The next goal

The 2016 Columbus marathon has come and gone. While my failure to hit the first goal still stings a little, it was great to go down this time and cheer my friends and fellow runners onward. With Summer, my ankle injury in July and the depression that followed as a result being thrown off my training program are clear I am left inspired by those who actually did it today. And that makes me look back on what I have accomplished during my botched training period. Even still, I’ve been keeping up with more regular running and getting back into cross training. I’m in the process of finally cutting out fat based dairy from my diet… which unfortunately means cheese. I’ve been writing almost daily and connecting with people from all over the Country in the heart disease camp. I’ve also learned a lot more about myself and what motivates me. What is it to live, forgive yourself and move on to the next challenge without pushing too far beyond physical limits. Gratitude.

So, giving myself another chance, I have decided to sign up for the Rock’n'Roll Marathon in New Orleans in February of 2017 for my birthday. Training however starts on November 14th just as the weather begins to go to Hell here in Ohio. The weather alone is going to be a serious challenge. The training itself will hopefully better prepare me to face 20 miles again and then the last 6.2 of a full marathon. Again with the lessons learned. I now know I can run long distances right now with a two day recovery cycle, I would like to know if I can get stronger and run the full better than I did during the Big Bad Wolf run earlier in October.

Missed deadlines like these are opportunities to re-asses our priorities and feelings. It’s also a time to look back on where we’ve come from as we change our sights along the path ahead. Me? I’ve been running for one year and four months now. I’ve done 4 half marathons, a string of 5k’s, a 10k, a 15k and a 20 miler. I love the community surrounding the sport, the liberation of running itself and the way it makes me feel like I’m having the very best meditation I’m capable of experiencing.

This post is dedicated to Wes who inspired me to run in the first place, Eddie for always supporting me, a coworker nicknamed “Badger” who trained for and ran his very first marathon today, a tall and outrageous man named Cory for being an occasional running buddy who has shared his own impressive story of personal growth and ended up at the front of the pack five years later and to the folks who have become friends on the AHA Support Network. It’s with the benefit of all these connections that I’m here now and looking forward to the next goal.



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Two Ernies

I know two straight guys named Ernie. One is my dad and one is a friend of mine from High School. Both of whom I owe a debt of emotional gratitude.

I knew I was not like other boys at an early age.  Being raised in a small Midwestern town in the 70‘s & 80‘s was not the most liberating of times or places. We make cultural leaps one protest riot, epidemic and hate crime at a time though I suppose.

It was during my High School years where I fell into the school paper crowd where I was introduced to Ernie. It was an emotionally volatile time period for me. Which is true for most teens across all eras I suppose. There’s something a little bit like crossing the Atlantic in search of the New World in those coming of age years.

Ernie was one person who would spend time with me one on one away from school. He showed me I had a voice and that I could stand up and go in any direction I wanted to pursue. It was on some journalism trip in High School where he was the first person I came out to… if I recall correctly it was really hard for me to do. I think I was actively discovering this even as the words formed in my throat. He was more than respectful and supportive. That was a hell of a friendship to have.

Actually it was an article in the New York Times “The Rise of the ‘Bromosexual’ Friendship,” by Jim Farber which inspired me to sit down and write this up tonight. While I enjoy the fact that the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Queer community evolved in this wonderful thunderclap of creative chaos generating so many beautiful subcultures I’m also grateful that we have such great personal friendships . Connecting with us on the personal emotional level. I never thought I’d say I would get married let alone be fortunate enough to marry my best friend and most constant guide. But here we are as a Nation. I have to believe this is a direct result of people like both of the Ernie’s and our own courage to be exactly as we are. Letting go of someone else’s idea of who we should be.

The other Ernie was my dad. I will never forget what a deep boost of confidence and love he gave me when I came out to my family. He was the one who, very simply, gave me a rare hug, we weren’t a huggy family, and told me that he was proud of me. Remembering that chokes me up to this day given the right mood. I think it’s one of the things that makes me a constant cheerleader for others around me. Part of my inherent optimism. My outlook that people are not just capable of good… but inherently good.

