A Telling Photo From 3rd Grade

Third Grade AndyThis is a telling picture from my life, but you might not know it at first glance. At the time this picture was taken, third grade for me, I had trouble sleeping through the night. I can see that history in my little boy face.

The picture was taken in my room in our first house in Omaha, the city where I was born. I’m sitting on my double bed, a size I wanted in order to hold all of my stuffed animals. I was a HUGE hockey fan and the New York Rangers were my favorite team, as evidenced by the sweatshirt (it always bugged me that my sweatshirt didn’t match the team jerseys, btw). As a family, we raised rabbits so there were often baby bunnies to play with. And that pair of pants is memorable for the baseball patches on the knees.

As an adult reflecting back on my sleeping challenge and its impact on me, it became one of the most formative experiences of my life. From it, I believe, I developed a great deal of empathy, especially for childhood pain.

The Kind of Credit I Like to Receive

It’s 9:30pm and I just got home from being a panelist at an event for parents of kids entering middle school next year. I opened my computer (to post to the blog, of course) and quickly checked my email. I saw that a former PSCS student named Thomas had mentioned me in a Facebook post. It’s been a while since Thomas graduated and I haven’t seen him in what may be a couple of years. So I was certainly interested in this post.

He was referencing his favorite Billy Bragg song and giving me credit. If indeed I am responsible for Thomas liking Billy Bragg, I appreciate being given the credit. That the song has a kindness reference only doubles my appreciation.

Here’s the direct link Thomas provided to the song, in case you’re interested.

Thanks, Thomas!

The Sad Truth / WordPress Stats

The title of today’s post refers to the number of “hits” WordPress credits this blog gets on a given day. My post about the South Lake Union Trolley on November 10th received 127 unique visitors. The one about me completing the Seattle Marathon on Sunday received 122. I guess that sums up our society.

A post that spells out S.L.U.T. beats one about the culmination of months of physical training.


Today’s picture is one Melinda took on her cellphone to send to our friends Christine & Bernard in Nantes. They just confirmed that they will be coming to Seattle next summer to visit us! Hooray!!

I made a cocktail, the first I’ve had in over 3 months, to toast the exciting news.

Still Winding Down

Two days after the marathon, it’s still occupying a lot of my thought space.

100 yards to go…

In the days leading up to the marathon I found myself questioning my ability to complete it. I had encountered some specific physical challenges in my longer training runs. And as more people starting talking about me running, the more pressure I was feeling about HAVING to succeed. That was an interesting part of the experience, too. I had to address a fear that I might let someone down.

Then something remarkable happen. The morning of the marathon I found myself fully relaxed. I mean I was stoked to run but my nervousness about it had vanished. Standing in the cold, moments before starting, I entered a profound sense of comfort. I had the awareness and satisfaction that months of preparation had led me to this moment. When I ran the half marathon last year, I was crazy-jazzed, adrenaline-filled at the start. This year, I was calm and collected.

And then I just got in a groove and ran.

Support Team

Melinda took this photo of me just past Mile 14 of yesterday’s Seattle Marathon. That means the person in this photo (me!) has already run a half marathon! This was also Melinda’s and my predetermined water bottle exchange point. I’m reaching out to hand Chloe my empty bottle so she can give me the full one I had prepared before the race. The trade-off worked perfectly. In fact, seconds after the exchange, Melinda and the girls ran with me for 100 yards or so.

Don’t underestimate the value of one’s support team. That was something my friend Duncan told me after he ran the Portland Marathon in October. It’s certainly true.

I first saw Melinda at Mile 2, not far from PSCS and when things were so early that I was completely fresh. I next saw her and the girls, who she had gone home to pick up, at Mile 11. Next was this water bottle exchange at Mile 14. Mile 19 & Mile 21 were the last places before the finish.

Kudos to Melinda and the girls!

4 hrs 18 mins 30 secs

That was my “chip” time, and basically the same time I caught myself running on my watch. My “official” time is about a minute and a half more, but still under the 4 hours and 20 minutes that basically constitutes 10 minute miles.

