Saturday, September 29, 2007

Trains are still Cool

Ever since we saw the real steam engines last weekend, Bruce's love of trains has been renewed. He has pulled out his train sets every day and played with them for hours at a time (with me sitting next to him, of course).

Bruce had a friend over this week. It was so much fun! They played together and actually shared the toys.

Yesterday Bruce tripped when he was hauling through the living room. He face-planted into the couch and might have busted his nose. It is discolored and has a big knot on one side. That looks good next to his scraped knee and elbow (fell while running at the park) and nipped ear (I cut his hair this week - oops).

Apple Picking

We went apple picking today! We drove out to an orchard with some friends and picked a peck of apples. Bruce picked the apples from Scott's shoulders, then he'd take a bite or two and hand them to me to put in our bag. Now we have a bag of partially eaten apples. Time for apple crisp.

We also picked blueberries. They were out of season, but the farm gave me a pint container and told me I could take whatever I wanted. Bruce has already eaten a quarter of the pint by himself; if only I could get him to eat everything like that.

There were three old-fashioned tractors at the farm, which Bruce thoroughly enjoyed.

Scott was at a biophysics retreat for a few days this week. He listened to a few talks, showed off a poster of his research, ate yummy food, and played Sir Somebody in a drama that the department secretary had planned.

And in other news, I was totally jealous of my bro today. He ran a 2:38 in the Akron Marathon. Go David! My other brother, Dan, also finished the marathon in less than 5 hours - which is pretty incredible considering that his training consisted of a single twenty mile run!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

We Know it's Better in Montana, but...

More photos of Mount Washington. We had a great time and want to go back soon - although Scott kept starting sentences with the phrase "Back in Montana..."

It's not the west for sure. There were hundreds of hikers out on Saturday and Scott said when he got to the top, the gorgeous view was cloudy and all he could really see was a parking lot (cars can drive to the top).

Bruce and I went to a town park when we got off the mountain. We played on the playground for a few minutes, then heard a distinct train horn coming from behind the park. We looked around and saw an old-fashioned train station nearby. We ran over to it and an enormous steam engine pulled up.

It just so happened that there was a scenic railroad line with a station right by the park. And it was "Railfan Weekend." We sat by the tracks and watched four steam engines pull up, drop passengers off, pick more up, and chug away. Bruce has been talking about "BIG STEAM ENGINES" ever since.

Tuckerman's Ravine

We hiked up Tuckerman Ravine 2.5 miles with Bruce in the backpack. Bruce had missed his nap so he screamed most of the time. We let him walk for about a half hour, then had to put him back in until we got to the shelter. We ate lunch at the shelter, then I took Bruce in the backpack down the mountain with one family and Scott went to the top of the mountain with the other family.

Bruce fell asleep on the way down. And once he woke up, he didn't seem to mind being in a backpack.

Mt. Washington

Last weekend we hiked Mount Washington in New Hampshire. It's the tallest mountain on the east coast, so this is as good as it gets here.

Scott didn't think real mountains existed beyond Utah and Montana, but after hiking it he decided that Mount Washington was more than a hill.

We hiked with a few families from church, so Bruce wasn't the only kid in a backpack.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cabaret Bruce

This is Bruce singing "Shoo Fly." I love the part when he sings "I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star."

Wiggles Fever

"Lights, camera, action: Wiggles!"

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Real Trains

Today I went to the office to work and Bruce went to the sitter's house.
The sitter lives by a train station, so if Bruce is good and helps get ready to go (sits still while I put his socks on, gets his shoes, etc), then we walk to the train station and watch a train before going in. Bruce was good today so we got to see "A BIG ENGINE!" as Bruce calls them.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Toilet Paper Cockroach

Sorry I don't have more pleasant pictures this week; this is just a present I found in the ladies room at work. The landlord of the building said, "It's just a beetle" and didn't even bother to remove it from the toilet paper roll. Luckily there are two stalls.

The clambake is over! Hooray! As much fun was it was, I'm glad it won't happen for another year. That's about how long I need to recover.

I woke up at 5:30 Saturday morning and went for a quick run - in the rain. It was pouring! I was really stressing over the weather: I had reserved the church gym for a couple hours in case of rain, but I really wanted the clambake at the beach. I checked several weather reports and most said light rain in the morning and gone by noon. I figured no one would show up until noon anyway since that was when we were serving lunch. So I made the call and sent an email telling everyone to head to the beach.

I picked up a friend's truck at 7:30 and drove to Gloucester. I went to Cape Pond Ice first and picked up 40 lbs of ice. Then I went to the Gloucester House Restaurant and picked up 125 lobsters and a bushel of clams (everyone here calls them "steamers"). I got to Crane Beach by 9:30 and the weather was fine at first.

