Week of 27 August 2007
Update: Sunday, 2 September 2007 14:08 -0400
Barbara called me yesterday afternoon to say her Trooper was sitting
dead next to a gasoline pump at the Shell station up on Reynolda Road.
I went over to meet her, and we called a tow truck. The truck hauled
her Trooper out to our mechanic's place, where we dropped it off.
Roberta, the wife of Tim, our mechanic, happened to be there, although
the place was closed. We gave her the key and headed back home. We'll
go out and pick it up this afternoon.
Paul and Mary have both been out of contact for the last couple of
days. Paul has been camping in the Upper Peninsula, and Mary running
the graveyard shift. I did get private email from Mary. She's not 100%
physically, but she seems pretty satisfied with how she's running, and
she's delighted that she now has only nine days and eight runs left.
Most or all of her remaining runs are during the night hours, which she
doesn't mind. As she said, "Less traffic, cooler temperatures, vampire
potential -- all excellent reasons to run at night." I hope she's
carrying Mr. Pointy, or perhaps the BPR baton is convertible.
From: Paul Jones
To: Paul Jones
CC: <many recipients>
Date: Yesterday 20:45:00
Re: Canada, eh
I am now sitting on Mary's
parents' couch (well, one of the couches, anyway). My truck is mostly
unloaded (my stuff fairly exploded onto the tranquil scene) and I'm off
to meet Mary in Ontario tomorrow. It's been awhile since my last
update. So, there is a lot I haven't told you. It'll be a longish
email; you can skip ahead to a funny Brynn story at the end if you like.
I believe when I last wrote, Mary
and Team Silver had completed their 3pm to 9pm shift. They then went to
Will Dobbie's house (or, his parents' house, rather, as he is off to
grad school) (sorry for all the parentheticals). This was a bit of
heaven for Mary. Will and his family have been vegetarians since Will
can remember and his mother cooked a big dinner of veggie lasagna. She
is also a reflexologist so she (Will's mom) and Alyson (who travels
with the team that is off each day) did massage duets on the runners.
Not to mention that Will's house is on a lake just outside Vicksburg,
MI, which is, in turn, just outside Kalamazoo. Pleasant, idyllic
setting with tornadoes no closer than 40 miles and floods a full 100
miles off. Mary made noises of staying there for good. While all this
was going on, I scooted up through Wisconsin to the Upper Peninsula of
Michigan where I camped for two days in increasingly wet state parks.
Michigan has a really fine system of state parks and the UP is every
bit as nice as folks say. I did a hike to Lake Superior at Pictured
Rocks National Lakeshore. I went for a quick dip in the lake, which was
stunning. The shore was rock so there was no silt to make the water
murky. The water was as clear and clean as I've seen in Hawaiian
lagoons or photos of the Caribbean. Of course, one minute in the water
disabuses one of the notion that one is anywhere close to Hawaii.
Still, I splashed around for a bit and hiked back to the car. For those
of you in the southern reaches of the US, highs were in the high 60s
and lows in the 40s. The leaves are turning in many places. Very nice.
I then made my way down US 23
along the Huron coast to Midland, MI, headquarters of Dow. Heiko and
Virginia were good enough to put me up for a couple of nights (if you
have the impression I'm just bouncing around the US mooching, you
aren't even close to making your case - to make your case you'd need to
see what happens when Mary gets her per diem (should that be
italicized?)). They have a great house, also on a lake - there are a
lot of lakes in the Great Lakes region, who knew? Friday night saw the
arrival of Heiko and Team Yellow to his house. I was enlisted to grill
for them and they had a great dinner and visit around midnight. They
had handed off to Mary and Team Silver, running the first of their 9pm
to 3am shift - the graveyard shift. Mary and Heiko were set to run into
the Dow BPR event on Saturday. Heiko would run his normal 10 mile leg
starting at 3pm and Mary and Andrew Liveris, Dow CEO would join in for
the last mile. What I haven't told you is that no one gets cell
reception in Heiko and Virginia's house. So, I pass a pleasant night
and, at some point on Saturday morning, go out to the truck to retrieve
an item. My phone beeps. It beeps some more. Six voicemail messages.
