a eulogy for the finest dog.

carter
b. Aug, 2005 – d. May 24, 2014

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I remember bringing you and your sister home, no idea of the wild ride I was in for.

I remember never knowing what to do with you and how to control you.

I remember sitting on the floor hugging you and crying when I thought I would have to put you down for being aggressive.

I remember deciding to give you a chance.

I remember you teaching me how to be patient and willing to try.

I remember the fear I used to have when I took you to dog parks.

I remember those early days in the field, when you first learned to come out of your shell, when you made friends with other people and dogs for the first time

I remember you becoming what you always had it in you to become.

I remember the glee with which you would chase down anything; ball, Frisbee, stick, and bark incessantly for me to throw it again and again and again, until you just couldn’t anymore.

I remember the day you let Abby eat carrots out of your hand even though I was so scared that you would be scared and bite.

I remember watching you do shows with her on the front porch in Florida; you gave her continuity in a time of major chaos.

I remember the year I withdrew from the world; how you stayed there with me and wouldn’t let me detach completely

I remember the first time someone walked in to the house and there was no problem.

I remember coming home from countless business trips to you hopping and barking at the door.

I remember crying over you in the vet’s office when I thought you were done

I remember bringing you home and watching as your strength returned

I remember thinking how proud I was of you and how strong you were to beat the disease that was causing your body to kill yourself.

I remember sitting on the grass with you on the last day of your life, stroking your fur and looking in your eyes.

I remember how much I loved you and how much you meant to me and how I knew you were done fighting

I remember getting the call and knowing.

I remember them telling me you were in cardiac arrest.

I remember asking the doctor to stop, to let you go.

I remember sitting with your lifeless body and feeling your fur, which still felt like it did when you were alive.

I remember you. You saved my life and made me a better man.

I remember 8 years of wonderful friendship.

Thank you.

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the week that was – i like paris in the rain

carnival in the tuiliries as seen on my jet lag killing run

ne me quitte pas mon cher and all that.

fresh back from my mini-vacay in palm beach, i came hope for a day or two, reshuffled suitcases and got back in the car to head to orlando to catch a flight to good old paris. i’ll admit to being more than a little bit excited for a few reasons, 1) i love paris, 2) i didn’t go to europe at all in 2011, the first year in maybe 6 years i hadn’t been to europe and 3) i hadn’t done much international business since taking the job i am in. we bolted out of orlando, because even though we had to change planes on the way over in atlanta, on the way back we were able to get a non-stop directly from charles de gaulle to mickey mouse land.

the flight over was pretty nice, since we were able to convince the gate agents in atlanta to upgrade us to business class for 25,000 delta skymiles, which as any international traveler will tell you is a steal. i slept most of the way over and while not arriving refreshed was at least somewhat awake when we hit our hotel on the rue de la paix between the opera and the place vendome.

most of the trip was business but i did have a chance to go for a quick run when i got in. i took a 4 mile swing from my hotel, through the tulieries and around the louvre, across the to the left bank and then along the river, crossing back over to the ile-de-cite and running the length of the island around notre dame de paris before crossing over to the ile-de-st-louis and then running back. they were 4 great miles and the only 4 miles i managed the whole trip, going back to that whole momentum thing i was talking about last week.

speaking of the tuilieries, there was a carnival going on, but what really made the stroll through the garden nice was a memory of walking from the louvre through the tuilieries to the orangerie with my mom and dad and daughter several years ago. i’ve mentioned before how much my dad and i traveled before; both on vacations because my dad was such a big family traveler and international traveler, but also because we worked in the same industry and for the same organization for so long. as a result of this, so many places around the world are just deeply imbued with memories of dad. paris being no exception.

my first trip across an ocean was a trip my dad organized when i was about 12 years old. we flew from newark to paris-orly and spent a few days in paris before heading to brussels and then amsterdam. dad made the trip so exciting and taught me about how much fun it can be to get a stamp in a passport. i think i can trace my entire love of international travel; and i do love it so much, to that one trip.

there is no doubt i miss my dad terribly. i really miss traveling with him; i would have loved to have sat on the champs elyesse with him and drank coffee like we did in 2003 on our last family trip to paris. i would have loved to have him along with us when we actually did something i had never done before; tracking down jim morrison’s tomb. i’ll have to be content though thinking that maybe he was there watching me from wherever it is that souls go when they aren’t here any more.

this is the end, jim (yes i am the first person to think of that joke!)

speaking of jim morrison’s grave, that was the one thing the big boss wanted to do before we left paris. lacking any free time, we were forced to do it on the morning we left. so crossing our fingers that we could figure the whole thing out, we got up early and grabbed a cab to the pere lechaise cemetery. it took a little wandering around but eventually we found it, with barricades around it of course, to try to keep the stoners out, since apparently people think it is fun to hop the fence at night and smoke pot at his grave. they also think it’s fun to graffiti the graves near morrison’s, which i imagine kind of sucks if your ancestor had the bad luck of being buried there. either way, as much as i think the doors are overrated, it was kinda cool to do and not something i had ever done before.

