Archive for the Stuff Category

Ode to Cyclists

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , , , , , on January 7, 2012 by brianestover

Cyclist with your kit so bright
logos out in plain sight
all kitted up and looking rather spent
wafting about your after ride scent
Emptying your pockets you didn’t bother to do
gel wrappers arm warmers and wtf you were even wearing your cycling shoes
when you drive to eat and I know you did
maybe some shorts, shirts and sandals instead of bibs
think about what wear into the store
little kids then would not run in fear
of you slipping in your cycling shoes
busting your ass leaving a bruise
adults would not cringe and plead
for you to have some decency
in the future please plan ahead
cycling kit in chipolte is fashion sense plain dead

coming soon odes to my dog and garmin.

Goodbye Holidays

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2012 by brianestover

The holidays have come and gone. It’s back to the real world tomorrow. Life in the fishbowl is over.

My neighborhood goes ridiculous during the Christmas holiday. Lights everywhere. It took two cranes to get all the trees strung with lights. One guy does a mini Bellagio thing in his front yard with water shooting up 20 yards. Thousands of people stroll through the neighborhood. Every single night for 3 weeks. It’s nuts. Except for drive nights. These are the three nights they allow cars in the hood. My cul de sac turned into a parking lot. No one moved for 15 minutes. It ridiculous, comical, over the top, outlandish and people litter. A lot. My house was underwhelming compared to many. If I could find my camera I’d post pics. On a plus side, I was able to get to know many of my neighbors, never ran out of beer when walking my dog at night and it was interesting to see a thousand people walking around the hood.

I also managed to get in some working out. I ran just over 29.5 miles last week. That surpasses any months total from August through December. That’s right, I ran less then 25 miles each of those months. I rode less then 60 miles each of those months. Half of those rides were beer/mountain bike rides with the neighborhood guys. With one or two exceptions, there isn’t a lot of horsepower in the hood on a bike. But they can drink some beer.

All in all though, I lost a few pounds, feel a lot better if not a bit tired, read a few books, my dog and I walked together roughly 25 miles over the break and best of all, I didn’t do one bit of real work that entire time. My Fed Ex package for tomorrow’s conference call isn’t getting opened until 8am. Let the stress begin then.

Winter Camping Trip

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , , , , on December 10, 2011 by brianestover

If you go camping in the winter you better be prepared. You’re going to need a fire to keep you warm. Bigger is always better when you are discussing fire. You’re going to need a sleeping bag. Not on of those two pieces of cotton sewn together stuffed with cotton. But a down or synthetic bag that keeps you warm down to 0F or so. You will need a pad to place between your bag and the ground to insulate you from the cold. You should also bring your favorite pets. Camping with your dog and cat is always better then camping alone. You can be assured that your dog will stay beside you all night. The cat, well it’s a cat after all.

Last week, I loaded up the sleeping bag, dog, cat and grabbed some padding to stick between me and the hard ground and made the long trek to our favorite camping spot. My living room. Yep, you read that correctly. I went camping in my living room. It makes complete sense. Your close to the fridge, no need to worry about food and a cooler, the fridge is 30 feet away. If you have to go to the bathroom, no bathroom is better then your own. Plus you think that fire lit itself on fire? You can do it on a week night, don’t need reservations anywhere and is environmentally friendlier then driving and camping all other things being equal. It really takes a complete badass to pull it off and pull it off I did.

First I chose a prime location next to the fire. Then I laid out my pad, which was a carpet remnant from when I had some carpet replace, tossed the bag on top and was ready to crawl in. I’m not going to lie, even with the carpet the ground was pretty hard. I grabbed a few blankets and put them under the sleeping bag to soften it up a bit.

Ready for Sleeping

The dog and cat settled in on their respective sleeping spots and off to sleep it was.

Chloe

Chloe falling asleep

Gravey

Stop with the photos, I'm playing Xbox

With the heat off in the house the fire place was our sole source of heat. This is the view we enjoyed from our prime camping spots.

The glow of the fire reflecting off the floor

Thanksgiving Weekend

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , , , , on November 26, 2011 by brianestover

I love Thanksgiving weekend. This is the best holiday of the year. It’s four days off work, there is no pressure like some holidays. You always get Thursday and Friday off. The holiday never falls on a Tuesday like 4th of July. It’s a weekend filled with food, fun, fires, friends, family, dogs and beer. Can’t forget the beer. A case of Guinness never disappears as fast as it does over this weekend. It’s best to have a backup case or two.

This Thanksgiving was the first that I’ve held at my house. My Dad is in town, Sarah and her Mom came over as well as the KGB’s. I fired up the smoker and put on the bird a bit later. I had to make some modifications to the R2D2 smoker to get it fully functional. Nothing a little ingenuity won’t fix. A few bricks here and few bricks there and presto, the smoker is smoking, the bird is cooking and deliciousness will have to wait for five hours or so.

