Wednesday, January 31, 2007

More on the Peachtree

The Peachtree is a fun race for runners of all abilities, particularly because of the large crowd that lines the street the entire way. Construction brings changes to Buckhead and Midtown every year, so it’s nice to get the extended street level view. It’s certainly not a run through the woods, but running through a major city without having to deal with traffic is also fun.

It’s not hard for any semi-competitive runner to start not far behind elite runners. Though the race start is crowded, the pack spreads out quickly, and there’s plenty of room to run as fast you want. Runners in Time Group One receive chips to wear, to accurately time each runner. These times are published in the Atlanta paper. The course is challenging, with the third mile almost entirely uphill. The Atlanta Track Club honors the first thousand finishers with a small prize.

Non-competitive runners can also have a good time, but the massive crowd makes the entire experience less enjoyable. MARTA is packed before and after. I always park near the finish and take the train to the start. Last year I figured out it’s possible to watch the finish of the Wheelchair Race, walk the half mile to the station, ride the train to Lenox, and arrive at the start before the last Time Groups start the race. One year I may try it!

The Last Few Days

I've hated icy weather ever since I ran into the back of a Pinto in college, trying to drive back to Atlanta from Athens in 5" of snow. Never should've tried it. Not looking forward to tomorrow either. Perhaps the bad stuff will stay north of my route.

Will's first baseball practice was Saturday. He then practiced with another team. I will be spending a lot of time working on his team, sending emails and stuff. Matthew got the coach we wanted. That night I took Will to a youth activity and we had our small group...which is about to embark on a heavy-duty 16 week Bible Study/Marriage Workshop.

Friday night we went to IKEA and the Varsity. Sunday after church I ran errands and worked around the house, so I guess I was on the go all weekend. Did see Tiger and Charles Howell III on the back nine, some good competition. Saw the very end of the Thrashers heartbreaking loss and the Tech game. A guy I know sings in a quartet - Danny Morris. GT season ticketholder, football and basketball. They sang the national anthem yesterday at the Tech game.

Kept hoping Tech would make a move on Wake, but they never did. In earlier games this season, including Sunday against VT, didn't GT have names on the backs of their jerseys? Last night they didn't...perhaps a move by Hewitt. I like the idea, even though it didn't work.

Going to Houston the week of Feb 19th. The Rockets are in town the 21st...against the Heat. Probably a tough ticket.

The Coleys are thinking about moving. Susan was out looking at houses yesterday, with Houston and Haviland...while Bryan was out at the Sundance Film Festival. Their main concern is that their current house is falling apart.

Welcome Missy...Reader Number Four!

I have a yahoo email address for entering is linked to this blog. Earlier while deleting emails I came across one that looked very much like a junk email, but the subject was " it really you?" The sender's proper name was vaguely familiar, but I couldn't place it. Normally I don't, but I opened the email, it said she'd stumbled across my blog, and hoped me and Ceil were going well. The sender was the assistant attorney general in Saipan. In her Oceana blog she called herself a 33-year old overworked attorney. Even the photo wasn't ringing a bell. Read the blog and found another photo...I knew her as Missy, a contemporary of Lang's. I had missed the 'Missy' in her email.

This is my blog…mainly a collection of the emails I write. With three kids it’s hard to find time to sit down and write something coherent! If you try hard you can get a picture of our family life from reading the blog. I even posted a “Christmas Letter” recapping last year. Every now and then I’ll even post a picture. Now I have four readers…also counting the CPA, Lang, and Paul.

Ceil is doing well, enjoying the craziness of teaching our three at home. We rarely see much of the old gang, but most days I do swap emails with Reid Whitaker. Globe-trotting Lang writes occasionally, and I did hear from Claire this week. Every now and then we hear from Dave and Caroline McKeithen, who live in Florida. We rarely see David & Mary Hurt, but we’re attending their annual Super Bowl party. Bob & Myra Marsh will be there. Ceil keeps up with Becky Norman, whose boys attend science classes with our 13-year old.