I dried off all the picnic tables in the pavilion and 10 minutes later it started raining. The truck and trailer arrived with all of the equipment (grill, burners, propane, tables, serving stuff, etc) and we set it up in the rain. It stopped raining around 11:30 right when we were boiling water to cook all the food: lobsters, clams, hot dogs and corn. We also had watermelon, cornbread, chips, salads, and desserts. It was quite a feast.

The weather ended up getting better from there: by the time everyone was leaving around 3:30, the sun was shining. All in all, the clambake was a success. There were more than 200 people there even with the crazy weather, and everybody had a blast.

I didn't have time to pick up a camera but Ellen, who was in charge last year and knows what goes into planning this ordeal, brought her Canon and captured a bit of the magic.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Good News

It's official...
My work is now syndicated by the Washington Post!
Check it out at My articles are all under "cameras."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Ollie 5-mile

Two races for the week. The first was on Labor Day: the Irish-American 5k. It was very, very low-key. I ran with a bunch of high school guys for the first mile and a half, then they died off and I surged ahead. Unfortunately, the cops manning the race must have gone to lunch because no one bothered to stop traffic at two of the intersections. So two red lights and a 5k came out to 18:44. The best part of that race was the presence of two gigantic inflatable bounce houses for the kids to play in: Bruce was thrilled.

The second race was a bigger deal: the USATF-NE Grand Prix 5-mile championship hosted by the Ollie Road Race. This is the one I was dreading. And I dreaded it right up until the start. Most of the time, I'm pretty excited before a race. On Saturday morning, I was nearly in a bad mood. Once the race got going, I eased into a groove. It was really hot and a bit windy, but there were lots of people to chase. I came out with a half-decent time - 30:39, for fifth place. And my team won! Now for the Tufts 10k...

This week was Scott's birthday! Bruce has been practicing "Happy Birthday" for weeks now. Scott started out his birthday by running experiments until 2:30 in the morning. Bruce and I let him sleep in, then made raisin french toast. That night we had a pumpkin chocolate cheesecake and checked out Scott's presents: an LCD monitor for the computer, biking gloves, power drill, and headphones.

This is what they call "cozy"

As requested, here are a few photos of our awesome crib. The inside, at least. The outside isn't hard to picture: think cardboard box. Each apartment building has 12 units, and there are about a dozen of these lovely sixties-era buildings.

Here are a few glimpses anyway.
- The lifts under our bed so we can store our old dining room table, luggage, and other items underneath.
- Our industrial storage shelf filled with water and clothes.
- Bruce's closet is a mess that will not clean itself until we move out.
- Our nondescript bathroom.

This place is smaller than our last, and is on the third floor instead of the second. It's A LOT cheaper though: hooray.

The advantages of a small place are that I can vacuum the whole thing without unplugging and replugging the vacuum cleaner, and it takes ten minutes to scrub the whole place down even after a major Bruce disaster.

Disadvantages: less room to spread our junk, less space for Bruce to run, hauling groceries up three flights of stairs, carrying the jogging stroller up and down those stairs, laundry in the basement, etc.

Typical Day

Here is Bruce on a typical day. He is wearing Scott's hospital badge and there is a pile of cars on the floor.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Gone Fwimming

It is September; can you believe it? That means that school starts soon, a few big races are approaching, summer is ending, and the clambake is coming!

Oh yes, the clambake. It has overtaken my life. My email inbox is full of lobster orders. My desk is overrun with fliers and post-it notes. And I still have two weeks to go.

For those who aren't in the know, I'm in charge of putting together the ward clambake at church. It's a pretty big deal: a couple hundred people show up on a beach and we eat fresh lobsters, clams, corn-on-the-cob, and all kinds of potluck food.

For me, this involves finding a truck with the right size hitch to haul the stoves and cooking equipment, ordering all the food, buying all the plates and such, assigning all the potluck items, etc. Whew! I'm well on my way though. I've got a crew ready to cook up the stuff, orders for 75 lobsters so far, and a guy named Lenny enlisting his fleets in Northern Massachusetts to catch all those lobstahs.

And back to Raymond family business...

Here are the highlights of the week. Bruce peed in the potty a few times, which is cause to celebrate (or at least eat jelly beans, his "potty treats"). Scott and Bruce have been regulars in the "fwimming pool" with the recent lovely weather. I have been working way too much on a big project at work: more to come about that later. I'm thinking about running two races next week too, so I should be able to tell what sort of shape I'm in by next weekend. There's hope I'll be ready for the Tuft's 10k in October.