Wednesday, December 29, 2010

365 steps.....

365 Steps....

Today is another step. 363 have been taken this year. Two more to go till....

As I take time to reflect on those 363 steps I stop all this is trying to interfere with the moment. I add up my running miles for the year and find that my footsteps have taken me over 1,700 miles and to some very interesting places. I am now closer to the half way point…..of my third circumnavigation of the earth….by foot.

We all have a personal highlight reel for the past twelve months of our existence. It is our natural tendency to sit back and recall all those great and wonderful moments in our year...our 365 steps...that quickly jump to the front of our personal queue. Our great finishes in our 10k's or marathons as well as those strong 100 mile century bike races. Or simply quite walks in the forest or park.

We also smile when we wallow in our personal or professional accomplishments. Relationships maintained or enhanced, children guided thru life's wickets & thickets, and a career or job maintained in the toughest of times.

I smile my own little smile as I think of my personal ledger of my 363 steps. I first think of so many of you who shared those steps with me. Those days...those hours...those minutes we have run...ridden...walked and crawled over all manners of mountains to the flaming sand hills of a sultry North Carolina summer together.

On a rainy day in June my teammates-Team Little Guy ( finished a ride that touched all the military bases in NC. It was an amazing 230 mile journey that ended at Camp Lejeune--where we presented a check for $178,000 to the Wounded Warriors organization. So many people so generously donated to this wonderful organization. So many will benefit. I will never forget those days.

Yet not all of those steps were glorious or fun filled. There were moments of sadness and disappointment that lined the asphalt where some of my steps landed. Yet, like all of you, decisions needed to be made about those moments that took us to the deep and dark bottom of our valleys. Arms needed to reach high for the ledge above in order to pull that shoe stuck in the morass below.

Yet somehow we found the will to find the strength and desire to reach for that plateau again. We learned from the pratfalls and pitfalls along our chosen paths. We sucked it up and pushed forward. No regrets along the way. It was not easy. It never is. Yet life’s greatest moments come from the strength gathered from those wicked places.

I found the greatest of nature in the wilds of Banff National Park in Canada. We hiked thru snowfields and became one in nature. I also admired a small flower bed hidden amongst the masses in downtown Shanghai. Its beauty radiated thru the concrete urban jungle. Large or small…. nature rules the earth where we are but temporary tenants, who must water, care and love our patch of life.

I smile again as I think of all my steps. However, those steps are now finished. I close that chapter and look toward the bend in the road that will bring 2011 and 365 more steps and paths to follow.

I will watch for all of you as we cross paths and share tall tales and the fruit of the vine together. I am blessed to have so many wonderful friends & I look forward the new friendships that await. Run & ride well my friends as you live your life to the fullest!

Y'all….Make Dust!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter Run......

The 1st steps were treacherous.

Uphill on early snow/ice from a mountain night of winter mix.

This was not expected. Early December in the mountains of southwest Virginia are usually cool—but not cold. The real glimpses of winter come in January or February. Early December snow is just that—too early.

I run up through a back woods path from our cabin that is frozen over and rutty. I look down with each step and try to plan each foot strike as to not turn an ankle or slip and fall on my butt. The path angles up as it runs up near the Blue Ridge Parkway.

On any given day…in normal weather this is an easy run…..the only obstacles are the cars driving along America’s most visited National park. Not today.

I am alone.

On wintry days the Parkway is closed to visitors as it is not plowed or sanded. The curves in the shady areas are skating rinks when the road freezes over. The squirrels slip & slide as they cross the ice. On this day I am alone on this national treasure.

As I gingerly inch forward step-by-step I hear the snow and ice crack under my foot strikes. I hear nothing else. The total silence is pure and cold. I look through the naked trees and see further into the forest. I feel the forest eyes looking at me as I run down the middle of the snowy Parkway.

I find myself lost in the moment as I am totally absorbed in this perfect winter morning moment. I am transformed into a perfect place. My senses are pure. I am elevated into a moment of perfection. I want this moment to go on forever.

It doesn’t.

I slip and fall on my ass. The distant creatures giggle. I am not alone.

This winter day……Made Dust……

I will not forget it.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Patrick & Jules---You Rock....

Hawaii Hospitality……..

Customer Service…..what is it?

Watch commercials on TV or listen to them on free radio you hear a constant barrage of claims that one company’s customer service is soooooooo much better than the rest of the herd. As consumers we already know that 95% of all of that is bullshit.

So rare a moment in these busy times of our lives is that moment where we truly experience a significant level of customer service and genuine hospitality. I had one this week.

