In between

I have to believe that some of you keep coming back to this site just to see if I’m dead.  I’m not dead, yet, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

So, since I last posted, we’ve experienced Holy Week.  Now, for those of you who don’t know me, or haven’t been reading the blog for a while, I have a job at a church.  I don’t mind blogging about this job, even though several church members know about the blog and probably read it on a fairly regular basis.  Most of the stuff I write probably wouldn’t get me fired.  I usually just complain about having to go…but I go anyway, because they continue to pay me.  So, yeah, Holy Week.  It’s a week of church services, basically.  I go on Palm Sunday (twice this year), Wednesday for rehearsal, Maundy Thursday (which I just learned this year why it’s called Maundy, it’s from the Latin mandatum, for “command” or commandment), fortunately, I’m off work on Good Friday (which is why it’s good), Easter Vigil on Saturday night, and then Easter Sunday (three services this year!).  All of this leads to me being very tired come Easter Monday.

Ordinarily, it’s not a big deal.  However, this year…I started getting sick on Wednesday and it has slowly progressed.  I really thought it was just an allergy, but it has continued to linger.  And, in previous years, I would’ve just taken a day off to rest and dealt with it.  However, with my new job (that I don’t blog about), I didn’t really have the option of taking the day off.  You see, we were involved with bringing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to my hometown and because of the way the scheduling worked we had very little time to prepare.  Unfortunately, all of that preparation came the week after Holy Week.  So, you see my dilemma.  In addition to the exhaustion of church I had now added the visit/lecture of a government dignitary.

She was here Friday.  I hope to add a couple of pictures soon.  It was a wonderful event and everything went very smoothly from our point of view.  It was also very exciting to be in the mix for the planning and coordination with her advance team.  I really enjoyed the experience.  I would’ve enjoyed it even more had my illness not progressed.  By the time of the event, I was basically just a husk of a man, swaying in the wind, trying not to cough too loudly as she spoke.

In addition to this, I had already agreed to take a group of students to New Harmony, IN for a scholastic retreat for the weekend.  New Harmony is the site of a failed utopian society and fit well with their studies for the semester.  I wheezed and gasped my way through a walking tour of the town and a lovely dinner.

Since everything went well, I decided to finally take Monday off and go to the doctor.  Seconds after hearing me cough, he pronounced the diagnosis of bronchitis and prescribed a wonderful little antibiotic, doxycycline.  So, I lay in bed on Monday and Tuesday attempting to rest, trying not to move my torso because this seemed to aggravate the coughing condition.  I’m back at work today…still coughing, but feeling better.  As previously stated, I’m not dead, yet.  I’m feeling better.  I think I’ll go for a walk.

See you in the funny papers!

O Come All Ye Faithful

When I started dating my wife, I acclimated to a tradition of her family by venturing out into the wilds of Indiana and selecting a fresh Christmas tree, cutting it down and dragging it home to decorate.  Previous to this, I had merely pulled out the dusty tree from a box in the closet and placed it in the corner, but now, here was a new exciting part of the holiday that felt exotic and exhilarating.  There is truly something invigorating about wandering in a field in the cold, crisp weather and breathing in that beautiful pine scent; the sharp odor of fresh cut wood.  I really enjoy the moments outdoors selecting our tree.

All of this is to say that yesterday, we went out again into the cold with our daughter and C.’s mom and dad and we chose our tree and it was, yet again, a serene experience to be in the company of family, participating in an old-fashioned tradition, and enjoying the beginnings of our holiday season.  Also, part of this tradition is the listening to Christmas music, particularly John Denver and the Muppets, but several other Christmas CDs as well, which leads me to my minor “conversion” moment this morning on the way to church. Notre Dame Cathedral