Not long ago we uncovered an old Camp SPdL Talent Show VHS tape. Our kids loved it as much as we did!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Mr. Kay

Yesterday a VP from Chicago was expected to visit, so I dressed up more than usual…white dress shirt, grey slacks, and nice loafers.

My desk is near the back of our office, near to the door to our small warehouse. Close to lunchtime I heard the two ladies seated near the front windows say an old man in an old pickup had driven up and was at our locked door, reading the various messages. Sue and Renee said that since he didn’t have flowers, they weren’t opening the door. The man never rang the doorbell, instead getting back in his truck and driving around to the back of the building, as the sign instructs drivers to do who are picking up metal. I heard the chatter, but my focus never strayed from my laptop.

A few minutes later the door to the warehouse opened just behind me. When this happens I always listen to see who it is. It was a voice I didn’t recognize, so I turned around and immediately recognized the “old man” – Gordon Kay, the retired CEO of our company. When I started with Tull Metals, Mr. Kay was President. Since the company was smaller then and we were both at the Norcross complex, he knew me. We also had a connection…he went to Clemson, where Ceil had gone to school. Years ago I ran into him before a Clemson football game. When Tull merged with Ryerson, he eventually became CEO of the entire company, and spent a lot of time in Chicago.

I immediately hopped up to greet him. Turned out he was picking up a piece of steel plate for a friend, so we went out to the warehouse to track it down. The warehouse manager was at lunch, but a plant worker picked up the small plate and put it in Mr. Kay’s truck. I told Mr. Kay not to bother, but he insisted on paying for the material. While I looked for the order in the computer, Mr. Kay went over to greet my coworkers. In his usual mild mannered fashion, he only said he used to work here, never saying how important he was. He asked if I still went to Clemson games, and we discussed the recent football season. He was not aware Steve Apostel had moved to the Orlando office. I never found the order, and was unable to convince Mr. Kay that he didn’t have to pay. He signed a blank personal check and handed it to me, saying he trusted me.

Later I tracked down the Sales Manager who had coordinated the order. He had told Mr. Kay there would be no charge, and didn’t bother to enter an order, since that would’ve been more trouble than it was worth.

The VP never showed, of course. But at least I was wearing the old Tull “uniform” when Mr. Kay showed up.

Week of January 22nd

Saw some of the women’s Tennessee / Duke game, including some of those long three-pointers. Then I got to watching Fox's 50 most exciting football included several from the high school level. Cal-Stanford was number one, and the immaculate reception was number two.

Every time I get an email from Reid with the title "Last Night" I think, oh boy...he’s been on another adventure!

Looks like I’ll actually be Will’s coach…the team will have 14 other players, so my job will be to make sure everyone gets playing time. There’s plenty of work to be done in practice, but I’ve already devised a split squad practice game with batting orders and defensive positions, with ten different pitchers and seven different catchers. I know all the boys except one. Another downside will be having to miss some of Matthew’s games, unless I get lucky. Coach’s meeting tomorrow night, first practice Saturday, during Matthew’s tryout. Hopefully Matthew will get the same coach as last year.

Went to see Déjà Vu…pretty good. I'm not big on action movies, but it was good.

A friend from Virginia is coming down to run in the Peachtree Road Race with me. He’s running a half marathon in March. The last few years I haven’t trained, and just run some and walked the rest. Guess I’ll have to get ready this time.

Any opinion on the Vick saga(s)?

Peachtree Road Race

The Peachtree Road Race is certainly an event that needs to be experienced at least once. It is a huge crowd that younger runners like Will enjoy. This will be my 20th Peachtree. I was about ready to hang it up, but now Will wants to run every year. This will be his 4th time.

