Archive for August, 2012

Today is the day I sort through pictures, finish up laundry, and get things back in order all over the house.  I have had the kind of month you would never want to repeat if you knew how crazy it would get, but I’d never want to give up the memories I have. Wonderful, lasting memories…

For example, during a day hike at Twin Falls with my visiting family we came across this little guy. (His little high-tops and goggles are worn for medical purposes.)   How cute is that?

I had the privilege of playing for the wedding of a young lady I’ve known since she was a little girl. (Excuse me a minute while I go get a tissue.)

I played, I worked, I hosted, I visited, and my beloved Schedule (I’m that kind of person) went totally out the window.  On one day, I fit in a four mile run, a practice session, a few hours at the Boeing Classic and a somewhat rushed visit to a quilt show. In my world, this is the definition of crazy.

An incredible example of “thread painting” on a quilt.

In the midst of the insanity, I seriously considered becoming an alcoholic, but I didn’t have time. And I rather like my liver.

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The cricket-chirping punctuated silence you’ve been hearing (i.e. me not blogging) does not indicate illness, a dislike of WordPress, or a move to New Zealand.  I’ve just been extremely busy.

Never mind that it is the height of wedding season.  I also have preparation for out of town guests, everything in the garden going crazy,  and a flurry of household related obligations – none of which really would take very long on its own, but all together they sing at me like an out-of-tune chorus of second graders.

Whining. Sorry.

So, instead of having to be bothered putting together a coherent and interesting post, please allow me to just sputter out some random thoughts and observations before I get back to work.

RANDOM, it’s the new Methodical

Watching my daughter pick out frames made me smile. Until we got the bill.


This scene, at the school district office, startled me. “Learning Annex” and barbed wire… I don’t know whether to be sad or horrified.


Pilot lets me know when I’m not giving him enough attention.  Notice how considerate he is to avoid the harp fingers.



I am pleased to report that I have joined stock.xchng to get some higher quality photography into my blog.  Readers will still see my iPhone camera views of the world, but now interspersed with the works of “real” photographers. (See also, my thoughts on photography, here.)

Sunburst in cloudy sky by Andreas Krappweis


And my final random thought…  The difference between “I am enjoying summer,” and “I am enjoying my summer,” is subtle but significant.  The former is something I don’t think I will ever say; it’s too hot, it’s too bright, and I prefer fog, crackling fires, sweaters, etc. The latter is more a frame of mind, and an attitude about life in general.  I am enjoying my summer. I will enjoy, be productive, appreciate fresh tomatoes, stay hydrated, and be happy for my friends who adore this season. Still, I will be glad to see October.



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While others may dream of visiting Paris or Greece, I have a crush on New Zealand. Generally speaking, I’m not a big travel fan. I love where I live, and I love being at home. I’m boring that way.

But New Zealand…  I might even pack up and move there sight unseen if I was the impetuous type (I’m not), and if it wasn’t for that whole Christmas-is-in-summer thing.  That’s a deal breaker for sure.

Still, I cannot help thinking we were made for each other…   Wanted: Single, English-speaking country with more sheep than people. Must have skiing, lots of ocean beaches, rich history in distance running, year-round temperate weather, marine mammals, a strong Paleo Diet community, a lack of propensity for invading and bombing other people’s countries, appreciation for harps, and a good sense of humor.  

If only that Christmas thing hadn’t come between us.

In weather news…  

Good heavens, look at this cloud over the Cascades!  Hang on, Dorothy!  I see that Cliff Mass (my favorite weather blog) wrote a post on it.

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Watching the Summer Olympics — every four years, whether I need it or not!  By the way, does Bob Costas ever age?  Nine Olympics and he still looks pretty much the same as he used to.  It’s another possible alien sighting.

