Monday, October 15, 2007

This Is How I Feel.....

In case you are either visually impaired or just couldn't tell from looking at the picture (in which case you probably have some kind of social disorder), I am very excited about the news we got this week that we will be having a baby girl in February. I had a feeling that it would be a girl, but I think it had less to do with father's intuition than it did with just kind of wanting a little girl as well as getting lucky with the favorable 50-50 odds.
We thought Max was going to be a girl for about 3 weeks and it was amazing to me what a psychological shift had to take place once we found out that he was a boy. We were excited about a boy, but there was a little disappointment that our hopes of a girl would have to wait. I think we are pretty sure this time but I guess you never really know until they are in you arms. Max is going to be a very cute big brother, but it is hard for Dana and I to imagine how we will have the capacity to love another baby as much as we love Max. I'm sure we will find a way!
She looks incredibly cute on her ultrasound pictures.

Monday, September 24, 2007

How Much Longer?

"How much longer, Dad?"

"About 2 hours, Son."

So annoying...but I see myself doing the same thing to my own kids someday. It doesn't matter where you are, you are two hours from where you are trying to get. Two hours is long enough to be in agony (especially if you really gotta go!), but short enough to think that you might be able to make it.

Just as I began to understand under the careful tutelage of my loving father in the above example, I think everybody eventually comes to this simple realization in their life: Time is a funny thing.

Time's rate of progression seems to be directly relative to our own state of mind. We all know that it flies by when you are having fun. Conversely, it seems to drag on forever when you are bored out of your mind or stuck doing something you do not want to do. One cold, hard fact remains. Time is a finite, limited resource; and therefore subject to the laws of scarcity. That is why we can never get enough of it.

I have always been a poor judge of how long it is going to take me to accomplish a given task, and yet I never seem to learn how bad my estimates are. I like to challenge myself sometimes when I have a list of jobs to accomplish. "I will do a, b, c, & d in the next hour and twenty minutes." Usually at the end of the allotted time, I have gotten through the first half of a and thought about d, or less.

When I started painting my house well over a month ago, I estimated I could finish it in a solid week's worth of effort. Oh, how wrong I was! As of tonight, it is still a work in progress. It is "progressing", mind you, but at a snail's pace. I still have over half of the trim in all the hard places to do! I have been thinking in my mind that I will finish by the end of the week, but I have a feeling that is just another one of those self-delusions I am talking about (note: it hasn't helped that I have been sick for a couple weeks now, which I am just getting over. That has sapped my normally vigorous work ethic a bit).

We like to try and plan our lives out for the future, but invariably, our plans are way more ambitious than anything in our pasts would indicate is actually achievable. But we never seem to learn.

In college, my graduate advisor helped me understand this principle of time management. He told me to make my most wild estimates about the time it would take me to complete all the tasks I planned out for my graduate work, trying to envision all that possibly, conceivably go wrong in the process. Then take that number and double or triple it.

When it came down to it, the actual time spent was more like quadruple.

This whole discussion boils down to this simple point: Stuff takes way longer than you think it is going to.

I've learned that in my heart, but yet I can never seem to learn it in my head...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

If You Can't Take the Heat...

Note: I began this post immediately after returning from vacation at the beginning of July, but never finished it until now.

I can't take the heat!

I remember as a child, I took a trip with my Dad to Arizona. I think it was some sort of business trip and I got to go with him in the summertime. I remember staying and Granny and Bopa's and visiting the Rustands and that is about it. I also distinctly remember at one point complaining profusely about how hot I was.

My Dad responded "Ty, you just don't do well in the heat," so matter-of-factly that I was instantly convinced of the statement's truth . I had learned something important about my self that day: I don't do well in the heat!

During the first day of our vacation this summer, which commenced in the Southern Nevada desert and took us eventually to the arid regions of the Arizona highlands, I became incredibly dehydrated by the end of the first day. I got a "dehydration headache" that I couldn't seem to shake no matter how much water I drank.

