Monday, November 14, 2022

Lessons From a Hard Experience

Lessons From a Hard Experience

True tests of our faith are not found in those things we are well prepared to fight against; 
that we feel we are capable of beating; 
that we are confident we may overcome; 
or that make us feel we have been given a chance to excel, shine or show our mettle. 

True tests of our faith lie in those things that have the real power to overcome us; 
that cause us to feel the real threat of actual defeat; 
that make us question our ability to overcome or survive; 
that show us our weakness and our powerlessness; 
that stab at our greatest fears. 

True tests of faith may cause us to question ourselves, our fellow men, and even our God. 

True tests of faith are not proven by defeating others but by achieving triumph over our own selves. 

I pray I have proved myself well and truly against the tests of my faith. 


Friday, November 11, 2022

Full Circle (Missing a Few Pieces)

Full Circle (Missing a Few Pieces)

It certainly has been a long time since I posted anything!

My life journey took me on an unwelcome detour and brought me full circle, back home to my patient, supportive wife. However, I lost nine years of my life, my career, many friends and family members, my reputation, and my membership in the church I still love and support. 

You see, in 2011 I was accused of molesting a nine-year-old girl in a very public place, surrounded by many people, none of whom witnessed or heard anything at all that suggested any attacks were going on within arm's length of them. The circumstances were so improbable, that the prosecutor told me he would drop charges if I passed a polygraph and produced two witnesses who were close enough to observe me and the victim, and who would vouch that no attacks happened. 

I passed a polygraph. I produced three, not two, witnesses, some of whom were right next to us when these attacks supposedly occurred. The prosecutor backpedaled on his offer and I had to go to trial. 

I fought the charges and lost. I appealed my conviction to all the state courts and lost. I appealed to federal courts and lost. I couldn't afford to appeal to the US Supreme Court, so I ended up serving nine years in prison. I was excommunicated from the church I belonged to my entire life. My professional license was taken away. But -- I am home again, with my dear sweetheart who stood resolutely by my side the entire time, and that means the whole world to me! 

I am trying to build a new career at an age when I should be retiring. I am calling my career launch my "Pretirement". I had a background in computer programming and project management that was dormant for several decades. I thought I could resurrect those skills to get a job as a data analyst. 

I studied and passed the Microsoft exam to be a certified Excel Expert. I loved all the new bells and whistles that had been added to the trusty old Excel I used to use. Wow! Pivot charts, lookups, graphs, filters, forecasts, power queries, and more. I loved it. 

For extra measure, I also studied and passed the Microsoft exam to be a certified PowerBI Associate. So much more capability. What kind of geniuses came up with this wonderful stuff? 

I was certain I would find a data analyst job with my new skills. However, most businesses conduct background checks. This hurt my job-finding efforts for ten months. 

In desperation, I humbled my expectations and applied for work filling food bins at a grocery store.  Background checked again. 

I applied for work pushing shopping carts and cleaning up the parking lot at a hardware store.  Background checked again. 

I applied to be a parcel delivery driver.  Background checked again. 

At last, I was offered a job for a national food distribution company! I was thrilled to get any job at all. Even better, it was working as a data analyst. 

The HR person was eager to hire me. The supervisor who would be over me was not. 

I worked there for all of three weeks. From the first day, my supervisor set me up to fail so she could justify dismissing me. The best three-week job of my life! 

I am back in the planning and preparation stage of my Pretirement. I have pivoted to expand my writing skills and pursue freelance work as an editor, writer, and proofreader. In this line of work, I figure I should be able to avoid those job-killing background checks. 

And the best part of all? I am home with the love of my life every day! 



Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cold Weather Running

I noticed that my feet feel tougher when running in cold weather than when running in hot weather. Something about the temperature softening the skin when its warmer. 

I've been running off and on this winter. Its been very moderate here - it still gets up to the mid 40's many days. That is very tolerable for barefoot running. 

My runs tend to be from 4 to 7 miles each, about 2 or 3 times per week. 


Thursday, December 27, 2012

A New Entry to This World

My son Michael and his wife Amanda welcomed a new baby girl to their family early this morning. 

