Friday, February 01, 2008

Attack That Hill, Boy

It's taken me some time to get back on track with my running routine. I just can't find any flat ground here in Eureka. Florida conditioned me for flat, boring, and warm. Here I have frost, rain, hail, and hills. The path of least resistance eludes me. Is staying in shape and enjoying running supposed to cost this much?

I complained to a couple of the nurses that provide care for Allie who are fellow runners. "I can't find any place with no hills," I whined.

"No hills? How boring," said Char, Allie's nurse/case manager. "Why would want it to be so boring?"

"I've been sprinting up the hills in front of my house," said David.

"Well, good for you," I think to myself sarcastically, but say aloud, "Now that's a thought."

I have three marathons under my belt, but these local runners have challenged me. I can finish the race on flat ground in a tropical climate. But can I finish the race on rough terrain while beaten by harsh wind and icy rain blowing in off Alaskan Pacific currents?

I've taken the wrong line of attack with this new life I have here in Northern California raising my handicapped granddaughter. As a husband I look for the path of least resistance. I'm looking for a downhill course where I can feel the sun on my face while running in cool, forested shade.

I'm looking for a jogging trail through the Garden of Eden.

I've been training for a race tomorrow. The further I run on these training runs, the more I realize I cant avoid hills. Monday I stepped out with seven miles ahead of me. As soon as I walked outside, the rain turned to hail and ice. I just pulled a hood over my stocking cap and went for it. As I ran inland, there was an inch of snow in some places and the sun started to come out. I had a nice downhill run with and even steeper uphill on the other side of the valley. I ran at that hill as hard as I could. I made up my mind to attack these hills instead of avoiding them. There is no way around.

It makes me think back to my days in infantry training when we had to hike up hills in full battle dress with seventy pound packs on our backs. The mountains we climbed had names I can't repeat on this family friendly blog. Think of the seven words you can't say on television, and you'll have a feel for the kind of names these hills earned.

They're hills like those that I'm climbing now. But like the instructions of a drill instructor in my ear, I hear Jesus' voice as He tells His disciples: "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force."

I'm here, you're there, establishing the kingdom of God. It's not going to happen without obstacles and steep climbs. Attack.

Rave Reviews

My little brother continues to rock the restaurant scene up in Portland, Oregon. Check out what Heidi Yorkshire, scribe for the Willamette Weekly had to say:
When I first saw the restaurant, on a bland block of Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, it actually glowed in the winter gloom. The shoebox-shaped space is simple but uncommonly chic, and the subdued dining room directs all eyes to the brightly lit kitchen, framed by a proscenium-like filigree screen, where chef-owner Daniel Mondok stands center stage, in starched white, positioned to make sure everything in his little kingdom is exactly the way he wants it.

In a world where restaurants are “concepts” and super-chefs clone themselves from Las Vegas to Dubai, Sel Gris is something very different: one skilled, imaginative artist expressing himself in the medium of food at one moment in time. Mondok, who headed the kitchens at Carlyle and Olea locally before opening Sel Gris last September, works with the big stove on his right, a stainless steel table in front of him. With a quietly purposeful kitchen crew behind him, he cooks. And every dish that leaves the kitchen lands on Mondok’s work station first. He eyes every one, adds the finishing touches—a few meticulously selected sprigs of thyme, a squirt of sauce, a sprinkle of sea salt—and then, when he’s proud of it, he sends it to the table.

read the rest of the article here: