Friday, August 31, 2007

Sunset Platty

My new office fish tank is coming slowly, but nicely. I add so decorations, fallen Greek temple theme. I chose them simply because I already had them from years ago. I enjoy them because they remind me of those fun years back in Peoria. The bulbs I put are also progressing nicely, I think I need some more though. The aquarium will look much better once it is fully planted.

I also added the first fish on Monday, a Sunset Platy. I have always had a fondness for platties. I will probably round on the tank with a sword tail and some guppies. Unfortunately the number of kinds of fish that can be put in such a small tank is limited.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Long Road to Long Beach

The next marathon that I am going to run is Long Beach Marathon on October 15th. This seems like a very long way off, or it did until I realized that as of this weekend I only have 4 more weeks to train for it. The race is six weeks from this Sunday, however the last two weeks before a marathon are supposed to be spent resting, so this leaves me just four weeks for training.

Because I have not gotten a good training run since I twisted my ankle it time kick thing into high gear, come hell or high water. For all my previous 11 marathons I have only done one training run of 20+ miles prior to the race, for this one I want to see what happens if do more than one. Hopefully it will help me reach my goal finishing a Marathon in less than 3:45. So this weekend it is time to pound 20 miles.

Monday, August 27, 2007

K's Fish Tank

Even though I started setting it up over a month ago, I have never posted any pictures of the 50 gallon aquarium that I have set up in K's classroom. It is coming along very nicely. We are filling it with chiclids, a type of fish that I have never done before. But so far it has all gone very smoothly.

The fish tank is a big hit with her students. Between the fish tank and the tortoise she is well on the way to having the "cool science" classroom that she has always wanted. Personally I am kind of jealous of her classroom aquarium, it turning out better than the one at home.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


The Arizona Department of Fish & Game has a program that adopts out
desert tortoises . These tortoises are the offspring of previously captured tortoises that can not be returned to the wild. More than year ago K put her name on the list to adopt one these tortoises, with idea of getting on for her classroom. This week she got a call saying that they had a tortoise available for her.

So now we have a desert tortoise, well until we move out of state, he remains property of the state that must be returned if we move out of state. He does not have a name yet. K is conducting a competition in her classes to give him a name. Apparently he is a big hit among all her students. One of the elementary schools in town has constructed a desert tortoise habitat in their yard, K and her principal are talking about doing the same at K's school.

She brings the tortoise home over weekend, Cosmo my fat black cat it utterly mesmerized by the tortoise. He has spent hours this weekend with his nose pressed to the glass of the tortoise trying to figure what the hell the tortoise is.

Cut Short

The Roadside was Absolutely Littered With Cotton

Originally this weekend I had intended to to a 20 mile training run. I was going to run all the way to the Proving Grounds and back. But I got a late start this morning and it was already 95 when I left the house at 8:00, so I decided to cut the run short, and just go up to the abandoned suspension bridge and back, and run of 13 miles.

Giant Bales of Cotton at the Cotton Gin

The cotton harvest has begun at road side was littered with mounds of cotton that had blown out of passing trucks. It looked like a nearby cotton ball factory had exploded. About three miles into my run, as I was passing the cotton gin, realized that I was not even going to be able to complete my shortened three mile run. The heat was probably well into in the triple disgits, my ankle, thanks to the brace was killing me. Because my next marathon is not until the middle of October I decided to call it quits and head for home.

Heading for Home

I has been a number of years since I have to cut a run this short and that is little frustrating. But, it is important to know when to call it quits. Fall can not get here fast enough, I have almost forgotten what it is like to run in pleasant temperatures. I can't wait for January where every day is sunny with a high in the low 70's.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Limpy McHobbles

Last Monday Berkeley came in from the backyard with a very deep gash on one her back legs. It was deep enough that you could see the fascia that cover the muscle. This is third time she cut her self like this, we have no idea what she cutting her self on. She did the same thing in Louisiana, and our backyard now has items in common with that backyard.

Ever since she got this cut Berkeley has been walking around on three legs. Much to her disappointment this means she has been left out of all the runs this week. Fortunately it seems to be healing well and she is starting to put weight on it, but only when she thinks no one is watching. She loves to milk injuries for sympathy, attention and treats. With the lack of run, and the many sympathy treats she has gotten noticeably plumper. This weekend I will start running her again. She is dog with dozens of nicknames and she acquired a few more thanks to this incident. They include “Tripoda”, and “Limpy McHobbles.”

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Birthday Present

Aside from the the beverage fridge the other present that K got me for my birthday was a little 5 gallon fish tank for my desk at work. After getting all the necessary permission to set it up I set it up last night after work. I am very excited about it, I think it is going to look very good, and gives me something to put in the corner of my desk that formerly did nothing but collect papers that should have just been thrown in the trash.

