Monday, April 24, 2006

Just Moments Before...

Ahhh, the highlight of my day.
After a gradifying mug o' joe;
Minutes before the start of summer's running season
and the gun for a 50K trail run;
Before 8 miles and many reasons to return next year;
Before the sharp, jagged, searing pain in my left calf;
Before hobbling like a doomed rotent
waiting to feed a larger beast
for seven additional miles of humility;
Before divorcing myself from bib number 38
after completing only half of my intended distance;
Before reaching two grim realizations:
One, my summer running plans will requre drastic adjustments;
and two, this moment (as captured above),
a mere three hours earlier,
would be the highlight of my day.
Thankfully, there will be other days,
other higlights,
and many more moments
at which to shake a fist.

Weekly Mileage
18 (YTD 343)

Monday, April 17, 2006

On Assignment - Hollywierd

Don't look now. Ortzel's loose as a goose and appears to have an unsuspecting Hollywood wedding party in his cross hairs. We can only hope a screen-writer is present to capture this disaster for next season's box office block-buster.

Run 38 (ytd - 325)
Bike 3.5
Swim 250 yds

Monday, April 10, 2006

Up to no good

Soccer Lance

Really, Lance! What gives?
Soccer is played on the grass
Not up a tree, Twit.

Weekly mileage: 20.50 (YTD 287)
7.5 miles bike
Lots of weights

Friday, April 07, 2006

Overdue Thanks to my Kissin' Cousin, Vicki

Ya know, I like to stop every once in a while, and just sit in my chair with a warm glass of milk
or peppermint tea, and go through catalog pages and magazines, see what the culinary powers-that-be declare to be the “in thing” for upcoming family events and, check out recipes, crafts and decorations.

The desserts always catch my eye. They are more (or less) spectacular at family events such as births, christenings, graduations, weddings and yes, funerals. What can mourning relatives say about clouds of whipped cream, veggie trays, white or dark chocolate, nuts of every type? These are wonderful excesses we rarely accept at any other time in our lives. Oh those glorious cakes, pies, tarts and torts, cookies and fruitcakes always stop me in my tracks to take pause and contemplate the possibilities.

"Fruitcakes?” you ask? “Oh, c' must be joking, right?”

Well, as the author and humorist Dave Barry once implied, ‘Fruitcakes make ideal funeral fodder [sic] because the Postal Service has been unable to find a way to damage them.’ Which reminds me of my “kissin’ cousin” Vicki ...but I'll share that later...

And of all the Fruitcakes in the world, the Cranberry Fruitcake takes the…er… well cake (I guess) ....baked in large tube pans, loaf pans or tassie raisins vs. dark raisins...nuts or no nuts, dried fruit or candied almost causes an overload in my neural proceees…. … …. … excuse me, I must have faded out for a few minutes....

Dear Editor,
I am 44 years old. Some of my nutty relatives say that there is no
such thing as a good cranberry fruitcake. Papa says, "If you see it in print, it is so."
Please tell me the truth, is cranberry fruit cake real or even good for that matter?

Signed, Virginia

Virginia, your batty relatives are, like, sooooo totally wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of age in a skeptical age. They do not believe, except they see...

Yes, Virginia, there is cranberry fruitcake! It exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, except there are only 100 of them in the world. [WAIT! Scratch that! There are only 98 of them -- I personally witnessed and participated in the consumption of two delectable cakes]. The rest of them get re-wrapped every year and shuffled around from family event to family event. And to that point, thank GOD for my “kissin’ cousin” Vicky for keeping this tradition alive, well and on-going.

So for those skeptics and none-too-sober relatives… who do not believe in fruitcake?! They are all mad as hatters looking for a tea party to crash! Hell, they might as well not believe in O.J.’s innocence, the existence of WMD’s, or Bill’s famous claim that he “did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Just because you can't see it or hold it, or your family doesn't have one, doesn't mean that the mouthwatering cranberry fruitcake doesn't exist!

Argh! No cranberry fruitcake, INDEED! Hell, a thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, 10 times 10,000 years from now, cranberry fruitcake - the same 98 fruitcakes - may still continue to make glad the heart of childhood, adulthood, drunks and mourners alike, and decorate the tables of many a family event.

(The preceding down with deep apologies to the editor, Francis P. Church, who answered the real letter from Virginia O'Hanlon...)

Vicki’s Cranberry Fruitcake: Perhaps the most misunderstood, maligned, made-fun-of funeral tradition around.

While it is true that I seem to see the same old fruitcakes, funeral after funeral, and (God forbid) on grocery store shelves; I know in reality that some of us truly do love Vicki’s famous cranberry fruitcake. Oh, we may moan about the bad jokes, or we state firmly that we don't like dark raisins or some other such thing. But those shining red pearls of cranberry flavor beg my indulgence as chocolate screams for Kirsty Ally’s or Delta Burke’s (you make the call) on-going passions.

Vicki’s famous cranberry fruitcake has grown on me and our family through the year and we (well, most of us ) have learned to love it as we grow up and grow older, much like dark chocolate, a good single malt and a bracing cold shower in the morning. Really, how many of us really liked to eat dark chocolate or indulge in a nip from our father's stash of single malt as a child, much less enjoy it?

My Kissin’ Cousin Vicki is what people politely call "a character". She is the wild one of the family...but, oh, how this woman can cook! She would start a couple months before a family event to make her famous cranberry fruitcake. Actually, truth be known, this would be the cake for next years family event, or the one after that.

You see, she believes in aging a fruitcake. Part of the aging process is to remove the wrappings occasionally, pour a bit of liquor over it, rewrap and seal it up. She puts it on a shelf in her pantry, where it stays until something reminds her and she goes through the ritual again.

Heck, as I hear it, this year, just before she returned back to the Valley after a family get together in San Francisco, she decided to send such a gift to me. My wife swore that the mailman was deliriously happy as he handed her the heavy package. You could smell it through the packing, through the foil and layers of cloth and stuff and through the very box itself. The mailman seemed to hang around a few minutes longer than necessary, as though hoping to get a piece or at least, another inhale.

Aging does help, but not quite at Vicki's level. I remember Laura and I enjoyed the fruitcake, but in small doses! The kids are still learning to like single malts so they still have a ways to go before they can indulge in this culinary favorite. Well, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am adult enough now to really enjoy Vicki’s cranberry fruitcakes. And I really do. So with all that in mind, I offer my humble thanks and kindest regards to my “kissin’ cousin” Vicki and all of her thoughtfulness at our family events.

Vicki, you’re the (2nd) BEST – after your cranberry fruitcake (of course)! Thanks!

*also special thanks to Cynthia Bowen who’s intelligence, craft and hard work formed the foundation for this tribute to Vicki.

Monday, April 03, 2006