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Archive for April, 2009

Apr 24 2009

Shh! Nature

Posted by Mugs @ 10:07 pm in Family

My parents came to visit for Easter Break, and we had a good time together.  Grandma helped the kids decorate Easter eggs, and after Easter, we spent several days consuming large amounts of deviled eggs and egg salad.  Everyone had to hunt for their basket, even my Dad.  He got some help from Gabe and Zeke.  Dale hid the kids baskets, and Abby was not very thorough in her searching.  At one point, Dale told Abby that if she was any closer, her basket could bite her in the butt.  She eventually crawled under the pool table and found it.  Later, Dale had trouble finding his basket.  So, he got the “if you were any closer, it could bite you in the butt” remark too.  He was foiled by the old box of soda trick.  It works every time.  My Mom found her basket quickly.  I think the smell of  peeps and black jelly beans drew her to it.  Dale, Gabe, and Zeke were all part of the Easter production at church.  Both Gabe and Zeke did an excellent job saying their lines.  The kids sang and spoke about the resurrection and it was terrific.  My favorite bit was when one little girl sang a happy song with the saddest face possible.  There were quite a few giggles in the congregation.

Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs

On Monday, we began to “Go Tourist” as Worker used to say.  We walked around the FDR, WWII, and Korean memorials and looked around the American History museum.  At the museum, we saw Abe Lincoln’s hat, the flag Francis Scott Key saw while he wrote the National Anthem, Kermit, and the ruby slippers.  I think we were the only people not willing to stand in the long line to see Michelle Obama’s inauguration gown.  Judging by the length of the line, it was the must see exhibit.

FDR Memorial

FDR Memorial

On Thursday, we drove over to Asseteague Island off the coast of Maryland and Virginia.  The Island is a National Park and Wildlife Reserve where a herd of ponies run wild.  It is a lovely place and I was elated to feel the salt breeze, walk the beach looking for shells, and listen to the crashing waves.  A Hawaiian friend of mine once told me how she felt when she returned to the shore after living away from the ocean for several years.  “I can breath, again,” she said.  I always think of that when I go to the coast after a long time away.  The first day at the coast, the wind was wicked cold and nearly blew us off the shore.

Manrys on the Beach

Manrys on the Beach

Digging on Beach

Digging on Beach

The second day, however, was beautiful. We saw a lot of birds and the ponies up close, but were a bit much for the serious nature lovers at the Reserve.  We were walking a bird watching trail and came across a couple with a telescope camera observing a turtle.  They offered to let me glance in the camera.  It was amazing how clearly I could see it.  Thinking Gabe would love to take a look, I yelled out to him, “Gabe!  Come look at the Turtle!”  The woman was highly offended and scolded me, “Shh! Nature.”  I am well aware that I am a member of the loud family and have been shushed in the library, the movies, and a mass.  I can’t remember what happened at the mass, but it sent Rob and I into a fit of giggles, and we couldn’t stop.  Because my Dad marched us up to the front pew every Sunday to sit, he was not too happy with our giggles.  At the time, we had a Priest who performed Polka Mass, a most remarkable thing.  Anyway, I found her exclamation quite amusing and used it ad nauseum afterwards.

Wild Ponies

Wild Ponies

More Wild Ponies

More Wild Ponies

Egret

Egret

Turtle

Turtle

We stayed in the pretty little town of Chincoteague and found a homemade ice cream shop.  It was one of the three memorable eating experiences we had.  The first good meal happened when Dale pulled off the road in Maryland at a restaurant called Trappe Creek.  The guy that owns it can sure cook.  We gave him 8 ridiculously diverse orders and each one was delicious.  I had crab dip and sweet potato pie, Mom had chicken and dumplings, Dad had eggs and home fries, Josiah had a cheese steak, Dale had a fried pork chop sandwich and cheesecake, Gabe had pancakes, Abby had lasagna, and Zeke had pizza.  He just went back in the kitchen and cooked it up.  It was terrific.  We also stopped on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to eat at the restaurant on the bridge.  There we got a giant fried flounder sandwich.  When the waitress set the thing in front of my Mom, the shocked look on my Mom’s face was priceless.  I wish I had a picture.

Flounder Sandwich

Flounder Sandwich

Our adventure took a turn for the worse when we got off of the bridge.  Traffic was bad, so I defied the GPS and told Dale to take an alternate route.  While scanning the map, I made the amazing discovery that we were near Manry, Virginia.  Dale’s ancestors had landed in Jamestown and settled near Sussex, Virginia for awhile and apparently got a town named after them.  We drove around and around and around some more stopping at various cemeteries to find old dead Manrys.  We had no luck.  The town is gone, but a guy we asked said that they still refer to the intersection as Manry corner.  Years ago, a train stopped there and it was a town, but we didn’t find anything that marked it today.  When we got home, Dale found the USGS mapsheet titled Manry.  We’ll have to give it a go another day when it’s light out and were not so frightened by a herd of cats, run down buildings, and old tombstones.

Manry, VA

Manry, VA

My parents are now back in Minnesota for some well earned peace and quiet where they can listen to the call of the loons instead of the call of the loonies.

Grandma and Grandpa Meloch

Grandma and Grandpa Meloch

Apr 05 2009

5K Race in Manassas, Virginia

Posted by Dale @ 9:53 pm in Running

About a week ago, Josiah and I ran a 5k race together. He’s thinking of running cross country in high school next year, so I thought it would be good for him to get a little training in before then. I laid out a 4 week training plan for him that included 4 days of running each week. He did a good job of sticking to the plan for the entire month.

At the Start

At the Start

Josiah has a tendency to start out at a dead sprint. Since this course was an out-and-back course, I told him he had to stick with me for the first half, then he could run at his own pace after that. We took off and settled into a comfortable pace. After we turned around at the halfway point, Josiah picked up the pace a little, and I did my best to hang with him. That lasted for about 5 steps before I let him go.

With around 3/4 of a mile to go, Josiah was about 30 seconds in front of me. I saw him stop to walk for a few seconds and got my hopes up a little. But he started running again before I could catch up. However, with about 1/2 mile left, he stopped to walk again, and I was able to catch him! At that point, he asked how much more was left. I pointed out the sign at the entrance to the park about 1/4 mile ahead, and then he left me and never looked back again.

Josiah finished in 21:34, which is about 6:58 per mile.

Josiah Finishing

Josiah Finishing

About 17 seconds later, I crossed the finish in 21:54 (7:03 pace).

Dale Finishing

Dale Finishing

Overall, Josiah had placed 9th out of 106 runners, and I had placed 12th. I figured Josiah had a good chance of getting an award for his age group, so we hung around for the awards ceremony. Sure enough, Josiah place 2nd in the Under 19 category. In the picture of Josiah finishing, you can see the kid who placed 3rd in that category. Josiah sprinted to beat him, not realizing that he was moving up a spot in the age group awards. Much to all of our surprise, I came in 2nd also for my age group, 40-49.

Second Placers

Second Placers

I’ve vowed to stick to small local races as often as possible from now on!