mcd, showers and thundershowers, 48-58
Two minutes later
A dramatic thunderstorm blew through today with wind-driven hail up to a third of an inch across.
Lightening twice crackled through the sky within a second of the house. Our roof, the road, the
driveway and garden were white. I was out in the garden as the storm approached and came in to
unplug the electronics but didn't think to cover the plants. The hail flattened the leaf lettuce,
shredded the bok choi, punched holes in the zucchini and eggplant and snapped leaves and shoots
off the tomato plants but I think most things will recover. The beans and cucumbers were still standing in beds of ice
pellets at sunset.
I had plans for the day but intimidated by the effort involved, didn't accomplish much. Folded and
put away clothes. Polished a few rocks. Fixed some bugs on the Maniacs site, for which I have
completed everything except the password change and bulk mail pages. I'm waiting for Tony to give
me access to r?.com where the Maniacs pages are hosted.
This morning I read the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew for my devotional time. I resumed reading
the Bible in the morning last week after conversations with Gary and Zack over the previous week or
two. This morning's reading was typical in that I found a number of points on which I fall short
and little in the way of encouragement. Salt that loses its flavor, a light under a basket,
breaking the commandments, looking at a woman with lust, loving only those who love me in return - I
can identify with all of these. Afterward I objected to Jesus that I found only condemnation in His
Word and He responded "God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the
world through Him might be saved; ...neither do I condemn you. Do you believe me?" or something to
that effect. He then referred me again to the verse He gave me through the evangelist after I was
baptized: "You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth and called from its farthest regions and
said to you, 'You are my servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: Fear not, for I am
with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will
uphold you with My righteous right hand.'" Is 41:9,10. This time I decided to believe Him, for He
has repeatedly reminded me of this, and has never indicated that He condemns me, while I always in
almost all things tend to condemn myself. But if there is anything I believe about the Lord, it is
that He called me and specifically gave me those verses in Isaiah. So I cannot explain why I am
accepted in spite of my failure to bear fruit after all these years, but with His assistance and
contrary to evidence from my own life, I will henceforth believe Him in this.
pc, quiet, 48-68
This morning I read Matthew 9:13: "But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not
sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.". The righteous
here are those who earn God's favor by their sacrifices. They don't acknowledge the need of a
Savior and don't accept His call. As a result, they don't share His character of mercy. God calls
sinners who recognize their need and respond to His call. As sinners, they have nothing, neither
mercy nor repentance, to commend themselves to Him. The character to which they are called is His
gift to them which He will give them as/after they come to Him. Likewise with repentance, the
prerequisite to conversion - it too is the gift of God, received after the sinner responds to His
call. Repentance has always been a hurdle I've been unable to surmount; I have never been able to
come up with true repentance in my heart. But if I understand this verse correctly, it is something
God works in my heart as I receive Him.
Daniel flipping off roof
Orchid blooming since 5/26
Daniel and I drove down to Portland in the evening to buy a used slalom kayak he'd found on the
Internet. I wasn't excited about the long drive but was looking forward to the opportunity to spend
some time with him. We talked some about our spiritual experiences. I described my chronic doubt
and recent acceptance that Jesus will save me. Daniel explained that he knows by faith that he is
saved because he has asked Jesus to save him and believes that he does. There was more - about sin,
about how difficult it is to perceive the work of the Holy Spirit within ourselves, about how soon
Jesus will come, the time of Jacob's trouble - we talked most of the way from Olympia to Portland.
When we reached our destination we found
two kayaks available so I bought the second one so we could paddle together. Recreational kayaks
are completely different now, short stubby plastic boats designed for playing in holes and running
Poppies (by David)
water we used to consider extreme. The slalom boats are fiberglass but flatter and sharper-edged
than the boats I used 25 years ago - harder to fit into too, or maybe it's just that I'm older and
stiffer now. Talking about kayaking brought back old memories of fitting and fixing boats, learning
to paddle, playing in whitewater, the anticipatory fear before a new run - not quite sure I want to
take this sport up again. Another memory from the past, J is still at the heart of the northwest kayaking scene, even racing on the US
Red Top Mountain hike sunny, 60-75
David was invited to go rafting on the
Wenatchee for the birthday party of one of the girls in his CWA group. Daniel wanted to kayak but I
didn't think he should do the run alone without having ever seen it and I'm not ready. Daniel and I
tried out our new boats the other evening out at Deep Lake and although I rolled twice I could
barely squeeze myself into the boat and couldn't use the footpegs at all - not quite ready for a
long whitewater run. Daniel's boat fits him great and is a definitely a step up from his boat at
school. The birthday party ended up with one too many participants to fit in the minivan so we
needed to drive too, then at the last minute someone cancelled and Daniel decided to take their
place instead of hiking up Red Top with me.
