So, my friend Mari and I were looking for a wee race to run in December, and we found a Jingle Bell 5k.  There are scores of these events across the U.S. put on by the Arthritis Foundation as fundraisers each winter.  This one was December 5 in Northville, Michigan.  Perfect!  The cause is dear to my heart, because my mom lives with arthritis, and the Jingle Bell theme – well, it called out for costumes.

So it began.

Stephen, suddenly discovering unused vacation days, was prevailed upon to join us, and we were to be a flock of three.  Then, in the eleventh hour, a crisis!  Mari had to drop out of the event.  I went on a mad scouting mission for someone to fill her fleece…and found Andy.  We left in the chilly predawn for our event.

And we emerged victorious…or at least we won the costume contest! (Click to enlarge any photo below.)

(You can also download an iPod version here.)
The boys and I went on nearly the perfect end-of-summer vacation last weekend. A cabin on a lake, a run through vineyards and orchards, wine tasting, good food, gorgeous sunny weather, no bugs, a hammock, a fire pit, early morning coffee in the hot tub watching the mist roll in over the lake. I’m tellin’ ya, it was over-the-top, ridiculously, stereotypically, cheesily grand. Just like the video, which is the sappiest thing in the world and which I will watch all winter whenever I’m feeling blue. Here are a few more photos, too (click to enlarge).

Stephen basks on a rock near Lake Michigan

Geraniums in the late afternoon light.

Sunset over Bass Lake

From my morning at the Eastern Market.  Flower Day comes but once a year!  I, alas, have no wagon, so I just kept returning to my car, over and over again.  The kid in the final shot carried impatiens to my car, too!  He was shocked I asked to take his picture.  “That’s a first,” he said.  I’ll post pictures of my yard when things have grown in a bit.  Happy Spring!

It is snowing like crazy – it’s the perfect day for Winterfest on The Hill, the neighborhood fair featuring ice sculptures, cookie decorating, a pro-am chili cook-off, Coney Islands, smores, face painting, and…wait for it…sled dogs!

Ho, ho, ho!  It was Christmas and Stephen and Jim were in town.  Yes, you can download a silly 40-odd-second movie montage of their winter wonderland photoshoot.  And I have also posted a few gems here.  Please note their sterling, hand-knitted head- and neckwear, courtesy of yours truly this holiday.  (As always, click to enlarge.  The photos, not the knitwear.)

Next to the frozen lake.

Next to the frozen lake.

Theyre frond of each other.

They're frond of each other.

I generally abhor politics.  Partisanship makes me want to puke.  I watch our elected officials towing the party line and wonder when it was they actually stopped being able to think for themselves.  Why can’t they answer questions put to them without resorting to talking points (which may or may not have anything to do with the question)?  Why do they think the only way to my vote is through smear tactics and fear mongering?  When did leadership become so divisive?

Don’t they know that communities as small as a hometown or as large as the entire world contain multitudes of worthy voices – the voices of people who work hard, and have values, and truly want what’s best for their families and even for humanity?  That it’s not, and it can’t ever be, “us versus them” – not really?  That there is no “them?”

Barack Obama knows.  He doesn’t try to reduce world politics, or global crises, or human interaction to managable-sound-byte, black-and-white, us-vs-them polemics.  He addresses issues with the complexity and nuance that they demand.  He doesn’t dumb down policy or attempt to polarize opinion because he thinks that’s all the American people are smart enough to get behind.  He treats us and the topics of our time with the respect we all deserve.  He knows that true leadership is about building consensus among diverse groups in order to build pathways towards common goals – not shaping opinion by tearing down your opponents.  He believes that leaders create instead of destroy.

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that we have elected him President of the United States.  How deeply I believe that this man is destined for greatness.  He will heal relationships at home and abroad because he starts from a place that so many politicians seem to have forgotten – respect.  If you haven’t already heard it, take a few minutes to listen to his acceptance speech from last night.  It’s inspiring.

Inspiration.  The starting point for so many things we hold dear – art, religion, relationships, innovation, invention, science, scholarship, learning, athletics, hard work, starting a family.  It’s about time it made its way back into politics.

Man, this video just warms the cockles of my little heart.  Hustle on!

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