So, I ran a 10K race this past weekend, and I think it ranks near the top of my favorite race experiences. Not because I ran a personal best — my fast times are several years in my past, now. And not because the course was picturesque — outside of a short part along Lake Pontchartrain, with some pelicans flying about, the course was mostly along an access road.
What made this race such a stand-out was that it was the first 10K for my nieces Nicole and Cecelia. They are training for a series of races in Disney World in the months ahead. In April 2020, I’ll be running one of those races with them. This 10K was part of the prep.
Running, like writing, is a solitary endeavor. Also, running any distance over a few miles is something that bestows a certain patience upon any non-competitive runner (like myself). The effects and the benefits can be hard to elucidate. Running the same race is one of the best ways to share the experience, and it was a delight to share this experience with such bright lights as Nicole and Cece.
Plus, we went to Panda King for Hot Pot that evening. It was the first time trying the popular Asian dish for me, but not for them. I loved it! I also loved that we ended a day of firsts together.
I had the good fortune to attend Yale’s commencement ceremony a few days ago; and also visit the campus for the first time. I saw “Lux et Veritas” pretty much everywhere. “Veritas” was my high school’s motto, so I knew the meaning of that word straight away: veritas means truth. I wanted to believe “lux et veritas” was “luxury and truth,” but somehow, I knew that would never pass muster as a traditional college motto. Much less a college with a history as long as Yale’s. After a bit more thinking, I figured it out: it’s “light and truth.”
Light and truth: I’m a big fan of both. I’m also a big fan of Niece Emilie, who was receiving her master of public health in environmental health sciences. It feels very appropriate that the place she chose to advance her studies has a motto that speaks to both the brightness and integrity she holds in spades.
Yesterday, I traveled south from Connecticut (technically, New York, where I spent the night after the graduation) to Baltimore. That’s where I am now, for work. I go home tonight, but then I leave again Saturday. To spend a week in Ireland with Husband Tim! Telling you this as a means of explaining the brevity of this post, and also to let you know that I’m taking next week off from blogging. I’ll post about the Ireland trip after I’m back.
Today is my birthday. I endeavor to post to this blog on Wednesday of each week, and my birthday just so happens to fall on a Wednesday this year. Thus, I find myself composing a birthday post.
This occasion seems an appropriate time to share something my mom put together, way back when she was expecting me. She and my father celebrated their fifteenth anniversary with a trip to San Francisco, about two and a half months before I was born.
My mom was a scrapbooker extraordinaire. About two years ago, when my siblings and I were clearing her house, I was fortunate enough to find her scrapbook documenting the San Francisco trip. (I wrote about the monumental task of going through my parents’ house here: Clay.)
I really dig that I got to make this trip with my parents, even though I have no memory of it. (It would be pretty remarkable if I did.) Seeing my mom’s distinctive handwriting makes me wistful, but also so very grateful to have such a concrete and indelible memory of her.
Here are a few snapshots from the scrapbook. But first, here’s some context:
Mom refers to herself in the third person (Ida). Ger is my dad.
Carmel: she’s my godmother. She looked after my six siblings, ranging in age from fourteen (Debby) to three (Stephen), while my parents were in San Francisco. God bless her. A remarkable woman I’ve been meaning to write about forever.
The Herberts: my parents’ first neighbors, when they were newly married and living in an Army barracks. I’ve always heard that they were not neighbors for long…six weeks? six months? Yet my parents maintained a lifelong friendship with the Herberts that saw many reciprocal visits between California and Louisiana.
Last weekend, I took a break from my City Park wanderings and attended “Signing in the South,” a meet-and-greet event matching up more than thirty local authors (myself included) with readers. Many, many thanks go to author Taylor Anne for launching this inaugural event. It was wonderful! I met new readers, handed out nearly all the bookmarks I had promoting my soon-to-be-relaunched novel, and met some other writers face-to-face. I definitely plan to reach out to these authors in the future.
And, not only was the weekend a nice boost to my career as a fiction writer, it also turned out to be a really fun and memorable road trip. Niece Nicole and Niece Cece accompanied me on the three-hour drive to Lake Charles, Louisiana. “Signing in the South” took place there, at the Isle of Capri Hotel and Casino. I feel really blessed to share so many interests with the younglings in my family. Not only does it make communication easier, it makes for a lot of good times. And since these two particular younglings are in their twenties, we could go about the casino at will.