Sunday, November 30, 2003

A rare Sunday entry.

Everyone seems to be fighting this cold. Jules and I woke up worse for the wear (you have to feel crappier before you feel better, right?) and the kids just feel out of sorts.

The day was pretty mellow, a bunch of errands and some household chores. We took the kids to lunch at El Pollo Loco and that's when I started to lose it. Neither of them would eat anything and only wanted to play in the jungle-gym area. And I couldn't help but feel, "Man, we spent MONEY on this food, and it's going to be thrown away."

And I was forceful in my tone of voice with Sophie, especially, and this black cloud just stayed over me the rest of the afternoon. Later on, when we were getting ready for dinner, Sophie, being a 5 year old, complained about having to pick up the living room by herself. And again, I had this... tone. And I used it on her and I walked away, angry. Moments later, Julie took me a side and told me that I sound "angry. And (my) voice is scary."


Who have I become? I'd like to use some excuse that it's the coffee or the pressure of the marathon or that subconsciously there's something about CF tied up in my behavior. But that would be a load of crap. I'm like my father in so many ways and it comes out when I'm frustrated with the kids. I wish I could stop myself before these moments rise to the surface.

Where is this anger coming from? I can't blame it on my childhood. That's not it. It's something else.

Am I being hard on myself? And am I projecting the high expectations I have for myself on to my kids? Sometimes I hear Sophie sound sad because she thinks something she’s done isn't good enough. Where is THAT coming from?

Lately I can feel my whole body being tense at all times. I can feel this huge relief when I take off my shirt at night, like the chains of the day have been stripped.

I'd like to think it was the marathon or job related or something to do with CF. Maybe it's all of those. But I have to find some way to get in touch with this bottled...raw energy and release it somewhere else besides towards my family. Lord knows we have enough to deal with already.

Two weeks until the marathon.


Saturday, November 29, 2003

Julie and the kids are making cookies in the kitchen so I thought I'd jump on here for a minute.

We ran that 10 mile recovery run this morning. I ran with Beth and Lucy doing a 3/1 the whole way. I wasn't sure if I'd even make it through the whole thing at that pace. Last night I didn't get much sleep, Sophie kept her knee in my back most of the night. Not that I blame her. Around 4 in the morning I moved to Jake's bed (because, hey, he isn't using it) and slept for another hour.

By the end of the 10 miles I was feeling pretty good. This cold I'm fighting has been knocking me back a little bit. I'm pretty worn out, now. Jules hasn't felt good all day. I took the kids to lunch and then had Sophie go with me while I shopped for JulieĆ¢€™s Christmas presents and bought a few things at the hardware store (those DAMN SPRINKLERS are the bane of my existence!!!).

Got the rest of the lights up as well so the outside of the Malchus home is very festive. Apparently Budd's neighborhood is connecting all houses with their lights. Strands of blinking colored lights will fill the neighborhood. I don't think we can top that. Of course, everyone over there in Stevenson Ranch is a little merrier since none of their homes burned down.

All in all it has been a really nice 4 day holiday weekend. Even with all of us fighting a virus, it's been just nice to be together. This really makes me look forward to Hawaii, when we won't have to worry about anything... well, not too much, anyway.

And, to cap things off, BG won their game and now play in the MAC championship game this coming Thursday. For those of you who aren't football fans, I'm sorry by boring you with Falcon pigskin updates.


Friday, November 28, 2003

Somehow got on the bike this morning. We slept like logs after a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. The morning was spent watching the Macy's parade, and then we drove to Karyn's mother's home. That was about an hour drive. The rest of the day was spent with Karyn's family (The Gardners, The Christensens and Kathy Coyle.... their mom). I have to say that this was one of the nicest Thanksgivings we've had in a long time. Maybe it was the beers, I don't know. We got home late and crashed.

Today (after my morning ride through the ever-developing Valencia area...when WILL they have built enough houses anyway?... we made our way to Costco for some shopping. Julie bought my Christmas gifts (yes, I know what they are, we're not being too secretive this year since the bulk of our gifts to each other is the trip to Hawaii) and we ordered our Holiday cards. Somehow, we managed to get a great picture of our kids, you know, the two who don't like getting their pictures taken. For all of you who have made a donation, expect a nice picture of our cute kids in a nifty holiday card. Sophie also got her own copy of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." Personally, I think that's one of the sweetest films ever made. And that song in it ("Pure Imagination")... it's another one of those songs like "Puff the Magic Dragon" that just tugs at the heartstrings.

Today also found me putting up the lights on the outside of the house. I used to be a bit of a scrooge about decorating and celebrating the Holidays too early. Now, I think we all just need to have some of the cheer and hope a little earlier than usual. It's a cruel world out there. What's wrong with a few lights?

Tomorrow is the 10-mile recovery run. It's our second to last run as a big group until the Marathon. Hard to believe that everything goes down in 2 weeks. I was thinking today that once the marathon is over I won't be keeping this journal anymore. That in itself is strange. Writing this has become a big part of my daily life, just like the running.

I also plan to get new shoes tomorrow and hopefully get home in time to catch some of the BG-Toledo game.

That's all for tonight.


Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Ran this morning and it felt like I hadn't run since April. It was cold (I actually wore sweats) and windy. And my body was still.... STILL tired. As I went along for my brief 40 minute run, I was afraid that maybe I might have lost some of my strength since the 20 miler. What was I thinking? As if one 20-mile run could really exhaust you THAT much. Sheesh.

I don't know, maybe it can.

An....yway. By the time I was 10 minutes into the run I could feel a really nice stride. I mean, I felt some speed, man. I guess my fears were silly. I'm ready for this bad boy in a little over two weeks. I mean, I'll be ready then, I'm not ready today. You get what I mean.

This morning Sophie had a Thanksgiving feast at preschool that all of the parents were invited to. God, it was so awesome. I was welling up as she sang the song the whole class had learned. She was pretty excited that I was there. Is it strange to think that I feel so damn lucky because my daughter loves me so much? I hope she never stops loving me like this. Alas, I know that somewhere down the road, when she grows up, I won't be the most important man in her life anymore. I will treasure these days of childhood forever.

As soon as the class finished singing, Jacob ran up to Sophie (still in the front of the class with the rest of the students) and gave her a big hug. You have to understand, everyone in the class knows who Jacob is. In fact, the classroom is his when he's there. The kid just walks in like he should be there with the rest of them. What a little pooper. No really, the kid can take the smelliest poops... maybe I shouldn't get into that one.

We're looking forward to this four-day weekend. The Christmas decorations are going to go up and I'm getting new shoes in time for the marathon. I'm hoping that the new shoes will help alleviate the soreness in my legs. Plus, Bowling Green football is on ESPN again. This is the 3rd game this season. I've seen more BG games this year than I have in the past 10!

I don't think I'm going to run again until Saturday morning. I'll try some yoga and hit the bike on Friday. Next week I'll get back into my training routine.

That's all for now.


Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Did not run this morning. My body was telling me to take it easy one more day. Glad I did.

Last night we were singing and dancing to an old Peter, Paul and Mary recording of "Puff the Magic Dragon". On Saturday we went to a puppet show at the mall and Sophie fell in love with the song (it was integral to the puppet show). When I got home from work she wished she could hear the song again. Little did she know that I had one of my mom's old LP's buried among the hundreds I have in the office.

Ahh, remember LP's? There's nothing like them. I know that compact disc's are supposed to provide better sound quality (and, admittedly, they do). But there's a human element that's missing with cd's. I can listen to a cd and you can be thousands of miles away listening to your own copy of the same cd and we're having the same music experience. But with LP's.... man, they were a personal experience. The minute the needle hit the vinyl and that crackling began... it was a crackle that came from you playing the same songs over and over and over again.

To this day I can't listen to the Yes album "90125" on cd because I can still hear all of the skips and worn grooves from the LP I got back in the Christmas of '83. The second song on the first side (remember sides?), "Hold On", that New Year's Eve, I remember jamming on the drums with Bob Hasek and Thom Theiss and I was playing Budd's drums. And for some reason I really wanted to get that opening drum riff right, probably to impress those guys. And that was the night I scratched the record beyond repair. Oh, we tried. And the beginning of the song always sounded like we'd dragged the album on the sidewalk (Crrrkkkkkk-----lppppkkkkk!).

The other thing about Lp's was the way you explored the jacket cover and the liner notes while the record played. My parents’ basement was my fortress of solitude and I spent so many hours rocking back and forth in one of those broken yellow upholstered rocker/recliners reading the lyrics and touching the often raised textures of the LP jackets. You don't get that anymore.

Music was such an important part of my life. Those LP's marked me forever. To this day I can remember hearing the first notes of the one's that changed my life. The opening banjo riff from "The Rainbow Connection" from THE MUPPET MOVIE SOUNDTRACK (my first record); The piano beginning to "Don't Stop Believin' (Journey ESCAPE) and those drums the began "Owner of a Lonely Heart (from 90125). The scratchy ending of the fist side of Clapton's SLOWHAND, that put me to sleep my first semester of college. And the slamming snare of Max Weinberg on "The Ties That Bind" when I truly discovered Springsteen and THE RIVER changed my life.

Oh, I know you can have those moments with cd's. But there weren't remote controls. you had to physically get up and make the effort to play the song again. if I wanted to try and match Neil Peart tom-tom for tom-tom on "Red Barchetta", I had to get off the drum stool and play song two of MOVING PICTURES again and hope I got back to the set before the song began. LP's were a physical experience.

And of course, I stole some of my parents LP's, little did they realize. Mostly mom's stuff: Harry Belafonte's CALYPSO (featuring "Day-O); The soundtrack to THE STRING, and obviously, Peter, Paul and Mary's MOVIN'.

I've always loved the song "Puff the Magic Dragon". Something about the innocence in that song. It wasn't until I was in college and I'd placed it on a road tape as a joke that I realized how sad the song ends. And as Sophie sang and danced to it last night, I was getting welled up. She doesn't understand all of the lyrics. And I wish she could hold on to that wide-eyed innocence. I wish they both could. But someday... far away I hope, that innocence will be crushed. Something like Cystic Fibrosis and the reality of the disease will make them confront life and death.

