Saturday, December 27, 2008

VOG FREE DAYS AND BEAUTIFUL NIGHTS

Kona sunset

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. The winds have granted us a great Christmas present by giving us a couple of vog-free days here in Kona. Here's the sunset from Friday evening. Notice you can see the horizon, which is very rare here nowadays. Today is another clear day. We are heading up to A-Bay later today for an outing so I'll post some more photos later.

Below are some night shots around the Queen's Market place and Kings shops in Waikoloa and one of Rachael vegging out. All of these photos were taken with only the ambient light around the scene. No flash for me. For most of the night shots I placed the camera on the ground or on some other steady object. No tripod either.
Happy New Year.

Storm over Maui seen from North Kona. Maui is lost in the clouds but we could see lightning every so often.

Karen taking a picture of palm trees with Christmas lights on them.

The courtyard at the Queen's Marketplace.

A giant pineapple tree.So that's how they are grown ...

A tree at night. What else can I say?



The Wrighthouse Five ...

Rachael relaxing before the trip up north.


Karen taking pictures at the King's Shops.

This was a mistake photo, but I liked how it turned out. Sometimes incorrect exposures look cool.


Caught! Karen snapped this photo of me. The photo above of the one I said was incorrect exposure is the one I'm taking here.


Rebecca being Rebecca just before leaving for Waikoloa.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Merry Christmas everyone. We finally finished our house. not much more aded since the last photos but here it is.

This is our "Booby Bear" just because of the placement of the lights inside it.

That's me taking a picture of a huge Booby Bear.

At least all the lights are working — for now.

Booby Bear

Saturday, December 13, 2008

CHRISTMAS TIME IN KONA

(Our house, but not finished yet)

Today was spent in the land of Christmas. We put up the Christmas lights, Went to the Kona Christmas parade and put up more lights. Somewhere in between all that Karen and I also went swimming in the warm Pacific ocean and did some weight training.

I also got quite a workout going up and down the ladder for a few hours.

Kona Christmas parade

(I thought this was the coolest float in the parade — A Christmas train chugging down Alii Drive.)

(The true gift of Christmas)





(Karen, Aaron and Rebecca during the rainy parade. Where else do they hand out popsicles during a Christmas parade.)

Putting up Christmas lights

(Buildinhg up the quads by going up and down the ladder.)

(Karen hard at work holding the ladder. I hate heights and that's higher up than it looks.)

Nice composition. Karen should be a photog.)

(Rebecca helping from the ground.)
I'll post a finished shot of the house when we get done.

Friday, December 12, 2008

TEN THINGS PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT ME

1) THE BIGGEST LOSER: I once lost 40 pounds in 30 days eating nothing but Frosted Flakes once a day and lifting lots of weights. (Don't try it though, very unsafe)

2) THE REV: I almost became a minister (finished most of the schooling), but decided not to after my mother passed away.

3) MY VICE: I recorded every episode of the original Miami Vice TV show and had them on VHS for years until they were ruined in storage.

4) CRYBABY: Touched By An Angel episodes always make me cry

5) CHOCOLATE: I love chocolate and I love ice cream, just not chocolate ice cream

6) RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH: I once wrote a story that was so traumatizing for me that I gave it to Karen to put up and have never read it in the more than 10 years since I wrote it.

7) FISHERMAN: A full-page picture of me fishing appeared in Field & Stream magazine. I didn't even know it until I was in a doctor's office and someone who I didn't know said they saw my photo in the magazine. (The kicker was I was just fishing out a dead fish that was floating next to my boat ... but don't tell them that)

8) TOONS: I used to be a cartoonist for a magazine, but the skill has long since left me. If you don't use it you lose it. I also illustrated Shakespeare's "The Taming of The Shrew" in high school just so I wouldn't have to write a report on it. The teacher like it so much he kept it ... Wish I had it now.

9) RING, RING: I have a phobia about talking on the phone.