There’s this outrageous gay guy named Michael, whom I have the pleasure to work with, and some of his straight friendships at the office which remind me of the points delivered by the article by Jim Farber. It makes me happy to live in a time where so much is changing for the better. People coming together, building friendships and accepting each other for exactly who they are. That’s definitely a good formula for a better future for everyone right there.


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On the business value of cheer leading

I once worked in a shop that had stagnated so badly there were attitude problems to be found in every corner. Even the executives joked about the dangers of crossing between the IT department to “the coven in accounting.” The funny thing is that the building was full of good people. One talented woman comes to mind when I think of that place. She was open to learning new things but given the atmosphere she allowed her self esteem to degrade. In the end she was little more than the butt of her peers jokes… which just killed all her motivation. When I left, I took with me the lessons I learned in this dismal shop. These turned into my practices on how best to improve productivity which is the problem you solve in the process. And this always starts with the people you sit next to every day at work.


Working as a web and business developer over the past 15 years has taught me the value of both having and being a peer cheerleader. I don’t mean someone who rips off catchy chants with pom poms scaring the daylights out of the person two cubicles down from you. No, this is the person who is invested in his/her fellow co workers on a personal level. A person who takes the time to be present, listen and offer metered advice. Following are some of the aspects that make up a good peer cheerleader that anyone can use to bolster the health and unity of his or her team.

One of the easiest things you can do is to set aside time to interact with your colleagues. Get to know the person. Use active listening to understand his or her goals, background, experiences and thoughts. Another is to share your own mistakes. These are learning opportunities for other people. Sharing these stories have business and personal value. This is one place where you have to reign in your ego and use your sense of humor.

We all know the programmer who takes half a day to name a variable. I’m grateful that people have such a high degree of dedication to the craft of coding. And while not all coders get hives when talking to junior developers, it should always be mindful. We have a couple responsibilities to our peers as senior developers; carefully meter out the advice and always do it in such a way that promotes the self confidence of our peers.

I saw a show at the Dallas Museum of Art the last month I lived in that great City titled “Give more than you take.” This was the first major survey of the artist Jim Hodges. I think of this idea a lot these days. We find ourselves working with various folks during the course of our careers. Yeah we meet our objectives well enough but it’s so much more rewarding when we go the extra mile for someone. They know you’ll be there to help and that supports the feelings of confidence in people and the department.

Over the course of this week I read something about emotional intelligence which, paraphrased, consists of; self awareness, self management, social awareness and relationship management. This reminds me of the director back in my old shop whom I asked how she dealt with bad decisions. She flatly stated she made none and indicated that this was not a topic for further discussion. An emotionally mature person knows that he makes poor choices at times and that it takes effort to manage our own feelings during those times. The days when we had a bad commute or missed a meeting due to something unforeseen and our mood is not so bright. Those are the times when we need to separate, and not act upon, those feelings. Remember to be a positive force in other people’s, and your own, day. True to form, the relationships we build with our peers cast a net that can help keep everyone on target. We make better choices, and products, together.

Another challenge is to resist the temptation of being the guy who brain-dumps everywhere. Throttle the feedback. Be precise about giving the right advice at the right time. This becomes easy when you are actually tuned into people around you. Again with the active listening there.

If you are more than a peer cheerleader, perhaps a tech lead, manager or director, remember to always listen to your people and react by providing positive opportunities for growth. Your people will talk about what they want to do. All you have to do is find opportunities to help these folks face the challenges they want to tackle.

All together this collection of practices make for a healthier department. Life’s parallels are funny. While I spoke of the other department which was full of angst and fear I have had the chance to work within one for the past year that embodies most if not all these practices. Even the guy who takes half a day to name a variable takes the time to listen to his peers before guiding. From personal experience, peer cheerleaders are an amazing asset.

So “OK <stomp stomp> LET’S GO!”


