Bobcat Badge

Matthew received his Bobcat Badge last night in Cub Scouts. Yay!

I lead the Tiger Cub Den of our Pack. Colby, Dylan, Matthew, Matthew and Matthew (I wish I were kidding). All but Colby completed the badge requirements, and I think he'll be getting it at the November Pack Meeting.

Cub Scouts works a bit differently than it did when I was a kid. Nowadays, you can start in 1st grade into a Tiger Cub den, in 2nd grade into a Wolf Den, 3rd grade a Bear Den, and 4th and 5th grades are in Webelos. But, all new Cub Scouts, regardless of age, must first earn their Bobcat Badge before earning their own Den badge requirements. And, if you start in a Wolf Den (etc), you may not go back and complete the lower level badges. You start with Bobcat and then go on to complete your current year badge.

For those keeping score at home, the current Bobcat Badge requirements are to be able to recite the Cub Scout Promise, Law of the Pack, and motto and demonstrate the Cub Scout sign, handshake, and salute. There's also a discussion on preventing child abuse, etc that's outlined in the guidebook that the scout must have with his Adult Partner.




Well, the Great Candy Haul is complete for this year. And the kids did pretty well. See?

Emily was a robot (built it myself, I'm so proud!).

And Matthew was a prince (a costume he picked based on being allowed to carry a sword).

More pictures here.

And -- look -- videos! Two of them, even!



New One for Us

Each fall our home is invaded by local denizens. Despite the best efforts of Ehrlich Pest Control and Dottie, our cat, we wind up with mice in our house. Just a few, mind you.

It used to be worse in our pre-Ehrlich days. We used to get millipedes by the hundreds through our basement and family room.

Well, Dottie sometimes brings live mice in to play with and they inevitably get loose and run under the 9,000-lb entertainment center. We catch glimpses of them now and then.

This one was a bit harder to miss. A mouse had somehow gotten into a half-full (half-empty?) glass of water. It was alive and just standing there staring at the children.

I wish I were making this up.



You've Got Meme

Four jobs I have had in my life:

  1. Chi-Chi's bus-girl

  2. Project Director at a major Pittsburgh ad agency

  3. Elementary school teacher

  4. Sports card sorter
Four movies I've watched more than once: (only 4???? So hard!)

  1. High Fidelity

  2. The Princess Bride

  3. Monty Python's The Holy Grail

  4. The Untouchables
Four places I have lived:
  1. West Philadelphia ("born and raised ...." yep, Will Smith's neighborhood)

  2. Glasgow, Scotland

  3. Norfolk, Virginia

  4. Pittsburgh, PA
Four T.V. Shows that I watch:
  1. Doctor Who

  2. NCIS

  3. The Family Guy

  4. The Daily Show

Four favorite past time activities:

  1. Knitting

  2. Surfing the 'Net

  3. Reading

  4. Scrapbooking
Four places I have been:
  1. Portugal

  2. Sequoia National Park

  3. the Dominican Republic

  4. Devil's Tower, Wyoming
Four people who e-mail me (regularly):
  1. Dana

  2. Rene

  3. Ray

  4. Steve
Four of my favorite foods:
  1. Shrimp

  2. Tiramisu

  3. Filet with bleu cheese

  4. Homemade bread
Four places I would rather be right now:
  1. My mom-in-law's place in the Poconos

  2. Camping somewhere with fall foliage

  3. Edinburgh, Scotland

  4. Cazenovia, NY
Four things I am looking forward to this year (in 2008):
  1. Joe making big strides on his PhD

  2. Paying off some debt

  3. Planning a cool summer vacation (maybe)

  4. Joe's mom's wedding
Four things that I like to do on the weekends:
  1. Visit family

  2. Hang out with Joe (TV, computer games, movies)

  3. Family Game Night

  4. Cheer Matthew in football



Costume Cop Out

Not that anyone's really waiting on tenterhooks to find out, but I've decided to go with the cheap, easy and comfortable option of ... scarecrow. :) The item at Goodwill that caught my eye was denim overalls. So, go figure.



Am I Crazy?

Tonight I was lying down with my eyes closed in a dark room trying to ignore my randomly barking dog. Quick clarification for anyone not having met my dog -- she's a keeshond. They're bred for companionship and watchfulness (involving a sharp bark).

Anyway, if she was quiet awhile and then barked, I saw a flash of light. Kind of a horizontal line in white tinged with red at the edges. Sort of red-white-hot like the picture. It happened more than once. So I started to take note. If I lay on one side, so one ear was smooshed in the pillow, the lightning effect came from the side of the exposed ear. If the dog kept barking, it was only the initial bark following a period of silence that would cause the effect. So the startling the nerves had something to do with it, though I was never startled enough to actually jump or flinch.

