Brian's Journal - Winter 2007

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1/1/2007 Cloudy, low 40s
Worked on Marathon Maniacs ASP pages, set up the database on godaddy.com, created and uploaded the InSane AsyLum and Upcoming Races pages. Stayed up quite late helping Daniel w/ his college essays, reviewing them as he completed them. His main essay on the common application was very good, about diversity. He sent off the common application around 10PM and the Colby supplement around 1AM, an hour after the deadline (4 hrs late by Eastern time).

1/2/2007 Rain overnight, wind in the morning, 56, then heavy rain, barometer 29.05 2.6” rain by evening

January Storm

Daniel called Colby and Bates in the morning and verified that they would accept his slightly late application. Good news – they will.

Today’s project was getting David to finish his big English paper on Carl Sandberg. Around 5PM he took the various fragments he’d written and assembled them, along with a nearly complete re-write of the close reading on “Soiled Dove” and a complete rearrangement with quite a bit of new writing of the close reading on “Put off a Wedding…”.

After a delicious supper of spaghetti and garlic bread, Susan took Daniel to the airport. Kind of sad to see him go – we got used to having him around again.

1/3/07 Another .4” rain overnight. Pond at foot of driveway is overflowing across the road. Susan drove David in just in time for English class, with his paper. As his paper began to come to gether as a whole and he could see how it would look, he was alot more motivated to work on it. I should have helped him put it together earlier.

Read some in the Bible this morning, wondering about faith, about Dad’s conversion (not without precedent, for the thief converted on the cross). “Let it be done to you according to your faith.”, seems, at least some of the time, to be the operative rule. That would mean that I determine my own eternal destiny by my choice to accept or deny that Jesus saves me.

1/5/07 windy, cold, wet but only 0.2” rain. Snow pellet showers at work yesterday afternoon.

Dr. Smith accepted David’s paper as a rough draft and sent it home today for David to do the final over the weekend. He’ll definitely pass, and may even get a decent grade – a huge relief for him, and for us all.

1/13/2007 About 1.5” of rain in the past week.

Ice on Pond
Now it’s cold – we had another snowstorm – 1-6” around the area – on Wednesday night. Marc and I just barely made it out of work ahead of the snow. Cars were already starting to spin out on a half inch of very slippery snow as we pulled out of the parking lot and those who waited ended up taking hours to get home. We outdistanced the snow squall just east of Issaquah and enjoyed dry roads the rest of the way home. School was closed Wednesday and Thursday and I stayed home from work too.

Convenient as my new Dell Inspiron E1705 laptop arrived Wednesday evening as well. Since then I’ve put probably 20 hours into setting it up, beginning with formatting the disk to replace XP Media Center Edition with XP Pro. Dell didn’t provide all the drivers on CD’s. I had to retrieve the video card and wireless networking card drivers from the internet using my work laptop then transfer them to my new computer via CD. Needed Dell’s help to find the driver to get the sound card working, and more experimentation to connect to the work laptop via an Ethernet cable. By Friday though, I was able to work all day on the new computer, connected via VPN and Remote Desktop, and using Outlook 2003 to access both hotmail and work email simultaneously. Still a few problems though. I have to enter my domain account and password to connect to shares (including sites such as Sharepoint, ExpediaWeb and even email) at work. At bootup I get the option of select XP Pro or MCE and it waits for 30 seconds before defaulting to Pro, even though MCE doesn’t exist on the computer any more (I repartitioned and formatted the disk).

