Monday, July 30, 2007

Foster Puppy

The Puppy

We are involved with the local Weimaraner rescue group. This morning we got a call from someone who wanted to give up there four and half month old weim puppy. The back story of this puppy is complex, but basically someone who knew that we were involved with the weim rescue group was trying to home for his brother-in-laws unwanted weim puppy.

The puppy and one her new kids

As it happens we know someone in our neighborhood that has been very interested in getting a weimaraner. They live next door to our friends who have the weim that I take running with mine everyday. After finding out about this puppy we contacted them to see if they would be interested in having it. They said that were very interested meeting the puppy. So we made arrangements to pick up the puppy and set up a meeting with its potential new family.

The puppy meets its new family

The meeting went well, the family has three kids younger than ten, they are incredibly excited at the prospect of getting a puppy. They puppy also seem to like kids and the attendant grabbiness that comes along with kids. It was quite a scene there was three kids and five weimaraners, my two, the puppy, and our friends weim, running around. To sat the scene was chaotic is a gross understatement.

Zack Steals a Soccer Ball

It was great to see how good my dogs did with a bunch of wild kids, because that is what in their future. I am also glad that the kids found hilarious when Zack stole one of their soccer balls and flattened it.

Zack Will Not Give Up His Prize

Though the kids wanted the puppy, there parents were not ready to take the pup home immediately. The father still had not completely signed off the whole things, plus they needed to get there house ready for a puppy, and get things like a kennel. So for that reason the puppy came home with us and stayed the night.

K and the Pup

It is probably a good thing that the puppy is only staying with us for a night. I think is she stayed any longer that I could not give her up. She has such a sweet temperament and I have always wanted a blue weimaraner. She seems so happy to be in a loving environment that it is hard to have your heart melted. I have avoided calling the name that K has given her “inky,” if I did I would be even more attached.

Me and the Pup

It was fun to watch the puppy interact with my dogs, neither one has had much exposure to puppies. Zack was very good about it, he went about his business and was very patient when the puppy followed him around nipping at his feet and pulling on his ears. For some reason the puppy adopted Zack as her big brother, with her size and color she looked like his trailing shadow. Berkeley however was more troubled with having a puppy in house, at first she was excited. However as the hours passed and the puppy did not go home she became increasingly grumpy. No doubt she was concerned about her status as the “baby” of the house. She revels in being cutest and most dotted upon, a puppy definitely threatened her treasured position. Poor Berk, does not realize that puppy aside her days of being the “baby” of the house are numbered, hopefully soon there will be a real baby. Berk will adjust, but it won’t be fun for her.

Berkeley Got Jealous and also Demanded to be Held

By the time I get home from work tonight the puppy in likelihood will have moved on to its new home. I will be a little sad because she a great little dog and part of me could not help but want to keep her. I can’t be too sad because the puppy is going to great loving home. Also especially since we are planning to have a baby soon, we really don’t need a third dog. At least the puppy is not going far, her new home is only about a block away. I already stop next door everyday to pick up our friends weim so that he can join us on our daily runs, if I already run three weims, way not four. Overall this experience has left we feeling very good. It always tears my heart when I hear about all the dogs that need homes, it feels great to be able to help one out. Definitely a deposit in karma bank for me


This morning I got a call for K saying that I left my lunch at home. I found this odd because I had brought a bag to work and had put it in the refrigerator. Upon checking this bag I discovered that that was bag of stuff that had not been put away from yesterday's trip to Target. So instead of having a lunch, I have a large sponge and a box of microwavable popcorn.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Of Sand & Lasers

End of the road

This morning I went for a 17 mile run. For my past couple of runs I have driven to some place to run, this morning I decided just to leave directly from home, and do my running in open desert to the south of my home. So I got on the road that runs directly behind my house and followed it to the point about 2 miles to the south where the pavement ends and the sand begins.

The Sandy Road

Running on sand is both a blessing and a curse. It is one of the softest possible surfaces one can run on, it is extremely easy on the joints. However with so much give sand is extremely draining to run through. Though it does provide a hell of a workout.

A Washing Machine That Has Seen Better Days

I find sad how many people dump things like cars and appliances out in the desert. In this the climate they will remain there for decades upon decades. I guess it gives people something to shoot at.

