Saturday, May 5, 2012

After Dallas, before Nashville...

A Nice Break between Half Marathons
Sunday, April 1

March was such a busy month for me and with a looming four-week stretch of 4 Half Marathons in a row starting the last week of April I was determined to squeeze in as much rest as possible in the month of April. 

The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!
(The best laid schemes of Mice and Men
oft go awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!)
Robert BurnsTo a Mouse (Poem, November, 1785)
Scottish national poet (1759 - 1796)
Ahh, yes, the 'best-laid schemes oft go awry' as they did for my plans to rest this month!

 I didn't get much rest as it turned out but I did get to catch up on a lot of visiting with friends and family. I also had many opportunities to do some of my favorite things which I've sorely missed while on the road.
For starters, The Greensboro Grasshoppers home games!
Our stadium, Newbridge Bank Park, is one of the best in minor-league baseball. Here's the view from our seats (thanks to former boss and good friend, Ed Stewart!) I can walk to the games from my house which makes the experience even better... I look forward to Opening Day every April!!

I was so eager to arrive and see the changes to the park this year that I  was practically alone in the stands.

If you are ever in Greensboro, NC during baseball season you have to catch a game. Last year's team was one of the most exciting ever in the history of minor league in Greensboro, and that even includes the years that some of baseball's greats were here: Don Mattingly, Otis Nixon, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Christian Guzman and many more! Here's a few links to check out:
The official page of the 'Hoppers on the Minor League site:
And from one of my favorite baseball blogs, Bill on Baseball, here's the recap of the last game of last year's magical season:

Last year's team got moved up en masse to another of the Miami Marlins' minor league farm teams, the Jupiter Hammerheads, so I now follow that team as well. My hope is to get to one of the games in Florida before their season ends this year.

Saturday, April 6th
After a week of conference calls & office days, doing laundry, working in my garden and generally looking after everything that gets neglected around the house as I'm traveling, I took some time to see my family in Chapel Hill, NC for Easter Weekend. My little sister and brother-in-law (Becky and Pete) made the drive from Virginia Beach with my two nephews (Jackson and Joey) to spend Easter with Mom and Bob... I was not missing this opportunity! I've always loved just hanging out with my family but I appreciated it so much more since I've been traveling so much this year. We spent most of our time at the house, including a serious Easter-egg hunt courtesy of one of the all-time great 'hiders', The Bobfather, which was an indoor-outdoor event on this perfect Spring weekend in NC. I was so caught up in the hunt that I neglected to take photos, sorry!!

After the hunt we decided to head to Duke Gardens for a wonderful walk. If you've never been it's a must-see on any visit to the RTP area!
Duke Gardens, just one of the many open vistas on the Duke University campus
Jackson and Joey enjoying their day!

Spring blooms

More Spring blooms!

Truer words were never spoken (rather, written on a t-shirt). While Joey's aunt is a Herbivore and his brother is an Omnivore, Joey just happens to be a Ketchupvore. My bro-in-law, Pete, informed me over Christmas that clothing ranks the lowest on the favorite-gift list... but this one (purchased on my trip to NOLA for that race) was a hit!
Monday, April 9th and Tuesday April 10th
On these 2 days I just happened to have my first photo-shoot ever from the other side of the front! Ugh, I can totally appreciate how hard models work as these 2 days were grueling for me. The photographers were outstanding and yet it was still so much work... 7 or so different locations and activities plus about 10 different wardrobe changes on very windy days. The goal was to get good, high-resolution photos of me to offer to various media outlets for our Get Back Up campaign... I guess they got tired of using the finish-line shots which, not surprisingly, look very similar from race to race! 

Here's one of shots, the only one they sent me so far, but my favorite was actually one with my nephews who came over with my folks to see the shoot and to catch a 'Hoppers game. I will post those photos when I get them, my nephews are superstars!!

I have to say that I love the angle of this photo... if you've not met me in person I am neither as tall nor lean as this shot makes me appear!! Sandy Wacker, I know you will vouch for this. :-)
Uncle Jim and the boys enjoying the food before game-time... Aunt Beth was still on the photo shoot.

