Tag Archives: live life

Olympic Moment ©

Will Jones’s Olympic Moment

olympicWhat was your Olympic moment?  I don’t mean the day you went for the gold, although you may have had one of those, but the day you watched an Olympic event, either in person or on TV, and it changed your life?

Mine happened as a pre-teen watching the Rome Olympics on TV in 1960.  Imperial Bodyguard Abebe Bikila, a last minute addition to the Ethiopian Olympic team, won the marathon in record time…in his bare feet.  It was the first Olympic Gold Medal ever won by a Sub-Saharan athlete.  I watched the race on my parents’ newly purchased Zenith color console.

The 1960 marathon started and ended at the Arch of Constantine, next to the Colosseum.  In a spectacular and mesmerizing display of romance and artistry, the last few miles of the race were run in the dark with only occasional spotlights to illuminate the course.  Bikila, tall and graceful in red shorts and green singlet, the Ethiopian colors, out sprinted his lone challenger to the finish line and through the Arch, the lights of the Colosseum behind him.  Bikila became my hero and I vowed to someday run a marathon and win a medal of my own.

Bikila won the marathon again at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964.  In 1969 he was paralyzed in an accident while driving the Volkswagen Bug given to him by Haile Selassie for his Olympic conquests.  The accident occurred when he swerved to avoid student protesters on the streets of Addis Ababa. He died of complications in 1973. He was only 41.

On December 18, 1983, I ran my first marathon, finishing in three hours and twenty-six minutes.  I dedicated my training and race to my pregnant wife, my soon-to-be-born son, and my inspiration, the great Olympian, Abebe Bikila.  A few months later I was fortunate to be in the Los Angeles Colosseum when Joan Benoit won the first women’s Olympic Marathon.  The temperature was in the 90’s but I remember getting the chills as she entered the stadium and circled the track to the finish line, tens of thousands of fans on their feet cheering as she passed.

What was your Olympic moment?  BOBB and I would love to know.

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Half Dome Reality ©

Bobbi Rankin at Half Dome

half domeHalf Dome became a reality to me this summer.  That awemanousness  (my new word) of a mountain is indescribable.  Or I could say a mastodon of a mountain.  That giant rock that sits among the clouds 8’000 feet above sea level and 4’000 feet above the Yosemite Valley floor, the distance I climbed.  This hike was on my bucket list and the reality is I can now cross it off.

This was nothing I had ever experienced before.  The training was necessary to make this climb and have the feel of fulfillment and not the anguish of defeat.  I say that because being prepared elevates the anxiety, fear and problems that can occur if you aren’t in shape for this “ mother of all hikes”.  And that’s the reality of this hike.

We started early and got back late.  We had plenty of energy bars and electrolytes to drink.  The energy needed for this hike is the most important ingredient along with physical training.

Nature at its best is how many describe Yosemite.  The wonder and majesty of the granite mountains are breath taking.  The trail to Half Dome is sprinkled throughout with winding tree covered trails, many stairs that are chipped into the granite and beautiful waterfalls.  The Merced River pushes it roaring waters over the cliffs at Vernal and Nevada Falls – such a sight to behold.

When I finally arrived at the base of Sub Dome I’m not sure I’m ready for this untethered climb of over 800 granite cut stairs.   As I have come to realize, not much is said about the Sub Dome.  I now know it is harder to climb than the cables of the Half Dome.  I climb the Sub and get to the base of Half Dome.  I pause to take in the enormity of this next phase of the trip and reflect on how far I have come.   As I look around, I realize that this vast wilderness is there for my pleasure, I respect that and I’m grateful for the experience so far.

What lay ahead is my goal.  Where I’ve come from, is my journey.  Along with me on this journey was Rick, or more fondly referred to as “Mr. Half Dome”. This trip was his 32 in ten years and I felt the privilege of him sharing the stories and folk lore of the trail, the mountain and giving me the grand tour.

The cables were the next adventure waiting for me to grab hold of.  And grab I did climbing almost straight up 800 feet to the top.  I felt the reality of my journey the minute my feet touched the top of the Dome.  At the top, I’d come 4’000 feet to be part of and experience something that was so much bigger than I could have imagined when I had looked up at it from the Valley floor.  There I was eye to eye with the tops of the neighboring mountains taking in that mystical, majestic and spiritual moment.  One I’ll never forget.

In my world this was a reality that was so tangible and mystical that it took my breath away.  In my world this was the hike legends are made of.   In my world I am preparing to do this again next summer.

The reality is…I can.

photo by Mr. Half Dome

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MUSIC Monday: Evolving Taste in Songs

A Story by Toni Duldulao

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I grew up during the 50s when Elvis was the King of Rock & Roll.  I knew all of the words to all of his songs and still do.  Good memory?  No, in those days it wasn’t hard because the lyrics were extremely repetitive.  After all, what is so difficult in remembering: “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog, cryin’ all the time.” repeated at least four times in a twelve line song?  Thankfully, as I grew older my taste in music evolved too.Post Elvis, Broadway musicals were being made into feature films.  I became a devoted fan of songs from West Side Story, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, and The Fiddler on the Roof.  Funny but I don’t remember the lyrics to my favorite songs.  It seems that that the older I become the less reliable is my memory.

