Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009 - the Turkeys Run

Huge turnout for this morning's Thanks4Giving 5K run in Lowell, and an outstanding showing from the E Streeters!! Here's just a few of the dozens of pics taken by the intrepid course photographer. We always run in a fog, but today that was especially true.

Here's the obligatory starting line pic:
Here's Carlos, telling us that there's no way he's letting Andrew (in the green hat) finish in front of him, despite what the 16-year-old might believe:
Here's me beating Scott and Carlos for a portion of the race. (The pic is blurry because I was running so fast.)
Andrew in the home stretch:
Carlos with his secret devil sign that he and Scott feel obligated to flash every time they're on camera together:
Not quite back of the packers, but definitely packers:
Running in a fog:
And of course, the obligatory after race pie shot. (Everyone who ran a solid race is holding one.)

And yet another pie shot, with a couple of different E Streeters thrown in. (Again, good race = pie holder.)
And that's a turkey wrap!
Thankful for family and good friends, thankful that we're all healthy enough to keep running, and thankful that for part of today's race, I was beating Scott and Carlos! Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Night of the Living Heather

Halloween 2009, just a memory in the rear view mirror, but one that will go down in history as the year my daughter took her first foray into the world of George Romero. So to speak.
So here, without any further ado or dialogue, is a look at what Heather had to eat whilst trick or treating this year.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Us4 at U2

Didn't get a chance to post earlier in the week, but Dublin's fab four rocked the house this weekend at Gillette Stadium!

U2 put on a great show, complete with a somewhat bizarre and ginormous stage set that really took away from any chance of interactive play among the band. Thankfully, the weather cooperated to provide a positively balmy night, always a plus for any outdoor show at Foxboro.

Lots of stuff off the new album, No Line on the Horizon, mixed in with a healthy dose of their catalog from the past 25+ years.

But Bono, the Edge, Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton aside, the real highlight of the night for me was taking in the first rock concert ever with my own version of the Fab Four - me, Jack, Andrew and Heather! Andrew and Jack were naturals because they're diehard U2 fans. In Heather's case, though, it was more of a challenge, since her concert diet usually consists of the Jonas Brothers. But she was a trooper, holding her own with the other 50,000+ fans. The tailgate, the crowd buzz, the greatest hits - just the overall experience of taking in a U2 show with my own bandmates was more than worth the price of admission.

Truly, a Beautiful Day.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Best. Race. Ever.

So, Andrew took a quick jaunt around Shedd Park today with the rest of the Lowell High School XC team against Lawrence High School, and lo and behold! He posted his best finish ever for cross country, a personal record of 17:49!
His goal entering today's outing was to best his previous time on the course of 20:55. I'd say a 3:06 improvement on the trails around Shedd would count as an upgrade!

Clearly, dragging his butt out of bed every summer morning for the daily runs throughout Belvidere with his friends and teammates made a significant difference. But for those of us who've been running with him all along, PARTICULARLY for those long runs every Saturday a.m., we all know the real secret to his success: town lines. It looks like all those mornings he outgunned Carlos and Scott racing for the town lines really paid off.

And while we're at it, congrats overall and good luck to LHS Coach Phil Maia and his entire team, looking at a damned good XC season on the horizon!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Walk of Life

Big hero cheers today for Jackie and Heather, her sister Annie and son John, and about 8,000 other walkers who took part in the inspirational Jimmy Fund Cancer Walk in Boston. Annie was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemis in September, 2001, but thanks to her hard work and the help of Dana Farber and Brigham and Women's Hospital, she has been in remission now for seven years and is doing wonderfully!

Jack and Annie did the 13.1 mile loop, from Wellesley to Boston, tracing the Boston Marathon route. Heather and John jumped in at Boston College to do the final five. (Heather, btw, according to the PA announcer at the Finish, won the prize for the coolest socks of the day!) Gorgeous weather and an unbelievable turnout helped raise $6.6 million for cancer research!

Here's some photos of my favorite walkers, along with a photograph by Boston Globe photographer Suzanne Kreiter to remind everyone exactly why they do the walk in the first place.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

LHS XC - Off and Running!

Lowell High took second place in a monster relay competition today up in Newburyport. Hundreds of high schoolers from nearly two dozen schools took place, but naturally, there was one in particular that I was interested in watching.

Andrew, in the lead leg of his relay trio, did the two-miles in 12:42, and his team did quite well overall. A sometimes steady, sometimes torrential rain made for challenging conditions. Next up: Lawrence!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Labor of Love

So what's the best part of certain holiday weekends?

Using the opportunity to have those things that occur with lesser frequency as the schedules of daily life seem to dictate - full blown, family get togethers.

This weekend provided a one-two punch, with both extended fams getting together over tons of food, lots of laughs, and some great get-together weather.

So without further ado, the obligatory group shots from each of the weekend famfests. I know, some folks are missing. (Chris Cook, for example, headed back to college early, so he was missing when the Saturday photo was taken, and I don't know how to insert one of those "missing when photo was taken" vignettes. But he was there in spirit, at least.)

