Just a quick update on the sweet pups that I found on a morning run last week. The owners saw one of the posters that my neighbors made and we put out over the weekend. The pups were taken care of very well over the past five days, and I hope that the owners get these two micro-chipped ASAP. My neighbor’s daughter is heartbroken, but the right thing was done.
Yesterday morning I was taking advantage of a mild (for August) morning by getting in some miles. It was a good run, especially since I have had a slow and unproductive summer of running. I am back in full training mode now, and the weather is no longer a viable excuse. Anyway, this is not the purpose of this post. On my run, I was joined by a couple of running partners.
I was about halfway through my run, I came across two poodle mixed dogs that appeared to have been on the street for a while. They were cautious to approach me, and eventually, I decided to run back to my house to get some food for them. As I was approaching my house, I noticed that the two pups were running stride for stride with me. When I got to my house, my dog Molly was going crazy that I brought two other dogs to the house, and in the process, both dogs hesitated to approach the house. I went in to get some food and water, and when I returned, my neighbor was outside petting one of the dogs. We decided to put the one dog in his backyard and tried to get the second one to approach us as well, but she was having none of it.
Eventually she wondered off, and I made the block on foot with some chicken for her. After feeding her, she followed me back to my neighbor’s house and we placed her in the backyard with the other dog. It appears to me that the dogs are siblings, and have been on the streets for several days. They had no collars and desperately need to be groomed. They are very sweet and playful, and probably are still in the puppy phase. I cannot imagine anyone not aggressively searching for these two.
My neighbor took them to then to the vet and they unfortunately do not have a microchip. We both have posted their information across various social media platforms and animal rescue sites, but we are still in search for the pups family. I hope they were not just abandoned, but that is my fear. My neighbors have graciously agreed to foster the two dogs until we find their owners, and their daughter is completely smitten with the pair!
If you are in the Memphis area and know of anyone that is missing two white poodle mixes, please let me know!
Last night marks what should be the last first day of school for me. Probably. Provided that I decide that I do not care to have Dr. before my name. But as of right now, this looks like it will be my last semester as a student, and it is bittersweet.
On one hand, it is great to be finishing up my Master’s degree, and potentially opening up new vocational opportunities for myself, which will lead to new opportunities for Susan and I as we grow our family. But on the other hand, I have always enjoyed school. I am not sure where to the enjoyment originated, but as long as I can remember, I enjoyed going to school. Now snow days and summer break were great, but going to school excited me. I enjoyed buying new school supplies, tackling new subjects, and in the later years, meeting new classmates.
When I graduated from college in 2006, I thought that my formal education journey had ended. Originally I was geared towards continuing my education in law school, but I decided that I had been in school long enough, and becoming an attorney was not the right career path for myself. I enjoyed earning a steady paycheck and having a career. I enjoyed finally being able to prove to my parents that I was truly an adult, capable of taking care of myself. And then, as the years wore on, I got the itch to further my education.
Maybe it was the feeling of being trapped in my current job. Maybe it was Susan earning her Master’s, but the itch continued to grow until I decided to take the plunge. In fact, this blog started about the time I started the process of re-enrolling in school, and helped knock of some of the rust associated with a seven-year hiatus from school.
After earning my Bachelor’s Degree, I left college with $0 in student loan debt. I cannot say the same about graduate school, yet, I am still optimistic that this new degree will enhance my employment opportunities. My worrisome nature will dwell on this new debt, but gaining the flexibility and knowledge needed to advance my career will continually win this internal conflict.
I am looking forward to what this final semester shall present for me, and how this experience will further shape me as a person. And if I get the itch to come back to school for a third time, I suppose that I can always go to the store and stock up on some new school supplies…
So Susan texted this morning to inform me that I have another race to add to my schedule, the SCS Race For Education. The event is being held on November 3, 2013, at 3:00 pm here in Memphis, so that means I will have races on the first three days of November! Now, this will not exactly be the Goofy or Dopey Challenges at Disney, but will still be outside of my norm. So why I am running events on three consecutive days? Well, I just could not say no to this newest race since it is a fundraiser for the local schools and they could use all the money that they can get. Also, my wife is a teacher and basically left me little choice in the matter.