But for now, I'm going to enjoy singing and dancing with these two angels in my life. I am a blessed man. I have a wife who is strong, forgiving and shows me more love than I feel I deserve. And I have these two children who bring me so much joy and challenge me every day. I have close friends and relatives who I trust my life with and who I know will protect my family.

Yes, I am a blessed man. A thankful man.


Monday, November 24, 2003

What can I say about running 20 miles?

Well, I started off strong. I can say that. It was the farthest I've run to date. Yes, I can say that as well. I can also say that my legs felt like they were going to fall off of my body. Or, I could say that I have no idea how I'm going to feel after 26 miles except that I will be relieved that it over. Yes. I know I can say that too.

But in the end, I found the strength to complete the run in just (and I mean JUST) under 4 hours. Actually, at the last turn, I checked my watch and I was at 3:58:47 and I found some kind of energy to get in there around 4:59:35. That is something I'm pretty happy about.

Throughout the run, I felt like this little group of four we've been running with stayed very strong together. The beginning of the run was a group of 6. Sebastian (the doctor), Tony (the realtor), Lillith (the former Olympian), Beth (my CF team partner), Lucy (the energizer bunny lawyer) and myself (the stubborn father of 2). Unfortunately, Beth is coming off of a foot injury and had to drop out around mile 12, and Lucy wasn't feeling well, so she stopped around mile 15 (?). The other four of us stayed together as a group for the rest of the run. That is, until we came to the last stretch of the run that takes us past the Rose Bowl.

I don't know if it's knowing that I'm safe and close to the end, or that I'm just satisfied that we're almost done, but whenever I get to this point in the long runs, I taper off. I don't mind everyone getting a minute ahead of me. That5, and the fact that my legs are so damn sore I don't know how I'll even walk, let alone run to the end.

But in the end, it comes down to wanting to just be DONE running. The idea of putting off the end any longer is SO unappealing, that suffering through another 5 minutes or so of running is far less torture. I am reminded of my youth when I went hiking in the Pennsylvania mountains with Dad and some Boy Scouts (and cousins Dave, Mark and John). On these hikes, near the end of the day my legs felt like they may fall off. I can honestly say that I haven't had that sort of pain since the last hike we did, right before I went into 8th grade.

Still, I feel confident about the Hawaii marathon. I know that the terrain will not be anything like what we've been training on. I mean, come one, we're running up a frickin mountain while we train! I expect Hawaii to be a little more level (although we have to run up Diamondhead twice). The other thing that will help push me in Hawaii (and all of us for that matter) is that we're in a race atmosphere. To have people cheering for you and pushing you along, that will definitely give me some extra juice.

On top of it all, I think it will be very inspirational to meet other Team CF members for other areas that are running the same marathon. (Didn't think I was going to work CF into this entry, did you now?)

That's them update on the running. We have a recovery run of 10 miles this Saturday (a nice way to work off the turkey) and 8 miles next week. Then... it's off to Hawaii where we'll step off planes and say...


Thursday, November 20, 2003

Ran that same route this morning and I think it went great. I figure it's about 6 miles and I did it in an hour and seven minutes. I feel great when I finish and I've felt good all day, too. I remember when I would get up at 5:30 and be exhausted all day from running two miles. I've come a long way.

I feel really confident about Saturday. Last week's long run went very well and I feel like if I start strong with a 5/2 and then possibly taper off as we progress, I should be able to conserve my energy. A lot will depend on the day. Whatever the weather is like that morning will more than likely have an effect on my early performance. I hope it doesn't take me much longer than 4 hours. I'd like to get home in time to see some of the Ohio State - Michigan game.

Jacob had an appointment with Dr. Frend, his pediatrician, yesterday. He put some of our worries at rest concerning the feeding tube. Dr. Frend felt that even though Jacob hasn't grown as much as some of the other doctors would like, he feels that Jacob is maintaining his own personal curve. I really like Dr. Frend. He has been a wonderful doctor for our family. His office is a bout a half hour away from us and we would probably switch doctors for Jake, except that he's been with us through everything and it doesn't seem right to switch for Jake just yet. For Sophie, we're going to have her records transferred to one of the local docs up here.

We're very excited that Sophie's going to have her picture taken at school tomorrow. The usually camera shy little Miss Malchus has been pretty excited to have her picture taken. I hope that nothing goes wrong.


Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Just got a call from Jules. Jacob had an appointment with his GI doctor this morning ands they're concerned that he isn't growing enough. He said that this happens with CF kids. They get on the enzymes and they don't want to eat all of the time. I'm sure being 2 also has something to do with it.

But the concern is that he isn't getting enough calories when he eats. The doctor brought up the option of a feeding tube that would be surgically inserted into his stomach. This is the second time they've brought up this method of getting him enough calories. But they want to wait until his next appointment in January before we discuss this any further.

Talk about taking some of the wind out of your sails. This news just deflated me. I could hear a bit of sadness in Jules' voice. I know she got teary eyed at the doctor's office. When I was on the phone with her I was starting to get choked up. How much more does he have to go through at his age? DAMN!

You know, I've been thinking about how we're going to survive the next year after our savings runs out. Jules still can't go back to work, not if Jake has to have procedures done and spend the night at the hospital.