Iliandra weighed 7 lbs 6 oz  and was 21.75 inches long. (I think that's about 1/4 of her mother, Amanda.)

Iliandra's arrival at 3:30 a.m. came after some excitement and anxiety! Amanda was trying for a home birth, but the baby was breach so they ended up loading Amanda into an ambulance and taking her to the hospital. Doctors thought they would have to do a C-section. After admitting her, they wheeled her to the OR to prep her for surgery, but at the last minute she gave a heroic effort and got the baby out by herself!  It was an all natural birth, no drugs, brute force! 

Michael jokes that the pool in which Amanda was trying to have a water-birth in their home did not allow any "diving" so Iliandra came out butt-first - Cannonball style!!  I think that's the nickname I'm going to call her:  Cannonball! 

Iliandra is still in the neonatal care unit while they check her breathing and see that her hips are okay. They might have been dislocated during birth.

Oh - I couldn't help but notice that she arrived "Bare-Foot"!!  Good girl!

Ryan - Grandpa

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Christmas Wish to Prince William and Kate:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Still Here

Wow! Long Time Since I Expressed Myself!

I'm still running, barefoot of course! Nothing of great accomplishment to report. My runs tend to be about 6 or 7 miles each, at least two times a week, sometimes 3 times. 

Lately I've developed a pointed pain in my right knee. No swelling or heat from it. It does not hurt at all when I run - mostly when I've been sitting at my desk for awhile. I'm afraid it might be arthritis, so I'm starting to Hyaluronic Acid which is supposed to be good for joints. We'll see. 

I ran across a poem that I absolutely love. Its message is deep and has a lot of meaning to me: 

Forgiveness Flour

a poem by Marguerite Stewart

When I went to the door, at the whisper of knocking,

I saw Simeon Gantner’s daughter, Kathleen, standing
There, in her shawl and her shame, sent to ask
“Forgiveness Flour” for her bread. “Forgiveness Flour,”
We call it in our corner. If one has erred, one
Is sent to ask for flour of his neighbors. If they loan it
To him, that means he can stay, but if they refuse, he had
Best take himself off.

I looked at Kathleen . . .

What a jewel of a daughter, though not much like her
Father, more’s the pity. “I’ll give you flour,” I
Said, and went to measure it. Measuring was the rub.

If I gave too much, neighbors would think I made sin

Easy, but if I gave too little, they would label me
“Close.” While I stood measuring, Joel, my husband
Came in from the mill, a great bag of flour on his
Shoulder, and seeing her there, shrinking in the
Doorway, he tossed the bag at her feet. “Here, take
All of it.” And so she had flour enough for many loaves,
While I stood measuring.
  ~ ~ ~


(Why does this site now only print in italics???)

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Hello Again!

Time seems to just slip away, devoured by the worries of each day. 

I took some time out this morning to browse some sites on barefoot running.

I spent some enjoyable reading time at this site:

and at this one: 

I also enjoyed this short video about MovNat - The Workout the World Forgot:

I am still running a little bit - barely enough! I ran 10 miles a couple of Saturdays ago, and I usually get in at least two shorter runs during the week -- usually about 5 or 6 miles each. I'm fighting the battle of the bulge, because I slowed down during this winter and indulged in too many sodas. Time to work on getting fit again. I would like to lose about 15 pounds and increase my running to at least 30 miles per week. 

I always wanted to run the Salt Lake City Marathon, which is coming up on April 21st - just 45 days away! I wonder if its feasible for me to be ready to go from my current 15 miles per week to 26.2 miles! There are other circumstances in my life that might make it not possible to be there -- but if I can clear those out, then I will have to ramp up my running very seriously to be able to do it. From what I understand, the SLC Marathon is very flat, and I know from experience the streets are mostly very smooth.  It is very tempting to me! 

The sun is shining - I'm feeling the pull to go out and run today! 

still smiling

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Trail Running

Yesterday I hooked up with fellow Northwest BF runner Josh Humbert and friend Dan to run a short section of trails in the Forest Park area in Portland, Oregon.  I have run very few trails in the 7 years of my BF running experience. I felt like a total newby!  Josh was gracious enough to slow way down to accommodate my clumsy efforts. He and Dan floated over the rough stuff with exquisite grace while I seemed to test every sharp rock there!