For anyone in the Memphis area, this would be a great event to participate in being that the money is being donated directly to the benefit of the children in the community. When you register, simply chose the school that you would like to represent so that school can receive a donation from you registration. If you have no particular school of interest, Rivercrest Elementary School would be an excellent choice! Also, adding the teacher Susan Eaton to the form would be a welcomed decision as well! This is an excellent fundraiser for the schools and one that I am happy to participate in.
I am not being paid for this post, but I do feel strongly about the cause and being that my wife works for the school system, I see first hand the need for every dollar that can be spared.
OK, all St. Jude stories are probably worth sharing, but this particular one really hit home with me. The story of the University of Memphis QB Jacob Karam visiting some patients at St. Jude Children’s Hospital here in Memphis has been making some national headlines for a couple of days now. If you have not read the story or watched the You Tube clip, stop what you are doing and click this. It is most definitely worth your time. I will spare the majority of the details in the story since you have already clicked on it and I cannot convey the story any better than Mr. Doyel did today. I would just like to add a couple of thoughts.
First, how refreshing is it to see an athlete that truly is humble and doing something for others out of genuine decency? If you watch college football on Saturdays, you are familiar with the staged and preplanned media sessions of teams at children’s hospitals. They take a couple of pictures and say a couple of boiler plate interview answers, then they are gone. Back to their lives without another thought about where they just were.
Second, how talented are both he people in the video? Breanna had some pipes, and besides being a starting D1 QB (albeit on a rather bad team), Jacob graduated from college in two and a half years, is fluent in Spanish, and can play piano by ear! I listened to him on the Chris Vernon Show today and he played several dozen songs as listeners requested them. It was quite impressive. You should check out the podcast from today. I listened to it again tonight during my run. He also mentioned that Breanna loves Bruno Mars when Grenade was requested. Maybe that was a setup to her name in the segment, but I highly doubt it.
I have mentioned it before, by St. Jude is one of the major assets for Memphis and probably the entity in this town that I am proudest about. But, I must say, after hearing this story on Jacob Karam, my pride for my alma mater has skyrocketed even higher.
Last night in Memphis, the local Fleet Feet hosted a running event to honor the victims in Boston. The Memphis running community did a fantastic job of supporting this event, and the turnout was even greater than Fleet Feet was expecting with over 300 of us showing up to show support. Fleet Feet made t-shirts for the event, and sold them for $10 apiece with all profits being donated to The One Fund. The support was so overwhelming that the shirts sold out within minutes (I was unable to grab one last night) and a second batch had to be ordered! This was the second Memphis area run for Boston, but this was the only one I was able to attend. We ran a neighborhood street course for about 3.25 miles, and runners of all abilities were there. It was almost a perfect evening for a run, and the whole evening was handled like a sanctioned race. There was a water station at the mile and a half mark, the course was marked off (but not closed), and there were post race refreshments. Included in the refreshments was a keg of Samuel Adams beer, which was fitting.
Fleet Feet had previously had a Saucony demo scheduled for this date, so that demo was just rolled into the Runners for Boston event. Numerous runners took some Saucony shoes for a test drive during the event, including myself. I tried the Saucony Triumph 10. The shoe was comfortable and more importantly, my feet don’t hurt from running in them last night. I may have a new shoe option for the near future!
The local ABC affiliate for Memphis was there last night and had some great coverage of the event. A local student played the National Anthem for the runners on his saxophone after 26.2 seconds of silence for the victims of the tragedy in Boston. Runners were also encouraged to sign a board with the names of any victims or Boston runners that they may have known. I was very blessed to be a part of this event and I was very pleased to see the support from the Memphis running community.