I traveled from Greensboro to Hawaii on Monday as I had to work in Oahu and Kauai this week. Well the whole week stated out badly when I missed my connection in Atlanta due to a severe thunderstorm. I finally got to Honolulu on Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 in the afternoon. My body clock was stuck at 8:30pm.

I quickly got a taxi to attend a business meeting for the next three hours. I get headed back to the Honolulu airport for my 8:00pm flight to Kauai. Body clock 1:00am.

Arrived Kauai in a rainstorm at 8:45pm. It was 9:15 by the time I left for Kekaha where I was spending the night. While I am familiar with Kekaha, I did not know exactly where the B&B I was staying at was located. My poor Garmin lady friend seemed to have problems with the Hawaiian names of the local streets.

By 10:15, 4:15am on my body clock, I sensed that I had found the right driveway to the, “Kekaha Kauai Sunset” B&B. I quickly noticed 4 houses at the end of the drive. Ok….said to self….hope I pick the right house!

Out of the corner of my eye….that was the one not sleeping….I notice a woman standing at the end of the drive waving her arms to me. She is directing me to drive right up to the house on the left.

I lower the window as I stop the car a foot from her toes and this smiling beautiful person comes up to the car and speaks my name as I get out of the car. She promptly puts a lei over my neck and welcomes me to the B&B. I think…am I dreaming? On no… it gets better. She offers to take my roller board. Now I know I was dreaming!

She introduces her lovely self as Jules and states that her husband Patrick has the night off since it is his birthday. She then leads me into their house. She shows me my room and points out the tall glass of ice water and cookies she has set out for me. She explains that breakfast is from 6:30 to 9:00am the following morning. WOW!

I quickly get to bed and dream of the dream I just lived.

I awake promptly at 6:30 feeling both groggy & hungry. I go up to the dining room to find Jules waiting for me with a cup of coffee in her hand. She asked if I like my coffee black. She is an angel!

I go out on the lanai to enjoy my coffee and watch the sea crash against the rocks as the sun rises in the east. This morning is going well.

Jules eases her way on the lanai and asks if I might like some Hawaiian French toast? Hell of a way to start the day.

So off to work I go with a smile on my face and a great breakfast in my belly to power the beast. My mind drifts throughout the day as I begin to wonder what lies in store for on at this glorious B&B on the second day of my stay.

I’m here to tell you I was not disappointed. I awoke at 5:30 the next morning and quickly went out for a run along the beach. I headed west and took in the stars twinkling in the pre-dawn sky as I listened to the waves crashing ashore. Some 2 ½ miles I turned and headed east. The sun was just starting to rise casting beautiful hues of pink & purple in the early sky.

When I returned from my run & showered I went up to the dining room again to be greeted by Jules holding a cup of coffee for me. She smiled as she asked if I would like a pineapple & ham omelet. I smiled as I sat down to another feast.

Soon my stay at this wonderful place was over. I thanked Jules and her husband Patrick for their warm & unending hospitality. Their genuine appreciation of my business was real and certainly a byproduct of their character and thoughtfulness. They offer their guests the highest level of courtesy and customer service imaginable.

So at the end of the day my friends, it is a treat to discover such a wonderful place & wonderful people in the middle of the south pacific. Awesome! You really should look them up if you travel to Kauai!

Patrick & Jules McLean truly….” Make Dust”….and lot’s of it!

Mahalo my friends!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Oh China--Your Past---Your Now....

July 22, 2010:

I stand in the center window of my room on the 24th floor of the JC Mandarin hotel and gaze in utter amazement at the Shanghai skyline that surrounds me. A sea of skyscrapers, both old and new, hug one another for as far as the eye can see. It has not always been this way.

It has been 10 years since my last visit to China. I still have vivid memories of that trip and the excursions taken at that time in the towns and villages near Shanghai. At that time the area was just starting to undergo a transformation of radical proportions. The government had a master plan in place to modernize the metropolitan area and develop a hub for worldwide business and commerce.

At that time smokestack manufacturing locations and shantytowns were in abundance throughout the entire area. Old cars, trucks and motor scooters belched foul exhaust fumes that melded with whatever found its way from the smokestacks. A trip to the outskirts of the city led to farmland that covered the horizon.

That was the reality some ten years ago. Not anymore. No, in fact all that remains of that time is the city’s name. This “new’ Shanghai this “new” China is well beyond anything I could have imagined or expected. I know where all of America’s wealth has gone. The owners of our debt have indeed invested wisely in their nation, cities and towns.