10) MY GIRL: I still suck in my stomach, stick out my chest and flex my muscles whenever Karen is around. (I still try to impress my girl even after nearly 30 years of marriage.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

RAINY DAY BLUES


Tonight we are under a flash flood watch. It's been raining cats and dogs pretty much all day today. Rebecca and I went to the store to pick up a Christmas present for Karen and we got absolutely soaked, even with an umbrella. When it rains here it really pours and it is pouring.



The rain is supposed to continue until sometime tomorrow. Well at least tomorrow is only swim practice and then running on the treadmill. Do they cancel swim practice because of rain??? Probably not.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

IT'S ALMOST CHRISTMAS!


Karen, Rebecca and I went driving around tonight looking at Christmas lights. Not a whole lot up yet, we haven't even put up ours yet, but we are working on it. Here's the most impressive house we saw. Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A FRESH START — GASPING ALLOWED

"When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." — Emil Zatopek

Monday marked the start of my second season of triathlon. Last season was all about survival. Don't drown, don't crash and don't blow out the knee. This season is going to be different. I'm a veteran now. Experienced. Seasoned. Time to get serious.

Last season, at Lavaman and at Honu, I felt like I needed another month's worth of training to be ready for each of those races. This season I want to be prepared. To do that I'm going to have to face a couple of deep-seated fears that I have been avoiding.

First, I'm afraid of over-training. So much so that last year I undertrained. Lesson learned. This year I'm pushing my body to the limit. Train until it hurts then push through it. That's easily said I know. I'll see how hard it will be to actually do.

My second fear, which I just recently realized is going to be hard to overcome. I have a very real fear of water. More to the point, drowning. I'm not sure if I had a near-drowning experience when I was little or what, but while learning to swim over the past year I have come face to face with terror in the water.

The first time I experienced this was during Masters 101 when coach Steve had us swim a couple of lengths doing the back stroke. The moment I flipped over onto my back and pushed off the wall, my heart began to race. By the time I was halfway across the pool, I was nearly panicking and I didn't even know why. I had never been afraid of the water before but for some reason I was certain I was drowning. It was like an old memory was surfacing, warning me to get out of the water.

When I find something I'm afraid of I usually stare it down and work through it, which is what I did with swimming on my back. after a few dozen laps I finally accepted the fact that I was not drowning, repressed whatever memory was lurking and have since incorporated the backstroke into my training.

So I thought that had ended my fear of water, but last weekend's Peaman 1.2 mile swim opened my eyes to another part of that same fear. As I was swimming along, I was really trying to push myself to go hard verses just grabbing onto someone's feet who was going at a comfortable pace for me (something that I did all last season). I kept catching myself slowing down, conserving energy. So I would speed up. Then it hit me. That same sick, panicky feeling I had felt in the pool. I realized that I'm afraid that if I get too tired while swimming I'll drown, so I shut down.

I'm going to face that fear: My mission for now is to get tired in the pool. I've seen other swimmers end an interval and come up gasping for air because they pushed themselves so hard. I want to be able to push myself that hard in water. Just like I do on the bike. And like I hope I will on the run.

I want to hit that wall gasping, chest heaving, lungs burning, muscles screaming and be at peace with it. So here's to gasping, not because you're drowning, but because you are digging deep and making it hurt. Like someone once said, "It's a dream until you write it down, then it's a goal." So that's my goal.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

DID YOU KNOW?

Here are some little known (and probably little cared about) facts.

Did you know that Charlie Brown invented soccer? Well, not the game, but the word? Here's the facts ...

The first football club (what we call soccer) was formed in Sheffield, England, in 1857. The Football Association was founded on 26 October 1863 by 11 clubs meeting in London. (The word association was abbreviated to assoc., which became "soc.")

In the 1880s students of Oxford university abbreviated words by adding "er" to the end; for instance, breakfast became "brekkers" and "rugby rules" was referred to as "rugger." When one student, Charles Wreford Brown, was asked if he'd like to play rugger, he was the first to abbreviate "association rules" (Football Association rules) by answering, "No, soccer." Brown later became an England International and Football Association vice president. ... Now you know!

MORE USELESS FACTS ...
Jean Genevieve Garnerin was the first female parachutists, jumping from a hot air balloon in 1799.