Pretty sure that isn't a good sign. My reception and Mary's reception
were both bad so the messages were garbled. But the gist was clear.
Mary pulled a calf during her run. She finished, but was limping badly
and after sitting in the van didn't feel she could walk. Then an
amusing (okay, if you're not Mary) series of events left her sleeping
in the lobby of the Sleep Inn in Midland. The messages were
increasingly pitiful pleas for me to come get her. I had left a message
on her voicemail telling her I didn't have cell service in the house,
but her voicemail seems to be down. Finally, at 8:30am, she gave up on
me and called Alyson who rescued her and took her into her room and
worked on the calf a bit. Alyson sequestered Mary's phone and got her
some sleep. In short, Alyson was probably a far better person to call
than me. I feel bad that I can't really relate the series of events
here but when next you see Mary or I in person, feel free to inquire.
Mary tells it with far more emotion than I but either way it takes some
time and is R rated (adult language, violent imagery). In all honesty,
a written version wouldn't make any sense and would take much longer
than I have to write or you have to read. It does involve all of these
things: Mary's lack of a credit card, GPS failures, water in a computer
keyboard and teammates.
When I finally caught up to Mary
at 2pm in the Holiday Inn, Midland, she was feeling much happier. She'd
gotten some sleep and Alyson had performed her magic. The meeting point
for Mary and Liveris to meet Heiko was the parking lot of a driving
range. As luck would have it, they loaned out clubs with rental of a
bucket of balls. I digress. Mr. Liveris showed up just as Heiko came in
range with a high school track team in tow. Alyson and I went ahead to
the party, at the farmer's market in Midland. There were several
hundred people (offhand guess: 500) there, along with Desmond Howard as
emcee. Dow put on quite the show. There was a mile walk and a 5K. The
team was introduced individually to great applause. They put the
incoming runners up on the big screen, to greater applause. The runners
entered and it got deafening (they'd handed out those cursed
thundersticks). Mary and Heiko hugged each member of the team in turn.
Mr. Liveris shook a few hands. Heiko spoke - many of those present are
his friends and coworkers. Mary spoke, eloquently, movingly and with
much emotion. Rudy and Heiko read/spoke the message. Rudy took off. The
walk and 5K got underway. Mary and Heiko were swarmed for quite awhile
by well wishers and fans. It was really cool and I'm sorry I can't
describe it better. Dow and the city of Midland are clearly strongly
supportive of the Run. There should, hopefully, be video.
Mary's leg tightened up as we had
dinner with Alyson and the rest of her team except for Emmanuel, who
didn't see why we should go to a restaurant when he had many fans still
hanging around and there were free hot dogs. I saw his point but Mary
had the cash, so I went with them to an omelette place. Mary was
concerned about her night leg and Will agreed to cover some miles if
necessary. I'm happy to report that it wasn't. Mary ran a 88 minute 10
mile leg - slower than she'd like, but she finished and the calf felt
okay. They crossed the border this afternoon to Sarnia, Ontario
(crossing at Port Huron, MI) and will take a couple of days to cross
Ontario. I came south around Lake Michigan, stopping for a quick dip in
Lake Erie at Geneva-on-the-Lake, a really nice Ohio State Park, which
had the best swimming of any of the Great Lakes I've tried thus far
(not as nice as Superior, but about 20 degrees warmer and with great
wave action). I will meet Mary tomorrow after her last 9pm-3am shift
and then we will attend Jason and Taeko's wedding, set for the 3pm
exchange point at Niagara Falls. Then we'll come to Big Flats in
preparation for her run through her hometown with family pacing her.
So, the good bit with Brynn.
They've all been doing a lot of interviews lately (Mary has done two
live radio interviews, several phone interviews with newspapers and one
podcast). Laurel had a scheduled live radio interview to be done via
the phone but wires got crossed and she was asleep. Thinking quickly, a
BPR staffer handed the phone to Brynn. Brynn went with it, didn't
protest when she was called 'Laurel' and all seemed well. Their
interviews are mostly soundbites of "give money to a good cause" so,
piece of cake, right? Toward the end, the interviewer says, "So,
Laurel, it says here you're fluent in French." Interviewer proceeds to
ask a question in French. Silence. Brynn says, "Well, my French is
rusty..." Awkward end to interview. Funny stuff. Heiko tells it great.
