President Obama, Ruby Redpepper and me

My friend, Ruby Redpepper, has become so well-known that a very wonderful thing happened. President Obama invited her to a presidential retreat at Camp David. He told her he wants to experience the wonders of the animal kingdom with a true expert.

Earlier this year, as some readers may remember, I wrote a post about Ruby Redpepper coming to my house to give advice about releasing indigenous wild animals into my naturally landscaped front yard. Ruby owns AFS (Animal Fulfillment Specialists), and her knowledge about animals is unsurpassed.animal expert1

In August, I wrote a post about traveling to Hawaii for a seminar that Ruby held there. Not long after that, she called and said because of my enthusiasm and dedication to learn about animals, she wanted to hire me as an assistant for the Camp David retreat. I couldn’t believe it. I get to be Ruby’s assistant, and I’ll meet the President.

Ruby and I met up the day before leaving and she enthralled me with stories of rare lemurs during her recent trip to Madagascar..Ruby amazes Jim

The President sent a plane to pick us up, and I took a photo of Ruby before boarding.tricia at airport

We arrived in Washington, DC, and received an invitation to a dinner for diplomats at the White House. As the President came down the aisle, I got bumped trying to take a photo of Ruby while she stood in line. Ruby Redpepper with Pres. Obama

After shaking hands with the guy below, the President introduced himself to Ruby and me. I commented on his tie, but I was so nervous, it came out, “I like your purple tail.” My face turned as red as a ripe tomato.Pres. Obama

The President smiled and said “Jim, I’m sorry to say I don’t have a purple tail, but maybe Ruby can spot a purple-tailed animal at Camp David.”

The next day we went to Camp David, however, they requested we refrain from taking pictures, which was too bad because we went on a long afternoon hike, and Ruby amazed the President and me with her magical ability to bring about encounters with a variety of animals just by wandering through the woods.

When we finished our hike, Ruby apologized to the President for not finding an animal with a purple tail. The President said, “Perhaps we have one more chance. Jim, do you have a purple tail?”

Before I could answer, Ruby said, “I bet he does. Sometimes I see his ears turn purple.”

Oh, I got upset. I jumped up and down and shouted, “I don’t have purple ears, and I don’t have a purple tail!”

The President said, “We’re just joking, Jim. I’m sure you don’t have a purple tail.”

Ruby gave me a pat on the back and said “There, there, Jim. It’s all right.”  She told me I’d been a great assistant and was giving me a purple ribbon for outstanding effort.

That made me feel really, really special.


Running dealt a losing hand

It’s been six months since I suffered a stress fracture in my foot. After going to the doctor, I thought I’d be ready to go by midsummer at the latest, but I’m still not running.

My foot doesn’t hurt, and I can work and walk just fine. But it’s slightly swollen and when I’ve tried running, the swelling really increases after going only one mile.

So I’m going to wait it out. As I’ve written in a previous post, on three occasions I’ve laid off from running more than a year because of injury. Though some friends have commented that I must be depressed or anxious to get back at it, it’s not really that way.

I keep somewhat active with my job and working in my house and garden. I try to walk as much as possible when doing errands, and I get in a hike almost every weekend.

Last week I did a solo, 4-day road trip in Montana. My first stop was Missoula where I did a 16-mile day hike to the top of Mt. Stuart (7,960′) in the Rattlesnake Wilderness Area just north of town. I like hiking more than running, but it takes a lot more time.Summit of Mt. Stuart

Missoula is the home of the University of Montana. Several times over the years I’ve taken the trail to the M that overlooks the campus.Montana M

I also visited Helena, the state capital. I was wearing a collection of my race medals and ribbons as I toured the capitol building.Montana capitol bldg

I crossed paths with a couple lawmakers who were impressed by my medals. They asked if I could address the assembly of legislators because they needed inspiration to overcome partisan bickering.Jim giving speech

My speech was interrupted a couple times by standing ovation. A few days later I read that in a rare show of cooperation, the legislature passed more bills in one day than they had the entire year.

I also went to the Kalispell Brewing Company in Kalispell and the Great Northern Brewing Company in Whitefish. I talked to employees at both places about the business’s history and operation.Kalispell Brewing Co.

The Great Northern Brewery in Whitefish, Montana

The Great Northern Brewery in Whitefish, Montana

I was in a great mood as I drove from town to town because the scenery is so great. Montana is beautiful!

View from summit


Shoe Goo works and tastes great

Unless you enter races frequently, shoes may be a runner’s biggest expense. Through years of experience, I’ve developed a program of shoe maintenance that will allow your shoes to outlast you.

If you’re a heel striker, the heels wear very quickly, well before the uppers start to wear. My lower back begins to ache if it gets too worn. Here’s what you can do:

You may have heard of Shoe Goo. It can be found at most stores that sell shoes.shoe goo at store copy

Make a masking tape dam so the goo won’t ooze down the side.SONY DSC

The label says something about compounds that require using the product in a well-ventilated area, but I don’t think there’s anything to worry about.