It was quite cool out, sub 50F (sub 10C) and rainy. The service road from the parking area to the trail head was quite rough and rocky (by my standards). It was maybe 1/4 mile long. The trail itself was a mix of very slimy mud with a few patches of rock & gravel. The constant drizzle of rain only made it more slick as we went along.
We seemed to be more equal on the slimy sections - it was all we could do to keep from slipping right off the trail. There was one section where I became genuinely concerned for my safety. We were going downhill, and gravity was pulling me along faster than I wanted to go. Every time I tried to slow down, my feet started skating across the slick mud. When I stopped slowing down, my speed increased too much, and I knew it would be that much harder to slow down later. I wondered if I was just being a wimp about it when I heard Dan behind me let out a whoop as he also slipped. Josh tried to comfort me by exclaiming several times that this was the most slippery he had ever seen. I wondered what it would be like on a dry, sunny day.

When we got back to the service road and its relative roughness, Dan and Josh glided on ahead of me. I felt like the turtle of the group.

When I was done I found that my left foot had a puncture wound, and it was probably filled with mud. It felt like there might be something solid stuck in there, too. Last night I soaked my foot in calcium hypochlorite powder (pool shock). This converts to "hypochlorus acid" when dissolved in water, and is one of the most effective antibacterial agents (and anti fungal) out there. It has the added benefit that it does not harm healthy tissues at all and it is painless (unlike hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, or tincture of iodine.) Last night I sprinkled some calcium hypochlorite powder on a bandaid and slept with it applied directly to the puncture. Voila! No more swelling or pain by morning. I HIGHLY recommend this as a cleansing/healing method. (If you want to try something really "out there" - I know some people who put small amounts of this powder inside of gel capsules and ingest it for health. Search "MMS2" for more info.)

What I learned from yesterday's run:
>  rough surfaces encourage better form, 
>  Josh and Dan are leaps and bounds ahead of me in trail running,
> slimy muddy trails are fun in their own way, very challenging, and something I will not actively search for in the future, and
> trail running has its own unique sense of accomplishment.

Saturday I went out and ran a 10K that was actually a walking event. It was fun, lots of people, lots of stares and friendly comments. I still get a kick out of those people who stare but don't want to be caught staring - and those who have a look of total disgust on their faces (they are just feet, people, pretty common things!)

See you out there!


Thursday, March 03, 2011

Good Run Yesterday! 

I looked up a possible running route by looking at some bicycle trail maps online and then went out to see if they were runnable. I've wanted to find a decent route from Vancouver across the river into Portland. The routes I have tried in the past were not all that great. This one looked promising so I decided to give it a go.

It was mostly very barefoot friendly, except for a couple of sections. I was glad for our heavy rainfall this past week because it seemed to have helped wash a lot of the ice sanding grit off, giving me some smooth pavement where it usually would be very sharp and difficult.

One section of sidewalk was covered by a large puddle about 2 inches deep and twenty feet wide. It was under the freeway where beggars congregate. One of them saw me splashing through the water and said "THAT's what I like to see!"  Huh??

At one point a police car came by, and the officer slowed down to look at me. Probably wondering if I was a danger to myself or to society. I smiled at him and he drove on.

Once I had traversed the out-going part of my planned route, I was needing to find a bathroom. Knowing I would more likely find one if I kept on running, I kept on running. Several places said they did not have facilities open to the public, so I kept on running. Finally I found a place that would let me in, much to my relief, and I was ready to turn around for my return trip.

I took a few different turns on the way back, one of which crossed over an industrial road that had the worst wear on it from all the big rigs driving on it. I just sucked in it and ran smoothly over one of the worst surfaces I've ever encountered. Luckily it was only across about four lanes of road, so it was quite short.

The run back seemed much easier than the run out for some reason, until the last mile or so. I think my mindset has something to do with how well I ran. As long as I felt I had a long ways yet to go, I just settled in and ran easily. When the end of my run got near, I  anticipated being finished a little too early, and so my body said "Done!"

My total distance, according to, was 12.25 miles. It was mostly over very wet surfaces, including some water puddles and one section of soft slick mud. I was lucky it had stopped raining for most of the run.

