running


31
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.


28
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.


27
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.


23
Dec 19

And another travel day

When last we spoke, gentle reader, we were in Alabama. Or we were leaving Alabama. Or had just left Alabama and were back in Indiana or were on the way. Or something. It’s difficult to keep it all straight this time of year, really. Now we are in Connecticut, for example.

It went like this. Shorts and t-shirts on cool Alabama winter days. Then two days of sun and snow in Indiana. Don’t believe me?

Saturday in Indiana:

Sloppy Saturday:

Still so very Saturday:

This was Sunday on the church’s property:

Then a before-the-sunrise flight to New York, where New York things happened. My in-laws picked us up and we had lunch at a Connecticut diner, before going for a run on the beach. This is today on the Long Island Sound, in Connecticut, looking back toward New York:

It seems improbable, really. And an awful lot of people were out to take advantage of the moment. And we had another December run in shorts and a t-shirt, this time in front of the Christmas cottage:

And now, most of the shopping has been done, most of the errands have been run and we look forward to beginning the Christmas festivities once again:

The many fine Connecticut traditions start tomorrow at dinner.


19
Dec 19

May the mamma mia be with you, neighbor

Got it a little present last night at the hardware store. We needed parts, and this was one of the next things I was going to acquire anyway.

It was this or a router. And I think I’ll use a Kreg jig kit more often. Because, having spent more than a few minutes on Pinterest, I have come to realize that the entire DIY industry is entirely a front to prop up sales of Kreg products. But now I can make pocket joinery and there’s a custom drawer build in my future. (When I finish another pre-existing project or two.)

This morning I repaired two panels of my folks’ fence that were felled in Monday’s storm. It seems as if this fence has been there a while. It was, in fact, in the yard when they bought the place. And it seems that if a determined wind blows through the neighborhood one or more of the brackets holding one or more of the panels is going to fail. So they are replacing the thing bit by plastic bit, basically.

These two will, hopefully, be some of the last repairs required on this fence before they replace the whole thing. We’re down to spare part repairs, otherwise. As with anything, you get better at it over time. That first panel, on the left, took a long while. The second one went much faster because I knew what I was doing. Not, necessarily that I knew how to do it right, mind you.

Still, I’m not going to become a fence installer when I grow up.

We went to the movies this evening. While I was out wrapping up the day’s run the women in my life decided we should see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. It’s a fine movie, but you should definitely read the article first.

While we’re standing in line at the concessions stand — where you buy tickets now because box offices are for oldz, and movie theaters are full of cost efficiency consultants these days — we saw this. Two of the three kids working working behind the counter were fussing with one, and off to the side I saw the price. Someone said something snarky. Probably it was me. The Yankee, always ready for a joke, gave me the I-have-a-reply look and her line let me say “Of course I’m not going to buy one because I’m a grownup.”

The guy in front of us looked back over his shoulder and smiled: Ha! Good one! And then he bought one.

He also asked them to not fill it with popcorn and his drink.

I bet he could have purchased the same thing at Bed Bath & Beyond for half the price. (It’s in the Beyond section, if you were wondering.)

We visited a downtown Italian restaurant for dinner this evening. We’ve been there before, and it hasn’t let us down yet. You’d think, Italian? In small town Alabama? Yes, my friend, but this is Florence.

An Italian immigrant named Ferdinand Sannoner, of Livorno, surveyed all of this land 200 years ago and he named it after Florence, which is just 50-some miles from his hometown. Part of his payment was in land. He died and is buried in Memphis, where his grave sat unmarked for almost 120 years. Today his old property, here, is home to the public library, and a very short walk away is the restaurant where we had dinner. Maybe he’d like that. Maybe he’d like the food. Who can say what a man born in 18th century Italy who lived in the 19th century American southeast would like today.

He’d probably think this was cool, though:

Well, once you explained who Hemingway was. Elvis? Transcends time. That’s the only way we can keep the artful graffiti honest. The restaurant was established in 1996.

I wonder what was there before that. Someone break out the ouji board. Let’s ask Sannoner.