It’s my American dream, for now. The Vet’s was muddy as I took ninety, suffering three three-putts, two stymies and an OB. I hit my driver, 3 wood and 4 hybrid sweetly, and made one birdie putt.

Pitch Perfect 2 was very sweet.

The WSU Cougars are for real! Go Cougs! Ass-kicking football!

It’s tempting to golf again, though I should run. Or both! Hmmmm…..

Sweet autumn warmth.

I love Cougar country, with powerful lions trekking our highlands and our gridiron.

Our seven mile run on Sunday was hard, after the post-marathon layoff and Saturday’s leg workout with Nick, Annie and Jaslyn. After the run, we saw Gabe Marks. Cool!

Equally hard was the first quarter of football. Whoa! I apologized to Annie for the worst game of the year. Like I was playing? Down 14-0 with 21-0 forthcoming, our Cougars drew a definitive line in the sand. A dreamy game changed nightmare into fantasy. The upbeat game of the year! Wow! Thanks Cougs! Thanks Mike for the taste of Club level life. It is amazing!

The rain pounded me on the drive home and then soaked my beautiful Redwood.

It’s the season to run and spin and lift and step my way to awe-inspiring mountains. Yeah! That’s it! That’s what I’ll do!

And a little more golf…

Nick, Jaslyn, Katie and I watched the Cougs smack Stanford around as a Halloween party!

Nick, Jaslyn, Katie and I watched the Cougs smack Stanford around as a Halloween party!

WSU went toe to toe in old style play with Stanford and I came away even more impressed. It was the best feeling loss for quite some time. We had shoulda, coulda plays throughout a near win over an elite team. It was damn good football mixed with frustration. The Cougars are big-time college footballers. Yay!

Pat loves fine desert living!

Pat loves fine desert living!

Today is a transition, sandwiching golfing utopia and high-level football. Stanford travels to Washington State University in a battle for PAC-12 north supremacy. Pat and I savored swimming and stretching in warm water and weather at his home before cruising to Sky Harbor today. The Nevada mountains below me are topped with snow as the sun shines brilliantly. It’s been a dreamy week. Lyn and Pat are such great hosts. A victory tomorrow would taste like dessert. We’ve enjoyed a resurgence of kick-ass football. Pullman boasts one of the most exciting teams in the country, with remarkable players. Rain and wind are expected to return, granting the Cougars a chance to redeem their season-opening slop-drop against Portland State.

With the looming time change, lunches on the golf range sound appropriate. I hope for rounds at Veteran’s Memorial, Canyon Lakes and perhaps Palouse Ridge/Wildhorse/Othello on the near horizon. Autumn golf in the north will beg patience and restraint. How low can I go?

I’m wondering if my exposure to warm desert golf will be a life-changing event for me. To follow masterful links with a soothing swim is a great way to live. Would it be awesome for a month or more?

I hit golf balls from small mountains and soon I will ski across bigger ones. I believe that core work, strength training and high energy cardio-vascular adventures like hiking, spinning, squatting, running and climbing offer me avenues to greater achievement, firing my body and soul. How many mountains will I summit this winter? How fully will I savor the fruits of life as I dance to the passage of time?

I sense a need to mix it up, see the world and greet new adventures with a fiery passion, recognizing the fleeting nature of life. Work has enriched me and play has treated me even better. My spirit soars and dances and blossoms in wild community. These are the greatest treats. Want to play with me soon?

Lyn and Pat live the good life, including amazing golf at Tonto Verde Peaks course.

Lyn and Pat live the good life, including amazing golf at Tonto Verde Peaks course.

Lyn’s net 69 mastered the inaugural Desert Classic at Tonto Verde’s Peaks course, which was lovely in almost every way. Lyn won match play over both Pat and I.

Desert golf is brothers' bonding is an amazing way!

Desert golf is brothers’ bonding in an amazing way!

The greens were slow, the translation suggested foolish greens, which looked like they’d be incredible when fast. The views were magnificent.

Who believes they can take me in a long drive contest?

Who believes they can take me in a long drive contest?

We hit some beautiful shots and occasionally found the desert. Lyn was the straightest hitter and most consistent putter (29). Pat and I matched 89’s to ramp up suspense.

Lyn is the champion...of the day!

Lyn is the champion…of the day!

In the week-long competition, Pat beat me 35-28 in head-to-head skins and I nipped him 3 days to 2 in match play. Pat made three beautiful birdies, including a hole-out from the sand that was exciting and rare for it’s range.

Desert master Pat crafts a recovery shot.

Desert master Pat crafts a recovery shot.

I hit a high, long eight iron to eight feet past and stroked it home for birdie on hole 6 (78/90).

Should I shorten my backswing?

Should I shorten my backswing?

We enjoyed this lovely slice of Rio Verde and the awe-inspiring drive, showcasing the Four Peaks and surrounding mountains. The views were magnificent, the company so loving and golf as I’ve never seen it before. Wow! I am a desert golf lover!

Bring on the long drive contest!

Bring on the long drive contest!

Lyn strokes it pure!

Lyn strokes it pure!

Pat grooves his swing.

Pat grooves his swing.

This may be the ultimate climax after amazing preludes at classy desert courses. The Peaks course at Tonto Verde will serve as the championship venue for the 2015 Erickson Desert Open. What a privilege it is to have entered! I hope next year’s field is larger. If not, c’est la vie and lucky me!

Desert target golf on small, fast and undulating greens is so appropriate after the tracks we’ve enjoyed. This links quintuple has been by far the most incredible golfing experience of my life. Let the good times roll!

WSU whips Arizona, as seen from a Las Vegas brewery...

WSU whips Arizona, as seen from a Las Vegas brewery…

Go Cougs!

Go Cougs!

Quintero Golf & Country Club is heaven on earth!

Quintero Golf & Country Club is heaven on earth!

The Legacy Golf Club in Vegas. Los Caballeros Golf Club in Wickenburg.

Pat at Los Caballeros.

Pat at Los Caballeros.

Corte Bella Golf Club in Sun City West. Quintero Golf and Country Club in Peoria.

Quintero is wild and so fun!

Quintero is wild and so fun!

Amazing golf courses, incredibly progressive in quality.

Steady and free, stroking it sweet!

Steady and free, stroking it sweet!  Los Caballeros

Awesome views, manicured greens, impeccable cart paths, generous service, splendid landscapes, exquisitely executed strokes, family friendly camaraderie, close competition and perfect weather. This is so fun!


