31 January 2010

Of dogs & kids

As much as I gripe about being busy at work, I would much rather be busy than idle or bored. 9 years ago, before I joined my current company, I was doing well at a small firm located close to home. 15 minute commute (that's with traffic), smaller employee base, a lot more freedom to make decisions. But, after two years, I was bored. I know, I should have been grateful for the job, but I felt that, to me it was not enough of a challenge. Well, as I have said before, be careful what you wish for. Now I am busier than (as my mother would say) a one-arm paper hanger with an itch and, in spite of my grumbling, I am glad for it.

Yesterday was one of those busy weekends where you kick off at dawn and don't slow down till past 10. Got up took care of dogs, had to run to store for a few o&e, took a bunch of gear to my trailer, dropped off recycling, drove over to in-laws to install a new light and replace smoke detectors, drove across town to seeda niece, tried out some Mongolian BBQ, head back home to walk dogs.

Claire is doing better each day. She finally wore me down with the sad-eyed, mournful looks and I relented and took off her cone. She is much happier (and prettier) without the lampshade. No interest in licking herself, so things seem to be going well. I even started taking the pair for a walk again. It's funny how Grayson has matched his gait to hers so that the two seem to walk shoulder-to-shoulder at the same pace. So far, no problems walking two dogs at once, but we have yet to have any cat encounters.

We met up with my brother & wife (the new grandparents) and drove across town for a brief visit with the new parents and their bundle of joy. Momma is doing well, tired and fretting over her new baby. Daddy is tired as well, but beaming like a drunken fool. Juliana is an adorable girl. She is sweet and innocent and cute - gonna be a handful when she is older.

It's been 21+ years since I held onto an infant like that. Brings back memories.

29 January 2010

Friday follies

Ever had one of those weeks where just making it to Friday night is a major milestone?
I swear that some people are put on this earth just to test me.

Thank god for weekends and scotch. I would probably gone postal by now, if not given an outlet for my agnst. The good thing about having more than one needy, highly affection and attention deficit dog is that it does tend to take the edge off. Hard to maintain my grumpy attitude when I am greeted by two goofy smiles and a pair of asyncronous wagging tails. I've been in nonstop meetings/conference calls since Wednesday. It's been one of those wheels came off the bus weeks for me and I am sincerely glad to see Friday arrive.

Both mutts are glad to greet me at the door with a smile on their butts. More of Claire is showing every day . She is an absolute sweetheart and knows how to work the system. You gotta feel sorry for her with her sparking smile, shaved belly and cone of shame but I see a little skamp in her eyes at time. Grayson is jealous of any attention she gets so any time I am petting one dog, the other shows up in short order. What I find funny is that when Grayson is parked at my lap getting some serious headscratching, Claire will meander in with her cone of aloofness and shoulder her way into the situation (kind of like a snow plow clearing the area). I feel sorry for her, but I swear that, at times, she is using that cone to muscle out Grayson for some extra attention. Both dogs have gotten along well. Despite her recent surgery and condition, Claire acts like she is ready to party. Grayson, being the consumate teenager, is always ready to rumble. Between the two, I have my hands full.

On the new great nephew front, momma & pappa are tired but doing well. Juliana is a getting lots of attention & loving as the new clan member. I am quite sure she will be properly spoiled.
Side note: When I talked with my son Thursday night at college, I broke the news to him that he is no longer the youngest member of the family.

28 January 2010

Engineer in training

The nephew is now a proud pappa

Juliana's specs:
Arrived 01/28/10 @ 1752 hours
Mass: 7 lbs 12 oz
Dimesions: 19 inches

Momma and daughter are doing good.
Daddy has been questionable for years.

It should be noted that on our side of the family we have only had boys. I've got 2 brothers and we've all had sons. This is the first female of the species to grace our family tree. Totally messes up our system. Are pink camoflauge onesies appropriate?

27 January 2010

Don't sweat the little stuff

A little background: I work at the same office as my nephew. He started here first and I got a chance to come on board about 1.5 years later. Totally different departments/areas, but we see each other every day. I am always quizzed by my family on how he is doing, but I have that Vegas rule: "What happens at the office, stays at the office". He is 30 and just got married two years ago to a young engineer who worked here for a few years. She's from Puerto Rico and they got married down there ergo my road trip two & a half years back to the island (that's another story). Those two were head over heals in love and, at the wedding reception, we were placing bets on when offspring might appear.

