass stuck to the sheets,
I was hardly able
To cover up my cheeks.

My gown that barely covered me
Was little protection from the cold.
Mask to keep their face from me
And creeping hands so bold!

B/P cuff, leads for EKG,
The IV in my arm,
my finger's--pulse oximetry;
A voice devoid of charm.

"Here comes the anesthesia, propofol.
It's that burning in your vein.
Time to say; goodnight all."
The light begins to wane.

"I'll stay with you throughout the case
And will keep you safe and secure.
Your vital signs will beep a pace,
While surgeon cuts to cure."

Surgery's done, the wound is neatly sewn.
The sevoforane is turned off,
You're breathing on your own.

I'll take you to the PACU
And pull your endo tube.

You'll awaken, feeling better
Than you ever thought you would.

Because you haven't eaten
Forever and a day,
You'll also wake up hungry...
I hope you enjoyed your stay.

If you did enjoy your day;
My name is rel.
But if it wasn't all that gay;
It's Mr. S.O.C. you'll need to tell! ;)

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