"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Of Little Interest

While blog surfing, I came across one where the blogger had been “tagged” to list 10 interesting facts about themselves. In doing so, this individual prefaced their list with “6 of them are weird.” (One was a recollection of having been the victim of a kidnapping attempt at age 4 and another was the revelation of having had a student who turned out to be a murderer. From my perspective, those two alone would be tough to top.)

As I thought of this exercise, it occurred to me that I might be hard pressed to formulate a list of “interesting” facts about myself. After all “interesting” is subjective in that what I might consider interesting, others may find boring, obnoxious, disgusting or just plain stupid.

So instead, I thought perhaps I would speculate on what things I think others may find interesting (or bizarre) about me. So here goes.

1. I do 4 to 5 crossword and sudoku puzzles each day … in ink.
2. I like the smell of Scotch tape.
3. I dislike an unmade bed and don’t mind making it.
4. I retain a surplus amount of useless information. (see #1)
5. My musical tastes range from Bach to the Beatles and Mozart to Meatloaf.
6. I’m a compulsive list maker.
7. While a lover of almost all foods, I can’t stand bleu cheese.
8. I get up at 5am … because I want to.
9. I only went to college for two years.
10. I love thunder storms.

Oh and for my non-running friends:

I ran 10 miles on Saturday and am training for a marathon.

“My life is a simple thing that would interest no one. It is a known fact that I was born and that is all that is necessary.” – Albert Einstein

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sound Distance Range

Sunday, June 17th was our 7th wedding anniversary and to commemorate this day, we packed a picnic basket and headed to AmRhein’s Wine Cellars, a local vineyard which sits quietly in the pristine serenity of the Blue Ridge atop Bent Mountain.

As it was also Father’s Day, the winery offered a somewhat festive environment featuring special prices on select wines, light hors d’oeuvres and live entertainment in the form of our friend, Ron.

Now Ron is no stranger to live gigs. In fact, during his formative years he performed with bands in every bar, tavern and saloon in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio and over the course of those many years of “paying his dues,” amassed a vast and varied repertoire along with a comfortable familiarity with his audience. Now preferring solo gigs, he shares his talents in more intimate settings such as wineries, local coffee shops and the occasional impromptu friendly get together.

So on this Sunday in June, Ron happily set about doing what he does so well; entertaining. And accompanying him, at least initially, was only his acoustic guitar.

By the time Beth and I arrived, he had been playing for an hour or so and everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time. Initially scoping out the landscape, we decided to prioritize and therefore immediately entered the tasting room for a sampling of some award winning vintages.

Upon exiting the room with our first bottle of Viognier, Beth and I spread our blanket on the grass in a shady area directly behind Ron and discovered he had, as it turns out, un-expectantly acquired accompaniment other than his guitar. For now, sharing the microphone with him was one somewhat inebriated woman who, through the virtues of over indulgence, was suddenly of the opinion she was ... Yo, Dawg, check it out ... the next American Idol.

Apparently taking Ron’s encouragement of, “C’mon … everybody sing!” to mean, “C’mon … take over the microphone, sing badly and don’t sit back down … ever,” she planted herself in front of the mike and made up lyrics as drunk people often do. She became the person who wouldn’t leave.

Cheered on by her equally intoxicated friend, she then began to work the crowd, playing the cut up to Ron’s perplexed straight man. It quickly became obvious she had taken a shine not only to performing with Ron, but also to Ron.

“Don’t you remember last Friday night,” she slurred while doing a little stagger dance as her equilibrium apparently went on break.

Clearly distraught and at a loss as to how he might politely and graciously extract himself from this unfortunate dilemma, Ron turned toward us and pleadingly mouthed the words, “Help me … please.”

I smiled and began calling them Sonny & Cher.

As one song ended, her friend loudly clamored for more, to which Cher enthusiastically seconded as she downed another glass of wine. (It appeared to be a blend … perhaps a late year Cab with an overt touch of backwash.)