Fast forward to today and my nephew just posted his "out of office notice" so he will be off for the next three weeks as he and his wife are going to celebrate the arrival of their new daughter. Momma is way preggers (due Sunday) but the doc decided to induce tomorrow, so we have a birthday, just waiting arrival of VIP. They are heading off to hospital in morning for the most expensive, scariest, life changing, awesome event of their young lives. I clearly recall 22+ years ago the night before we were supposed to deliver how scared/excited/nervous we were. Total terror/panic/euphoria and, after tomorrow, nothing will be same.

As I sit hear dealing with my daily headaches and complaints, this blessed event makes one stop and appreciate how short/unique life is. My day-to-day problems pale in comparison to what they are about to experience. It helps put life in perspective and keep me humble.

Good luck Greg & Jasmine and I know that she will be the light of your lives.

Life's short, dance like there is no tomorrow.

26 January 2010

Ruff day

Poor Claire.

Took her into the vet this morning. Everyone at the vet fell in love with her as they checked her out from stem to stern. She was brave soldier as the poked and prodded her and kept wagging her tail thoughout the exams. She did test positive for a medium amount of hearworms which we will deal with in two weeks. The vet went ahead with her surgery to neuter her and it turns out she was in full heat. No wonder she had a few minor accidents yesterday. She came through the surgery with flying colors and is resting at home with the obnoxious collar. Seems to take it better than Grayson, but still not quite happy with it. She is a bit lethargic and not quite as chipper, but still trys to wag her tail when you pet her. Will be a few days before she regains her smile.

Never a dull moment

So far, so good. Claire is fitting in well with the family and settling in.
Grayson is starting to settle down a bit. Wasn't sure how to take this interloper in his domain, but they have gotten along nicely. No fights, no conflicts, no drama. Claire is a much older, calmer dog than Gray. I think he is still a puppy at heart and having a second dog to pal around with has brought out more of the puppy lately.

I have taken to walking them together and, surprisingly, they do very well. Of course, at the outset, it is like being pulled by a pair of draft horses, but eventually they calm down and hold a good pace. They tend to walk shoulder to shoulder and don't cross leads too much. Gray is more of a curb dog (walks through yards) while Claire is a street sweeper. Still to early to tell, but we have seen a bit more of her personality. We got Claire with the intent to foster her through her treatment and eventually place her in a permanent home, but, she is growing on us. Momma has already fallen for her quiet, calm demeanor. Given that strategy, we've already been contacted by the adoption coordinator for the group and there is a couple up in north Texas who are highly interested in adopting her. Sounds like she already has people who want to give her a good home. We agreed to keep her through her spaying and heartworm treatment, so it looks like she will be with us for a few months. Today is her first trip to the vet. Going to have her checked out and microchipped. If the doc thinks she's ready, will have her spayed today. Not sure, but we think she might be getting ready to go into heat. Once she recovers from that, then we will start the round of HW treatment. Poor girl. Hope it is not the long sessions and she is able to bounce back quickly.

Side note: She is a definite cuddler. I keep trying to bang out words on the keyboard and she is parked right under my right arm and keeps nudging me to rub her head. That works out fine until Grayson gets jealous and pops up on my left side and wants the same attention. Two hands, two dogs. Ever try to type with your feet?

24 January 2010

Be careful what you wish for...

You know if you say something out loud, it may come to pass. This last month we have been sorta pondering fostering another dog. We were not seriously looking for another hairy mouth to feed & clean up after, but considering getting a "temporary" playmate for Grayson to bleed off some of the puppy energy and help foster a dog into a permanent home.

Well now, the GBGRR group must have had their radar up on that one because yesterday morning as I am leaving the house, I get a call from Midge asking if we would consider fostering another female. Of course, she caught me at a weak moment.

So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce the latest member of the clan:


Her bio on the website reads like a personal ad:

You can't feel blue around Claire. She is always smiling! Claire is sweet, gentle, gets along well with other dogs and ignores the cats. If you're looking for a well-mannered, quiet cutie, consider Claire.