I want to ask, "When are we going to get a break?" But that sounds so selfish, doesn't it? Jake's the one going through it physically. I dread... DREAD the day he begins to understand that he's different and begins to ask questions about his disease. I know that he is strong. But how strong will I be? How will I face the truth on THAT day?

The day started off so simple. I was running and feeling weightless for an hour. I was walking on air. Now my legs feel like blocks of cement and my shoulders are touching the floor.

I made the commitment this morning to go for a long run. Having only run my long route once since I began training (and that was back in May), I decided that it was time to put in the miles in preparation for Saturday.

The long run consists of taking that Decoro hill route and combining it with my standard route that takes me down the bike path and around the neighborhood. Today, because the traffic lights weren't cooperating, I opted to begin my run in reverse, heading down Bouquet to the bike path and then tackling the hill in the end. This proved to be a smart decision.

I wound up running with traffic for m90% of the run. By not having to run against the crosswind of cars passing me, I was able to concentrate on my goal. I also decided to run at the 5/2 pace I've been doing on the Saturday long runs. This was also a good decision. My legs were strong enough that by the end I was able to switch to a 5/1 for the last couple miles.

I can't tell you how awesome I felt at the end of this run. I was even able to jog part of the way home.

My mind was clear for most of the run. I believe that I have been able to place the fundraising fears behind me completely and concentrate fully on just my running. Yesterday I also began writing out some scenes to a new script I want to begin writing within the next couple of weeks. While the material is a little darker (at least it was yesterday... more on that momentarily), I'm excited to have that itch to start writing about characters I find interesting. Like I mentioned, yesterday the story was very dark. And I was a little worried about that because I tend to write about subjects that have some sort of life affirming outcome.

And after I received a nice email from Denman yesterday, I was waffling on whether I should keep pursuing this story. But then this morning, by really letting my mind wander on the run, I decided that there are life-affirming elements about this story and the characters I want to write about. So now I'm really jazzed to pursue this new story.

Either that or the coffee I just downed is playing tricks on my mind.

We'll see where this story goes. I'm not sure how long it will take me to write the first draft, hopefully not as long as it is taking me to complete "East of Eden". My God! Could I read any slower?


Monday, November 17, 2003

The weekend has come and gone.

On Saturday I ran a solid 10 miles with Sebastian and Tony, the two guys I've been running with (from City of Hope) the past month or so. It was an excellent pick me up after the past couple of weeks. Last week I was ready to pack it in. But getting out there for the morning with these guys really put my head back on straight and now I'm geared up to run the 20 miler this week.

When I told everyone about my attempt at 18 and the conditions I was running in they all said I was brave just for attempting it. Sure enough, Robert had only positive things to say and felt I would have no trouble with the long run this coming weekend. Let's hope he's right.

The rest of Saturday was spent cleaning and straightening up the house in preparation for Jacob's party. We were all well spent by the end of the day and collapsed into bed at about 10 pm.

I am feeling a lot better than I did last week. I think the effects of traveling really took its toll on me.

Yesterday was Jake's party. Boy, what a good time that was. Having all of those kids running around, screaming and playing was certainly a joyful experience. Jake understood that it was his birthday, all right. He loved the games that Jules and Karyn came up with and, yes, totally dug opening all of his gifts. By the end of the day his face was covered with cake, so much sugar it was disgusting and I think a couple layers of dirt.

After the party Budd and Karyn went to look at furniture and Vill and Heather took off for a while, leaving Max, Zach and Rebecca at out house. Boy, was that interesting. Actually, all of the kids played great together. It's really nice that they're all of an age where they can play and get along by themselves.

I didn't run this morning, though I toyed with the idea last night. But I opted to stick with the 2-day schedule that Robert suggested. I want my legs fresh for the long run this week.

It's a little freaky that the marathon is less than a month away. This 20 miler is our last long run before we taper off. Has it really been almost 6 months since I started this journal? What could I have possibly had to say over all of that time?

Wandered through a brand new Borders Books that opened down the block from work. There were numerous Christmas displays. I'm really looking forward to the holidays this year. I think that once you have children the winter holidays take on so much more meaning. What I would really love is for our Christmas to be more joyous and less melancholy.

Every year it's hard not to think about 2 years ago when we learned about Jake's illness. It was literally the day after we had set up our Christmas tree that year. That was a HARD day. Very hard.

I think this year will be better. We won't be getting a tree until after we return from Hawaii. And that week after we get back is going to be so crazed that I hope we'll be able to suppress the sad feelings. Not sure if suppress is the right word. I want to be able to acknowledge that the feelings are there... but I don't want them to consume us.


Friday, November 14, 2003

Hard to believe it's been 2 years, but today is Jacob's birthday. What a fun morning we had. Last night Julie and I put together a Little Tykes car (the kind that he sits in and wheels himself around in) and we brought out his gifts. Sophie had chosen a Wiggle guitar that plays snippets of songs and various LOUD notes. Of course, he loves it. There was so much happiness in our home that it's easy to forget how insane it was when Jake was born.

Jules had been in the hospital for almost 2 weeks and I was driving all over LA between our (then) new home in Santa Clarita, Sophie's daycare in North Hollywood, my work in Hollywood and Julie at the hospital in Burbank. By the time Jake finally arrived, I was already exhausted!