(I asked Jeff for a medical explanation of my throbbing head woes. Why didn't pounding lots of fluids make it go away? He tried nobly to provide a plausible answer, but I didn't feel totally satisfied... )

I'm just not used to the kind of place where you are almost constantly sweating. I don't have enough time in my day to be constantly worrying about drinking enough fluids. I think after a few days in Iron Springs, I got a little more used to the hot weather. But I was about to experience a step change of heat intensity.

Next we headed for fabulous Las Vegas. During the days, the temperature averaged around 100 to 105 degrees F. That bugged me whenever we were outside for very long, except when we were in the pool. That is perfect swimming weather. The day we left Las Vegas (July 4th) it got up to 116. That is too hot for human habitation in my opinion. I watched this Mexican dude mow a lawn at midday with a hooded black sweatshirt and heavy jeans on. I'm not sure why.

You can imagine that we were excited to get back to our very moderate Western Washington weather, but a few days after we got back, the temperature got up to the upper 90's for a few days in a row. That is a big deal for us because we don't have air conditioning. I got home from work one day and it was 93 degrees in the house....

Fortunately, things have cooled off to very comfortable mid to high 70's during the days lately. That is just right for me. Dana says that she used to be just fine in the hot weather, but since she married me she has gone soft. Now she has just as much trouble as me in the heat...well, almost.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Needo for Speedo

As many of you know, my lovely wife and I will soon be competing in a grueling "sprint" triathlon. That is sort of an inappropriate name in my view because there will certainly not be much sprinting going on during the race. Just so you know what we are up against it goes like this: 1/4 mile swim, 15 mile bike, 3 mile run. Easy enough, right?

As part of our training efforts we have found ourselves in a pool, trying to propel our bodies forward through the water, endlessly pushing against the relentless pull of aerodynamic drag (in the water). As a man, society has forced me to wear a "baggy" swimming suit to conform to a standard of modern-day hipness (i.e. it is disgusting for men to show their legs above the knee, apparently).

Well, speaking of aerodynamic drag and men's swimming suits, I was experiencing a lot of it, but it just felt normal to me. I have lived with it my whole life. Well, all of my life except for a few years when I was on the swim team, but those memories are dim to me now...

As we have been gearing up for the triathlon, I was trying to get ready for the idea of wearing a speedo (brief style) for the race. I just couldn't get excited about it. I pictured myself as Ben Stiller in "Meet the Parents", timidly approaching the starting line, unable to relax because I would basically be out in public in essentially "nothing but my skivvies."

Basically, I knew nothing about the incredible array of men's swimming products Speedo manufactures. I knew nothing of the concept of the "jammer."

As you have probably guessed, I purchased a jammer for myself. Dana and I also both purchased $2 swim caps. I am now confident in my swim attire. I am lightning fast.

Last week was the first time we went swimming with my new suit. It was like a new door had been opened. It was like a heavy load had been lifted. I felt my body slicing through the water at incredible speeds that until recently had been unattainable. In engineering terms, I had significantly reduced my drag coefficient. In triathlon terms, I was flying through the water!

Drag in the study of fluid flow is one of those things that lives completely up to it's name: it is nothing but a drain on the system; a severe hit to efficient use of your body's precious energy resources. While you can never eliminate drag completely, these days legions of engineers and scientists devote tremendous amounts of time, money and effort to eke out incremental reductions in drag for everything from swimming attire to automobiles to bridge supports.

Whoever designed my "jammer" did a heck of a job!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Drew Running the 800 meter at U of WA

This is Drew Foster heroically running the 800 meter at Dempsey Indoor at the University of Washington on February 10, 2007. Present in the audience are his wife Kristen, his nephew Max, his brother Tyler and his sister-in-law Danalin. His official time was 1:55:52; not what he had wanted, but still pretty impressive.