Even entering the race is an event. The application appears in the Sunday AJC in March. The first 45,000 applications are accepted, then the final 10,000 slots are drawn from all the remaining applications that come in over the next week. Many go through the annual ritual of buying a copy of the Sunday AJC when it hits newsstands Saturday, and mailing the applications at a Post Office with Saturday pickup. I've gotten in every year, knock on wood.

Runners are randomly divided into ten time groups and the race has a staggered start. The Kenyan that wins the race in about 28 minutes actually finishes before thousands of runners even start the race! There is a good chance the Murphys and Broadwells won't be in the same time group, but whoever is in the earliest group can move back.

If you want to watch, our old church at the two-mile mark is a great spot. Ceil used to go, but lately has watched on TV. The Braves are unfortunately on the road the week of the Fourth, for the first time in many years.

Last Weekend

Guess I’m making decent progress here at work, and should be able to get a lot done this week.

Ceil likes the Moe’s near the East Cobb Ted’s the best. We went there Friday night, as Will was at a sleepover. Then we swung by Publix and Borders…so we were a day ahead of you. Noticed the book “Little League Confidential” written by a NYC columnist…probably similar to a book I’d like to write.

Saturday I picked up Will, and he and Anna ran some errands. We all went to the bike shop in Roswell, then Chickfila. Cleaned some stuff from the garage. That night Ceil and I watched “Deep Impact” on TNT while Will and Anna watched HS Musical, and Matthew watched Cars. Deep Impact had some cast…Morgan Freeman, Tea Leoni, Leelee Sorbinski, the West Wing’s Richard Schift (pre-beard), etc. Kept tabs on the GT loss to UNC.

Sunday after NP we ate at El Porton, then I went to a coach’s clinic for Will’s Little League. They had asked me to coach, then I screwed up and waiting too long to register Will. Sixteen boys signed up for one team, so now there’s a waiting list. So I’m attending all the stuff…got another meeting Thursday.

Took the kids to see The Santa Claus 3, where Martin Short stole the show…singing and dancing in a big production number. Judge Reinhold, Adam Arkin, Ann Margaret, and that BlackSox from Field of Dreams that shows up in so many movies. Poor Jay Thomas in an Easter Bunny suit. Got home in time to see the second half comeback by the Colts.

Lang’s parents went Thursday night to Cirque. At NP Andy was mentioning the other campuses, and said “Buckhead, Browns Bridge, and Atlantic Station” Didn’t know what he was talking about.

Did add a day to our SF trip, and browsed some SF tourism sights.

Week of January 15th

Practicing over the winter has helped Will keep his form, so his hitting has been good. Looks like he’ll play some games with this competitive team, as well as another team made up of boys he played with last fall. Henry isn’t coaching that team, but if Ceil lets me coach with some other friends, then Will won’t have to pitch and catch all the time, but still hit near the top of the order.

Found out about the LaRoche trade late Wednesday. You'd think they might've kept LaRoche if they thought Andruw would be leaving town after this year. I had shut down my laptop, but when I heard I fired it up again, and checked's Dave O'Brien's blog. I had already read his ranking of the ballparks, which was interesting. Guess Craig Wilson now figures in the mix.

My time in Bham was used the entire office and several plant workers in several small group sessions the last two days...but my voice had gotten scratchier and scratchier after the Orlando week, and the last two days I was just plain hoarse. I have a lot to do Friday, including two probable meetings, though now I'm starting not to feel so great. Just in time for the weekend.

Booked the SF trip Wednesday night...earliest available was Aug 9 - 13, and Ceil didn't freak out about it being so close to the start of school. Her only comment was that it wasn't that long. May call today to see if we can leave a day or two earlier, which it appears I can without an extra charge.

Tuesday night I went to a meeting at Will's school regarding the April Jekyll Island trip, which our entire family will go on. The next day we ate Chinese in Bham, and my fortune cookie said I deserved a vacation.

