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Showing posts from May, 2011

Gifts from Heaven

When a Columbia Sportswear rep first asked if I wanted to participate in an exclusive spring field test of a new waterproof jacket, I was elated. “Not sure about testing for rain-proofness since I live in San Diego, where it likely won't rain again until this fall and our woods aren't moist,” I wrote back. I explained that if they changed their minds about me, I’d understand. Then on Friday UPS delivered this beautiful turquoise Peak Power Jacket, featuring Omni-Dry fabric to transfer moisture away from the body while the outer shell keeps wet stuff from soaking in. It had all kinds of cool pockets too. I started thinking of where I could travel in the next few weeks to truly test the jacket’s rain-worthiness and how many miles away it might be. 100? 200? I even asked if maybe we could go to Yosemite while there was still lots of mist from the falls. It turns out I only had to go 2 feet. I woke this morning to steady rain, the first time I can remember such weather on Mem

Congratulations, Elsie

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Here's proof that even at 11 months old, you knew how to take command of a room. Sheppie may have had 12 human years on you, but he knew who to listen to if he wanted to get ahead in the world. Hours before this picture was taken, you were in a hospital emergency room with a very bloody mouth. Your mom cried a lot more than you did. Less than 12 hours later we'd be back in that same hospital emergency room, this time so your father could be treated for injuries from an auto accident. It was a very long day. Today's going to be a very long day, too. You finally finish with all that school and we can't be there to help you celebrate. And even if you don't land a teaching job because the state is still broke and public school enrollment is way down, we're very proud of you. Somewhere out there is a classroom full of fourth-graders just waiting for fate to intervene.

Wordless Wednesday

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Running With Allergies

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For the past month I’ve developed a new routine to try and overcome a major weakness in my running: overall fitness. So I’ve been running less and hitting the machines more to provide more balance and to prevent burnout. Ideally, I’d like to hit a new masters PR in the 10k this summer but a recent visit to the doctor’s office has me reconsidering. I’ve developed severe allergies that have dramatically restricted my running (and breathing) capabilities. Here are a few things I’ve learned about running with allergies: Pollen counts are highest between 5 and 10 a.m. So, if you can, avoid running during those hours. Wind is your worst enemy; sunglasses, your best friend . The wind factor is obvious, but if you are caught in a windstorm or just hit a pollen pocket being blown around, those sunglasses help protect your eyes so they itch less. It’s easier to develop allergies as you age . I rarely suffered from nasal allergies until last year, and then the case was rather mild. But as w

Kiss the Dirt

Shortly before we moved to San Diego, a friend gave me a copy of Runner’s World with an article about this unique 10k held on a military installation. The challenge was to make it through a military-style obstacle course without losing your shoes or your shorts. It was called a Mud Run. Now, of course, every major metropolitan area and many minor ones host their own mud runs, and they typically sell out quickly. In the past five years, those dirty 5ks and 10ks have evolved into events like the Warrior Dash and Spartan Race series and perhaps the most difficult to date, The Tough Mudder . I admit I’d never heard of the Tough Mudder franchise until someone contacted me to see if I’d help promote it on this blog. Entry fees are on par with an expensive marathon, and something tells me by the time you finish the 10- to 12-mile course, you’ll feel like you’ve just finished a grueling 26-miler. The Finals in December in New Jersey sound particularly demanding. I’ve done a lot of thinki

Guest Wordless Wednesday

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Thanks to Deborah J. for this one of Lake Poway on a recent hike.

A Bibliophile's Dream Day

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Last weekend my friend Suzanne and I made our annual pilgrimage to the LA Festival of Books. This year it was held at USC instead of UCLA and the smaller campus worked well for the event, though there weren't enough food and beverage concessions. Of course, if you get lost leaving UCLA, you end up in Beverly Hills. At USC, you end up at the intersection where Reginald Denny was beaten during the LA Riots of 1992. In the first photo is panelist Jennifer Egan , who has won just about every major book award this year for her experimental "novel" (she never called it that, the publisher did) A Visit from the Goon Squad . Our next panel with non-fiction writers who disprove popular misconceptions (like the MMR vaccine causes autism) was fascinating but also off-limits to cameras because C-SPAN was recording live. Other authors in the photos below include Patti Smith and Dave Eggers -- definitely the place to be that day. Jillian Michaels from "The Biggest Loser." D