Today, Quintero ramped it up on perfectly smooth and dangerously fast greens, running 11+ on the Stimpmeter. The fastest and best greens of our rich lives. Pat whipped me on Quintero like he did at The Legacy. Fortunately, I nipped him at Los Caballeros and Corte Bella. Corte Bella was sweet, but Quintero upped the ante again. Can we top it?

What would you do here?

What would you do here? A punch shot under the tree at Los Caballeros.

On the front nine at Corte Bella, I crafted a 39 that easily could have been lower. It was the best golf of my 52 rounds this year. Pat scored with two birdies at Corte Bella and nearly caught me on the back nine. Then I ballooned in score at Quintero to my highest score of the year. Still, it was so fun! Pat made another birdie and won going away. I’ve missed all of my birdie putts so far this week. Can I change that? The next round could be climactic, and likely full of fun!

Has Frank been bushwhacking at Quintero? Hint? Check the pockets....

Has Frank been bushwhacking at Quintero? Hint? Check the pockets….

Beaver Beatdown!

Beaver Beatdown!


It’s another great day! It’s early, in Pullman, Washington. To me, this is the home of college football. There’s no place I’d rather be today, and I know some very cool places.

It’s the excitement! Muscle toned studs in their prime doing battle on the great American battlefield. So awesome! My competitive juices are already flowing, and I haven’t even had coffee yet. I’ve showered and shaved and trimmed and flushed, so I am primed. But, about that coffee…..

After a tough season, the Wazzu Cougars opened with what many called their worst game in years, losing to a lower tier team from Portland State. Doomsayers called for the coach’s head, projecting a dismal season. I only laughed. Though also disheartened by the sub-par effort, I knew a season is not about one game. I knew the Cougars were better than they showed. But how much better?

Well, last-minute victories over Rutgers and Oregon and a giveaway to Cal showed that these Cougars can play. How much more will they improve as the schedule toughens? That’s an exciting question whose answer will develop over seven weeks. Perhaps even weeks after that!

Family/friendly tailgates are special treats. I loved hanging with Nick and Jaslyn and visiting with so many cool people at Jim’s superb bash.


Wow! We were treated to a half of Cougar offense that was near perfection. Luke Falk spirited the Cougar offense to six touchdown passes in seven possessions, plus a field goal. They moved the ball at will, executing beautifully on varietal passes and runs. Falk avoided sacks and found open teammates. The Cougars are so exciting!

Sometimes. They stumbled in the second half, after 45 – 17 at the break. They lost their edge, when they no longer needed it to win. The defense gave up a lot of yards, yet made great hits and plays. Special teams had success, like a fifty yard kickoff return, stopping a fake punt, and holding some kickoff returns in check. They also allowed a one-hundred yard kickoff return, a blocked punt and a muffed onside kick. But this win feeds momentum, excitement and imagined possibilities. Still, the Cougars must practice hard and play each play. Next Saturday’s game in Tucson is again pivotal.  GO COUGS!!!

About that being anywhere else thing.  Here’s a cool place I’ve been at least close to. Thank you great and powerful adventurers!

Is that Colchuck from Aasgard? Photo courtesy of Northwest Wildass Adventurers, Ltd.

Is that Colchuck from Aasgard? Photo courtesy of Northwest Wildass Adventurers, Ltd.

I believe that’s what we need, from time to time.  Or always!

I shot my best golf score of the year on Saturday, hitting ten greens and missing nine of the birdie putts, including about four from a ten to twelve foot range and a four footer. The ten footer that dropped felt sweet. I hit about five fairways, but stayed between the trees much of the time.  It was a day to savor, for reuniting with Gary, sunshine, fresh air, a nice walk, and improvement. I made another stride towards scoring like I did decades ago. I think it’s because I was simply enjoying the sheer delights of golf. I must admit that the Cougars whipping Oregon on the gridiron was delicious dessert!

Change your lens, change your life.  What a great message! I’ve used this reminder for two group talks lately, both of which seemed appreciated by the audiences.  I used it at the Portland marathon, massaging my personal worst time into a pleasurable interaction with many motivated souls.  What a wonderful chance for great fun with Annie and Remington! Our diverse adventures in Portland made the marathon a chapter, rather than a narrow focus.  It feels like evolution.

Now I get to take a southerly adventure with Pat, after another visit with Nick and Jaslyn in Pullman for some exercise, great food and hopefully more awesome Cougar football! Adventure is back in full swing in my life and in my soul. Yeah!

Go Cougs!

Go Cougs!

It’s been an entertaining week. Lots of people have been demanding that Mike Leach be fired. I guess their egos are hurting. Leach, his team of coaches, and his Cougar players simply did the right thing: they played the next play. Practice the best you can. Flush the past. Ignore the distractions, like kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns, putting you in scary places. The Cougars were believers and moved 90 yards in less than a minute and a half to win their game.  What a great lesson for so many parts of my life.

I put this lesson to use today. My drive on the short ninth hole went way right, in the middle of an adjoining fairway. A pretty lousy drive. So, I played the next play. I stroked a sweet 90% 52-degree wedge shot right at the pin. It seemed to be one foot from the pin. But it was really 8-10 feet past. Play the next play. A smooth putting stroke towards the left edge: birdie! Net eagle, worth a $22 skin. Many other challenges came my way, including a dude taking 30 seconds to line up a one foot putt and whining around the entire course.  Another talking incessantly as others hit.  A third oblivious to the play of others, trampling putting lines and blocking play. I was convinced the pro decided I needed lessons in patience.  So I got them!

My scores still have not gotten to where I’d like them. Golf is perpetually challenging, in so many ways. Just like people! So I just can’t stop. I keep playing. I love the chase of the difficult. I’m intrigued by how good I can stroke in practice and how much tougher it gets on game day. So I keep practicing and entering every competition I can find.

Yesterday I played with a gentleman who shot a five under par 31 on the front side, despite making a bogey. He made four birdies, an eagle and three pars.  It was so fun to watch. Excellence is attainable. It looks like fun!

So I will practice golf, run, lift weights and watch Mike Leach. I’ll go to work and engage in social endeavors. I’ll play the next play to the best of my ability.

I’ll strive to set aside my ego and clear my mind. I’ll take cleansing breaths, relax my muscles, smile and play the next play. It’s the biggest gift I get!

