Saturday, January 30, 2010

Honduras January 2010, Day 7

I really wasn’t planning on writing anything today, but I woke up early and wanted to share something that happened last night. Dan, Darrin, Steve, and I were sitting at the table after finishing a very good meal of chicken and rice and other stuff. We were talking about the trip and the future of our Help for Honduras ministry. It was a great conversation.

As we were talking, Pedro the security guard came to us and pulled out a chair. He sat down. Pedro can’t speak a word of English. He tries, but he just really struggles (like we do with Spanish). Even though the language barrier is large, he and Dan have become friends. Somehow they communicate. They share pictures of family and try to teach each other words from their respective worlds. Through Dan’s influence and example, Pedro has become a friend to all of us.

Yesterday, as we prepared to leave for the day, we allowed Pedro to look through some of our giveaway goodies. He carefully selected clothes for his little children. We also gave him a little table and chair set for his kids. He was so grateful.

As he sat down with us last night, he put his hands together and motioned heavenward. He said, in very broken English, something about praying. We all bowed our heads and listened to one of the most beautiful prayers I’ve heard in a long time. I don’t know much of what he said, but I know it was from the heart. I heard, “mucho gracias” several times.

Mucho gracias, indeed.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Honduras January 2010, Day 6

Today was our last day to work, and it turned out to be a beautiful day! Bright sunshine and temps in the 80s followed a foggy, misty start to the day. Everything went well with the build today.

We have been blessed in many ways by Mark Connell. The more I get to know him the more impressed I am with him and his work. One of the things that made our work easier this week was that Mark brought his “boys” with him each day. He intentionally mentors more than a dozen young men. Most of them do not have a father active in their lives. Mark is teaching and showing them God’s love and how to be a godly man. He pays them each day for their work. I think it’s about 5 dollars, which is a good day for most Hondurans. I’ve included a photo of today’s team.

Our build today was unusual in that it was way out on a sparsely populated mountain. It was a neat place with good views. It is the dry season here so it is not especially green and beautiful. Everything is a dull green.

After the build we drove out to Casa de Esperanza (“House of Hope”). It is the other children’s home where our October team installed a water treatment system. We were informed yesterday that it wasn’t working properly. A quick investigation revealed that someone had opened a valve that was allowing the water to bypass the system. It was an easy fix.

Today Manuel was accompanied by his sister, Angelica. She looks to be about 15. She, like Manuel, is very sweet. She jumped right in with a hammer and helped us with the build.

We unloaded all the tools and spent some time organizing everything. The next builders should find everything ready to go. We’re now back at the mission house awaiting another scrumptious supper. Smell like chicken to me. Pollo!

Now that our work is over, it is time to reflect on what it all means. I hope to address that briefly on Sunday. Lord willing we’ll have some good photos and a video to share. For now we thank God and all of you for making this trip wonderful. I am eager to get home and see Kedra, Rebecca, and Ben!

We leave the mission house at 9 in the morning, and we leave Honduras about 1 p.m. Unfortunately we have a 3+ hour layover in Houston and will not arrive in Indy until nearly 11 p.m. I hope to be in my bed by 1 a.m.

Thanks again! Please pray for traveling mercies.

Honduras January 2010, Day 6

Honduras January 2010 Day 5, Thursday

[We had no electricity or water when we got back yesterday evening. They both got restored some time over night.]

I just saw a teenage Honduran boy get into a truck. He was wearing a bright yellow jacket that had the name of a school and the word “Cheerleader” boldly written across the back. I think he has no idea what the jacket says, but he is very grateful to have it. It’s a little cooler here today, low 70s I would guess. It was cloudy most of the time with a heavy mist periodically falling.

It was another good day, and it started in the same way for me: a run and another yummy breakfast. After breakfast Dan, Darrin, Steve, and I met Mark at the warehouse. Then we headed out to the work site. We went to a different area today. The build was right behind a Church of Christ building.

The house was built at the request of the Mayor of Tegucigalpa. He has donated lots of tin for the roofs. His wife wanted to come to the dedication, but could not make it. She plans to visit in the next few days. I thought that was all kinda neat. Torch Missions has a wonderful relationship with the mayor, and some of our Torch leaders know personally and have a good relationship with the new President of Honduras.