All in all, I'm very pleased with this run! 


12 Mile Run - Vancouver to North Portland 

Monday, January 10, 2011

BTW: Happy New Year

Saying happy new year is kind of trite. What else are you going to say? Crappy new year? 

It fits in the same category as people telling me "Hey - you don't have any shoes on!" (like I don't know?) ((I thought something seemed different ... holy crap! where'd my shoes go?))

So, at the risk of sounding trite and obvious, happy new year to anyone reading this lonely post. I hope my saying it makes your day, or year!

Another Minimalist Shoe Idea

I heard about some kind of shoe/slipper made by a company called Zemgear.

They are less expensive than Vibrams, more expensive than water shoes. They come with different colored stripes, and they have a high ankle model. I got a low ankle pair and tried them out. Fantastic for cold weather running! I chose black on black. My wife calls them my duck feet for some reason.

Easy to put on, easy to take off, fit is superb, feel is great, extremely light weight, nicely warm, and I can easily stuff them into a fanny pack without feeling like I'm lugging a bowling ball around. I really like how they hug the arches of my feet. Their design is so simple, I believe I could replace the sole myself if it wears out. In fact, by turning them inside out, it would be easy to duplicate the size and shape of each component part and just make me some new ones out of any material I choose. I think I would like fleece; or maybe felted wool. 

My only problem with them is they soak up moisture like a towel. Not good for wet weather running. This means not good for about 80% of my runs up here in the northwest! But considering I only got them for running during the most extreme frigid weather, they should work out just fine. We only get a few days of truly frosty, sub-freezing weather here. I can run in everything else without any foot coverings. I'm not sure how they would do on icy surfaces yet.

Happy running to you - in any temperature! 


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


For the past year I've had recurring problems with a very old ankle sprain. I suspect the ligament never healed quite right. Periodically it starts to flare up, feels puffy, burning sensation, and I have to be careful of it. Its not enough of a problem to prevent me from running, its just something I need to watch out for.

I was concerned for my half-marathon run last Saturday that my ankle might not take that distance. It had been sore for the prior month or more. It didn't bother me at all during the run! Not only that, but yesterday and today, I've noticed that the ankle feels completely well - no nagging aching going on at all. I also feel like my legs are relaxed and limber, with more pep and bounce in them than usual. Is this the result of going on a long run??

Maybe I'm more ready to run a full marathon than I think.

Saturday I wasn't trying to make a fast time. I was just plodding along at a steady pace - no 'racing' going on at all. Yet I still managed to come in just over two hours. A friend of mine ran her first-ever marathon in Salt Lake City a couple of weeks ago. She did it in 6 hours.

6 hours! I realize that if I had kept up my pace from last Saturday for a whole marathon, I would have been done in less than 4 1/2 hours. So maybe I've just got to target a marathon run some time and give it a go.

I've wanted to do the St. George Marathon in October, for several years, but never made the commitment. Is this the year??


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Here I Am Again

Wow, I haven't posted much lately!

I've been trying to run (barefoot) more regularly, even if that means doing a lot of shorter runs. I found that I was doing about 2 runs a week, pushing each one to around 8 to 11 miles, and then having to rest in between.

So about 2 months ago I started going on more frequent runs, doing 4 miles one morning, 5 miles the next, etc., and trying to get a run in close to every day. This meant I had to get up earlier and do some early morning runs. I usually don't like running in the mornings, but this time it wasn't so bad.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I was on a longer run and cut my foot on a hidden piece of glass in the river beach. Not a bad cut, but I figured I better let it rest a few days. It persisted to bother me, plus our weather got nasty, so I ended up taking more time off from running than I planned. Then, last Sunday, I came down with a head/chest cold which took me out of running all week long. I had signed up for a 10K on Saturday (yesterday), which I was determined to do even if I was sick. But I had problems registering online for this run and that got me a little pissed off at the race sponsors, so I finally just said 'Forget it!'

Yesterday they had an annual event here in my city called the Discovery Walk. It is for walkers, with distances of 5K, 10K, 21K and 42K, plus bike rides and swims. At the last minute, I decided to sign up for the 21K, and intended to run it, sick or not.

