Monthly Archives: February 2008

Unrelated Drivel

Bell’s Warehouse

For most of you, a run of six or seven miles in fourteen degree (F) weather would be torture. But today’s run, according to everyone I talked to, was great. The majority felt that it was because we’ve been running in such poor weather with snow and ice on the roads all winter. Today there was very little wind and the streets were DRY…at least for the most part. Most of us stayed on the main roads and, other than a little ice where it melted yesterday and then refroze overnight, it was excellent footing. With all the weeks of running on ice joggers, or YakTrax, or on the treadmill, it was a refreshing change of pace. The group training for Ironman Lake Placid had a recovery week so their run was 50 to 70 minutes at heart rate one. Of course, Jean went longer than 70 minutes…no surprise there…but everyone else did what the training schedule said to do. At least she did stay in heart rate one according to my spies.

Last Saturday evening, Jean, Becky and I went to the Methodist Church to see “Live Under The Dome…A Ticket To Nashville“. It was a musical revue presented by a group of community singers and musicians benefitting the Mary Youngs Scholarship Fund. It was a couple of years ago that Mary was at that show, went home afterwards, and never woke up. Most of the people were friends of ours, so it made it very enjoyable. About halfway through I got to thinking that this kind of thing was playing out in communities all around the world by people with lots of talent…not for money but for the good of others. You all know by now that sometimes when I start thinking, my mind can go off on tangents. I couldn’t help but think about the fact that we, as consumers, are paying good money that benefits singers, actors, actresses and athletes who make millions of dollars. Half of them are either going into rehab, coming out of rehab, wearing just enough clothes to be legal in most states, or are at home abusing their spouses. And we still keep supporting their habits. Thank God for the community volunteers.

With nothing better to do during this long northern winter, I looked up local beer brewing clubs to see if there was one I could visit and, possibly, join. The closest one is in Kalamazoo and is the Kalamazoo Libation Organization of Brewers or KLOB for short. It seems like they could have come up with a better name that had a more catchy acronym, but they didn’t. Anyway, they meet the third Monday of the month which was this past week. They meet on the northeast side of Kalamazoo in a “clubhouse” behind a residence. The weather wasn’t very good with some snow and a thirty mile an hour wind that was drifting the roads, so I got on the website to make sure the meeting wasn’t canceled. I’m glad I did because there was a notice that the meeting wouldn’t be held at the usual place. Everyone was to meet at Bell’s Brewery, the new location in Comstock, and there would be a tour of the brewery led by the founder, Larry Bell. Attached is a picture of the supply of Oberon for the Trilanders this summer.

I had my doctor’s appointment this past Friday for a weight and blood pressure check. My BP is in the OK range and I’m down another  six pounds from my last visit. That makes fourteen pounds so far. It sounds like a lot, but it’s just a drop in the bucket. I’m still eight pounds over my last Ironman Wisconsin weight and nine pounds over the break between obese and slightly overweight on the BMI index scale. I know I’ll never get to the “ideal weight” category but being close will be better than where I’m at right now. It’s still “calories in…calories out” and every once in a while I have a “blowout day”, but I’m getting there.

Just (Sticking With It So Far) Jack

Lunacy Revisited

After last week, when our some of our running group ran in weather with temperatures of 5 degrees above zero and wind chills of 18 degrees below zero, I thought we had hit rock bottom on the common sense meter. Not so! This morning we had freezing rain falling on streets that were below freezing producing treacherous black ice. There were also areas where the snow had been packed down to ice anyway, and the rain turned those spots into ice so slick you couldn’t stand on it without falling.   At 8 AM, our usual meeting time, a whole bunch of otherwise partially sane people in our running group met at Kevin and Stacey’s to go running. Sam and Colleen parked next to our Jeep and, when they got ready to leave, their car had moved 4 or 5 feet on its own. Without naming names, one of our group fell before we ever got started; at least one of our group fell while on the run; and at least one of our group fell going out to their car while leaving. Remember…we all run for better health! It rained during the entire run with the temperature hovering near 32 degrees. Everything on me was wet except for the crack down my “great divide”.

I thought we were planning to run down Irving Road so I turned at that corner and everyone else went straight. I’m throwing away my Trilander training shirt that says “Friends Don’t Let Friends Train Alone”. Anyway, I actually had a better run than expected. I wore my “YakTrax” which kept me from slipping and I sweat enough to get wet every time I run, so things were pretty normal. I met 4 cars going out and 4 cars coming back on my 5.33 mile journey. When the cars went by they sprayed tons of water that had settled in ruts in the road. After a couple of drenchings, I decided to jump the next time one came by. Being white (a reference to the movie White Men Can’t Jump with Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson) and 61 years old, my three foot high jump turned out to be about six inches and I just got a different part of my legs wet.

I ran as far as the bridge over the Thornapple River just outside Irving. It’s in a low spot (duh…it’s over a river and that’s usually the lowest spot around), and there was snow plowed up on each side, so the water had nowhere to go and was at least four inches deep. Just to show I still had a tiny bit of sense left in my body, I turned around and didn’t try to go over the bridge. In the very center of the road you could see a couple of spots of pavement so I could have tried that route. Or I could have tried to walk in the snow banks on the edges, but I figured I would have stepped into a foot of snow before hitting four inches of icy slush. Smart huh?