The temp we've had since last May is being cut out, so some of the stuff she'd been doing for me will be back in my lap. She did a good job, better than most temps, but had too many rough edges for them to hire, I guess.

Got back into town late Thursday night, knowing I had to get the boys registered for baseball, as the letter said the deadline was the 18th. Got to the MP Sports web site around 11:20 and saw the deadline was 11:30. Got Matthew registered for Pinto National, then noticed there was a waiting list for Pony. I was signing Will up, and during his registration checked the volunteer box. By this time it was right at 11:30. It never took me to the “pay” screen…perhaps because there was a waiting list? Got a confirming email for Matthew, as well as a confirming email for me volunteering, but never got a confirming email about Will being on a waiting list. (outcome: since they were considering me the coach, they let him on the team, with 14 other boys).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Orlando Recap

Got to Orlando too late Sunday to go the only home Magic game, against the Celtics. Monday night I watched the BCS championship, and Wednesday and Thursday night I went out to eat with my old boss. I worked every day til six.

Watched a couple of movies…Wedding Crashers and Jersey Girl. I started to watch The Producers, but disliked it so that I changed the channel. There actually wasn’t much to watch on TV. Caught the second half of the GT win over Duke. Every year there’s one game that captures my attention, then after that I’ll watch basketball the rest of the season…that GT game was it. That’s about all I did, besides catch up on a bunch of stuff that had piled up since before Christmas, and iron the five outfits I had taken with me twice…once to wear down there, and a second time to have up here.

Did some research on AirTran and promise to have it booked by the end of the week.

Made it home from Orlando in time for small group. Will had baseball practice on Saturday and Sunday with the travel team he is a “fill-in” player for…the coach says he’ll want Will to play as much as possible. Supposedly Will can’t “move up” to play on the Colt League team, which hacks me off. Others want to move up as well, and they can’t let everyone. Which means next year we may look harder at alternatives.

Late Friday Ceil discovered that Anna has head lice, so the rest of the weekend was spent throwing everything in the washer/dryer. This after Ceil spent the week washing everything Matthew messed up while he was sick during the week. Ceil and I have a meeting at Will’s Living Science school tomorrow night, and tonight I have to help Will on another paper. Then Wednesday I leave for Bham for 2 days, so I’ll never catch up on my rest. Didn’t get much rest this weekend or last week in Orlando.

A couple came to our group to tell us about Intimate Encounters…said it was a lot of work, and you can’t miss…or your help back til you catch up. Eight straight weeks, then a break, then eight more. We’ll see if we go ahead and do it. I talked to the guy for a while and it came up he’s been to the Braves Fantasy camp four times…knows Clint Hurdle and plays golf with Tom Pachorick. Were it me I’d go to four different team’s camp…not that much into that these days, but it was fun.

Interesting that Gailey has been so popular on the interview circuit. If he doesn’t land a job his popularity at GT won’t be helped.

Uni-Watch had a copy of the Braves new BP caps…similar to several teams, including the Yankees. His column ranked Atlanta next-to-last in cities with the best uniforms…though he had the Braves above average, they were no better than the Rays!
…the Falcons unis of course drove down the ranking.
…the Hawks uni is unremarkable…average to me. They’d look better if they’d win. No extra credit for throwbacks.
…I think the Thrashers are ok, but I’m sure Uni-Watch only ranked the original six teams high.
…some cities got extra credit for quaint ballparks. The Ted wasn’t mentioned, but points were taken away for the Dome.
I would’ve ranked them higher…more national media bias!

Monday, January 08, 2007

New Year's Tidbits

In an organizing mood New Year’s weekend, cleaning out the living room, where all the school stuff is, as well as the downstairs bedroom. Organized a bunch of giveaway stuff as well, did laundry, etc. So I was on my feet for most of the weekend, doing that stuff with the bowl games on. We went for a walk on the first, so I missed the last GT TD. The QB played well...makes you wonder why the coaches didn't play him earlier when Reggie struggled. Had he played all year Calvin might've won the Heisman.