The very first Olympic race, held in 776 BC, was won by Corubus, a chef.

About 42,000 tennis balls are used in the approximately 650 matches in the Wimbledon Championship.

About 50 Bibles are sold every minute. making it the world's best-selling book. It is also the world's most shoplifted book.

Dogs are mentioned 14 times in the Bible, and lions 55 times, but domestic cats are not mentioned at all.

The name Wendy was first used in JM Barrie's Peter Pan.

HAIL CAESAR: Julius Caesar was known as a great swimmer.

Leonardo da Vinci could write with the one hand and draw with the other simultaneously.

A house fly lives only 14 days.

A group of geese on the ground is a gaggle — a group of geese in the air is a skein.

The length from your wrist to your elbow is the same as the length of your foot.

On average, you speak almost 5,000 words a day — although almost 80 percent of speaking is self-talk (talking to yourself) — I thought I was the only one who did that ...

If the amount of water in your body is reduced by just 1 percent, you'll feel thirsty.

Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, suggested that a woman could enlarge her bust line by singing loudly and often.

Men loose about 40 hairs a day. Women loose about 70 hairs a day.

The muscle that lets your eye blink is the fastest muscle in your body. It allows you to blink 5 times a second. On average, you blink 15,000 times a day. Women blink twice as much as men.

The sentence "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter of the alphabet.

And last but not least ...
Facts are often unsubstantiated or made up ...

And there are your useless facts for the day.

Friday, November 21, 2008

MY RIGHT KNEE

This little tune is dedicated to my right knee, which is really my Achilles Heel, the thorn in my side, the pinch in my nerve, the pain in my ... well, the list is as long as my arm, but you get the idea. My right knee is my own worst enemy. Quick to hurt and slow to heal. So I dedicate this song to that tricky little joint that is holding me back — for now!

Don't cry, but you missed the song ...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

THE FEELIN' GOOD SPOT

"If you're feeling good, don't worry. You'll get over it." - Yogi Berra

I hit that feelin' good spot this morning. No, not the spot you are thinking ... I'm talking about that spot you hit when you have a good training session and your body is tired but you feel good. Feel strong. That's the feeling I had this morning following Masters 101.

We had to create our own swim workout at class and then swim it. Mine wasn't that hard, but it was the first time I have swum (yes, it's swum, not swam. I'll explain sometime) hard since Honu way back on May 31. I've spent the past months working on technique and not on strength so I'm not in "swim shape." Like they say, "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast." and that's how I've been swimming all summer and fall. Just trying to get smooth so, when the time comes and I add the strength part of the formula, I'll get fast (well, that's the plan, I'll have to see if it works).

Anyhow, we each created our own mini workouts at class. Mine was 1x200 warmup, (For all you nonswimmers that means one 200 yard swim slow and easy) then 2x200 one easy one moderate, 2x150 one easy one moderate, 2x100 moderate, 2x50 easy/moderate then 100 yards cool down. All in about 20 to 25 minutes.

It wasn't a long way — 1,200 yards, but again, it's the hardest workout I've had since May 31. I swam (Yes this time it's swam, not swum. Trust me. It's my job) farther than that in the ocean since May but not nearly as hard.

It was really the first time I've gotten my heart rate up like that swimming for months and man did it hurt and feel good at the same time. I even did flip turns on the easy portions — I was in way too much oxygen debt to try it on the moderate legs.

So, it was a good day on the swim. I wasn't fast. I have basically two swim speeds: warm up pace and race pace, and the difference is nearly imperceptible but I'm working on it.

“I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for health that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things. I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise. I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God. I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am, among all men, most richly blessed.” — often credited to an unknown Confederate soldier

Monday, November 17, 2008

GETTIN' READY

“Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.” — Archbishop of Malines-Brussels



Brand new Asics running shoes, brand new running shorts, new bike shorts, new training music, just got the bike tuned up at Cycle Station, and I'm working on a new training plan. I'm ready to go. Dreaming of possibilities, potential and perfect races.