Lessons are interchangeable for various parts of our lives.  Let’s open our minds to applying them!

Keep your head steady.  This is so important for consistent ball striking in golf, getting along with others and positive living.

Let it go.  Everything, everyone, especially ego.  Because it opens possibilities and removes barriers.

Relax.  Our minds and muscles both work better.  We think of creative solutions and stroke beautiful shots when we release the near paralysis of tension.

Practice makes us better.  Speaking, all types of golf shots, running, writing, making music and art, etc.  Masterpieces are not a result of luck.

Moving is grooving.  Nobody enhances their life via less activity, if they have a choice.  Some overcome amazing challenges, but anyone who can move should keep it up!

Good fuel helps us think and perform better.  When we are in tune with how food and drink affects our body, we open the doors to amazing enhancements!

Living well is far from hell.  It’s cool to allow ourselves to succeed.  I hope I do it soon in golf.  Or I’ll have to practice even more!


It feels so good!  It makes me want to do it more, to savor the delights. Why not?

Lately I have wondered if I can learn to do it even better. Will that suggest that I’m approaching my center?

There are many aspects of a smooth stroke, so it is easy to stray from the ideal. I can feel when the stroke is not right. I don’t always know what to do about it, however. This year, I have stroked poorly much of the time. It is frustrating and bewildering. But it also gives perspective on how awesome good stroking is.

Somehow, today my stroke was on. Not on every stroke, but on many. There are many ways to fail, but the good ones were so sweet today. Rising high into the sky, tonight’s wedge shots were mostly decent to good, while some were awesome. One seemed to be the highest, longest wedge shot of my life.  I was in awe that I hit it. I watched it climb and climb, seeming to rise 20% higher than the others. As it flew a great distance, I was engrossed in curiosity about what made it so different. Could I recreate that magic swing on a more regular basis? Will I move towards better scoring? The powerful draw of the greatest game has its claws in me.  I am hooked again.

There is much to remember: loose grip/relaxed muscles, appropriate stance, pushback/takeaway with an upright swing plane, and most importantly, balance.  Follow-through towards target, steady head, controlled swing length, hip timing, etc.  It’s really fun when all I need to think is “relax.” Then let it happen. I want more days when the ball flies straight where I aim. So I’ll keep practicing, and keep the faith. The high scores I’ve posted this year are not written in stone. They fade away fast, as fast as my mind realizes that my true destiny is to stroke it well. Though the scores are not my worth, they do paint a picture of my journey. I await its maturation.


Annie and Julie are tackling adventure and wellness at every turn!

Annie and Julie are tackling adventure and wellness at every turn!

The full moon seemed to smile at me as the sun set, like an inspirational shift change. Despite the bug plastered windshield, it stirred sweet adventure memories and radiated wellness. What a fitting culmination to a full weekend! I tasted the riches of family, friends, travel, physical challenge, coffee, shopping, dining and peaceful rest. All is well!

Mark and Frank keep entering in a young guys division.

Mark and Frank keep entering in a young guys division.

It was pretty tough for a while. Bloomsday is a little like a plunge into an icy lake. Many people view it as a spring-time tradition. We see who we are. I was confronted with my past selves and I wished I could stride like some of them. And I think maybe I can. Or not. The mysteries will be revealed and created!

Adventure partners forever!

Adventure partners forever!

People are so interesting. We offer much and sometimes deliver little. Our potential is incredible. Our limiting beliefs dance with our willingness to try to be truly open-minded, fighting for the precious ground of our souls. We rarely know when we’re missing out, choosing to think that our opinions and beliefs are sacred, accurate truths. How silly we can be!

I may have done one thing right, or not. Bloomsday officials have a new ploy called “time up Doomsday.”  They measure how long it takes to ascend the brutal hill between 4.3 and 5 miles into the 7.46 mile race. It may be a good idea for some people to buy into this chase. For me, walking the entire steep part yesterday may have saved my life. I was red-lining, after zooming past hundreds of people on the steep downhill before Doomsday. I’ve learned that I’m very good on downhill portions, and I simply love to run fast. The mob hindered me during an early downhill section, but it thinned a bit and the course widened by the middle of the race. So I hauled ass! Then I accepted my need to walk. No, I would not post one of my faster race times. But I would still do the best I could on this day, and live to race again. Hundreds of people passed me on the hill. Many of them faded badly after the hill, and I passed them back. My ego loved the times when I passed guys who appeared to be about my age. Yay! I passed another old guy! How silly I can be!

I cannot adequately describe to you how good water, coffee and food taste after long runs. It must be experienced first-hand. It is amazing!

This is how Annie feels about Bloomsday each year and about adventure in general:

This is how Annie feels about Bloomsday each year and about adventure in general: “Let’s do it!”

Running backs practicing pass protection before Martin Stadium scrimmage, 4/18/2015.

Running backs practicing pass protection before Martin Stadium scrimmage, 4/18/2015.

Yay! We’re undefeated! So are all the other teams, but still, our team has such potential! It’s a joyous time of year for college football, when hope springs eternal. Competition has become incredibly tough, so really good teams will still lose. But it sure is fun to hope for more!

My blood is crimson, so the Washington State University Cougars are the team for me. I’ve cheered them on for a lot longer than billions of people have been alive, and it’s still a privilege. Cougars are often underdogs, doggedly determined and loyal. I’ve been to a lot of cities, and I’d rather go to Pullman than visit most of them. It just fires me up!

Young talent is so exciting! I think it makes me feel younger. This years’ emerging stars are really pumping me up!

Peyton Bender is worthy of his crimson jersey. He tosses beautifully spiraling, accurate passes. He is another in a long line of majestic quarterbacks to come to Pullman.  I’m so excited to see him blossom!

Keith Harrington is the real deal at running back. He just gets it done! He’s fast, elusive and decisive. Hand it to him, toss it to him, just get him the ball!

Kyrin Priester is a special talent at wide receiver. He has to sit out a year after transferring from Clemson, and it will be hard to wait.  We have other good receivers, but this dude is good!

So I’m picking the gray team in Saturday’s scrimmage in Spokane. Of course, as a Cougar fan, I win either way!  GO COUGS!

I hate to run and then I love to run. It is so hard to go running. It is deeply rewarding to keep running. I love the high I get when I reach autopilot. It’s a zone where I can just keep running. All is well. No fears, burdens or anxieties. Great blood flow to all of my body, including my brain. Breathe in, breathe out. Absorb the sights, the sounds, the fresh air, the exhilarating power of trained muscles.  Ahhhhhhhh. This is good!

