Monthly Archives: November 2007


Maybe it’s that post-holiday letdown or maybe it’s that I’m nearly footballed out, but I’m bored. Before you call…no I’m not so bored that I’ll come over and rake your leaves or baby-sit your children and I’m not looking for a job. I guess, for the past few years, I’ve been in Florida by now and there’s plenty to do down there. The weather is good this time of year so I would normally be out biking by now. I haven’t been able to push myself to ride my trainer or attend a spinning class since May and I’m too much of a pansy to ride my bike in this weather. Maybe tomorrow’s the day I’ll get started!

I’m more than a little bored with television. I’m not into reality TV shows (they aren’t real, they’re choreographed and made to look like real-life) and the rest of the shows aren’t all that good. After overeating on Thanksgiving, I got up on Friday and went to the gym to lift weights. When I got home I made a sandwich out of leftovers (I’m bored with the leftovers too) and turned on one of the news channels. BREAKING NEWS…it’s a day after Thanksgiving and a whole bunch of women went shopping…let’s go there now and watch them. I turned to another channel and…BREAKING NEWS…it’s a day after Thanksgiving and a whole bunch of women went shopping…let’s go there now and watch them. Every channel had the same old story and, no, I don’t want to watch them fight over sale items. Don’t interview them…we all know it’s a madhouse…that’s why we’re not there.

I’m not going to go into my annual tirade about how commercial Christmas has gotten and how we’re losing the true meaning of the holidays. I guess I’ve come to the realization that nothing is going to change what other people do and I’m better off paying attention to what I do. Maybe this year I’ll make the gifts for everyone on my Christmas list. I know they’ll be touched since it’s from the heart, but it would probably be another gift no one knows what to do with. They’ll probably keep it hidden away in a closet until I visit, then bring it out until I leave. Luckily, during my recovery from the bike wreck, I don’t remember what gifts I got anyone so those can be tossed at any time. Maybe I forgot to get anyone anything that year.

I wonder why it takes a friend’s death to remind us how life can change in an instant and we should live every day like it’s our last.

Just (Still Not Losing Weight But Not Gaining Any Either) Jack

World Traveler

I guess it’s all in your state of mind. For many people, traveling to San Francisco is like going to the ends of the earth. Pat, last evening, was telling us about his older sister who has only left Michigan once or twice in her life, puts about 5,000 miles on her car in a year and has never driven on an interstate highway. Last week I was talking with my son, Matt, about his recent trip to Belgium and his upcoming trip to Taiwan to a friend’s wedding, followed by a side trip to Tokyo. At 60.9643835 years of age, I’ve been to Canada a few times, no farther than 50 miles from American soil, and one mile into Mexico (Tijuana), so I’m somewhere in between a home-body and a world traveler. My excuse is that there are 10 states I haven’t been to yet, so why leave the country until I’ve seen all fifty states first.

I had a great trip to San Francisco last week. Early in the trip Matt said that he read my last e-mail before I left and I made it sound like we had planned a five day fraternity party. As it turned out, we did have a couple of margaritas Thursday night, but Matt was driving so he hardly had any. As you all know by now, I’m hard of hearing in crowded rooms, so I didn’t hear what the four young girls at the next table actually said. One of them mouthed the words to Tonya “Is that your Dad? We’re really, really sorry!!”. I was laughing and getting a kick out of them being very embarrassed thinking that I did hear, and that made them more embarrassed than ever.

On Friday we did take a tour of Anchor Brewery, but it was mid-day so we took it easy on the samples. On Saturday, at the barrel aged beer festival in Hayward, we had a few 2 ounce samples over a five hour period, so that wasn’t a big drinking day either. On Sunday, when we hiked to a pub on Mount Tamalpais, we found it was closed for the weekend, so we hiked the rest of the trail (about an hour) back to the car. On Monday we did brew beer, but neither Matt nor I ever drink while we brew (it multiplies the chance for mistakes) so that was a pretty dry day also. Several people have asked me if I had a good time out there. Maybe it’s a cliché answer, but I said I could have been out there digging ditches, but as long as I was with Matt and Anna, it was great fun. Sara and Rocky will be here for Thanksgiving, so that will be nice too. I guess we’ll have to drive to Florida to see Robert, so that will help us get our “kid fix”.