in the end (heh!) we made it back to the hotel, grabbed our bags and got home. i muddled through the drive back from orlando somehow and reloaded the bag, got up the next morning and loaded the dogs in the new car and we made our way to atlanta, where i am writing this now. the rambling life never stops i guess.

i dropped mom and abby off at the airport this morning and it made me remember that the last time i saw dad was when i dropped him and mom and abby off at the airport to go to aruba; which i guess means that we must be coming up on the the two year anniversary. i miss you dad and wish we were still rambling and roaming together.

and that’s all i have to say about that.

it’s not my song to leave you with, but if you have been reading here at all over the last few months you know i LOVE this australian/british indie pop combo allo darlin’ and they recently did a live performance at kexp (which i also just supported financially and you should too) and you really owe it to yourself to check this performance out. it’s a ton of fun.

but to leave you with a song today, i have decided to go with new orleans band hurray for the riff raff, another band i was introduced to by the incomparable bob boilen and robyn hilton on all songs considered. i dig this band way too much since it’s so many things i love; girl singer, americana/country/roots blend and LOTS of songs about traveling. hope you enjoy!!!

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the week that was – not all those who wander are lost

just a small example of the crazy happenings at the fort lauderdale swap shop

it’s been a summer, well really a year of fits and starts. the issue seems to be with gaining and losing momentum. it’s been that way with running for sure – the mileage builds and then life seems to sap my time away from it. i finally decided that this is a-ok. the truth is my ankle still isn’t in a place where i can consistently train for a longer run, be it a 50K or a 26.2 and my life filling up with “stuff” if you will is perhaps the head honcho in the sky telling me to make sure i am taking it easy.

so much to catch up on that i just can’t cover in this post either; my sister’s wedding, my new car in particular – and maybe i will get motivated on my hour flight across the ocean and write them then, but i’ll just stick to the week that was for now.

i spent my company’s forced 4th of july shutdown week down in west palm beach visiting some of my favorite people in the world. the trip was pretty amazing and included too many awesome activities to count including a trip to the fort lauderdale swap shop, a place that may be the the most surreal shopping experience in the planet, combining flea market, broken arcade, carnival and drive in movie theatre in one place. i left amazingly with only one thing, a blinged out lady of guadelupe baseball hat that cost $5 and instantly rocketed to the top of my heavy rotation list of baseball hats.

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the week that was – home away from home away from home.

florida trail marker in jw corbett wma

sunday morning on singer island, fl. the last year and a half have really gotten me thinking about home. i don’t even really know what it means anymore. i mean, i have two houses that i pay people for the privilege of living in – one a bank, the other a landlord. i have a city i spend at least 40 percent of my time in. i have roots going back centuries in a state, but when people ask me where i am from, i really can’t answer. i travel so much anyway that sometimes it feels like i just live wherever.

but since moving to florida, west palm beach has been a bit of a second home for me. so many of my florida friends live here and i love spending time here. so given that this week was one of two rowdies matches against our hated rivals the strikers in fort lauderdale, i decided to just ride down early and spend the weekend here.

in the times i have been here in my home away from home away from home i haven’t really gone for much of a run though, unless you count the time i went camping at jonathon dickinson state park and did a 10 miler on the florida trail there (which i guess kind of counts, but whatever) so i was bound and determined to at least get some sort of trail run in.

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the week that was – friends and “milk” shakes

shopping late night at pilot travel centers is among the thing i do with my florida friends

i just spent memorial day weekend hanging out with a whole bunch of people i have met since relocating my primary residence to florida. the details aren’t really important to the sentiment, but we spent a ton of time just hanging out and being silly in st augustine. i’m in west palm beach this morning for some kayaking and a barbecue. it made for a long week – a flight from TPA to BNA vio MEM and then a flight from BNA to ORD via ATL and then ORD to TPA via ATL and a drive to st augustine, but everything was worth it.

when i moved down here my mom said something really interesting about moving. she told me that whenever she had to leave somewhere – and for the first decade-+ of their marriage my dad moved her (and of course by proxy, ebh and i ) around a lot – and she was sad about the friends she was leaving behind, she realized that she never would have made these friends to be sad about leaving if she hadn’t moved THERE in the first place.

this weekend, all i could think about was just how true this was. i miss atlanta so much and the wonderful people i love there – and i am grateful i am sorta “colocated” so i can go back there whenever i can make it work, but there are no words to describe the amazing people i have met and become friends with here. friends are the currency that make life have true value.

speaking of friends, i ended up in chicago this week on my birthday, and while i worked pretty hard all day it did give me a chance to catch up with one of my dearest friends, ben k, who moved to chicago a few years ago – actually abby and i helped him move. it’s been a real treat to have a friend in chicago and i’ve enjoyed getting to know that city through the eyes of a resident. most importantly was the ability to at least get one cup of $4 intelligentsia coffee.