I've Googled this tonight and found some other anecdotal stuff of people mentioning they sometimes see a bright flash behind their closed eyes when they hear a loud noise (and a blog survey by a guy asking what people see when their eyes are closed -- colors, flashing, grey shapes, squiggles, etc), but nothing neurological or scientific. I guess I'm kind of wondering if this happens to everybody, or if there's something weird and different going on in my brain.


Matthew's Sick / Halloween

Croup and fever, Day Two.

Technically longer on the cough. But previously it was intermittent and now it's fairly constant. Poor little guy.

As for the costume for me ... I'd really like to do Holly Golightly. I'd need to buy a sleeveless black dress (Hello, Goodwill dress for $5), black opera gloves and a tiara (or other sparkly hair thingie).

I think I'm going to wind up wandering through Goodwill and see what sort of inpiring dress, retro something, liesure suit, etc. catches my eye.

Maybe I'll just wear lots of bizarre clothes in clashing colors and slap on the garishly horrible red wig, to boot.



Day Three

Just realized I never really finished the Tale of the 3-Day.

Day Three we woke up just a little stiffer and creakier than the previous morning. We ate a 5am breakfast again and then spent a good half hour or so doctoring and prepping our feet. I should have bought stock in BodyGlide, Blister Blocker and moleskin. It was a nice dark, clear morning, and I got to take a great picture of the moon with a few nice neighborly celestial bodies.

This day we left Fairmount Park for the last time (well, until next year's walk). We headed down through neighborhoods I don't know well ... through what's known as the Main Line (on the west side of Philly). Nice rich homes.

The people along the route were awesome today, too. Families set up pink plastic tableclothed tabled with pink-frosted sugar cookies and bowls of tootsie rolls. One woman even opened up her two bathrooms to walkers (which I took advantage of ... dang Gatorade. They tell you to push the Gatorade and not just drink water, to keep your electrolytes inbalance, but what they don't tell you is that when you drink it while your electrolytes are basically already in balance, well ... your body flushes out all the salts in a hurry).

The day quickly grew quite hot. Remember, a clear dawn may be beautiful to look at, but it bodes for a sun-beating-down-on-the-sidewalk kind of day. We pased by a closed Rita's Water Ice stand and almost cried. Then we saw "Pop's Water Ice" open for business! Wooo! Jen got lemon and I had strawberry lemonade. Just enough cool and refreshing to get us to our last Pit Stop of the walk.

Lunch was late this day. Not until mile 13. And after the longest stretch of unbroken walk of the whole weekend (3.5 miles). And after a series of long uphills. We were beat by then. And were happy to take the advice of experienced walkers. We figured how long the last 2.5 miles ot the finish were going to take and hung out at lunch until it was time to go. There's really nothing to do at the finish but wait for the final walkers so the Closing Ceremony can commence, and there's limited shade. Not somewhere good to hang out for a long time.

Jen and I left there with my friend, Dana's, team. It was really fun to walk with Dana for awhile.

The last mile or so was lined with cheering friends and family. We saw Lisa, the yellow car lady, one last time. I was starting to feel pretty proud and emotional. Jen looked beat and I kept being as chipper as I could. But I could really start to feel the emotion rising up. Finally we saw the finish area just ahead. I took a quick picture and kept going, trying not to burst into tears.

Then I saw the Odd Couple/Pink-Haired Guys. I lost it. Completely. As I sobbed (with joy? relief?), they both gave me a giant hug and told me how proud they were. WAAAAA!

Jen and I walked through the finish together, got scanned for one last time and picked up our Victory Shirts and pink roses. Then we both took turns on her cell trying to reach our significant others who were to meet us for the Closing Ceremonies. For the record, her Tom was there WAY early and came to visit us. Joe underestimated the traffic, so I didn't get to see him and the kids until after everything ended (though they did make it in time for the ceremonies).

We all lined up (6 people wide), with the survivors in their pink shirts in a separate group. The crew formed a sort of hallway for us to pass through while they cheered madly and then we entered a longer "hallway" of supporters also cheering madly while upbeat Celtic-ish music played everywhere. We waved to the supporters we'd recognized throughout the walk, we hugged, we cried a bit, and then we all shuffled into a big standing space in front of a stage (with a smaller round stage in the middle of the area, just like in the Opening Ceremonies).

Then the crew entered, and we all cheered madly for them. Then the survivors were announced. There was still cheering, but it definitely had a different quality to it. It kind of got quieter and then we all noticed people removing and holding up one sneaker (so, being lemmings, we did it too). It was an incredibly moving salute. I mean, after all ... the survivors are the inspiration for all of us, why we were all there.

