Skip to main content


I understand this blog's primary purpose is to convey my training and race endeavors, but you'll have to forgive me as I use it, this time, as a means to give closure and tribute to a friend who left me yesterday. My pets are my family, so I hope you'll understand...


Yesterday was a mashed potatoes—my comfort food—kind of day. For the past two weeks, my parents and I have watched my 18-year old barn kitty deteriorate and finally succumb to a cancer we’d thought we’d had completely removed seven years ago. Starbuck, a stray we’d taken in when our neighbors said she absolutely abhorred the life of living indoors, thrived on our 13-acre hobby farm. From the day she set foot on the Faulkenberry homestead, up until the last week of her life, she hunted mice, gophers, and squirrels like a true competitor. For this reason, for her drive and absolute devotion to what she did, I was proud to call her my cat. The four other strays that followed her and called our property home never could amount to what Starbuck was, even if all their efforts were combined.

Starbuck taught me a lot. From the time I started 4th grade, she’d join my brother, Ian, and me on any adventure we took through our woods and the neighboring woods across the street. When I still rode horses, she enjoyed sitting up top near the horn, straddled between my legs so she could peer over the top and through Conan’s (my horse’s) ears. In the evenings after feeding the rest of the animals—llamas, horses, ducks, chickens, and Peter (the rabbit)—we’d escape into the hay barn. I’d climb to the top of the bales and lie down, waiting for Bucky to follow and find her place on my chest. She’d become so focused on purring and making muffins in my shirt that I’d watch drool, drop for drop, fall down her chin. Not only was she a phenomenal hunter, but she could love you like no other cat ever could.

My dad said he’d miss the way Starbuck greeted him at the front door when he arrived home from work. I can picture the times she’d do the same for me, running from her hunting spot out in the fields to squeak her salutation and rub against my leg for a hug. I’ll never forget the way she’d saunter over with her tail shooting straight up to the sky. Except, the tip of her tail was always curled over, as if it were a hook on a clothes hanger.

Dear Bucky, you will be sorely missed. Your little body held such great authority among all the animals on the Faulkenberry farm. You gave to your humans more than any of us could have asked for, especially me. I didn’t have as many friends growing up in school, but I didn’t need them when I had my animals—like you—to come home to. I hope you’ve found the Rainbow Bridge, and please look for me when it’s my turn to enter the gates of Heaven. I’d sure love your company as we explore God’s great sanctuary, together once again.


Popular posts from this blog

My opinion...For what it's worth

My first Half Ironman 70.3 turned into Boise 29.3. I may be the only one to say that I respect the officials' judgment call on this one, because apparently, a few of my triathlete comrades lack sufficient brains themselves. The comments I'm reading on Facebook leave me pretty disturbed. Let me just put this out there: I entered this sport because it looked tough and challenging. It pushes anyone who enters these races to their ultimate limits and requires a demanding amount of time to complete the training necessary to succeed. I entered this sport because of the people. Healthy, smart, fit, inspiring, motivating. I can't think of a single person who has questioned my ability to participate in this sport. I entered this sport because anyone can do it. I passed people younger and older than me, some as old as 74. I watched one woman hobble along the run course, surely just on her first lap. She looked like her knees were going to cave in. Yet she was running. I did not ent

Pain loves misery. Misery loves company.

I remember running through complete darkness along the paved trail between Moscow and Pullman during my years studying at University of Idaho. Five years ago, my training consisted entirely of running. Cycling served as something to do on the weekends, and swimming didn’t even exist until my sophomore year. What I remember most, however, revolves around the early morning runs. I awoke at 4:30, donned my warmest clothes, started my GPS, and turned my headlamp on in preparation for eight to ten miles of farmland along a lonely stretch of highway. Running served as my outlet. I buried myself in 20+ credits of biology, chemistry, physics, and human anatomy courses to fill my time. And fill my time it did. So running every morning was my recourse to stay sane. Every. Lonely. Morning. It wasn’t until the thrill of riding my bike overtook me did I realize riding alone—training alone—hardly compared to the enjoyment of working out with other people. My dad always stressed the importance of r

Noosa Triathlon - The Grand Finale

I looked out into the surf and watched the waves churn and roll, crash, then churn and roll again. Supposedly, I signed up for this, along with the 7000 other athletes who stood on the shore with me, questioning their own sanity. These Aussies grew up swimming in this insanity on the daily, and their numbers far exceeded that of my fellow Americans. Nevertheless, I puckered up my American ass and tried to stand tall and confident to the waves. I watched Natalie Van Coevorden scheme and plan her strategy, pointing out toward the buoys. Not until the gun went off did I realize that plan involved running at least 100 meters down the shoreline before we jumped into the water. Interesting. I never would have thought to do that, considering my open water swimming experience in ocean rip and waves is virtually non-existent. When confronted with a situation such as this, I have learned to fake it. Pretend I know what I'm doing. I can do it. I can swim with the best of them. Then I jump