The lady for whom we built the house was so grateful. For a living she makes and sells what looks like the elephant ears you get at the fair or the Persimmon Festival. She had a tub of them and insisted that we eat one. I was leery, but Mark said it might insult her if we did not take one. So in the name of Jesus, and a with quick prayer of gratitude and mostly for gastrointestinal protection, I took one. She then squirted some kind of red sauce all over it. Man, it was good! I’ll know soon whether I should have eaten one or not. I have my bottle of Cipro ready! Steve and Darrin also ate one.

Dan didn’t. He was too busy being the big-hearted generous guy that he is. He started passing out clothes, shoes, and toys. It didn’t take long for the lines to form. Once that happens you are committed until everything is gone. Many of you donated many wonderful things. The folks at the Bryantsville Church of Christ sent lots of very nice clothes. A lot of those were distributed today. Thank you!

We gave the recipient of the house a bag of corn and a beautiful blanket that was made by Phyllis Mundy. The lady loved it. The house was dedicated to Steve’s parents. They have been very generous and helpful with our Help for Honduras ministry.

After our build we made our way to the Baxter Institute. It is a school that trains evangelists for all over Central and South America. They have about 50 students from 10 different countries. We met the new President of the institute, Howard Norton. He was very gracious and gave us a nice history of the place. It is a very impressive place. Beautiful.

Manuel continues to be my big buddy. He is helping me learn Spanish in a very playful way. We have a phrase book, and we’ve been looking up silly things. Today we started singing Feliz Navidad. It was hilarious to hear him try sing the English parts. Then I started singing Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean’s not my lover...” Manuel then started singing it. It was clear that he was faking the words. I suppose you had to be here, but it sure cracked me up.

Manuel lives in a Torch house that was built some time ago. Dan, Darrin, Steve, and I were talking about how he always is clean, neat, and dressed in clean clothes. It’s hard to imagine how he does it. The same is true for Murlon, the recipient of yesterday’s house. It gives us some sobering insight into life here. Even the people who look a lot like us and value neatness and cleanliness are living in little boxes without any modern conveniences.

Tomorrow we build our last house for this trip. Following the build we plan to visit the other children’s home where we installed a water treatment system in October. We also plan to stop at a medical clinic.

This trip has been wonderful in many ways. Dan, Darrin, and Steve are a joy to spend time with. We have all been blessed in many ways. We would all appreciate your prayers for a good final day of work.

Honduras January 2010, Day 5

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Honduras Day 4, Wednesday

[To better view the photos, click on the one below (hold your Ctrl key to open a new window) and then click on “slide show.” This will allow you to see the pictures better, including the captions. You can slow the slide show down also by clicking the “minus” sign.]

Words are woefully inadequate to describe what we saw and felt today; more on that later.

We had another wonderful breakfast at 7 a.m. I managed to run 3 miles before that. I am finding that running at altitude is a little harder than running back home.

After a good breakfast we took off for the warehouse. We had a young man ride down with us, Manuel. He is 13 and became my buddy today. He is the son of Rosa, a lady who used to work at the mission house. Many of us got to know Rosa last summer.

The ride into the city was smooth this morning. We think it was because of the presidential inauguration. Maybe the people had the day off? We were glad to get to the warehouse and back out before anything happened. We were a little concerned that streets might be blocked off, etc. We had no problem, and we guess everything went well with the inauguration. We saw some fighter jets fly over this afternoon and then heard some noises that we hope were fireworks.

The build today was challenging. Solid rock in a couple of places. We had to reduce the house from 16 feet wide to 12 feet because of the rocks. It took us an hour and a half to set the posts. We also had to cut a tree down and remove it. Sadly the tree fell on Dan’s backpack and crushed his camera. Believe it or not, it still works!

Once the posts were set, everything came together pretty well. It was an uneventful build for the most part. We interrupted it around lunch time to travel to the dump.

I have never seen anything like what I saw today at the dump. I’ve seen picture and heard stories, but being there in person is simply shocking. I was pretty well stunned. People live there, and they compete with buzzards, dogs, and cattle to find food and items they can sell. The sights, sounds, and smells are beyond words. I felt like weeping.

We took a bunch of food and passed it out of the back of a pickup truck. I’m not sure how many we fed, but it was quite a few. Men, women, girls, and boys all lined up to receive a hot meal and a drink of fresh water. I took lots of video and hope to have a DVD ready for Sunday morning.