He came to us early. Jake was originally due in December. But Julie was retaining too much amniotic fluid and they feared for her health. So her doctor placed her on bed rest. This was kind of tough for a couple weeks, but we all endured the hassle. As long as Mom and babe were safe, we could accommodate.

Notice I didn't say healthy.

No, Jake came to us with health issues. We all know what I'm talking about. But on that day we had no idea what the hell Cystic Fibrosis was. All I knew was that he had some blockage in his intestines, but that he should be okay.

You know, that whole weekend when he was born is a blur. We spent so much time in the hospital and then traveling to UCLA (where Jake was later transferred) that the whole chain of events sometimes gets out of whack. But it was one of those times when the entire family pulled together. It was the first of what has proven to be many times when Budd and Karyn, my folks and Julie's parents all stepped up and helped out without even the slightest "yelp" from Julie or me. We are a blessed family.

Cursed, a little but blessed a whole lot.

In the two years that Jake has been in our lives we have all grown so much. I think the person who has had to grow the most is Sophie. She's been there through every doctor’s appointment and every discovery. She's seen her mom go into the hospital, and then learned that her brother wouldn't be coming home as soon as expected. She has had to watch her baby brother go into the hospital on three occasions and has had to learn the general (kid friendly) facts about Cystic Fibrosis.

I sometimes worry for her. I sometimes worry what she will go through as she grows up and realizes what having CF means. It's bad enough to have to come to grips with the facts when it's your child but I can's imagine being a teenager and someone telling me Budd, Beth or Heidi may not...

I shouldn't go into this. Not on this day. Today is a celebration of his life. It's a celebration of his spirit and strength.

Laurie Anderson's "Superman" just came on over the computer. An eerie song. But Jacob is truly our little Superman.

I'm really looking forward to this weekend and having the party for Jacob on Sunday. I think he is grasping that this is his special day and all. I think he's learning what birthdays are all about.

As my own birthday was just a couple of weeks ago, I know that special feeling you get when it's "your" day. That's a feeling I want him to have his whole life, no matter what kind of obstacles he must overcome.

You know, that was truly one of the most remarkable days of our lives. When I held that little boy the first time I was instantly in love with him. I knew he was going to be special. Special not just because of his medical needs, but special in the way he was going to touch all of lives. And he really has.

I have seen sides of people (Budd, Beth and my dad) when they are with Jake that I rarely see (in public, anyway... I don’t know how they really act in private). I see optimism in their eyes... in their voices... their actions. Jacob does that to them. I think he allows them to hope. And we have to have hope. We have to.

You know, I've been listening to a lot of Rush (Canadian rock trio most famous for the song "Tom Sawyer') these past few weeks. I reconnected with their music back in 2001 right after the 9-11 attacks. Steve (who called last night... man I miss him) said it maid sense. He said that during times of tragedy you tend to latch on to comfort things... music, movies, etc. There was something about the lyrics in their songs that was, while at times grounded in realism, it did offer some words of hope. And when Jacob was born, I continued to listen to their songs.

Strange that I have come back to their music these past few weeks leading up to Jacob's birthday. It's as if I'm going through a ritual, preparing myself to celebrate this little guy’s life. And reminding myself, I guess, of how far we’ve come over the past two year... and how far we have to go to defeat CF.

There are days when I feel like there is no hope, when I feel like our lives are going to succumb to the pressures of trying to keep him healthy and trying to find the money to keep us going. There have been times when I wonder if a cure will ever be found. Those thoughts are fewer than before, but they come up.

But then a day like this rolls around. A special day to celebrate the LIFE of my son and the LIFE of our little family. And then I place aside those fears and doubts and hope comes back to me. Jacob's precious life reminds me of that hope. It gives me... it gives us all hope.

Happy Birthday Jacob Flynn.



Thursday, November 13, 2003

A rather uneventful day here in... well now what is Los Angeles' nickname? Cleveland has always been the Heartland to me. I can't think of one for LA besides Southern California. Not too exciting.

I did run this morning. Decided to take the Decoro hill again and test my luck. No pit stops this morning. I did, however, have to combat a load of self-doubt and the burden of stress. I can't believe the marathon is a month away. And today I was thinking... I can't wait until it's over.

The exhaustion and the dedication have been so hard at times. I'm not sure how I've been able to keep up with it. I'm pretty nervous because I haven't run over 10 miles in almost 4 weeks. Will my body be able to hold up?

Something tells me I'll be able to do it. Some deep reserve will kick in. It did in Bowling Green when I was finishing mile 7. I was contemplating stopping at 8, but my inner "don't be a pansy" voice spoke up. Actually, it was that voice that chimes in... "If you think your pain is bad, think about all of the people with CF and what they're going through."

Yeah, that voice. I would have done the 18 that night if my legs hadn’t frozen up on me. I felt like my legs would freeze again this morning. Man, it's getting cold out there in the mornings. It doesn't help that I'm fighting some kind of bug. Sophie is fighting it, too. She threw up last night and felt warm this morning.

I am really tired. I've been getting plenty of sleep. Maybe the Ohio trip is just lagging along and dragging me down.