Okay, sorry for the long email.
I'll try to stay on top of it. Going into tonight, Mary has nine more
days and eight more runs. Just 80 miles. That is still 10% of her
And a couple of images.
Mary and Paul Rogan at an exchange point in Missouri, just before the storm.
Just before a very near strike of lightning. You'll have to blow it up a bit.
From: Paul Jones
To: Paul Jones
CC: <many recipients>
Date: Yesterday 21:56:17
Re: Canada, eh
We picked up Barbara's truck last night. It was the battery. As we were
driving out to pick up her truck, Barbara noticed that the odometer on
my 1992 Trooper had just turned 50,000 miles. Not bad for a 15 year old
Although the garage was closed when we arrived, Tim (our mechanic) came
over to greet us. He and his family live in a house right next-door to
the garage. Tim mentioned something that really surprised me. He said
that getting parts for some vehicles that are more than 10 or 15 years
old has become a real problem. In particular, he mentioned that getting
parts for some Fords from the early 1990's has become almost
impossible. The parts are no longer available new, and tracking them
down in junkyards has gotten harder and harder. I said, "What do you do
when that happens, scrap the car?" He replied that sometimes that was
the only realistic choice. Talk about planned obsolescence. I told Tim
that if I ever had to replace my Trooper I thought I'd go with a Model
T. He said he could still get parts for those.
I spent yesterday afternoon reviewing galley proofs for the astronomy
book. I have another couple hours work to do on that this morning, and
then I'll jump back into the home chem lab book.
Mary Chervenak and the rest of the Blue Planet Run team are most
of the way through Ontario. They cross back into the United States this
afternoon at Niagara Falls (slowly I turn...). Runners Taeko Terauchi
and Jason Loutitt are getting married today at Niagara Falls. Paul and
Mary will attend the wedding.
I'm not sure which of the other runners will attend. Perhaps all of
them, although that would mean that none of the runners would be
running for the first time since the run started. Still, I'd think they
could make that small exception for something as important as the
wedding of two of the runners. If nothing else, I'm sure they could get
volunteer substitute runners to run one or two 10-mile legs while
the wedding was taking place.
- Update from Paul.
From: Paul Jones
To: Robert Bruce Thompson
Date: Today 10:01:25
Mary and Team Silver wrapped up their shift last night, ending in
downtown Toronto. Mary ran first through the burbs (Brampton), which
are, sadly, like American burbs - strip malls selling crap, restaurants
selling crap, crap and too much traffic (if you detect a note of
irritation, the first five personal encounters I had in Canada
yesterday were people either being rude to me, cheating me (water park
with a closed beach, but no signs until you get to the beach, well
after they took your money), or ignoring me. It was a shock as all my
other trips to Canada have been filled with people being cheery and
nice to me. Anyway, things reverted to form and I've had a good 18
hours or so. :)
Anyhow, Mary finished her run and I took her away to get some sleep as
today is Silver's day off. But, it will be a busy day as Jason and
Taeko's wedding is at the 3pm exchange. Mary, Shiri, Laura, Dot and
Taeko spent most of yesterday shopping for bridal stuff. At one point
yesterday, I had the dress, veil and fingernail polish in my truck. The
bridesmaids (any of the female runners who can show up) will wear a
dress cut from XXL BPR T-shirts and painted by Shiri and paint their
nails their team color (when did this turn into a friggin society
column?). Jason and Taeko will run together 9.5 miles, change into
their wedding duds and run the last half mile to the exchange, handing
off to Brynn and Sean who, as the only married couple on the run (1st
anniversary two days ago), will carry the baton away as everyone else
gathers for a short (one fervently hopes) ceremony.
Then we'll spend the next few hours crossing into the US as they probe
us for nail clippers, inflamatory books and impure thoughts. (Seriously
long lines to re-enter the US.)
Mary and Team Silver will then head to Mary's folks in Big Flats along
with Alyson (Mary says that her mom knows this - one hopes, as she is
reading right along with you). They then run tomorrow at 3am (3am
August 30, actually). Mary has 6 runs left. She felt good and reports
the calf problem has cleared up. She suspects it was simple fatigue,
which is a good guess.