My ego wants to beat somebody. But just getting out is what’s truly important. Moving is rejuvenating, enlightening, inspiring and invigorating. It makes me better. I am so grateful I can still do it. What a rich blessing!

I found new trails on my run on Sunday and my walk on Monday. Adventure is good for my soul. It helps my mind open up a little. Maybe I’ll be more receptive to new ways of thinking. Won’t that be good?

After my run on Tuesday I showered quickly to rejoin the retreat team for dinner. On the walk there, it felt like all I had to do was lift my legs and they would automatically spring forward. It was kind of freaky after my autopilot thoughts. My muscles have listened and obeyed.  They just want to run! My refreshed attitude and energy boost were bonuses.

I think I’ll plan a trip somewhere new, play some new golf courses, try new activities, and meet some new people. Yes! Maybe I’ll even take a run…

Annie is lean and fast!  Here she is after smoking me by 7.5 minutes at the Badger Mountain Challenge, 2015 Hurricane Edition!

Annie is lean and fast! Here she is after smoking me by 7.5 minutes at the Badger Mountain Challenge, 2015 Hurricane Edition!

It’s a law of nature. Training hard enables running faster. Reducing training leads to running slower. It’s a cool rule, because you can’t steal speed. You can’t wish it upon anyone. You simply get what you deserve. It cuts out identity thieves and other freeloaders.

Annie has trained harder than me. She deserved to kick my ass and so she did. Hooray for her efforts and for justice in the world!

The Badger Mountain Challenge amplifies the disparity between the in-shape and the wannabes. I ran fast on the downhills, using determination and experience. The uphill sections tend to differentiate, beautifully so. Honest folks have to love it!

Annie’s been leading a life worthy of emulation, embracing regular, varied exercise and nutritional wisdom. She is a model of consistency. Each time I visit her, I make cool strides in the proper direction. I want more strides!

I slipped into ailments and distractions, also known as work, movies, overeating and settling for mediocrity. I feel re-awakened by Annie’s good old-fashioned ass-kicking and our day-after spin class leaders’ encouraging reminders: we must push to grow, you don’t know how much you can push until you try, YOU CAN DO IT!

Life deals out road forks. I see one here. Slippage or growth? Discouragement or encouragement? In short, live or die?

I hope to live, as fully as my mind can manage. I can learn from lots of people. There are many who teach me how not to drive, speak, write, eat and otherwise spend my time. There are fewer worthy role models. How fun to hope to hang with them! When they help me grow, to become a better version of myself, I become richer. I see the glow, feel the spark, embrace the excitement, taste the depth and hope for even more. It’s the best way I know how to live. Thank you to those of you who remind me what to do, because I forget. We can save each other!

Mountain man Frank brings it home in style (go gravity!).

Mountain man Frank brings it home in style (go gravity!).

I arrived at the airport today around 1 PM for my 8:15 flight home, after listening to some atypical whining at our leadership training. Early arrival avoided another day’s charge for the rental car and helped out my associates who needed rides. There was plenty of time to eat, read, manage e-mail and eat some more. Ultimately, our flight was canceled by fog in Walla Walla. Tim, one of our physician leaders, was also awaiting this flight, and he’d played this game before. We were first in line to re-schedule, betting on an 11:10 flight to Pasco, an hour from home, as well as the kindness of his wife who would pick us up. The thing is, this was a good day!

Maybe the “bad” days are vital for perspective. I remember enjoying Christmas and a nice long run the day after. Then I slipped into flu-like symptoms, followed by a sinus infection. Soon afterwards, I faced debilitating lower back spasms, accompanied by sciatic nerve pain. What had happened? Was I getting a little taste of what it’s like to be old and dying?

I tried rest and heating pads, muscle relaxants and OTC pain killers, movies and sleep. Two courses of antibiotics killed the sinus infection, but the back problem lingered. Then it got worse; I couldn’t even bear to go to work. Sitting in my desk chair after the arduous challenge of getting there seemed like too much. Would I get better or worse?

Small acts of compassionate kindness can be pretty big. My co-worker Sue mentioned to our Director of Rehabilitation that I was in a rough place, and gave him my phone number. Tom called me promptly that Friday and carved time out of his busy schedule to see me that day, a week sooner than my scheduled visit. What a gift! He manipulated my lower spine with twists and bends. The pain relief was significant. I was on the road back to life! I was able to take long walks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as do the backlog of chores and my assigned rehabilitation exercises and stretching.

I’ve had several follow-up sessions of physical therapy, as well as deep tissue massages, and my condition continues to improve, especially when I have the time to walk, stretch my back and legs and tone my abdominal and lateral movement muscles as prescribed. My new masseuse is the best I’ve ever had, so I’m back to regular treatments. I am moving towards life balance that I didn’t realize I was losing.  Running and lifting were good, but not a complete health solution. I am reminded of the need for balance in my life: yoga, stretching, massage and diet are integral parts of my wellness, in addition to strength and endurance training. Will this recent wake up call help me remember to do all these things, consistently, that make me well? I surely hope so!

What might the future bring? Will I run and golf again soon? Will I be able to to do whatever I want?

I think it’s time to dream again. Yay!

WSU Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Summa Cum Laude, 2014, Annie the Adventurer!

WSU Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Summa Cum Laude, 2014, Annie the Adventurer!

Often, we get what we deserve. How we live paints the canvas of our lives. Persistence pays off. Going for what we want usually gets us there. Persistence, dedication, patience, perseverance and faith foster success. It’s cool to see people live this way. It’s nice to see my offspring do so! Annie’s college journey has delivered her to the job she wants. Her graduation culminates a transition between childhood and adult life. Her dreams include adventure, motherhood and providing health care to others. She is one fun lady!

Looks like she made it!

Looks like she made it!

Perhaps coincidentally, the sweet kitten Annie picked out over twelve years ago took her last breaths recently. Tali gave us a lot of love. She will be missed. She stayed when others left. Perhaps her last mission was teaching me that when everyone else leaves, God remains.  What more could we need?


Wild things!

Wild things!

Tali is always home!

Tali is always home!