Now, one would think if I were already headed to church, I wouldn’t have needed a conversion moment.  And, I don’t want to alienate anyone who thinks I’ve jumped on the “crazy Christian” bandwagon, because that wouldn’t be an accurate account either.  Truth is, I attend church for a lot of reasons…one is that it’s a job, I get paid to sing.  Second, the community that is shared among the group of friends at our church is really second to none.  We, my wife and I, really enjoy the friendships we’ve made at church.  But, the main reason I attend church is that I don’t have all the answers and, honestly, there’s quite a bit of doubt.  I AM the “Thomas the Apostle” for my generation.  Still, there are clear and shining moments wherein the voice of God breaks through the cloud of mystery and doubt and floods my heart and mind.  This morning, I was going to change the cd in the stereo because we’d listened to it at least 3 or 4 times yesterday during various trips across the county, but I left it in because I wanted to hear Earl Scruggs play “Jingle Bells” on the banjo.  Well, a few songs later, Patty Loveless began her version of “O Come All Ye Faithful” and that is the moment that it made sense to me:

O Come, All Ye Faithful

It was an invitation; an invitation to be a part of a season, a tradition.  Sure, it specifies the faithful, but also the joyful and the triumphant.  I would venture to say that it was also an invitation to the doubtful, the disheartened and the downtrodden.  I felt a part of the faithful, not necessarily the believers, but those who have faith, however shaky it might be, that there is good and purpose in the world.  And, we’re invited to share in a community with other faithful.  I’d like to propose that the comma in that opening line is maybe premature.  Maybe, instead, it should read:

O Come All, Ye Faithful

So, during this season of Advent Aside: for those of you who didn’t go to church this morning, Advent is the season of preparation that precedes Christmas.  You won’t find it in the Hallmark card section as it goes largely unnoticed by the general populace. as we prepare for our Christmas traditions with fresh or dusty trees, fresh or dusty faiths, I’d like to believe that we’ve all been invited to attend, to celebrate in the joy of this season.

Finally, in keeping with Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 challenge, today’s “Best of” is workshop or conference.  I don’t attend many workshops or conferences.  My job is not such that it’s necessary, however, this year I did attend a marriage retreat that might fall into this category.  My wife and I, as part of the aforementioned church, journeyed down to the All Saints Conference Center in Leitchfield, KY for a short marriage retreat.  We truly enjoyed the retreat and were able to further solidify our marriage by recognizing that we share many of the same constructs for making our marriage work smoothly and joyfully with a minimum of distraction and discord.  It was a very nice weekend and I feel like it strengthened our marriage.  So, even though it’s the only one, I’d say it was the best one of 2009.

See you in the funny papers!

Slow and Steady

Not that long ago, I was frustrated with my running program, but recently it has become easier to live with.  I’m actually enjoying it now and I seem to be increasing my distance within the time allotted.  My last run went really well and while I took yesterday off, I’m excited about the prospects for the rest of the week.  With that said, here’s another running update from the Melisa Memorial 570.

#15

First, you’ll notice that the elevation chart is back, which I’m happy about.  You’ll also notice that toward the end it flattens out.  That’s because I’ve reached the Indiana/Illinois border (nearly!) at the Wabash River.  I’m also closest to Grayville, IL.

Grayville, IL is actually situated in two counties in Illinois and is the birthplace of naval hero (of the Spanish-American War and WWI) Rear Admiral James Meredith Helm. Their website City of Grayville also provides much more history and entertainment information.

WOW!  All residents of Grayville (roughly 2,043 of you) are invited to send in a comment on my blog.  I’d love to hear from you.

In other news, the Boston Red Sox clinched a playoff spot last night with a win over the Tribe.  Here’s to a great run in the postseason and another World Series win!  The weather here in Louisville has been absolutely outstanding over the last month or so which has led to some great sleeping and beautiful rides to work and back.  The lawn has suffered a little, but I’m not too worried about that.  The bermuda grass always bounces back.  And C. and I are planning trips to Philadelphia in October, Arizona in November and possibly a trip to New Orleans for me in January.  So, yeah, we’re out to see the country in short order.  WOOHOO!

See you in the funny papers!