To change the subject…last week I got a grain crusher that crushes the grain I use in beer brewing. The day it came I put it together and was itching to try it out. I didn’t have any uncrushed barley and won’t be brewing until it warms up some so I was out of luck. Then Matt suggested I crush some of the old stale stuff I had in the freezer that I wasn’t going to use anyway, so I did. It worked great, but then what to do with the grain? I decided to put it out in the yard so the deer could eat it, which they did. Ever since then, the grain has been gone but they revisit the spot hoping some fool (me) would put out more. As I look out there today, there is snow on the ground and it shows that the deer have relieved themselves (number two, not number one) right where they ate the grain. The transition from animals to humans (if you believe in evolution) must have come when we stopped crapping on our dinner tables.

Just (Ready For This Long Winter To Be Over) Jack

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Judy Anderson

A quickie…not that kind…get your mind out of the gutter. You all know that some things catch my attention and my mind, such as it is, takes over and runs rampant. This time it isn’t necessary…there’s no wild imagination working that creates a situation that could have happened but didn’t.

Friday evening I made some chili and Judy and Becky came over to watch a movie. If you don’t know Judy, she’s also known as the “Happy Snapper” (no off-color comments, please). She takes most of the pictures at our Sunday runs and many of our races and helps put them into some sort of order for our annual Trilander dinner. That evening I had to step in and take the pictures since Judy was the photographee (is that a word?).

Judy is the one, on our early spring and late fall runs when the temperature is in the mid forties, that runs in a tank top and shorts with her jacket tied around her waist when the rest of us have on long pants and jackets. We keep the condo at 67 degrees…just right for me and way too warm for Jean, but I pay the heat bill, so there. Judy came in and sat down in the chair next to the fireplace. As you can see, she has on her winter coat, a hooded sweatshirt and Jean gave her a wool blanket for her legs. Jean was already way too warm with the fireplace on and took her socks off. I was warm and was beginning to perspire. I had a knit long-sleeved shirt and flannel pajama bottoms on (the fly was sewn shut) and was about ready to peel down to my briefs and a t-shirt. And there was Judy feeling just about right.

Just so you don’t think she has gone the other direction and can’t stand the cold any more…this morning was 5 degrees above with a wind chill of 18 below zero and Judy went for a two and a half mile walk after the weather people had warned everyone to stay inside.

Just (My Logical Mind Can’t Decipher This One) Jack


We all make choices in life and sometimes they work out well and sometimes they don’t. Maybe it’s just me remembering the bad and not the good, but I’ve had a lifetime of picking bad lines at the grocery store or the bank. Today was no exception.

I went to the bank to deposit a check on the way to the fitness center. It was before the bank opened, but there were two lines open in the drive through. Each of them had two cars, so it was eenie-meenie-minie-moe and I picked the one on the left. I hadn’t been there for a minute when the canister came down the tube and I knew the first car was done. I chuckled, thinking my luck had changed. Not so. The person must have been talking on the phone about something really important because she didn’t reach out and get her receipt for over a minute. Once she did, she closed her window and sat there for over two minutes, either counting her money over and over, or finishing that all important telephone call about the cute thing her grandchild did.

Finally, she pulled her tank (a huge SUV) out and the guy ahead of me pulled up. He took forever getting to the correct spot, not wanting to tear off his rear view mirror (he was a foot from the safety post). Of course, when he rolled down his window, he couldn’t reach the canister, so he had to open his door, wedge himself halfway out, and pull it out of the chute. He filled it with his banking papers and sent it off. In the meantime, I was watching the woman next to him pull up, open her truck window and try to reach her canister. She couldn’t either, so she stepped out onto her running board (it was a huge four wheel drive truck and she was about 4′ 8″). I chuckled thinking that maybe my line wasn’t so bad after all.

The guy’s canister came down the chute and I put my Jeep into gear, ready to swoop in. Not so fast! He took the contents, sat there for a minute fooling around with something, and then put something back in the canister along with the pen he used to sign whatever he had forgotten to sign. Away it went and, after I said a few bad words (sorry Mom), I put my Jeep back into park. After a couple more minutes, his canister came back. He took his time opening his door for the third time, wedging himself out again and retrieving the contents. He sat there for a full minute filing all of his papers before he started to pull out. He got halfway out of the spot when a car pulled up at the window next to the bank. Apparently he thought there would be a major collision because he stopped and waited to see what the person was going to do. He was still in the spot where I wanted to be by about a foot. After he realized the car had pulled up to a teller window and wasn’t really “careening through the parking lot”, he pulled out.

It took me a 2 minutes and 45 seconds to pull up, put my check and deposit slip into the canister, send it on its way, get it back, put the deposit slip on the seat next to me and drive away. Of course, if everyone were perfect like me, I wouldn’t have anything to whine about.

Just (I Have Nothing Better To Do Anyway So I’m Chilling Out) Jack