But for now, I just have to wait. Time to let the knee, body and mind recover from last season and from surgery.

My knee is feeling great. I went swimming on Saturday and again today (Monday). No problem with the knee. So another couple of weeks of downtime and then 16 weeks until Lavaman and a couple months later is Honu (Hawaii Ironman 70.3).

This is the year for me to compete. Last year was all about survival — just wanting to finish the race, but this year I want to compete. I want to train hard and race hard. At least that's what I hope I do. It's easy to talk when the race is months away. It all comes down to training. Training hard so I can race hard. That's my dream for this year. Injuries will more than likely creep up along the way, but I'll deal with those when they happen.

For now, I'm just dreamin' and gettin' ready ...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

LEARNING TO TRUST, AGAIN

“When I'm trusting and being myself as fully as possible, everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously.” — Shakti Gawain, Living in the Light

I went to the doc today for a follow-up on my knee surgery that I had a week ago and to get the stitches out of my knee. The doc said everything looked fine and even gave me photos and a CD of my surgery. I haven't had a chance to watch the movie version yet but here are some of the photos of my knee from the inside. Don't worry, there's no blood.


THE PROBLEM: A bucket handle tear of my meniscus (Circled in red).


My knee joint after the cartilage was removed.


This is the cartilage the doc removed from my knee joint. He said it was about an inch long.


A series of images of the inside of my knee.

So the doc says I can get back into the water this weekend and start biking (not long distances) by midweek. I have another appointment with him in a couple of weeks. he said no running until after I see him again.

IT'S ALL ABOUT TRUST NOW
Well, that's it. Things are slowly getting back to normal. I have to learn to trust my knee again. I'm limping but mostly from habit and lack of trust — thinking it's going to go out on me and cause me all that pain again. It'll take a little time to trust it, but isn't that how it is in life? Something trips you up and hurts you and it takes time to trust again. But in time, we all learn to trust again.

Friday, November 7, 2008

NO-CRUTCH FRIDAY

I'm trying to go today with no crutches. My knee is feeling pretty good. The swelling is down for now and no pain. The stitches are a little itchy, but my knee feels fine walking, just a little tight. It actually feels better than before the surgery.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

POST SURGERY

I'm a live! Yes! I'm still pretty drugged up but doing ok. Thanks again for all the prayers. I didn't get to talk to the doc after surgery but I presume everything went well. No pain right now-always a good sign.

THE BEE'S KNEES

Big surgery day today. Well, it's not a big surgery compared to say, heart surgery, but it's big for me. Anyhow thanks for all the support and prayers.

Monday, November 3, 2008

STARING DOWN THE BULLET

I came across this old photo the other day. My days as a storm trooper in the desert. I remember them well. The thrill of the hunt, the fear of being hunted. The strategy, the foul-ups that get you and your team shot up. What a rush.


(In photo from left: The Four Amigos: Aaron, Daniel, Jon and me)

I love paintball. It's fun, it's painful and it's learning to stare down the bullet.

One of the first things you learn in paintball is "do not look down" when you are being shot at. If you do, you're bound to get hit on the top of the head, which is usually unprotected. And where we used to play it was cold, and the cold made for hard paint balls. When you duck, you keep looking forward or get a good knock on the head.

So you learn to stare down the bullet and take the hit in the face where you are well protected.

As my surgery day nears, I have an urge to duck. The fear of surgery, that paintball bullet coming at me, is frightening. My fear is at least a little justified. I've had nerve damage twice following surgeries, almost bled to death on another ocassion, and had an adverse reaction that nearly caused a heart attack on another. True, those were more serious surgeries, but I did have nerve damage with the last knee surgery I had. And when you tear a nerve, it is akin to exposing a nerve in a tooth, it really hurts — for days nonstop!

But just like in paintball I need to face it head on. Stare down the bullet and take it square in the face and know that I am well protected through prayer.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

BOO!

As usual we had hundreds of trick-or-treaters this year. We h ad candy enough for 700 or so and baby only have 50 to a hundred pieces left. Hope everyone had a great, scary night. Have a safe weekend.





