Counter Culture Sometimes Doesn’t Work

Simone from Frisco sent me an email the other day. Actually she sent me a survey which, by the way I did complete. She wanted to know how I felt about my trip through the Frisco Schoolhouse Museum. I let her know it was a great idea to conduct a survey (something perhaps more public spaces should employ) and provided a few suggestions.

Most significantly I suggested better matching the environment inside the museum with that outside. Outside buzzes with activity—bikes, boards, barks and  bistros. Inside one of the first things to stick out is a sign indicating quiet, no flash photos and no food/drink. In this town that probably results in more than a few folks spinning around and walking back through the door. What a shame.

I perked up most from reading information about the history of relocating the entire town of Dillon and early century miners. Oh, and the mystery of the missing school bell made for a captivating story. Naturally the younger set would gravitate to the quarter operated train making tracks through a depiction of the early days of the town. Tucked away in a corner is an attractive, if somewhat cramped display of stuffed versions of several local critters as well as local flora.

In and around Frisco and Leadville, CO
Frisco Schoolhouse Museum

Preserving the integrity of the original schoolhouse clearly ranks high in the values of the Frisco Historical Society–yet bumping out a wall into the adjacent park and creating a more interactive (read as touch and talk) wing might encourage more visitors.

On a beautiful Spring morning when sidewalks were rapidly filling and bikes were buzzing around I was the sole visitor for most of my 45 minute tour. As I was about to walk out a multi-generational family stepped inside with the kids naturally gravitating toward the train and a couple moms in low voices reminding them to not touch anything and behave.

Simone has a terrific facility in an amazing town~~I genuinely appreciate her attempts as pulling more feedback from visitors. I’m sure I’ll be back one day.

Breaking Host Records

Records and marks exist for everything. We’d be in the money for ‘Entertaining or Hosting Friends in a Twelve Month Period’. Key being friends—not associates, operatives, or (unfortunately) even family–but friends. People we could (and have, and do) call out of the blue and request a favor or make an announcement with no judgement. People who are rare to find. That’s who we mean. 
Night Out @ The Bottom Line

A couple days ago we ushered out our latest; Claire being our 11th set (or solo) in ten months. Wow–really, an average of one each month. I guess that sounds about right. We have a handful of others we thought (hoped) might make the trip. Perhaps something will strike them and they’ll reconsider over the next couple of months. After all, the worst time to be here is late April through September so we’re running out of time for the hard-core tourist types.

Great Run to T.Roosevelt Island

We’ve had a disproportionally small number during the more favorable November-January period. Sure, leaves have dropped, the sun dips early and people watching pales that of the summer. However, it’s mostly great weather, lines as short as they’ll ever be and still far more to do than can ever be done. One more on deck within the next couple of weeks. I’ll need to make a judgement call on the count total–he’s visited multiple times. A much different guest visit pattern developed in Tucson—90% of all visitors over a four year period showed up between February and April. Yes, part of the cool season but only part of it. I blame the end-of-year holidays. Partly.

One, of many projects, shortly after returning to AZ will be to learn more about the area that can be communicated to others. It’s far more than hundreds of miles of bike lanes and paths and desert mountains to climb. It’s got just as much culture, entertainment and (almost) as much history as the DC area–only it’s considerably more spread out and not accessible by public transit. It’ll be a mission to compile a better working knowledge of the area to drive (more) traffic during different times of the year. 

Remember, Don’t Forget, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK Day 2014
By now most, and I’d put it at a very high majority, of Americans have put the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day activities and messages clearly in their rear-view mirrors. That’s unfortunate; almost tragic. With our collective interests focused on —the next thing— and our increasing individual short attention spans even something as meaningful as the legacy of Dr. King tends to fade from top of mind. The weather, the airline delays, Target layoffs, the latest governor scandal, The Superbowl, basketball wagers and the potential terrorist threat more than 5000 miles away have all shoved Dr. King out of the front pages. A life’s work for a cause impacting millions of Americans shoved out by the Superbowl line. We truly have some issues as a nation, as a culture. 
Our service host/emcee delivered perhaps the most succinct charge on behalf of Dr. King: “Treat others as you would treat yourself.  I wouldn’t hit myself, I wouldn’t shoot myself, I wouldn’t talk bad about myself…..because I love myself”. 
She also made the point that King was about far more than the I Have A Dream speech. In fact, he delivered hundreds upon hundreds of notable sermons and messages, several notable ones can be read here: MLK Jr’s Speeches.  
We selected the service at the National Cathedral for a few reasons, some as simple as timing and showing off the cathedral to our Tucson guest. 
Claire & Amy Silencing Phones @ National Cathedral
One we didn’t know of until a few minutes into the ceremony took over as my favorite: that the large pulpit at the front of the great hall was the site of the final Sunday sermon Dr. King ever delivered. Part of the recording of that sermon was replayed during the ceremony, sort of a chilling reminder. It’s long–and well worth the read for the patient. 
While the service wasn’t as we expected; we anticipated more about Dr. King’s teaching, perhaps even more recorded sermons. Instead we were treated to more than two hours of largely black-American edu-tainment. Spoken word, song and dance all powerfully delivered and sprinkled with messages of hope and peace. I was moved enough to make my own personal pledge, inspired in part from his that final Sunday sermon. 
In that speech he says, ‘……through scientific and technological genius we have made this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make it a brotherhood. ….we must all learn to leave together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”
Pledges typically must be simple to be repeated–to be sustainable. Mine is.  
Part I: Create and leave the smallest footprint reasonably possible. 
Part II: Be nicer
If I use less I’ll consume less. If I consume less factories will need to produce less. If factories produce less perhaps/hopefully wealth-motivated owners may make a couple pennies less in turn lessening the unsustainable wealth gap. Yeah, it’s not much. In fact it barely registers but it’s one thing I can do on a consistent basis. 