Finally Ron did what all performers’ do when things aren’t going quite as planned. He took a break and joined us on the blanket. Cher was not to be deterred however and as we talked, she refilled her glass and began trading song suggestions with her friend, all the while turning toward us and shouting things like, “Do you know Stayin’ Alive? No… Well just follow my lead.”

“What am I going to do?”

“She likes you Ron,” Beth teased.

“Maybe I should call Jamie (his wife) and tell her to get up here and beat her up,” he said.

“Or you could do some of your original music Ron. Then she won’t know any of the lyrics and will likely go somewhere and pass out,” I offered.

Before a suitable course of action was decided upon, Cher insisted he return to the microphone where he again graciously endured several more “duets.”

“Poor Ron,” Beth said.

Not long after however, Cher’s ride was leaving and by default, so was Cher. But before doing so, she handed Ron a slip of paper upon which was scribbled her email address – ibcher@yahoo.com – just in case he might want to perform together again.

“I’m not always available,” she muttered “because my friend and I do a lot of gigs together … sometimes as many as twice a year. But don’t worry, I’ll work you in.”

“Ok … thanks.”

As she stumbled off into the sunset, Ron hesitated on starting his next song. Turning to face Beth and I once again, he whispered, “I’m going to do Brown Eyed Girl but I don’t want to start until she’s well out of sound distance range.”

And so, once she was indeed well out of sound distance range, a very relieved Ron resumed his performance and delighted us all with no other accompaniment save the loud, but nice group sitting at table 4. (They only came to the mike when invited to join in on the chorus of Yellow Submarine and then promptly sat back down.)

It was a beautiful afternoon and Beth and I enjoyed spending our anniversary in such a low key, yet intimate way. We enjoyed the food we packed, the wine we shared and the music of our friend who honored our special day by playing And I Love Her by the Beatles.

And at the end of the day, Ron departed for a well deserved Father’s Day Supper with his family and Beth and I headed down the mountain with a case of wine for our closet/cellar.

As for Cher, she probably awoke several hours later with cottonmouth and I Got You Babe pounding inside her head.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Ecomarathon is not a race, but it's a way of life
Beyond competition, but with connection
Beyond conquest, but with harmony
Beyond dominion, but with sharing
Beyond possession, but with simplicity
Ecomarathon is not a race, but it has a goal
Everyone has equal opportunity to live with dignity
and to have enough food to eat with peace in mind
and with gratefulness to nature
No visa, no border
One people, one planet
Don't just run it, Ecomarathon it
Time is not essential, but the timing is.

Read this article in the current issue of Runners World and visit Hajime Nishi’s website.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Ladders - Satan's Minions

Last week’s TNT training schedule was light. Only 14 miles were scheduled for the entire week, leaving me feeling as if I didn’t do enough. But that will soon change and as it does, I’m confident I’ll change with it.

Feeling confident and knowing what you’re capable of is vital I think. But equally important is acknowledging your limitations. This weekend I was reminded of one of mine – ladders.

Aside from flying, which for some reason has never bothered me, I’ve never been good with heights – which for me encompass altitudes greater than my own. But I’ve noticed, as I’ve aged, my phobia has significantly increased. Where there was a time, when purely out of necessity, I might suck it up, ascend the foreboding metal rungs and actually step onto a roof, I now lock up once passing the 6 foot mark, i.e., the altitude equal to my own.

Such was the case yesterday.

When our home was built (long before we moved there), a condensation drain line for the upstairs air conditioning unit was routed through the soffet where it remained suspended two stories above the deck. Strategically aligned beneath said drain line is a metal vent hood which serves as an exhaust for the microwave oven located in the kitchen.

Six to seven months after we occupied our new dwelling, the laws of nature required the AC to begin functioning as designed as the heat of summer grew increasingly oppressive and as it did so, the aforementioned condensation drain began to come into play.

Soon, we were subjected to the continuous DRIP … DRIP … DRIP of water hitting the exhaust vent and reverberating through the length of the duct work which runs inside the ceiling of the kitchen to the opposing wall. As time went on, this incessant DRIP … DRIP … DRIP began to take on the characteristics of the infamous Chinese water torture we all learned of while watching old Foo Man Chu movies as kids. It’s effect on Beth and I was profound as periodically she would menacingly clutch a carving knife while I stared straight ahead, repeating my name, rank and serial number.

