Brian's Journal - Spring 2007

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4/23/2007 pc and hazy sky, pasture soft green with a haze of dew, tree branches half-clothed with orangy-green leaves, elderberry and quince flowering. Planted lettuce, onions, carrots, beets, parsely Sabbath afternoon and prepared a bed for the over-sprouted potatoes, which I'll plant tomorrow.

Nina (by Eric Barnes)
Gerard and I
(by Eric Barnes)
Ran Mt Si 50K Sunday with Gerard Philpotts from Issaquah who was running his first 50K. We met up around mile 2 and ran together for the next 28 miles, maintaining a consistent pace interrupted only by stops at the aid stations and achieving a 10+ minute negative split. I set a PR of 4:55:50, beating my last year's time by 3 minutes. Felt a little stiff at times after mile 10 but the changes in gradient at the turnaround and at mile 25 seemed to rejuvenate my legs. We followed Nina and her boyfriend (husband?) until about mile 18. These pictures were taken around mile 8, about the time I commented to her that there was not advantage to drafting behind her, and another runner with us remarked that she'd have to run sideways to get any benefit. Nina seemed amused. At mile 18 Nina left her companion behind and took off ahead of us, finishing the last 12 miles a minute a mile faster than we did. Our time at the marathon mark was about 4:09, only 7 minutes slower than Boston six days ago, and base hr overall (9:32) was 148 and for six miles in the middle of the race (8:41), 144.

Shadowed Marshall at church Sabbath to learn the duties of a Charge Deacon, the position I've been asked to fill. Inspired partly by that, I took a little time this morning to read and pray, something I haven't been doing much recently. I've been wondering why I place so little value on the salvation God has given me in Jesus, and on knowing Jesus himself, and a related question, why I imagine so little benefit to others in bringing them to Christ. Seems to come down to my assurance (or lack of assurance) of salvation. The problem with free will is that I am free to, and also generally inclined to, ignore or reject Jesus. So although He has already atoned for my sins, including the sin of indifference, if I do not choose to receive Him and salvation in Him, then His death and life do not save me. But the truth of the verses the man of God gave to me when I was baptized still stands: ”...(I have) said to you ’You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: Fear not, for I am with you, Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ ”

4/28/2007 Umtanum canyon sun and high clouds, 55-65

Shooting Star
Balsamroot and Lupine
Tim and I drove over east of the mountains for an early season hike and to photograph flowers. I considered Saddle Mountain but decided on Umtanum Canyon because it was not as far, and I hadn't been there before. Good choice. We hiked up to a summit on the Manastash ridge south of the canyon, found lots of flowers, some wildlife and a little petrified wood, and took lots of pictures. Even after deleting more than half of the shots I took I still ended up with nearly 500Mb for the day. Umtanum Canyon photos I also picked up a tick and though I inspected myself afterwards, I mistook the tick for a new mole until it dropped off in bed and woke me up by crawling across my stomach. Three days later the glands in my left armpit
Umtanum Canyon
became uncomfortably swollen and I developed a mild fever. Dr F put me on Clarithromycin, then Doxycycline as well, and the fever cleared up after a few days, the glands after a couple weeks. From my web searches I concluded I had the mild form of tularemia but Dr F suspected a strep or staph infection instead. I did develop little red spots on my chest and upper back about a week after the tick bite but those also cleared up in a few days.

5/10/2007 sunny, 40-63 Frost in a few exposed areas in the garden.
Worked some more on the Maniac Personal Info page in the evening after work. It’s slowly coming together. It’s the largest and most complex of the data entry pages, particularly since I want Admins to be able to use it to add new Maniacs and confirm the addition, delete existing Maniac records (probably with a separate confirmation page) and update their own as well as other's personal data.