Moving speeches, "you're all amazing" type talk (which we are). Jokes about portapotties, etc. Then it was over.

I finally made my way over to Joe and the kids and started crying again.

The rest is serious denouement. Dana and I waited outside the parking garage for about 35 minutes while Joe went for the van. We drove the hour or so home and went to Lonestar Steakhouse for a congratulatory meal. Looking mighty scrungy, I might add. I explained to the hostesses that we'd just, *just* walked 60 miles in 3 days to beat breast cancer and they were all, "Really???? No way!"


Mick, the manager, bought us each a drink. It did wonderful things to relax all those stiff muscles made even stiffer by the ride in the van.

It was weird. One solid night's sleep in my own bed later, and I hardly felt as though I'd done it. It was already fading a bit. My legs were a bit stiff and my feet were a bit sore, but nothing bad. By the second day when I returned to work (thank you Christopher Columbus!), I really felt basically fine. That whole next week I fell asleep watching tv by about 9pm, so I know I was recuperating. And I caught a cold or something and stayed home from work on Friday. But basically ... I kind of feel like I could already do it all over again.

Which I'm going to do. But not until October 2008.



Knitting Technology

Combining knitting and computers ... woooo! What could be better???

I'm now a part of Ravelry.com, a currently beta-testing, but soon open to all needle-crafting community.


ps. Yeah, that's an actual sweater I actually made. My first project that involved being accurate to make sure it would fit someone (Joe) when it was all done. Before that, it was all scarves and afghans.


Costume Ideas?

OK, every year for the past four or five, I've dressed as Harry Potter for Halloween. And for school, I'll probably do the same thing again this year. It was kind of a no-brainer costume for us. I mean, Joe has long black robes for commencement, anyway. Mom knitted us a red and gold scarf, we bought a red and gold striped tie. I wear my glasses instead of contacts. A little lip liner scar later ... et voila!

Anyway, we're going to our friends' house for a Halloween party following trick-or-treating and I don't want to wear the same costume I wore last year (the Harry Potter). I also don't want to go out and buy or rent a costume. I like to make them myself, preferably at minimal cost and sewing effort (though I am willing to spend some and/or sew some).

Joe went last year as Agent Smith (though people not inaccurately guessed "Secret Service Agent" and "Man in Black). I don't know if he'll do the same thing this year.

Emily is going as a rather complicated robot (not using the red wig at all, so I guess I could). And Matthew is going to be a prince (a selection largely made on the basis of being allowed to carry a sword). So we won't be going for a "family theme" costume.

Thoughts? Ideas?


Quick update: one convoluted phone call later ... Joe is going to wear his tux and go as the Phantom of the Opera.


And I Thought NJ's Jug-handles Were a Pain

Stumbled Upon this site of the world's wildest intersections. I can't say I've visited any of them, and after taking a look at this convoluted system in Moscow, I'm glad of it. To make a turn from Rosanov Street left onto the adjacent Khoroshev Street, you have to do all of this:I can just imagine how Google Maps would run through it. Or one of those car GPS systems. "Turn left in ten yards. No, not that left, dummy. Now you have to turn right and make a U-turn and then turn right again, and then turn left after one-tenth of a mile and then go in reverse for twelve feet, hop over the curb, continue down a flight of stairs, past a fruit vendor and then hang a left onto the street you should have gone onto in the first place."


ps. Google Map's version:

View Larger Map

Day Two

I kind of fell off the posting about the 3-Day thing, and it's surprisingly hard to get back into it. To even recall details.

On Saturday, Jen woke up around 4:30am to go to the bathroom. I lay there in my sleeping bag pretending I didn't have to go as well. But by 4:45 when she'd returned, I'd given up. One quick trip to the portapotty later (through a very dense fog, I must say), we both admitted we weren't likely to go back to sleep. We also commented on how refreshed we felt. I honestly attribute most of my stiffness that morning to sleeping on the ground.

So we had a nice hot breakfast, spent a good 20 minutes prepping our feet and got in line to start (and to stretch while we waited). The route opened at 7am. The bicycle and biker safety were all lined up at the start whooping and hollering as we set off. Becca and M'Risa joined us while we waited.