The frustrating thing about new fish tanks is how slowly the set up process goes. I will not be able to fish in there until Monday. It is hard to see in the pictures but I added some aquatic plant bulbs, it will take a few weeks for them to sprout and start to look. The entire set up will probably take about two months before every thing that will go in there is in there. I have learned through hard won experience that the price for being impatient is a lot of dead fish.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

New Fridge

Our Cluttered Pantry Where the Fridge Will Go

Lately for our birthdays K and have given each other gifts that improve the house. My birthday is coming up this week. I decided to get a new beverage fridge to to replace the one that I currently keep in the garage under the bench.

Getting the Fridge into the Pantry Required Trimming Back a Shelf

For years we have kept the beverage fridge out in the garage. This is a less than ideal set up for several reasons. First it is just inconvenient to have to go out the garage to get a cold drink. Second, our garage is not well ventilated or air conditioned. From May to September it stays about 100 degrees around the clock. It takes a lot power to keep a fridge cool in such in environment. By moving the beverage fridge into to the air conditioned house I hope to keep the power bill down a little

In Order to Ensure a Straight Cut a Installed a Temporary Guide Rail

The other advantage of doing this is that Krissy will be able to take our old beverage fridge into her new classroom, which apparently will be useful. I will however probably need to scrape the beer logo stickers off it before she puts it in her classroom.

Unfortunately I Was Unable to Get All the Way Through With the Circular Saw

The only place indoors that we could put that made any sense was the pantry. Unfortunately do this would require a little more work than just setting it where we wanted it and plugging it in.

What the Circular Saw Couldn't Reach I Had to Finish By Hand

I had to remove a chunk of the built in shelving in the pantry. This really was not a big deal because the shelves on the back wall are unusually deep. So deep that items often go missing within there depths.

The Hole

On of the great things about owning a home is that I can do things like saw a giant hole in pantry shelves I can do it. There is just something nice about being able to customize your home exactly the way you want it.

Adding a Leg to Support the Remaining Shelf

There is no outlet in pantry so the difficult part of this project was figuring out a way to get power to the fridge. I though about adding a plug into the pantry. However after getting a shock from a 220 volt power supply while working on the pool pump last summer I have lost my appatite for electrical projects. Fortunately I came a much simpler solution.

The Nearest Outlet is Above the Washer

The solution was to punch an extension cord through the wall into the adjacent laundry room. The trick would be doing it in a way that does not look totally trashy.

The Hole for the Power Cord to Pass Through

I came up with a way to run a cord through the wall with only make a small hole that would be easy to patch up when we eventually sell the house.

The Beheaded Extension Cord

In order to get the extension cord through the tiny hole I had to cut the head off it and the subsequently rewire it. This made me smile because in Junior High I once had project to make a how to video tape, a chose to show how to rewire a plug. The memory makes me smile because my brother Nate who was into videography at the time helped me film and made sure that I turned out real nice.

Threading the Cord Through the Wall

The difficult part of the operation was getting a cord through the very small hole in wall. Finlay I cam up with obvious solution of attaching the cord to a stiff lead made of wire coat hanger. Since we no longer go to the dry cleaner it was very hard find a wire coat hanger, fortunately there was one left in the house.

The Installed Plug

Moving the washer out the way to bring cord through I found a major treasure trove of missing socks, apparently when they go missing under the washer is one the places they go.

Rewiring the Plug

This project went very smoothly, a very surprising development. Almost inevitably when I do something like this I mess something up, and then have to come up with a creative solution to the problem I have caused.

The New Plug, Plugged In

Normally projects that I do come out functional but very inelegant. I am so pleased with this project in addition to working like it should it is not an eyesore. A major accomplishment for me.

Painting, the Final Step

Overall this turned to be a great birthday gift. I think it adds a lot to our house. I am already finding it nice to not go out to the garage to get something to drink.

The Final Product


Berkeley & Duke

This weekend Berkeley and Zack's best weimer pal Duke came to stay with us. All three dog had a fun but loud time. Although by the end Zack was starting to get a little grumpy as he grew concerned that Duke might never leave. One thing that this weeekend to prove is that two is perfect number of weimaraners, three is just too much dog.

One of the New Blushing Tetras

I continued the restocking of my aquarium, I got three blushing tetras. I had never heard of them before I saw them it PetsMart. It is always kind of exciting when I find something new for the aquarium. They survived the first night which good because it seems like if things are going to dies they will do it with in the first 24 hours. Duke was utterly fascinated by the aquarium, he would sit there and stare bugged eyed at it, occasionally snapping at a fish, I have never seen a dog entranced by a fish tank before, Duke is an odd one.