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A measure of his worth

I read one of Dr Ornish’s books last year when I was doing a lot of research on how to manage heart disease. One of the interesting facts about this condition is that it comes with built in risk factors above and beyond things like high blood pressure and cholesterol. These include, but are not limited to, stress, depression and anxiety. For men this can be difficult to deal with simply because of the way we’ve been socialized. Even gay guys have trouble with this – the hyper masculine ideal and such. We’ve been taught to be strong and independent. We can handle anything that comes our way. Every problem has a solution. Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve and so on. At first I didn’t understand what he was talking about even though the author used some good examples. Dr. Ornish was exploring having the courage to open up about how we feel. The effects others have on us. The hidden, but real, cost of holding things in. Going it alone. Bearing to much weight by yourself. Wearing pleated pants.

Charles Darwin once said “A man’s friendships are one of the best measures of his worth.” So what is it that prevents us from being open with one another about our emotional needs?

While all men are different, our ideas of traditional masculinity have some shared cultural artifacts. In the end all we can hope to do is to understand why one man does something, ourselves. We can refract this through a collection of conjectures. The lens representing our perception of the people we meet. The light being our own experience and feelings. “Know yourself” is not as easy as it sounds on a bumper sticker. It gets a lot more difficult when you try to understand another person.

My story? I worked in a luxury business from my early ’20′s all the way through my ‘30′s, and by extension my mid ‘40’s. I started in sales. I had a good time and made a modest living telling stories and building client relationships. At the turn of the century a mid ranged national company bought my smaller boutique employer. They merged us with a larger local more hostile one. This abrupt move ended up being disastrous in the short term. I made the shift into IT at that point. I had trouble accepting that the diverse business I loved was devolving into a quota farm. That and the prospect of selling sub par gimmick or bulk quality products. Many more of my colleagues just abandoned ship outright. We started hearing management dropping phrases like “embrace change.” Luckily I had a propensity for reporting and database work so change was on the agenda. That and I had been studying up on web development during the mid ‘90’s while the .Com thing was still a thing. So I learned a new trade… and changed.

I held onto my personal motto of there is always ”more than one way to skin a cat.” Hell that phrase should be written on my tombstone someday. Regardless, I ended up adopting new corporate postures as if they were akin to putting on stiff and ill fitting bedazzled Texan pants. All while keeping my feelings, and soft parts, guarded. So I ended up moving to Dallas, TX for this company. It was both the best and worst decision of my life. And it was an incredible adventure to hit both such a high and low at the same time. Dallas is an amazing City but I found myself there without the benefit of friends and family outside of my partner who was trapped there by choice with me. Our days consisted of working and then crashing at home… for about 7 years. Again, guarded for both of us does not even begin to explain life there. Besides being an outsider it was also a little bit of a cult-of-personality… but that’s another story. While I made some great alliances which changed me and helped me grow it was not home and was still the quota farm that it had to be to compete with the even larger company it was always in merger talks with.

That’s where the light flipped on… I had a choice to continue supporting these folks and continue my negative feedback cycle through sheer force of willing myself to succeed or I could make a different choice. The latter I have to credit my partner with in helping me reach before I was ready as usual though. We are gifted with certain guides in life at times. He has been one of mine for 25 years or so. Even when I’ve been deadlocked forcing my will against the world as I made my way through it one corner at a time.

Ornish speaks of opening up to people around you which in turn reduces stress. But it’s as if some men close themselves off. Perhaps we are taught not to look weak, un-knowledgeable, monolithic, expose ourselves to failure or entanglements of others. A projection of strength. Which in reality is a facade covering the person on his knees inside.

So it was that I moved back to Ohio three years ago and made a more positive career change in the process. Our trigger was an urgent need that we felt drawn to back home – to be with family as one of our dearest members was getting ready for his final three year exit. Recent heart disease aside, these past three years have been some of the most personally rewarding of my adult life. On that note, I’ve been receiving some pre and post heart attack commentary from a few of my colleagues. Saying how much I’ve changed. Or how open and socially active I’ve become. While I’ve got a long way to go, we all do, there is some truth in what I am hearing from others. I am making much more of an effort to take risks with people. Share how I’m feeling and then to let it go. Be open.