We meandered a bit through Fairmount Park and then M'Risa started lagging behind. Since her inseam must be a good 6 inches longer than mine, this was definitely odd. She seemed a bit pale and shaky, so we encouraged her to sit at the curb. She ate two granola bars I had in my fanny pack and started to pink up a bit. I'd sat down beside her so she'd be a bit less conspicuous sitting there alone. By this point three more team members (Angel, Robin and Megan) had caught up to us. Robin reported that they'd elbowed their way through the crowd in line so the "could catch up to their team." Hmmm. Anyway, once M'Risa had recovered we all started out again. And pretty soon, Jen and I were left in the dust. The others all seemed in such a rush, and really ... we didn't see the point. It wasn't so much their pace that bothered me (I mean, you can't comfortably adjust your pace for 60 miles of walking. You really have to go your own speed.), but their attitude was all kind of "we're going to get there first, what's wrong with you that you're walking like *that*?"


So, down past the Philadelphia Zoo, through Penn (where Jen went to vet school), through West Philly (shout out to Will Smith), right past Joe's and my first apartment (1022 S 47th Street). Anyway, I posted the rough route a few days ago. We walked right through the middle of Pat's and Gino's steaks in South Philly and stopped at a park for lunch. Then we headed up through South Street and the Historic District.

There were some truly awful right-to-life people hanging out on Independence Mall. They had giant (like 6x8') plywood signs with bloody fetus photos on them. It was positively dreadful. Some of them even made comments about how we're all on the "same side" since abortion causes breast cancer. Wha??? Causes??? (incidentally, recent giant studies don't indicate a link)

So, we averted our eyes and continued. I couldn't really come up with anything to say or do, so we just went uncomfortably on.

Through Elfreth's Alley (which I didn't even know existed). Past several Ducky Tour groups (the team right ahead of me got ducky quacker thingies, but they'd stopped handing them out by the time I got there). Through Chinatown. Past City Hall. To the Art Museum.

Yup! I jogged up the steps. Jen opted to stay at the bottom to take my picture. It was actually pretty easy going up. It was nice to stretch out my stride a bit taking the steps two at a time. Coming back down was harder. The motion hurt more and I was just wobbly and tired enough to feel a bit leery about going down.

Then there was a looong stretch on West River Drive. We had a nice view of Boathouse Row and there was some sort of rowing regatta going on further upstream. Most mostly, honestly ... it was kind of boring. Just more walking and walking and walking. Jen and I were both too tired to really chat much, and we were both pretty worn out. And ... there was something draining about knowing that all that walking was just leading us back to camp. Where we'd started the day in the first place.

(They used to run the routed in long stretches, all strung out, one day after the other. But it costs the 3-Day $100,000 per event to move the camp to a new location. So, by making the second day a loop, they save $1.2 million annually.)

We wound up back at camp eventually, had a nice dinner and I finally ran into my just-about-best-friend, Dana. We'd ridden up to Willow Grove together and I hadn't seen her since we parted ways with our separate teams at the mall. Jen and I ate dinner with Dana and her team and we had a nice time.

There was dancing in the big tent that night. I know ... what???? I hiked up the big hill to get a night shot of the city. The air had cleared up a lot and there were buildings with pink lights on them in honor of the 3-Day. Pretty cool.

Then, off to bed by 8:30pm.



Shift Happens

We had a Back to School Night for Millville's Gifted and Talented (GT) program last night. Part of the presentation included this brief video. I found it fascinating. In the scope of the GT scene, it seemed particularly relevant.

How do we prepare our students for a world we can't even imagine? I've been reading a bit on the Accelerating Change idea. The principle that not only is the world changing rapidly, but that those changes are occuring at an increasingly rapid pace.

I mean, take a look .... granted, from an evolutionary standpoint ....

Anyway, enjoy the video and take some time to just think about the incomprehensibly different-from-now world our own children will take for granted soon enough.


Day One

We woke up dark and early to load onto the shuttle bus from the hotel to the Willow Grove Mall. Things over there were a general state of organized chaos. We loaded our luggage onto bus B (the row of our tent assignment) and headed over to get a good spot near the stage before the Opening Ceremonies.

The sun slowly brightened the sky as we waited. There was a group stretching session led by some blond Surfer Dude type guy and then the actual event got rolling. There were upswelling strings behind a carefully scripted to make us all cry speaker. Breast cancer survivors came in carrying flags with life moments and inspirational words (Hope, Discoveries, Birthdays, Optimism, etc). These were planted in the center of a small circular stage, and everyone basically wept.

Then the peppy music started (U2's Beautiful Day, The Theme from Friends...) and we started creeping toward a cattle chute opening that led out to the walk. Our credentials were barcode scanned by crew members and more crew members and safety patrol people and friends and family whooped and hollered and sent us on our way.