Anyway, I was getting all worked up about the Women’s Olympic Marathon being broadcast at 3 AM, mentally composing my hate mail to NBC and such.  A friend informed me, however, that all events are broadcast live on the weekends. So never mind, NBC. We’re good.  Or at least ok.*

Three favorite things about watching the Olympics:

1. Having a good cry with the victors. Gabby Douglas of course, with her leaving home to train at such a young age, gets me every time. And  Farah embracing Rupp after the Men’s 10K — from competing countries, yet training partners — I just came apart.

Winthrop Marathon 2010… slow but inspired

2. Inspiration.  As a relatively slow runner, I can sometimes be pretty hard on myself.   For some reason, watching Greatness makes me feel better — I would have guessed it worked the other way around. But I am totally inspired during the Olympics, both as a runner and as a musician. Preparing for a performance has a lot in common with preparing for a race. Furthermore, the personal, day to day enjoyment of a beloved sport is similar to that of making music.

3. Background stories.  I love hearing about how elite athletes were raised, how they trained, and what their families are like.  And what they look like without a swim cap on.

*Three make-me-crazy annoying things about watching the Olympics: 

Talented cat, Edward, has a good ear

1. Who is mixing the sound?  Helen Keller?  My cat could do better.  Whenever the crowd cheers, the announcers are almost completely drowned out.

2. Announcers saying stupid things just to keep the banter going, and not doing more homework to add substance to the commentary.  “She is going to have to really focus now in order to concentrate on what she needs to get done.”  Gosh.  You really got inside her head.  Thanks for that.

3. Nationalism. By that I don’t mean Patriotism, but Nationalism in the sense of “we’re better than you, not by merit but by geography.”  I do like seeing an American athlete win a medal. But I do not like hearing “U-S-A!” chanted while the game is still in progress. Maybe it is because we are such a powerful country, but to me the chanting just smacks of pitchforks and torches.  And I don’t like the “medal count” at the end of each day.  It seems unsportsmanlike.

(Caution, awkward segues ahead.)

Speaking of the Olympics Men’s 10K… I was sorry that Dathan Ritzenhein had a little trouble with his strategy.  Dathan and I are very old friends, and by that I mean I lined up to have my picture taken with him and my friend, Bonnie, at the Eugene Marathon expo in 2009.

Me and Bonnie and Ritz, Eugene 2009

You can get your picture taken with just about anybody if you want to.  (Watch me connect this now. It’s going to be brilliant. Awkward, but brilliant.)   You know…  the aforementioned Galen Rupp and Mo Farah trained together in Oregon under Alberto Salazar.  Salazar got famous by nearly killing himself winning marathons in the 70s and early 80s, and by his “Duel in the Sun” with Dick Beardsley.  And here I am with Dick Beardsley at the Napa Marathon expo in 2010!

With Dick Beardsley at Napa Marathon 2010

Who needs six degrees of separation?  Cameras are everywhere, people can email pretty nice photos to you in seconds, and famous runners are very nice about putting an arm around your shoulder and posing like y’all go way back.

It is not just famous runners you can cozy up to on the ol’ Kodachrome.  Last night at my Tower Club gig with the Blue Angels (“Make Air Shows, Not War” –Ok, that’s my slogan for them; they haven’t adopted it yet.) …as I was saying, at my gig a friend said to one of the pilots, “Get a picture with the harpist!” Oh yeah. A nice addition to my collection.

Capt. John Hecker, Blue Angels pilot, poses with me and my harp

A closing word about an unsung hero… In the first photo of this post, I am running by a gentleman with a pirate bandana on his head, and finally catching up to him.  He went out a lot faster than I did and it took me a several miles to catch him.  His name is Keith Wood, and he began running marathons at age 72. He was the oldest runner at the Boston Marathon this year.  At the Winthrop Marathon, he and I were seat mates on the bus going up to the start area. I told him on the bus that I recognized him from a lot of my races.  He encouraged me very much during our talk, and I am as proud to be seen with him in that photo as I am of all the others.

Beardsley and Salazar – Duel In The Sun:

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