FoTo FriDay 01/10/14

 Brian Williams with House Budget Chair (and former RepublicanVP candidate) Paul Ryan before a packed studio in the Newseum discussing poverty in America on the 50th anniversary of President LBJ’s declaration of the War On Poverty. (A unique event, humbling/disturbing discussion and great experience I might add)
NBC’s Brian Williams with Congressman Paul Ryan

How Far The Mighty Have Fallen

I just can’t get the legs to move right. More specifically, the right leg. Almost ten months to the day post-scope, weeks at a time of low-activity, mostly rest/partial rest and several weeks–going on a couple months–post the final bumper-injection it feels almost exactly the same as it did when I first pulled up short and went to a doc a little over a year ago. Amazing what a tiny meniscus tear can do. 
It’s a near constant hurt; sharp, isolated. Similar to what you feel when you bang your funny bone or catch that end-table corner with the knee. A quick grimace then you move on. Only it’s a grimace with every foot strike. With three run events completed this past fall and a couple more on the horizon this winter I don’t feel any better or worse than by doing nothing. Unable to yet keep up with two of the three local running groups (the third is just not up to the task) I’ve been back to mostly solo for several weeks. Several other groups dot the metro area but logistics simply act against me. Solo. No fun I can say. 
Determined to get back into shape enough to hang onto the tail of my preferred group and staring at a long holiday trip I dedicated last week to some hill work. I have mostly closed the chapters on both speed work and hill repeats—-but rolling up and down hills as part of runs seems to be ok as long as I gingerly descend. That’s probably going to be the most efficient way to get back into shape through the winter while it’s right on the edge of too cold to bike much. By too cold I mean this area is ripe with black ice–on a regular basis. No snow–but just enough drizzle and rain to overnight freeze rendering the trails a life hazard. And forget about trying to navigate traffic with patches of ice on streets. So grind up a few hills to kickstart the heart rate till spring or until I can grab onto the back of my preferred running group; whichever comes first. That’s the plan.  
Probably Quartzite – Rock Creek

My loyal training partner, Samantha, has been the true beneficiary of my dilemma. She’s sleeked down to the point her hips bones are starting to show! Yikes–I’ve been jacking up her feeding but not enough apparently. We did the neighborhood a couple days this week and hit a couple other places in pursuit of variety. And find it we did. 

One day we landed at my all-time favorite park–ever. If I had to design a park it’d be like Rock Creek-even the traffic, as horrible as it is, can be excused because of the weekend car-free zones. From the trees to the trails (paved & unpaved) to the horse fields to the shelters to the historical markers to the variety of topography it’s tough to beat. Maybe put a coffee stand, or three, somewhere. God it’d be great to sit under a shelter with a cup after a ride or run and people watch.

No Snow in RockCreek!

 Makes it much less creepy than my usual sitting on a picnic table.  For as incredibly dense as the foliage is and as urban as it is it’s considered a relatively safe place. Some may disagree–the occasional incident happens and recently a dead body was found in the park. I’ve always felt safe even when completely alone deep in the trails.
Trails thick with leaves it was a challenge to look around and enjoy the views while watching for barriers. Almost struck the right balance—I only tripped and fell once. It is, after all, Rock Creek Park.   A beautiful full forward somersault loaded with Sam hopping around me, me cursing, bruised leg and scuffed hands. Fortunately a felled tree would have kept me from rolling further down the hill had it come to that. After dusting off and making sure only Samantha was a witness I doubled back to look for the culprit. Pretty sure it was this rock hidden under the leaves.

Stone Bridge Over Bull Run
Old Stone House – Matthews Hill

Another day we headed a bit out of the beltway for a change of pace. We landed at the site known for giving Confederate General Thomas Jackson his better known moniker of General Stonewall Jackson. Over 5000 pristine acres just a few miles west of the edge of noise and traffic hell that defines the D.C. area. With the damp fall we’ve had so far I prepared plenty–change of clothes and towels. Forgot a spare pair of shoes which won’t happen again. With early dusk we only had time to complete one of the sets of trails so we opted for the First Manassas Battlefield loop, mostly because it’s less easy to get lost on the off-the-path horse trails than the Second Battlefield trails. Within a quarter mile mud was spattered on my shins and calves. Within half-mile my socks were drenched and a nasty brown. Fortunately deep in the woods much of the snow remained–sort of. We ran into four other runners–two singles and a pair–, two dogs and four tourists. Perfect–a rare occurrence without ankles to elbows people when out for a run.

