Monday, March 30, 2015


Although the calendar says Almost April, the temperatures this weekend said Almost Alaska.

In spite of the frigid temperatures, which made for brutally cold conditions for Saturday's 10K in Richmond with Baby Sis, these backyard daffodils have made themselves known, and they promised me when I spoke with them yesterday that warmer weather is on the way.

Still, just like the runners who couldn't feel hands, feet, toes or fingers Saturday morning, these daffodils have to put their heads down to brave the oncoming cold wind, push forward, and persevere.

Baby Sis and I managed to eke out a personal best in Saturday's 10K.  With no training other than last weekend's half marathon, we jogged a very frigid 10K in one hour and three minutes.  Could we have done better?  Of course.  Could we have done worse? Yep.

I need to sniff out another race for us to do this spring.

Until then, I'm going to sniff the backyard daffodils and hope for warmer temperatures this week.

Baby Sis and I at Saturday's 10K, cold and suffering in spite of outward appearances.
Thanks to Edward Anderson for this picture.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Misty Morning

Thursday morning a pocket of fog clung to the shoreline of Smither's cemetery across the creek from me.  Sunrise saw warmer temperatures jockeying for position with the cooler nighttime ground temperatures.  Although it rained on and off throughout the day, it was a very warm day eventually.

That warmth is predicted to be short-lived, however, and just in time for yet another race I've not prepared for:  the Monument Avenue 10K in Richmond, also known as Baby Sis's stomping grounds. We'll spend Friday night at her friend Dino's house, awake at Oh-So-Dark Thirty Saturday morning, and limp up and down Richmond's quaint neighborhoods in freezing temperatures--although likely nowhere near as cold as the Valentine's Day race at the winery.

Afterwards, I'll drive to Daughter's track meet in Charles City, which is sort of/not really/but kind of on the way home. If you're going the long way which includes going in the entirely opposite direction.

On Sunday I hope to do absolutely nothing.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Virginia Beach Half Marathon

Once upon a time, the Chesapeake Bay Sisters, who don't get out at all, ever away much, decided to try a new half marathon not to train for, otherwise known as the Shamrock in Virginia Beach.

In spite of the fact that the eldest recently turned 50, neither sister acted as though she were a day past 10  15 18 years old the entire weekend.

Please ignore the wad of chewing gum in the upper right corner of CBW's mouth.
Thank you.

The 50-year-old sister  is  always the responsible one  was responsible for signing them up for this Morning of Misery--that, again, neither had trained for.  As such, she took a few liberties when the website requested nicknames for the bib, which must be carefully pinned to every runner to ensure proper timing.  Those bib names are a quick at-a-glance identification for the roadside supporters and children dutifully handing out water and Gatorade at the stations every mile or so.

Imagine my glee when, at practically every water station, someone yelled,
"Great job, Aunt Esther!"
(Our family has an obsession with Sanford and Son.)

In spite of everything, including the fact that the 50-year-old's longest run since November was six miles on Valentine's Day in igloo-compatible temperatures at the New Kent Winery, and the younger sister only ran two or three times since the year 2011 then--in spite of all that lack of training, we didn't do that terribly.

At least not for us.

Our worst time ever for completing 13.1 miles is 2 hours and 45 minutes.  Our best is about 2 hours and 15 minutes.  We landed squarely in the middle this time at 2 hours 27 minutes.

But never mind all this talk about running.

The sisters only suffer through the tortuous, pre-sunrise exercise for the post-race endorphins and beer.

Baby Sis and the Atlantic Ocean.  And keg beer. It's about 10:30 a.m. here.
But we've completed 13.1 miles! 

In races past, the sisters felt slightly stymied by the post-race rules and regulations about free beer, specifically the quantity allowed.  Usually there's a limit of some sort, imposed by the very responsible race director, who has no idea that certain very tall, very un-average sisters may, for example, be able to not train for 13.1 miles of exercise and consume more (of everything) than your average person.

The point is, really, Aunt Esther Baby Sis  hates to be told what she can and cannot do, whether it's related to beer, parking, driving, operating someone else's vehicle that later ended up exploding in the streets of Richmond, playing a basketball game, playing any game of any type, breathing, working, living as a U.S. citizen, regulations of any kind, or anything resembling a need to do what one is being told to do by someone else.  At all.

For example.

In this particular race, each bib--or race number that says, for example, Aunt Esther, even if your name is really Baby Sis--has four places that the beer givers cross off each time a beer is handed out.

Baby Sis was not happy with being told how many beers she could have, particularly by her race bib or by a bib crosser offer.  She scoured the post-race festivities trying to talk other people into giving her their bib.  When I suggested it was just easier to simply purchase the beer and handed her two that I did purchase,  she acted like I'd just handed her a bag full of treason poison.

It's all about pushing the limits with Baby Sis.

And then it happened.


It happened.

As we were sitting just outside the tent on the sand with all the Happy Marathoners, basking in the sun, enjoying the last of our free beer and even a few that were purchased--much to Baby Sister's chagrin about having to choke down purchased vs. free beer--a gust of very strong wind hit the back side of a Clearly Uninterested in Drinking Four Free Beers Marathoner who wasn't clutching her number.

The wind caught the bib just so that it went way up in the air and landed almost directly in front of where the sisters were sitting in the sand.

The bib, boasting four unclaimed beers, was snatched up by an innocent bystander who attempted to locate its rightful owner.  At least one of the sisters--not the older one---saw this as a sign from above.

The sisters enjoyed four more free beers courtesy of Patty, bless her sweet beerless heart.

A good time was had by all.

Except, perhaps, poor Patty.

The End.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Well, here we are, more than halfway through the month of March, and the whirlwind of activity known as my life continues to spin more violently as rapidly as ever.  Although basketball season is long gone, absolutely nothing has slowed down, particularly relating to Daughter.