David and I made it to church in time to hear a lay Bible worker preach about how we need to be out soul-winning, sharing in Jesus’s work and love for souls, if we’re going to partake in the latter rain. Made sense but left me feeling like the guy who buried his one talent in the ground “because I knew you were a hard man, reaping where you have not sowed...”. Expecting righteousness where there is none, expecting a passion for souls that I cannot find in my own heart. Though I know in theory that everyone needs Christ, my feeling is that most of the people I know are better off ignorant of Him, for they would not follow Him even if they knew Him and therefore by making His acquaintance would only incur greater condemnation. Like myself, although there are times when I have confidence in His grace and love for me and am grateful for His presence and His blessings. Those seem to be times when I’m not basing my experience on Scripture, but rather on a sense of His mercy and grace. What I read in Scripture agrees with the woman’s preaching today, that only those who share in His work will share in His reward.
Bridle Trails 50K

In the afternoon I attempted to run the Bridle Trails 50K in Kirkland. Good conditions, ie. no mud because everything was frozen, but my last long run was seven weeks ago so I began to get quite sore after 20 miles or so. Rather than beat myself up trying to finish an inconsequential race I bailed after four of the six laps.

1/20/2007 Mostly sunny, mid 40s, 0.9 rain (about equally divided between rain and snow) during past week.

The snow has melted though ice lingers in the ditches. I moved the plants back out to the greenhouse today. Temperatures were around 10F outside the greenhouse for three nights in a row, and in the high 20’s inside despite the space heater. David brought all the plants inside – the big avacados and his lime tree among them – last Friday just before the first really cold night.

Black-capped Chickadee
Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Now that the ground is bare the birds have dispersed somewhat but there are still enough around to tempt me to try for photos. I did, and got a few sharp chickadee pictures but the Steller’s Jay shots were either silhouetted or blurred.

After a brief afternoon nap we all walked down to the river, even the goats. The river has cut so deeply into the field that it is starting to double back , leaving a big gravel and sand bar on our side. I searched for agates but as usual David found the first one, one of the biggest we’ve ever found at the Green River.

I was tired after supper and went to bed at 9:30.

1/21/2007 ovc, brief rain shower, 32-40

Varied Thrush in the Cedar Tree

Worked on the Maniacs Member Login page, mostly on layout and style. I researched how to validate the input but didn’t write any code for that yet. I found some code on the web so will do that next.

Did a long run, the Green Valley road loop clockwise. I met a former classmate of Daniel's as she was starting up the bumpy road and talked with her for about 10 minutes. Back from a semester at Union College, she explained that Nebraska is too flat for her, and that she’s working for her parents’ company as a receptionist while she figures out what to do next. She’s considering Avondale College in Australia. I ran the 6.5 miles of the Green Valley Road at 9:00/mile or a little faster, hr 159, but felt very tired in the last couple miles home.




2/22/2007
Steller's Jay
Bald Eagle over 384th
In early February I finally got a decent picture of a Steller’s jay, and a three weeks later on my way to work I photographed a bald eagle feeding right above 384th near the fire station. At the end of the month the crocuses flowered, though not as impressively as last year. Still working on the Maniacs pages, completed the page to enter my marathons, my first big data entry page. Haven’t figured out the bulletin board replacement yet though.

3/23/2007 ovc, rain, high 40’s

Another month has slipped by. The cottonwood crown is turning green, new leaves six inches long top the weather-beaten kale stumps from last summer and the violet green swallows have returned. The goats have made it through another winter and we’ve all made it through the flu; Susan is still recovering though she never developed a fever like the rest of us did. I missed a week of work but spent much of that time writing the bulletin board for the Maniacs site. I adapted code I found at asp101.com to work with SQL Server stored procedures and the Maniacs styling.

