Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Holiday season happiness or pain in the butt!!

Now that the Holiday Season(no matter what it is really called) is among us I sometimes wonder what the mystic of this time of year has brought to mankind. On the one hand it is suppose to be the time of friendly fellowship and good cheer, then on the other hand(isn't it nice to have a left and a right hand for this analagy) it has a tendency to turn us into grumpy ole men and women. How many times do we hear someone say, "I'll be so glad when Christmas is over?" So, maybe I can focus on the former rather than the latter. Marti and I just came back from a big weekend of the former and except for the fact that we spent over 1200 miles in the ole Explorer we concluded it was great fun. Since this will sound kind of like a travel log, and it really should since that is what it is, I will try to put some humor in it, so bear with me on this. Our goal for the weekend was to cram as much activity as possible into it and still come out survivors(trivia question, "What triathlete applied for the very first Survivor episode and made the second round of interviews?"--to be revealed later in this post). The to do list(I must operate on a to do list or I just don't get it done) called for: driving to New Mexico, visiting the Western Bar on the way up, plus look at some potential mountain property, competing in a triathlon(the last of the year, but also counted as the first of the new year 2006(trivia question, "What triathlete do you know that played their last high school football game in 1956 a.d.?"), attend the 25th annual Doggie parade in Cloudcroft, NM, visit the Western Bar again, then proceed to El Paso, TX for the annual SW Challenge Triathlon & Duathlon awards, dance a little or a lot, then return back to Ransom Canyon. Sounds like an awesome trip to me and you know it was! The trip was full of life's many emotions, both joy and sadness. So, I will dwell on both since the sadness is part of the story and will or should make us all think real hard about complaining about a little back pain or muscle cramp or whatever we find time to complain about.

Here goes, we left early enough in the morning on Friday to go by and see some property in Temeron, NM, thinking of maybe a mountain getaway. This turned into an adventure of rough roads and wondering what the hell we were doing up there. But, we did find the property, gave it some thought, and decided against the fun part of isolation, doing too much hard labor to make it liveable and headed on West to Alamogordo, NM to spend the night. Very early the next morning we ventured to the White Sands Missle Range annual Polar Bear(17 degrees) Triathlon, a 5 k run, 30 k bike and in conclusion(that is the way they do it in New Mexico for some reason) a 400 yard pool swim. Marti and I both took third in our age group(yes there was more than 3 in the group), then we headed back to Cloudcroft for the 25th Annual Doggie parade. Two years ago the Buffman had earned a much deserved award for most original(he had his Harley leather on) so this year we were hoping the Buffman and Squeaky combo would win the hearts and minds of the judges. Apparently the fact that Buffman and I were dressed in matching outfits plus Marti and Squeaky was dressed in matching outfits, the team won an award(out of about 100 dogs and cats). Now the mantle has two shiny awards for the Buffman and Squeaky. They have been strutting around like some kind of big shots and look forward to showing off again at the Buffman & Squeaky triathlon in May. Then we did a mild celebration in the Wester Bar, really a sleezy take off of the original Saloons in the West) and headed to El Paso. The annual awards are held at the massive war chest, Ft. Bliss, TX, home of many soliders and weapons of mass destruction(get it?), with a formal atmosphere(black tie, low cut gowns, etc.) There is some great competition in the Series so it was a treat to see all of the recognition given to the deserving athletes. Note: Marti and I have won our age groups before in the series but due to my service to the sport in Colorado Springs and Smartys' injury we were not able to do the required 8 races in 2005. We will get back on track for 06. Now for the sad part, one of the extemely talented age group series champions in the past, John Stermer, had been afflicted with ALS(Lou Gehrig desease) and was in attendance during the awards. He was confined to a wheel chair and was devastateded physically by the disease, but mentally showed the determination that had made him such a winner. Another athlete was also honored that night, cancer surviver Cathy Ritz, also a top age group competitor. Seeing the attitude and courage these athletes exhibited was an inspiration to all in attendance and really made everyone stop and think about this thing called, LIFE!! Live it, love it and respect it!! Heaven may not be what it is all cranked up to be!! After the awards we spent some time on the dance floor, then the next morning had breakfast with our friends. Then it back to Ransom on the scenic drive through the Lincoln National Forest, featuring the Guadalupe Mountains. We also ventured past the Carlsbad Caverns but stayed topside since we were focused on our return to West Texas.

In conclusion, holiday season happy or pain in the butt? Probably both but generally as in all things in life, it is what we make it of it. As I watched John in his wheel chair I sure did not want to trade places with him(being honest here), but what I did see was a physically broken man making the most out of the day and night. He was setting an example for all us. Rather than feel sorry for him, which we did of course, the real story is to thank him for all he has done in this life and respect what he is trying to do for the rest of his life, no matter how long that is.

There will be more posts during the day or night, must go to the dentist now.

Oops!! Answer to trivia questions: Mike Greer, Mike Greer

Thanks to all my readers, you are appreciated, stay tuned for some comments on USAT(still being nice), things only women understand(then things only men understand), healthy aging tips, George Carlin quotes, some presidential stuff, Iron Girl Texas, moving out of your comfort zone for success, and on and on!!


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