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another week bites the dust; wilco and yes, i’m still running.

this week’s post is being brought to you without the use of pictures owing to my macbook pro, where most of the pictures i would be using reside, being left overnight at the apple store at international plaza after i made three trips there within 24 hours over yesterday and today trying to get it fixed. i actually wrote last week’s post on the macbook as it was throwing the hissy fit that ultimately led to it’s (minimum) overnight incarceration across the bridge in tampa. good news is i have apple care and a solid backup, so the only real loss to me is time.

on to other things tho’ WILCO. yup, after years and year i finally had an opportunity to see jeff tweedy do his thing at the straz center over in tampa. i’ve been a fan of tweedy’s going back to my fraternity brother dan l. blasting the uncle tupelo album “anodyne” out of his dorm room our first day back to school my sophomore year, but up until this week had never seen him live. i went with ryan l. who had wilco in his top spot for bands he hadn’t seen. i wouldn’t necessarily put them at number one for me, but easily top 5.

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the week that was; beach house and getting back to trail miles.

spencer is instragraming me while i'm instagraming him

it’s on the goals list right now (which i have to say was ignored this week owing to me needing a little time to just let myself be ya dig?, but i’m trying to track to it as best as possible anyway) to blog once a week. so it’s sunday and i haven’t blogged yet, and thus, you guessed it, here i sit trying to come up with something.

i thought, well, let’s just do the week that was. two items i want to discuss about the week that’s ending, not surprisingly focused on the twin towers of my life; live music and running.

let’s start with the music.

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who are these rocking crows?

counting crows sing "rain king" @ the tabernacle - atlanta, ga 05-05-2012

goal; write more. situation; car dead, waiting on tow truck and the most likely waiting most of the afternoon at global imports. solution; work on blog post about counting crows show at the tabernacle.

my sister and i counted while we were sitting at the doc chey’s before the counting crows show at the tabernacle in atlanta friday night. to the best of our recollection we have seen the counting crows together seven times; once at the smith center in washington d.c.; once in morgantown, wv; once in hershey, pa; twice at lakewood amphitheater in atlanta; once at chastain park in atlanta; and once at nissan pavillon in northern virginia.

so we were both pretty excited that my travel/living schedule was going to put me in atlanta over this weekend so we could go see the counting crows at the tabernacle. for me at least, it was going to be the first time not seeing them in a college-sized arena or an outdoor amphitheater, but in a more intimate setting like the tabernacle.

we got to the tab late, owing to my work schedule so the floor was already packed for the opener and most of the seats were taken (i was actually really surprised by how many people showed up that early either for the opener or to get seats to see the crows); the whole thing was general admission so you pretty much had to take what you could get. i’m not a huge fan of the standing room on the second level of the tabernacle and i definitely didn’t want to stand at the back of the floor so we headed to the third level to stake a standing spot by the balcony.

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songs i can’t stop listening to right now.

eeeek.

yeah. hello blog. it’s been some time for sure. and of course this is where i open the post with yet another recommitment to this site. but this time i mean it. really. it’s on my goals list and everything. write more. and see, look to the left. right there, it’s the number 10 goal for today. one blog post. one silly little blog post. surely i can manage that, right. right? well i haven’t hit the publish button yet, and this could still end in that long list of “drafts” – post started, never finished – but i’m going to give it my best shot.

so i thought an easy entree back into the ole world of blogging, since i just got back from coachella and spotify premium is opening up musical vistas heretofore unforseeen, would just be to lay out a few songs i am kind of obsessed with and can’t stop listening to right now. so here’s a few and we’ll just put em out there for you to enjoy and leave it at that.

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long haul 100 relay race report.

i had just finished up a nice trail run at either sope creek or sweetwater in atlanta while i was home over the holidays, and, of course, like i am often prone to do, i took a second to post this on social media. it may have been my first (but definitely my first or second) trail run since the ill-advised attempt to return to trail running halloween night at croom – when i slightly rolled the ankle again – and the run had gone really well so i was pretty excited. the post on facebook triggered a message from a guy i know down here in florida in the ultra community, looking for volunteers to be on a 10 person, 100 mile relay team. what the heck, i said, and told him sure, sign me up.