After our time at the dump, we returned to the building site. As we were finishing up the house, dozens of people gathered, as they always do. A little boy and a little girl were playing with a couple of our hammers and nails. Suddenly we heard this terrible scream from the little girl. We looked and saw blood dripping, at a fairly rapid rate, from her finger. The little boy accidently hit her. We had a nurse on site today, so she took care of everything.

After the girl calmed down and was bandaged up, I presented her with a Dora the Explorer doll. This doll has a little history. Some of our little girls at church had a little dispute about the doll a couple of weeks ago. It was funny for those of us not parenting them! Anyway, the Dora doll is now in the hands of a sweet little Honduran girl who had a very rough day. There are some photos below.

Today’s house we built in memory of Clint Gorman, Teresa Birtles’ father. The young man receiving the house has a wife and 2 children. His name is Murlon. He works at the mission house as a maintenance man. He is very sharp, friendly, likeable, and speaks a little English. We did not get to meet his family today, unfortunately.

After dedicating the house, providing him with a bag of Bryantsville corn, and a bag of goodies, we went to the special needs orphanage. Wow. “First the dump and now this.” It was pretty tough. We plan to install a water treatment system there in the summer. We need about $2,000 to do it.

The Lord continues to bless us as we are striving to live out Matthew 25:31 and following. Truly we are serving the “least of these” in the name of Jesus. They are truly grateful, and so are we. We are very grateful for those of you are praying for us and have made it possible for us to build five houses this week.

Please keep praying for us. Thanks!

Honduras January 2010, Day 4

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 3, Tuesday

It was another good day in Tegucigalpa! We have internet now! I posted the first two blogs earlier today at Mark Connell’s house. I was also able to make a quick call to Kedra; sure was good to hear her voice. Since we have the internet now, I can call her on Skype after I get this post finished.

I hear that I missed a good snow back home. I hear more may be coming. You know I like snow, so I am conflicted. I must confess, however, the 80 degree weather is pretty pleasant. I’ve run a little each morning. It’s been about 60 degrees at daybreak.

We built another house today. It was the best build that I’ve experience in my short building career (last summer and this week). We were finished in about 2.5 hours! We had lots of Honduran help again. Wow, they are amazing! The site was somewhat easier than yesterday. We walked down to it, instead of climbing up.

The Hondurans brought all the lumber in, and they tore the old house down before we came. Some of the photos below show the old house piled up. It was a few pieces of tin supported by some boards. You will also see in the photos the family’s “kitchen.” It is a few pieces of tin, a wash tub, and an open fire. It’s hard to imagine living like this all the time.

We built in the same slum where we built yesterday, Mololoa. Mololoa is on the northeast side of Tegucigalpa. It is an area with a lot of gang activity. It is not the safest area to be, but Mark explained that the gangs actually protect TORCH workers. He said it began when TORCH built a house for a person associated with a gang. The gangs realized that the Gringos who build houses are good and helpful. There has never been a problem.

We went to lunch with Mark and a bunch of the Honduran boys who helped us. We ate local fare. It was good! It was a porkchop on some kind of chips and salsa, covered in some kind of sauce. I have a photo of the restaurant’s sign below.

After lunch we spent some time in the warehouse organizing and taking inventory for this summer’s trip. We also got some more corn and other supplies for our build tomorrow. It was a good way to spend some time.

We are staying in the mission house where we stayed last summer. For $15 a day we get two yummy meals and a nice room for sleeping. It is very comfortable and has a 24 hour guard.

Tomorrow is going to be a rough day. We are going to build a house near the dump. We will take a break and go feed people at the dump and then come back to finish the house. Then later in the afternoon we will go visit a special needs orphanage. We hope to install a water treatment system there during the summer trip. I think it will be hard seeing the people who live at the dump, and then I expect the kids in the orphanage will tear my heart up.

Please keep praying for Help for Honduras ministry.

Honduras January 2010 Day 3

Day 2, Monday

[Still no internet! I am in a third world country, one of the poorest in the west, so what should I expect? Hopefully tomorrow they’ll get it fixed, or I will find another way to get on.]

Today was a great day! The weather was wonderful: warm, sunny, 80 degrees with a nice, light breeze. We had breakfast at 7 and took off for the warehouse at 7.30. The trip down the mountain was an adventure, as usual. Lots of horns beeping and aggressive driving. Steve is getting good at it! We followed for a while a truck load of soldiers with automatic rifles. I managed to take a picture discreetly.