Smoker + bricks = Super Smoker

I may be a bit biased, but that bird tasted damn good. The breast meat was juicy thanks to the brine I soaked it in. The dark meat melted in your mouth. A hint of smoke flavor in every bite. Maybe it was the beer I poured in the turkey, maybe it was the apple juice in the drip pan. Maybe I’m just one bad ass turkey cooker. What ever it was, it was some rather tasty turkey.

Even the dogs had a great time. Sarah brought Sam over and the KGB’s brought Katie over. Chloe had her first big sleep over. By 7pm the dogs were wiped out. I guess when you’re a dog, running around the yard, playing frisbee and tug of war for 7 hours can be tiring. These dogs didn’t move all night long. They just curled up on the dog beds in front of the fire and slept.

Dog Tired

The fire was warm, the leftovers plenty and it was time to play games in front of the fire. I got crushed in Yahtzee…by an eight year old.

Thanksgiving Fire

Before dinner we filled out things that we are thankful for and hung them on the Thanksgiving tree that one of the kids made. Most of us take our health, fitness and well being for granted. Over the past 10 days I’ve been reminded not once, but twice that life is a pretty precious thing. Actually now that I think about it, I’ve been reminded five times this year that life is precious and not to be taken for granted. Just over a week ago in the Philly Marathon, Chris Gleason passed away while racing with about a quarter mile to go. About that same time, Darrell Maxey passed away from complications during heart surgery.

I never met Chris, we’ve only chatted in emails a few times about triathlon stuff and the fact that he looked like my old roommate. Darrell and I used to train and race together some way back when. Here are two guys, really fit, in great shape, healthier then the above average healthy person and now they have both passed away due to heart issues.

Needless to say, it was pretty easy to write what I was thankful for on the Thanksgiving tree.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving Tree

Help a Dog Out

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , , , on November 21, 2011 by brianestover

Everyone needs good karma points now and then. You can gain some good karma by by reposting this to your FB page if you are in Tucson. Better yet you can score the good karma jackpot for the week and adopt this fella.

I'm one good looking mofo

Yesterday while walking my dog and chatting with my neighbors, we managed to capture this little guy. He has been hanging out in the neighborhood for about a week or so. He managed to eluded capture until yesterday. Of course every stray dog sees a sucker a mile away, this dog was no different. He came right up to me and practically begged to be put on a leash. Once I got Chloe and he in the backyard, they commenced to play for over 90 minutes. The two dogs went scampering all over the yard, stopping long enough to empty the water dish once or twice.

He’s a good dog, knows basic commands, gets along well with other dogs, isn’t aggressive and didn’t bother my cat. Better yet he got along with my friend’s young kids. His teeth are in great shape, he does well on the leash and has a ton of energy. He is a bit lean, and is pretty ripped.

During lunch he and I went to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. My goal is to have him adopted by Thanksgiving Day. I earned my good karma by getting him off the street so he doesn’t get hit by a car. I’m asking you if you live in Tucson or know people who do, to please post him to your FB page or alert them to post him to their FB page. Or better yet, go down to the Humane Society and adopt him or convince one of your friends to adopt him.

Adopt me

I can sit

I'm so cute

New Dog!

Posted in Stuff with tags , , , , on November 6, 2011 by brianestover

Meet the new dog! A female boxer named Chloe. After putting down my two other dogs a few years ago, I knew eventually I’d end up with a dog. There were two prerequisites, female and named Chloe.

Meet Chloe

About the same time I was putting Bridgette down I was talking with my Mom. She wanted to get a second dog since her dog was getting old. She realized a guy down the street was abusing his new puppy. My Mom swooped in a rescued a slightly undersized female boxer. Mom also named her Chloe. She blatantly stole the name I was going to use and almost admitted to as much. I could go on about the Dodge Caravan, Honda Civic, and the house my sister and I bought in college but I won’t. They were my ideas first though damn it!

Fast forward a few years, Mom gets a brain tumor and I inherit a female dog named Chloe. Unbelievable how somethings work out.

A few weeks ago, I went back to NC to wrap up part of the estate and brought Chloe back.

It’s a bit weird having a dog. I forgot how much time two 25 to 45 minute walks each day take. She is on the model diet and prefers not to eat too often. Her food has been out for over an hour, the only nugget missing is due to the cat sneaking a bite. She freaks out about going out the back door sometimes. Sometimes you have to leash her to get her out the door. She also doesn’t get tired. In addition to the walks, we play frisbee or with the rope out in the yard for half an hour. Yeah, my boxer plays frisbee, it’s totally bad ass! I toss, she runs after it, then runs back and forth playing keep away from me.

