Sunday, August 31, 2014

CPR Fest 2014

The rain stayed away long enough for me & Liam  to head to CPR Fest 2014. Short version: Muuuuuuch more fun and enjoyable than the Gulfport Music Festival. Smaller crowd. Better weather. Much more rock-oriented line up. Highlight of the summer!

For the morbidly curious that derive some value from my observations, here's a peek into some additional thoughts:

  • Dirty smugglers that we are, our folding chair bags also concealed a hidden Coke, for Liam. When we were getting into the park, past security, one of the guards was checking Liam's chair. The boy's eyes go wide but then Your Humble Narrator starts talking to the guard. Distracted him as he puts his hand less than an inch from the soda. Liam stopped breathing. Then the guard hands him the chair and we move through the line. Villains that we are. 
  • Event was sponsored by Rockstar. They had free samples. Liam tried his first one, and disliked it. Sampled the "peach," myself. Didn't like it. Not even for free. 
  • Buckcherry wasn't overly impressive. He talked as much as he sang. And most of his language was terribly profane. If that's your sort of thing, more power to you. Not mine, though. We sat in the shade and Liam cooled off. Took him a while to get used to the heat. Poor kid needs to get outside more often. 
  • Dinner was a Large Pizza for $15. Ugh! Liam ate like two pieces. Guess who ate the rest?
  • Skillet was amazing. Opened with solos from the violin and cello. Proceeded to kick muuuuuch buttocks. Great musicians. Appreciative of the crowd. Interactive and gracious. The string players were my favorite aspect. Not sure of their genders, though. And not 100% sure if they were playing live, or not. But it lessens the magic if you know how the magician does his tricks.
  • Seether surprised me with how phenomenonal they were.  Played all the songs that I wanted to here. Especially Broken. They did that one acoustic and the crowd sang most of it. Oddest thing, between songs they'd do weird music transitions. Usually with distortion and pedal effects. And they didn't talk much. Just jammed. Great, rocktastic jams. Another great band. 
  • Closed out with Godsmack. The headliner. Played some new stuff. Played a lot of old stuff. awwwwwesome drum battle. THEN old Sully, the lead singer and musical phenom, started talking. And wouldn't shut up. With his ultra thick Boston accent. Was fixated in throwing beers into the crowd. Spend a few minutes cursing and yapping, then throw another beer. And he had more than a dozen to throw. We got tired of hearing his accent, so we packed up and left. Heard almost everything we wanted to hear, anyway. 
  • All the bands raved about the heat. Even though it was a relatively mild night by South Mississippi measures. 
  • Aside from Buckcherry, we didn't sit down. Didn't need the chairs. But needed more water and could have hidden it in the chair cases. If we had only thought of it. 
  • Afterwards, a breakneck dash through Rooney's. One more Coke for Liam and the coldest, most delicious Johnny Appleseed for me. 
Another great trip with Kidd Maestro. Have to put more of those on our calendar. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Continued Recovery

Happy to report a continued recovery for Ye Ol' Knee. Still nursing a headache from Last Night's Dank, but headed to the gym for a pair of back-to-back spin classes with my old buddy Jim. Mostly speed work and very few (if any) hills. Forty four miles in less than two hours. 24MPH average. 1500 calories. Good times.

Recovered at the pool all too briefly. Wanted to sauna, but it wasn't warm. Wanted to get in the cold (therapy) dip, but it wasn't cold. Such is my karma.
Karma's a word. Like "love". A way of saying 'what I am here to do.' I do not resent my karma - I'm grateful for it. Grateful for my wonderful wife, for my beautiful daughter. They are gifts. And so I do what I must do to honor them.

Life in the Southern Fried Matrix. Never a dull moment. And feeling healthier every day.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Katrina Made Landfall

Nine years ago today, Katrina made landfall. On her anniversary, few people bothered to mention her. No memorial events. No ceremonies. Barely a remembrance on the local news. Nothing on the national news. How easy it has been to decorate our wounds. We're all back to our normal, self-imposed disasters.

My kids likely won't remember the lack of power. Or frequently moving from house to house for six months. They won't remember the hunter / gather quests for food that their parents replayed each day. They won't remember the recovery efforts. The loss. The slow healing process. And with some small measure of luck, they will not get PTSD sweats or nausea that strike whenever the mistakes and sacrifices from the sleepy past make the unexpected leap to the all-too-real present.