For the past few days I have travelled several hundred kilometers from Shanghai to Nantong, Jiangsu City and Yizheng. I have listened to the new industrialists, the “neuveau China rich” tell their stories of success. They tell of a government who closed down old and polluting factories in Shanghai and told the owners to move to the “new” industrial centers that have become magnets of new business and residential areas.

Success abounds in all that the eye can see. The freeways are laden with Audi A6’s that speed past the lorries laden with industrial production. I see more new Buick's on the roads that I ever see at home. The roads have been designed to handle huge volumes of traffic—and they do. All manner of magnificent infrastructure abounds to support the rolling masses.

Old village streets have been replaced with wide boulevards that stretch as far and straight as the eye can see. People move with the wild abandon of a nation undergoing a massive transformation to the delight of most. Oh how they spend our money well.

I am completely taken with the enormous amount of housing already built and being built. Twenty story residential structures dot the landscape for mile upon mile as this country provides for the residential needs of its people. No single family home style here. Living quarters start at the ground level and go up—up—and up.

One can sense an excitement amongst the masses. They understand that their present has radically changed for the better and their future is indeed very bright. They believe and support their government that has wisely converted our dollars and our future into a Chinese miracle.

I am a simple man and of simple mind. Yet what I have seen in these days serves to slap me in the face. Our reality is that we will continue to finance this economic juggernaut for the foreseeable future. Our children would be wise to understand the Chinese culture and speak the language. Have no doubt they understand ours---and spend our dollars wisely.

On Sunday the United States and South Korea will begin joint naval exercises in the Yellow Sea. China is not all pleased with all of this. Last week in the online edition of the People’s Daily, Maj.Gen. Luo Yuan, a deputy secretary general suggested: “In history, foreign invaders repeatedly took the Yellow Sea as an entrance to enter the heartland of Beijing and Tianjin.” He also quoted a saying from Mao: “We will never allow others to keep snoring beside our beds.” Is it really a good idea to piss off the keeper of our debt?

I will leave this mighty land on Saturday and return home. I will take with me a sense of awe that can only come from a firsthand look at this economic dynamo. I will suggest to all that we, as Americans, must quickly forgo all sense of entitlement and get back to the hard work, grit, and desire to create that what collectively made us what we “were!”

Not to do so will be a mistake that, in the long term, might forever lower our status in the global community and change all that we hold so near and dear. I, by nature, am not an alarmist. Yet, I am alarmed by all of this.

Seeing my friends… believing and I have no doubt of what I saw.

I have also been very careful not to snore all week.

China my friends—Makes Dust!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blood, Sweat & Gears....A Guest Blog by Robert Lippitt

It starts badly. It gets worse.

My Wednesday flight to Minneapolis is supposed to land at 1:35 in the afternoon. I finally arrive at 2:30 Thursday morning. I stay up the rest of the night watching Infomercials for “Girls Gone Wild” and “Sham-Wow.” The next two days are spent conducting training for middle managers.

On Friday, I take a flight home, go by the house, kiss the dog, grab my bike and hit the road to Boone. Foghat and Edgar Winter keep me company. Late that night, I arrive at the La Quinta. I’m running on fumes and bad coffee. I consider buying cigarettes. Nothing is open.

I get to my room and lay down for a few hours sleep. I discover the LQ is “pet friendly,” and the room next door is occupied by a particularly talkative dog. He has a lot to say. He does not shut up all night. At 5:00 a.m., I give up the fight, get up, and go through my pre-ride ritual. I lather up with Butt Butter, guzzle hotel coffee and scarf down some honey buns.

When I get to the ride, I run into Jeff Poage and Robert Delk. We chat too long. By the time we get to the start, there are at least a million people lined up. The race marshals yell at us to go to the back. Poage will have none of it. He fronts the people who showed up on time and gets a prime spot. Robert and I respect authority. We do as we’re told. We are idiots.

The Hendrix version of the National Anthem is played. Several of us weep openly. After the last note, we’re finally off but not for long. We must slam our brakes repeatedly. It is an obstacle course of “less serious” riders, and many of them stop in the middle of the road to adjust their mirrors and bells. I am fueled by disgust.

We pass a veteran pedaling with two prosthetic legs. People are telling him how inspirational he is. I point out to him that he’s cheating. Out of respect, I do it with kindness.

About a mile into the ride, the road starts its first ridiculous climb. That’s when I decide to put my mark on the BS&G. I fly by hundreds of riders like they’re standing still. They lack my courage. They admire my style. I’m reeling ‘em in one after another. Robert hangs on for dear life. When I look back, he stares at me with what can only be described as awe. Later, I discover he was in shock that anyone could be so damn stupid. He knew my implosion would be of epic proportion.