See you some of you in New York, Paul
Duncan fell and couldn't get up yesterday. I had him down to about the
corner when the mail truck whipped around the corner a block away and
headed straight for us without pausing to deliver mail on the block
between us. Duncan always goes berserk at the sight or sound of a mail
truck. (And I mean "berserk" in the original Viking sense; when Duncan
goes berserk, he whips around trying to fang anything nearby,
including, more than once, my leg. If nothing or no one else is handy,
he's been known to fang himself. Fortunately, it's a working nip, as he
might use on a recalcitrant sheep, rather than an actual bite.)
So, Duncan spotted the mail truck and started his usual beserk barking
and whipping around on the leash, trying to slip his collar so that he
could get free to attack the mail truck and fang it right in the tire.
(He likes the mail carriers, who bring him treats and pet him; it's the
truck he really hates.) As he whipped around, his rear end gave out and
he went down hard. That's not uncommon for Duncan nowadays, but what
worried me was that he couldn't get up. When I lifted his rear end for
him, he staggered a couple half steps and went down again.
Eventually he was able to stand, albeit unsteadily. We did manage to
make it home, a matter of 100 yards or so. I had to lift him again to
get him over the curb, and then again to get him up the couple of steps
to the front porch. In the house, he wasn't able to stand at all. I
gave him a 500 mg aspirin as a supplement to the Previcox he gets for
pain, and made sure he had all the water he wanted.
An hour or so later, Duncan walked unsteadily past my office, so at
least he was recovering somewhat. Last night, Barbara took Duncan for
his after dinner and before bedtime walks. Instead of putting him on
the leash, she walked along beside him holding his tail to give him
some extra support. (It wasn't cruelty; Duncan actually looked like he
appreciated Barbara holding his tail so that he wouldn't collapse.)
Barbara gave him another half Previcox before bed and then another this
morning. She usually gives him only half a day, but he's actually
allowed to have more. This morning, Duncan seemed to be doing better.
He went out as usual when we got up, and was able to go down and then
up the stairs to the porch. He was a bit shaky, but otherwise normal.
About 9:30 this morning, I took them out on their usual morning walk
down to the end of the block and back. I decided to let Duncan go
off-leash, because I was afraid that if he reached the end of his leash
he'd fall over again and perhaps damage his rear end. Duncan doesn't
really need a leash. He followed our usual route, turned around where
we usually turn around, and returned home. I was worried that the
weakness in his back end would make it impossible for him to squat, but
he managed that normally.
Barbara thinks, and I agree, that it's heat-related. Although yesterday
was a bit cooler, we've had two or three weeks of extremely hot
weather, and that's very hard on an old dog. In fact, Duncan exhibited
heat-related rear-end problems when he was only a couple of years old.
Barbara noticed that when Duncan ran a lot in hot weather, his back end
would give out.
One time, our friend and vet Sue Stephens went out with Barbara to
watch. Sure enough, after Duncan had run for a while and gotten
overheated, his rear end just gave out. Sue examined him every way she
could think of, including x-rays, and found no physical problem that
could account for it. But, as she said, some Border Collies are like
that. They don't deal well with heat, and Duncan certainly doesn't.
I'm keeping him indoors and cool as much as possible. I'm also going to
start "walking" him in the back yard, so that he won't go berserk when
a mail truck or UPS/FedEx truck or school bus passes.
Wednesday, 29 August 2007
I'm busier than the proverbial one-armed juggler. Brian Jepson, my
regular editor at O'Reilly, has brought in a friend of his, Tom
Sgouros, to be the primary editor on the home chem lab book. I need to
get up to speed with Tom, which I'd planned to do today. But then Brian
dumped 20 more chapters of the astronomy book in my lap, so I need to
get those proofed and returned as soon as possible. That's probably a
couple days work, at least. And I am going to take some time off over
the Labor Day weekend, so there's a lot to do over the next three days.
Only seven days remain in the Blue Planet Run. The runners are
currently in western New York state. They'll make a big southern loop
down through Pennsylvania and Maryland to DC, and then back north
through Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey, arriving next Tuesday back
where they started, at the UN Building in New York City.