I met a guy in cardiac rehab who, in my head at the time, was one of the saddest guys I’d ever met. He would strike up these super awkward conversations. Grab a dry erase marker and doodle a grade school caricature on the white board and then fish for commentary. Looking back on those scenes though I have to think that he was months, if not years, ahead of me. He was recovering from open heart surgery, hurting and scared. And yet he was drawing people around him. I was “strong and shielded” … but not really. It took awhile, lots of running over the past year and a half, my spouse, friends, family and a therapist to start to open my eyes a little more about my feelings wider than I would have.

Why are, some, men so resistant to being open? I would guess they don’t know just how fragile and dependent upon the kindness of others we are. Or what a gift it is to open oneself up to others who need a shoulder or just someone to listen to them put feelings to spoken word. To share a burden with someone else and in the process relate to one another in a way that banishes fear. There’s a biochemical reaction when we open up that I’ll never understand. It evidently helps us to reduce stress and thus improve our health over time. Almost as gradual and powerful though is the effect we have on one another. It’s where admiration, friendship and camaraderie live.

Being open with those around us makes our precious time so much richer than it otherwise would be. And if life is being grateful about today, isn’t making the effort to be open with and supportive of others worth it in the end?


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20 milestones

Someone once told me that every mile you run is an accomplishment. Everyone runs for different reasons. As a heart attack survivor I run because I can.

Summer 2016 started with a dream. I was going to train for the Columbus Marathon in October. Of course I suffered an ankle injury which derailed those plans and sent me into a little bit of an emotional quagmire but that’s part of the journey we all encounter. The best plans are, well, just plans.

As a litmus test I signed up for the Columbus Running Companies Big Bad Wolf 20 mile race back in August.  Races are milestones that keep me honest with my personal care. And while I kept running through the summer after my ankle mended, it was more aligned with half marathon training than full marathon. All that aside I spoke with my cardiologist to determine if there were any risks in me jumping into the significantly larger challenge of a 20 mile run. He stressed the importance of hydration for heart function especially in endurance activities and to be careful not to push my body into an injury zone … but that I’d be OK and to have fun.

Arriving on a slightly crisp late September morning at Wolfe Park I was met by hundreds of other runners there for the 5k, 10 mile and 20 mile runs. The mood was cheerful and everyone was ready to put heels to pavement and enjoy the time spent together. If the day comes when I can’t run I have a feeling that I’ll either volunteer or at least go and cheer for those future runners. There is a lot of pure hope and joy to be found along the race course.

It came time to head out. I was wearing a new hydration belt and a larger hand-strapped water bottle. The hydration belt was a wardrobe fail however which ended up pantsing me. Embarrased I swung off to the side to fiddle with the belt and see if I could tighten it some. Ultimately, I just tossed the $50 piece of equipment, along with my reading glasses, to the side of the course. By this time the end pacer came up behind me and told me that if I see her again, and she passes me, that I’m out of the 20 miler. I got the point.

It was a beautiful paved trail to run. I aimed to keep my pace at  a steady 11.1 to 11.6 and heart rate around 146/8. That’s a nice maintainable pace for me where I don’t need to stop for walks … at least up to 13 miles anyway. As I learned yesterday however… that 14th mile reaches up and grabs you by the butt pretty directly. I felt my calves and feet begin to complain for the first time in a long time. They just got louder. So I slowed down. Took a couple self assessments and decided to keep up with my mantra “keep moving.” Luckily I still had not seen the final pacer yet so I felt a little safer.


There were a few dips on the charts below that indicate dropping out of my run and into walks. That was advice I had gotten from a colleague who is a very good runner. He had done half marathons splitting them into 5k’s. Going full steam ahead for him running a fast 3 miles and then dropping into a brisker walk pace for the next 3. His finishing time was pretty enviable. Remembering this I used it to finish the event. Parker, I owe you.


And so it was that I was “dead fucking last” in my age group. I think next to the last person to cross the line. Looking back I should have held back and finished with her. Truth be told though it took me everything I had to break into a run for the last half mile. I don’t remember actually thinking at that point anyway.