Since I am hosting a virtual run/walk called the Platinum Sombrero 5K with funds raised being donated to St. Jude, and nearly half of all the races that I have run in during my lifetime has donated money to St. Jude, I decided to do a blog post dedicated to St. Jude. I am fairly certain that everyone has heard of St. Jude in this day and age, but I still wanted to share some numbers and information about the hospital.
St. Jude was opened February 4, 1962 by Danny Thomas as a fulfillment of a promise. While a struggling actor, Danny Thomas prayed to St. Jude Thaddeus for help. St. Jude was the patron saint of hopeless causes, and Danny Thomas promised the saint “help me find my way in life, and I will build you a shrine.” From this request, the idea for the children’s hospital was born. Thomas worked through the 1950’s, gaining support in the Memphis and Arabic American communities, to fund this magnificent hospital.
From the beginning, St. Jude showed significant strides in healing childhood cancers and disease. In 1965, the first immunologic method to diagnose solid tumors in children was developed at St. Jude. In 1966, the first patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) to ever be taken off therapy were St. Jude patients. And within seven years, the survival rate for ALL soared past 50%. 1984 saw the first patient with sickle cell disease to be cured with a bone marrow transplant. This patient was at St. Jude. These stories go on and on, but if you want to read the entire history, visit here.
The following are some staggering facts and figures about St. Jude:
- St. Jude treats over 7,800 patients a year
- There are 78 inpatient beds at St. Jude & 260 patients are seen daily
- No family pays a dime out of pocket for services at St. Jude
- Daily operating cost of St. Jude is $1.8 million
- St. Jude has helped push childhood cancers survival rates from less than 20% when the hospital opened in 1962 to 80% today
- $.81 of every dollar donated in the last 5 years has gone to treatment & research
- St. Jude campus now has 2.5 million square feet
- 1996, Peter Doherty, PhD, of the Department of Immunology awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine
- There are 6 affiliate St. Jude hospitals in Peoria, IL, Johnson City, TN, Shreveport, LA, Baton Rouge, LA, Huntsville, AL, & Springfield, IL
- St. Jude is 100% financially transparent and I am going to be there with my fundraiser.
I have never been a patient at St. Jude, and odds are, many of you reading this have not been either. But, that does not mean cancer has not been an obstacle in your family. My grandfather had cancer for roughly four years before finally succumbing to it. I remember watching him getting his treatments and the pain that it caused a once strong man. I remember watching him literally wither away in front of my eyes. It was the worst thing that has ever happened to me, and probably will always be the worst thing that ever happened to me. A year after my grandfather passed, my best friend was diagnosed with ALL. My thinking was great, cancer is going to take another person from me because I had no clue that cancer could truly be cured. I had never seen any evidence of this. But through outpatient treatment at St. Jude, my friend Philip was cured. And as I have gotten older, and done some research, I now realize that the treatments that prolonged my grandfathers life, and the ones that saved Philip’s life would be non-existent without St. Jude. I had no clue the type of innovations being made at St. Jude, nor did I realize that their research could lead innovations in treatment for cancer in adults. For these reasons, and many more, I will be a lifelong supporter of St. Jude, and that is why I am raising money for St. Jude today.
So while putting together my race itinerary for this year, I noticed a shortage of fun and inventive races in this area. Memphis cannot or refuses to get Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, Hero Rush, Tap ‘N Run, Ragnar Relay, Run For Your Lives, Foam Fest, or any of the numerous other national themed races. These races will all come to Nashville, some will come to Little Rock, AR and Jackson, MS, and some won’t come within 200 miles of the city. And my question is why? Memphis has venues for these events and I’m certain people chomping at the bit to participate. It gets quite expensive and annoying to drive seven or eight hours round trip to run a race. Now I don’t expect to get every race (like Nashville seems to), but at least a couple of them. I am not sure what has to happen to land an event, but Memphis should explore the procedures. Tough Mudder and Spartan Race are not coming to the Volunteer State this, or any year, so it would be very encouraging to snag one of these events next year. Also, getting the Navy Ten Nautical Miler back next June would also be very good news.