I believe I can fly…

Well, the old “Couch to 5K” has been a success thus far.  It’s only been a week, but I feel pretty good about the program.  My brother-in-law J. wanted to know, though, what the training program for getting up off the couch was.  That’s a little harder to explain, but I’m excited about the rest of the program.  So…I thought I’d give you a running update.  I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I updated you, and that has given me time to put in a little over 16 miles.  I’ve passed the 100-mile mark.

#14

It’s kind of hard to tell from the map, at least this view (You can click on the map to get a larger version), but I’ve now reached the I-64/US 41 interchange where you can decide if Evansville or Vincennes is your destination.  This is near Warrenton, IN which, AGAIN, is an unincorporated city in Indiana.  However, it is also near the Cambridge Golf Club.

That’s about all the news there is today.  Happy birthday to my sister!  

See you in the funny papers!

Running Update

It’s been some time since I had a running update.  Unfortunately, that’s because I haven’t been doing a lot of running.  This last week is the first time I’ve put any real mileage in and it was painful and frustrating mileage at that.  I simply don’t have the stamina that I used to have.  In hopes of remedying that dilemma, I’m putting myself on a beginners’ plan…a “couch-to-5K” regimen that will hopefully get me back on track in a couple of months.  However, I have been able to string together enough mileage for a decent update, so here it is:

#13

So, according to the map, I’m near Lynnville, Indiana.  There’s nothing really interesting about Lynnville, Indiana, but they do have their own website.   I would love for any residents of Lynnville to post a comment on this blog telling me something exciting about their town.

See you in the funny papers!

Against the wind

It’s time for another running update.  Honestly, there’s not much to report.  I’ve been lazy of late…not even walking that much at work.  I have, however, put on over 8 miles to get me over the 75 mile mark.

#12

Now, as you can see (or maybe you can’t), I’ve arrived at the Dale/Huntingburg exit on I-64 in southwestern Indiana.  This used to be a favored stopping point of mine on trips to Terre Haute, Vincennes, etc.  There was a gas station here and a convenience store.   I haven’t been through here in some time, so I don’t know what’s there now…but there used to always be construction at this exit.  Anyway, now for your Dale factoid:

Founded in 1843, Dale was originally called Elizabeth and was renamed for Robert Dale Owen of New Harmony, the town’s congressman at the time.  Actress Florence Henderson of “The Brady Bunch” was born in Dale and President Abraham Lincoln was raised on a nearby farm.  His mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, is buried on that farm site.  As well, there is only one stop-light in Dale.

So there you go.  I finally made it to someplace that had something interesting going on.  Of course, it’ll probably be another 75 miles before I get something else interesting.

In other news, yea though I bemoan the fact that I have not been running, my biking prowess has increased.  Over the course of the weekend, I put 35 miles on the bike.  My butt is killing me and the rest of my body aches, but it was some gorgeous weather in which to ride.  Also, for TAFKAA and SV of Northpeak…we did some hills on those rides and training is slow, but it’s coming along.  The pics look great by the way.

I’ve also been meaning to get some pics of me in my bike gear because I know that you of the InterTubes and Webranet are dying to see them. Maybe soon I’ll have a photo shoot and get some shots of me decked out in my bike regalia.

Check out the movie review page as it has been updated heavily.  Everything else…not so much.

See you in the funny papers!

¿Donde in the F?

So, it’s time for another running update.  I’m afraid there’s not much to report.  I have gotten a couple of bike rides in which helps my training for other things, but has no bearing on my actual virtual run.  Aside: actual virtual? However, there was a little movement, therefore we get a new graphic.

Running update

Not really visible on the map is today’s local town of Saint Meinrad which is home to the famous monastery:

Saint Meinrad Archabbey in Spencer County, Indiana, USA, was founded by monks from Einsiedeln Abbey (Switzerland) on March 21, 1854, and currently is home to approximately 110 monks. It is one of only two archabbeys in the United States and one of 11 in the world.

Finally, a town in southern Indiana that actually has some useful information.  Other than the abbey, I don’t know much about Saint Meinrad.  It’s a shame I didn’t land in Santa Claus, Indiana.  That probably has a wealth of information.

