Olympia Parade 2009

Hi Everyone, it's me Bear!

Boy, did I have fun on Valentines Day. Not only that, but a parade came by our house too. I never saw a parade before. I always had to stay at the house because they don't allow dogs. I think some dog bit someone once and now no dogs get to go to parades. It is always one joker that spoils it for the rest of us. He was probably a pit bull.

Here are some pictures of the fun. Usually, the parade passes by two blocks away, but this year they changed the route. That meant we had to have a party; and a party we had.

Bear at the parade
This is a picture of me in the truck; my vantage point for the parade. Daddy tied me in so I wouldn't jump out and get lost. See I got a football and some beads.

Bear at the parade
Daddy took this picture from our front yard. Everyone is watching the parade, but I am watching daddy.

Bear at the parade
See my beads? I didn't have them all night though, a cute little french poodle came by and I gave them to her.

Bear at the parade
We had Mr. Marty's trailer hooked up to John's truck. Trailers work like reviewing stands. The blue cup on the bumper of the truck is daddy's drink.

Bear at the parade
In this picture, I have my ball again. John is in the truck swinging a thing around. The girl in the pink is Mandy, his girlfriend.

My mama and daddy
This is a picture of my mama and daddy.

I sure had fun at the parade, but I really liked after the parade because there were hot dogs, chili, jambalaya, hamburgers, chips, king cake, and lots of other good things.

Everyone had a good time, especially me. The Mardi Gras day parade is coming by our house too, so we will do all of this all over again a week from Tuesday. I bet daddy will take pictures then too.

Well, that's my report on the Olympia Parade. I hope you enjoyed it.

Bye for now,


Under the knife

MRI on monitor
On December 30, 2006 I completed a 20-mile run in preparation for an upcoming marathon. I had a busy race schedule planned into the spring and had prepaid several events. My groin thought otherwise. Insert your favorite joke here about pulling a groin. My favorite is the ESPN commentators quick quip whenever mentioning the always laughed at body part. "Today, in a game against the whoevers, so and so pulled a groin - pause for dramatic affect - I hope it was his." It is very important to say, "So and so pulled A groin and not HIS groin." Otherwise the joke would not work.

Anyway, that kept me from running. I was healing up slowly and by Memorial Day, I was beginning to build up my running again. I thought I was back on the road. Since I was not running a lot, I had time for other things, like fixing a big bare spot in the yard resulting from heavy foot traffic and dragging dead tree parts from Katrina the August before.

I took a day off of work so I would have a four-day weekend to lay the sod. Incidentally, were I to say "lay the sod" in England, any self-respecting lady and most gentlemen would feel compelled to slap me.

I worked like a hard working dog. Man, that is hard work. The hard part was the prep. I tilled and pushed and pulled dirt around in a vain attempt to level the landscape. I will level with you, I got pretty close. Once the sod arrives, one needs to move quickly to get it down and watered in. I had no help, because my usual buds had legitimate excuses. John was probably in the south of France, the Virgin Islands, or just hiding out.

As I look back, there was an instance where I was carrying a load of the grass and as I stepped with my right foot, I hit some uneven ground giving my knee a bit of a twist. My foot remained stationary and the knee was wrenched sideways a bit. I heard a pop and felt pain, but it went away and I did not give it any more thought.

When I went back to running, both of my knees were sore, so I thought it was related to the sod laying, sorry mate. Anyway, my left knee healed, but the right knee did not.

I went to the doctor in August. That is almost 3 months of RICE, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. I read things on the Internet, I took glucosamine, used weights for strengthening, you name it, I did it to get fixed. The doctor said it was probably nothing. X-Rays were negative so I should just take it easy and it would heal.

It did not heal.

I kept running like the doctor said to do, but never any improvement. I could run a couple of miles without pain, but the knee would hurt the rest of the day, especially if I had been sitting down a long time.

I went back to the doctor a year later, July 2008. This time, I stopped running a couple of weeks before seeing him. I felt great at the appointment. Fresh X-Rays were still negative and he told me to come back when I had a problem. I began running and the pain returned.

So in January I returned to the orthopedist, but this time he ordered an MRI. It revealed a slight tear in the medial meniscus. The remedy is arthroscopic surgery to either fix the tear or remove the affected tissue.

Surgery is set for February 18th and in a few weeks; I should be back on the road. I should be as good as new, because the tear is minor and the rest of the knee is fine.

Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It has been two years since my last marathon. . .

Until the next time
John Strain


Time and Memories

I made a "year end" video that is 55 minutes long. That process of making it gave me an idea for another video that appears below. I went through all of the video tapes I had eclipsing 22 years. I then took short clips from them and added an aged film filter to the video to give it that "vintage" look.

Here it is: Time and Memories.

It is hard to believe the first month is almost over.

Until the next time
John Strain


Moving on

12/19/2008 LSU Graduate John B. Strain
Check out more graduation photos here.

My son John graduated from LSU with a BS in Psychology on Friday. I have been so caught up in paying for it, managing the loans, and trying to get him out of school, I never took time to reflect on it.

I was happy for John, but I was surprised by the feeling of accomplishment I felt. Barbara and I have managed to get him through school. College graduates earn about double what a high school graduate makes. By earning a degree, John is in the top 25% of the US population. We have given him a pretty good start.

As I sat in the stands watching the procession of graduates walk across the platform, receive their degree, shake hands with the head of the university, pose for a photo, and walk down the stairs, I had the same feeling I get standing at the finish line of a marathon. The look of accomplishment on faces is written with ear to ear smiles. Such a pure vision of joy and I was privileged to see it.

John has passed another mile marker in his life. He will move from student to the bottom of the corporate ladder. New challenges beckon. I have little doubt that they will be met, struggled with, and conquered.

Here’s to accomplishment and may it become a habit.

Until the next time
John Strain


Party's over

The bad thing about good times is they have to end. It was nice having the family down here in Louisiana. It has been a long time since they were here. It was fun and we managed a little side trip to the French Quarter and a tour of some of the Katrina damage. Of course, we all gained a few pounds, but family gatherings are no time for diets.

By now, we are all back in our own corners of the world.

Here is a photo Marc snapped when we paused for a few drinks at Margaritaville. (click for a larger version).

Mom, Me, Becky, and Barbara

If you want to see more photos from our get-together, you can find them HERE

I hope your holiday was a nice one and let me wish you an early Merry Christmas.

Until the next time
John Strain