I see great things when I look through centered eyes. I see misery when I look through the fog of discontent. Details of conditions are mostly irrelevant. My mission is clarified: live a centered life. Be a ray of hope, a wave of optimism, a laugh in the night, a smile in the rain and a hand when it’s needed. Embrace spiritual connectedness. I hope you dance!

A golf view in a football town...

A golf course view of a football town…..

Faith. Is it the final frontier? Exploring it shows what it can do. Faith in God. Faith in human goodness. Faith in cooperation. Faith in oneself, built from faith in a God who creates masterpieces. Like my golf swing! Sometimes. When? When I let it! When I don’t feel the need to do too much. It’s like coach Mike Leach preaches in football: just do your job. You don’t need to score 14 points on any one play. Just do your job. I don’t need 300 yard drives, especially ones that end in deep grass, behind trees, on top of houses, in lakes, etc. I don’t need to do grand things at work. Just my job: cooperate, innovate, encourage and persevere. Little things, over and over again. Willingness and faith. A controlled swing. In the fairway. On the green. Near the hole. Easy tap-in. It seems like it could be easy.

Some shots go bad. Some holes even go bad, often from multiple bad shots. Lost focus? Is this lost faith? Leach also says that adversity will come. He is right. It’s not avoidance of adversity that defines us. It’s our performance in the midst of it. Like cheering on a team in the throes of difficulty. Giving our best to each shot in a wave of triple-bogeys. Birdies are out there, along with touchdowns and tackles. Winning can be born in defeat.

I saw that cold weather was expected soon. It was perhaps my last chance of the year to play what I considered to be a good round of golf.

Veteran’s Memorial Golf Course is one of my homes. The first hole is short and I started with an easy par. Nice. One down. The second hole is also short. A hooked drive under a tree, a topped punch, two fat wedges, a mediocre chip and two putts.  Easy triple bogey. And the sun shone on! No trees fell and the birds continued to chirp. Try, try again. Another short par four, with a severely left-sloped fairway. Bad time for another hook. So it happened. Self-fulfilling fear? Punch near the green, chip and two putts for bogey. Then what I told myself was a really sick hole: huge trees lining the right side of the fairway, stealing the line for a power hook. Hardpan on the left leading to a wheat field, seemingly magnetized for my balls. So I drove out-of-bounds and triple-bogeyed, moving quickly to seven over par. What if I had embraced the opportunity presented by the tee shot? We’ll never know for sure. Spilt milk. I know I can play good golf. I mostly hadn’t so far that day, but I KNEW I could.

Next was a long par four, dog-legging to the right. Right-handed hookers like me prefer left-turning doglegs. But that’s the beauty of opportunity. It is where, when and how it is. On the tee I centered myself, re-gaining faith in my ability to execute a wide variety of good shots. I’ve hit them before. Calm, controlled and relaxed swings are a path to success. Hit the best shot possible. Regardless of the outcome of that shot, do your confident best on the next. And the next. And the next. This is the story of football and golf and all of life. Just hit it sweet!

So the same guy who was seven over par after four holes was still seven over after nine, after a nice two-putt birdie on number nine, set up by a conscious effort to swing easy and free on the tee. Not “hard” to hit it long; rather, easier to hit it better. So I hit it sweet and straight and onto the green. It was a good lesson for me. I need a lot of re-education.

The back nine went much like the front nine: two triple-bogeys in the first three holes, sandwiching a bogey. Seven strokes lost to par in three holes. Then another turnaround: three pars, two bogeys and another birdie, completing the back nine in eight over par.

It was a tale of extremes. Not an awesome score, but some excellent shot-making mixed into character building lessons. I’m awaiting better scores. I believe they’re coming. I will persist in doing my part to make it so. Even more importantly, I will enjoy the journey. What fun!


My race uniform and some of my rewards (the best rewards were breakfast with Mark and Linda and as noted below!).

My race uniform and some of my rewards (the best rewards were breakfast with Mark and Linda and as noted below!).

Golfing is not the best training for running. It may, in fact, be a version of insanity. But it lured me in. So I ran less and played more this year. Maybe I needed a break after last year’s collection of long-ass runs. Long-ass runs are character builders. They can turn nice people into cussers. They can also boost our confidence. They are hard tests.

Pesto is one of my favorite fuels. I love the taste and I can burn the calories during a long-ass run.  Double win! Basil grows in my yard, so pesto it was! It tasted so good! Would it help me run fast?

Hell yes! Well, it’s relative, of course. Fast to me is defined differently than it once was. But it is still fun!

Races are filled with deja vu. For me, mind games are inevitable. So we just have to win them. Against ourselves! Let the optimist win!

I surprised myself today, because I was willing to believe. Go for it and see what happens. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Can you live with that? I could crash and burn and have to walk to the finish. I could live with that. But what if I could keep the pace? Then I get to ride a high!

The young speedsters went out fast. So did some of us plodders. My first two miles averaged about a minute and a half faster than my recent training runs. So I started to dream about success. Hey! I should go for it!

I found my groove and kept a steady pace. It felt like a miniature version of a marathon. Focus on form, keep it steady, remember to fuel and hydrate and prepare for the mind games.

They always come for me. Thoughts of failure. Signals from tiring muscles. Memories of past disappointments. Fear of falling short. Freakin’ fears! Buzz off you damn fears! I CAN do this.

Each passing competitor spurred me on in the later miles. A new rabbit! Chase that rabbit! Mile eleven was my slowest of the day, approximating my training run average. My legs felt so heavy! My left foot was blistering. It would be so easy to walk. It would feel so much better. Or not, at least in the long run. Push! Go! Dig deep! When your body is failing, run with your fiery spirit! It’s only two more miles! How hard is that?

Mile twelve felt very hard, but it turned out to be one of my fastest of the day.  I didn’t know that until my post-race review, because it felt a little like hell. I kept fighting during mile thirteen, when a lovely woman passed me. The best rabbit yet! She pulled me to an even faster thirteenth mile. As I turned into Pioneer Park for the finish, Charles Stanger urged me on. He had blessed us all day with his musical bike parade. I owed him something! So I dug down deep. I had a little left. I sprinted to the finish. It felt fast. I’m not sure how it looked. I nearly caught my favorite rabbit! It was a win for me, because I beat my fears, and I ran my fastest time in years. What more is possible?