She is supposed to be around 5 years old and very calm dog. She looks a bit older with her muzzle starting to grey up a bit. A bit smaller than Grayson, they have tolerated each other well. I think Gray is nervous that we are replacing him. Claire is "in tact" which means the first order of business is to have her spayed. She is also heartworm positive, so we have that session to look forward to again. She looks to be in good shape, but we don't have a lot of details on her back ground. I think she was a stray picked up in Bay City. She is well behaved indoors, but she hasn't been here long enough to cause problems. She is a sweetheart and will love on you if you get close enough. After our initial introduction, I took both dogs back to the truck for the short ride home. Grayson, always the gentlemen, shoved her aside as he clambered up in the truck, but Claire jumped right in after him. She climbed over the console and parked her butt in the right front passenger seat (I swear I heard her call "shotgun") and rode home quite content in that seat. So far the experiment is going well. Let's see how we do with coordinating mutilple vet trips.


Just when life is getting routine, something interesting comes your way.

Stand by for a change in course.

23 January 2010

Just one more mile (unedited)

Yes, I really did run this event.

I started out writing my thoughts about last weekend's run but, not wanting to offend anyone, I "modified" my comments for a more sedate audience. After many blocks with Grayson, he thought ya'll might like to hear my unvarnished comments on last weekend's escapade.

Heads up: this version is NOT PG rated. Read at your own risk.

Pre-Launch: Got my game face on. Getting geared up for the race. Oh shit. Broke my goddammed arm band 2 hours before the race. Aw shit. I totally don't need this. Sonafabitch. Panic mode sets in. Duct tape. Always a possible option. Wait a minute, I can drive through Walmart on the way down town and find another armband. Throw on my short & shoes and toss the extra gear in a bag and head out for the truck. Dog and wife are staying well out of my way (very smart). Pull into Walmart parking lot at 0510 and sprint inside to the electronics departmetn. Of course, they are cleaning the floors so I am having to slide down the isles to find the electronics department. And, of course, since I bought my iPod a year ago, it is out of date/production, so nothing on the shelves works for my version. Bastards. Do you really plan this crap? I really don't need this shit right now. Finally found some cheap ass, generic arm band that will hold my gear, grab hit and sprint for the check out (totally ignoring the looks I am getting from the Walmart workers. Sprint through the check out and jump back in truck and head downtown. Trying not to get a ticket, but I a wee bit over the posted limit. Lots of inbound traffic at 0545. I am not happy and get your butt out of my way. I hit the downtown interchange and traffic is at a standstill for the downtown exits (sonofabitch). Have to worm my way across three lanes of traffic to get to the exit and get to the downtown area. Of course, all parking spaces are gone and I am too cheap to pay $20 for a parking lot, so I cruise the downtown streets to find a spot along with everyone else. By the time I find a spot almost 3/4 mile away from the start, it is 0630. Spend 10 minutes trying to decide what I want to carry with me and leave behind and then head out to the convention center. By the time I hit the hall, all of the marathoners have headed off to the start line. By the time I got my geared stowed and headed out to the start line 1/2 mile away, it was close to start time. At least I am not standing around waiting for the starting gun.

Mile 1 - took almost 7 minutes from the gun sound until I actually crossed the start line. It's like herding cattle (as we lumber across the start line I am mooing). The biggest bitch I have is that, at the start, everyone is in my way. I am not trying to run over people, but, for the love of god, get out of my damn way. Either pick up the pace or get to the side. I spend most of my energy trying not to run up someone's ass or get run over. By the time we hit the viaduct, I am weaving through traffic like on an obstacle course. What galls me is that a lot of people are walking at this point. Geeeze. If you are going to walk, get to the back or side and let runners pass.

Mile 2 - breaking out of pack. Finally hitting a stride I can live with.

Mile 6 - nipples getting sore (again). I had prepped with some "body rub" crap I bought that was like rubbing wax on your body to prevent chafing, but at this point, my body is starting to warm up and complain. One of the support groups has vaseline on a stick and I grab some and liberally apply some as I keep running. Screw the dignity. Just glad they are not taking pictures at this point.