Me at the Edge of the Bombing Range

Eventually I reached the edge of the Barry M. Goldwater Range, a bombing ranged shared by the Air Force and the Marine Corps. It is huge area covering thousands of square miles along the Mexican border. At this point I turned and continued my run along the edge of the Range. About every 15 minutes I was passed by a Border Patrol truck, the only thing between Mexico and where I was running about 12 miles of empty road less desert.


Apparently the military is doing something with lasers out in the desert, because I kept running across signs that warned of extreme danger from a laser hazard area. I have to admit this makes me chuckle because it makes me think of the scene in Austin Powers where Dr. Evil wants sharks with lasers beams on their heads. So who knows maybe there is a tank out in the desert somewhere filled with laser armed sharks. That is certainly what I would like to imagine.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Zack has a huge tongue

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I came home to a major fish tank disaster this afternoon. A major outbreak of some sort fungus had killed four of my fish, the big gourami, a danio, and both female bettas. They looked like that had been enveloped by a predatory cotton ball. After a little online research and found malachite green was the solution. As happens I had some on hand from out break years ago. So I added some. I forgoten what an odd shade of green it turns the water. It will be cleat again by morning, but it sure looks weird now.

The whole thing is frustrating because I have worked so diligently to keep the water clean. My best guess is the infection came from the last fish I added. I died with in hours being added, so it is likely to have been already diseased. Oh well, such is keeping aquariums, I will rebuild.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


According to the National Weather Service my town is the driest in America, averaging only 2.58 inches of rain a year, so when it does rain it is a big deal. Yesterday morning as I was getting ready for work the sky opened opened up and about an inch of rain fell. The last time that we had measurable rainfall was in November, so this rain was a most welcome sight.

Even though it had months since we last had rain, we have had numerous dust/sand storms. They left every thing covered with a layer of grit. One the most welcome things about the rain is that it has washed everything clean. The wet creosote bushes in desert give the air an incredible clean scent, that is vaguely reminiscent of some sort of cleaning product. The overall effect is that it feels like someone has scrubbed the world clean. It is raining again this morning. In the two plus years that I have lived here this is first time I have seen it rain two days in a row.

Yesterday morning when I got in car, it took me a moment to remember how to turn on the windshield wipes because it had been so long since I used them. Sitting unused in the desert sun is apparently not good for windshield wipers, when I finally turned on the passenger on flew off.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Day in San Diego

I took the day off yesterday, and K and I drove down to San Diego. It was a nice way to not spend so much of the day dwelling on the events of ten years ago. It was a very nice trip, and it made for a peaceful day.

We did not have any real set agenda when we arrived in San Diego, so we just kind of wandered around. After a lovely lunch at a hole-in-the-wall Japanese restaurant, we stumbled onto theTijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve. The visitor center was closed so went for a hike along the trails.

It was neat because it is so different than what you stereotypically think of as the Southern California coast. We saw a surprising amount of wildlife and some really cool looking plants. To atmosphere was wonderful, a cool sea breeze blowing felt absolutely divine, especially when compared to the inferno of summers in Southern Arizona, it was nice to get out the heat, even if just for a day. Interestingly the reserve is exact southwest corner of the United States. We could see the Tijuana bull ring on the far hills across the estuary.

We also poked around the presido which is a collection of the oldest building in San Diego. It was kind of neat, but it defiantly had a tourist trap kind of feel to it, tacky, old timey souvenir shops now occupy the majority of the old buildings.

On our way out of town we also stoped at Trader Joe's to be some the tasty food that we can not get in our town. For K we also walked through Babies R' Us, as much as I want a child, it is almost a tangible lust for her. Hopefully she will get her wish soon.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

July 23, 1997

The summer after my Junior year of high school started out wonderful. It was the first summer in which I had a car. I also had a job at an upholstery shop which I actually kind of enjoyed. The best part of the job being that it was only part time, from 8:00 to 12:00. That summer I had the magical combination of time, money, and ready transportation. My friends and I put this to full use, those first six weeks of the summer of 1997 was one of the most joyful times in my life.