We catch Poage on the ascent and he too seems amazed by my ability; my ability to ignore my own limitations. We stay together until a little bit after Blowing Rock. Poage eventually separates from us. A few minutes later, we ride by him again. He’s on the side of the road with a mechanical that ends his day. I would not want to be the tattooed mechanic who supposedly “fixed” his bike last week. There is an ass-kicking with his name on it.

We finally hit the Blue Ridge Parkway and that’s where Robert and I see something neither of us has ever witnessed. It is not a rock slide, a rogue black bear or a lost mountain lion cub. It is a female cyclist squatting to take a crap right on the side of the road in full view of everyone.

Several miles pass before we can even talk about it. It’s still not a comfortable memory.
I feel good through mile 50 or so and at a rest stop we run into Chip Howell and his brother, Hampton. We ride together for a while until Chip drops a chain and we drop Chip and his brother.

Fortune shines upon us when Robert and I manage to get in a group with some very “fit” female tri-athletes. We think it’s some sort of cosmic payback for the damage caused by having to witness the roadside BM.

I feel obligated to tell the group to dial it down as we’re approaching the dreaded Snake Mountain. I want these ladies to know I’m in charge of this peleton. I want them to be comforted by my quiet confidence. They respond by hammering it. I’m left in their wake. I tell Robert we should back off a bit. He considers my recommendation. He decides he likes the company of the tri-athletes much better than mine.

I ride alone into the wind.

I hook back up with Chip and his brother Hansen at the Meat Camp rest stop and we begin our death march up Snake. I feel ok until cramps attack both legs like piranhas. They force a painful and untimely dismount. I consider fishing, bowling and video poker as alternative pursuits.

I’m back on my bike, and after some quick soul-searching, I conquer the Snake. When I get to the top, I know I’m in serious trouble. My legs are toast. I’m sick to my stomach and I’m seeing stars. The locals at the rest stop are mumbling something about “next of kin.” I tell Chip and his brother, Hammer Gel, to go on without me. They see the condition I’m in and don’t argue. They suspect I’m contagious.

I make it down the mountain and the ensuing road into and out of Tennessee becomes gloriously flat. I put my tunes on and listen to some Marley. Bob convinces me that “Every Little Thing Is Gonna’ Be Alright.”

The scenery is gorgeous. Creeks meander through rolling verdant hills. The sunlight dances off the top of single-wide trailers. Goats frolic and cows dance. I am as happy as a fat lady at the Golden Corral. I’m hallucinating.

It’s a temporary bipolar delusion.

My bliss is short-lived. There is a horrible mistake. Surely, the organizers wouldn’t put another torturous climb so soon after Snake. A benevolent God wouldn’t allow it. It’s not right.

Despite my protests, the road takes a vicious turn upwards and keeps going and going and going. For most of the climb, I balance precariously at the minimum speed that manages to keep my bike, and me, just barely upright. I am fighting the laws of physics. I am foaming at the mouth.

After what seems an eternity, we finally descend. I assume the worst is over. It isn’t. We are assaulted by a series of nasty climbs, one after another. My suffering is biblical. It is like being gang raped by a horde of rabid gorillas. I break down physically, mentally, spiritually, organically, politically and sexually.

The last 15 miles or so is horrible. At the last rest stop they torment us. They hand us bottles of hot water. We ask if they have any cold. They ridicule our stupid question. “Yea dumbass, we got plenty of cold water, that’s why we gave you the hot.”

I see other riders with my disease. Their dilated pupils stare right through me. We are rolling zombies. We have the plague. We smell of death.

The race organizers place a rotten cherry on top of their misery sundae. At something like mile 98, they give us yet another wall to climb. When I crawl to the top, I have not one shred of dignity. I am a shadow of the cheerful boy who began his ride full of optimism and innocence.

I’m done.

One of the volunteers tells me “it’s all downhill from here.” Later on, I learn he is the town imbecile and a pathological liar. If I knew his name, I’d hunt him down, torture him and kill him.

After 102 miles, I make it across the finish line. I yell angrily at an elderly woman who is volunteering her time to help us. I tell her that “if I wanted to ride 102 miles, I wouldn’t have signed up for a God damn century. She does not respond. She clearly recognizes the merit in what I’m saying. I’m confident this will be corrected.

I’m greeted by Poage, Robert, Chip and his brother Ham Bone. Money is exchanged. They don’t tell me, but it’s obvious they placed wagers on whether I would live. After they settle their accounts, they leave me. I lay in the grass alone with my thoughts. I try to sort out what just happened. Eventually, I limp back to the car with my bike. I try to leave it, but it will not release me. It has become my malevolent black shadow. I loathe its very existence.