Mile 7 - bitch. If you are going to cross in front of me to get a water bottle from your husband/kid, at least give me some damn warning or do it behind me. Nothing like having to pull up short to keep from running your ass down. Give her my best Christopher Walken look.

Mile 9 - Do not eat animal crackers. Nice idea, stupid execution. Grabbed a handful as I passed a supporter and tossed a few in my mouth. After running 9 miles, forgot that my mouth was dry and animal crackers are like tossing sawdust in. Was choking for a few yards. Thanks for the thought.

Mile 10 - Oh, hell no. Was feeling all of 52. Starting to lose steam, slow down, walking a bit more and I get passed by a guy with manboobs. Musta been all of 275 lbs and bigger boobs than most of the female runners. Hell no. I don't care if I run my kneecaps off, there is no way I am coming in behind him.

Mile 12 - somebody tell me why they have to stick the camera shots on an uphill climb at the end of the race? Do you want to see me when I am sweaty/burnt out? This year, I knew enough to be prepared for the spot so I don't look too goofy, but, given the resulting shots, I don't think I was successful.

Mile 13 - final stretch and my hamstring is cramping up. Actually, it is my left ass check complaining but it sounds better if I tell everyone hamstring. I struggle to keep my pace across the finish line. Glad to be finally done. 2 hours, 21 minutes. At least 12 minutes off of last year's run. Not bad for an old. lazy fart.

Post race - Not as tired as last year. Actually, I feel kinda badass at this point. Ready to take on another 13 miles. If they had a sign up for next year, I would have done it. Pain has not set in yet.

18 January 2010

Just one more mile

Put the dog out, pull up a chair, pour a glass of Chardonnay and sit back to read this diatribe. I tried to cut it short but failed miserably. Forgive my verbose saga.
Ok. Was too busy yesterday to write up an after action report on my 2nd Half Marathon.

After the run, I had to take care of a few weekend chores before heading out to dinner & show with parental units & my brother. Dinner was great at the Spaghetti Warehouse and the show was fantastic. I really enjoyed seeing A Chorus Line live and the actors/performers were great. As tired as I was last night, we had a great time.

A bit stiff today, but nothing like last year (thank god for Advil & Macallan). My knees are in good shape but I can feel it in my quads. I did train a little bit more than last year, but should have been running 4-5x per week to build up my endurance. I was able to maintain a good pace throughout the course, but started to loose steam around Mile 10-11. I was shooting for a sub 2:30 course and was happy to have shaved off 12 minutes from last year. Just think how much more I could have saved if I had actually gotten off my butt and hit the streets more. By my rough estimate, I was holding a sub 11:00 minute pace (not bad for an 52 year old fart).

Pre launch - Morning did not start out well. Up early to head downtown, but got sidetracked so I was slightly delayed past my departure time. Parking downtown near the convention hall can be a bitch, so I wanted to leave the house at 0500. When I was gathering up my gear and putting on my iPod armband, the clip broke off, so I had no way to carry my iPod (2 hours prior to start). Much cussing ensued. Was going with a back up plan (duct tape crossed my mind at that point) when I decided to jump in the truck and head up to Walmart to buy a new armband. Nothing like running through Walmart at 0515 trying to find some gear. Of course, since I have a 3rd generation iPod Nano (not in production any more), they did not have anything to match that size. Wound up using an off brand, generic carrier (that just messes up my plans) which just put me on edge. Driving up the freeway like a madman, I hit the downtown section around 0600 and immediately ran into a big traffic jam as a result of all of the Marathoners arriving. Took a good 10-15 minutes to finally get off the freeway and find a place to park that was almost 1/2 mile away from the hall. Temperature was ~42 degrees and I debated taking a light jacket and running pants along with all of the other gear/energy stuff. You can store your gear in the hall right before you start out, if you have the special marathon bag and this year I took advantage of that trick. I made it into the hall around 0645 just about the time the Marathoners were out on the start line. Had enough time to drop off my gear bag and head off to the start line for our wave start. I was worried about being too cold to start. Did not want to carry a jacket or pants only to have to peel them off by mile 1. I elected for shorts and a long sleeve shirt and used a stylish garbage bag as a wind break until the race started. Had throw away gloves I used for a good portion of the race, but took them off 1/2 through. A lot of people will toss aside their headbands, gloves, pants, jackets along the route while they are running. I don't know if they ever expect to see that gear again and I am too cheap to throw away my gear so I don't toss anything aside unless I don't want it back. I will note that, if you want to score some nice running accessories, just hang out along the roadside during the first 1-2 miles and you can score some really nice stuff (might need a little washing). Anyway, lined up at the start in the dark at 0655 with 15 minutes to spare before start. They funneled our wave onto one street aligned with barriers much like you would herd cattle into a feed truck. The place is so packed, I didn't really need the warmer gear. I downed my first gel pack of Chocolate Espresso energy goo (has the flavor and consistency of pudding). When the gun went off finally at 0708, the herd lumbered forward and it took a good 10 minutes before I finally crossed the start line.