the long haul 100 is a very small ultrarun in wesley chapel, fl that takes place at the cypress creek preserve in wesley chapel, fl. it has a few events – a 50 mile run, a 100k run, a 100 mile run, and 5 and 10 person team 100 mile relays. i was assigned to leg 7 of my 100 mile team, which meant i was going to kick off around 6 pm, which i realized sometime after i got there meant this was not only going to be my longest trail run since the sprain, but also my first headlamp run. the 10 person relay was designed so that people ran alternating 8 and 12 mile legs. the course was designed as 16 mile out and back, so the 12 mile leg ran all but the last 4 miles of the out-and-back and the 8 mile leg ran about half of the course.

i got there pretty early for my leg and hung around the start area chatting with the volunteers and cheering runners as they came into the checkpoint to fuel up and head back out on another leg. the long haul was your true low key ultra, a lot of volunteers and a few spectators sitting on grass in tents or lawn chairs or camping chairs. hanging out for a while i really got a sense that it was a fun race with a lot of heart. many of the volunteers weren’t even runners but people who had a missionary connection to haiti – which the run benefitted. i also saw the eventual winner come in at 100k in less than 9 hours (he would go on to win int in 13 hours and some minutes – faster than my team finished 8 legs of our 10 leg relay!!!)

after hanging around for sometime, i realized it was about time for my handoff to show up and sure enough about 6:20 she came running down the paved bike path that led to the checkpoint. i got the band and took off going pretty fast. i decided what the heck, i was going to push it and any chance i had i opened up. i didn’t wear my garmin so i am not sure of exact mileage or pace at various points. i’m glad i did this too, because it was nice to have no idea how far or how long i had gone.

after maybe 3 or 4 minutes on the hard, paved surface, the race veered off onto single track trail. a good few miles in the woods; i hadn’t turned my headlamp on yet, because i could see the trail well and i was moving too. it wasn’t tough single track, not like sweetwater or sope creek or croom, but it had it’s challenges. i was still moving though and feeling great on the ankle.

i came out of the woods and crossed the hard road again, past checkpoint 2 – which would ulitmately be my stopping point (8 miles later of course) and then headed back onto trails. the next section was jeep road through the woods, a maybe 2 or 3 mile lollipop. at this point i put my headlamp on and it was pretty much dark from here until the end of the run. i started to see a lot of 100k and 100 milers on this section (i was passing a bunch of course) but i also saw many coming back on the stick of this lollipop. i have to say that seeing these guys running really inspired me and made me really jealous that i wasn’t with them; it was good to get the ultra bug again.

the loop of this lollipop was cut road through grassy fields and i really opened up at this point before i came back onto the jeep road and ran solid back through checkpoint 2 and out on the final and longest out and back of my run. after a bit or running on the pavement heading away from checkpoint two and ducked back into the woods.

most of this section was run on jeep roads too, and while the roads were flat and pretty fast they were also very bumpy and the further you got away from checkpoint 2 the bumpier they got. this was actually the toughest thing for my ankle, the bumps in these dirt roads, but honestly i never really felt through the whole stretch that i was in any danger, nor did the ankle ever really hurt.

the first stretch of jeep raad wasn’t too bad, but after maybe 10 minutes i came out on another paved road and ran on it for a stretch before dropping onto a wide jeep road through the woods. this one was the worst, from the standpoint of being bumpy and i had to slow down and really pay attention to my footing through this stretch. this road, which i desperately wanted to get off of, led to a little single track lollipop where a guy was sitting at the end with food, water and a fire. i passed him, and then really had to pay attention as the trail wound through trees and was almost impossible to tell from the ground. i made it through though and caught back up with the trail. i then ran past the stick of the lollipop and almost went around for another loop before realizing it maybe .3 of a mile down the trail and turned around and headed back.

i took my time going down the bumpy jeep road, then got to the first stretch of pavement. i hung out with a lady who was running the 100 miler who had run the extremely difficult HURT 100 in hawaii last weekend and just shook my head in amazement at what we are capable of. i pulled away from her when we hit the second stretch of jeep trail where i really opened up, and before i knew it i was back on the pavement an cruising into checkpoint 2, where i handed off the run to the leg 8 runner and chilled out with a coke and then some coffee.

all in all i ran it in just under 2 hours i think, which for me off-road is BOOKING. i felt solid the whole way and most importantly the ankle never felt in any danger. it’s tight today for sure, and still has some heeling to do, but as long as i am careful i can pretty much get back into training. also, i am a bit sore today but i haven’t run his distance since the chicago marathon AND i was booking.

i feel good; really good. i needed this run. it boosted my confidence and helped me get bit by the bug again, which, frankly i had been struggling with. being out there among my odd tribe of super long runners helped. having a great run helped even more.

final word about the long haul 100. an amazing run. fun, fast course with great volunteers, well supported and a really good family feel to it. it seemed to me to be all that ultrarunning is about. i can’t wait to come back and run the 100k next year. that’s my new goal!!!

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