Friday, August 17, 2007


There are lots of sign of the arrival of fall that are cropping all over the place. School is starting up, Monday is K’s first day with students. Football is getting underway, the seemingly endless NFL preseason has begun. Serious talk has begun ad the pennant race in baseball. Halloween stuff if begining to crop up in stores. Unfortunately summer is not showing in the one place that I really desire to see it, the thermometer.

Despite these signs of fall, outside summer shows now sign of releasing the area from its vicious grip. Day after day the sun rises and thermometer being inevitable climb to 110 and beyond. By this time of year I have lost patience with this. I am so tires of the heat, I want to be able to open a window at night, not sweat through a shirt within 5 minutes when I go running, see people on the streets again, and not spend so much on air-conditioning. Sigh, it will be at least a month until things get noticeable cooler, and not until just before Halloween will the weather be what could be called pleasant.


It is going to be another three weimaraner weekend, but this time instead having a puppy over, we are watching Berkeley and Zack’s running buddy, Duke. Should be fun because all three dogs get along very well. It should however be a very loud weekend as there favorite game is to wildly chase each other around barking at the top their lungs.

We will probably also do something this weekend to celebrate my birthday, which is Tuesday. Hard to believe that I am going to be 28, how did I get so damn old? I am not sure what we are going to do, probably just something low key, most likely having a few people over for a BBQ.

According to my training schedule I am supposed to do a 20 miler this weekend. I am not sure yet if my ankle is up to this. It still a little tender from last Friday’s fall. It is improving pretty fast so I will probably just wait and see how it feels on Sunday morning.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Rant

Currently I am extremely irked by the American Institute of Certified Planners. The AICP is the organization that dose the professional certification for my profession, As of May I finally had worked long enough as a professional planner to qualify to take the AICP exam. The deadline for applying for the November AICP test is today, the application to take the exam is very extensive, consisting of eight very long a tedious essay questions about my professional planning experience. There is also a registration fee, but nowhere on there website did they mention how much the fee was, so I assumed it was a nominal fee.

This was a bad assumption, after spending over a total of ten hours working on the application, I hit submit, and a screen asking for my credit card information and $450 poped up. How infuriating they only tell you the price after you spent hours working on the application.

Sadly all this mean I have to wait another six months to take the AICP exam. I was not expecting it cost so much. When K and made a budget for the summer, during which she was not brining in any paychecks, we did not include an extra $450. So now I have to wait until May of 2008 to the exam. If I had a little advance warning of the price I would have been able to set aside the money for it.

If you are going to charge that much for exam at least be up front about it, don’t hide the true cost until the last minute. I guess this partially my fault for assuming a organization with professional certification organization would act in a professional manner

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Blue Comes For a Vist

Blue and Berkeley

Yesterday our former foster puppy now named Blue came over for a visit. She is looking very good, much less malnourished. She was so skinny when K rescued her about two weeks ago. She is clearly still making up for lost time as she hunted down and ate every scrap of food she could while she was over.

Berk Teaches Blue About the Joy of Dirty Dishes

All three dogs had a great, but very loud, time. We introduced Blue to the pool which both intrigued and frightened her at the same time. Berkeley finaly stoped seeing Blue as competition and began to have fun with her.


The end result of all this was some extremely tired dogs. This worked out well for us. Because of my twisted ankle Berkeley and Zack are not going to get to run for a while. Blue's visit provided a great outlet for a that weim energy. Though we don't have room or the time for a third dog, it is fun borrow someone else puppy for a few hours.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Damn It

Tonight I suffered an injury for the first time in over five years of running. I took a bad step coming off a curb, and rolled my ankle completely under me, making matters worse the 240 lbs worth of dogs that I was running with kept going causing me take a dive face first into the asphalt.

I am currently icinig my ankle hoping that it won't swell to much.
Damn it.

Quiet Weekend Ahead

It looks like this weekend will be quite one, as of yet we have no plans for it. I even plan to throttle back the running slightly. The past three weekends I have been bumped my mileage up significantly, so I am going to take it relatively easy this weekend with a nice slow 13 miler to the abandoned suspension bridge.

I have already added something to my aquarium this week so I did not even the pleasure of looking forward to adding something to my aquarium. Another factor auguring towards a quite weekend is the fact that K has already informed me that she will be spending most of it working on homework. Sigh, I guess I will get something the things that I have been putting off for a while done, like cleaning out my pit of a garage.

