I am by no means a religious person although I do consider myself spiritual in a Eastern Philosophy/New Age-ish kind of way. I kind of take what I need from various religions and leave the rest. If you asked me what religion I am I might say... All of them. I was born and raised Catholic but I never took to the Catholic Dogma and although not a radical feminist I don't agree with the churches position on women in the church as well as a lot of things. But this post has nothing to do with my religious beliefs or lack thereof.
People overcome incredible hardships to get where they are today and to become the people they are today. I had my battle with alcohol and one day at a time I have managed to stay sober 17 years and 9 months. I always say my problems are those of wants not needs (problems of luxury). I have been blessed with good health other then allergies and asthma and now the afflictions of middle age.
Most of you know if you read my blog that I became a fan of Top Chef this season. Although I was routing for Casey the female chef in the final four who faltered in the final challenge I truly believe the best chef did win. Vietnamese immigrant Hung Huynh won. He had impeccable knife skills (although he did almost impale Casey in an early episode running around the kitchen with his knife), he was said not to be a team player (but this was about being Top Chef not working together on a line or in a kitchen) and some thought his food lacked soul but in the end the judges got it right and he fired on all cylinders when the Heat got hot. Hung is the executive sous chef at Guy Savoy in Las Vegas and plans to stay in his position for several more years. Lets face it $100,000 after taxes isn't going to change his life.
I don't read my local paper the Times Union (the Times Useless as I call it) very often. But while waiting for my latte at Starbucks last night I glanced thru the paper and found this article had the paper had about Hung's Bittersweet Victory:
I've never been to his parents restaurant outside of Pittsfield, but I've passed it many times as I spent almost every summer weekend for 5 years down in Stockbridge at Rob's (my old dead-head beau) parent's house.
So today I head out to fill the car with gas, get the car inspected, get the USA Today and get money out for NYC tomorrow. I get gas at Stewart's (cheapest at $2.89 a gallon) but they are out of the USA today so I stop at the Mobil and get the paper there. I want a wake-up soda but its too pricey at both these places and I have a punch card for a freebie at Hess so I stop there. The Times Union catches my eye. On the front page in a column to the left of the feature headline I see....PRAYERS FOLLOW PROFESSOR'S ARREST. Immediately my heart dropped. I knew in my gut that a friend of mine had been arrested. We both are past president's of the running club. Earlier in the year another mutual friend disclosed that he and a couple other friends were worried about our friend's gambling on basketball. In fact one intervened. But those of us who have wrestled with addictions no that addicts need to feed our jones:
Needless to say a sobering and sad start to my birthday weekend. This is a person that I have worked with on committee's and at races, I sent him PaceSetter's when he was recovering from spinal meningitis and from which he almost died. Ive shared many a laugh and he is a great albeit wordy storyteller. This is person who also watched another friend get paralyzed when a car plowed into a group of the top Capital District runner's who were out on their daily training run. He is a great person with an illness that anyone of us could succomb to. I just remember we are powerless over lot's of things: Outsourcing of jobs, bad relationships, addictive and destructive behaviors, family member's. Today I try to live my life in moderation rather then the more is better girl that I was.
Tomorrow up to 1800 athletes from about 50 countries will swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 and run 26.2 in a true test of athletic ability at the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon World Championship . Many of these folks have overcome incredible personal hardships to toe the line in Kona. It's is a feat this out of shape dry-docked zoftig former runner/triathlete could only dream about qualifying for now. When its broadcast in December look for some incredible human interest stories. Ive had friends compete in Kona. They've been baked in the sun of the lava fields, blown off their bikes from the wind, swallowed enough sea water to get sick to their stomachs but they all have finished with a life changing experience to talk about and a hell of a story to tell. To all those athletes toeing the line tomorrow good luck and GodSpeed.
And congratulations to Al Gore for winning the Nobel Peace Prize. You may be one of the best president's we never had.