My own private celebration took place at Rooney's. Accompanied by mi amigo mos loco: Roger. And several giant pints of icy Johnny Appleseed. We drank to Katrina, to paradise, to death, and to the lie of love. (Okay, that was borrowed from Bukowski, but it wasn't too far from the truth.) Two aging warriors remembering long lost battles while dreading the challenges ahead of us. Nothing we ever do will make any headlines. But at least we're never bored.

Across a long enough timeline, pain and rumors fade to smoke. Their effects are etched in water. The rest is just rust and stardust.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Love Note & The Knee

Another test for The Knee. Hopefully we're on the road to recovery. If not the tail end of it. 21 miles on the bike. Then a 3 mile run. Kept it easy. Did well. No aches or pains. Finished strong. Had PLENTY of fuel in the tank. Wanted to go further. Luke would have made me suffer if that happened. So stuck to the plan. Easier that way.

Changing in the locker room and spotted somebody's discarded love note. 
Have a great workout baby! I love you so much!!! (heart) Your Wife :)
He probably had a great workout. He probably loves her. But he leaves the note behind. On the floor.

How romantic.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Liam's Lowers

Liam's Lower Bracers were applied yesterday. He's so sneaky and clever. The nurse turned around and he snuck a picture then sent it to me. Middle of work, it comes through, and makes me burst out in laughter. Very likely the highlight of my week was getting that unexpected surprise from my son.

Unfortunately things went down hill for Kid Maestro after the picture. In addition to the new lower braces, they added a "power bar" to the top set. So he had a double whammy of pain and discomfort. 

Then, shortly after getting home, one of the new braces actually pops off his teeth. And the maelstrom of calls and messages swirled up. Me & Liam & Dr Chris in a three-way IM chat. Me calling the orthodontist. Then Gigi. And finally making sure Cindy knew everything was cool. 

End result was multiple hours of torture for the poor kid. He toughed through it, though. Rapidly adopting my famous motto: this too shall pass.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Knee, Day Three

If progress continues at its current pace, there should be no more mention of problems with the knee. A third night of the anti-inflammatory patch did wonders. Woke with no pain of any kind. Not even a sore spot to be found by massaging the muscle/tendon. Very good sign.

Ended a grinding day at the office with a spin class. Didn't push it, though. Fairly good pace. Didn't slow. But didn't jack up the resistance too high. Eighteen miles in just under 56 minutes. 

Thought about walking a couple of miles. Didn't though. What difference would it actually make? None. Maybe add a long walk tomorrow, or Thursday. 

In the meanwhile, Luke & Jack come out of the darkness and ambush me about Ironman Louisville. October of 2015. Full distance. 140.6. Is Jon in, or is Jon out? Want to be. But is it realistic? Have to make it through Beach 2 Battle ship, first.

Still clearing through the depression and the anxiety. Oddly enough, in the middle of a long series of morose thoughts, my buddy KH unexpectedly messages me:

Happy is a state of mind. You can create happy in dire straits. I know this to e a fact. You can create happy when every single step is agony. Generally that takes more effort, and meds though. 

Which helped. Enormously And the process of making my own happy resumes.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Knee, Day Two

Another night with an anti-inflammation patch on the knee. Greatly improved. No pain at all. Sat in the back and rocked a yoga class without any impact on my range of motion. All the usual poses, plus a great demonstration of my core and balance skills by doing crow pose. Hopefully a good sign. Will know tomorrow, after an attempt on the cycle trainer. 

Need to keep focusing on the positive. Guessing a panic attack hit me late last night. Woke up from a dead sleep at 0130 with these racing thoughts of failure and a racing heart rate. Couldn't get the thoughts out of my head. Terrible crushing sense of sadness and over-whelming fear. Everything extremely grim and impossible to overcome. Couldn't get my heart right. Nearly woke Cindy. But what would she do? Send me to the ER? Yeah, that's going to happen. Not sure how long it lasted. Half an hour? An hour? Eventually drifted back off. But the damage was done. And it has been a day of self-doubt and dark depression. Just want to train and be happy. Is that too much to ask? Why is it my lot in life to suffer continual setbacks? To get so close to my goals and my happiness, only to have everything pulled away from me after only a taste of what's been missing for so long.