On the drive home, I stop several times with a case of the dry heaves. The locals in Yadkinville think me to be a drunk. I speak to them in tongues.

My arrival home is no different than usual. My family fakes mild interest. They are completely unsympathetic. They no longer bother to ask me why I do this. They know I have no good answers.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Ride Begins.....

Tomorrow morning I leave Winston to join my Team Little Guy teammates in Pinehurst. We will spend Wed. night neat Ft. Bragg.

On Thurs. we will leave Ft. Bragg and ride to Pope Air Force Base. We will then ride 80 or so miles to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

On Friday we will ride some 85 miles to Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station and spend the night there.

On Sat. we will ride some 85 miles from Cherry Point to Camp Lejune and the Hope For The Warriors new facility. We will the present the check for $100,000 to very good folks at Hope For The Warriors.

First of all I wish to thank ALL who dug deep to help. To Phil, Shannon, Rick, Phyllis/Tyler and ALL the others who SO generously contributed what you could. You are simply the best!

I will ride with ALL of you in mind during the next three days. I am proud to riding with Eric, my son, Ed, and John. We will be supported by Jeff Hardin and John Slack. They are THE BEST!

Think of us at some time on Thurs/Fri/Sat.

I will be thinking of you!!

You are The Best!!!

Bubba......making dust with Team Little Guy......


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Renewing Your Lease.....

With a car or truck you either shell out lots of cash to own and call your own or you lease and pay as you go.

In life you only lease the time we share together. Not difficult to comprehend. Each breath is a gift. There is no warranty.

Thus there is only a limited amount of control of our destiny. Correct.

We have the ability to choose. That sets us apart.

We can hang whatever kinds of stuff off our body that suggests whatever we wish to those who look. We can paint, oil, tuck, or disguise our basic self into just about anything we so choose.
Yet so few choose to take a hard look at their core chassis & opt to take a few realist steps needed extend their time or lease with those who care.

As July approaches I look toward another anniversary of the day that some doctor in Maine spanked my behind & and so was my first breath. Since then I have been breathing for 22, 982 or so days.

By all accounts & recollections those 22,982 days have been very a hoot and at least to me that’s all that really matters.

I have fathered wonderful children. I have partnered with a splendid woman who has shared all matters of thick & thin.

Yet as this day ends I know not how many breaths are left to share….and I really don’t care.
I say that because I have decided that my future paths will be no different than those taken in the past.

My selfish joy has emanated from all forms of challenges. Some 50 marathons and I’m presently over some 1,000 miles into my third journey around this plant by foot. Yet I now realize that I must change, time to renew the lease.

I must ride and not run…at least not run as much.

The feedback from foot, knee & hip aliments suggest that I must reduce the stress and pounding on my body. I have carried 215 Clydesdale pounds over all those miles and the time has now come to, quite simply, change. A new lease is at hand.

I have now discovered that my new tool to endorphin release is an 18 pound road bike. I work myself to lather as I pedal my ass off for miles upon miles and swoop down mountain passes at over 40 miles per hour. A beautiful rush indeed!

I like this lease.
I know that I have now found a way to extend this valuable lease for this mere speck of time shared with you.

I waste no mere click of the clock of time as I push this lease to the limits.

How is your lease? When will you renew your lease?

OBTW….do follow Team Little Guy at as we ride over 200 miles on Thurs/Fri/Sat to military bases in North Carolina this week to deliver a check for $100,000 that we raised for the Hope For Warriors effort. .

Rock on TLG!


Saturday, May 22, 2010

14,600 Mornings Together....

As I slowly faded out of slumber back into this new day I lay very still in bed. I listened to the soft sounds of breath coming from within 12 inches of my left ear.

I did not move much as I rolled over and looked at the face I have seen on a pillow beside me for the most of 14,600 of so mornings in our mornings together.

I smiled as I thought of this incredible life we have as one….hand in hand down this path of life sharing all that comes our way. We share a common love born of commitment & determination to find the best out of the good—bad—and ugly.

We survive and have grown by finding our own way through this thicket of life’s miracles—surprises—and disappointments. We always try to end each day with a kiss…no matter what might not have gone as planned or desired that day.

We love our children with every ounce we can muster no matter what. Yet, we never let our attention to them diminish the joy we share with each other.

We share miles of sidelines and finish lines. We shared victory together and planned to work harder to do better the next time out.

She is there when I ride off for my mountain miles and listens to my tall tales of travel when I return.