I tackled housecleaning today, pondering the frequency. Aided by rain and football, I found a rare mood, where cleaning actually happened. For a while. But a sobering realization sank in. I must rest! Tomorrow is the Walla Walla half marathon. I will need all the strength I can muster! Whew! I almost had to work hard…


Nick in June on Maui. He’s even bigger and stronger now!

I’m perpetually fascinated by the limits of my mind, especially when I break through them.

When I turned forty I was blessed with a new lease on life, increasing my healthiness and happiness. I had been limited by unwillingness. Various aspects of me held me back. As new doors opened, willingness grew. My life is a makeover. Since I’m happy and healthy, should I be content? Or can I be grateful and in pursuit of more?

Why not continue to seek a better me? A beautiful opportunity presents itself regularly: my kids love to lift weights. They have passion for building muscles. It’s a heart-warming pain in my ass. Literally! Also in my chest, triceps, biceps, lats, hamstrings and back. It hurts so good!

I spent the last decade and a half in self-limiting thoughts like these:

  • I’m too old to really build much muscle.
  • Older folks should lift light weights and just try to keep some muscle.
  • If it hurts, don’t do it.
  • I am strong enough.
  • Too much upper-body muscle will be too heavy to carry around on long runs.
  • My body just isn’t the type to build muscle.

I’ve seen the aging process reduce strength, flexibility, balance and confidence.  I know it’s coming for me, if I’m lucky. Can I stave it off a while? Fight back a bit? Optimize my gift of life? Glow in the beauty of existence?

I want to live as fully as I can! My ego loves hitting 270 – 300 yard drives. 320 sounds even better. I want to be able to do whatever I feel like doing. I hope to limit my limitations and expand my abilities. So I had to try something new. Nick opened a door.

He explained to me that to really build muscle, you have to lift heavy. He recommends sets of six to eight repetitions of weights you can barely manage.  Previously I learned that to run fast, I had to practice running fast. An obvious statement, but I had to run intervals at higher speed to improve my long-run speed. So I finally bought in to lifting heavy.  My mind opened up to the realization that I’ve spent years marking time, making minimal improvement in muscle gain. Perhaps this is expanded awareness of “no pain, no gain.”

It has only been a week. My commitment and gains will play out over time. I must say, however, that this is an exciting week. I am lifting stronger and heavier than I ever have. “Chest and triceps day” last evening was my best, as well as Jaslyn’s and Nick’s. It was so fun! How will bicep and back day go today? Legs on Sunday? We will see. In between, we’ll watch the Ducks visit the Cougars in my favorite stadium. Another great opportunity! Go Cougs!

Last night I learned to do squats correctly. I’m glad I’m able and willing to learn. My ego wants my drives to fly farther and my legs to run faster. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. But my legs can get stronger.

Yesterday I bought Qualcomm stock. Perhaps it will reward me, but maybe not. At least I have a financial plan that is likely to work out well.

I roll with the punches at work. It’s important for my mental health. The cycle of change has accelerated to unfathomable speed. Nothing is for sure or for long. Black and white precision is now mottled gray approximation. High level perspective is more fun than frenzied muddling.

WSU Cougar fans get to roll with the punches again too. Two losses replaced expected wins. C’est la vie! Will the crowd be big and supportive in the newly improved football complex? Will the noise be deafening for the opponents? We only have one week to practice for the mighty Ducks, so let’s get it on!


It just keeps getting better! I have another new favorite golf course. This beauty is special in many ways. It is the polar opposite of limited space, “cram it in” golf course design that degrades so many tracts. At the Raven, fun runs could be staged between greens and the following tees! Walking here would mimic a marathon. The carts are life preservers.
Native terrain was skillfully massaged to create gorgeous holes with tantalizing risk-reward options.
Putting greens are fast, smooth and sloped. They remind me of Wine Valley Golf Club, and the grass is more mature. Scenic elevated tees are abundant. Rolling fairways narrow as you approach the greens, teasing long approaches and punishing wayward shots with thick, lush rough. Largemouth bunkers guard tricky greens, helping short holes play tough. Native grass roughs encourage accuracy and penalize wildness.
I can’t imagine anyone not liking this course. The fairways are beautiful and the cart paths and bridges are extensive, protecting the quality of the grass and the enjoyment of the journey. I want to go back! Why not soon?

Nick and Zach

Nick and Zach

Life has been really good, in so many ways. Can it get any better than this?

Summer has blessed me with new experiences, which widen my smiles and broaden my perspective. I’ve delighted in new scenery on my street bicycle, feeling power grow in my legs. I promptly rebounded from a head-on collision on my mountain bicycle; thank God for pneumatic tires and pedal clips! Adjusting to the clips has involved two minor falls, but now I have a steady supply of power.

I’ve upgraded my fairway metals and a loft wedge and tried some new putters. So far this year I’ve played thirteen rounds and a couple of scrambles. Recently, that’s more than some five-year stretches! It is still frustrating, challenging, inspiring and befuddling. My first handicap in decades is 18.8, as the beautiful shots have been counterbalanced by the despicable, penalized and ridiculous. Trees, OB’s, traps, deep grass, lost balls, duck hooks and more. Golf is God’s direct line to my spirit. I think He plays too. Wine Valley Golf Course near Walla Walla made me beam like a kid on Christmas. By the seventh hole, I was delighted to realize that it felt like my favorite course ever! Treeless, rolling hills lead to smooth, fast and rolling greens. Putts roll perfectly and every shot pattern can work. Holes are well designed and maintenance is wonderful. I invite you to join me there soon! Friday’s fundraiser at Walla Walla Country Club for St. Mary Medical Center’s foundation was well-managed.  There are two ugly holes there, one with a blind approach and one with a blind tee shot. WWCC is also well cared for, but it reminds me, like so many things, that humans get smarter with time. The newer courses are often better, especially when space and site selection are not big limiters. Next weekend I’m scheduled to play Circling Raven in North Idaho (for the first time) and this fall I hope to return to Palouse Ridge in Pullman. That’s three of the best courses in the region, so I’m a very lucky guy! May the birdies be with me…..

Grand Luau at Honua'ula

Grand Luau at Honua’ula

In June Nick and Jaslyn and Annie and Zach and I all enjoyed our trip to Maui and agreed that it was a fun and memorable week, perhaps the best of our lives. For most of us it was our first trip to Hawaii. We loved the Maui Hill 3 bedroom/3 bath condo. It was the perfect way to enjoy paradise. Snorkeling with sea turtles was amazing. Boogie boarding each day on increasingly larger waves was so fun! Every morning I took coffee on the deck and savored the blessings of utopia. Our Luau was fun and entertaining, and Lahaina and Kihei offered interesting shopping. We also had fun in the pool and hot tub. We all hope to go back as soon as possible. The wood carvings of sea turtles and tikis remind us of our adventure!

