Oh, to be unemployed in autumn with a bee in one’s bonnet!  I decided the spacious backyard of my rental house could use a bit of tidying and restructuring, so, with my landlord’s permission, and on a miniscule budget, I set out to give it a wee overhaul.

The original.  Pre-anything.

The original. Pre-anything.

I hacked away at ivy, I edged the lawn, I weeded, I planted perennials…but the major project was the new patio.

I found a boatload of bricks on Craigslist for $40.  Hauled them back to my house in my unhappy Ford Focus hatchback (in two trips – they would’ve all fit, but they were a bit heavy).  I had the smallest possible amount of paver base delivered from my local nursery (along with a loaner wheelbarrow) and, voila, the patio was born.

You can download an iPod/iTunes movie, replete with DVD-commentary-style voiceover, here.  (Please ignore the near complete lack of audio editing.  Clipping there is.  Just didn’t care to do it over…)

The patio in all its glory.

The patio in all its glory.

Mums the word.

Mum's the word.


After! Patio, perennials and all.


I ran my first Detroit race yesterday – the Grand Prix Shakedown 8k.  It took place on Belle Isle, the island park in the Detroit River and home to this weekend’s Indy and LeMans races.  Part of the course was indeed on the racetrack, which struck me as terribly narrow and dangerous (for cars, not for runners).  I brought my camera (though not on the race proper) hoping to catch some images for car-race-fan Matt, but couldn’t get back onto the track after the run to do it.  Besides, I was distracted by the free pizza, Miller Light, Faygo pop, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and bananas.  (My $25 race fee also netted me a long-sleeved tee, a terry wristband, a blue livestrong-style wristband and a schmancy neoprene water bottle.  This was a swag-filled event.)

It also had a strange dual nature – two guys with mics had seemingly diverse agendas for the evening.  One was trying to get people to the massage tent while he blasted dance music, while the other was trying to raffle off the random prizes.  The guy with the dance music won out, in my view, and besides, when was the last time you saw something like this at your last road race?

The folks in blue are the Stone Steppers, a Detroit running group with style.  Looks like they do some other steppin’ when they’re not running.  And they run pretty fast.  Alas, I had forgotten about the camera in Jim’s pocket, so missed the best dancing (including the Cupid Shuffle), but you get the flavor.  The guy in the lead (with the paper plate and pizza in his hand) is (I believe) Coach Mike Stone, the founder after whom the group is named.

Again, with the belated posts, but here’s a bit of fun from friends in Seattle in July, with messages for Stephen in Chicago.  He saw them in-camera, so the messages were at least delivered in a timely fashion!

(If you want a copy for your iPod or iPhone or iWhatsis you can download it here.  Looks better when it’s not streaming through Google.  Really.)

The first installment in Why Stacey’s Friends Should Hide When She Has Her Camera.  (Yes, I’d be happy to provide a copy suitable for your iPod!)

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