So with very little running the past two weeks I got up Saturday morning, ate a light breakfast, and went down to the starting location. Since it wasn't a timed event, you could start any time you liked within a 2 hour window. It got really chilly overnight so I wanted to wait and leave as close to 9 AM as I could, to catch as much warmth as I could. It was still only about 45 degrees outside when I arrived.

I got my starter's card punched and they gave me a map to use, and I was off at an easy pace. None of the route was coned-off from traffic, so there were frequent stops to wait for traffic lights - chances to stretch and visit with some of the walkers. They changed the course from last year, and I was apprehensive about some of the areas the new course would go through. There were three checkpoints along the route where walkers are supposed to get their card's marked for "credit" towards their Volkswalk points. I didn't care that much for points, but it was nice to get the water and orange slices they offered. Those were the only watering holes along the route.

The first part of the run was very familiar to me -- courses I have run many times. Around mile 1 it turned into a neighborhood I had never run through. I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth the road was - new pavement. This took us directly to the Deaf School, the first checkpoint, around mile 3 or so. I knew a lady and her son who were volunteers there. When I got to the checkpoint another volunteer was just telling my friend about some barefoot guy who ran the half-marathon last year -- and then I ran up just at that moment! She got a big laugh over the timing of my arrival. Drinks, orange slices, some conversation, and I was off.

The course became weird after this - all new territory for me. It cut through the Deaf School's back lot over grass and gravel, out through more residential neighborhoods, and ended up going to a very rough patch of road. This road was at the bottom of a ravine, heavily shadowed by dense trees, hardly any shoulder to speak of, and cars traveling fairly quickly. No part of the road was coned off for our event, and the shoulder was strewn with gravel and lots (really lots) of broken glass. I tried to run on the roadway as much as I could, all uphill, but the frequency of cars zooming down the hill towards us forced me to jump into the glass and gravel too much. I finally noticed that there was a strip of washed-up pine needles on the outer most edge that provided quite a bit of padding, so I ran on it as much as I could.

I came up to a group of Russian walkers. They were so impressed that I was barefoot that they wanted me to stop so they could take my picture, then they wanted to be in the pictures with me. I obliged, smiled, posed, and then handed out some of my barefoot running cards that explain who I am and why I run barefoot. I continued up the hill and eventually back into civilization (sidewalks).

The route took us across some major roads where I had to stop and wait for traffic a lot. It reached a paved trail that we followed for a couple of miles. The first half of the trail was pretty decent, asphalt strewn with a fair amount of gravel to avoid. The second half was cement with a corrugated surface that was not pleasant. There was a smooth strip on the side about 4 inches wide that I followed. I passed a lot of walkers along this trail, and heard a lot of comments about my bare feet. This was around mile 5 of the course.

The route turned onto a street that took us right past the local hospital surrounded lots of doctor's clinics. There was a check point somewhere around there, but for some reason I didn't see it. This was too bad because I could have used the water and orange slices. I forged onward, to a road that led mostly downhill towards the Columbia River. This road was very rough. I tried running on the sidewalk, but it was just as bad or worse. I ended up aiming for the white paint stripe on the edge of the road, but it wasn't much better. I had to just run gingerly along this road into a very ritsy neighborhood near the water. The roads through here were just as rough.

The route followed a very old road that was mostly cement with quite a few asphalt patches on it. The road itself was very smooth, but the shoulder was the roughest, worst stuff I'd seen the entire run. I couldn't even stand to walk on it. I ran on the roadway as much as I could, but again, traffic was a problem. I could see a long ways ahead so I could plan accordingly. I saw a long stretch of vehicles coming, and not willing to stand and wait for them, I decided to slip on my flip-flops I carried for just such an occasion. I only had to wear them for about 100 yards. Traffic disappeared and so did my flip flops.

The route crossed some railroad tracks, went over a short stretch of gravel, and then down to Wintler Park -- an area I have run very often. From here on out I was on familiar paths. I was near mile 8 - about 5 miles to go. The sidewalk through this area was brand new last year and had lots of very sharp edges on its corrugated surface. Thankfully the surface had worn down over the year and was not too rough. My feet were starting to feel sore by this time, but I knew that the rest of the route was mostly easy. I noticed a painted marker that said 4 miles to go. 9 miles down and 4 more to go -- I can handle this!