Time now for some Random Thoughts:

  • Global climate change might not be so bad if it continues to give us this beautiful 80 degree weather with low humidity.
  • There’s nothing like a hammock and a good book.  If everybody had that, there’d be a lot less war.
  • It’s a new fiscal year here at work…so everybody should be in soon to be spending the money they don’t have.
  • Sometimes the titles of these posts are just for me.

See you in the funny papers

Running Update

If nothing else, I can offer you a running update today.  I was able to get back to the gym this last week and put in a good effort of 2.75 miles.  I had no pain in my ankle, but there’s still some stiffness there.  It’s not perfect, but I can work with it.

TAFKAA and SV: Worked on HP training.  0.25 mi on 15.0 grade.  That’s the highest grade available.  Took me 5:20.  Needed air.  Averaged 2.8 mph.

#10

You’ll notice I passed the 50 mile mark in my trek to Pittsburg, KS.  It’s not visible on the map, but I’m just about at Uniontown, Indiana which is yet another unincorporated place.  It’s interesting, because I know of another Uniontown, IN that is incorporated and is further east.  I wonder which one had the name first.  Anyway, I’m very near Doolittle Mills, St. Croix, and Kitterman Corners…all of which you would think would have interesting back stories.  Alas, you would be wrong.  Again, if you’re from any of these places…feel free to drop me a line and let me know an interesting tidbit about your little area of the world.

That’s about it for now.  Hopefully something more interesting soon.  Otherwise, why would you bother?

See you in the funny papers!

Running update

So, I checked back on my Garmin to find out what I had totaled for 2/2 when I broke my ankle. I had 2.59 miles logged that morning before the catastrophe…so that totaled with my 1.5 last night gave me almost 4.1 to add to my Melisa Memorial 570 run. I’ve also decided that if I can complete this run THIS year, that would be an accomplishment. So that is now the goal. Only 540 miles to go.

#8

You’ll note that there is a new feature on the map. The blue squiggly line at the bottom is the elevation chart so that you can see what the terrain would be like. It’s a very geography thing. Also, not that you can see it on the map, but I’m near White Cloud, IN. I’m stealing the map factoid idea from Drew over at Trials and Trails, but it’s cool since he stole my map idea. Anyway…here’s your factoid:

White Cloud, IN is an unincorporated community in Harrison County.

Basically what I’m saying is, there’s not much to White Cloud and it probably doesn’t even have a sign pointing out its existence. So hopefully there will be better factoids in the future.

The movies and events pages have been updated within the last month or so, movies more recently than events. Anyway, check ’em out.

See you in the funny papers!

Over the river…and through the woods

Well, the exercise program is going well. I’ve pushed into Indiana on my “virtual” run in memory of my friend Melisa Augustson. I ran off 5.22 miles last night which leads to the title of this post. The map below shows my progress. I’m also down to a svelte 214 according to the scale at the gym. My blood pressure is also right on target. They’ve added a LifeClinic blood pressure machine at the gym so I can take my reading on a regular basis, rather than relying on going to the doctor which I almost never do. So things are going well on that front.

#3

In other news, I got a little good news with my thesis yesterday. A friend hooked me up with a number for someone in Whitesburg who has offered to help me get acquainted with the town and introduce me to some folks. I’m starting to have a good feeling about the whole process. Which is much better than how I was feeling.

I hate work at the moment. It’s all just too much B.S. with budget cuts and crazy people flying all over the world. You would think that with a 3 percent budget cut that people would stay home…but they find the money somewhere and are headed to Seattle, Brasilia, and Poland. One of these days I’m going to be a professor so I can wander the globe aimlessly.

And, since my calendar says its Friday, it’s time for 55Fiction:

They lay on the soft warm sand side by side.  The small cool breeze wafted through the day, rustling the giant palm leaves overhead.  He listened to her soft breathing as they relaxed to the shifting ocean tide.  He blinked as a snow flake interrupted his dream.

“Hey, the bus is coming” she said rudely.

See you in the funny papers!