As the sun rose the morning of July 23rd, it was supposed to bring with it another great day in what had already been a great summer. The plan for the afternoon was for me a couple of friends to drive down to Boulder, we were going to tour the University of Colorado and then going hang out down on Pearl Street. This was exciting because this would be my first official college tour and Boulder was just a fun place to hang out. The future in both the long and short term look bright and exciting. In actuality the day and my future would take a radically different course.

I was awoken that morning by mother pounding on my bedroom door, demanding to know where my younger brother Nate was. My first terse response to being woken up in such an abrupt manner was to tell my mother to look in her bedroom. As I became more awake I could hear the great level of concern in her voice. So I got up, I headed to basement figuring that Nate simply fell asleep watching TV.

He was not down there, but I did make the first troubling discovery of the day. Written in large letters on a whiteboard was the simple phrase "I Love Mom, Dad, & Andy." The window next to whiteboard had been left open. I got sinking feel as a creeping sense of dread began to wrap its self around me.

Nate, had a history of depression, though at that point I was not personally aware of significant of history it was. My immediate though was that he had run away for some reason. The trouble possibility of suicide did flit across my mind, though at this point I simply quashed that thought.

When I showed my parents what I had found they immediately became very agitated. For the first time I heard the story about how in May while I was gone in North Carolina for the National Science Olympiad tournament, Nate had tried to kill him self by jumping out his bedroom window. It was not a very long drop and he had wound up with nothing other than a few scrapes from the bushes he landed in. Still this revelation added by my growing sense of unease because it was the first time I had ever heard about him trying to hurt himself.

It was at this point that my parents first called the police, though at this point they were totally unhelpful, apparently he had not been missing long enough to warrant their intervention. At about this point one of Nate's best friends showed up at out door with a large manila envelope. In it were what could be best describe as suicide notes, they were written to all his friends.

It was at this point that panic began to set in, though I still could not bring my self to think through to the logical but unthinkable possible ending. With the suicide notes the police became involved, I remember the officer coming to the door and taking my mother and fathers statement. I gave them the odd detail that despite the fact that Nate was missing all his shoes and glasses were still in the house.

After the initial shock of the suicide notes, my mind latched onto the idea that Nate was out there somewhere hiding, to scared to come home, because of the notes he left. It was the only scenario that my wind could bare to think about. With we began the process of searching the town to find him.

For the rest of that morning I drove all over looking spots where I though he might hide. Over time as they heard through the grapevine what was happening my friends began to join me. The whole day took on a surreal cast, that is very hard to describe. For the rest of the morning we found no further trace of Nate.

Sometime shortly after noon, the police showed up again with the bloodhounds. They set them on Nate's trail and I began to hope that we would soon find him OK. Walking through my neighborhood trailing the police and their bloodhounds was almost too surreal of experience for words. I really felt like I had taken a tumble into the rabbit hole. After about 45 minutes the bloodhounds had lead us down to the river, and from there Nate's trail grew cold.

The rest of that afternoon was spent much like the morning, I drove around town with my friends looking for Nate. Because no further bad news had come in my mood had improved, as long as I did not think about things to hard it was like I was on some bizaro scavenger hunt with my friends. Still there was an unshakable nagging sense of dread.

At about dusk I got a call from my parents saying that I needed to com home immediately, though they would not give any details. As I rode up the Cul-de-sac and approached home I noticed that there was a lot of people in my frond yard, and large white official looking SUV in our driveway. As we pulled up I was able to make out the lettering on the SUV it read "Larimer County Corners Office." Reading this my heart froze.

I got out of the vehicle an walk up to my mother with the same absolute sense of impending doom that a condemned man climbing the gallows must feel. I embraced my mother and in near whisper askes "Is he?"

In a broken voice she responded "Yes"

"How?" I manged to gasp.

"Sleeping pills"


"In front of the church at Drake & Lemay"

At this point I collapsed onto driveway bawling. I can remember seeing my father laying face down in front yard bawling. There were dozens of people milling around watching all this occur. My memories of this are thankfully hazy. At some point my friends got me to my feet and to me for walk. I was not thinking coherently at all at this point, pure on grief and shock was poring through me.