Next weekend should be a lot more exciting we will be doing something to mark my birthday, though I don’t what yet. We will also be watching our friends weimaraner, so with three full grown weims in the house it should be chaos, which is actually kind of fun.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


This morning I had a surreal conversation with K. I was awakened by Zack barking and I noticed that it was light out. Fearing that I had missed the alarm I asked K what time it was, the clock is on her night stand and without my glasses I could not read the clock. Her response, “Peacock.”

Figuring she was still asleep I asked with a little louder voice “No, what time is it?”

With exasperation in her voice from the fact that I was still bothering her she again replied “Peacock!”

Now shaking her a little bit I again asked “What time is it?

“Blue and white”

“K, wake up. What time is it?”

“Blue AND white!!!” with that she rolled away clearly annoyed that I was still pestering her.

“Seriously what time is it?”

“Red and white”

With that I gave up, saw that the alarm was two minutes from ringing, and started to get ready for my morning run with the dogs. Later this morning I asked K about this surreal exchange, she had no recollection of it, though she did remember a dream about fish.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Run For the Border

The First Border I Had to Cross Was the One into California

I started this mornings 19 mile run from down town, within in a couple of hundred of yards I had gone over to Colorado River and into California. I am pretty sure that this is only place where one can cross into to California from another state by heading north. Though the temperature when I started out was a reasonable 84, the humidity was for Arizona, wicked, 74%. I was drenched in sweat within the first half mile.

The No Longer So-Mighty Colorado River

For most of my run I ran on the Colorado River Levee. While the river certainly has some beauty to, it is also kind of sad to look at. By the time the river reaches the stretch that I was running along the only water that has been left in it is the water that US is bound by treaty to send to Mexico, and it's not much. The river that was once a might carver of canyons is reduced to just a trickle. I could walk across the portion pictured above without getting my armpits wet.

Border Approach

Finally I reached the Mexican Border, my destination. Because I had already gone though a quart of the Gatorade that I was carrying with me, I decided to across into Mexico and get something to drink. The town on the other side, Algadones, is a strange one. It exists primarily to cater to elderly American and Canadian tourists, as such every business is one of three things, a pharmacy, dentist, or an optician. This town of 10,000 has literally dozens of each. So I stopped in one of the pharmacy's just across the border and bought a large bottle of water.

Crossing into Mexico

Crossing back into the United States I had a bizarre exchange with the custom agent. He first asked me the question that they always start with. "Purpose of your visit to Mexico?"

I responded truthfully and told him, "To get a drink of water."

He gave me a strange look and asked "What are you bringing back from Mexico?"

"This bottle of water."

He looked a little incredulous and asked "You came all the way to Mexico to get a bottle of water?"

"Yup, I was out running and was thirsty."

"Running? but, where did you run from?"


"You ran all the way from downtown to here?"

At this point explained that I was training for a marathon this fall. Either this explication satisfied him, or he could no longer stand my sweat drenched stench because he let me pass into the US.

Finally Back Into Arizona

Unfortunately the 8.5 mile return trip was miserable. The forecast had been for a cloudy morning, the forecast was wrong. The sun burned through what clouds there where and began to brutally beat down, something made worse by the fact that the humidity had not abated. Then my Gatorade ran dry and I became parched, to the point where I stopped sweating, this despite that fact that had pre-hydrated with 2 quarts of Gatorade before I left home, carried with me and drank another 2 quarts, plus the liter of water that I got in Mexico. Fortunately I found a place to refill my water pack, unfortunately it was with warm water. It was with great relief when I finally crossed the bridge back into Arizona and my waiting car.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Cardinal Tetras

So now that what ever disease that was rampaging though my aquarium has ended it is time to rebuild my decimated population, about half my fish died. Tonight at PetsMart I found some fish that I have wanted for a long time, Cardinal Tetras. The picture above does not really do them justice, but they are vibrantly colored and they really add something to my aquarium.

Also at PetsMart tonight we got the first fish for K's 50 gallon classroom aquarium. Her entire classroom is starting to look really good. She is so excited for the school year, which is so nice to see. Its so nice that she will be teaching at our neighborhood school this year, rather than having drive 30 miles to get work like she did last year.

I am getting excited about this weekends training run. I am going to run to Mexico. I have plotted a nice route that will take me the required 19 miles from downtown to the border crossing and back. I can't wait

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Puppy Update

The puppy left for its new home yesterday afternoon. Part of me is still kind of sad about this, but I am also very happy because it all seems to be going very well. She now has a new name, “Blue,” a good name for a blue weimaraner. Apparently her new family is so excited about her that they spent over $500 at PetsMart on stuff for her. On my run this morning I ran into Blue being walked by a 10 year old boy, both boy and puppy seemed by a having wonderful time.