24 January 2016

Gotcha Day

My Golden Beginnings Group has a number of funny traditions.  Regular meet & greets every other weekend, the annual dog show, our annual picnic, several dog centric events (Rice Festival, Barktoberfest, Party on the Plaza, etc.  One of the things that some people celebrate is Gotcha Day.  The day that a person or family adopts someone (person or pet).  Yea, I know it may sound silly, and most dogs don't get the concept of time (except when it is time for a walk or dinner). This is more of a celebration of when someone new joins the family or tribe.  Since we have no idea on when our dogs were born, we tend to remember or celebrate the day they came on board.  Grayson was around Easter in 2009 and Claire was today in 2010.  It was a mere 6 years today that Grayson picked up an accomplice.  At first, we decided to foster another dog to see how Grayson would handle the additional dog and split attention.  We felt it might wear him down and make things less "boring".  At the outset, we had not intention of taking on a second dog.  Claire, however, had other plans.  An incredibly sweet disposition, she showed up with a smile on her face and that constant tongue that seemed to never tire.  After a few days, we were hopelessly hooked and we determined to give her a furever home.      

First truck ride home.
 Partners in crime
Mischief and mayhem 
Always ready for those invaders 
Her favorite pose 
 As I said...
 A good nap buddy
 A regular chick magnet
 Able to nap anywhere
 Always following Grayson's lead
 Never short of attention
 A real ham
Grayson's better half

I'll admit I am having a hard time not having her under foot anymore.  She left a big hole in our lives that's going to be hard to fill.  Whenever I walk Grayson, I still carry her collar and leash with me.  I know it is silly, but it seems like the right thing to do to me. Grayson is a bit out of sorts and trying find his new normal.  On one hand, I think he is feeling guilty that Claire is no long around.  I know he misses her, if not for just keeping him in line.  This past week he seems a bit more clingy, looking for attention when before he had to share it with Claire.  We've tried to give him more attention, love, extra walks, and I think he is enjoying being the top dog again, albeit he is a bit sad/guilty about the whole situation.  It's going to take some time for this scar to heal.  

21 January 2016

8 years later & another 13.1 miles down the road

That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.  (Nietzsche)

I capped off another half marathon on Sunday.  Numero 8.  The ocho.  Two more and I can be officially classified as a "veteran" although I don't really feel much like one.  Another shirt, another medal.    

After 8 years, this has become almost routine.  I went, I ran, I made it across the finish line upright once again.  I'd like to say I improved on last year's time but that would be a lie.  Given my poor training regime, this persistent cough that just won't seem to go away, and losing Claire last week, I was debating not even going this year.  After Julie passed in August, I had made an internal promise to dedicate this year's run in her memory.  I wasn't looking for any records this year, but after things went south last week, I questioned my resolve.  I did decide to make the run, but, honestly, my heart wasn't in it this year.  I have always found running to be somewhat therapeutic.  One of those sports where my main competition is myself.  Running a longer distance gives me a lot of time to debate issues, have internal conversations, consider options.  This year it probably wasn't the best year to be alone with my thoughts.  I spent more than a few miles thinking about poor Claire.                

On the surface, this year's run was pretty good.  The course was good (flat, fast).  Weather was pretty much perfect (cool, dry) with temps in the mid 40s at the start.  There was the usual mob of +25,000 runners which led to the normal 28 minutes delay to cross the start line AFTER the starting gun.  I like this annual run, but having that many bodies on the course really slows up the pace.  I think I would prefer some of the smaller, less popular runs.  The crowds/spectators were up to their typical form - wild, noisy, enthusiastic.  Many, many, many funny signs along the way:

  • Worse Parade Ever
  • Hurry up!  My arms are tired from holding this sign
  • You are almost finished!  Oops.  My bad. (with picture of Steve Harvey)
  • 13.1 miles all for a free banana
  • I thought I was signing up for a Netflix Marathon

I wasn't really expecting to break any of my records and came in a bit slower than last year.   The only drama I had this year was that my phone died around mile 12 so my pacing program shut down before I crossed the finish line.  I'm not as sore as I have been in the past, but that's probably due to my slower pace and pre-race prep (thanks to Rock Tape and Alieve).  Right now, I am not sure if I will go for number 9, but, given my propensity to not learn my lesson and repeat things, the chances are highly likely.  The good news is that, after completing 5 of these things, I have a guaranteed slot for the 2017 race.  Hopefully, next year I will be in a better mood/condition.      