Tomorrow is Jacob's birthday. I'm so excited for that little guy. I don't think he really gets it yet. Hard to believe that the hell we went through was just 2 years ago. That time has flown by. Sophie was still 2 then, now Jacob is turning that age.

I have to say this about the fundraising, it has been a truly eye opening experience. I never would have believed that I would get the amount of support from everyone.

I am very proud to say that we've raised $10,000! (and counting). As tomorrow is exactly one month from the marathon, I'm going to give it a rest for that month. Those people who are going to still send a donation are going to do it. And those who are just thinking about it probably will not. But I am proud that so many fine people chipped in.


Tuesday, November 11, 2003

This morning's run was cut short because I thought my bowels were going to explode. That's putting it nicely. I came down the Decoro hill and suddenly everything began cramping up. Now, I'm not talking about some simple discomfort. I'm talking about, "if I don’t make it to the john RIGHT NOW, things arte going to get, er, messy.

Part of the joy of running is the freeness you feel when you're so in tune with your body and every muscle is performing in unison. You can glide across the pavement or the grass like you're and elk or a gazelle, or hell, a fast moving elephant. But when one small thing isn't in tune, whoa baby, look out.

See, I wasn't ANYWHERE close to a bathroom. Seriously now, this was one of those moments I wasn't sure how I was going to get home! I must have been 3 miles from the house. And I couldn't run anymore. Oh, no, that would have caused even more trouble.

I once read about a runner who crossed the finish line of a marathon covered with her own.... you get the picture. I prayed I'd never experience something like that. Luckily I didn't. No, I was lucky enough to find an inconspicuous wooded area off the beaten path that I had to bolt in order to save a little bit of humility.

Unfortunately, I learned an important lesson. That tissue you're supposed to bring along may not always be for wiping your nose. It may be for one of these unforeseen moments when the only leaves around are the size of your thumb and to make some sort of ... tissue?... would require hours of weaving skills.

I had neither the time nor the weaving skills. I had to walk the remaining three miles home, tenderly, with a chill from the sweat on my back (and brow).

I know this wasn't the most... respectable entry. I mean, I almost became Jeff Daniels in "Dumb and Dumber". Still, I want everyone to know what I'm going through. It's not all fun and games.

Sometimes running can just be crappy.


Monday, November 10, 2003

Got home from Ohio in fine condition. The screening went very well. I was totally surprised by exactly who showed up to the screening. I was sure that my old college roommates would be there, but when my old high school friend James Oyler and the star of my senior film, Brody McDonald, walked in, I was floored. Both men drove 2 hours to come see the film. How flattering. Unfortunately they had to leave before I could have any real conversation with them. Luckily I have their email addresses.

The film went over nicely with the crowd of mostly friends and family. I would say that there were about 60 people in attendance, 40 of which were people I expected. Those students that did show up all expressed that they had liked it. I only received a couple of criticisms. Oh well, you can't please everyone.

I was especially proud that the evening raised close to $1000.00! I couldn't believe it. Even without a sold out crowd, we raised that much in donations. I am so proud of Seann and the great job he and his organization did.

Before the screening I went to dinner with Beth and Tom. That was a nice time. They are doing well. Afterwards, I adjourned to Pollyeyes with all of my old college friends. Present were Dan Skrovan, Brian McMahon, Brad Shaeffer and Chris Hurley, all roommates from the Ridge Street Blue House. Hurley brought Caroline Oberhaus, a great lady who is a couple years younger than me. She was also in band with us. And of course, Bob was there. Brad's wife, Roz, was with us and Seann and Natalie joined us as well.

It was so wonderful to have all of these people in one room again. It is rarer and rarer that we can all get together, especially for me being in Los Angeles. The Lambs (Uncle Ben, Aunt Dorty, Dave, Diane and Diane's boyfriend, Dave) were in a nearby booth so I was able to spend some time with them, too. After Pollyeyes we went to a bar called Downtown where we basically stood around and shouted to each other.

I ran into the same two film students I has seen on Friday at the bar (they also came to the screening). Their names are Jon and Matt and they really were complimentary. I was kind of anxious about how these guys would react. I know that when I was in college I was a little full of myself and thought I knew everything. I'm sure if some independent filmmaker had come to BG back then, I would have looked at a film like "King's Highway" and said, "Hmph, I can do better." So, that they liked it really means a lot.

I swear that I must have smoked a couple of cigarettes by the amount of second hand smoke I consumed in that bar. I left it with my mouth tasting like crap and my lungs hurting. After leaving Downtown with cousin Dave, I was pretty much shang-heighed for another hours, trying to get home and get some sleep before having rise up at 7 in the morning. It became something out of Scorsese's "After Hours". I have some good material in that night; I just have to write it down.

Sunday came and we had a nice breakfast with Mike and Marissa. They revealed that they're planning to move back to Cleveland. I was surprised to hear this. But, you have to follow where your heart leads you. I flew home on an uneventful flight and came home to two loving children screaming for me and a beautiful wife ready to hand those kids off. Ha, ha.

It's good to be home, despite all of our money worries. I would rather be stressed and in the company of these three people, than alone and the richest man in the world.

I plan to get back to running tomorrow morning. I'll try to take the Decoro hill and the long loop. I need to get some long runs in before we do the 20. I am not surer whether I will get 18 miles in before then.