Maui snorkeling

Maui snorkeling

At Rainbow Beach in July we were scorched by the weather. On Sunday morning, Annie and I turned our first paddle of the year into an epic experience. I thought it’d be a short outing and absent-mindedly forgot sunscreen, food, money and backup beverages. We remembered to bring some water and adventurous spirits. It was very fun, so we had paddled several miles, through the channel and well around the other lake before we decided to paddle the entire perimeter of both lakes. Like a marathon, the course seemed to get longer and longer! New bays appeared, each one bigger than we remembered. They are effortless in a power boat. On a paddle board, not so much.  Stroke or sit dead in the water. Luckily, I’ve done a lot strength training on my shoulders this year. With little recent paddle training, the standing became tiring to our feet, however, so we eventually alternated between standing, kneeling and sitting. As the temperatures rose, we had to jump into the water or douse ourselves more often. We were hot, tired and thirsty. Hey, we’ve been here before. We can do this! This is like a marathon! After completing the south lake and passing back through the channel, we faced a tough challenge. Our energy was spent and it was a lot longer path to complete circumnavigating, as compared to straight-lining to drinks, food and shade. Could we make it? Should we try? Are we in late-race delirium? In the end, we couldn’t envision doing it again later in the week. It needed to be done. Let’s do it! Ironically, as we neared completion of a large bay and turned back towards our cabin, the wind came up. In our face! I flashed back to marathon training runs. It was four letter word time! Somehow, we made it, over 4.5 hours after starting out. Spent, thirsty, hungry, sun-burned, hot and victorious. That was one tasty Coke Zero! A dip in the lake, some food and a long spell of shade: how sweet it is! The ensuing days brought water-skiing, which was as thrilling as ever and delightful huckleberry treats. Seeing loved ones in a vacation setting is sweet deja vu. It’s especially rewarding to see the good choices and growth in people’s lives.

Annie paddling North Twin Lake at sunset

Annie paddling North Twin Lake at sunset

I’m sitting in Nick and Jaslyn’s living room now as they slumber, along with Annie. I’m stoked that I got over eight hours of sleep and a bit curious how much they will get. We all lifted hard at the WSU Recreation Center yesterday evening, focusing on our chests and triceps. They are quite inspirational, and I needed it! Today we’re doing back and shoulders. Tomorrow? The world! Or try to intimidate Pat with some big drives. Maybe even in the fairway? Nick turned me on to inspirational videos and I’m stoked to better my core muscles, which will open more doors and make things easier and more fun. Fun! Yes! Bring on the fun!

Many adventurers prefer self-propulsion. There are no noisy motors. Rather, there can be breeze in your face, sun on your skin and the beating of your heart, in rhythm with your soul, if you’re lucky. Delightful endorphins, abundant discovery and enriching fresh air transcend the routine, erasing complacency. Such privileges stoke my spirit and motivate me to pursue my elusive, greatest freedom.

Yesterday’s footrace was all of that and more, adding social interaction and competition. I’ll hope to do it again!

Today’s variation involved bicycles, enthusiasm and the sheer joy of pedaling. We happened to be in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. This heavenly experience offered soothing greenery, sweet fresh air, freedom from cars and invigorating blood flow. It was delightful!

During yesterday’s run, I may have approached ten miles per hour, at my fastest. Today, aided by gears and gravity, I entered a wilder zone. After a pleasant ascent of Cottonwood’s hill, the pavement ended. It was time to zoom! We hit thirty-three miles per hour. What a rush! Annie’s first thought? Let’s do it again!

It felt too hard! Man, what a recurring theme! It’s a timeless feeling of deja vu; I’ve been here before, many times, over many years. There are easier, softer options: slow down a little, slow down a lot, walk, quit, devise excuses…

Excuses can arise from an early morning bed: a rainy day? Perhaps I’m meant to rest this morning? Or is that fear rearing its ugly head?

Today I hit an excuse jackpot. My right calf cramped less than two miles into the race. Good or bad? Just breathe in and out, sending relaxing thoughts to my muscles. Hmmm… was this a chance to run from the run? It’s not always easy living in my mind. So stay out of it if you can!

Using a watch to forecast results is easy for me. It can also be quite limiting. My GPS watch does much of what I used to do, creating opportunity for other thoughts. These can be devilish or inspirational.

Mile one passed in 7:30. Judgement commenced. Too fast! I did it again! I will only slow down from here! So mile two took 8:08. See how much I slowed down! Feel how winded I am! It’s all downhill from here!

A self-fulfilling prophecy? Mile three elapsed in 8:26. I’ll be crawling by the end! I’m out of shape from not running all week! I’ve gotten lazy. Shit!

Whoa! Finally, my free-wild-optimist fought back. I’m nearly half done and averaging 8:01 per mile. Not bad for my condition! I should do my best and see what happens.

Part of the beauty and challenge of the Balloonsday 10 kilometer course is the loneliness, especially coming on the heels of a mega-crowd road race like Bloomsday. Most Balloonsday participants choose five kilometers. The scarcity of ten kilometer racers leads to some big gaps. Mine was a lonely path today, creating a wonderful opportunity to choose between easy lagging and difficult pushing. Who am I to be today?

Lonely mile four took 8:15. Was I choosing to be all that I could be? Perhaps my fifty minute goal is too tough today. I should have trained harder! Why do I think I can push on race day without more fast-paced training? Still, I must push and do what I can!

The volunteers were so encouraging! The course was extremely well-marked. This is my favorite race of the year! But mile five took 8:16. I think I’m slowing down too much. I’ll miss my goal. I’m doomed! More waiting? Will I just keep on saying “wait ’til next year”? Wait a minute! It’s the negative thoughts that are holding me back! I can almost always push at least a bit harder. Do it now! Run free and wild! Be the spirited stallion! Go for it!

Hey, it’s true! I do have a little more to give. When I do so, I gain capacity to give a little more next time. My life gets better when my heart, mind and soul embrace faith and venture forth, fully alive!