End of my week of (relative) hills gave me just over 1000 feet of climbing. Yikes–I have a long way to go if I think a few hills are really going to get me where I want to be:

Ave Pace: 9.15
Total Time: 4 hrs, 18 minutes
Ave HR: 151
Calories: 3956
(low, low pace + high relative HR = decent hills)

In Flight @ Manassas Battlefield

Took five days to get those meager results. Three years ago in a five hour period in a single day I had more than 6500 feet of climbing. Be tough to ever get back to that level.  While I once had myself fooled it’d last forever—unbeatable (you know, relatively speaking…) Good thing a few other distractions have come up to occupy my time. 

Grace Murray Hopper’s 107th Birthday

Most of us ignore Google’s daily doogle. Many probably Sometimes we head the google direction simply to see what the daily doodle has to offer. Most folks likely missed one from last week—the computer data related one. It him home for me—in part because part of her name is also part of Amy’s name. See from my place I can see the apartment where the honoree, Grace Hopper, lived–and just about see the great park named in her honor. Samantha makes a trip through the little park a few times each week and Hopper’s memorial marker is along side the path. 
Grace Hopper was both a member of the military and a teacher/professor/scientist. An incredible biography–way ahead of her time. Check out this short video of her–a classic!  Grace Hopper  – a former member of my neighborhood and buried just up over the hill from where she lived. 
Nice job Google!
Grace Murray Hopper Marker
Samantha Casting a Shadow

History On Foot

So many historical sites exist in the immediate area it’s difficult to count. Actually that’s not exactly true as the local historical society has recorded about 65 of them. Better stated that so many exist it’d be difficult to chase down all of them.  Instead I’ve decided to let them come to me–which they seem to do on a fairly regular basis.  Actually they often pop up right in front of me, completely unexpected. Some of them are simply markers next to sites that have been razed and rebuilt several times over, some turned into parks/green spaces, some have the shell of an original building shored up by layers of new framing built up all around them.
GW Parkway: Typical Crash
I’m not partial to any particular type—parks are nice because it generally allows for a little more time lingering around without looking like a bum–as I often do. Of the 65 I’d suspect I’ve unintentionally run into/onto/under/etc 20-25 or so, a couple new ones in the last few weeks. In fact, people have run into more than they realize. Landed at National Airport? That’s one. Driven down to Mt. Vernon? That’ll get ya two (not even counting Mt. Vernon itself).  Run the Marine Corps Marathon? Yup, two more–the finish and the bridge crossing over to Georgetown. Almost gets you three but I suppose one must actually go inside the Pentagon to get credit. 
MCM Running on Key Bridge

In addition to sites specifically designated on the National Historical Register (NHR)—untold numbers of other notable meaningful markers exist. I’m routinely and randomly running (or riding) into those as well. What distinguishes all these historic-type markers from sites actually on the NHR? A cumbersome  form mandated by the federal government of course.

Give an English major and a non-governmental (private industry) grant-applicant one day to attack that form and they’d likely cut it in half and double the efficiency of that department. Found: another tax-payer savings. 

Hume School-Oldest (1891) in County
Right in My ‘hood
Reevesland: Last RegionalDairy Farm

It’d be nice to make time to talk about each of the places I’ve run into so far; over time I may but they need to find their place in the prioritization hierarchy. As if I really have one of those. A couple days ago I started the first of a few days of hill running (jogging) with Samantha. With trees finally nearly clear of most leaves some of the views from neighborhood hills are breathtaking–unfortunately high-rises have blocked much of the area but changing your angle just a little bit can open up fantastic views of the Potomac River valley. The neighborhood is a bizarre mix of ’50’s era single family homes, duplexes, 6000 sq foot homes, and the requisite high-rise apartment buildings. Much of the time the size of the homes corresponds to the size/height of the hills. Samantha and I ran out of the acre size park down from my hair-cut lady (I’d say barber but well, she’s a gal and stylist presumes I actually get a hair-style) heading west and started the long slog up the incline. Twisting and turning we were thick in the midst of every type of house possible. 

Never Used Civil War Fort

Turning another corner I could see the sky–not more homes which meant we’d reached the top–right away I saw it: another site marker. This one denotes one of the many local Civil War fortification sites. No battle took place here and it was later demoted to an interior site once a larger site was built in Alexandria. We took a lap around the park and hit a couple of the trails just beyond its boundary. Given the chill in the air we were the only occupants so took a couple minutes to enjoy the endless views off to the southwest/south. It’s easy for me to fall into a bit of an imaginative state—thinking for a few minutes about the work that went into building and staffing the site. The lives led just a few blocks away that helped shape the outcome of the battles 150 years ago. 

Sweat starting to get chilly we trotted out of the park, looked both ways before deciding to go left and see what was around the next turn.

South To Alexandria From Ft. Scott