Saturday, November 08, 2003

We are now in one of the new BG computer labs. I ran only 8 miles last night before my legs began cramping up from the wind and cold. I believe it was in the high 30's when I finally finished! We tested the DVD at the theater and it looks like it will project fine. Getting kind of anxious about the whole thing, but I'm sure it will be fine.

Beth and Tom are coming up early for dinner and that should be fun. Bob has been here since last night and it's been wonderful just hanging out with him. We spent most of last night at our old campus hangout, Pollyeyes. After several drinks we went to one of the college bars for a about 15 minutes before I really began feeling old.

I miss Julie and the kids terribly. Thank goodness I can call them anytime. Can't wait to get home tomorrow.

One thing I don't miss about Ohio is the smoking. All of my clothes smell like cigarettes. Disgusting. That's one reason we won't be moving back to Ohio any time soon. I can't imagine what that type of polluted air would do to Jacob's lungs. And it's not like these "no smoking" rooms are actually sealed off from the smokers. In fact, the place we ate lunch at had the smoking room in the front of the restaurant. Ugh.

That's all for now.


Friday, November 07, 2003

I'm sitting in a Bowling Green tech lab where the movie is being dubbed from dv to DVD.

In arrived in Ohio at about 5:15 this morning and sat in the Cincy airport for almost 2 hours. I attempted to sleep on the floor with my head on my duffle and one of those airplane pillows. Not the most comfortable items. I think I slept some. It's all a little blurry. Arrived in Toledo around 9-ish and Sean picked me up a half hour later.

It was very strange driving into Bowling Green. I haven't been on campus in a couple of years (I think I've said that before). Sitting here in this tech lab, it's almost surreal. I'm lounging around, watching the movie record in real time. A few minutes will pass and I'll look up out the window at campus life. I feel so out of place. And old.

We got a nice little blurb in the Toledo paper. Something smaller in the BG campus paper (which was a little disappointing).

I've spoken to Jules and the kids a couple of times. Sophie was really sad last night and this morning. I'll have to make it up to her.

Seann and I have measured out about 5 miles so far. I have to figure out the other 4 to get my 9 mile loop set. Might need a nap before I run, though.

Seann just returned with some grub, so I'm signing off now.

Bob's coming in tonight. Looking forward to that.


Thursday, November 06, 2003

Don't know why I didn't write yesterday. I had every opportunity to do so. I did run during my lunch break. Once again I ran through Hollywood and the area. I did not run the same route as Monday. I opted to run one big loop that took me just under an hour (like, 3 seconds under an hour). I must have run at least 6 miles. I was running faster than I have with the groups on the Saturday run, that’s for sure. I began with a 4/1 and switched to 5/1 at whatever point I thought was halfway back to the office.

This was a much better experience than the run on Monday. I think because I knew exactly the course I was running (instead of running aimlessly throughout a neighborhood) I felt like I was actually going somewhere. Kind of like L.A. traffic vs. driving in Ohio. In Ohio, if you drive for 30 minutes, you actually GET someplace. In Los Angeles, 30 minutes gets you from you house to the video store around the corner.

(What's that line from "Singles"? "People love their cars.")

I digress.

Vill made 2 copies of the movie, one VHS and one dv. There’s a chance we'll be able to burn a DVD copy when I'm in BG tomorrow. If possible, I would prefer to screen the movie in that format because, once projected, it will look much sharper and clearer. Plus the audio will be digital. We'll have to wait and see on that one.

Did some yoga this morning. I almost got through the whole 1/2 hour before I went back to the bedroom where the kids were watching cartoons while Julie tried to stay asleep.

You know, I was dreading the 18 miler tomorrow, but I feel a lot better about it after yesterday's run. It will still take me some 3 hours, but I know I can do it. And, I finally changed some of the songs in my MP3 player, so the run won't be the same in my ears.

That's all for now.


Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Did not workout this morning. Got home at 2:30 from the audio lay down. Everything sounds great. I'm very excited.

Jacob had an appointment today at Children's Hospital with his pulmonary physician; Dr. Margetis (sp.) Julie took him while I had Sophie visit me at work. I love having her visit. She's so much fun to watch. And she's very sweet.

Jake's appointment didn't go as well as planned. He hasn't grown in the 8 weeks that have passed between his last visit. 8 weeks! And he hasn't grown an inch or gained any weight. It's like I don't know what to do. We feed him anything with fat in it. And we have done everything his doctor's have laid out for him. And still he doesn't grow.

You can't realize how distressing this is to hear when you're a parent. And the doctor mentioned extreme situation in which some kids get bags inserted into their abdomens so that they can have night feedings.

When Julie found Sophie and me as we walked out of McDonalds, I took my sleeping son in my arms while Julie has some lunch. After she told me everything I was on the verge of crying. I held this innocent little boy and I wanted to squeeze him so tight that the CF would ooze out of him. Wishful thinking, I know.

We have been so blessed that his lungs remain healthy (I almost don't want to say those words out loud), but he is under nourished and you can't help but feel like you're doing something wrong. Yet, we're doing every damn thing we know how to do.

There's nothing you can do to detect that they're not growing. I honestly thought he'd grown taller. He FEELS bigger to me. I just can't fathom how he hasn't grown an inch.