White Shooting Star
The boys dropped me off at the first creek crossing after the fork in the road. Pat had heard a
report that agates were just lying around on the surface up one of the creeks on Red Top, so I
decided to take the opportunity to check it out. Apparently I got the wrong creek, but I had a nice
hike up counting birds and photographing flowers, then dug for a while up on top before meeting the
G's and digging some more. The Forest Service has been
running a bulldozer through the woods filling up all the holes. Makes it harder to find a place to
dig - probably their objective. I found a couple of holes they'd missed and expanded them modestly.
The first, at the north edge of the digging area, was a bust but in an hour of digging at the second
hole I found about 15lbs of eggs. The mosquitos were fairly numerous in the woods and only just
barely deterred by DEET. Caleb videoed flowers and Danny rode his mountain bike while Curtis, Josh
and I dug for eggs.
Mt Rainier - Sunrise sunny, 60
Rainier from Sunrise
We didn't actually make it up to Sunrise until near sunset. Jackie came with us; a friend of
Daniel's from Eco Dorm, she's been visiting her aunt and uncle in Kirkland for the past several
days. Her aunt brought her down from Kirkland after we returned from church. The boys and I went
for the first time in quite a while. Bill preached on just what I've experienced recently, our need
to persevere in coming to Jesus, trusting Him for our salvation rather than looking to ourselves for
evidence of progress. I took it as confirmation that my recent experience is from Jesus.
Ironically my sore back may be another confirmation in that the enemy attacks us more vigorously
when we draw near to God. I believe I've made a significant advance in choosing to accept His grace
and believe in His love. Now I have an opportunity to trust Him in my sore back, which has only
become worse over the past 5 days as I've attempted to exercise through it. It threatens to prevent
me from all of the activities I was looking forward to during my upcoming leave - running, hiking,
biking, rock-hunting, kayaking. I will trust Jesus in this too though, knowing that He does love me
so I need not fear what He permits to happen to me.
A broken layer of high clouds drifted over in the afternoon so the light wasn't always as good as
we'd hoped but David and I took pictures anyhow. The rangers scolded us for trampling with our bare
feet the new vegetation emerging in the meadows where we'd ventured to photograph yellow avalanche
lilies. Perhaps elk hooves are gentler. Susan came with us so that Jackie would feel more
comfortable and enjoyed being out for the first time in a long while - it's been several years since
we've been up to the mountains together. Daniel brought his snowboard and found one narrow
snowfield which was still continuous from the ridgecrest west of the lodge down to the valley
beyond. He handled it
difficulty while I took pictures and Susan held her breath. While he climbed
back up to us I hiked a little further up the trail in search of photo ops, found several. On the
way back home Susan let Jackie drive. I admired the loving way she instructed and reassured her, a
way that the world doesn't often offer. Back
at Ranchito's the chips and salsa were delicious as always.
Dramatic sunset as Daniel and I picked up the last bales of hay from a field Zack mowed. The
mammary clouds developed quickly and dissipated just as quickly. I called David on his cell phone
to alert him to go out and take photos since I didn't have my camera but the clouds were already
losing their shape by the time he made it outside.
Home - showers, then pc, 81
Last day of work before my unofficial "Sabbatical". I swam early at Deep Lake before picking up
Marc. Misty gray stratus hung very low over the plateau as I drove towards the foothills. No-one
was at the park except for the caretakers. As I walked past them the stillness was broken by the
snap and crash of a tree limb falling out of sight on the other side of the parking lot. The water
was fairly warm due to recent very hot weather; I used my sleeveless wetsuit nonetheless, as much
for safety as for warmth. Underneath me the water was dark gray green grading into the usual dull
green up ahead of me and a pearly gray right at the surface. Quite pretty. A drizzly haze obscured
the alder and fir at the far end of the lake. It felt good to be active again after almost a week
with no exercise and I swam vigorously for about 30 minutes. Just as I was getting back out of the
water I saw a quick flash in the sky followed by thunder ten seconds later, and big raindrops
splashed across the still water around me. The heavy rain held off until after I'd changed and was
on my way to Marc's.