Mile 1 - same route as last year. Head out east of town past the baseball stadium. Up onto the Elysian Viaduct for 3/4 miles as we cross over the Buffalo Bayou and into the Northside Village. Saw Elvis & little Elvis again this year. The first mile is more of a fight to stay upright and not get run over. It takes about a mile or two for everyone to find their pace and the pack to spread out. By the time we make the turn west to head into the Heights, people are all over the place. You've got the rabbits who are sprinting ahead, groups who are running 5 abreast, friends with matching shirts running together, people already walking, marathon pace teams, etc. The first mile is kinda like watching salmon swim upstream. Lots of jumping and dodging and jockeying for a position. And with the amount of clothing that gets tossed alongside of the road during the first two miles, you'd think there would be people running naked. This year I knew what to expect and had my pace down. Hate to run in a mob, so I moved to the outside and worked my way up. Had to dodge a few construction cones and hop a curb or two, but eventually, I was able to work my way out of the pack to find some open ground. Lots of cameras & media at the start.

Mile 2 - Doing better this year. Found my friend and ran with her for a mile before she slowed to a walk (her strategy was a combination of running a certain time and walking a certain time to conserve her energy). Pushed on to the next mile marker. Starting to warm up. Glad I did not wear jacket or running pants.

Mile 3 - Same neighborhood as last year. Running through some of the older areas of Houston. Lots of row houses and older businesses. If you like taquerias, this is the place to go. A few people are bundled up alongside the route cheering us on. So far, I am holding a good 10+ minute pace and the old legs are holding up well. Got the tunes cranked up and in the zone at this point.

Mile 4 - So far, so good. Still seeing lots of dogs along the route. Running through a residential area with lots of really nice (translation: $$$$) condos that overlook downtown (nice views). Spotted the same ginormous Saint Bernard from last year.

Mile 5 - Heading into the Heights. Still seeing a lot of smaller, older homes that are well maintained. This year I am able to notice more of my surroundings. At this point, the mind is on autopilot, with random thoughts popping up (I like that house, interesting yard art, wonder what traffic is like here). There have been a few groups/bands stationed at each mile point to encourage runners but, honestly, with my ear buds in and the tunes cranked up, I am in my own little world.

Mile 6 - Heading south back down to the freeway. Someone is handing out oranges/bananas along the route. Trying to find a better tune on the iPod (Beethoven just doesn't inspire me at this point). Tagged some Ray Wylie Hubbard that got me pumped and pushed on towards Montrose. At this point, we are starting to hit the hills again. Some ups & downs, but I keep pushing though. The engineer in me makes a mental note that I am 1/2 through at this stage. A little over 1 hour in and 6+ miles under my belt puts me close to a 10 minute mile pace. If I can keep pushing at this rate, I am already trying to estimate my finish time, but the second half is always were I lose steam. Popped my second shot of energy goo (Vanilla Bean) for a pick me up.

Mile 7 - Montrose. This the entertainment district where there is some really interesting night life. Running due south past some serious real estate. Lots of commerical establishments and great restaurants/bars. More than halfway done. The legs are doing well and I am not hurting as much as last year, but I am starting to slow down a bit. Try to throttle back the pace a bit to insure I have something for the end. Snagged a shot of vaseline from one of the roadside support crews (to prevent chafing). Trying to find some Nickleback or Staind to keep me motivated.