But, this is the disease. This is the torment we face every freaking day.

You only want your kids to be safe and healthy, you know? Is that too much to ask?

Monday, November 03, 2003

Ran this afternoon in Hollywood. It was the first time I've run outside since last Tuesday and I could really feel the difference. There is so much to say about running outdoors; the treadmill just isn't the same.

I ran by work, in Hollywood. I didn't have an exact route and that was a little distracting. But I did run for about 50 minutes, so I at least got my time in. Hollywood is so much dirtier than Santa Clarita. And I was a little on edge because I wasn't sure what exactly was lurking around the corner. I don't want to sound paranoid, but there are definitely some strange individuals who lurk the streets of Hollywood.

Sadly, many of them homeless and suffer from mental illness. It's just depressing.

Something new has come about. My rear end (i.e. my ass) has started to get sore on my right side. I started to feel this during the 16 mile run. I thought this soreness would go away with the extra days off. Guess not.

The rest of the hats arrived today. There are now mesh running caps (or practice caps, like baseball players wear). They come in white and blue. Very nice looking.

Tonight we're laying down the audio for "King's Highway". I'm really getting jazzed up about the screening this weekend. I'm not as nervous as I was back in June, just excited for all of my family and friends to see it on a big screen. I've figured that I just need 80 people to show up and we'll earn enough to give me my goal of $10,000. Seann has really been trying to sell tickets and my other brother in law, Michael, is pitching it to his students.

My other college friends are trying to get other alumni to make the drive out to Bowling Green, as well. In fact, my fraternity little brother, Dave Marinelli, is involved with the Cleveland BGSU Alumni chapter and he sent out our massive email to everyone he regularly send announcements to.

Like I said, it's getting exciting. Still, it really is a drag that Julie and the kids won't be there to be a part of it. I'm going to miss them terribly.

The last time I went to Cleveland by myself (for bob's wedding in 2002) I called them every other hour. At one point I was a blubbering idiot talking to Julie in downtown Cleveland. Hopefully I won't break down in tears like that this time.

That's all for now. I am a little anxious about running 18 miles on my own, but I think I can handle it. We'll see.


Saturday, Nov. 1, 2003

Ahhh, my birthday.

It's that one day when I feel really special. Probably because I have a family that loves me so much and they let me be a lounger on my birthday. Julie, in particular, is very big on letting a birthday person have the day off.

We started the day with pancakes and then went to see a film called "Good Boy" which was aimed directly at Sophie's age. Jake wouldn't sit still for more than 10 minutes and Julie spent the rest of the movie walking around with him throughout the movie theater. Soph seemed to enjoy the movie (it's about talking dogs from outer space. That's VERY general, but you get the idea).

Didn't run for the second day in a row. I decided to take the entire weekend off and let my body get some extra rest. I've talked about feeling like I'm hitting a wall, and so I decided this was the perfect opportunity (i.e. not having to run 18 miles) to pull back for a couple of days.

The rest of the day was spent hanging out. Jake fell asleep and Julie took Sophie to go shopping for Jake's birthday. I am amazed that he is almost 2 years old. We've all grown so much in those 2 years. Before Jake was born, CF was just another disease you heard about occasionally. Now, it preoccupies our daily lives (that and figuring out where we'll get enough money to pay bills).

It was nice to get calls from Beth and Zyg (they sang me "Happy Birthday". Beth and I plan to meet for dinner on Saturday when I'm in Bowling Green) and my parents. I love cracking my dad up every year when I thank him and mom for having sex 34 years ago. I think I've been saying that for the past few years. Seems to make him laugh every time.

For dinner, Jules and I went out to eat by ourselves while Vill and Heather watched the kids. Afterwards, we went to their house for desert. Julie made "forgotten desert", a concoction that my mother has perfected and is so awesome it is beyond words. And now, Julie has perfected making it as well. I could eat 5 helpings of it, if it didn't make me sick to my stomach (there's a lot of sugar).

After the kids went to bed, Jules and I just relaxed and let the day wind down. A nice ending to "my" day. Let the 34th year begin.


Halloween was great fun. I was so amazed with Sophie. Not only was she undeterred by the drizzling rain (everyone carried umbrellas), but also she was running off ahead of me with the other girls while I fell back because I was carrying Jake. We went trick-or-treating with our neighbors, the Millers, and both kids came away with a lot of candy. The fires and the rainy weather drove away most of the kids this year. From what we were told, it's usually very busy in our neighborhood every year. Something to look forward to next year.

Jake, of course, refused to wear his costume... he even refused to wear his jacket and his arms were freezing by the time we wrapped things up. We went up and down our street and then hit the street behind ours. That was when Sophie was satisfied and we went home.

We warmed up watching Springsteen and an old McDonald's birthday video that Sophie wanted to watch because it was my birthday. She's pretty funny. She was so excited about my birthday that she couldn't wait until the next day to give me my presents.

I think the nicest thing she wanted to get me was flowers. They were waiting on the kitchen table when I got home. I don't know why she was so excited about getting me flowers, but because she came up with the gift on her own, it made it more special to me.

Jake spent the rest of the night walking around with a sucker in his hand.