I want to say thank you to my good friends at Drowning Creek Gun Dogs. My long time friend and his son train hunting and family dogs there. She has lived up to their unofficial motto, “No fat dogs”. Chloe also now has some useful skills, like being able to tree raccoons. Woe is the raccoon that goes through my trash. She has learned to chase prey effectively. The family of rabbits that hung out in the backyard have moved to the front. And some birds of a feather no longer flock together. Well their flock has been reduced by one anyway. She can also walk off leash although the HOA frowns upon that, will stop chasing rabbits on command and ignores birds when told to.

The only thing she won’t do is run/jog on the leash. Unfreaking believable. I was (almost) hoping that this would give me an excuse to run more then 15 miles per month. 5 houses is her running record. Sure she’ll run back and forth in the yard for 30-45 minutes but leash her up and go for a run? Not happening.

Where's the rabbit?

Family Portrait

Back East

Posted in Random Stuff, Stuff, Triathlon with tags , , , , on October 13, 2011 by brianestover

I’m home, well sort of at home, where I grew up anyway. I’ve been back quite a bit this year, most, actually all of my trips back this year have been associated with bad events. The first was for my grandfathers funeral, the second was because my Mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the third trip was to hang out with her until she passed away, the fourth trip was to handle some stuff from her estate. I spent that entire trip running a fever and dealing with a sore throat. This trip is to unwind most of the rest of her estate.

I also managed to run today. In the rain. On my favorite trails, in the world. Hyde Park or the 3 park loop in London? Sorry not as good. Parc de Bruxelles? Nope not there either. Antwerp, Amsterdam, Rome, Sydney or the beach in New Zealand. No, no, no, no and again no. Although it was nice being able to jump into the ocean after the beach run in NZ. But it’s still a no.

It’s been over 15 years since I first ran these trails. Little trees that were blazed with a red rectangle marking the trail have grown up twisting as they grew, pointing the blaze off into the brush. Logs that were imbedded to be erosion controls have now decomposed to earthen berms. Branches that used to rip the hat off my head are now out of reach of my vertical jump. Park benches have been replaced, thrice. The muddy areas are still muddy, the clay areas still clay. Things change and they stay the same.

It was very enjoyable to run in the rain. Listening to the rain hit the canopy of leaves that are in the process of turning from green to golden. The occasional huge raindrop dropped from the trees exploding on one spot of my face drenching it. You could feel the mud clumping in the grooves of your shoes then breaking off as you ran down the next few feet of trail. Roots snagging the tips of your shoes as you toed off, reminding you that misplacing your feet could send you failing down the trail to a crash landing. Your feet sliding sideways on wet roots as you surfed around a bend in the trail. The quietness, just you, the rain, squirrels dashing out of the rain. No car noises, no people noises, no plane noises. Only the quietness of nature and you running.

It’s Been a Bit

Posted in Random Stuff, Triathlon with tags on August 11, 2011 by brianestover

Blog? What Blog? With everything going on, I’ve neglected this blog, well it’s not the only thing I’ve neglected.

Hopefully I still have 17 or so readers and if you are reading this I’ve got several things in the que that I’m working on. Some of the things to look forward to is the second round of wet suit testing. The testing got cut short but I’ve got some data points for you to look at. The next few editions of The Track is Not the Answer series are upcoming. I’ll probably do a condensed race report blog. Needless to say there have been some great performances including a couple more top 3 overall placings.

Stayed tuned.

Bittersweet Day

Posted in Stuff with tags , , , on July 22, 2011 by brianestover

It’s finally over, the race has been completed. Mom passed away about 6 this morning while Dad was pulling his shift at the hospital. Today happens to be my 40th birthday as well. Now this day will will have extra special meaning for me.

Mom thank you for everything though the years. Ill miss you.

The Night Shift

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , , , , , , on July 13, 2011 by brianestover

This is night number four in a row for me. The second night by myself. The first night by myself where Mom can die. I’ve had Jim or Georgia hanging out with me the last few nights.

I’m not going to lie, I’m scared. Scared that I’ll miss her going, scared that she might go without someone that loves her holding her hand and stroking her face. She needs to go though. Her NG tube was pulled over 5 days ago. She stopped breathing two nights ago for about 90 seconds. The two nurses working this side of the palliative care unit Jim and I all stood around. I asked for one of the nurses stethoscope. As she took it off her neck to hand to me Mom started breathing. Now it’s a regular pattern of breathing light then super compensating by breathing heavy followed by a short :10-:15 seconds where she doesn’t breathe at all. This has been going on for two days now. Jim, Georgia, Dad and I are all ragged from lack of consistent sleep. I’m glad my sister has the kids in and can’t pull long shifts here. But it’s going to be harder until Mom passes away because Jim and Georgia had to leave today.

The nursing staff in the palliative care unit have been great to the family, friends, co workers, people from church and from her life that have stopped by. There is a family lounge, I can walk around the entire unit barefooted, the rooms are equipped with a couch and a chair you can sleep on. There is a shower in each bathroom as well. They even let you drink beer up here. But now it’s all about Mom crossing the finish line.