This is as good as we could manage for a family Christmas picture this year! Justin, Audrey’s boyfriend, and Sadie, Audrey’s black lab, were also here with us. This was the first year in a long time that Annie was not with us. Shortly after Christmas last year she went to dog heaven. She is survived by Mama Cat.
We stayed in Orlando for Hurricane Irma, and things went well for us. Our power never went out, and we had no damage to our house. Our trees took a beating, and we didn’t have Internet all day but that was the extent of our difficulties. Most everyone else in Florida was not as fortunate, as 2/3 of the state was without power at some point last night.
Thank you for your prayers for our safety and that we would have minimum damage. For us this was true, so we are very grateful. We also had no anxiety during the storm, despite the whole things being like… a hurricane. We got a good night’s sleep (and kept an eye on how things developed during the night).
Today was clean up day, checking on the neighbors, and getting ready to get back to our regular work tomorrow.
Thanks again for your concern for us and for your prayers!
The picture here is AFTER the hurricane. You’ll have to look hard to see the difference between the BEFORE pic; a few less leaves on the tree.
We are staying in Orlando for Hurricane Irma. Our option to leave probably expired two days ago when Miami had a mandatory evacuation and filled all the northbound highways and used all the gasoline. They certainly needed those things more than we did! The risk of running out of gas on the highway and then getting hit by a hurricane while on the side of the road seemed worse than staying home and getting one of our windows broken. And now the forecasts say the winds in Orlando should be 100 mph or less, so this is better news.
Earlier in the week making this decision was pretty stressful. Canceling all your life’s plans based on uncertain forecasts that always change at the last minute is difficult. And when Irma was Category 5 and might have traveled up the east coastline and kept its energy, that could be dangerous for us.
In the end, we asked God to give us wisdom, and we made a decision to stay. Now we depend on God’s protection, and we are at peace with this. But tomorrow when hurricane winds are blowing around our house we might not feel so peaceful!
We would appreciate your prayers for safety, of course. And that God would dissipate the storm, minimize damage, etc.
A lot of things happened in the last few months. These are some of the highlights.
Cross Florida 2013 (170 miles) was fun this year. Starting from Cocoa Beach on the east coast of Florida with an east wind, 60 F temperatures, and a group of 14 friends from the Eastside Cycling Club, it was a lot easier than last year and, in many ways, more fun. These were the three I finished with, Curt, Jim, and Andrew.
Living in Orlando means December is a great time to be outdoors. Andrew and I spent a few hours mountain biking on nearby trails on the afternoon of his 21st birthday. This was my first time trail biking as an adult, but Andrew is a pro. It was a fun time and a great workout.
The 167 mile Cross Florida Ride looked like a suffer-fest to me, but instead the event turned out to be really fun. The hills were challenging between miles 120 and 150, and we had a west wind (5-10 mph) all day to ride against, but I was able to ride in a group the whole way and avoided bike breakdowns, cramps, and overheating. I actually felt better at the end of this ride than I do on many Saturday morning group rides of one third the length. We finished the course in 10:00 hours, including stops, but our rolling average speed was 19.6 mph. My heart rate monitor said I burned 11,200 calories.
I would ride it again next year.
On April 1 I am attempting to ride my bicycle across Florida in one day (Cross Florida Ride) with some friends from the Eastside Cycling Club. From Cocoa Beach to Weeki Wachee Springs (east to west), the total distance will be 170 miles. I expect the real work to start at 120 miles where the route gets hilly.
You can track the progress of our group here. It’s in real time, but you’ll have to refresh the page to see updates.
GPS tracking powered by InstaMapper.com
http://mobile.instamapper.com/ext?key=1902577887064436155 (mobile version)
Today I finished my first cycling century, a 100 mile ride. I did a fund raiser for Tour de Cure, the American Diabetes Association event to raise funds for finding a cure for diabetes. Several of my extended family and friends live with diabetes, so I was happy to do something productive and fun at the same time.
At the 52 mile mark my tire blew out. Had it been the inner tube, I would have been back on the road quickly, but I wasn’t carrying a spare tire. So I called for the repair truck and was back on the road 60 minutes later and $60 lighter. I was also taken back 7 miles on the course route to the repair truck, so I resumed with a greater challenge than I had expected.
Fortunately for me, one of my Eastside Cycling Club friends also had a mechanical failure, so he was just getting his chain repair finished at the repair truck as I pulled up for my tire repair. We were able to ride the remaining 55 miles together.
After the event, my friend, Jim, who helped organize this event, starting working on me to do the Cross Florida Ride April 1 (170 miles). We’ll see.
I’m sitting in my warm house now with a pleasant runner’s high, back from this year’s half marathon. It turned out far better than I expected; better weather, I ran better than I expected – fastest one of my last three years, and my knees didn’t hurt.
Learning to run barefoot paid off! Running in my cross country racing flats worked perfectly.
This is the hole that the same armadillo keeps burrowing under our backyard palm trees every few months. This has been going on for two years now. I fill in the hole, and he burrows it out again a couple months later. Got any ideas how to stop him from burrowing here, short of calling a professional pest remover?