After loading up all our tools and other supplies we were led by Mark Connell to our building site. We were building in one of the many slums of Tegucigalpa. It’s really hard to describe. It makes me sad that so many people are living in abject poverty. What can we do? Try to help one family at a time, which is why we are here.

Today’s building site was way up on the side of a mountain. Just walking up to it was a heart-pounding challenge. The path was very steep in places and very narrow in other places. There were very steep drop-offs that seemed pretty dangerous to me. One slip and you could fall 30-40 feet.

The build went well. We had to dig holes in rock, so there was a lot of work with a iron bar. We use it to break up the rock. Once the holes are dug and building square, things start to move pretty quickly. Due to the size of building site we had to change the dimensions of the house from 16 by 16 to 16 by 12 feet. The sight dropped off about 50 feet nearly straight down. This made it a challenge having the lumber where we needed it. Thankfully the Honduran boys carried it all to us when we needed it. The Honduran people are so helpful and grateful. Refreshing.

Because we had some lumber left over we made bunk beds for the children. There are at least 4 children who will live in this house, along with their mother. No father is present; this is not unusual in Honduras. Today was National Woman’s Day in Honduras. It was kinda cool to help this woman find some independence on this special day.

We left the family with a duffle bag full of clothes, shoes, toys, and other things. We also gave her a bag of the Bryantsville corn that we shipped down in October. Most of the 700 bags have already been given away, but there are a few left. We plan to give a bag of corn to each family that receives a new house this week.

We had another nice meal back at the mission house this evening. Soon I will head to bed. We’re all pretty tired. It’s nice to know as I go to sleep that a young single mother now has a nice place to raise her kids. She is so very happy and grateful, even though she has no electricity, no kitchen appliances, no furniture, and has to walk up a steep and dangerous path to get to it.

We appreciate your continued prayers.

Day 2, Monday

Day 1, Sunday

[We have no internet access this evening, so this will be posted as soon as possible.]

We made it to Honduras right at noon today. Precisely at noon the plane taxied to the terminal. We left the Mitchell Church of Christ parking lot at 3 a.m. The rain was pouring down! Warren and Darrin met me there, and the three of us traveled to Quince’s house to pick him up. He graciously agreed to be our driver.

Our driver then took us to Dan’s house. It was there that we picked him up, along with Steve. We had 11 bags, so we were packed tightly in Steve’s Suburban. Most of the stuff will be distributed to the poor in Honduras. We got pretty wet jamming it all in.

The rain continue to pour as we made our way north. The conversation was good for the 3 a.m. hour. In the course of the conversation Warren mentioned that his passport expired in 3 months and that he decided to wait until we got home to renew it. Steve listened and then calmly said, “I don’t think you can go.” To Honduras. Today.

We arrived at the airport at about 4.45. The ticket counter was open and not busy. Good. We sent Warren the counter first to see what would happen. Sure enough, he was not allowed to go. Honduras has a rule that your passport must be good for 6 months more than today’s date. It’s hard to express the disappointment we all felt. We had Quince wait. Once we knew the situation Quince pulled around and picked Warren up. It was sad to see him walk back out the door.

The four of us got checked in and cleared security. No problems. While we were waiting at the gate, one of the employees of Continental came over to us and asked our names. We gave them without asking why. A few minutes later he came back and said, “I have new boarding passes for you.” I said, “Why do we need new boarding passes.” He smiled and said, “I can take them back if you want.” About that time I looked at mine and realized that we had been upgraded to first class! I guess they felt sorry for us losing Warren.

I have flown tens of thousands of miles and have never flown first class. Wow, I could get used to it! Big leather seats. Real plates. Real silver ware. Great service. We were not worthy! Once we got off the plane at Houston, we returned to reality once we boarded our flight to Tegucigalpa. Back to the back of the plane! Where we belong, of course.

We were met at the airport by Mark Connell. We cleared passport control and customs without problem. We were led to our rental truck and loaded all the luggage. Mark took us to his house. There we unloaded everything. We then headed out to Didasko, the children’s home where our October team installed a water treatments system. We spent quite a while there. The system is working wonderfully well. The children are precious. Many of them came up to us and wrapped their arms around us. They wanted us to pick them up and hold them. We spent at least a couple of hours playing with them. Dan had collected shoes and clothes for each of the 28 children who live there. Dan has a huge, generous heart.