Friday, October 31, 2008

IT'S A THRILLER!

These are our decorations for tonight. I'll post the night-time version tomorrow. Have a safe and fun Halloween.






Thursday, October 30, 2008

CUT ME DOC, I WANNA RUN

OK, I stole that title from one of Scott Tinley's columns, but it applies to me.

I went to see the orthopedic surgeon today. Once he explained my MRI (see a previous post) they are actually easy to read. Apparently, along with my torn ACL, I have a torn meniscus and that's what's been causing me problems.

So next Wednesday I'm off to Kona Community Hospital for arthoscopic knee surgery. Supposedly because the doc isn't repairing the meniscus but removing it, recovery will be much quicker. A day on crutches (compared to six months the last time when I had the meniscus repaired) 10 days out of the water and 3 weeks no running. Not sure about biking yet.

And that actually works out kinda nice. I'll have approximately a month off to recover from the past year since I really haven't taken any training time off since I started a year ago, then I can start up my new season with a clean knee (no cartilage floating around) and fresh arms and legs.

Now if it only turns out that way.

The doc will only be removing damaged cartilage and WILL NOT be repairing my ACL (seems they have a new procedure for that and he's not up to speed on it.) He said that since I've managed this long with no ACL that I probably don't need to fix it now. He said to just wait and see how my knee is after this.

I could get them both fixed — the cartilage and the ACL — at once if I wanted to wait and have another doc do it, but he said with the cartilage moving around it could cause damage that they wouldn't be able to fix. So I'm satisfied with that — for now.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

SOUNDS OF SILENCE

First off, I skipped the Peaman. I tried running last night and my knee hurt pretty bad so I figured I wouldn't chance it yet. There is a Team Mango next Sunday — One year ago it was the first triathlon I ever did, so hopefully my knee will be well enough to celebrate my first anniversary of tri-ing.
....................
The other day Rebecca and I were coming home from the store when an Ambulance came up behind us, siren blaring. Rebecca was looking around and wondering why I was pulling over. Just as the ambulance came up behind us, Rebecca turned around and spotted it. (remember, Rebecca is deaf). As the ambulance passed, Rebecca said that she didn't like the sound they make.

I asked her if she could hear it and she said "no, I can feel it." Then she said she didn't know what an ambulance sounds like. So I tried my best to describe sound to someone who doesn't hear sound. She seemed satisfied with my description, but it made me start thinking about what things are like for someone who is deaf.

So Rebecca and I decided to write on her blog what it is like for her as a deaf person. If you are interested, you can go to her blog and read it here.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

MRI FRIDAY



I finally got the MRI on my knee Friday. I've never had an MRI before. I didn't realize what a long process it is. It took 45 minutes of not being able to move, not even wiggle a toe, while lying in a long, noisy, tight machine (a claustrophobic's nightmare). Fortunately, I went in feet first and not head first.

I was allowed to wiggle my toes or scratch my nose for a few seconds every four to six minutes, in between image sessions.

When someone tells me not to move I always come down with an instant case of ADD and can't stop moving. The same when they told me if my nose itched I'd have to wait until that session of images was finished before I could scratch. My nose was the furthest thing from my mind until they said that, then all I could think about was how much my nose itched.

It wasn't all bad, however. There was no pain involved and I got to listen to jazz over the headphones they let me wear because the machine is so noisy. I nearly fell asleep once or twice.

So I got my images and have ann appointment with the orthopedic surgeon late next week to see what he thinks should be done. In the mean time, there's a Peaman race tomorrow (Sunday) that I'm going to try and do. I ran nearly two and a half miles on the tready the other day with not too much pain in my knee. So I'm going to attempt the Peaman (a one-third mile swim and two mile run). I may push Rebecca in her wheelchair on the run just to have something to hang on to, but we'll see.

These images are part of my MRI although I can't make heads or tails out of them.

MID-MAY SKETCHES

Like many sketchers, I have several sketchbooks and watercolor sheets and blocks going at once. A selection of sketchbooks from Dick Bli...