Runners Taeko Terauchi and Jason Loutitt got married yesterday at an
exchange point near Niagara Falls, with several of the female BPR
runners as bridesmaids and several of the male BPR runners as
groomsmen. I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures and, I hope, the
video. So, the run started with one married couple as runners and will
finish with two married couples as runners. Both couples will have good
stories to tell their grandchildren.
It's back to work for me...
- Update from Paul.
From: Paul Jones
To: Paul Jones
CC: <many recipients>
Date: Today 09:05:43
Re: Canada, eh
I'm again sitting at the
Chervenak's in Big Flats. Team Silver woke up yesterday spread out in
Ontario and immediately set about preparing for the wedding (well, Mary
and Shiri did - in true groomsman tradition, Will and Emmanuel slept in
and got some lunch). I got a quick dip in Lake Ontario and then we
headed to the Falls. The wedding was held about half a mile down from
the Maid of the Mist ticket plaza on the Canadian side. Jason and Taeko
ran in and exchanged with Brynn and Sean who ran the mile or so across
the border, handing off to Lansing who had already cleared customs.
By the way, the really long line
into the US? That was on the QEW where commercial traffic is allowed.
The line across the Falls was only about 10 minutes. Piece of cake. We
may have lied a bit; I said I had no fruit or vegetables and Mary said
her trip was "pleasure".
After the exchange, the bride and
groom went to change into their duds and the runners entertained a
respectable crowd. When reassembled, the groom wore a traditional tux
with silver top hat and gloves, the bride a dress. It was white and
very pretty and if you want details, you'll have to ask Mary or look at
the pictures. They then got married in something close to a traditional
native ceremony (Jason is aboriginal Canadian) exchanging vows in
mostly english with some japanese.
Mary and I then broke out and
headed to Big Flats arriving just ahead of Team Silver and Alyson.
They're staying in Corning. Mary's mom has laid in a large supply of
food and we're expecting all the runners to pass through at some point
today. Team Silver hung out in the den for an hour or so eating and
drinking. Mary runs today at 430pm on an Orange leg joined by her
brothers Jay (running) and Steve (cycling). Her dad will bike along
with Mary and some of the other runners. In other words, it will be a
very Chervenak Blue Planet Run today.
Coffee appears to be ready. -Paul
Incredibly, I made it through all 20 chapters of the galley proofs
yesterday. That was pretty much 10 straight hours of proofing and
correcting from 8:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m., with only about 15 minutes
total for bathroom breaks and giving the dogs a couple of quick
walks around the yard.
That's one thing I've noticed about getting older. It used to be that I
could concentrate for 12, 14, or even 16 hours a day, seven days a
week, for weeks on end. Nowadays, only 10 straight hours of 100%
focused mental effort leaves me pretty well whacked.
Back to work on the home chem lab book.
Today is Barbara's Friday. She decided to take tomorrow off to run
errands, extending her three-day weekend into a four-day mini-vacation.
She was thinking about taking Duncan to the vet, but he's doing a lot
better. Yesterday, he didn't fall down at all, other than a few times
when Malcolm rammed him. Every time I left my office and headed for the
kitchen to get a Coke, there was Duncan up on the sofa in the den. If
he can climb up on the sofa, he must be feeling okay. He seems to be
pretty much recovered from whatever was bothering him, but we're going
to limit our outside time today, just to make sure he doesn't get
Barbara asked me this morning what I'd do after next Tuesday, when the
Blue Planet Run ends. As she said, I've been following it very
closely--reading all of the updates, following progress on the maps,
reading everyone's blog entries, and so on--so it looks like I'll need
a new hobby.
Update from Paul.
From: Paul Jones
To: Paul Jones
CC: <many recipients>
Date: Today 09:49:33
Re: New York, state not city
The Chervenak house is now quiet.