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There was a saying among my age group:  “If you remember the ‘60s you weren’t there.”  My problem is I do remember the ‘60s because I wasn’t there.  I was in the convent.  My songs in those days were religious ones in Latin.  I don’t remember those either.  Maybe it was divine providence that my taste in music gravitated toward the classics because it is usually just instrumental and without lyrics.

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When I looked through the list of singers and groups from the ‘70s, and ‘80s I recognized names but couldn’t tell you what they sang.  Actually the only singers I really remember from that time are Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond, but don’t ask me what were my favorite songs because I don’t remember.  Although I do remember Streisand singing some song with Neil Diamond complaining that he didn’t bring her flowers anymore.

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What I can’t forget (and would like to) is later on there was a “new sound” called Punk Rock or Hard Rock and Rap.  “New sound?”  My heavens no, to me it was just awful screaming, instruments playing off key, and speakers turned up so high that the vibration moved them 5 feet with each beat of the “song.”

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Now some sixty years later I have fun listening to an occasional Elvis, Streisand, Diamond, and classical music, but for the last few years my HEART HAS GONE COUNTRY.  Not long ago a friend asked me why I would listen to that “stuff.”  I don’t know but maybe it’s very similar to the old rock and roll AND I can understand the words being sung because they sing slower and use words and terms I understand.  However, other than the latest hit “Red Solo Cup” which is a repetitive song I don’t remember the lyrics except for the chorus…if I’m lucky.  

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Toni,

 When I was 10 you introduced me to music  – you were crazy about Elvis. We sat in your room for hours watching the little black plastic circle go round and round on your new phonograph.  Now it ‘s my turn, let me introduce you to Everlast, a rapper whose music is influenced by the blues. Then there’s the Punk band, The Clash (they too have easy to remember repeating lyrics.) And, a favorite of mine, Metallica; their song ‘Bleeding Me’ is as soulful as any country tune.  Check out these bands on itunes and let me know what you think of the New Sound.

~  Shinazy, founder of BOBB

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photo by shankar, shiv

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WISDOM Wednesday: Root Canals, Friendship & Personal Growth

Story by Malati Marlene Shinazy

The need for a root canal sometimes just sneaks up on us.    One day I’m unconsciously consuming a thousand chocolate chip cookies, and then suddenly I feel an unrelenting pain in one of my molars.  That afternoon, I’m in my dentist’s chair, getting a root canal.  The process hurts so much I grow in character just having endured it.

Could I have done anything to prevent this?  Say, eaten fewer cookies?  No… in this case the root canal was due to a low-grade infection that sat for years, undetected.

Oddly, like low grade infections, my unconscious behaviors with friends can sit latent for years and become toxic, and on rare occasion erupt, causing an abrupt and painful end to a friendship.

Usually my friendships are a source of shared enjoyment and comfortable acceptance.  The flaws in each of us are overlooked because, in balance, the contentment of the friendship outweighs them.    Then something unexpected happens.

Ten years ago, one of my closest friendships ended quite badly – horribly, with a lot of finger pointing and accusatory shouting.  It was quite ugly.  Like a two year old, I privately ranted, calling her all those labels that would hurt her if I ever said them face-to-face.  “She is egotistical and self-centered; a horrible and stupid human being.  I never want to talk to her again, ever-ever!”

Unlike like a two year old, however, instead of addressing her directly, I typed the words next to her name in my cell phone.  Should she ever dare call, my caller ID would warn:  “Josie / STUPID & selfish”

Years passed with no communication.  Then one day, a text from Josie arrived.  Having long forgotten the poorly ended friendship, I replied.  After multiple rounds of texting… she suddenly stopped.  After a few weeks, I texted her:

Me: “What happened to you?”

Josie:  “What happened?  What do you think happened?  I’m going to keep talking to you while you continue to call me names?”

As if picking up from our past, I retorted, “Are we going to start this finger-pointing thing again?”

Then I remembered… the old notations after her name still remained in my phone!

I immediately felt embarrassed and ashamed.  Like the undetected infection in my mouth, the deep-seated, immature meanness in me had caused Josie emotional pain.  I immediately began an excision process, a sort of deep cleaning to rid myself of this tendency and to be conscious of it going forward.   And – right now – to update my phone.

When I called Josie to offer a truly heartfelt apology and explanation of why I was “calling her names” in our previous texts, we talked at length about how we each behaved a decade ago.  I shared with her the unscheduled but necessary mental-emotional “root canal process” I needed before calling to apologize.  I sensed we both had grown and perhaps would rebuild our friendship.

 After I hung up, I reflected, humorously….

It was mother’s insistence that I go to the dentist twice a year.  And, sometimes, I still needed the dreaded root canal…  But, as I mentioned before, I grew in character just having endured it. Now, with a lovely new crown set in place I could continue my life, spontaneously glinting a healthy smile.

 As I’ve come to discover, the same can be true with my friendships.

    photo by Malati Marlene Shinazy  

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