Furthermore, there is a complete lack of distance races in this town. From online searches, you find five half marathons within fifty miles of Memphis, and one of those five may not be happening this year. Conversely, there are eleven half marathons within fifty miles of Nashville, twelve to Chattanooga, ten to Knoxville, and even seven for Huntsville, AL! If there were 100 races here, the St Jude Marathon and Half Marathon would still sellout every year. It is a great event, for a great cause, so if that is a part of the reasoning, then it should be ignored. I know that we are a city that prides itself on BBQ and quality southern cuisine, but that should not deter us from hosting some premier races.
I’ll get off of my soapbox here, it just is quite frustrating that Memphis has such shortcomings in this area. The Greenline was a great move in getting healthier, as are the bicycle lanes in Midtown. It would be great to continue to improve in this area. I can only hope.
Susan is off for spring break this week so she picked me up from the office this afternoon so we could go to lunch together. After much debate, we decided to go to Three Angels Diner in Midtown. Looks can be very deceiving at Three Angels. It is on a seedy looking street that just recently started to have life breathed back into it, and the restaurant itself is in an older building that is a few years past its prime. The tables used to have old newspaper comics plastered over them, and even though the papers have since been removed, the remnants are still quite visible on most tables. There is not so modestly priced art for sale displayed throughout the dining area and a trip to the bathroom makes you question why you came here in the first place. From the looks of it, you would swear that the place has been open for decades, but in reality, it just opened about three years ago. The first time I took Susan here she just gave me the “Where the @#%$ are your taking me look?”, but she was a trooper and reserved complete judgment until we ate. I have never been there when the place was packed, and it is a good thing because there are only a couple of dedicated parking places for the restaurant, and even today, with two other people eating, we almost didn’t have a place to park. But the food is more than worth the parking effort and quickly makes you forget the aesthetic shortcomings of the building. There is no freezer on site, so everything is prepared fresh and the vast majority of the menu comes from local farmers.
Everyday, Three Angels features fresh vegetables, a new entree, and desserts. Today’s entree was fish tacos, and the vegetables were gnocchi, sauteed zucchini, roasted root vegetables, flat top potatoes, and kale with green onion. Now the veggies went into much greater detail about how they were prepared and served with, but I didn’t make note of this. Susan and I both ordered off of the daily menu, but I can tell you from previous trips that the gnocchi is definitely worth a try. Susan opted for her staple meal at Three Angels, the Adult Grilled Cheese which consists of cheddar, smoked Gouda, and goat cheeses along with green onion. I tried the Colossus, a 1/2 pound burger with melted smoked Gouda, bacon, fried crispy onion straws, diner slaw, tomato, pickles, and garlic mayo. Both sandwiches came with house made potato chips and a deviled egg. This is the first time that I have had a burger there and I was not disappointed. My burger was flavorful and juicy, even though it was cooked greater than my usual preference of medium (burgers only, steaks are medium rare). There was enough of the diner slaw to consider it a side salad, and the the bun held up the entire time I was eating, a great sign when judging a burger. The Adult Grilled Cheese is simply the best grilled cheese that either Susan or I have had, especially when you add bacon to it.
And even though we certainly didn’t need to have an appetizer or dessert, we had both. Our appetizer was homemade guacamole this was excellent, but still not as good as the guacamole from Las Delicias. Our dessert was starwberry maple bread pudding and it was phenomenal. It was served steaming hot and topped with a sweatened sour cream. Susan and I were bothe stuffed, but wouldn’t put our spoons down until the entire thing was gone.
Three Angels was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives back in October, focusing on their fried chicken. I have never had their fried chicken, but DDD has come to Memphis numerous times, and had fried chicken at several places, so if it is god enough for them, I must try it soon. Now, I am off to the gym to try to work off some of my lunch!
I have not read this book yet, but I plan to in the very near future.