Now that I know I can run a longer distance I’m excited by the prospect of the next phase of my marathon training goal. My next race is the Brokeman’s Half this coming weekend, which was my first half… ever. I was motivated to run last year after my heart attack. Depending on how my body feels I may lay out the cash for the Columbus Full with the knowledge that I have a lot to learn about how to run that event. Or I may continue to train through Fall and Winter for the Rock’n’Roll Full Marathon in New Orleans in February… for my birthday. I’m leaning toward the latter race given what I took away from the Big Bad Wolf race yesterday.

I like to tell people that “running is a gift.” It’s how I feel knowing that one cardiac event, cancer diagnosis, bout of MS or any number of other life altering situations various people are facing everyday can do to a persons ability.

Running is a gift to myself, wardrobe malfunctions and all, even at the very tail end of the wolf pack. Because I can.

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We are our own Army

2015 was the year I became a statistic. Here are some of the ways I try to keep my head in the game… and the key is emotional support.

If I’ve learned anything by putting on running shoes, going vegetarian, taking medications religiously, sitting on the floor on a pillow listening to myself breath, taking a step back from being “busy” when I can it’s that I’m not alone.

I was not alone when I sat in the hospital room before being wheeled into the Cardiac Wing. Nor was I alone when they wheeled me out of surgery high on Valium whereupon I high-fived the surgeon, sigh that actually happened, after he told me I had a Widow Maker with very little damage.

The folks at Grant Medical Center and the Cardiac Rehab staff equipped me with the care and information I needed to get started. I soon found out that most of us struggle with very real emotional issues after having a cardiac event. I was not unique in that department. So it was that I found community and friendship on the American Heart Association Support Group site. Those beautiful conversations and friendships help me to redefine life with a chronic condition in a way that makes it feel less, well, finite.

I’m not here to tell you what not to do. I make plenty of mistakes even as a vegetarian. There’s mountains of info out there on why we take medication, the benefits of reduced sodium and saturated fat diets, daily moderate exercise, stress reduction and so on. Less easy to quantify is the subtle impact of support, friendship and connection. When you stand shoulder to shoulder with others in our shoes, care givers and health providers daily choices become easier to make and sustain.

I’m fighting Cardiac Artery Disease but I have an Army behind me. You are never alone if you face your fears, open your heart, don’t let your ego shade your choices with the prejudices of your old self. The funny thing about opening up is that you get a chance to redefine your life as those friendships begin to put the wind back in your sails where it belongs. This holds true for my good buddy who can’t walk down to the street corner without suffering strong chest pain to the younger guy in his 30′s, Mark Poniatowski, with the same thing I have who, incidentally, puts my running times to shame.

So here’s to marching in step, every day, with all our various battles against heart disease. It’s OK to fall. Don’t beat yourself up. Never be afraid to reach a hand out and ask someone to give you a lift back up off the ground.

We are our own Army.


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And so I fell down

It’s hard work trying to stay in shape on a continuing basis. Work, family, friends, habits and whims pull us in conflicting directions. We all have our individual compass which uses our motivation like the North Star to guide us ahead. Until that motivation sputters and coughs.

There is a scene in the film called “The Conjuring” which reminded me of the function of motivation. The wife of this demonologist couple says of evil artifacts that you can “destroy the vessel but you can’t destroy the Evil.” All you can do is hold it safe for awhile to prevent it from causing harm now. The same can be said about heart disease in relation to exercise. Being active can help keep it at bay or at least slow the progression, inactivity will kill you.


I’ve been training hard for over a year now. Bringing everything I learned in Cardiac Rahab with me to every workout. I kept on track through Winter and Spring with my marathon training goals. Until I injured myself in three stages over the course of the Summer. During the Columbus 10k in June I was keeping up with the 8.5 pacer chatting about our various stories. He’d lost something to the tune of 50 lbs through running. I found an escape from anxiety in it. Toward the end someone encouraged me to push harder and lean into the downward sloping hill. While I ran at a faster pace I didn’t do myself any favors. It was later that week when I sprained my ankle on a training run which put me out of commission for a week. After I recovered I got back to my training. Marking the start of my optimistic marathon training program. Things were going well until July.