Mile 8 - A long stretch before the turnaround. At this point, the marathoners split off and continue on while we turn back to the start. It is kinda inspirational for us to make the turn as part of the group soldiers on. A cheer goes up from the spectators for both groups. Lots of side line encouragement. I pick up the pace for a while, inspired by the thought that we were headed home. Still 5 miles to go, but it doesn't seem as daunting. Mental note: when scoring food/nourishment from the sidelines, stay away from the bowl of animal crackers. Kinda like eating sawdust at this point.

Mile 9 - Heading back north to the last leg. We are doubling back on the route to head back home so we are covering the same ground. Legs are getting tired at this point but I am trying to keep the pace up. Whenever I start to fade and slow to a walk, I look at/touch my blue wrist band I wear as a reminder of my bout with prostate cancer and that serves as a mental kick in the ass. Another shot of energy goo at this point (margarita flavor).

Mile 10 - Starting to fade at this point. We make the turn onto Allen Parkway and are headed back into the downtown area. I am trying to hold my pace but my legs are starting to protest. At this point we are running alongside of the marathoners again. There is a bunch of hoopla around one runner who turns out to be the lead female runner coming in at the same time we are. Humbling to think she has run 24 miles in the same time we have run 11.

Mile 11 - Heading home. The road is smooth and easy. It is all up to me at this point. 2 miles to go and nothing to stop me aside of me. Legs/calves are tired but still solid. Have to run a while and walk a while but I am able to maintain a good pace. This stretch is probably one of the more scenic of the route. A straight shot east into downtown as the sun is coming up. Magnificent view. A few more energy bloks to keep me going. Trying to find a good tune to kick it up a notch. Somewhere along this stretch they take another picture. Bastards. Nothing like waiting until spot where you are all sweaty and worn out to take a picture for the world to see.

Mile 12 - So close I can taste it. Running into the downtown canyon at this point. Temps have been ok on the course, but down among the buildings with no sun, it feels colder. Streets are rough, hard. I guess the trail is starting to wear on me. The end is close, but I am still pushing to keep the pace.

Mile 13 - Home stretch. Make the right turn and head straight down 1/2 mile to the convention center. So close, but not yet there. I tried to kick it up a notch for the final stretch, but my left hamstring started to cramp up (the right one was trying to start something as well). I kept it loose and was able to make it across the finish line with a final push but pulled up limping afterwards. Walked it off for a while to see if I could feel my legs. Tired, sweaty, sore, but elated to be done for a second time.

Post run - Picture taken, picked up another medal, got breakfast. Tired, but felt good. I know was questioning my sanity prior to this run, but I felt good about the run and my results. God help me, but I am leaning towards signing up again in July when they open registration. I'd prefer to stay home in bed, but I figured that, as long as I am able to do this, I should make the effort. Life's too short to spend it on the sidelines.

17 January 2010

Still alive

Survived the race with no long term damage.

Weather was beautiful. A ton of people. Huge crowd of spectators along the route.

I even was able to better my time from last year (2:21). Not by much, but was able to shave off 12 minutes from last year's pace. Did ok, not great, but ok. Knees are not complaining this year but legs are stiff. Was holding my own but started to run out of gas around mile 10. Need to work on my endurance for next time. Made the final turn to the last 1/2 mile straightaway to the finish line and my hamsting started to cramp up. Was able stay loose enough to make the last push over the line. I feel sore & tired but in decent shape. Of course, come morning, I may be singing a different tune.

16 January 2010

Too late now

10 hours and counting.
It's time to man up and put my big boy pants on.