About a mile later I came to the final checkpoint. I was glad to find some water and enjoy some orange slices. I wolfed them down because I wanted to keep going and get this thing done!

I kept thinking that the first walkers left at 7:00 a.m. - two hours before me. I wondered if I might catch up to them. There was no way of knowing who was 'first' - it was just something on my mind as I thought about finishing the 21K. I passed a few more walkers, and then it got eerily empty. Nobody but me. I thought I might have taken a wrong turn or something. Nope, I found a route marker. Huh! Maybe I had overtaken the earliest of the 21K walkers after all. I ran on and on, through very familiar country. I could go on automatic from here on out. After a stretch of easy running I noticed another marker on the sidewalk that said 1.75 miles. I had gone from 4 to 1.75 without hardly noticing. Sweet!

At this point two routes converged. The 21K and 42K routes overlapped the 5K and 10K routes for the last part. I came upon a family I know from church. I stopped and gave them high-fives, congratulations and such. Then on my way. Of course there were a ton of walkers from here to the end. I was zigging and zagging through groups of people. At one point it was so crowded that I called out: "Make way for the barefoot runner!" Lots of turning heads, lots of stares, and like magic - a path opened up through the throngs. I felt like Moses.

My feet were sore from those rough patches I had gone through earlier on and I was ready to be done. One mile to go. I was just coasting, focusing on form as the sidewalk passed underneath the I-5 bridge to Oregon. Here the cement was that nasty corrugated stuff, the worst in all the route. Having run on it many times, I knew it felt worse if I slowed down to walk on it, so I just kept lifting my feet and landing them as squarely as I could. The rough part was short-lived. Only 1/2 mile left to go. Soon I was on some of the milkiest smooth cement sidewalks I've seen. The last two blocks were so filled with people and strollers that I gave up trying to run any more. I walked behind everyone else to the hotel where the whole thing started.

The hotel was having some kind of convention, and there were lots of people dressed up in very nice business attire, trying to impress all the other folks attending. I stopped to talk to some cashier people for the convention to find out what it was. 'Pre-Paid Legal' was the answer. I smiled and told them I'm an attorney, in kind of a loud voice so the people in line could hear. A lot of stares after that! I had to walk past a bunch of them -- me, sweaty, thirsty, hot, tired, dirty bare feet -- and them, hoity-toity penguins and ladies in stiletto high heels looking down their noses at me. I didn't care. Not only was I an attorney, I was proud to have finished a half marathon barefoot! So I held my head high as I walked past them all to the part of the hotel where the walking course had its final check-point.

This event did not have a 'finish line' or anything. You just moseyed in to the hotel and showed them your participation card with its checkpoints marked, and they gave you a nice little ribbon with a medal. No snacks, no water, nobody saying 'Yay you made it!' It was kind of a let down. I wanted my ego stroked a little bit. I looked around for something to drink or eat, because I was feeling kind of weak by now. I found a vendor's booth that had tid-bit samples of their energy bars. I grabbed a tooth pick and started loading up on them. All flavors. I had energy bar shish-ka-bobs! One of the ladies working the booth said she had seen me running barefoot sometime last summer and was happy to finally meet me in person. Okay, ego pumped! I gave her one of my barefoot running cards. Then it was out the door, past the hoity toity bunch, and out of the hotel. By now clouds had formed, the temperature was dropping and it was raining. Time to get out of there! I gingerly walked the 3 blocks to where I had parked my car and headed home.

Mission accomplished! Time: 2 hrs 15 minutes. I claim 2 hours because there was a lot of time wasted on the course at checkpoints, stopping to wait for traffic, and working through some crowds.


Friday, January 08, 2010

Northwest Running Hazards

Forget the common fears over glass, rocks, needles, pinecones and animal poop --- one of the things that worries me the most on barefoot runs, especially at nights, are these big beauties:

This is a slug I found outside my back door a few years ago. Its not even considered all that large!
If you step on one of these barefoot, expect to go down hard!