5/14/2007 sunny, 35-70 Frost on grass mulch in the garden and a few shingles on the roof.
Haziness overnight probably kept the frost from being more severe - even the exposed eggplants weren't harmed. I birded some in the morning and spotted 4 new yardbirds: Yelow warbler, Yellowthroat, Warbling vireo and Western tanager. Up to 68 species now. The yellowthroat and tanager have been around for some time but I just haven't seen them here.

On Pace
Feeling a little stiff today after running the inaugural Tacoma City Marathon as a pacer runner at 4:15:00. I crossed the half right on pace but reached mile 26 about 30 seconds ahead of schedule so dawdled a little, then a little more when I approached the finish so that I could cross right at 4:15:00. I carried a small sign on a yard-sign stake the whole way; adjusting the trim to minimize wind resistance kept my mind busy during the last 8 miles or so. Beautiful course, particularly along the water and through the old growth forest of Point Defiance park. It was hilly but not unpleasantly so and the last 2 miles were downhill. Lots of Maniacs - Monte, Leslie, Eric, Patch, Roadkill, Tom and others. Janice #298 was the only other runner who maintained a 4:15 pace the entire race, apparently without even trying to do so. She's a short woman with a long black braid touched with gray; we ran together for a while at Yakima as well until I slowed down in the middle. Several different runners accompanied me for 3 miles or more at different times. The first was a woman from Vancouver who developed ITB pain early in the race, like around mile 8, and dropped back soon afterwards. She'd had to drop out of three previous marathons for various reasons and was determined to finish but as I didn't remember either her bib # or her name, I couldn't find out if she succeeded. I hope but doubt that she did. Maria from Gig Harbor ran the middle section of the race with me. She was hoping to at least beat her previous PR of about 4:30 and though she slowed down around mile 16 she managed to get her PR with a time under 4:27.
New Growth
Barn Swallow
Pileated Woodpecker
Sabbath morning before church David and I took photographs around the yard - actually got some decent shots of a pileated woodpecker at the base of the big cottonwood. In the afternoon I planted tomatoes and eggplant and Susan's herb garden. Digging the plot for the herb garden below the poplars at the NW corner of the house was strenuous and probably contributed to my stiffness in the race yesterday. I also helped the 3 starlings fledge. Not sure if they all made it but the parents were attending to them yesterday.

David has come up with some interesting photos - he seems to have a knack for photography, as well as some skill with Photoshop.
David on the piano
Reproducing in the road

5/26/2007 Sabbath afternoon

Cottonwood Snowbank
Cottonwood Rose
David, Nick and I walked down to the river. Heavy "snowfall" of cottonwood seeds the last few days left drifts of fluff along the road and clinging to understory vegetation. I waded across the river with the aid of a couple of
Western Swallowtail
sticks and spent an hour unsuccessfully searching the big new gravel bar for agates. Bank, rough-winged, barn and
California Poppy
violet-green swallows were chasing insects overhead. The bank swallows frequently flew over in pairs, one pursuing another and both making distinctive brrrt calls. Observing them at the river enabled me to identify them a day or two later when a pair flew over the yard making the same unusual calls - a new yard-bird.
Back at the house I photographed the California poppies in the driveway and Daniel's orchid blooming in the living room.