I finished the photo-shoot as the sun went down and raced to the game to help my nephews cheer the 'Hoppers!

April 11th-18th

These days were mostly office work and planning for next month, plus a few more trips to Chapel Hill to play with my nephews before they went home to VaBeach. I also had the opportunity, finally, to tend to my plants and mulch the front beds... I'll have to get you photos later but things were looking great when I left town!

Thursday, April 19th.

Off to Boston with my husband... he had business there and I went along for a very special visit with one of my favorite people on the planet, Father Bill Neenan of Boston College. Before our dinner with Father Bill, here are a few photos of my Boston days:
A shot of Boston Common along my one of my training runs... a perfect day in Beantown!
Another sight along my run through the Financial District in Boston,  I love this town!

More sights along my run
Friday, April 20th

Today was a day for me to celebrate 2 of my favorite men: My dad and my favorite priest/dear friend, Rev. William Neenan.

My Dad:
Happy Birthday, Dad!! Today is his birthday (and also my good friend, Melissa's... Happy Birthday, Meeeeeelisssa) and so I was missing him more than usual. 

My dad, Dennis, under the cherry blossoms in DC last month. Happy Birthday, Dad--I love you!! (Photo courtesy of Suzanne Thouvenelle, my 'bonus mom'. Suz, I love you, too!)

Dad's beautiful shot of the Jefferson Memorial... he took so many great shots this year of the early-bloom in DC.

My favorite priest and dear friend, Father William Neenan, or as I call him, Father Bill:

Father Bill gave me my first communion many years ago in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We have remained close through the years and he was an officiant of my wedding a year ago this weekend. Despite the fact that he heads up ACC-rival Boston College, he's still a-ok in my book. :-)  Father Bill, I love you and I thank you so much for taking time from squeezing money out of alumni to have dinner with us on our anniversary! 

The wonderful Father Bill (left) at The Cottage House in Chestnut Hill. I was left out of the dinner conversation for awhile as my husband and Bill gave each other techno-pointers on the intricacies of iPhone apps, texting and Skyping ...I have so much to learn!!
Saturday, April 21st

This was a day to celebrate the other 2 of my favorite men, my step-dad and my husband.

My step-dad, Bob Jackson:

Here's Bob doing what he does best--eating!! This was taken last Fall on our trip to Fishers Island for golf, and here we were in Mystic, CT before hopping on the ferry. I love you, Bob... and we missed you in Beantown for the game and the food!

Bob actually introduced me to baseball, a past-time I've since fallen in love with. On this particular weekend I was in Heaven... my husband bought tickets to the Yankees game for the 100-year anniversary of Fenway Park! I've been a Yankees fan since Bob took me to my first Greensboro Hornets game many years ago. The Hornets (then the Bats) were a Yankee farm team before switching to the Marlins so I got to see dozens of Yankee greats before they were great. 

The excitement of baseball in Fenway Park

My husband, Jim:

What a great gift for our anniversary--tickets to the Yankees game and dinner with Father Bill all in the same weekend! It was nice of Fenway Park to celebrate their anniversary on the same weekend as ours.

Happy Anniversary to us!! I love you, Jim... almost as much as I love my Yankees! :-)
The festivities outside the park

The festivities inside the park!

We had fabulous seats on a perfect day in Boston!

This was actually a historic game and I was thrilled as a Yankees fan to witness it in person. The Yankees were down 9-0 in the 5th inning and I had resigned myself to a loss although I was still enjoying the afternoon. Then, the Yankees pulled a 2011-Hoppers move and actually came back to win!!!
Here's the link to the recap of the incredible game:

Tuesday, April 24th:

Returned home to Greensboro on the birthday of my friend, Michelle. Happy Birthday, Cecil! This was a brief stay at home as I got unpacked from Boston only to re-pack for Nashville's Rock 'n Roll Country Music Half Marathon!

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