After Didasko we went back to Mark’s and got our stuff. We then made our way up to the mission house, where I now sitting writing this. I don’t know how you will take this next piece of information, but here goes. I have a slight sunburn. It was low 80s here today with a nice light breeze. Right now (9 p.m.) it is about 70. Sorry about that.

We are off to a great start, and we are really tired. We’ve been up since 2 a.m., so it is time to shut down and get some shut eye. We missed being with our church family in Mitchell today. I’m sure you had a great time of worship and sure that Gary did a great job.

We would appreciate your prayers.

Honduras January 2010 Day 1

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday evening

Wow, it's been a whole week since I did this! All the death and destruction have put me in a fairly quiet mood; just don't feel like saying much.

We had another really good tempo tonight. The weather was perfect. I improved some: 6.59, 7.04, 6.59. I need to work on that middle mile!

I leave for Honduras in a few days, so I need to start packing...

I plan to blog daily from Honduras, complete with pictures, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday Tempo

This evening our running group did the first tempo run of the season. The tempo consists of a 3 mile run at around a 5K pace. We warm up for a couple of miles, doing stride outs - short accelerations. Then we stop and stretch for a little while. After the tempo we run easy for a couple of miles.

I was pretty pleased with my mile splits: 7.01, 7.15 (ice patches slowed me some), and 7.04. This is only the first one, so I hope to turn in sub-7 miles before too long. Last year I started out with 7.40s, so I am way ahead this year. My good mileage base plus my weight loss are really helping me. I am the lightest I have been in a long time, and I still have a few pounds to go.

I'm registered for the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon on April 24th. Hopefully this will be my Boston qualifier. I am focused and working hard. We'll see...

Last night and today I've had a hard time not thinking about the death of Mike Daugherty. He was killed tragically in a wreck last night. Mike was a really good guy. He was an authentic Christian and a good runner. We coached junior high cross country together for a few years. He leaves behind a wife and 4 children that range from high school to 3rd grade.

A death like Mike's sure brings perspective to a lot of things, and it is a reminder of the fragile nature of life. He was simply going to watch his daughter place basketball. He did not plan on dying last night, but I know he was prepared. That is the source of peace and even joy. He got to his final destination a few years earlier than expected, but in light of eternity what is 40 years? The hard part, of course, is the family that has to wait for their reunion with him.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Smoking in the Snow

I know it's a little crazy, but some people think I lean that way. I've got the smoker fired up and have four (Boston) butts on it. [Trying not to freeze mine off.] As soon as daylight rolls around I will add the brisket. Then a little later on I will add a few ribs; we'll eat these for a late lunch. I'll also add 5 chickens. Hmmm. All this meat is for tomorrow night's Help for Honduras dinner.

The snow has been so beautiful! You know I love snow. I went for a nice 5 mile run yesterday morning when it was snowing the hardest. It was great!

This has been a busy week in some ways. It's also been different. I had a funeral, and I started my OCU-B class, all on the same day. I am teaching Introduction to Church History, which I find challenging, due to the vast amount of material to choose from and to talk about. One of the main components of the class is for each student to trace a ontemporary church back to its origin and to compare its teaching to the New Testament teaching. They also get to interview a leader in the church to find out what role history plays in their church. Should be interesting.

Still losing a little weight and running pretty well. My mind is firmly fixed on the Kentucky Derby Marathon on April 24. Going to try to get a 10 miler in in the morning. Could be cold.

Did you watch the football game last night? Seems like Texas might have won if Colt McCoy had not gone out on the very first series of the game? I like Colt. He's a good Church of Christ boy from a small town in Texas.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Worst Blood Draw Ever

Again this year I signed up with Jim Sowder's "Let's Go" training group. It's a group that trains for the mini marathon in Indy. It's a good deal. For less than $50 you get a T-shirt, entry into 3 local races (5, 10, 15K), access to local gyms, body fat measurements, lots of good companionship, and a blood test, which is worth about $150.

Saturday morning was the day for the body fat measurements and the blood test. Several of us ran a quick 5 miles at 8 a.m. and then made our way over to Johnathan's Gym for all the fun. Several of us gathered back at the "blood table" waiting for our name to be called. A local ob/gyn doctor has joined our group, and as he came back to where we were waiting he saw the line. He asked the nurse, "Do you want me to help you draw blood?"

