cystic fibrosis

Mission Accomplished


Close the books on Xtreme Hike 2014.

We came, we saw, we hiked. I have the blisters to prove it.

I’m not sure whether we hiked 21 or 22 miles — we had to retrace our steps along a mis-marked portion of the trail — but Martin and I completed the trek in about 10.5 hours.


We were not front-runners. We finished toward the back of the pack. But we made it.

The crew of Xtreme Hikers set out in the dark at 5 am. Two hours later we watched the sun rise from our vantage on the trail.



Though the hike wasn’t a timed event, you couldn’t ignore the pressure to push on and finish fast. I stopped just a few times to snap a picture or two.



And there was another motivating factor, another carrot dangling on the stick:

Complementary beer at the finish line at Devils Backbone Outpost Brewery.



Not to mention killer-good pulled pork barbecue. The best ever. Even Maisie tucked into a plate.

And she deserved it after hiking oodles of miles, and taking one for the team (she was stung repeatedly when she crossed a ground bees’ nest).

She earned a pulled pork platter.



And then she promptly passed out while we guzzled beer and nursed our sore feet.



Many thanks to the 46 hikers, our support staff, sponsors, and everyone who contributed to this event!



Xtreme Distraction


I know that Funny Farm has been mighty quiet, lately. And there are blog-worthy anecdotes and pictures simmering on the back burner.

But everything’s on hold until we’ve completed Xtreme Hike, a fundraising event to benefit Brynn and others who suffer from Cystic Fibrosis. (If you’ve donated already, my hearty thanks.)

Martin conjured up this craziness last year: a ridiculously long hike (26 miles, give or take) to be tackled in a single day. Not only would participants suffer through a Bataan death march, but they’d have to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, too.

Nearly 20 hikers trudged along the trail and raised almost $50k.

That was last year. Now, Xtreme Hike 2 is upon us. In fact it’s this Saturday, at Wintergreen Resort, near Charlottesville, Va. Forty hikers have signed on, including yours truly. And this year’s course is so challenging, we had to shave a few miles off it.

Over Labor Day, Martin and I traveled to Wintergreen to scope out the toughest leg of the hike: a 13-mile loop in George Washington National Forest. The elevation gain is 4,000 feet.

The first six miles were tough. Steep, rocky and hard-going.



The second half was torturous. In one section, the elevation rose 1,000 feet in less than a mile. At times we crawled up the rock face; I had to hoist the dog up over a boulder.

During one of our many breaks — a two-minute pause to swig some water — Maisie actually fell asleep. We successfully fatigued a Border Collie.


tuckered out


Martin and I surrendered after 9 miles. We couldn’t complete the loop. Instead, we hiked to a road, walked to a little convenience store, and hitched a ride to our car.


temporary defeat…


After that re-con trip, we altered the Xtreme Hike route. The most agonizing stretch has been edited — though a portion has been retained to guarantee that our hike remains extreme.

I’m dreading it and looking forward to it at the same time. I can’t wait to start, and I can’t wait for it to be over.

If you’d like to support the Xtreme Hike, it’s not too late! To donate or to read more about Brynn, please click here.

Otherwise, simply wish us good luck.

It’s for a good cause…


Brynn & Brewer’s Ball


I don’t use this blog to tout causes, or drum up charity dollars. And I’ve no plans to alter my policy.

But I’ll say this:

If you happen to stumble into Washington, DC, this Saturday at 7 pm — in cocktail attire — with a hankering to sample beers from microbreweries… then swing by the DC Brewer’s Ball at the National Building Museum. Bring a friend and $130 each. Proceeds from the event benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Rarely do I mention cystic fibrosis — it is not funny blog fodder. But it is a part of Funny Farm; Brynn has CF.

Google “cystic fibrosis” and you’ll read that it’s a genetic, chronic illness in which thickened mucus affects the lungs and digestion. (Learn more here.) Symptoms and severity vary; generally speaking, lung function diminishes with age.

What does that mean for Brynn? We’ll see. For now, her daily routine includes oral enzymes to replace pancreatic shortcomings; an hour of chest percussion therapy to loosen the mucus in her lungs; and frequent, vaporized medications delivered via nebulizer.

Here’s Brynn, fitted with her nebulizer mask and “thumping” vest. (If she wasn’t tethered to a power source, she’d receive daily therapy aboard Bugsy…)





From Brynn’s perspective, it’s just a part of life. So don’t feel sorry for her. (If anything, pity her siblings. Tonight I discovered Hadley, dodging a clubbing. Hadley cowered, while her baby sister — clad in high heels and brandishing a riding crop — declared, “I’m Brynnzilla, dammit!”)

(Christ Brynn, the language….)

There’s no doubt: Brynn has Jack Russell-tenacity. And perhaps she needs that fervor to tackle future health challenges.

In the meantime I’m not asking you to commit financially to CF research. But if you must donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, I won’t stop you.

And if you’re in DC on Saturday, I’d recommend the Brewer’s Ball.

Otherwise, I’ll send Brynn your way. And she doesn’t tolerate excuses…