Yesterday all five teams and a goodly number of staff stopped by
throughout the day and were treated to excellent food, drink and
merriment by the Chervenaks. Mary ran her leg at 430pm accompanied by
her brother Jay and father Bill (cycling). Her sister Erin joined in
for a couple of miles toward the end. She was also joined, at times, by
a reporter, a couple of guys in a pizza place and two motorcycles
travelling in excess of 100mph. It was a lively run. Two ladies who
Mary used to babysit for, Mrs. Spillman and Mrs. Bardhan, came out to
cheer Mary on. Mary was very excited about the hometown support. The
run was a nice, gentle downhill from Southport (a few miles from the
house) to south Elmira. The shift was formally an Orange shift. Orange
was good enough to let Mary run one of their legs, moving their shift
to a 2230 end, which in turn moved Yellow to 2230-0430, leaving Silver
three legs from 0430-0900. After that, they were all back on schedule.
This gave Silver a later wake-up call and Yellow more time to drink and
eat, mostly drink, at the Chervenak home. Only Orange got squeezed a
bit. The runners gave Mary a good-natured teasing that, since she knew
the area, she was able to pick an easy, downhill leg. In all
seriousness, the legs in upstate NY and northern PA are either quite
flat or really hilly with more of the latter. The lay of the land is a
very large number of ridges. If you run between the ridges, it is quite
flat (most of the towns are here). If you move perpendicular to the
ridges, you might cross several in ten miles. The hills are neither as
steep nor as long as out west, but still significant. Mary felt bad
when she looked at where her official leg would've been in northern PA
and feels that she got a good deal by changing out. She feels good and
has only 5 runs left.
The Elmira Star-Gazzette had a
really nice article on the BPR and Mary that was the top headline on
page 1 yesterday. They followed today with an account of Mary's leg
yesterday. The reporter, Jim Pfiffer, was a really nice guy who had
been following the Run for awhile. He spoke to most of the runners,
staff and family on hand. He rode up the hill to greet Lansing who was
coming into the exchange point, then cycled a couple of miles with Mary
before speeding forward to file the story for today's paper. The
article he wrote was one of the nicest I've seen on the trip. The
Corning Leader, Mary's hometown paper, was a little slower on the
uptake but wrote a nice article today (links for all below).
She next runs outside Harrisburg
on the 0300-0900 shift on August 31 (officially a BPR August 30 run).
That shift ends near Gaithersburg, MD. On Friday there is an "event"
somewhere near the Mall in DC and then Mary will run near the MD/Del.
border 0300-0900. Phone calls will be made to those of you in that area
in the next day to try to arrange meets.
I'm on my way to Jay's house in
Silver Spring (hey, Sarah - you know this, right?) tonight and will
meet up with Mary somewhere in Maryland. They make the turn in DC
for the final push to New York City, which they will sneak up on,
running loops around all five buroughs and a jaunt out Long Island -
yes, the runners are thrilled about that. I will head south from DC and
unload the truck at home before flying to NY on Monday for the end of
the Run. -Paul
Star Gazette (today's)
Star Gazette (yesterday's - good article)
I've attached a photo that appears today in the Star-Gazette of Mary and her brother Jay running.
- Pictures from Paul.
I thought you might like to see a wedding photo. The falls are directly behind me as I take this photo.
I really hate to pick on Jay, not least because I hope to sleep on his futon tomorrow night (and he ran a leg of the BPR while I
only have managed a couple of
miles), but I thought I'd share this photo of Mary handing off to
Sunila after her run yesterday.
PS Seriously, Jay, I was just shooting Mary and Sunila, getting you in the frame was unintentional.
Just to prove he really was fine.
Saturday, 1 September
- Update from Paul.
From: Paul Jones
Date: Sun, September 2, 2007 12:55 pm
To: Paul Jones
Cc: <many recipients>
Re: home. one of us, anyway
I have just pulled into the house
in Winston-Salem. For the record, I left here on July 17 and covered
just over 9,500 miles and 23 states (plus one province) and 21
nationally protected areas (parks, recreation areas, lakeshores, etc.),
not to mention countless state and local parks. A long and varied trip
and yet it pales in comparison to Mary's. Plus I didn't run it. Thanks
to all those along the way (Mom, Dad, Shari, Jan and Toke, Jack and
Theresa, Sarah, John and Jen, Rich, Christine, Bill and Mary, Alyson,
Jay and Sarah, Mike and Chris, and Ruth and Kevin) who put me up or fed
me (or both) and made it possible for me to follow Mary's journey
across the US. It wasn't necessary that I accompany her, but I think it
made it more comfortable for her and her team that there was another
car that could run errands and such. It was also great to catch up with
so many of you.