6/05/2007 Jackson sunny, then hazy, then thundershowers 50-80

The House, early June
The Cabin, early June
What a difference seven weeks makes. Back in NH for the weekend for Daniel's graduation from Proctor on Sabbath and Kirsten's from Burke on Sunday. We stayed in North Sutton at the Follansbee Inn which fortuitiously turned out to be right on a small lake warm enough for swimming and rural enough for good running and birding. Weather was warm, hazy and humid with a few brief showers.
I worked late Wednesday evening before our departure so didn't start packing until 10:30PM. David marveled that neither Susan nor I was home at 10PM the night before our 6AM departure. We left very late for the airport, arrived at the checkin counter with less than 30 minutes to spare but fortunately I'd checked in online. Due to our late checkin though, Susan's suitcase didn't make it on the plane, and we were the last passengers to board. One of these times that's going to catch up to us. Our plane was delayed coming in to Boston so we had to race again to get to the New London Inn in time for dinner with Daniel; we arrived with 10 minutes to spare this time. For future reference the vegetarian entree was better than the salmon. The Follansbee was very dark and quiet, perfect for
Follansbee Inn
Kezar Lake
Historic Homestead
Running Route
sleeping had we gone to bed earlier. In the morning I ran around the lake, would have stopped more frequently for birding but for the clouds of mosquitos lying in wait. Found transportation and packing materials for Daniel's kayak at the canoe store on the way to Proctor, and boxes and more packing material at a nearby U-haul depot so by 11AM had made all the arrangements for getting Daniel's stuff back to Seattle, a big relief. I met John and Mom at Proctor and they joined us for lunch at Java Jacks. Alan McIntyre, Daniel's advisor, was having lunch at the table next to ours. After a swim with John in the lake with Mom and Susan paddling a canoe nearby in case we needed help, we dressed up and reported to Proctor for the senior dinner, found Daniel, took photos, ate inside the gym warm and stuffy with all the parents and students.
Saturday morning I woke up early and did a hard two loops around the lake at a pace which felt about 30 sec/mile faster than it actually was. Not sure why. Susan and I went out birding along the south side of the lake before my run, saw and heard about 40 species. The warbler songs started to sound familiar amd we had great views of a bright Baltimore Oriole and a bald eagle swooping down to the lake to grab a trout. Sarah, Roger, Silas, Kirsten, Brigit and Rose showed up for Daniel's graduation. The graduates marched into the same warm gym where we'd had supper the night before. The girls wore white and the boys green. Several students spoke, well I thought, and they announced additional awards. The awards table was nearly empty when Daniel's name was announced - he received the
Senior Dinner
the Allen Bursaw(?) prize for high effort and citizenship. He was shocked and we were elated. Several of his teachers
Headmaster's wife
had praised Daniel to us for his wisdom and maturity. His dorm parent in the dorm where he lived from September until March told us that after Daniel moved to Eco dorm, the atmosphere in Summerfield deteriorated significantly; in his presence his dorm mates had treated one another with greater civility and kindness. The wife of the headmaster,
with whom he worked in Peer Outreach, asked us if we had any more like him at home. Several of the ceramics students
Parting Hug
told Daniel that they learned more from him than from the ceramics teacher. Overall Daniel had a very successful year at Proctor, doing well with a tough academic load as well as excelling as a first-year kayaker on Proctor's competitive white-water kayaking team. In the ceremony each student received a diploma, a rose and a triangular envelope containing a living Painted Lady butterfly upon which they were to confer a secret wish. According to native American legend, when the butterfly was released it would ascend towards the Great Spirit bearing the wish in silence. The Great Spirt would consider the beauty and discretion of the butterfly and would receive and grant the wish. Daniel's butterfly fluttered weakly towards the playing fields, faint from its stay in its paper caccoon. Whether it was bearing a wish or not, I didn't ask. Lunch after graduation was quite good.
Checking Daniel out of his room delayed our departure from Proctor so we didn't arrive at Burke until after the hors d'oeuvres but we made it for the African-themed dinner bussed by ski racers in lion and leopard suits. Our room on the top floor of the condo was hot when we arrived but a thunderstorm cooled things off before bed. In the morning fog
The Graduates
Burke Mountain Farm