In addition to the obvious psychological trauma caused by this insidious intrusion into our lives, after a while, the vent hood began to oxidize and in doing so, took on that attractive patina of reddish brown which is oh so popular these days. Not content with only a colorized vent, the ensuing splashes spread this antiquing hue onto the brick as well as the white siding of the upstairs bathroom window enclosure.

And just for good measure, the resulting puddle of water on the deck produced a nice slippery algae covered spot which really complimented the whole feng shui concept we had going.

Something had to be done.

So after careful consideration, a trip to Lowes was planned and executed and soon I returned home with the following components:

·one ¾”, 45 degree PVC elbow (this was subsequently replaced by a 90 degree elbow which required a second trip to Lowes)
·one 10ft length of ¾” PVC pipe
·one can of PVC adhesive
·and one tube of caulk

Fetching the ladder from the garage, I carried it to the back of the house and up to the deck where I extended it to near maximum length and leaned it against the brick exterior of the house. Then, standing on the deck and gazing upward I thought, “That doesn’t look so high” and proceeded to place my foot upon the first rung, intent on overcoming my fear.

Six rungs later, I became convinced the ladder was possessed by demons intent on ejecting me and sending me flying to my untimely demise onto the lower deck some 20 feet below.

My heart began to race and my knees began to shake. Large beads of sweat began to drip from my brow and my hands assumed a death grip on the evil aluminum structure. Looking upward, the drain pipe gazed back, mocking me with its single orifice, beckoning me to continue upward so as to maximize the height from which I was surely doomed to fall.

Turning my eyes downward revealed the ground below racing further and further away, taking on the appearance of an endless abyss which awaited its opportunity to swallow me whole and deliver me into the very pits of hell.

My head began to spin. My vision blurred. I began to hear voices.

It was Beth.

“Tim, you’re only six rungs up you big baby! Get down here!”

Beth is only 5’ 2” but somehow managed to reach up into the sky and take hold of my ankle. The reassuring touch of her hand settled me enough to descend from my alpine like peak of sure doom and gradually make my way back down to the safety of the deck below.

“You idiot, I’m calling Morgan,” she said.

Morgan, a Navy Seabee is my brother-in-law and has been known to leisurely stroll along a three story roof truss while doing the Hustle.

With the help of an inexpensive, yet reasonably good Pinot Grigio, I was nearly recovered from my near death experience by the time he arrived and was therefore able to hold the ladder while he quickly ascended into the clouds and affixed the PVC elbow and pipe to the drain. Quickly climbing back down, he relocated the ladder several feet to the left, re-climbed and cut a hole into the downspout, inserted the other end of the pipe and applied the proper amount of caulk thereby completing in a matter of minutes what was for me, an impossible task.

With the arduous mission now accomplished and I sufficiently medicated, we sat down while Beth extracted a couple of burgers from the grill for Morgan as payment for his heroic services.

And like the Lone Ranger of yesteryear, when he was done eating, he bid us a fond farewell and gallantly rode off into the sunset.

Thank you Morgan, I’m quite sure I owe you my life.

“Do what you fear and fear disappears – unless you’re afraid of heights and happen to be on a ladder.” - Tim

Monday, June 04, 2007


This past Saturday was 10k Day.

I ran in the AEP Festival Run and managed not to finish last in my age group – although I came close.

My goal was under an hour – my time 59 min 31 sec – harrumph.

My TNT training schedule called for an 8 miler on Saturday so upon completion of the 10k, I ran two more miles so as to stay on track - harrumph.

Fundraising is going well. I’m over half way to my minimum requirement and a third of the way to my goal - harrumph.

This past Saturday was also a wine dinner group (RFWDG) celebration aboard the Mary Elizabeth. As we cruised on Smith Mountain Lake, we once again took time to recognize and appreciate the blessings of our friendship.

"Veni, vidi, visa" - I came, I saw, I did a little shopping.