I love my mate….my lover….my friend….my joy!

Tomorrow brings the 1st day on the next 14,600 days together…..

LuLu my rock…my beacon….my light….

You make dust…..each & every day….


Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Joy of Movement--Pure & Simple

As I sliced through the cool crisp mountain air this morning high on the Blue Ridge Parkway I thought of two things.

1. I glanced at my Garmin 305 and it rather succinctly indicated that I was flying down the northern decent after Groundhog Mountain at 39 miles mph.

2. I banished all thought of a crash from my mind as the pure endorphin rush hit as my speed peaked.

As the Parkway leveled off I spun my pedals at a good steady cadence as I rolled along America’s most scenic and traveled 469 mile National Park. I was passed by cars & motorcycles as we rolled in unison toward our whatever’s. Yet as I rolled along I felt the inner exhilaration that those on some sort of motor vehicle will never feel.

You see on this perfect mountain morning my movement came from within. I was the force of movement. I determined how far or how fast I was to go. Nothing came without my effort. I could never feel the high of a 38 mph decent if I hadn’t worked really hard pedaling my ass off up the incline to get to the top.

No secrets here. Pure and simple effort—from within—was needed to shake off all gravitational force to get me over the crest. The reward of moving to the center of the road for the headlong decent into the place where fear is conquered and no crash happens to screw up a glorious moment.

Having said all of the above, I truly marvel at all shapes and sizes of truly outrageous places I have experienced great moments of joy as I ran, biked, canoed or crawled thru flora/fauna/stream/lake/mountain & desert alike.

For the past 30 years I awake each day wondering what new joy will I see—smell—touch or embrace as I self propel my 200 pound self thru urban jungles or smooth forest paths. I am truly blessed to have met so many of you along these highways & byways to share moments of great movement together.

I think not on the day that it all might end. I simply choose not to stray too far without running shoes near or my 14 pound red Tommaso beast at ready for the next ride.
Look forward to all of our next movements together……where ever they may be.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

On Rhubarb..a Taste Never Forgotten!

OK….this is going to require a little work. Not too much mind you….just a bit.

So close your eyes. Now think back to your childhood days and think of something you ate that tasted so outrageously different that you have never forgotten that very unique & special taste. Think hard there had to be something. This is about mine.

As I write this I’m watching a pot cooking on the stove. This pot contains something that I picked in the garden this morning. The smell easily and quickly brings me back to days in Maine when I watched my Mother cook the very same thing….the very same way.

Yet back then I picked this gem and ate most of it well before it ever made it to the cooking pot. I picked the stalks and then quickly got a small saucer and filled it with sugar. I then wet the bottom of the stalk with my tongue…dipped it in the sugar and bit into that baby. WOW…..that taste was a mouthful of tart/sweetness that lit up every taste bud in my happy mouth and we made funny faces.

Rhubarb is a wonderful plant! Yep that is what I’m watching cook on LuLu’s stove. I have been waiting for this harvest for the past three years. Why three years, well rhubarb should only be harvested in its third growing season.

Rhubarb is a perennial plant which forms large fleshy rhizomes and large leaves with long, thick (and tasty) petioles (stalks). Rhubarb stalks are commonly found in supermarkets, fresh rhubarb is prized by gourmet cooks. Some folks say the finest quality rhubarb is grown in Michigan, Ontario, Canada, and other northern states such as Maine in the United States.
Rhubarb loves cold weather. Rhubarb works here in the mountains of southwest Virginia because we are above 3,000 feet and our winters are cool to cold.

Rhubarb is good for you and contains a fair source of potassium, contributes minor amounts of vitamins, and is low in sodium. Rhubarb's crisp sour stalks are rich in vitamin C, dietary fiber and calcium. Rhubarb is somewhat acidic (pH 3.1-3.2) but in most recipes this is normally offset by sugar. One cup diced Rhubarb contains about 26 calories.

OK…….waiting is over. It’s a glorious May Saturday afternoon and I have three scoops of fresh vanilla ice crème just waiting for the warm rhubarb sauce to be poured on top.

Heavenly! I’m in the rhubarb time machine & loving every bit of it and still making funny faces!

Rhubarb makes dust…….


Friday, May 7, 2010

On Acceleration.....

my morning run only confirmed: I am no longer plagued by any Toyota-like "unexplained acceleration".....or any acceleration for that matter!.....:)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On Being Relevant....

On Being Relevant

Are you a relevant person? Do you care if you are or not? Do relevant people make a difference in your life? Do you care?