Yes, yes, first world problems. But that doesn't make them any easier to get through. They still hurt. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Knee, Day One

Fortunately there were some left over anti-inflammation patches from my last tango with knee. Taped it down, slept with it over night, and woke with greatly diminished pain. Less soreness. Walking continues to be fine. Running might be fine, but not risking THAT.  Mowed the grass, instead. Lots of sweat. Some sun on my skin. And one less thing to do.

After that, off to the pool for a mile of laps. Heat wasn't too bad. But nearly forty down and backs makes the mind wander. Gets boring long before you hit the mid point. Then it is a matter of pushing through. Good point is, my swim is fine and the next eight or nine weeks will only make it better.

Third adventure was a trip to the Gulf Coast Youth Orchestra tryouts. Liam was asked to audition and afterwards his instructor said he did very well. Liam said the sight reading was hard, and had sixteenth notes. He didn't think he did very well there. Told him he likely did better than the vast majority of people on Earth could do. He liked that answer.

(Any extracurricular he wants to do will be met with massive levels of support and encouragement. As a Freshman we have to start getting him ready for college applications, and things like volunteerism and highly organized groups like the orchestra will look good when he applies. And of course the grades! He's in ALL HONORS classes, already. Very proud of him and he's got our full support on all his endeavors.)

By the time Liam finished, the temperature was in record territory. We stopped by Sonic for some drinks (Coke Float for him & Strawberry Limeade for me.) While we sat there, the temperature was literally climbing by the minute. What started at 101 ended at 104. And that was in the damn shade!

My night ended with not-enough-drinks at Mugshots. Buddy Rog showed and we had some laughs and some serious conversations about life and moving through it. Ended well. Always does. But my brain got knocked off kilter and things got very sideways and very uncertain pretty quickly. Going to be haunted for a while, now.

We all have wounds. Some heal. Some leave scars. Some stay open. But we conceal them behind as many layers as possible. And they leave us privately in pain for years. Sometimes we can't fix them. Sometimes we don't want to fix them. Sometimes we don't know how.

Reminds me of a quote:
You are not allowed
in my Hell
You must stay in 
your own Hell 

-David Shirgley

Wednesday, August 06, 2014


Need to sleep more. She needs a goal, like a new house, a new baby, a new job, some kind of challenge, something to look forward to, or she's bored and she hates being bored. Pictionary is challenging. Need to keep stretching, it is working! How long before there's no such thing as a television line-up and everything we watch is literally "on demand?" The POTUS needs to give a speech and promise us Ebolacare. Is there anything artistic Meg can't do? Is there any instrument Liam can't play? Farming skills are far more valuable than computer skills.What about the future value of drone repair skills? Do you know what movie would be awesome? Goonies II, where the previous protagonists are grown up and THEIR KIDS have a new, modern quest. Old world puzzles and 21st century technology. If the average life expectancy in MS is 75, then 43 is past middle age. The world needs more puppeteers. Just stay positive. 95% happy. And blessed.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

What Next?

Fitness endeavors have not gone well for Your Humble Narrator since Augusta 2013. Few races since. The Rock & Roll NOLA was pitiful. Barely managed to survive Seaside Half Marathon. Slower time for Tradition. Had to tap out of the Gulf Coast 70.3 No races since. But the knee has healed. Weight back down. Strength & conditioning up. Head is clearing. Mood much better. And life is good. So.

What next? Giving serious thought to a late-season 70.3. Potentially the Beach 2 Battleship event. Wrightsville Beach, NC. Many good reports about it. Especially the swim. Supposed to be flat. Supposed to be fun. Just the sort of thing Jon likes to hear.

Started a 12 week running program in anticipation of going. Plan would be to get a month or so of training on the knee to see how it responds. If it does't complain, sign up for B2B. Spend a couple of days in Atlanta. Visit friends. Taper. Then do the event. Reverse the journey. And go from there.

Have to see how it goes. But any progress is good progress.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Liam At 15

Despite having the party yesterday, Liam officially turned 15 today. 

I posted a picture from the party (Whistle Or Lose It!) and wrote:
     Fifteen years ago      I became a father.      Not sure who has     learned or grown more.      But it never stops.      And I hope it never does.      I'm blessed.
A friend said: You look so happy every time you're with your kids.

And I said: Meg is my spirit. Liam is my soul.

They are. Greatest things that ever happened to me. And the most challenging. Sometimes. But more often than not, I'll stick with my simple premise: I'm blessed.