I'm starting to get into the zone. I picked up my race packet at the Health Expo this morning. Lots of vendors/displays/things to buy. A lot of companies geared toward the marathoners. You can buy new shorts/shirts/shoes/running tights/hydration systems/gear bags/hats/gloves/energy food for dirt cheap. I have most of my gear already so I picked up some high energy gel shots and some Cliff Bars for the road. Coulda used the boost around mile 10 last year. Laying low tonight and taking it easy. Lite dinner and hitting the sack shortly. Weather is supposed to be clearing at race time with the temps in the mid 40s. That makes it a bit more interesting because I don't want to bundle up too much only to have to peal it off once I warm up. When you drop gear along the trail, there is no guarantee that you will get it back. Some of the old hands are decked out in black plastic garbage backs to keep warm prior to start only to peal it off once they gun goes off. Start time for my wave is 0710. It's kinda like hearding cattle at the start with a mob of people heading out across the start line. Takes about a mile for the crowd to a decent pace where you are not getting run over or you're stepping on someone. Hope to see Elvis along the trail again. Technology is pretty neat these days. We all have timing chips on our shoes that track our exact location on the course and give you interval times. Once you are on the course, it wil give you your pace, your position, and your ranking while running and lets friends & family track your status while you are on the road. 29453 if you feel like seeing my progress.

It's gonna be a long day tomorrow. Planning to head downtown around 0500 to find a good packing spot near the convention center. After I drag my sorry butt across the finish line (or get carried), the wife and I are going out to eat with my parents & brother and then we are going to see A Chorus Line.

Junior left for school this afternoon and is already back in his apartment. Holidays are finally over and he is ready to start the semester.


Oh, and by the way, I was crusing the gear shops in the expo and saw alot of neat things to buy. Spotted this shirt on the rack and immediately thought of Abby.

Slave to technology

I has a blackberry, I has a cell phone.
Everywhere I go, they are sure to follow.

I dimly recall those halcyon days of my youth where I could jump in the car and head off to college with only a map and my clothes. No means of electronic communication. No GPS. No PDAs. Zip. Nada. Nowadays, I am in constant contact 24/7. Whether is is driving to work or flying out to Nevada, my electronic leashes are close by. I try not to become totally dependant on them, but some people at work expect me to be in constant contact. I have a boss (bless his heart) that will e-mail me throughout the day and expect an almost instantaneous response. Typically, if I am in an interview or meeting with an employee or conducting an audit, I will ignore my blackberry, much to my boss' chagrin. The other day, I was doing a mentor session with one of my buyers and my boss sent a query about some minor training issue. After about 5 minutes later I got a second message if I got the first message (??).

I thought all of this advancement in technology was suppposed to make life better?
Although my bb does have a rad GPS/Map program that practically negates the need for a TomTom...

15 January 2010

Same song, second verse

Here I go again

For some reason, I keep signing up for things that are detrimental to my well being. You think I'd learn after last year, but, noooo, I have some sort of masochistic streak that keeps drawing me back. At my advanced age, I should be happy just getting up in the morning. But as they say in the movies: Stupid is as stupid does.
Just got my bib number (29453). We tee off in a little over 48 hours at 0700 Sunday morning. I'm not expecting to break any records this year, just trying to improve my time from last year. Given the amount of running I have done of late, I should be happy to make it across the finsh line upright. Typically, I'm jazzed up for this run, but this year I just haven't been fully into it. I just keep reminding myself I am running for a reason/cause. Weather is projected to be pretty good again this year.

09 January 2010

Pot O' Gold

Did I ever mention how fanatical the group we got Grayson from was?

These guys are absolutely over the top when it comes to resucing Golden Retrievers and finding homes for them. They will scour the state for any and all possible goldens and bring them back to Houston to have them vetted and placed in foster homes (They've even gone as far as California to arrange for a dog's relocation). One of their guiding principles is that they want to get dogs into homes and out of shelters. Many of the volunteers will foster 1 or 2 dogs during their transition until they can find a "forever home". This weekend, one of the group came across a guy selling 8 purebred puppies in a Walmart parking lot and talked the guy out of all of them. Now we are scrambling to find homes for all 8. General concensus is that these little guys & gals will not last long.

We've had Grayson for about 9 months and I think he's about decided to keep us. We are pondering fostering a second dog to help the group place dogs in a good home and give Grayson chance to work on his social skills. Still early in the process but we are getting close to taking on a second (but temporary) boarder. As if life was not complicated enough already...

Deja moo: The feeling you've heard this bull before.