I suspect that most people hope to go through life being, “somewhat relevant” during the speck of time that we exist on this planet. For the most part, parents are relevant to their children and ditto for the kids to the parents. After all, if that were not the case why be parents or children in the first place?

I know so many people who I have encountered through the years who are extremely relevant. They have accomplished so much in their lives that we, as a whole, are much better off in our existence. Yet I know many men & women who have led very simple and insular lives that have had very little effect on others. Yet in their own way were…very relevant.

So this begets the question, “is it all so important to be a relevant person?” The answer is yes.
Relevant people make a difference. So you ask the question, “Are there good relevant people and bad relevant people?” The answer is again yes. If someone fires you from a job, for whatever reason, becomes a relevant person in your life. However is that person as relevant as the person who hired you for the position? Good question. In this case only you can make that call.

Are people of athletic persuasions who engage in, “individual” sporting activities such a long distance running or cycling more relevant in these activities compared to those who engage in team sports? The individual athlete depends on their own capabilities to perform & be relevant----one way or another. The team depends on each other to accomplish their goals and attain their shared degree of relevancy.

A certain golfer of note seems to still be relevant after engaging in outrageous behavior that shocked the world. Yet we….as a whole…allowed him to maintain his relevancy by not pulling the plug with all of his sponsors. We, in effect, condoned his behavior and lowered our collective level of acceptable behavior to a new low.

Was that certain golfer more relevant than say… Captain Sully or say Mother Teresa? Oh….I guess they needed to be more relevant in order to be sponsored by Nike or all the others who celebrated the excesses of the flesh and brazen infidelity by their silence and continued support.

I certainly didn’t expect to be relevant in these some 400 words. I only suggest that each of us strive to be relevant in the specs of time we share with each other and hold accountable those who aren’t.

At the end of the day Captain Sully & Mother Teresa……MAKE DUST!


Mother Nature Makes Dust & Plenty of it!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Improbable Comeback---It Starts Today....

There are few, if any, that have made as much dust as Tiger Woods. No other athlete in history rose to the front of the class as the titanic of money making and fame in our global world.

That famous ship, as we all know, sunk so quickly and suddenly as it hit ice below the waterline. Tiger's demise was as quick and deadly from activities below the waistline.

He made more dust than all others combined. Then, on one fate full night, he was buried by the very dust he once left behind.

Today is he rebirth. Today he reenters the public eye---front & center. Jonathan Mahler wrote a fascinating piece in the NY Times Sunday Times Magazine. I highly recommend that you read his article.

We will all watch as this once iconic figure can regain his the front of the pack....

Making dust.........


Saturday, February 27, 2010


Commitment ....

What is it?

Do you have it?

It is the end of February and the 2010 Winter Olympics are ending. It has been a marvelous display of athletic achievement at all levels. Favorites have won—favorites have lost. Why?

Good question. We have seen athletes of great talent perform well on the world stage. We have seen some with far less talent kick butt & take the gold. Why?

Think about your own successes or disappointments. Why did you run your own PR marathon or why did you crash? How about your personal life? Why did you marry……and stay married? Why did you divorce? Did it fail…or was it avoidable?

We set goals…we dream. The difference between a dream and success is…..well….commitment. It is relatively easy to set a goal. We imagine ourselves running an effortless 26.2 road race or riding a seamless 100 mile road race.

In life we dream of meeting the perfect mate and living a perfect life together. Yet in reality our own imperfections run into each other and we must deal with out differences. We look at our own expectations & needs and then decide if we can adapt and accept the sum total of our mate. What glue exists to help us grow old together?

The task of preparing for a 26.2 mile road race is daunting. The task of two living a life as one is daunting. What holds is all together?


When we begin our assault on the 26.2 distance we set a plan that takes weeks of training and dedication to miles upon miles of effort and…….commitment. We give up so much in order to attain our lofty goal. We invite family & friends to watch as we sacrifice so much to prepare to run so far. Yet are we so selfish & self absorbed to isolate ourselves in those hours upon hours of insular training?

The process of courtship should allow us to vet those who don’t quite measure up. So many enter the corral of possibility….only to be tossed to the curb of reality as we narrow the field of suitable candidates. We hope to wallow thru lust as we paddle our way to enduring love.

Training is the process through which we patch the pieces of our plan together on a daily basis. The race is the table where we dine or barf on the results.

Commitment is the stuff that cements the miles of our life together. We look beyond our shortcomings and frailties to the commitment of our spirit to endure through the endless miles and potholes of every day life.

Our lifelong success is the sum total of our commitments to ourselves and each other.

Our race is run on a daily basis.

Without commitment there is…….