Saban…guess you gotta go where the money is...the pressure is huge, no matter if it's the Dolphins or the Tide.

Busy at work...on December 28th I worked until 8 pm. Highly unusual, but it was the only day I worked over the 12 days of Christmas. Seems like I'm in the carrot on a stick mode...trying to stay caught up, but everyone's got stuff going on here at the beginning of the year, coupled with stuff that the year end dug up. I may try and wrangle a Houston training trip, not that I need more stuff to do. The Orlando GM told me today she recommended me for the Houston conversion.Matthew got a video camera and has been making some hilarious videos.

Hope to have the SF trip all booked in the next few days...hopefully June, but I did notice some sold out flights around Memorial Day.

Fox has made bowl games last later than ever. They used to start at 8 pm, but with Fox they put on 30 minutes of pregame. The other night I woke up on the couch and Boise State had just sent it to OT. It was 12:40 am, so I turned it off and went to bed.

Furman Bisher and Terrance Moore seem to be feeding the GT QB 'controversy' - from different angles.

The new SI has a long article about Pete Maravich...should be interesting reading. I have the Maravich autobiography, but I've only read parts of it. Just finished John Grisham's "Bleachers". Ceil rented Phantom of the Opera.

Found a pair of black Chuck Taylors yesterday...would've been great for holiday parties.

Pre Christmas Tidbits

Another on the go weekend before Christmas Eve weekend. Hopefully new year's weekend won't be too busy. Friday night we had a small group party. Saturday I worked around the house, got the oil changed and van washed, did a little shopping, watched Groundhog Day, took Ceil to dinner, and attended a co-worker's party at the new condos at Lindbergh, just before the HOV entrance/exit...the Cosmopolitan. They have a great view of the city.

Sunday I drove down to Macon to check on my mom and raked their yard. Last night I was bushed!

We went to St. George's Island Florida on Thursday...7 hours / 380 miles. The plan was on Sunday to drive straight on SC...10 hours / 600 miles. We returned Wednesday...5 hours / 300 miles. The kids planned what to do in the van.

Matthew had bronchitis. The doctor says they’ve never been busier.

Will bought a video iPod, to play with on our 22 hours on the road. We went to Moes and Perimeter Mall the Monday before Christmas.

See the poll results on the Skip/Pete thing? They’ll be missed, but I like Chip and Joe as well. Ron Gant has always been bland to me. Got the Brett Butler book? My dad forgot to give it to me one Christmas, so I’m getting it this year.

Good column on SI by Lang on Christmas letters. I haven’t sent one out (yet), so he wasn’t talking about me!

We ate a work lunch at Ted's before Xmas . One guy had gone ahead to hit Trader Joe's, so he put in for a table. The rest of us were late...our sponsor coming in from Talladega was late. When they gave the last big table to a party of two, Randy complained to the we got excellent service the entire meal, including an immediate order of rings.

Whenever Damon tells a baseball news bit, he looks at me. He played a Parkview and Kennesaw State.

It is an encouragement to Ceil to have the house decorated, though we were never good at decorating the outside. The surrounding 5 houses...2 Jewish, a Russian from NYC, and 2 Christian households.

I'm not big on office parties...there haven't been many. I wasn't invited to the big wig party. The sit down at Fogo was ok.

Found a huge ($34,000.00) negative hit at work...not anything I personally handle. It will actually be good to have it hit this year, as opposed to next. On into 2007…this turned out to create quite a stir, and a bit of reorganization.

2006 Christmas Letter

I am a sucker for these things, so I wrote this up to send to a few people who had sent us one of these monstrosities:

We so love to receive and hear from dear friends and relatives during the holidays, and didn’t want the season to go by without at least touching base, since we managed to miss sending out cards again this year. This was certainly a year that created lifetime memories for our family.