shrouded the mountain but lifted above the treetops soon after I set on on a bird run. The birding was great - lots of warblers singing, a close-up view of a scarlet tanager, two male rose-breasted grosbeaks in a willow next to the road, decent looks at singing black-throated blue, chestnut-sided, blackburnian, black-throated green, yellow-rumped, magnolia and ovenbird warblers and my first mourning warbler. The fragrance of lilacs floated softly in the air as I ran by old farms and new vacation homes alike. I made it back in time for a quick breakfast with Daniel before returning to the condo to pick up Susan for Kirsten's graduation. We arrived a few minutes late which disturbed John but suited me fine because I was able to view the proceedings while sitting in the fresh air and sunshine outside the tent. I raised the flaps of the tent so that we who were sitting outside could see, and those who were inside could get a little breeze. On the way back to Jackson we saw a majestic bull moose in velvet along the highway a few miles west of Crawford Notch.
We had only a day in Jackson and drizzled or rained most of it. Daniel and I packaged the kayak for its trip across the country in the morning - swaddled it in old sheets then wrapped it end to end in green saran wrap, then blanketed it with a layer
Saran-wrapped Kayak
of thin foam sheeting and bubblewrap which I obtained for free from the canoe dealer near Proctor, then another complete wrap in green plastic wrap, finally spiral-wrapped the whole package in two inch packing tape spaced an inch or two apart. I was worried about mold from moisture in the boat so before we wrapped it we sponged the rainwater out of the cockpit and hatches then dried them with a towel and hairdriers. Susan and Daniel drove Silas down to the airport in Manchester for his flight to Portland, then delivered the kayak to Ranger Canoe in Ashland on the way home. I read National Geographics for a while then boxed up Daniel's amp before driving over to Attitash for a swim with John and Eric. Eric's knee is still quite sore from his ACL repair operation ten weeks ago so he can't bicycle, hike or run yet. Friends as well as his doctor and physical therapist assure him that it will recover fully but he still has a hard time believing that. John goes in next Friday for an operation on his spine to relieve pressure on a nerve caused by a bone spur. The pinched nerve has been giving him severe pain in his right leg for several months now, relieved only at night although it isn't too bad when he's driving or swimming. Susan and Daniel returned in time for dinner at the Shannon Door; the haddock actually had a little flavor.
This morning I went out for another bird run, more birding than running. I borrowed Daniel's new camera to
Showy Lady's Slipper
photograph the showy Lady's Slippers along Wilson Road then ran and walked up to Whitney's, then up the new road behind Davis pastures, then up to the Doublehead trail. The trail was wet and I was running out of time so I turned around and returned home past Whitney's and Cheney's. It was another successful birding outing; good views of both red-eyed and blue-headed vireos finally enabled me to definitively distinguish their songs. Blue-headed's song is simpler and slower, the notes more slurred than warbled and the tone not as shrill as the red-eyed. The only birds for I still haven't been able to confirm my identification by their songs are Nashville and Northern Parula warblers and Warbling Vireo. Despite several attempts I wasn't able to spot them, but their songs are fairly distinctive and I've described them in the past so I'm pretty sure about the id's. After breakfast Susan and Mom and I followed the trail past the cabin along the stone wall and down to the river, then back to and across the lower fields to Sarah and Roger's house. Beautiful morning, soft sunshine and warm humid air fragrant with scents of the woods. We did find a few mosquitos and a few ticks, also a white tailed deer browsing raspberries along the edge of the lower pasture, and quite a few bird species for a short 45 minute outing. Among the warblers were a couple of singing blackburnian's which Mom could only just barely detect. There but for 25 years go I.
Eastern Swallowtail
Canada Mayflower
Canada mayflowers were blooming so abundantly along the river that the air was filled with their delicate sweet scent. Daniel packed valiantly while we were out and we managed to get off in time for once. In Chocorua we decided against a swim because our suits were packed, and in Rochester we hit a fierce thunderstorm with hail a half-inch and up to an inch across. It sounded like rocks hitting the car. We pulled over twice, the second time when we saw that virtually all the oncoming traffic up ahead had pulled off the road to wait out showers of hail and intense rain. The radio warned of heavy thunderstorms with the possibility of tornados west of us, with hail extending up into Carroll county as well. We scanned the gray-green sky for funnel clouds but saw none. By the time we reached Portsmouth the road was dry and sunny but we were delayed an hour getting out of Boston while the thundershowers petered out.

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