She, with a slight hesitation, said, "Sure... I guess." This the first warning sign that was missed. The second missed warning sign was the good doc's first draw. It was young lady. She sat at the table for a long time. A very long time. It became noticable. Very noticable. "Tiny veins," were the words of explanation. "Oh," we all said with laughter, followed by boasts of, "My veins are good, easy to find."

The third missed warning sign was the next victim, I mean, participant. This draw also took a long time. A very long time. Again, "tiny veins," were the words of explanation. "Oh," we all said with laughter, followed by boasts of, "My veins are good, easy to find."

The good doc finished and looked at the next paper. He looked around and called my name. I don't like getting my blood drawn. I have become very white and clammy before; once, a long time ago, I passed out. SO, as a move of distraction, I started talking to the good doc. "Bet it's been a long time since you drew blood." "Yeah, probably more than 20 years," he said with a tone of, "But it's no big deal." I said, "I bet you haven't drawn blood since you were in med school." "Yeah, that's probably right." He laughed.

I reminded him that he delivered my fourth child while I played on my laptop. He didn't seem to remember that fine August evening more than 14 years ago. Not sure why? Anyway, he took the little rubber strap and put it around my bicep; he tightened it really tight. "Make a fist." "Wow, that is a beautiful vein!" "Thanks," I said as I blushed.

"Be a little sting," he said as he inserted the needle. I have a high tolerance for pain. This was no "little sting." He kept twisting and turning, poking and prodding. His face had expressions of concern. This went on for about 10 minutes. He started apologizing. "You're going to have a pretty big bruise there." He keeps twisting and turning the needle. Finally he pulls it out and applies a lot of pressure to the spot where the needle was. He kept apologizing as he said, "Here, put a lot of pressure on this," while he withdrew his thumb. I put my thumb on the spot, but I didn't look. "More pressure," he said. Then he says, "You call me at home if that gets looking really bad." What??

Then he announced, "Well, I need to try the other arm; didn't get enough for a sample." He looked at my white face and felt my clammy skin, "Are you ok?" I lied. "Yeah, I'm fine." He asked me to put my other arm on the table. I then announced, "You know, I think I'll take a break and go get my body fat measured. I think they are waiting on me," lying again.

I got up as my friends looked on with concern. "You alright?" "Yeah, I am fine," lying the third time. I walked around a little while and stuck my head out the door into the 10 degree weather. Felt better. I went back to the blood table and carefully waited for the nurse to finish the person she was with. I interrupted her before she could call the next name, "Will you do me really quick." Having observed what had happened with the doc she quickly accommodated me. I then got the doc's attention and said, "I hope you don't mind but I am getting a second opinion." We all chuckled. The nurse had a sample of my blood in less than a minute.

The only thing that kept me from passing out was my pride and the knowledge that if had passed out I would have heard about it on training runs for a long, long time.

I wonder if the good doc, who by the way is a very very nice guy, would have been more comfortable if I had been on a table with my feet in stirrups?

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

I had a dreamy experience of bringing the new year in. Yes, that's right, I was asleep! I've seen enough of them. I also knew that I would leave the house at 7.30 this morning to go for a run in Bedford with a group of people who are working toward running the Mini in Indy. I think about 25 people ran this morning. Most of my usual partners were there, plus some new runners and a few walkers. In the photo I am the 3rd from the left, in the red jacket.

It was a little chilly this morning: 11 degrees with wind. It wasn't THAT bad, however. I had a very enjoyable 5 mile run with some good friends. I am getting more and more focused on running the Louisville marathon for my next attempt at qualifying for Boston. I've already lost a few pounds in the last 2 weeks; several more to go. I have changed my eating habits and have totally cut sugar and all drinks but water. I made it through all the Christmas parties and festivities without one sweet! It's not been easy, but I want to go to Boston (in 2011)! Some of these measures are somewhat temporary.

Post-run today has been nothing but football! I don't know how many games I've watched today. There have been some really good ones. I loved the Rose Bowl! Didn't like the Outback bowl. While I was watching football I was also reading a couple of books - one on my Kindle and a hard copy.

Well, it's about time for some more beauty sleep. I know, I know, it doesn't look like I need any, but, hey, it's a preventive thing.