Archive for the ‘other’ Category

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Some things, some opportunities only come around once in a lifetime – an opportunity to travel to a far off land; a chance to go all the way to South Africa to run Comrades; an intimate moment with J. Lo…oh, wait a minute, that’s fantasy, not opportunity. Sorry.

Anyway, as I was saying, sometimes the stars align just so to allow you to grab the bull by the horns and really, REALLY live.

One such opportunity presented itself this past weekend, allowing me to take advantage of the circumstances of my life.

As you may recall, about two months ago, I put it out there that if you put us over our fund raising goal for the Autism Speaks Walk, I would run my next marathon with blue hair.  You did.  On the day of the walk we found ourselves 1¢ over Jess’ stated goal.




But a promise is a promise and so because you fulfilled your end, I dutifully fulfilled mine.

If you are new to Run Luau Run or haven’t stopped by in a while, you can find the process of me Lighting It Up Blue and going from brunette to blond to blue—>HERE<—.

I then ran my blue haired marathon two weeks ago in New York and had both my slowest and most enjoyable run ever.  The video is —>HERE<— the race report —HERE<—.

The blue hair has been a lot of fun.  It has brought a lot of attention to autism awareness; it has made me easy to spot; it has definitely been a conversation starter.  It has served its purpose and run its course.  The blue has started to fade away and my roots have become more prominent (did I just say that? my roots? really?).

Could I go in for another touch up?


But I would be ignoring the wise lesson I learned from Elmo when he told me the story of how he saved Christmas and almost lost it again – that having Christmas every day takes away from the true spirit of Christmas – instead, carry that spirit with you throughout the year.

And so it is with my blue hair.  A month of blue hair to spread awareness was a wonderful experience.  Now, it is time to carry that spirit with me (and you!) throughout the year.


Which brings me to this past weekend.  An opportunity, a chance to do something I always wanted to do as a kid and as a young man, but never could because of one reason or another…when am I going to again have longish, blue hair that needs to be taken down…

…and so I give you Goodbye Blue:

A nod to Movember:

Happy Movember!

But the wife wouldn’t let me into bed until I shaved off the ‘hawk and the ‘stache.

Clean Shaven

At least I have the pictures to prove it.  Thank you everyone for helping us raise the funds for our walk. I hope you will continue to “light it up blue” in spirit with me throughout the year.

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Why do you run?

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I Am

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There are all kinds of different reasons to run – health, sanity, competition, escape…

One of the reason I run is because I am a stay-at-home dad. No, I don’t run a business from home. I am not a dad who lost his job and is temporarily at home. No. I am a homemaker, I AM a stay at home dad.

Years ago, Jess and I decided that we wanted to have one of the two of us taking care of our children during the day. Fortunately, one of us made a salary that would allow us to do that. It wasn’t me – my salary at that time would have put us in a studio apartment in a bad neighborhood.

And so my journey as a homemaker and stay-at-home parent began.

That was over 10 years ago.

In very short order, I gained a new respect for the millions of women who had given up careers (voluntarily or not) to raise their children and take care of their homes. Homemaking is not an easy gig. I was quickly accepted among the moms I would regularly cross paths with – for which I was grateful. Not every stay at home dad is readily accepted into the stay at home community.

Still, despite the acceptance of the moms, and the feigned/ignorant jealousy of my male friends, I knew I was still a strange man in a strange land, an oddity, a curiosity (years ago, a store clerk, unable to wrap her brain around the fact that I was a stay at home dad insisted, INSISTED, that I must be a nanny).

To the moms, I am a nice guy who works hard (and isn’t it sweet), but I can’t ever share what they share. I didn’t carry Katie or Brooke inside me for 9 month. I can never know the emotional ups and downs nor the emotional bond mothers have with their kids. I can’t share in the more intimate conversations they will have with each other because, well, I’m a guy.

To the dads, I am an enigma, a riddle. How does this guy do that? But I don’t share the burdens of salary and employment that they do. I cannot know what it means to be the sole bread-winner – “the man” of the house.

It is a lonely place – a toe, if that, in each world, but not fully accepted, respected nor understood by anyone in either.

