Jan 20

Happy New Year

Here’s the first sunrise of 2020.

The blog is going to take a few weeks off. We’ll reconvene a bit later in January and get everyone caught back up. Until then, may all your resolutions by new and may all your newness be resolute.

Dec 19

Running out of 2019

Last day of the year, last run of the year, last, last, last. It was a dank and chilly run, a 10K, and it all felt pretty good, shockingly. The splits weren’t good, the times weren’t amazing, but the spirit was good and I was pleased with the effort.

For the month, then, that’s a little over 76 miles.

Poseidon is not impressed.

Phoebe is always polite enough to at least play the part.

Well, I’m pleased. I suppose the comeback is complete. Now we just have to figure out what’s next. More miles? Faster miles? More faster miles? Holding serve? Staying inside and holding a hot chocolate?

That’s something to figure out next year.

Dec 19

What does Google Earth know, when did they know it?

After 3,052 miles (a legitimate rough estimate), a half-dozen or so car rides and two plane trip … the Christmas travels are complete. It’s great fun. It’s a great blessing to do, to see so many people and have the time to do it, and to just want to be seen. And it is an endurance run.

But now we’re back. After days in Alabama — which was in the midst of that sort of weather that could give you a little chill in the shade and warm comfort in the sun — and sunny beach runs in a Connecticut December, we’ve come back to … this:

At least there’s pizza. And simply the best pizza. We stopped at the Mellow Mushroom in Carmel while we were returning from the airport in Indianapolis. So we have leftovers, because if you can’t get good pizza in a college town you make excuses to go to visit one when you’re in a larger city. And then you order extra, for more meals.

When we got back on Sunday evening we also visited IKEA, the Scandinavian store that shouts at you. IKEA!

We had a mission, and that mission was to discover all of the shortcuts among the byzantine aisles and sections of the store and avoid the meatballs. Because the cafeteria always seems out of place. Actually the mission was to check out some chairs. We have two backless barstools sitting at our breakfast bar, but have lately begun exploring upgrades. You know, chairs with backs? So we went to IKEA. Where no one has ever shouted at me, but where the thought to shout at someone does, from time to time, cross your mind.

I saw this on one wall there:

I thought, Good for you, IKEA, as one does. And especially since this was on an out-of-the-way wall. You weren’t confronted by this language at the front door or the exit, or even by the meatballs. Why, most people would never see this. And then I thought, Most people will never see the roof. And then I thought, Most people will never see the roof. This could be a great ruse.

Siri, show me the Google Maps view of the roof of IKEA!

Ah-ha! I have it on good authority this store has been in place for almost four years. (Because, needing the excitement in my life, I went on the day it opened.) And I have been in the building at least twice. And you’re telling me it isn’t even on the map? As if the building, or its solar panels, don’t even exist?

Siri, show me the Google Earth version …

Oh, well, there you go though, then. Google Earth knows the truth.

And the truth is that IKEA was telling us the truth about the solar panels. (Unless the IKEA people got to the Google Earth people somehow. But, no, that sounds like crazy talk.) Which just leaves us to wonder about the difference between the two divisions of map recorders at Google. A mental problem for a different day, perhaps.

Dec 19

The rare weekend post

On our tramping about town today, a day in which we tramped, we visited a local running store. This is a place where my mother-in-law picks us up nice things like, this year, a new blinkie for bikes and a couple of nice pairs of running socks. They were, today, having a sale.

I did not buy an aero helmet. But it looks pretty cool, right?

Or is this more my speed?

That one is probably more my speed. My speed being: slow, but fashionable.

Except on today’s run. I was fast! Well, for me. I guess? At this stage? It was fast? Ish? Question mark? I ran four-and-a-half miles, last run of the trip, and was about to get down into a respectable speed for a 5K when … a car pulled out without regard to looking left or, in my case, right, and almost hit me. I gave him A Look, which is different from The Look, because there were cars behind him, and if he’d received The Look those other cars would have been trapped behind the car with the lifeless body in the driver’s seat.

And somehow that nonverbal exchange cost me about 15 seconds, which kept me from getting the first 5K in recent-record time.

Or that’s the story I’m telling the sports historians anyway.

Here’s a look at Gray’s Creek, a gut where the fishing is apparently good, but not much else is said about it on the web. On one side is a short municipal golf course. On the other side of Gray’s is Hall Island, which is not really an island, but actually a spit:

There are 31 gorgeous houses and at least 12 pools on the non-island, which seems a pleasant place of residential bliss where nothing out of the ordinary has ever happened.

And here’s one last look of the Long Island Sound, from Compo Cove. It was a great week to run here:

Old neighbors came to visit. There were many laughs and complaints about the new Star Wars movie. We’ll go watch it soon, but first, this strawberry shortcake:

Tonight’s dessert, and the gag gifts that went with it, mark our last Christmas celebration of the year. You want them to continue. You want them to end gracefully and well. Dessert is a good way to do that.

Dec 19

Good pace, pizza and pucks

The holidays are over, the holidays continue. Christmas has a way about it, doesn’t it? So much build up, so much frantic build up in these shorter holidays years, and then you hit all of the parties and family fun and then … there’s that paper pile, your presents and the now empty tree. Good thing we’ve come to think of all of this time as being about the people, then. Good thing we’ve had the time to spend.

We are fortunate that way. It’s back home and back to work for most people, but we are able to enjoy an early start and a delayed ending to the holidays. So the holidays continue.

Nice run this morning. I ran around the park where The Yankee played as a child, where we took our engagement pictures in a nor’easter 11 years ago last week. It’s much warmer today, thanks. Also, the roads have been freshly paved.

We went to Pepe’s for pizza salad. They make the best salad pizza you can find anywhere.

Truly great stuff. And my in-laws were nice enough to bring us, and to share. They’re kind people that way.

Here’s Frank Pepe. He opened his first restaurant in 1925, after he ‘d come to the U.S., returned hom to fight in the Great War and then returned to America and found his way into the restaurant business. We’re dining at the third one, which opened decades after he died. The guy in this photo has no idea there are going to be a dozen stores bearing his name.

He started out making two pies and selling them off his head. And now here we are. The server did not bring out our pizzas on her head, which was a bit of a disappointment, but that was the only disappointment.

After dinner, a dilemma! We went to a minor league hockey game. The Wolf Pack at the Sound Tigers, in a battle of compound nicknames. The Sound Tigers are the home team, and a part of the Islanders organization. The visitors are in the Rangers farm system. You’d cheer for the home team, because they’re the home team. But this is a Rangers family. So this was a confusing time. A confusing time mollified by my new favorite past time.

Who knew they needed a go kart on ice? They ran this guy out in between segments of play and he was purely a stall. The promo was watching two guys race across the ice putting on a fire fighter’s turnouts. They were too fast, so this guy got to do his laps.

The Sound Tigers won 5-1. Also, it was teddy bear toss night, which was great fun to see. After the first goal people toss their new stuffed friends onto the cold, cold ice as part of a toy drive.

If only we’d known, we could have continued the giving. It should never end, after all.