This part should be proof that no matter what age a man achieves … he can make really bad choices. So it was one of those moments on a Friday night where I was in the kitchen when my brain said “why not do some chest dips?” Did I have the equipment? No. But I did have a built in bar in the kitchen and a heavy island adjacent where I prep food and store a whole mess of cooking tools within reach. So I was doing chest dips. When the island started to slip away I remembered that the structure was built on… rollers. Needless to say I ended up on my ass but not before my weaker foot tried to catch some of the fall. THUD!


For the next two weeks my ankle was swollen and angry about being twisted in an unnatural way. I took care of the injury with pro advice from a colleague using Rest Ice Compression and Elevation. During that time my activity level tanked. Running outdoors in the sun or summer rain is one of my great new pleasures. It makes me feel free and reminds me to center. You see I’d been thinking of closing my gym membership recently because I rarely use it anymore. But without the ankle I could not run. I know each skipped workout or bowl of kettle chips makes the Cardiac Artery Disease stronger. But I had lost the fight in me. Truth is I made it to the gym a grand total of three times in two weeks to swim and to use the rowing machines. Smack in the middle of July.

I underestimated the power of a simple sprained ankle over my motivation. It makes me think of the nature of motivation. Lifestyle in the face of life and death situations. Maybe not in the sense of immediately today but in relation to the nature of lifestyle. The everyday choices. A better way to have dealt with this would have been to acknowledge the situation and pivot. Switch to swimming 4 days a week which my gym offers. Or mix it up with rowing machine as that didn’t aggravate my ankle. As it stood, I swam twice and did the rowing machine once. Those are sad stats. But with all failure there is always a lesson.

The lesson is to be ever vigilant about thinking in fixed terms. Be flexible. Pivot. Don’t be hard on yourself for stupid choices. Acknowledge and move on and do better. Get help when you need it.

I had a pep talk with myself last week. Bucked up and got an x ray of my ankle. Everything turned out to be OK, no tendon or ligament tears, and ready to get back to the running trails. I plan to get back to the marathon training track this week. I’m going to make an effort to get back into forcing myself to workout indoors at the gym. Weights, swimming and rowing machines. It’s all about the balance of activity that has proven cardio-protective benefits anyway. I love running, but when I’m injured… I can’t let it stop me in my tracks either.


Failure is a gift. Sometimes it gives us the lesson we need when we need it most. So here’s to stupid choices and looking optimistically forward.

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Magic Feather

Having sprained my ankle a few weeks back, story in the works, I was very cautious with my recovery as I still have some hopes that I’ll be able to enter the Columbus Marathon this fall if I’m lucky. I got an Xray by my orthopedic Dr and received the all clear to return to running.

A young buddy at work suggested using KT Tape which I used last night on a trial 4 mile slow run to test out the ankle strength. All went better than expected. I was even treated to a full downpour halfway through the run. The tape seemed to work well. I may or may not have needed it it but I felt a little safer using it and probably will for the next week or so while I get my confidence back. Magic feather in my case or not, it’s good stuff. You definitely want to shave or closely trim the area where you apply it to help the tape stick better and aid in easier removal. After EKG pad removal I have a phobia of the sensation of ripping hair out of my body when you remove whatever it is that is stuck to you.

I discovered one of my new favorite things last night. Losing my shirt during a summer storm while running… it’s one of those outdoor shower or standing under a waterfall kind of feelings. I hope to never forget that.

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Saying goodbye to my father in-law

It is said that during the process of death a person puts one foot in the beyond leaving one foot, momentarily, in the living world. Witnessing my father in-laws month long decline this week reminds me of this statement. The slow but steady change to his memory and physical stature all seem to support the idea that we dissociate from life as if we are preparing to leave.

My father in-law had four brothers and three sisters. One brother was the Bishop of Columbus and the other was a priest who was famous for being a champion of the poor and homeless. His sister Mary Lou was a free spirit and loved a good party. It’s rumored that she died with a cocktail in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Her post funeral gathering was the only true high spirited parties I’ve ever experienced. It was a mix of outrageous Opera folks, family and wild friends. It was a party that represented Mary Lou to the T. We were all there together as a family celebrating with her.