I enjoy shoe-gooing my shoes because every time I do it, I get into a really good mood.SONY DSC

After a time however, I tend to lose focus on shoe care, and somehow I’ve transitioned to dancing to loud music.SONY DSC

Inevitably, after having a great time dancing, for some reason I pass out until the wee hours of the morning.SONY DSC

When I come to, I remember that I need to finish my shoes, however, I find that somehow I’ve become less skilled. Normally I’d get angry about this, but whenever I apply Shoe Goo, I crack up over my silly mistakes. Soon, I’m having fun with it.SONY DSC

At this point, I’ve got the munchies really bad and the Shoe Goo is smelling awfully delicious. But I know that wouldn’t be a good idea, so I rush to the convenience store.SONY DSC

And before hitting the sack, there’ll be little left of this spread.

Saying good-by to Petra

Petra is leaving. Spokane will no longer be her home, and she’ll be very,very far from here.

I'm bummed because of Petra's new job on the East Coast.

I’m bummed because of Petra’s new job on the East Coast.

Last time I wrote about Petra, we were about to enter into a relationship and start a lifestyle I call intense realism, in which we’re a couple, yet are fluffy with others.

But Petra was offered a job at the National Institute of Running Sciences in Washington DC. Besides being a good runner, she has a lot of business acumen. Her job title will be director of corporate relations. It’s an excellent opportunity and excellent pay. Plus, any time of day she and co-workers can have elevator vs. stairs races in the multi-story Institute building.

I’m happy for Petra, yet it’s not welcome news. I cannot walk past the photo of her on my dresser top without getting really sad. I had to lay it down to stay functional.SONY DSC

Petra has a couple weeks before she has to leave, so I’ll still see her, but it won’t be the same.

She tells me she can arrange flying into town almost monthly, but I’m doubtful how successful a long-distance relationship can be.

To occupy my time and get over her after she leaves, I’ve got a project planned that’ll take the entire fall season to complete.

I’m making a hiking shell out of cayenne peppers. I’ve got tons of ‘em in my garden, and I won’t have to buy bear spray anymoreSONY DSC.

Running lingo quiz

Welcome to Race to Win. I’m your host, Sprint McDowell. We have a great show lined up, and you can win big money.SONY DSCFirst of all, I’d like to thank everyone watching here at the studio. We have a packed house today.SONY DSC

Keep track of your choices. Answers are given at the end. Let’s begin the competition!

1)  Term for being beaten by a girl in a race.

  • A)  I took a gender hit.
  • B)  I got ponytailed.
  • C)  I got chicked.
  • D)  Sports bra 1; jockstrap 0

I like your response to that question. You’re showing me you know your running lingo. I see some prize money coming your way!SONY DSCLet’s see how you do on question number two.

2)  Common phrase for a runner slowing way down and finishing poorly.

  • A)  My legs got fried like chicken.
  • B)  I died.
  • C)  I wasted my pace in the middle of the race.
  • D)  When I tried turning it on, there was no switch.

Another great response there! Race to Win has been the No. 1-rated game show for the past five years, and in my book, our contestants are No. 1 also.


Let’s move on to question number three.

3)  Term for a strategy where you stay behind the leaders before making your move late in the race.

  • A)  Hang back.
  • B)  Hang out.
  • C)  Run incognito.
  • D)  The sneaky grim reaper.

Oh, our studio audience is really getting into today’s contest. I hear a group chanting your name. A couple banners urging you to win it all are being waved. That’s nice!


Okay, next question.

4) Term for the item pictured below that runners wear at races.SONY DSC

  • A)  Number thingy.
  • B)  In-box number bib for post-race hook-up.
  • C)  Covert race security tracking number.
  • D)  Race bib.

Let’s take a break. I’d like to get to know you, the contestant. Tell me about yourself. Have you had any good races lately? How’s your training going? Just speak at the photo of me below which activates an app that collects your words and delivers it to me real time.SONY DSC

Okay, thanks. Now, the toughest part of our quiz, Double Race to Win. Good luck!

5) Evan, a highly-rated US ultra runner, said, “I signed up for trash, but I cleaned like polish”, after running a 50-miler. What does this mean?

  • A)  He ran into a tree.
  • B)  He picked up litter while running.
  • C)  He fought off a bear.
  • D)  Profuse sweating rinsed away trail dust on his legs.

Our studio audience is loving it. They’re on their feet screaming for you. But I know that can be a distraction. Hold on for just a moment.

“Listen, everyone, I appreciate the enthusiasm, but let’s quiet down so our contestants can concentrate.”SONY DSCOkay, that’s better. Here we go, our final question.

6) Courtney, a very talented Canadian marathoner, said of her upcoming race, “I got my ducks in a line like cocky soldiers.” What does she mean?

  • A)  There’s no stopping her sprint to the victory podium.
  • B)  She’ll smash the course record.
  • C)  No one, man or woman, will come close to beating her.
  • D)  All of the above.