At work I sat in several meetings and provided direction on a couple of architectural decisions for
Zeus. As I did so I wondered how the conversation would have gone in my absence. It seemed to me
that my contributions in both meetings helped bring two somewhat disparate parties - two tecnical
teams in the first case, and the project sponsor and user representative in the second - to a
consensus. I think they would have come to the same conclusions, though perhaps not as quickly or
easily, had I not been there, but it didn't seem that anyone else on our team could fill my role.
It will be interesting to see if in my absence someone else on the team steps up to provide that
combination of technical understanding and business knowledge. Busy with meetings, interviews and
lunch out at Chantanee, I didn't make any progress on the various tasks I needed to complete before
Didn't quite reach 80 today but felt warmer than that due to the humidity. We attended Shane and
Caitlin's wedding at the airstrip in the morning. Pastor Bill officiated and Justin held Chloe, now
9(?) months old. They were married some time ago
Swee fixed a nice supper
3 feet in a yard (F,P,G)
in a civil service after Caitlin decided to keep the baby and Shane decided to marry Caitlin. I
think the wedding reflects a reconciliation of sorts between the families and between the young
couple and the church. The weather cooperated with sunshine and a few clouds for shade. Birds
accompanied the musical prelude, including a pileated woodpecker, Hutton's vireo, Wilson's warbler
and a western tanager. The Hutton's was only the second I've heard this summer, the first being at
the Lake Youngs Ultra.
In the afternoon I ran 17 miles - the Green Valley loop clockwise. It was hot and I was very tired
the last couple of miles, finished 3lbs lighter than when I started despite drinking a pint and a
half of Gatorade during the run.
Rain all day, but only 0.3" accumulation. I went in to work in the late
afternoon and packed up my rocks, brought a couple boxes home after talking with Linh for an hour or
On the way in to work I met Steve (K.A.S.
) and picked up Daniel's kayak. It survived the long cross-country trip with no
problems at all, and no moisture made it through the inner layer of plastic wrap and old flannel
7/20/2007 Rain all day again, 0.7" this time. I ordered a new domain, littlemarathon.com,
from godaddy. I plan to put the Rattlesnake Marathon site under it, as well as the Maniacs pages,
rather than use brianpen.com. Planted beets by the workshop.
7/21/2007 Sabbath Humid today but no rain, and even some sunshine mid-morning. I ran the
Crescent Forest ultra, an informal little race on trails and logging roads through a private woodlot
in Gig Harbor. I wasn't sure I'd be able to do the whole thing but felt stronger on my third and
fourth laps than on the first two. Ran with Monte most of the way after birding the first couple of
laps. Highlight was a mixed flock of small birds which included two Wilson's, an Orange-crowned and
a Black-throated gray warbler in addition to chickadees, kinglets? and a downy woodpecker. Nice
view of a flying pileated too.
Rain all day again, 0.4" Yesterday at lunch after the race Steve Barrick
encouraged Monte and I to consider doing the Tahoe Triple because he was thinking of doing it if he
could have someone to run with, so this morning I spent a couple hours researching places to stay
and figuring what it would take to go down there and run it. Susan sounds as though she'd be
interested in spending a few days at Lake Tahoe. Cost is a bit of a deterrent, about $1500 for the
three days, so I'm not sure about it yet. In the afternoon I created a website for the
Rattlesnake Lake marathon
, a little
marathon Monte and I (and our families) are planning to host this August 19. It took all afternoon
but turned out pretty well.
Tree frog (David)
7/23/2007 Still cloudy but mostly dry. Went for a walk with Susan this morning, 2 miles,
then ran 3 miles in the afternoon. Quads a little stiff and sore from the long run two days ago. I
spent most of the day working on the Maniac site, fixing the remaining bugs (that I know about).