This week, in a story that involved me sprinting across the Gloucester Court House lawn in high heel shoes and sliding in the courtroom sideways, disheveled and winded just as they were shutting the doors, Daughter received her official driver's license.  She's been driving for a while, but with a provisional license.  Around here they make the teenagers and parents suffer sit through an official ceremony performed by a judge, a sheriff and a probation officer to pound home the fact that texting and driving don't mix, alcohol and driving don't mix, and mothers who work an hour away from the court house where their daughters are due in court and who also happen upon an accident that stalls traffic but who are still due in court nonetheless or else said daughter does not get her license are more than likely going to break a few minor traffic regulations, up to and including every speed limit from Williamsburg to Gloucester,  in order to get there just in the nick of time.

For example.

Daughter also represented the basketball team at a recent school board meeting, where she learned she was second team all-district with all-academic honors.  Yesterday she informed me she was nominated by the school to attend Virginia Girls State this summer.  She has a 4.3 grade point average, but was quick to tell me last night on the ride home from a King William track meet that all this can change based on what's happening in English here lately.

If getting a B or receiving any sort of grade that reduces an already over the top GPA is the worst thing she has to report, all while juggling all the sports, I'd say I'm pretty darn lucky.

Speaking of the track meet, which was her first ever, she placed first in the 200-meter dash and third in the 400m.

Speaking of running in general, which I've not been doing diligently, Baby Sister and I will participate in the Virginia Beach half marathon this weekend. Although we always say we haven't prepared properly, this time we mean it more than ever.  The longest distance I've run in the entire year of 2015 is the six miles we ran on Valentine's Day in freezing temperatures.

A half marathon is 13.1 miles.  6 and 13.1 are not even kissing cousins.  They aren't related. They don't live in the same neighborhood.  They barely recognize each other as numbers, they're so far apart.

As such, Baby Sis and I are lowering our competitive standards for this Sunday's race and are permitting ourselves to think about walking if we need to.  We also are trying not to focus on the fact that because of this lowering of standards many senior citizens will likely beat us.

Hopefully this will motivate us to do even better for the next half marathon we sign up for.  And if even one senior citizen beats us, we'll be signing up for another one.  We will not rest until we have beat a senior citizen in a half marathon!

I will be in Virginia Beach until Monday and will provide an update by mid-week.  If you don't see anything new here by Wednesday, I'm probably in the hospital recovering from a cardiac event incarcerated for Intentional Tripping of a Speedy Senior Citizen.

p.s. There is a good chance we will see Kilt Man at the finish line of this race since he is from Virginia Beach.  If you're unfamiliar with that whole story, click here.

Monday, March 16, 2015


After a soggy Saturday, Sunday sprang forth with lots of sunshine and some warmer temperatures.

Saturday night my parents came over for a seafood feast in honor of Son's last night of spring break. We devoured a huge piece of halibut, some savory scallops and my father's famous fried oysters. It was wonderful having everyone under the same roof for the evening.

Sunday I took advantage of the sunshine and picked up several thousand tree limbs that had been sprinkled all over my yard from an earlier ice storm. Working outdoors after being cooped up since fall for so long felt really good.  I'm almost looking forward to grass-cutting season.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015


This Millers Cove heron was enjoying the warmer temperatures Sunday afternoon.

I'm still in shock, pleasantly so,  that we've had three consecutive days of above-60-degree temperatures.

Baby Sis and I (foolishly) signed up for a half marathon in Virginia Beach a week from Saturday.  Given all the snow and nasty weather we've had, neither of us has done any noteworthy running since our Valentine's Day 10K at the New Kent winery.

I hope to take advantage of this week's warmer temperatures to get in a few sorry miles, but there's no way we're going to be ready for 13.1 in a week.  Of course we'll attempt it, ready or not, but we are fully prepared to watch in aggravation as the senior citizens zoom past us.

Doggone it.

Monday, March 9, 2015


Over the weekend we enjoyed some of the warmest temperatures of the year and finally saw most of the snow disappear.

The ospreys are slowly returning from wherever they spend their winters, the red-winged blackbirds were singing their songs in the tree tops, and the frogs were even making themselves known.

The snow had been hiding one of the surest signs of spring.

The daffodils are slowly making their appearance.

Son has also made an appearance for his spring break.

I'm hoping that the cold, gray days of winter are well behind us.

Regardless, it's good to see these reminders that spring is on its way.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Wednesday's warmer temperatures melted much of our recent snow and also brought a lot of fog.

 After a five-mile run down Beaverlett, I drove to the nearby public landing and took these pictures.

The warm temperatures and the fog will soon be a distant memory since the forecasters are calling for more cold, rain, sleet and snow over the next 24 hours.

In other news, basketball season officially ended Monday night in Buena Vista. I'm not sure what to do with myself now that it's over.  I don't know how to act.  I'm not used to looking at a calendar that isn't filled with two and three games per week and the prospect of days that begin at 5:30 a.m. and end at midnight.

What is a cowbell-toting mother to do?

Daughter is going to run track this spring, so we have that to look forward to.

Still, I'm going to miss basketball.

Monday, March 2, 2015


Last Wednesday, even though schools were closed because of the snow, Mathews hosted (and defeated) West Point in the first and only game of the district tournament.  That night we received even more snow and later a decision was made to cancel the rest of the tournament.

Thanks to Charlie Koenig of the Gazette Journal for these first two pictures of Daughter in action at that game.  

Regardless, tonight we advance to regional action and travel to California to Parry McCluer High School in Buena Vista, Virginia.

Between injuries and the weather, our girls have had a lot of obstacles thrown their way this season, but they've done a great job in spite of everything.

I look forward to tonight's game.

The cowbell is coming too.