Andrew walked out the front door today and nearly stepped on this guy. At first we thought it was a water snake, but then he opened his mouth and showed us his two fangs. Then we thought it was a copperhead, but he escaped into the bushes and rattled. And we could see his tail rattling in there, too. But then he escaped entirely, and we couldn’t figure out where he went. So we’ll be checking out the window first whenever we go out our front door for the next few days!
[We originally concluded it was a rattlesnake, but someone left a comment on this photo on Flickr.com saying it was a cottonmouth. He was right. It’s a cottonmouth. This picture on National Geographic looks exactly like what this snake did when he saw us.]
This morning my friend, Greg, and I did the “Enter the Food Chain 1k Swim” with about 75 others at Lake Cane (and one turtle that I almost bumped into half way across). Lots of fun. Everyone who completes their first lake crossing gets to sign Lucky’s wall and gets a patch and bumper sticker. And they complete the first leg toward the 100k Club. There’s even a Wikipedia article about the swim. Here’s a short video of the start.
Lucky is just a nice guy who opens his boat dock every morning for a group of swimmers. If that wasn’t enough, he provides a patch and bumper sticker to every new successful lake crosser. He’s a generous guy.
I grew up doing lake swims at the family lake in Wisconsin (which is about as far across, at its widest, as Lake Cane), but this had to be the funnest one. And since Greg and I are getting ready for a triathlon we threw in a bike ride and run when we got home. That’s what I call a good Saturday morning!
I did the IOA 5k again this year and beat my time from last year. That’s always a good thing. Campus Crusade for Christ fielded a team of about 400! We had the biggest team in Orlando, won the best t-shirt design award, and our race director, Lorraine Hardaway, won best race director award. 11,000 people participated in the event in downtown Orlando, so our large group didn’t even seem so large. Friends who walked said they crossed the starting line after I had already finished the race!
Running with coworkers beats a Christmas party.
Last Tuesday, at the end of four months of training for a half marathon, I pulled my hamstring. It was on a track at the middle school a mile and half away from home at night in, what is for Florida, cold weather (55 F). My walk/hobble home was very cold, but even more disappointing was the realization that the training may have resulted in not being able to run the race. My real reason for doing this race was to stay in shape, so I had actually already accomplished my most important goal. But I still really wanted to run that race!
The pain went away by Wednesday night, but by Friday night I was still not sure what would happen if I tried running on it again, much less running hard.
This morning I found out; my leg worked. In fact, after six miles of running easy I realized it wasn’t going to blow out on me, so I ran the rest of the race hard. It was fun passing all those people who had passed me earlier in the race! Finished in 1:43. Good enough for me this year with enough padding to shoot for beating it next year.
My friend, Ted, beat me this year by almost a mile.
On my blurry camera phone the launching space shuttle, Endeavor, and the full moon looked pretty similar, but in real life it was a spectacular site. This is one of the benefits of living in Orlando for sure.
If you click this photo you can see two more photos of the shuttle launching (lower right corner of page, click “next photo”).
About ten minutes after I wrote my last post about being able to work like normal, they called my number. Seven hours later at the end of the day I was seated on a jery (mispelling intentional to prevent searches being associated with my name). This means I must be incommunicado until it’s done.
But here’s my observation on EVERYONE who commented about my jery duty. No one wants to do it, and everyone seemed to have an angle for getting out of it. As I went through the process myself, though, it developed more into an act of God. That is, responding truthfully to each stage of questioning resulted in the outcome I now must live with (being seated on a jery). Had I put an angle on it, I may have found an excuse, but I couldn’t do it with a clear conscience.
So now my American Government class will become more than just book knowledge.
Here I sit at the Orange County Courthouse doing my civic responsibility of jery duty (mispelling intentional). More than 300 people showed up mostly AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE today to provide a pool of jery candidates. The suspects we are to try may have stolen $500 of merchandise from a store (I have no idea which trials are on the docket this is just an example), but I guarantee you the value of what he/she stole from the rest of the county in lost work hours is far more. I was initially happy to serve my jery duty, but now that I see what this costs, I sure hope this is something more grave like a merder trial.
Meanwhile, I can keep working today as though nothing but my immediate surrounds were different. They called out a group of about 100 people already and marched them off for duty, and the remaining 200 of us wait like prisoners for our next instructions.
[After getting some instructions, let me clarify that nothing above constitutes the expression of an opinion based on any information about any trial. I have no knowledge of any detail of any trial on the dockets today. I could have written the above comment last night. I wouldn’t want this whole batch of people dismissed because I expressed an opinion.]
Campus Crusade for Christ fielded a team of 326 (or so) runners and walkers for the IOA 5K tonight. It had been 8 years since my last 5K, so I wasn’t sure if I would be able to run it well. While I posted my lifetime slowest 5K time, it was good enough to beat my other 40 year old friends. Best of all was simply being able to run it and finish without injury. It’s been over a year since I’ve been able to run, and I thought I would have to give it up for good. But cross-training on my bike, weight lifting and chondroitin for my knees seems to have done the trick.
Easily one of the most enjoyable things we’ve done since moving back to our old house in Orlando was the block party we had tonight with our neighbors. Of the 15 houses on our cul-de-sac, we had 26 people join us for a barbecue and bring-whatever meal. Many of our neighbors met each other for the first time, and we all got to know each other better than before. Most of the families on our court have lived outside the U.S. at one time or another, so we have more in common with each other than just our current residence.