  • Either you run the day or the day runs you

12 January 2016


It breaks my heart to tell everyone that we lost Claire last night.

It was a very long night and I can explain more later but she was not feeling well yesterday.  She threw up in the morning and was a bit listless but looked ok when I left for work.  By the time I got home last night, she couldn't stand on her own and was in a fair amount of pain and discomfort so I took her into the vet to see if they could help.  Looks like she was bleeding internally and there may have been some masses on her kidney/spleen.  I transferred her over to the 24 hour emergency animal hospital for observation and a deeper check.  They did another x-ray and ultrasound and indicated that there was a mixture of issues and her prognosis was not good.  I stayed with her for a long while but she just wasn't getting any better.  The vet told us that we could do surgery but her chances of survival was 20-30%.  After an extended debate, momma and I decided to ease her pain and let her cross the bridge. Now she is running free with Shadow chasing squirrels and enjoying as much bacon & eggs as she wants.

A very gentle. sweet soul that loved everyone.  Always up for a belly rub and looking for attention, she kept Gray on his toes.  Grayson is my running buddy, a real clown who is up for mischief and mayhem.  Claire was the more mature one of all of us.  We didn't rescue her, she rescued us.  She taught me to be a better person.  When I picked her up almost 6 years ago, we weren't sure if we could handle another dog.  I think she made her mind up as soon as she got in the truck.  Thanks Claire for all the slobbery kisses and hair and unconditional love. The house is bit more empty and quieter tonight without her parking herself in the hallway/kitchen/closet.       

God, I'm going to miss that sugar face.  

10 January 2016


Happy Belated New Year Y'all!

I fully intended to post something introspective or meaningful around the 1st, but that just wouldn't be me.  Too many distractions I suppose.    

Spent New Year's out in the country at our annual Rally with the Airstream group out in the country drinking champagne and blowing stuff up.   Nobody lost an eye, nobody got blowed up, nothing was set on fire.  The dogs, however, were not as impressed with all of the fireworks.  Lots of food, games, drink.  A fairly sedate rally, something that us old codgers prefer.  We've held these at the same RV park for the last 20 years, so this has almost become routine.  The only I have to note is that my folks have retired from the club and they were an integral part of this event over the past 35+ years.  Ever since they officially retired last year, it is a bit more complicated to do these gigs without their participation.  

As one might surmise, I have been lacking the proper motivation to post up anything meaningful.  With our new company, I have been buried with new projects, priorities, tasks, and I am somewhat distracted.  I spent the last week with my counterpart from France going over our strategy on how we are going to cut costs and save the company mega bucks.  2016 is turning into a very interesting year.  

I have also been under the weather for a while.  Have had a nagging cough and shortness of breath since October that I cannot seem to chase away.  Been to the doctor several times for different drugs and treatment but nothing has really made the difference.  I go back again on Monday for a CT scan to see if they can figure out what is wrong with me.  Not a cold, but something that is just wearing me down/pissing me off.     

That said, I am signed up for my 8th turn in the half marathon this weekend.  No way I am ready for it this time.  With all of the distractions at work and this nagging cough, I have not been training all that much this year.  Seems like I lack the proper motivation.  Even this week is already booked full with a day in probate court and a 2 day road trip to Cincinnati. My brother asked if I would still be doing the half this weekend and I told him affirmative.  This is number 8 and I just can't quit now.  To me, this is the annual reminder of my good fortune and blessings.  

Besides, I am too close to 10 to give up now.  I am just not expecting to set any PRs this year....