Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Roadhouse Troopers

E Streeters supporting the troops at Mine Falls, in Nashua, N.H., showing up to support the armed services for a 5K trail run.  For some among us, it was an early bell after a raucous night of country music.
After signing in, it was time for a fantastic rendition of the National Anthem, complete with honor guard.  And no, it wasn't Mike Mahone. 
Andrew sizing up his competition at the start.  In this case, that meant two runners, since he finished third overall in the race.  Surely that kind of finish warrants a medal!
Tommy checking his time as he crossed the mat 
In fact, the E Streeters took five of the top 20 spots for this race!  That warrants an ass-kicking pose. 
Little did we know that after the race, we'd be feted with a feedbag courtesy of the Texas Roadhouse.  Pulled pork, barbeque chicken, corn, slaw, and potato salad!  A perfect buffet to negate our run, but more than enough to keep Andrew a happy man. 
A boy and his barbeque 
Finally, post-race, it's medal time, and Barry is ready to claim his.  Sadly, though, it was not meant to be, a slight that will live in infamy in E Streeter running history.  There's always next year, guys. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Later, Gator!

It was MCC night at the Lowell Spinners, and the E Streeters raided the party, teaming up with alligators of all kinds, not to mention militiamen, and other sordid creatures of the ballpark.
Seriously, when do you get the chance to take an E Streeter group picture with a six-foot alligator and armed militia?
Like something straight out of a Revolutionary War battle photo
Bringing the good looks to offset the rest of us E Streeters, the Scanlon girls and friends were all smiles
Finally, it was Canaligator time.
Luckily, the Canaligator himself is a veteran E Streeter, so he fits right in with us.
Get your hands up in the air 
Canaligator gets a hug from his mom
And has a drink with Barry
Takes a bite out of Misty
And has his dad's back
Leave it to Tommy to cheap shot the Canaligator when he's relaxing
As long as he's been fed, preferably with fried dough,  the Canaligator is a happy animal.  The same is true of Andrew.
Hanging with the ladies, as usual
And the Insti-Gator gets in on the act, managing to take a bite out of his dad.  Mike, how could you let him wear a Yankees shirt?!?
Tommy needs to brush up on his baseball mascots.  I hope that's mouthwash in that cup, Tommy.
Cutest damn ice cream scooper in the park.  She's so cute I could bite her!
But instead, I leave that to her brother 
Another great night at the park for a fun game (won by the Spinners in the 10th!)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

In Vineyard Mode

Summertime, and the living is easy, and for many in the E Streeters extended family, the summer months means special sojourns to a magical place off the coast of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard.
For years, E Streeters and their families have been making visits to the island courtesy of John Piekos, who owns a home in Edgartown, home of the Vickers Way Classic.
For some of us, those trips means kayaking and sailing.  For others, it means sitting on South Beach watching as monster waves knock over unsuspecting waders.  (Andrew and I could sit there for hours watching the hapless victims.)
For others, it's Mad Martha's ice cream, breakfast at the Dock Street Coffee Shop, coffee at Mocha Motts or Espresso Love, walking the downtowns of Edgartown and Oak Bluffs, sunsets and Menemsha Blues, or bike rides and runs on the labyrinth of trails that rope the island.  (We explored miles of them, never retracing our steps.)
But for John, the Monarch of Martha's Vineyard?  It means fishing.  And we ain't talking scup.  Take a gander at this week's catch, an 18-pound bass he caught off East Beach on Chappaquiddick.  Talk about your weight limit!
Pretty impressive, huh?  Too bad he threw out his back holding the fish up for the picture.
Not everyone has John's luck fishing, so for many of us, it's surf casting, and the seafood menu at the Black Dog or Alchemy has to suffice.

Bottom line, it's one of the most relaxing places on the Earth, as evidenced by these pics from the recent Cook trip over there.
What's your favorite thing to do for your summer vacation?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Happy Birthday, Annie!

A special birthday blog today, for a special lady who's on the mend.
This one goes out to Jackie's (much) older sister, Annie Blake, who's currently laid up at Brigham and Women's Hospital where she's duking it out with leukemia.
After a successful stem cell transplant a few weeks back, Annie's had a couple of complications from infections, and as a result has to spend her (fill in your guess at her age here) birthday in the hospital.
But have no fear, the extended Blake, Cook, and Nicholson clans are heading in to Boston to regale her with song, cake, and just our scintillating presence.
Annie, as anyone who knows her knows, is a ball of fire and energy.  The consummate Harry Potter/Star Trek/Downton Abbey fanatic, not to mention Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins loyalist, is a fitnesss freak who's champing at the bit to get back to her regular exercise regimen.
So to whatever higher power readers of this blog may acknowledge, throw in a good word for Annie's swift recovery so she can get back home to Chelmsford quickly!
As you can tell from the photos, she's a regular staple every year at the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Cancer Walk in Boston.
She won't be able to make that trek this year, but Jackie and Heather will be hoofing the 13 miles on her behalf come September, bet on that!
Happiest of birthdays, Annie!  Your recovery is the best present you can get! (That and a kiss from your husband, of course.)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Independence Daze

Busy weekend, so just catching up on a bit of a blogging backlog, starting with an annual Fourth of July tradition, the John Carson race in Chelmsford.  And continuing with another tradition, it was African hot, with temps at racetime flirting with degrees in the 90s.
Speaking of flirting, take a look at these pre-race mugs
Four of these people from the clans Cook, Nicholson and Blake would be running the race to follow.  Shoutout also to Annie, who couldn't be with us at the race, but who was cheering long distance for her son, John, making another return to his Chelmsford course, ready to shatter last year's time.
Two buds, both of whom decided to sit out this year's run.  But wait 'til next year...
Sometimes, a photo doesn't need a caption.  This would be one of those times.
In a packed chute waiting for the race to start, we united with fellow E Streeter Barry, who eats up road races in the heat.  Wait....
It's all about positioning, as Scott shows us here.  Carlos, bottom right, looks on in jealous awe
With Tom Fleming from the Lowell Police Academy.  I let him beat me this time around.
And they're off!
Words of wisdom, via John Piekos:  Always know where the camera is. Addendum from me:  shouting Carlooossss as a pre-arrival announcement is a sure-fire way to make sure the photog knows you're coming.  All of this is a long-winded way of telling you that nobody else got their picture taken by veteran race photog Anne Piekos, who, stands in the same place EVERY YEAR, so it shouldn't come as a surprise to veteran runners of this race.  For shame.....
Heading into the finish line, Sean looks on proudly as his son, Finn, blows past him.  Wait, what?!?!?!
Jill and Shea double-wave their paparazzi as they roar to the finish
Victorious afterwards, John and Josh bask in their personal best times for the Chelmsford course.  It's all about the starting line positioning, boys
And finally, post-race, none the worse-for-the wear.  But somebody, please tell me - who is Barry about to kill?
Thanks to all our supporters out there and thanks to everyone who has made this free nation great and keeps it great every year so we can gather our family and friends on holidays like the Fourth of July to celebrate our independence!
(And happy birthday to firecracker babies Mike Cassidy and Martha McGuane!)