Monday, December 31, 2007

You Live, You Learn

Don't get me wrong. It has been an exciting, amazing year.

I learned how to snowboard. This past year, in North Lake Tahoe, I learned how to navigate a mountain with both feet buckled into a board that is 144 cm in length. And I even learned how to stop!

I also learned how to swim in open water. In a wet suit. And I learned - all over again - how to ride a bike. And I'll tell you, it is nothing like it was when I was a kid. I also learned how hard running a 10K can be. Especially after you have already swam a mile and cycled 25 before running it. So, yes, I more or less learned how to triathlon this past year.

I learned how to backpack. To trek for miles and miles up and down mountains with 30 pounds strapped to my back. I learned how to pitch a tent and how to purify water for drinking. I learned how good campsite coffee tastes, and even more important, how good a campsite swig of Crown Royal can be.

This year, I learned how important - to me - it is to always try new things. No matter how scar they may seem. In 2007, I learned to take a deep breath and go for it. No matter what. Because - and perhaps this is the most important lesson I learned this past year - it always feels pretty amazing to do something I never thought I could do.

I learned how to love again, this year. I re-learned how happy a big hug and a forehead kiss can make me. And I re-learned how wonderful a night on the couch listening to music and talking really is. I almost forgot how nice it is to love and be loved...

2007. A year of no limits, learning, and love. Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

"I Only Send Good Forwards"

TLY sent me this forward, prefacing it by saying, "I only send good forwards." TLY never lies, and I had to post this one to the blog for all of you and so that I never lose it.


Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year- old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.

Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life--like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The six-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

Take naps. Stretch before rising. Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.

Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you're not. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

Be always grateful for each new day

Sunday, December 02, 2007

California International Marathon

We did it. We ran 26.2 miles. We didn't die. And we got chocolate milkshakes from Burger King afterwards!
Congrats to AER on finishing her first marathon! Not to mention for finishing it in the fabulous first marathon time of 4:13. Go AER!

Congrats to Nic for finishing her fifth marathon, in her worst time ever, 4:23. And extra congrats for not getting upset by it.

Some seasons, we spend hours and hours on trails training. Some seasons, we spend hours and hours on airplaines. Not training. All that matters is that we get out there, time after time, appreciating our courage and determination.