Matthew turned eight in October, and is a skilled reader and mathematician. A prolific artist, he daily produces detailed drawings, maps, and figures crafted from clay, paper, and other materials. Now he is producing hilarious videos with the camcorder he received for Christmas. Matthew loves to go to Braves games, and received a batting practice ball from Brian McCann, his favorite player. While praying with Ceil the night before a big Little League playoff game, he prayed that he would hit a home run, though he had never come close before. But next day he did…and running the bases, the look on his face was priceless!

Anna continues to love ballet, and has also become quite the reader, devouring whole books in a day. Mysteries are her favorite, and she’s halfway through the Nancy Drew series. Anna loves anything horses and American Girl dolls, even attending an American Girl Tea. She even has a horse for her American Girl doll! In June she once again attended Miss Ginny’s Knitting Camp with her best friends, and in July went with dad on a business trip to Charlotte, where she spent time with an old neighbor friend. In August she wanted to go shopping for her tenth birthday, surely a bad sign!

Will became a teenager this year, and has a bunch going on. He loves his wonderful Living Science school, which has challenged him both academically and spiritually. He has become the neighborhood yard man, and also helps out Tech sophomore George Ewing with his yard business. Will attends youth activities with many friends at a nearby church, particularly on Wednesday nights. He had another fine baseball year, traveling with his summer team to play in Cooperstown, New York, where he led the team in both hitting and pitching…not allowing a run the entire tournament. In the fall Will turned his second career unassisted triple play, the rarest feat in sports! He finished the season batting leadoff for the 15 – 18 year old Colt team.

Every year Ceil rises to the ever-increasing challenge of home-schooling our three children. Preparation has become more and more time consuming…she has become more organized and attends several conferences and book fairs. Ceil completed a Bible study with a dear group of women, regularly prays with several of her closest friends, and loves helping out at Living Science with Becky Norman and other moms. She also squeezed in a little time for her beloved baking and sewing.

Dave enjoyed writing a little, and helping and watching the kids in their activities…scoring the baseball games and playing some catch. He chaperoned on both the Living Science Spring Expedition to Jekyll Island and in the Cooperstown barracks. There were more trips than usual to Macon in the fall, when his mother had extensive shoulder surgery. Business trips were short but interesting, and included trips to Houston, Jacksonville, Charlotte, and Orlando (when he took in Tampa Bay Devil Rays game).

The year breezed along, punctuated with a few trips like the April Expedition. We celebrated Easter with Ceil’s family in South Carolina, and returned in July for a week at Myrtle Beach, as well as a November Clemson football game. On our way home from Cooperstown Will got to visit New York City for the first time, then Washington, DC and a Nationals game with the Broadwell men. At home God worked in our lives through our local church, where Ceil (and Will) worked in a children’s class. Our cups were full.

Then in late July the phone rang in the middle of the night…Ceil’s dear friend and mentor Ginny Ewing had not returned from her bike ride on the Silver Comet Trail. Ceil and Will went out to help with the search, while Dave and Anna sped home from North Carolina. For the next week the story of her violent murder led the local news, making dealing with the tragedy all the more difficult. Ceil was of course devastated, and found solace by spending time at the Ewing house most every day. While there was an outpouring of care for the Ewings, God also greatly comforted our family, through the care and love of our community group, friends, and family. Ginny was a great encourager for Ceil, particularly in home schooling, as well as in prayer, friendship, and many other areas of life. Ceil is still overcoming her loss, so we ask for your continued prayers…it’s hard just to write this!

We finished the year with an interesting journey, first to St. Georges Island, Florida to celebrate Christmas with Dave’s family. We were able to enjoy an almost empty beach, before cutting the trip short…Matthew had bronchitis earlier in the week, and Will came down with it in Florida. Then we returned to South Carolina for the Miller Family Christmas: three more days of wonderful constant family activity. As 2006 came to a close we have begun to appreciate even more the life God has given us, and the friends we have to share it with.