There are parallels to my mother in-law’s stories of living in Linworth in the 60′s to living on Hunter Avenue with Eddie in the early ’90′s. Ed & Dee were a young couple starting a family back then. She spoke of the nights they’d party around the pick-nick table drinking beer with the neighbors talking into the late hours of the night. Waking up early to pick up the beer cans and clean out the ashtrays before the kids woke. Then there were our days in the crazy house on Hunter. It was a house divided into four shotgun style apartments. Over the course of 13 years we lived there so many of our friends became neighbors at various points that it’s hard to keep track of looking back. One thing was constant though, food, drink, art and laughter. From the moment I heard the Linworth story I had always wondered if it was some part of Eddie that he got from his parents. Living together with neighbors as friends. Good times.


Other events we shared together at Hunter Ave include the whole family coming over for the Dooh Dah Parade/Eddie’s birthday. We lived on the route it took then up Second Ave.. Eddie’s nieces and nephews would throw water balloons at the parade. Running around our bohemian apartment having wild fun together. These soiree’s later morphed into larger scale outdoor dinner cookouts with cross neighbor participation. Mary Lou and her husband would attend some of these along with cousins and so many friends. It’s that kind of group. Not tight, but always orbital.

We moved on to Clintonville from Hunter Ave shortly after 9/11. We wanted more space so we got a house and proceeded to unfold into it. We continued the family party track there by hosting Thanksgivings in our big dining room along with Ed’s, epic, 70th birthday party just after his sister Julie died. All these events are vibrant still because we were all together to share those moments. Much like spending Christmas at Eddie’s sister Lorrie’s various homes. Those cozy days full of food, cocktails, kids and cold weather.

For those who think of Catholics as stodgy I have to say, you don’t know the Fulcher’s. They are humble to a fault and quick to lend a hand while sharing an infectious smile that usually morphs into a little laughter. It was with no surprise then that Eddie and I would often times end up going out on the town with Ed & Dee. We’d visit old favorite Italian restaurants of an earlier generation, pop into new hot spots in the Short North, or drop by a dive bar together and drink our fill as the evening turned purple then black. One night in particular we ended up at this place called Windward Passage. Famous for being a pick up spot for the senior crowd. It was a silver fox kind of place. Eddie called me at work while I was a sales rep for a wine company to meet he and his parents there one afternoon. When I was able to get there after my day I found all three of them lit up like lanterns but having the time of their lives. I caught up with them and had one of the best nights out in all my memory.

Of course looking back further into the days when Eddie and I had just met. Maybe a couple years into our relationship as he was graduating from OSU with an undergrad in Fine Arts. It was his thesis show called Suburb which dealt with, you guessed it, growing up gay in the suburbs, where I have my first memories of Ed & Dee (and Mary Lou). It was the early 90′s and we were all so young. But love and chance brought us all together.


Some of what I remember through Eddie are things like Ed used to make the family breakfast on Sunday mornings when they were growing up. They’d listen to music by Johnny Mathis. Whose album covers gave Eddie some of his first love for modern furniture with Johnny sitting all hip and smooth as glass in a butterfly chair. That he faced a bankruptcy from a failed business and bounced back from it carrying his family with a strength that would not stop by working two jobs. And never tired, was there for his kids after his shifts for what they needed. Stories that he and his sisters still giggled about where one year, for whatever reason, Ed took the kids out for back to school clothes instead of Dee. They all came back looking Brady Bunch groovy and ready to rock the 1970′s school halls that year. The story of Dee saving the first receipt from when she served this young soldier in the restaurant she worked in as a waitress in Houghton Michigan. She still has that receipt… and the soldier today.