And here’s the answers:

  • 1) C – I got chicked
  • 2) B – I died
  • 3) A – Hang back
  • 4) D – Race bib
  • 5) C – Profuse sweating rinsed away trail dust on his legs.
  • 6) D – All of the above

I’m impressed by your level of knowledge. I salute your amazing performance.


This has been so exciting. We’re taking a hit because so much cash was won, but no problem. That’s why we have generous sponsors. To claim your earnings, download the app Cash for Me from the app store and just touch the envelope below on your mobile screen. A slot will form and your well-earned money will be dispensed.SONY DSC

I’m your host of Race to Win, Sprint McDowell. Until next time, keep on running and keep on winning! Bye!SONY DSC

My daily stress

In a previous post entitled Blogging Drawbacks, I explained how I am not the source of ideas for this blog. In a process I call thought presentation, ideas come in a way that allows me to perceive that they are coming from beyond myself.

I was directed to write that post and it’s the same with this one. There are several key points I’ve been told to include. The most important is in the last paragraph of this post.

This source often pushes me to go beyond my comfort zone. As far as this blog goes, I don’t mind making myself look silly for a laugh, but sometimes I worry that I overdo it.

When this disincarnate being began communicating with me, I was thrilled. I previously experimented, studied, and read about non-religious, spiritual topics for many years. I believed a non-physical realm controlled everything in our physical world.

After this communication started, a future scenario was detailed in which I will be able to experience this non-physical realm, and besides certain benefits that can come with that, I’ll have the ability to help others in a way that is immediate and dramatic.

But to attain this, I’m required to go through a period of preparation for this role, an important aspect of which is sexual in nature. I’m also required to do things that are unhealthful, unenjoyable, and not something I’d ever do on my own.

I’ve had many unpleasant experiences that left me with a bad feeling. I find myself dismayed and sometimes humiliated doing things that are required. As well, attracting a significant other would be problematic considering the situation I’m in. I haven’t been in a relationship since I divorced thirteen years ago.

This preparation period has been ongoing for well more that a decade, far longer than I thought it would. Many times I’ve wished I could go back to being like everyone else. However, its been made clear that I will not be released. I am stuck, and I don’t know when or if this preparation period will ever end.

Not everything is unpleasant. I’m active in the Spokane running club scene which provides some camaraderie. I’m required to go out on the town often, nearly always alone (and to return home alone), which can be enjoyable. My discarnate mentor communicates with me constantly, and I’m often entertained by the comments and observations it makes. Many times I’ve had to stifle laughter because I’m out in public alone and there’s no apparent reason for me to be laughing my head off. This keeps me in a good mood (mostly).

Though I don’t mind talking about my experiences, I’m reluctant to go into detail because I haven’t realized the benefits that would justify my behavior. I’ve had to do bewildering things that would make people question my judgement.

Though I know that all my thoughts come from beyond myself (and it’s the same for everyone else, as well), this fact is difficult to believe without the experience of thought presentation. However, many readers of this blog post will soon receive a snippet of this experience, courtesy of a vast, multi-dimensional “being”.

Wine and running

Some runners, especially women, like to drink wine. This is a big mistake. I consider drinking wine similar to drinking poison.

Runners need frequent fluid replacement. Wine is a poor choice. Though resveratrol and other antioxidants in wine are supposedly good for you, they have a negative impact on running. For those who foolishly choose to drink wine, it should be done only for that rare quiet and romantic moment.

Recently I received a bottle of wine as a gift. I put it in my cupboard, intending to dispose of it first chance I got.Jim's wine bottle

Several days later, It occurred to me I’d forgotten to throw it out. When I took it from the cupboard, I noticed it was cabernet sauvignon, which is such a beautiful word. It’s no wonder French is known as the language of romantics.Jim examining wine bottleAs I reached for the garbage, my arm brushed a hanging unit that holds pans and utensils. A wine opener fell to the floor.

I didn’t know I had a wine opener, but since I never use it, I must have forgot. Was this a sign? I uncorked the bottle and took a sip.Jim tasting wineIt actually wasn’t too bad. With each sip, it tasted better. So I had a glass, then another. Next thing I knew, the bottle was empty.

I didn’t want my good feeling to end, so I went to the store and bought another.Jim buying more wineAfter a couple more glasses, I really wanted a woman to come over and enjoy wine with me. It was awfully late to call someone though. However, thanks to a stroke of ingeniousness, a hot woman was soon at my table.woman at tableI changed into a nicer outfit and splashed on some cologne. She really liked my wine, and our conversation was so stimulating and romantic.Jim drinking w:friendWe looked deep into each other’s eyes. I was so taken by her beauty and her charming femininity. I told her that her long, slender, Audrey Hepburn-like neck was so beautiful.

Jim's frend close upSoon we were toasting to a great evening and great company.

Jim toasting friendWhen it was time to bring the evening to a close, I laid down, whispering, “Good night, my precious love doll.”Jim in bed w:friend