Speaking of Mary, she has
completed three runs and concluded a shift since I last updated. She
ran from 0430-0600 through downtown Frederick, MD and a nice country
lane outside of town. Then a sort of busy road just across the state
line into Delaware from 0600-0730 and, finally, a nice (her word) run
through central New Jersey roughly paralleling the Garden State
parkway. She said it was nice and strange to be running in places she
has run before. She hadn't run that particular road in NJ, but had run
near there and has run some of the route. She has a "short" day off
today and then Team Silver hits the road Monday morning at 9am for
their last full shift. The next 0900-1500 shift is cut short at noon on
Tuesday by the Run ending. It isn't clear yet who will run what
distance or when on their shift on Tuesday. My last word from the team
was that they would all finish together, though how they will
accomplish that is unknown to me. So, Mary has one run plus a bit left.
Say, 15 miles. Or, better, a half-marathon to go.
In the DC area, she had to go to
the Capitol event, which was relatively well attended (and thanks to
Sarah and Ruth for coming out). I picked her up at the end of that
shift (at 0730, early due to shifts in who was running due to requests
from those with DC connections, much like what happened in Elmira for
Mary). We zipped off to see nephew Simon off to school, which is high
on Aunt Mary Claire's list of highpoints of the trip, then spent the
day with me waking her up when BPR responsibilities intervened, or when
the food arrived, or when she'd been in the shower long enough, etc.
After the Capitol event, she got a couple of hours sleep at Jay and
Sarah's and then we headed to Baltimore for excellent crabcakes with
Mike and Chris. She then headed to what is, if there is any justice in
the world - or even if there isn't - hopefully, her last Super 8 stay.
Super 8 went the extra mile to make it an unsavory experience with yet
another example of the beauty of mold, though Mary managed to get four
hours of sleep while her team spent time (wisely, perhaps) elsewhere.
Will and Shiri went to a Nationals game with ex-schoolmates of Shiri's
and Emmanuel was the guest of honor at a dinner at the Kenyan embassy.
Not that an American wouldn't be proud to be the guest of honor at a
foreign embassy, but the Kenyan ambassador to the US is a position of
high importance in the Kenyan government and the current ambassador is
a man highly esteemed (at least by Emmanuel but, so I hear, by most of
Kenya) and well known to all Kenyans (quick name our ambassador to,
well, anywhere). Will, who spent time in Kenya, likened it to an
American being hosted by a Secretary of State or Vice President when
the rest of Team Silver and I didn't seem as impressed as he and
Emmanuel thought we should be, though, to be fair, dinner had just
arrived when he told us. Emmanuel was elated and the ambassador seemed
a very gracious man at the Capitol event. Mary said Emmanuel is still
walking on air. However, none of the team, save Mary, got any sleep
that night - Shiri found people (2, in fact, known in most circles as a
couple) in the vacated room of a staffer she was to use at the Essex
Super 8. She spent the rest of the night reading in the lobby.
The following shift was evidently one of tension, though the running
went well, as they were exhausted. The run this morning went well all
around as everyone had gotten some sleep. Mary has had a couple more
guest runners. Rotarians seem to be stalking my wife.
In the meantime, Jay, Sarah, Ruth
and Kevin conspired to keep me from returning home on Sept. 1, as
planned. I attended the Maryland State Fair after some (now much
appreciated) encouragement from Jay and Sarah (a cute smile from Simon
certainly aided the persuasion) and then the Nationals-Giants game last
night at the invitation of Ruth at the Capitol event. It was my first
(and most likely last) trip to RFK. Dad will be happy to note a Barry
0-for, though he made a nice catch and hit two balls very hard. I arose
early this morning and sped down I-81 home.
My next update, barring anything
weird (well, actually, I have several messages to forward you about
media events including the possible appearance of BPR on the ABC Sunday
evening news; weird, I guess), will be from New York and I'll try to
fill you in on how they plan to wrap this thing up. I guess they'll
just stop, ala Forest Gump.
I am now off to put food in the house.
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 by Robert Bruce