In some ways, even after months of training, I can’t believe I did it. I ran a marathon, all 26.2 miles. I kept going when we got to the infamous Seattle hills in the last 5-6 miles, not stopping to walk them like so many people around me did. And I didn’t stop after mile 23, the point at which I hit the infamous “marathon wall.” My mind was playing serious tricks on me at that point and I was running on a crazy blister on the bottom of my right foot that popped a few miles earlier.

Many, many thanks to all those who offered me support, both before the marathon and during. A big shout-out to Melinda, Chloe & Ella, who located me at several points along the way and sent photos to our friends in France and local family. And special thank yous to PSCS alum Tynor Fujimoto who came out along the trail, alum parent Teresa Collins who cheered me on as I ran the horrendous Interlaken hill, to Greg & Perrin who cheered me on at the finish, and to Dwight & Michele who were there at the end to show their support, too.

Super special thanks to Laurent for his ongoing inspiration (and for staying up late in Nantes to make sure I finished), to Duncan for his local inspiration, and Bernard in Nantes who tried to follow me using Seattle traffic cameras.

Today’s photo was taken by Ella seconds after I crossed the finish line.

Meant to Be

Tonight’s meaningless math fact: I will be spending 25% of the next 16 hours running.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me explain this photo. It’s a dawn simulator that I found on CraigsList today. Melinda isn’t a big fan of the lack of sunlight around these parts this time of the year. She gets up at 6:30 every morning, in the dark, to spend 30 minutes in front of a light box. I figured it might help her if she didn’t get up in the dark and went looking online today for a way for her to awaken to light.

What a find it was to discover this one for a fraction of its original price. And get this. The seller lives two blocks from where I grew up in Bellevue. But there’s more. He’s French. In fact, he and his family are moving home to Paris next week after living in the US for 8 years.

There’s a message in there somewhere.

If You Know What I Mean

That crazy math/time disease I have that makes me want to calculate how far things are away in the near future and compare them to how long ago that was in the near past is kicking in big time as Sunday morning’s marathon approaches. For instance, it’s 10:35pm on Friday night as I write this, so I’m expecting to be finishing the marathon in approximately 38 hours. 38 hours ago I was making myself a bowl of cereal to kick off the start of Thanksgiving day.

That doesn’t seem that long ago, if you know what I mean. Which means that the marathon isn’t that far away.

If you know what I mean.

Thanksgiving Day

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at the home of my brother Scott and his partner, Sally. Sally orchestrated a delicious dinner and the company was outstanding. We were excited to see all three of Scott’s girls. With Chloe & Ella both present, five of my parent’s seven grandchildren were there, which made for a great Thanksgiving for my parents who, of course, were present (along with my mom’s famous rolls and apple pie). Add the fact that today is my parent’s 54th wedding anniversary and the things to be thankful for only increase.

Also present were Alex and four additional guests of Scott’s and Sally’s. Totaled up, Sally had to plan a dinner for 16 people! Well done, Sally!

On the drive home Melinda had a short text exchange with her sister Brenda who, along with Greg and Perrin, were having a casual Thanksgiving with Dwight & Michele, Melinda’s & Brenda’s parents. We made a quick stop so everyone could say hi to Chloe. I got this picture of the grown up sisters.

“This is what college does to you.”

So said Chloe just a second ago, having just used the PhotoBooth application and its strange settings. So really, this is what PhotoBooth does to you.

Yes, Chloe is home from college for the Thanksgiving holiday along with her boyfriend, Alex. Alex is staying with us, and having Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow with us at my brother’s, because his mom, dad and sister have relocated to Japan.

Chloe and Alex were here when Melinda & I got home from school early this evening. We all went down to University Village and the Veggie Grill for dinner. We wandered around U Village looking at the new shops, then stopped over at Fran’s for a chocolate.

In other words, things are just about perfect around here.