Daniel missed the first week of his trip to Nicaragua so we enjoyed his company here at home for an extra week. Several days of his visit were consumed by yet another college application crisis brought on by Denise Walden’s suggestion that he submit a letter detailing his accomplishments and experiences at Proctor, and touching on his religious faith. He kept putting it off and putting it off until the very last minute, when he finally wrote something up. Susan and I helped him edit it and he finally emailed it in hours after the deadline. We think Colby, and maybe the other schools, accepted it anyway. We should be hearing within a couple of weeks where (or perhaps if) he is accepted at his schools: Whitman, Colby, Lewis & Clark, Bates, University of Puget Sound in order of preference. I worry that none of them are really safeties for him, but he’s pretty sure he’ll get in somewhere.
Saddle Mountain view
Pat in Hole
Last weekend Pat and I met at Saddle Mountain to see whether we could find any more wood in the big stump hole. I drove over Friday afternoon and shoveled rock for a couple of hours without getting down to new ground. The arch on the north wall of the hole had collapsed and a cubic yard or more of rock and dirt had slumped down on top of the several feet of tailings already in the hole. I slept under the stars, watching the Big Dipper circle the North Star and waiting out the last hour or two before the dawn, too cold to sleep. Once back in the hole I warmed up quickly. By the time Pat showed up I’d been digging for several hours and had reached my first good-sized chunk of wood, a broadly-tapering root tip about a foot across. Pat wasn’t the first rockhound to show up; I watched half a dozen SUV’s creep up the road on the other side of the gulch, and at one point Jim and Jerry appeared at the rim of the hole. Having seen my car but not me they figured they’d better check and make sure the hole hadn’t collapsed on me. After I extracted my chunk Pat went to work excavating around the edge of the hole, shoveling the dirt back where we’d already dug. The center of the hole was firm orange clay with no evidence of any more wood in it so we only worked the edges. The wood in the root tips is particularly colorful – black, gray, brown, orange, yellow and white with various striped and swirling patterns – so we figured it was worth the hard shoveling. By mid-afternoon both of us had a couple nice pieces and a number of smaller chunks and were both pretty well exhausted.

On Sunday morning after Pat left I went for a run along the ridge, only 7 miles but felt like twice that, out to the second peak with a radio tower on it. Warm sun but cool breeze. No flowers are out yet; the new growth is only just starting to poke out from last years dry foliage. Oddly enough no rockhounds showed up on Sunday, just a crowd of ORVers and dirt bikers.

3/31/2007 (Yakima) ovc, high 40’s
I left late for Yakima so didn't arrive at the pre-race Expo until the tail end of the Marathon Maniacs reunion meeting, shortly after they announced the upcoming new website I'm building for them. Later during the dinner though, Tony announced my name again and gave me a handsome Marathon Maniacs plaque with 4 stars, my current level (achieved last fall by running four marathons/ultras in four successive weekends). Three of the dozen or so long tables for the pasta dinner were reserved for Marathon Maniacs. I picked a spot, then Little Leslie Miller joined me, then several other Maniacs, and as it turned out, Marilou #285 sat across from me and David Murray #287 sat on my left. Dinner consisted of waterlogged vermicelli and tomato sauce with widely-distributed mushrooms. I got the burger version my first time through and ate it anyway. After dinner John Bingham (the Penguin) gave a hilarious account of his conversion from a couch potato to a marathon runner. Stayed at Cedar Inn and Suites between downtown and the freeway, checked out early after an intermittent night's sleep and caught the 6:30 bus to the start in Ellensburg. Lots of yellow in the crowd there.

Linda and Little Leslie
Yakima Runners
Yakima River
Tom Rogers
I took photos of some of the more colorful Maniacs at the start and of the scenery during the race. Started out with Little Leslie #294 and Monte #438 then picked up the pace to run with Claude #460 into the canyon, then slowed down again, ran alone for a while, then met up with Tom Rogers #416 and stayed with him until about mile 20. He had a sore tendon which acted up around mile 15, so we walked quite a bit for a few miles, then I ran in fairly hard to the finish. More pictures at Yakima Marathon Mar 2007.

4/03/2007 pc, snow-pellet showers, 40’s
Stayed home yesterday and today with a head/chest cold which was coming on yesterday afternoon on my way home from Saddle Mountain. Didn't work much yesterday, except on the Maniacs personal info page, but did most of a day today.
Great day for juggling though. Yesterday I finally broke the 40 catch barrier with a PR of 46 catches with 5 bags, then today I shattered that record by making 70 catches before losing it.


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