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Queen of Bloody Marys

What to serve your Valentine tomorrow morning???

Our friends at Garden & Gun- suggested:

To find the queen of them all we narrowed in on New Orleans, of course, and followed our noses straight to Cochon. There executive chef and owner Donald Link makes a Bloody Mary that will make you practically rise from your seat in joy. The secret lies in some unmistakably Southern ingredients including authentic pork jus* and a heavy splash of pickled okra brine. But don’t take our word for it. Whip up one yourself.

* If you don’t happen to be the chef of one of the most famous pork restaurants in America, you can substitute beef broth for the pork jus.

Cochon Bloody Mary(yields 10–12 servings)
1 can V8 (46 oz.)2 tbsp. finely ground black pepper
2 tbsp. whole grain mustard
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1.5 oz. pork jus
1.5 oz. lime juice
2.5 oz. lemon juice
3.5 oz. hot sauce (preferably Crystal brand)
2 oz. green hot sauce
1.5 oz. red wine vinegar
1 oz. olive juice
1.5 oz. okra juice (the brine from a jar of pickled okra)vodka of choice

Mix it up: Combine everything in a pitcher—except vodka—and stir.
To serve: Fill glass with ice. Add about 2 ounces of vodka. Fill with Bloody Mary mixture. Stir, garnish with pickled okra and a stalk of celery, and serve.

Enjoy.....this Bloody Mary-----Makes Dust......


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Aimee & Sarah--Two Awesome Women who Make Dust!

In life so much comes so easily to so many in so many ways. Yet so many let so much get away as they never use what they have. So few rise above having so little in life or athletics and find so much within to excel light years above those with so much.
These are two who shine.....and Make Dust....
Aimee Mullins first received worldwide media attention as an athlete. Born without fibulae in both legs, Aimee's medical prognosis was bleak; she would never walk and indeed would spend the rest of her life using a wheelchair. In an attempt for an outside chance at independent mobility, doctors amputated both her legs below the knee on her first birthday. The decision paid off. By age two, she had learned to walk on prosthetic legs, and spent her childhood doing the usual athletic activities of her peers: swimming, biking, softball, soccer, and skiing, always alongside "able-bodied" kids.

While a dean's list student at the prestigious School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, she set her sights on making the US Team for the 1996 Atlanta Games. She enlisted the expertise of Frank Gagliano, one of the country's most respected track coaches. Through this partnership, she became the first woman with a "disability" to compete in the NCAA, doing so on Georgetown's nationally-ranked Division I track team. Outfitted with woven carbon-fiber prostheses that were modeled after the hind legs of a cheetah, she went on to set World Records in the 100 meter, the 200 meter, and the long jump, sparking a frenzy over the radical design of her prototype sprinting legs.

In 1999, Aimee made her runway debut in London at the invitation of one of the world's most celebrated fashion designers, Alexander McQueen. Walking alongside the supermodels of the world, Aimee's groundbreaking, triumphant turn captured the attention of the fashion media, propelling her onto the magazine covers of ID and Dazed and Confused. Conquering the fashion magazine standards of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, W, Glamour, and Elle, she was also named as one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World."

An influential voice in today's changing youth culture, she has been named as one of Esquire's "Women We Love," one of Jane magazine's "10 Gutsiest Women," one of Sports Illustrated's "Coolest Girls in Sport," and was celebrated as the "Hottest Muse" in Rolling Stone's annual Hot List.

Aimee makes dust....

Sarah Reinertsen is an American athlete. She was the first female leg amputee to complete the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Kona, Hawaii[. She first attempted to finish the race in 2004, but was disqualified when she failed to meet the qualifying time for the bike leg by 15 minutes. She returned in 2005 and completed the race in just over 15 hours. Besides marathons and triathlons, Sarah has also competed in bicycle races. She was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency, a bone-growth disorder which eventually lead to her becoming an above-the-knee amputee at the age of seven. After the amputation, she began to run track and broke the 100-meter world record for female above-the-knee amputees at the age of 13. She was formerly the marketing coordinator for Ossur and spokesperson for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. She was featured on the cover of Runner’s World and was named one of the first eight “Heroes of Running” in the magazine. She has also appeared on the cover of Triathlete magazine and Max Sports & Fitness magazine.

In 2006, she used the Ossur Total Knee 2000 and Talux Foot as she competed with her former boyfriend Peter Harsch on The Amazing Race 10. They finished the race in 7th place. A native of Huntington, New York, she now lives and trains in Orange County, California. She also works as a motivational speaker.

Sarah makes dust...

Do you make the most of what you got?