Eventually everyone else went home and I finally went to bed, and sank into a thankfully dreamless sleep. The next morning I would have to begin dealing with the new realities of my life.

Gila Gravity Main Canl

Continuing my training for this falls marathon I went for a 13 mile run along the banks of the Gila Gravity Main Canal, which brings water from the Colorado River to the agricultural areas of the County. It was a great day for running, because most unusually it was cloudy, a rare event in city ranked by the National Weather Service as America's sunniest city.

The Swastika Bridge

At the very start of my run I came across a most unusual landmark, the swastika bridge. Though it is incredibly jarring to see a bridge decorated in a swastika motif, further investigation revealed it to be less scandalous than it first appeared. According a date stamped on it, the bridge was constructed in 1907, when the swastika was merely a popular geometric design and a symbol of total evil. Still the bridge makes for a very jarring sight. I wonder if it was not in such a remote and obscure location if it would have been allowed to change

A Cotton Field

A lot of the early part of the run went through the farmland. Right now most fields are growing cotton. Between October and April, over 90% of the nation's vegetables will come from these fields.

The Canal Emerges From Under the Laguna Hills

It was unusually humid this morning and it was even worse along the canal. It reminded me of running in Louisiana, though I doubt it was that humid, still for it here it was. Also creating a Louisiana ambiance was the smell of stagnate canal water.

Me at the Turn Around

Though I was not especially speedy this morning It was a good solid run. I have no doubt that I will be ready for the San Diego half-marathon next month.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Fish Tank

After two months my fish tank is now almost fully set up. I have been keeping aquariums since 1999 and I have never had one turn out so good. I have a nice selection of very colorful fish that are living together peacefully.

Recently I discovered that Wal-Mart carries bulbs for aquatic plants. This means that you can get about six plants for about $2.50, a huge savings. A have put about a dozen in and they are just starting mature into some nice looking plants, they should look even nice as they further mature.

The other thing that is helping it look so nice is weekly partial water changes. I have heard for years that you are supposed to do this, but honestly I have been to lazy to do this. But lately I have discovered that it is not as big as bother as I thought it was and the results in keeping the tank sparkling are most impressive.

Later this week I will start my next project when I start setting up a 50 gallon tank in K's new classroom.

Friday, July 20, 2007


For this weekends training run, I am planning on taking advantage of this areas best feature for running, canal maintenance roads. A better place for running could not be created. They are comprised of hard packed dirt, which by far is the most comfortable kind of surface to run on. Because they are directly adjacent to a canal, they are about unhilly of a place to run as is possible to find.

My favorite local canal is the Gila Gravity Main Canal, this is because of the absolute dichotomy of the landscape directly adjacent to each of its banks. On side there is fertile green farmland that grows several crops a year, that in the winter provides over 90% of the nations vegetables. On the other side of the canal on which the land is not irrigated is some of the most barren and inhospitable in country. It is brown and rocky with sharp jagged mountains, so hot and dry that even most cactus will not grow there.

I have decide to take Monday off from work. With it being the 10th anniversary of Nate’s death, I just don’t feel like working. Instead K is taking me to San Diego, two and half hours down the road. We are going to go to Sea World, something I have always wanted to do. I think Shamu and penguins should cheer me up sun, as will getting out of this god awful heat for a while.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

From the Depths

Late July is my least favorite time of year, and this has nothing to do with the brutal heat associated with this time of year. It was during this time of year, ten years ago, that my little brother committed suicide. This was an indescribably horrific event, however a lot of time has past and I have come to as much peace with what happened as I will ever be able to. I am able to live my life happily.

I have reached the point that when I remember Nate, I remember that good times we had together and not that awful July day ten years ago. However every year as the anniversary of his death approaches, unbidden and unwelcome memories of the traumatic events float up from the depths of my mind and with crystal clarity I relive those awful moments. I hate being reminded of how unhealing some of the wounds are. The fact that this is the tenth anniversary just seems to have intensified things this year.

Not much that I can do about this other than wait for the 23rd to pass. No doubt as they always do these unwanted memories will settle back down into the dark untraversed corners of mind, and once again thoughts of Nate will be of the good times, and my life resume its normal enjoyable rhythm.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Water Chestnuts

As part of a diet she trying K prepared some beets. They were in both out opinions, absolutely horrible. We realized the reason we don't eat normally eat beets is that both find beets to be revolting. This got us discussing what the most disgusting food in the world is.

