Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Family

I suppose it's time to introduce you guys to the new members of my family. Both of these guys were adopted during an adoption drive at a local Petsmart.

This is Otis. He is a really big, really clumsy puppy. His main purpose in life is to play and eat. Well mostly to play. His saving grace was that when we took him out of his cage and walked him around, while the other dogs there went crazy, Otis remained perfectly silent and didn't lose his mind. He is amazingly intelligent but still has a lot of puppy in him. He runs into walls a lot.

This is Willie. I didn't name him after me as much as I'm sharing my name with him. Just as I don't own him so much as we are sharing our lives together. I've always loved Dachshunds for their attitudes but this little guy is the sweetest one I've ever met. He's had a hard life. He was found by the shelter I adopted him from during our last ice storm. He was starving and dehydrated. I have pictures of him like that and they are really sickening. He wouldn't eat for a long time and the shelter was sure he'd die but eventually he pulled through. He had 2 surgeries to remove lumps from his intestines that were a result of his dehydration. He has a scar above his right eye and it feels like he's missing a small piece of his skull in that area too.

He is about 3 years old and has settled into an easy life here at Villa de Willies. He is Otis's favorite play toy and usually enjoys it but sometimes has to put the big guy in his place. He really likes laying in the sun.

As you can see, they kinda like each other.

Thanks for listening

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mano e mono

Remember that little goal of mine? Something about running 12 marathons in a year. Well I was on my way to getting that sucker done (not without struggle) until last Friday.

I had run the Waco marathon in January (extremely hilly and I was extremely not ready for it)

I had to skip the Austin marathon in February because I hurt my foot running on ice.

I ran the A2A marathon in March in 30 mile per hour headwinds.

I ran the Davy Crockett marathon in April. Nothing to say about this one, great course, great weather, I just blew it.

Then I finally ran a good marathon in May at the Oklahoma City Memorial marathon. I did it in a thunderstorm but I'll take a good marathon however I can get it.

Also in May I ran the Andy Payne marathon which put me back on track for my 1-per-month goal. Andy Payne sucked. It always has. It was brutally hot and windy.

I was scheduled to go to Estes Park Colorado this weekend to run their marathon. I had plane tickets, a rental car, and a place to stay. I also had the brewery tours all lined up for afterwards. It was going to be a great weekend in a beautiful part of the country. It was. It really was.

Last Friday I got sick. Really sick. Saturday morning I was not better and by Monday I was bed-ridden. The glands in my throat were (are) swollen and I was a wreck. I went to the doctor to get some antibiotics to knock this thing out before the weekend. I took all the pills and still I didn't feel better. I went to the doctor again and this time he gave me a mono test which I quickly failed. I was heartbroken. Doc said at least 3 weeks of no running because my spleen is enlarged. After the 3 weeks I have to go back and he will reevaluate me and see if I can start running again. Even if I can, it has to be slow and short for fear of a relapse. In reality it appears I'm looking at a few months of no real training.

So there goes my goal. The way I feel now I'm OK with the defeat because running is the last thing I want to do. I am afraid, however, that once I get to feeling better the full weight of what this will do to my running life will sink in and I might not be so OK with it. Maybe not, I'm hard to figure some times. Right now I'm taking full advantage of my rest and sleeping more than I have ever slept. Sometimes I feel a little better and I get up and move around. Sometimes I don't feel so good so I stay in bed all day. Really not a bad way to live I guess.

Thanks for listening

Saturday, June 4, 2011


When I was about 11 years old my family lived up on a hill that ran along a highway. In order to get anywhere off the hill you had to cross this divided highway and my mother was never fond of me venturing across that road. I was not the type to stay at home though so I frequently took my bike down the hill and into town. In today's world I would never dream of my little one going out on his own let alone cross a major highway without me, but this was 1980-something and times were different. Besides, if I remember correctly, I never exactly told my mother I was leaving most of the time anyway.

At the bottom of the hill, just across the highway, was a small gas station where I would stop and buy candy and soda and generally unhealthy things. I went there a lot and was quite familiar with the store and where everything was located. There were two doors, an exit directly beside the cashier and an entrance on the other side of the building. I suppose it was set up that way so that when you came in the store you were forced to walk past almost every aisle before reaching the exit. Smart store layout.

One day I took my bike down the hill and across the highway to get a Charleston Chew and a Coke. Two of my favorite things at the time. I had nothing to do that day and remember being extremely bored. I think I took the trip more to just get out of the house then to actually get the candy. As I walked into the store and was locating my treasures, I noticed a middle-aged black man looking for things too. He didn't strike me as particularly memorable, just an ordinary man picking up some things. He got to the cashier just ahead of me and when he did a white man in, what today would be called a "wife-beater", ran past me and grabbed the black man by the shirt. "I thought I told you to never come in here again!", he screamed. I immediately froze and became more scared than I can remember. The white man began beating this black man to a pulp. I distinctly remember the blood spilling on the floor and all over the white man's shirt. The boy black man never had a chance to defend himself. He was crumpled on the floor and receiving punches and kicks from this white man who seemed possessed. The beating continued and the cashier was just as stunned as I was and no one seemed to know what to do. It became obvious to me that the white man was drunk and for some reason I concluded that he didn't know this black man, he was just a racist who had gotten drunk and found a black man to beat. I can't remember what prompted me to think that but for some reason I made that conclusion fairly quickly.

The beating continued for many minutes and the white man never let up. I remember thinking that he was going to kill this man not 5 feet from me! At this point an intense anger built up inside me. It was the first time I'd felt that way. An intense anger that I could do nothing about. I was going to see this man die for no other reason than he happened into the wrong store and the wrong time and there was nothing my little body could do about it. That helpless frustration has stuck with me all my life. I honestly think that day changed the course of my life. I felt that feeling many times later in life and I never seemed to be able to deal with it appropriately. My reaction, as I did that day, was to get away. Run away as fast as I could. I have always thought that day was when I made my "fight or flight" decision for life. I was caught in an intense situation that demanded an action and I chose to run. I would do that a lot throughout my life.

I remember that feeling of anger stuck with me for days after that event. I hated that white man. I hated him in a way I couldn't handle. I didn't know how to handle it. I wanted to find him and his family and make them pay for this. I didn't want him to just be punished, I wanted him to suffer. Truth be told, as I sit here on my porch writing this I still feel that way. I wonder sometimes if I couldn't search the police records back in Ohio and find out his name, track his ass down and finally let that little boy in me have his revenge. Maybe one day I will.

At some point along the journey of this life I learned how to deal with those frustrating moments. I learned (am learning) how to not run away but to "fight" in a proper way. I know now that it's healthy to do that. I just wish I had learned it a little earlier in life.

I should forgive that racist bastard someday. I'm not sure I could though. He beat that man mercilessly in front of my younger self and was the first to show me real, unprovoked hatred. He taught me that evil existed in the world. Worse yet, he brought out hatred in me. I supposed I could have done without that for a few more years.

Thanks for listening