We went to the Michigan State/Penn State football game with Pat and Vicki yesterday. It was cold (somewhere in the thirties) and it spit rain off and on throughout the day, but it was a good game so that made up for the conditions. Earlier I told you my age, so you would think after being on this earth that many years, I would have learned by now, but I didn’t. All the nutritionists talk about getting plenty of fiber in your diet and, even though I don’t look it, I’m trying to eat better. I like the breakfast cereal, Kashi Go Lean Crunch, and right on the front of the box it says it’s a high fiber food. Apparently my system isn’t used to that level of fiber and it created a copious amount of “unwanted air”. On the positive side, we were in an open air stadium, so I was able to relieve the pressure before I swelled up like a blimp and floated away. Lucky for everyone we were in the back row so there were no seats behind us. Unlucky for them, that’s where the police stood the entire game. Lucky for me “breaking wind” isn’t against the law.

I fought it as long as I could, but in the third quarter, I had to relieve myself. I hate going into public rest rooms and the ones at sporting events are the worst. On the plus side it was warm in there, but on the minus side it reeked of urine. As you may know from my e-mails, I’m not shy about bodily functions, but walking up to a urinal trough, shoulder to shoulder with six or seven other men, is not my “cup o’ tea”. I was able to avoid my foot touching the guys’ feet on either side of me and I did keep my eyes up and straight ahead. I was one of the 5% who actually washed their hands afterward and, while Jean got a cup of coffee, Vicki and I were discussing whether it was worse to be a man, have to go and have really cold hands, or sit on a toilet seat that hundreds of women have sat on before you. The jury’s still out.

Just (Not Doing Well On My Diet) Jack


I just got back from a short run and I wonder why I don’t spend the winters in Florida and get out of this cold, wet weather. The run was short because, contrary to my good sense, I ran with the Trilanders this past Sunday at the Country Club. I’m not a good trail runner and I don’t know why I did it other than wanting to be a part of “the group”. The front nine was, according to my Garmin, 2.23 miles and the constant up and down wore me out. I almost decided to call it a day when I got my second wind and started running the back nine in reverse order…down 18, then down 17, etc. I got most of the way down 16 when my left soleus muscle (the one below the gastrocnemius or “calf muscle”) began to tighten. Rather than risk a pulled muscle or a torn achilles tendon, I turned around and walked in. So today when I ran, the soleus was tender and tightened some after two miles so that was the end. It’s warmer to run back in than to walk, hence the whining.

 Most of you know that my father was a minister so I was brought up going to church on Sunday. I’ve attended often since I left home but not as often as Dad would have liked. I enjoy the Sunday runs and (sorry Grandma Walker, who was Seventh Day Adventist) Saturday isn’t “church day”. You runners all know that there are only so many running related things you can think about before your mind starts to wander. So I can, and often do, have my own little church service. The songs are really, really short, the sermon is even shorter, but I probably have more “close to God” moments than I ever had in Church. It would seem that with all that devotion, God would give me a break on the weather, but I guess I’m still being tested.

 I sent out a note yesterday to the Trilanders inviting them to a wine and beer tasting get together on December 1st. You all are welcome to come, but I’m guessing for you out of towners, it’s too much of a drive. Anyway, I referred to the “underpants catastrophe of 2007”. I really meant 2006 so I screwed up. Just when I was about to go the whole year without a typo. Darn!! Maybe next year.

 I’ll be leaving for San Francisco tomorrow afternoon. It will be nice to go out and see Matt and Anna. I should send pictures more often to remind them what I look like. We plan to tour the Anchor Brewery (brewers of Anchor Steam Beer), hike around Mt. Tamalpais to a pub in the State Park that is only accessible by foot, go to a Barrel-Aged beer fest in Hayward (East Bay) followed by poker at Matt’s place, and brew an all-grain batch of beer. All of this mixed with going to some world class (and my class) restaurants and wandering around the city on my daily walks. Since Jean isn’t going I don’t have to take biking or running clothes and I may even take a few days off training.

Just (Leaving Right Now To Go Vote) Jack