We quickly reached a consensus. No food on this planet more vile than water chestnuts. Just thinking about them makes me cringe, and K too for that matter. With out a doubt a lot of the vileness of water chestnuts arises from their texture. If some how finger nails on a blackboard could be translated into food, it would be water chestnuts. There is just something about the way that they crunch in your mouth that makes my skin crawl.

The discussion of water chestnuts lead to the question of what we would rather eat maggots or water chestnuts. Sadly it was not a question either one of was able to resolve. How can such depths of vileness be differentiated from

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Running Up Signal Hill

Me at the trail head

This morning I finally got my run up Signal Hill done. Unfortunately because I woke up a little later than planed so I had to shorten the run by driving the four miles to the trail head, instead of running there I had originally planned as the day was already getting hot, it was 90 degrees when I left the house at 6:00 am.

Start of the trail

The first part of the trail is a mile and half approach the base of Signal Hill. The only real difficulty with part of the run is the grapefruit sized rocks that parts of the trail (usually when it is crossing a wash) that the trail is composed of. This part of the run went very well, it was relatively cool and I was feeling energetic.

The first hill

There was a few small rolling hills that had to be crossed during the first part of the run.

An Octillo

One of the things that I love about running this particular route is the beautiful desert scenery that it goes through. I particularly love all the bizarre looking plants. Like the octillo which reminds of something from a Dr. Seuss book.

Where the real uphill begins

After about 20 minutes I reached the actual base of Signal Hill, and this is where the difficult part began. Oddly there is cement road all the way to the top, it was put there to allow service to the radio towers on top. This is both a blessing and a curse. It blessing because it provides a nice sure footed surface. It is curse because of all possible surfaces cement is hardest on the body.

A very steep part

The "trail" is not really a trail but rather and access road, and such is not designed with the comfort of the runner in mind. Large portions of it have a grade that portions have a grade that has to be of 30 degrees. To say I ran up these portions would be generous, I would run the best I could up these parts for about 50 feet, rest and repeated the process as I inched my way to the top. I saw some marines from the locale base running up the hill, damn, they are in shape.

A look back at the road already traveled

Finaly I, rounded a corner and was at the top. The views from up there are amazing, especially if one ingnores the dozen or so radio towers that are up there.

At the top

The run down while quick, was in its own almost as painful as going up. Stopping myself from careening out of control down the mountain absolutely killed my quads. The cement of of the access road made it even worse, usaly when going a very steep hill it is possible to bleed of speed by skidding in the dirt/rocks, this is not possible on the cement. None the less what was a 40 minute trip up, was less than a ten minute trip down.

It was a very good way to start training for the fall marathon season. It was the kind of run that makes running fun and exciting again. A very nice way to bust out of the summer doldrums.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I had to postponed my run up Signal Hill until Sunday morning. We were woken repeatedly by a vomiting dog last night, so I did not feel like getting up at 5:00. It truly is amazing the amount of vomit that can come out of an 80lbs dog. Thank god for the carpet cleaner.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Signal Hill

I have decided to start training for this fall’s marathons with a bang. Tomorrow morning I am get very early to avoid the heat and run my favorite most difficult route, the ascent of Signal Hill. Signal Hill, pictured above, is the large mountain that looms on the horizon when I look out my front window. Oddly there is a paved road all the way to the top, built to provide access to the radio towers that give it its name. It is probably the steepest paved road that I have ever seen. Running up it provides one heck of a workout, also the view from the top it is amazing. I think this will be nice way reenergize my enthusiasm for running, which has been dulled lately by my twice daily runs around the edge of my neighborhood with the dogs, time for something different and challenging.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Dog Days of Summer

It really is the dog days right now. As we try to hide from the incessant summer sun, time is just quietly and uneventfully slipping by. Pleasant but uneventful day follows pleasant but uneventful day and pleasant but uneventful week follows pleasant but uneventful week.With both home and work life settled into such a pleasant routine to such a point that I blink and another week is gone.