We met Lorrie and our niece Lex at a Hospital on the West Side this past weekend to pick up Ed & Dee as they had decided to stop dialysis and proceed to hospice for the rest of his care. And while frail, suffering from what the nurses were calling “pleasant dementia,” and ready to bust out of there like it was a prison he showed his wife such tremendous tenderness that it brought tears to my eyes. After all that he’d been through, with his renal failure diminishing him, he still waited to help Dee to her chair. Making sure she walked first. Kissing her on the forehead as he helped her into her seat.

That’s love.

Love that even while you can’t remember your house, or wake up with some cloudy memory of a job interview you never had in your 20′s that you were somehow due for now in your 80′s and had to get dressed for, or when you start talking with long deceased loved ones as if they were there… you still feel that love for your wife at your base.

Then there’s that idea of having one foot in the living world and one in the beyond as we prepare to die. This collection of time encapsulated in scattered moments stored in the memories of three generations of family multiplied by all our corresponding friends, colleagues and neighbors are like lanterns lighting the way through the night in a persons absence. I wonder if we can somehow sense his foot lifting from the ground to join his other just beyond the light. With no small measure of dread for the loss of the man who gave us so much. But also with infinite gratitude for having been so fortunate ourselves to live with such a beautiful man to call father in-law, husband, grandfather, brother, neighbor, co worker and friend. The work Ed did in his life lives in all of us. It still does as I witnessed on Sunday when he was so tender with Dee. While he may have one foot in the beyond, he’s still very much here with us today even as he prepares for another place. If life is an illusion then let there be great lights, like Ed, along our path to mark the way.

Like so many parties he’s loved over his many years, we are all here to carry our various lanterns together in order to honor him and each other with laughter, music, good food, strong cocktails, keen style, devotion to those we love and simple fun. I think he would like that best.


Posted in general

Gratitude for setbacks

So my ankle has been sore off and on since the Columbus 10k. I took some advice to push into the hill to run faster toward the end. While it didn’t hurt or feel injured I think I put some sort of new strain on myself. This has definitely put a cramp in my marathon training so far this summer. Still, I’m getting about two good runs in a week and only having recently felt sore enough that I needed to follow the R. I. C. E. plan to treat the symptoms. Hopefully this will abate and heal through the summer but I plan to return to swimming and weight training to keep mixing things up while staying as active as possible.

That’s the thing about setbacks though. They force us to get creative and be as flexible as possible. I’m taking mine as a reminder to not take anything for granted or fixed. Every day is a gift.

Today brought me to the farmers market where I picked up some heirloom tomatoes and made a killer sauce for pasta early this week. Note regarding the recipe, you can easily cut the oil to a fraction or eliminate it outright to make it very heart healthy. The peaches are destined for protein smoothies. It’s kind of cool to have a resource like the Clintonville Farmers Market to visit on a weekly basis through the summer months.

My meditation practice has begun to become a little more productive as well. I’ve been reading “Guided Meditations, Explorations and Healings” by Stephen Levine which has been a game changer. This weeks was the Loving Kindness Meditation. Of particular benefit was the visualization of another person to whom you project positive energy upon. I really enjoyed that mechanism a great deal. It’s the closest I’ve felt to prayer in over 30 years.

And then there’s the Ohio sunsets that roll out over Columbus in the late hours of the day. These remind me again to keep gratitude in my heart and hope for tomorrow.

Sunsets Ice Tomato Sauce

Posted in general


  • Afternoon Run
    On October 22, 2016 1:57 pm rode 1.82 mi. during 00:21:07 hours climbing 135.50 ft.
  • Afternoon Run
    On October 20, 2016 5:31 pm rode 4.05 mi. during 00:42:55 hours climbing 37.40 ft.
  • Afternoon Walk
    On October 18, 2016 5:00 pm rode 0.00 mi. during 00:25:00 hours climbing 0.00 ft.
  • Lunch Run
    On October 17, 2016 11:35 am rode 3.64 mi. during 00:36:45 hours climbing 0.00 ft.
  • Afternoon Walk
    On October 17, 2016 9:30 am rode 0.00 mi. during 00:47:00 hours climbing 0.00 ft.
  • Lunch Run
    On October 12, 2016 11:55 am rode 3.97 mi. during 00:40:20 hours climbing 33.46 ft.