Mile six took 7:48. I picked up the pace! Bring it home! I strode strongly to the finish, clocking 49:29. It was my best time in years and another step towards better health. Physically, mentally and spiritually, I must face the demons I meet with faith, perseverance and lots of smiles. It fills my journey with pleasure, which sometimes masquerades as pain. Namaste!

Mom and Dad at Twin Lakes, their favored vacation retreat. My role models!

Mom and Dad at Twin Lakes, their favored vacation retreat. My role models!

Yours may be in June. Or not. I’m having one today. It may be the perfect day for it. To be clear, today is not as much about my privilege of being father to my children. I get those special days throughout each year, blessed with adventures, discovery and laughter with Nicholas and Annie. Today I’m thinking of my Dad, James Gilbert Erickson, the patriarch of this diverse clan I call family.

So it’s golf and gardening for me today. Pinochle too, if I can find it. NBA basketball would be right. I’ll dine on fresh asparagus and salmon later. My goal is to be a living version of my Dad! Well, if only I could have kept it in the fairways…..

Life deals hard knocks at times. Today’s round of golf played out like a microcosm of my life. I made three triple bogeys on the front nine. How? Value golfing! Why take only one chip on a hole when you can have more? Why play on the short grass, with clear paths to the greens, when you can easily find more challenge? Those trees were planted for a reason! Isn’t a circuitous life more enriching than a simple, straight line to success? Well, I’ve only had one path. The winding road has been fun! And hard. And depressing. And saddening. But enough of the tough. Today’s stark reality is that the triple bogeys are the good times. They are, after all, simply golf. Typically no blood or death. Besides, a tough time in life is still life. LIFE! The greatest gift of all? So I may have grown a bit today. After I’d chopped it around the first nine in 54 strokes, my newfound golfing friend remarked that he had more fun playing with me today than any of his other golf outings. I felt honored. Perhaps it was because I remained courteous, friendly and hopefully funny, despite the tally building on my scorecard. My highest score in over forty years was one of my most pleasurable days of the year. I was playing a game I love in perfect weather. I am a lucky man.

I parred our tenth hole, nailed a birdie putt after a sweet approach on the eleventh, and parred the twelfth. I was one under par for three holes on the second nine, after averaging double bogeys on the first nine (with no hole better than bogey). I was scoring as good on the back as I was badly on the front. The birdie was especially fun, but how I handle life’s situations is more important than what they are. I shot a pleasant 54 on the front and a grateful 40 on the back. So am I a hacker or a pretty good golfer? Attitudinally, I’m getting there. We’ll see what happens with the scores. Maybe there’ll be more birdies. Like the hawk that tried to scare us away from its nest today. That’s a double birdie day!

Connor Halliday fires a pass in Martin Stadium scrimmage, 4/19/14

Connor Halliday fires a pass in Martin Stadium scrimmage, 4/19/14

I don’t expect you to understand. Unless you’ve lived in Pullman, that is. Then you get it before I even say it!
There’s nothing like it. David slaying Goliath. WSU whipping USC. Which is more impressive?
It’s spring football, where hope fills the air. These guys are really growing!
Impressive athletes, top grade coaches and improved facilities: are we returning to the golden age of Cougar football? It feels like it to me! And the signs are everywhere:

Rose Bowl quarterback + All-Pro cornerback = Cougar greatness!

Rose Bowl quarterback + All-Pro cornerback = Cougar greatness!

Those gentlemen are Jason Gesser, the last quarterback to lead us to the Rose Bowl, and Marcus Trufant, perhaps our best cornerback ever. Marcus recently retired from a lengthy career with the Seattle Seahawks. They played in Pullman and won most of their games. They are two friendly men who truly know football. Marcus’ mother is very engaging too!
The stars may be aligning. Mike Leach, a talented head coach, has amassed excellent assistants. Together they continue to recruit progressively better athletes, both physically and attitudinally. Get on board or hit the road. Nobody’s dragging this pirate ship down!
Connor Halliday is throwing with precision. Vince Mayle leads a stable of remarkable receivers. Mike Breske ignites an army of awesome athletes on defense, including Darryl Monroe, Xavier Cooper and Daquawn Brown. Naming is almost unfair, because the breadth and depth of talent is impressive! I think Nick agrees!

Nick is lucky to be a Cougar now!

Nick is lucky to be a Cougar now!

Are the Cougars ready to kick some ass? I think so! Best time? When the Ducks and Huskies come to town! GO COUGS!

New toys! Yippee!!!!

New toys! Yippee!!!!

Wow! What a day! Do you want some background material?  Well, here it is anyway!

Fifteen years ago I was in self-induced funk. “I can see clearly now….” was not the song for me. I thought I knew a bit, but really I knew damn little. And I was dying fast. Proof? I tried to run. After one mile, I was out of breath, done for the day, and easing into comprehension of my situation. Then, lots of life lessons, which peeled back layers of the onion, opening my mind. In a newfound spirit of respect for my body, I took baby steps. Then more, and more, and more. Last year I finished two marathons, and I still love to run! So I’ve come to believe that excuses are tired rationalizations that held me back. Some still do. But sometimes my mind opens a bit more, like peeling the onion. Yesterday, we went bicycle shopping, because Annie needed something to ride in the Onionman Triathlon next month. After lots of fun talking with Justin, Steve and Michael at Allegro Cyclery, as well as test riding, Charles set the hook: “if a mountain bike is like a fork, you still need a knife!”

This brings us to today.

Yippee! I got a new toy! Why did I wait so long? Well, my mind held me back, as usual. Road biking is too dangerous, I thought, because of those few crazy drivers. Plus, I LOVE mountain biking, so I don’t really need a road bike. Well, I may have seen what those road bikers like, or perhaps an introductory glimpse of their passion.  Road bikes are fast! Today, I rode a hill that used to be hard on my mountain bike. It was like eating cake on the road bike, and that was after I ran nearly nine miles earlier in the day. I was doubly blessed. I felt the ecstasy of flying down a big hill on my new toy. Wow! I hate to admit it, but I even used the brakes on the big descent. But I’ll get better. Maybe someday I’ll even ride up a big mountain. My second mind opener was believing that I can handle two good workouts in one day. Can I believe in possibilities, even though they sometimes seem so far away? I believed I’d never run a marathon, after feeling like I was dying from a one mile run. Now I’m more open-minded. Maybe I’ll finish a triathlon…..


I love health, humor, adventure, exercise, romance and competition. Well, I just love life! ( :

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