I am not complaining, things are good, but I am ready for some excitement. Fortunately exciting change looms on the horizon like a giant thunderhead. We are about to binging to actively try for parenthood. This means that I am really at the end of an era, and I am excited about that. The past couple of post-graduate school years have been fun and fulfilling but I am definitely ready for the next thing.

The other less major thing that will shake my summer torpor up a little bit, as that it is nearly time start training for this falls marathons. The Long Beach Marathon is only three months away, and the San Diego Half-Marathon only a little more than a month away. This is nice because it will give me some place to direct all my restless energy towards.

Friday, July 6, 2007


"Weimaraner 2 year old, AKC Registered. Free to a good home only! 928-550-xxxx "

I saw this ad in the classifieds today and it breaks my heart. Yet another person unprepared for the realities weimeraner ownership looking to get rid of their dog. More than most breeds wemimeraner are bought by people who have no idea what living with a weimeraner is really like. They only know weimeraners from Willian Wegmans pictures and fall in love with that image of the weimeraner.

The truth is few dogs can match the energy level of the weimeraner, they are 80 lbs of dog constantly in motion. Mine go on two, two mile runs every day, yet they still run around the house like their asses are on fire. The other characteristic about weims that must people are not aware is their tendency to be Velcro dogs. The need to be near their people if you simply just lock them up away from you they will literaly go psychotic.

We got Zack from the shelter in Lake Charles, LA, through a weimeraner rescue group. Rescuing him was one of the most rewarding things that we have done, a more greatful and loyal dog there never was. Since then we have been involved with a weimeraner rescue group. For this reason when I was this ad, I contacted our local weimeraraner rescue to begin the process to rescue to poor unfortunate dog in the ad. Fortunately this particular story has a happy ending, someone else who already was weims and understands the breed called and agreed to take the weim in question. This makes me happy. Still I wish people do a little research before getting a dog.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Odds and Ends

It appears that K is not currently pregnant, though there is still not a definitive answer on this issue. I have mixed feeling on this issue, on one hand having a baby a few months later will make thing dramatically easier, as having the baby at the beginning of the summer K would not have to miss any work, on the other hand I realize that I really do want a kid. This desire still feels kind of odd, for so long pregnancy was something to be avoided at all costs, to want it now still feels counterintuitive. It’s like waking up one day a suddenly being told that cancer is the greatest thing ever and that you should totally get it. This wanting a baby thing is going to take some getting use to.

For the first time in years I was forced to flush a live healthy fish. I put someone new fish into the aquarium this weekend. For whatever reason this made the Blue Paradise Gourami go beserk. With in 24 hours it had gutted four of the new arrivals and was now attacking some the fish it had previously lived peacefully with. Internet research revealed, contrary to what the sign on the tank at Wal-Mart said, this type of fish is a notorious belligerent killer. I feel bad about having to flush it, but live fish are non-returnable at Wal-Mart and I don’t know anyone else locally with an aquarium.

Maybe the reason that the other gourami attacked the since flushed fish was it just knew that it was bad news. In any case all the remaining fish in aquarium seem much more relaxed and have come out of hiding. I got some replace for the killed fish last night, a got a couple of swordtails and lyre tailed molly. One of the swordfish is very pregnant so soon I will have many swordfish, was is kind of cool.

Tomorrow is a day off which is great. Unfortunately the forecast is calling for the possibility of record high temperatures. In Southern Arizona, in July this is frightening prospect, record temperatures mean above 120 degrees. After living in the New Orleans area for a couple of years I though I knew unpleasant summer heat. While the humidity down there certainly makes things worse, 120 degree heat, regardless humidity, is whole other level misery. In a situation like this there is only one thing to do, pool party!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Pint Glass

As a pregnancy test is on my shopping list today, I am remembering an incident from the last time we had to buy one of those. This is from an e-mail about the incident.

The most disgusting thing happened to me last night. I had the following conversation with K while I was brushing my teeth last.

K: "hey you might not want to drink from the glass on the counter"

Me (looking at the ordinary pint glass siting on the counter that I has already drank out of several times that day):"Why?"

K: "I used in taking a pregnancy test this morning"

Me: horrified silence followed by gaging.