A great way to close out a great summer!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Band of (Mud) Brothers

It was down and dirty time today in Carlisle, as the E-Streeters (and a stray Grey Wolf) took to the hills of Great Brook farm for a sloppy trek through the trails and corn fields of the farm.

Tropical Storm/Depression Bill took its toll on the race course, creating sprawling puddles, thick sneaker-keeper mudholes and generally uncomfortable running conditions.

But that didn't stop all of us from doing it anyway, because proceeds from the race went to a good cause, cystic fibrosis research.

Further proof that NONE of us are fair weather runners.

Monday, August 24, 2009

From Bruce to the JoBros

Been gone way too long, but the busy dog days of summer have beckoned.

But just to get back in the swing of things, here's a quick and easy one.

It has become abundantly clear to me: One of the unexpected treasures of parenting that brings me immeasurable pleasure is experiencing a concert aside one of my children.

With Andrew, it's a Bruce Springsteen concert side-by-side pilgrimage. Watching him screaming the crescendos of Born to Run - fist-pumps, countdowns, anthem shouts and all - is a moving, unforgettable dosage of fatherhood. For that, Bruce, I will be eternally grateful.
And not to be diminished, it's a kick watching Heather in the throes of her own version of ear-splitting, 21st century Beatlemania at a Jonas Brothers concert.

These are the hidden surprises they never talked about in the parent's handbook.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Great Legs Are Running in Lowell!

Thursday night saw Heather's first-ever solo 5K race, the Berna's Great Legs are Running race in Belvidere. While she's done a handful in the past, it's always been with Dad alongside, shouting out cheers of encouragement. This race, though, was for the female persuasion only, so Heather flew from the nest alone. And damn, she did great! Here's some pics taken from throughout the course, not just of my pride and joy, but neighbors and friends as well! Great job, Heather, Alyssa, Victoria and Julie!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Running Fourth

This year's John Carson race in Chelmsford marked a first - both Andrew and Heather ran together in their first race! (Courtesy of race photographer extraordinaire Jim Rhoades, check out Andrew's trademark race pose, along with Heather just being cute.)

The temperatures were high, the field was huge, Barry earned his highest pole position to date (#4!) and a good time was had by all. Carlos made a run for the roses, with Andrew lapping at his heels, while John and Karen notched a Martha's Vineyard 5-miler on their belts. (Note to Karen and John, 5K does NOT mean 5 miles). And somewhere in Vermont, Scott celebrated our nation's birthday by watching a rustic parade, complete with fun floats, marching bands and Miss Queechee Gorge 2009.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Week That Was (But You Didn't Hear About)

What else has happened in the news since 5:26 p.m. on June 25, 2009:
  • U.S. troops launched Operation Khanjar - "Strike of the Sword" in Afghanistan, with about 4,000 American soldiers striking against Taliban fighters.
  • In Baghdad, Iraq, Iraqis welcomed the deadline on Tuesday for American troops to leave their towns and cities, as part of National Sovereignty Day, so-named to mark the long-awaited U.S. military pullout from Iraq's population centers.
  • In Boston, three more people died as a result of the swine flu.
  • The eldest of the three Jonas Brothers got engaged.
  • Karl Malden, he of On the Waterfront, A Streetcar named Desire, the Streets of San Francisco, and the American Express commercials passed away.
  • Transformers made over $200 million at the weekend box office.
  • The White house announced the release of $851 million in grants to address immediate health center facility and equipment needs for millions of Americans.

I write all of this in case, you know, you've tried watching the morning, noontime or evening news anytime during the past week and were wondering if anything else was going on in the world besides the death of a certain musician.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Man Movies - Drag Me To Hell

Admit it, you've been waiting years to see a toothless gypsy slobbering lime-colored saliva all over a nubile young loan officer, haven't you?

If that's a yes, then Drag Me to Hell is the flick that'll satisfy that craving. If it's a no, then stay far, far, far, far away from this Sam Raimi flick, because there's no shortage of saliva, mucus, embalming fluid and probably a host of other nameless body fluids waiting for you here.
I'll confess, I went to this one out of some sense of morbid curiosity because the reviews were stellar. Many praised the movie as a successful amplification of Raimi's Evil Dead series, this time with a big enough budget to spruce up some - but not all - of the schlock special effects.

The plot was interesting (just say no to buttons), there's laughs woven in seamlessly amid the fright (here, kitty) and there's a handful of jump-out-of-your-seat moments (though mostly predicated on the building crescendos of deafening background music) so overall, yeah, it was a fun take.

But damn, I just can't get past that saliva!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Big Kahunas

The hills were alive in Chelmsford, the runners, not so much.

Four E-Streeters took to the mean streets of Chelmsford for the Big Kahuna race on Sunday. They represented well, nabbing high honors for team runs, with finishes at 25th, 26th, 29th and 30th. Respectable but ugly finishes.

Thankfully, everything that goes up does come back down, so the roaming hills did include one decent downhill trot down Locke Road.
If you're wondering about the smile on Joey's face as he and Tommy head to the finish, it's because he was decoyed by Scanlon heading into the finish chute, as Tommy distracted him with a cordial hello then roared past him, a commonplace raceday tactic of the elder Scanlon.