08 January 2010

1.5 seconds of fame

Made it back home around noon without any problems. Actually, I made it to work for a few hours before I went home (details, details). I hate to fly but love nonstop flights. Slept most of the way, read the rest. Walked back into a chilly 30 degree temperatures. Forecast is for mid-20s tonight and through the weekends. I think the only one who is enjoying the "cooler" weather down here is the dog. Seems to make him more frisky. Of course, he was elated to see me back home (Walk? Can we go for a walk? Can we? Huh? Huh? Oboyoboyoboy). I think the poor mut musta missed me. Given the results of our extended frosty walk, I would assume he has not pooped since I left.

Anyway, while I was out in Phoenix, my son was attending the BCS conference game in Pasadena, California. I tried to catch the game in a local beer pub near the hotel but missed the opening hoopla. My wife informed me later (exitedly I might add) that our offspring was spotted on the TV holding the flag on the field. Our friend who made the sharp spot had TIVO and she backed up and advanced it frame-by-frame to capture the picture with her cell phone. Sure enough, junior was dead center in the picture with a shit-eating grin having the time of his life. Of course, momma has capture said picture and posted it on her facebook page.

Parents - if you don't embarrase your kids now, when will you?
Now I just have to head back to the airport at midnight to pick him up again...

07 January 2010

You are here...

South Texas is on full alert. Seems like we have a nasty visitor headed our way today and our temperatures are forecasted to hit the mid 20s for the next few days. Mid 20s you say? I can already hear Terri up north (in her parka and fur-lined boots) thinking “pffttt”. Those hardy Minnesotans are scoffing at our cooler temps. I’m even sure that Abby would consider 25 degrees good running weather. But ya’ll should remember that down here on the Texas coastal plains, we rarely get below 32 degrees for any period of time. Anything south of 30 for more than a few days has people literally going bat shit crazy (to quote one of my favorite bloggers). The last time it got that cold for an extended period of time was back in January 1990. I remember that time because I was moving back to Houston around that time and about 1/4 of the houses I looked at had some freeze/pipe damage. Most of the homes down here were build with heat and air conditioning in mind and the pipes run through the attics. Not a lot of insulation for cold weather unless you have added it yourself. Newer homes are a bit better insulated, but old ones like mine are susceptible to freezing weather. Of course the new channels are projecting all sorts of doom & gloom. Protect your pipes, plants, & pets.

Now, given the crappy weather projections, where might you thing I should be? On the road of course. I am sitting in Phoenix, Arizona on aonther supplier audit. We have a lot on the books this year (24 and counting) but I don’t have to do all of them. Weather is a bit nicer in Phoenix .

And junior is off in California right now. He is attending the BCS bowl game in Pasadena tonight along with the rest of the rabid fans. Look for him in the stadium. He’ll be the one wearing orange. Actually, he scored a slot to hold up the gianormus Texas flag on the field before kickoff, so that's his chance to be on the field. A friend of ours has TIVO and spotted him for a brief moment holding the flag and posted his picture on facebook. In spite of the way the Horns are playing right now, for him, this is a trip of a life time. For momma, more gray hairs worrying about her son wandering around LA.

02 January 2010

So long 2009!

Vaya con dios!
Hasta la vista, baby!
Auf Wiedersehen!
À bientôt!!
Aloha nõ!

2009's been a long & bumpy year. Lots to be grateful for. Much to look forward to.

We survived the road trip to the country. Was wet and cold most of the time. Hard to enjoy camping with a wet dog who loves to run through puddles and ditches, regardless of how cold and windy it is. I almost renamed the dog ShamWow because he seemed to soak up all the water from outside. The rally wasn't as much fun when you are servicing as host and have to do all the cooking/cleaning/party planning. By the time New Year's rolled around, I was working on a serious headache. Way too much food/drink and everyone enjoyed themselves, but I am worn out. Four fried turkeys, two batches of Wassail, and 5 Dutch Oven cobblers. Glad to have the weekend of football to recover. Not looking forward to returning to the office after a 10 days off, but at least it will be a short week for me as I have another supplier trip planned to Phoenix. I am just not looking forward to the increased airport screening thanks to the underwear bomber. It's bad enough that I have to take off my shoes...

And, No I won't bore you with any New Year's Resolutions. How can one improve on perfection?