The truth is, as a stay at home dad, the economy scares me as much as the next man, but I have the added insult of knowing that my skill set is over 10 years out of date. I cannot suddenly be “the man” should Jess lose her job. Go back to school, you say? When, is my response. Were Brooke your typical child, I might be willing to bring in a baby sitter or a nanny or put her in after school care, but she is not. Move, you say? So that we don’t have to depend on Jess’ sizable salary to live in this neighborhood? Where, is my response. Were Brooke typical, we might have moved long ago, but, as much as we complain about the school system, unfortunately, it is still one of the best in the nation, IN THE NATION, for children like Brooke. No, we cannot move without putting Brooke’s future at stake.

It is depressing to know that I cannot cleave the chains that bind us to our situation and location. Despite all the good I know I do – and believe me, I know – I know my chosen vocation raises eyebrows, and at times leaves me feeling powerless…


Which is why running is so important to me. Through running I can exert my strength. I can look at 80 – 90% of the men on the planet and say, “I am stronger, I am faster, I am better at something than you.”

It is a male thing. A man thing.

But it is not for them, those other men, that I run.

No, it is for me.

It is to remind myself that I am still a man…still strong…still capable…still powerful…

I am…

…still a man.

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how do you see yourself?

Running is/isn’t easy.

Running a 5K is/isn’t easy.

Running a marathon is/isn’t easy.


Over the last three years I’ve made many friends in the running community – runners of all shapes and sizes, skills and experience.  Physically, for some, running is a natural gift; for others, it is a concerted daily effort.  For some, running is easy; for others, not so much – but surprisingly, it doesn’t always break down along the “physically gifted/not so gifted” lines.

Running is a physical activity that taxes your muscles, heart and lungs.  The faster you go, the harder your body must work – your muscles burn, your heart beats faster and your lungs strain to keep up with the demand for oxygen.

But what if I told you that running is more mental than anything else.  What if I told you that being a “good runner” was more about what’s between your ears instead of how strong your legs are or how much blood your heart pumps or how much air your lungs can take it.

Running comes down to two things – discipline and joy.  Do you have the mental discipline to put one foot in front of the other and can you find the joy in each one of those steps.

If you can consistently do both, happiness, particularly in how you see/feel about yourself, is not too far behind.

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Yesterday afternoon, while at school pick up, a mother tracked me down…

“I’ve been meaning to tell you,” she started, “your blue hair…”

She went on to tell me how she had been sitting watching a group of kids.  The topic of Brooke’s dad with the blue hair spontaneously came up in conversation which started a discussion about autism, autism awareness and what autism is…among the kids…with no adults!

She wasn’t close enough to hear every detail, but she was impressed that the kids carried on the conversation for some time and that the topic had been brought up because of my blue hair.

“I thought you would want to know your blue hair is doing its job,” she said.  She was absolutely right.

I told her maybe I should think about keeping my hair blue all year.

“No, no,” she replied, “then they’d get used to it.  Every once in a while, it’s good to shock them and make them think.”

Even though I’m getting my marathon out of the way with NYCM next weekend, maybe I should consider going blue again next year.  I feel like each conversation Brooke’s peers have about autism is one more kid who is aware that different is okay.

Thank you to the mom who let me know that I was making a difference even when I wasn’t around.

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RIP Dear Friend

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Last night was the first night I really missed him.

May he rest in peace.

No, no, no. Nobody has died, not yet anyway.

I am in mourning not for a person nor pet. No, I am in mourning for my treadmill. After many years of service, the last three being fairly intense, my familiar friend TM has become injured beyond repair.

Like a horse with a broken leg, it may be time to put TM down.

His first injury was actually a little over a year ago when the elevation motor died. At the time I wasn’t too worried because I was training for an incredibly flat marathon (Smuttynose).

But it finally happened.

A few weeks ago, while trying to get myself back into the groove of running, I hopped on TM for a quick 8-miler.

You may ask, why didn’t you just go outside?  Honestly, as much as I love running outside, there is something very zen about hopping on a treadmill and being able to turn the brain completely off – plus, I find it a good opportunity to catch up on shows Jess doesn’t like on my DVR.