Talking to Tony about automatic calculation of statistics, we realized that we need a way to
determine, for any period of time, who upgraded their star count or passed a milestone like 100
marathons. That means I need to log changes to statistics. In thinking about it I decided to
implement the ability to manually save a snapshot of statistics rather than logging all changes -
it's easier and should be sufficient to meet the need for periodic, ie monthly, reporting for the
newsletter. I spent the afternoon coding that change.
I think maybe the Vaux's swifts in the chimney fledged today - we haven't heard them all day. Also
on our walk, Susan and I saw and heard a few rough-winged swallows over Henderson's field. If they
showed up at our house, they'd be a new yard bird.
7/24/2007 Return of the sunshine. Beautiful day, 70 and partly cloudy, but today was the
day for deploying the new Maniacs site so I spent much of it at the computer working on the data
extract and setting up the new site under littlemarathon.com. I did take time to walk down to the
river with Susan and the boys. Not many birds active but there were still a few bank swallows
coursing up and down over the water. In the evening I played tennis with Daniel, David and Zack.
23 games was probably overdoing it a little. Zack and I played singles then we all played doubles
until it got dark. Back home I ended up staying up until 2AM redoing the data extract after Tony
pointed out some problems with missing data.
Installed and tried out the new speed reading software yesterday, and got David to try it today. He
tested at 260 wpm in lesson 1, better than I expected. He's not self-motivated to do that, or his
summer reading, for which he needs to read two books and write 20 half-page journal entries about
them in the next 5 weeks. Scary thought.
7/25/2007 Another beautiful day. Another intense day of work on the Maniacs site. We're
live but in response to Marc #9's reservations about Maniacs updating their own star counts I added
functionality to lock star calculation and fixed several other bugs which cropped up. Also added
the first help page, for My Preferences, which is perhaps the most confusing functionality in the
site. In the late afternoon I took a break to run O'Grady three times. Energy petered out on the
third lap but did the first two in 52 minutes, avg hr 150.
Trapped the orange tomcat in the workshop this morning. I went in there for something and startled
him sleeping on the boxes on the top shelf over by the garden tools. He jumped up and raced around
the workshop looking for a way out but before he found the doors I slammed them shut. I barricaded
the spot behind the workbench where the sheetrock is cracked so that he won't be able to claw his
way out, like he did last week through the garage window screen, then I set up the Havahart trap
with a fresh can of catfood. When I didn't see him all day I wondered if he'd found a way out but
after dark I searched more thoroughly and found him hiding in the corner by the garden tools again.
I left him alone but I won't let him go. Twice in the past year he's attacked Puss and sent her to
the vet to the tune of about $300 altogether, so he's going on a one-way trip to animal control once
he gets hungry enough to take the bait.
Two new yard birds today: a screech owl hooting (pattern is an accelerating series of short hoots,
like a dropped pingpong ball) at 2AM somewhere down our road, and the rough-winged swallows from
down the street. Difficult to distinguish from bank swallows in flight, just a little more uniform
brown above with somewhat broader wings and heavier flight, also a dusky throat and upper breast.
Bank swallows show white on the sides of the throat above a dark patch; in our area at least, the
dark band does not appear to cross the breast. Their flight is more buoyant and erratic and their
wings a little darker than the back. The rough-wings were calling repeatedly, a short grating
brrreet. Down at the river the bank swallows were silent.
Feeling very anxious about the Dragnet work I haven't yet done - clenching my teeth
so hard at night that I wake up with a headache. Each day I mean to do that and each day I don't
get it done. After a walk this morning Susan and I went out shopping for tile for our bathroom. We
need to get the tile so Chuck can proceed with work in the bathrooms. She's anxious about that -
had a large hive on her tongue most of the afternoon which subsided as we reviewed and came close to
selecting the stone and tile for our bathroom. The current candidates are an olive-green
marble/granite with gold highlights
for the vanity top and shower shelf, and a slightly crackled pearly tile with a hint of green
7/27/2007 More tile shopping, this time at Oregon Marble and Tile in Georgetown. We
picked out a different green stone called Costa Esmerelda, a semi-glossy plain white 4" tile for the
wall and a gray randomly-patterned 6" floor tile. Susan is frustrated with Chuck and with the
process so I'm kind of taking over the selection and coordination of the work. She liked the stone