But I digress…

About 4 miles in I heard a loud “CRACK” and suddenly the ride got a little bouncy – not overly so, but I definitely felt like I was running on a small trampoline. As long as I didn’t run down the center of TM, it didn’t get too bad.  He had essentially split down the middle.  I was determined to get my 8 miles in, but I now had to run with my feet slightly apart.  The zen running was no longer very zen.  I did manage to zone out a little but as I passed 7 miles I started to hear a flap! flap! flap!.  I looked down in horror to see that the tread of the treadmill was coming apart at the seams.

It was time to stop.

At this point, I realized that TM was probably beyond repair, or that at the very least, the cost of fixing him would be more than simply replacing him.  Unfortunately, these are tough economic times, so a replacement will have to be held off for quite a while – as much as running is a necessity to me, a treadmill is a luxury.  Ultimately, outside running is better for you anyway, and I do enjoy time in the fresh air.

But last night, as I contemplated going out for a late-night run,  I realized just how much I will miss my dear friend TM.  We got our first snow of the year last night, and it wasn’t a children’s storybook gentle snow – it was a cold, hard, unpleasant snow.  As I walked the dog, I quickly decided that my run could wait another day.  As much as I needed a run, I didn’t need to be running in miserable weather.

And so I mourn.

Rest in peace dear friend.  You served me well.  Hopefully you are up in Heaven keeping the angels in shape.

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I cannot put into words how overwhelmed and supported I felt from your responses (both on and off line) to my #FAIL post.  Whether it was from those who felt the same way as me, those who had made their way back to God or those who had never left Him/Her, I felt the love and compassion from each and every one of you…thank you.

Last weekend Jess and Brooke went to New York City to see Brooke’s favorite movie on the stage – Godspell.  To really understand how Godspell has intertwined itself into our lives would take several blog posts – wait! —>there are several blogpost about that over on Jess’ blog<— (I suggest going to the beginning).  Suffice it to say, if you don’t have the time to read them all, Godspell is big, BIG in our home.  We knew she really wanted to see the show, but when you have a child with autism, you just never know how they are going to react to a new environment.  The experience could be a big hit or could end in disaster…

So it was with bated breath that I waited, here in Boston, to see how Jess & Brooke’s trip went…

*on a side note and a nod to the late Steve Jobs, the pictures, video and editing were all done on an iPhone.

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Dear Lord,

If You did this to test me, then I believe I have failed.

Not because I have given up on my daughter.

Not because I have given up on doing what is right.

Unlike You, I will never stop doing those things.

I failed because I have given up on You as an all-powerful, all-loving God.

You are cruel. You are sadistic. You are uncaring. You are vain.

How else do You explain what we see in the world?

A test?

Your test is flawed.  It tests those who do not carry love in their hearts at the expense of those who do.

How many mothers do You make cry themselves to sleep at night? How many fathers do You leave powerless to comfort their wives? How many little children, the very essence of purity, do You make suffer by chasing them with demons and dragons – those innocent children who have no weapon to defend themselves but the love of their parents?  How many Brooke’s do you torment with unyielding anxiety?  What did she do to deserve her fate?  I may not have walked the righteous path all of my life, but that gives you no right to punish Brooke, and in turn Jess and Katie.  If you have a problem with me, then you should take it out on me, not them.

I am angry at You.

I choose no longer to believe in You.

And don’t give me the “that’s the point of Faith” crap again. It’s crap and You know it. If You really cared, You would make the wicked suffer and comfort and heal to good.

You wouldn’t send the world preachers who tell the poor and the sick and the hurting that they just aren’t praying hard enough, they just aren’t giving enough, they just don’t believe enough.

Shame on You, Lord!

Maybe You did make us in Your image. That would explain why we have people like politicians and bank presidents – masters of the universe that don’t care about the poor, the needy, those in pain. Just like You, they say they care, that they want to help, but in the end, all they care about is their glory, their wealth, their fortune, their comfort.

Maybe You are deaf.

I think You just don’t care anymore.

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