I don't remember too many specifics about the walk. We mostly didn't stay with our team (we didn't all walk at the same pace, for one thing ... and some of them really seemed to have an agenda, which really wasn't my mindset for the event). Jen and I stuck together and we were sort of with five others of our team for most of the day. We first saw the Odd Couple and the Yellow Car Lady early this morning, and they became total highlights throughout the weekend.

Every 2-3 miles were Pit Stops (snacky food, water & Gatorade, port-a-potties and a medical tent) or Grab-n-Go's (same thing but no medical tent). There was a designated cheering station each morning and efternoon. Lunch was a bag lunch style in a park. First step after getting food -- take off your shoes and socks! Then eat, re-prep your feet, potty and head back out. Informal.

We passed through some gorgeous neighborhoods and some absolutely enormous homes. We trailed on along the Wissahickon Creek and meandered for 22 miles to Fairmount Park. Our first glimpse of camp was fabulously rewarding.

And, when Jen and I got to camp, they barcode scanned us again. We found our tent spot assignment (B68 for anyone keeping score at home) and LO AND BEHOLD! Our tent was already set up and decorated for us. Jen's mom was a crew volunteer at camp and she'd done it all for us. It was like Scarlett O'Hara coming home to Tara. Never was any home dearer to us than that pink dome tent at that moment. While others were struggling with their set-up, we strolled over and had our spaghetti dinner.

After that it was time to shower, ready our gear for the rest of the weekend, lay out our sleeping mats and sleeping bags, meet and greet a bit, and then collapse to sleep (around 8:30pm).

The day (like all 3-Day days) consisted of walking, eating, peeing, drinking, talking and sleeping. Very simple.



Local News Coverage

The networks and various other local media outlets all had cameras and reporters all over the place throughout the walk. We saw them everywhere.

Anyway, here's a clip from CBS Philly. I'm not pictured in it, but when you see my partner Jen waving (the back of her shirt has our PAWS for the Cure logo), you can hear me saying "Thank you SO much!" And, my friend Dana's team is the second group pictured with Elvis. They're in there walking also.


Thursday Night, Day Zero

The day started on a rocky note when both Emily and Joe woke up with fevers. She stayed home from school with him, but he had a 12:30 class -- a good two hours before I'd be home. Joe called his mom to come down even earlier than she'd already planned. And she did, so things worked out there.

I left school at 2pm and drove home to load my van. Picked up my friend, Dana, around 3pm and we headed up to Sewell, NJ to meet up with some of our team, and our team captain's husband Tom. Met up with SK and M'Risa (and Tom) and headed up to Willow Grove to our hotel.

Got there safe and sound (sadly we weren't able to get the Woodchuck Cider truck to pull over and offer us free samples). Met up with our other overnighting teammates and divvied up the two hotel rooms. As we were all starving, we headed on over to Carrabba's for some serious Carb Loading.

Our waiter, Jason, announced it was only his 2nd day flying solo as soon as he came up to our table. He was very nice, but obviously nervous and inexperienced. We ordered some wine and lots of glasses of ice water (this is an important detail). We wanted to pre-hydrate as much as possible. There were eight of us somewhat smooshed around two small tables pushed together. I saw Jason to my right trying to find an open spot in front of M'Risa to put her water down. So, I tried to help him out by picking up my menu and holding very still. This is where the obviously inexperienced part came in. Rather than pulling a glass from the center of the tray, he picked up the one closest to him. SPLOOOOSH!!! CRASH!!!! EEEK! Six very cold (!!!), very full glasses of water crashed into my back, completely soaking me from neck to bottom. I let out a tiny squeal and held very still, trying to keep my shirt from touching my back anywhere I could. (then "helpful" folks started trying to dab the water up and pressed the freezing fabric into me)

By this time, we had the attention of Jason's trainer, the restaurant manager and ... well, Jason looked like he wanted to crawl into a hole and die. The manager gave me a free Carrabba's polo shirt (score!) and I went into the bathroom to change. I reassured everyone that I wasn't going to call corporate or scream at anyone. These things happen. And, we tipped him well, anyway.

After dinner, we went back to the Hampton Inn and sort of settled in for some TV and sleep. SK proceeded to customize her team shirts by cutting off the sleeves and making a V-neckline. She was doing a nice tidy job of it, until she gashed her finger. She did the automatically-stick-it-in-your-mouth thing and then pulled it out saying, "Doesn't seem too bad!." Then Dana cried, "Um, SK! You're dripping onto the bed!" And she was. Yikes! She went into the bathroom to clean up and the water splashed blood kind of everywhere. Looked like a grisly scene from CSI (which we were watching at the time, coincidentally).

After she bandaged herself up, the excitment was over and we pretty much all went to sleep. Alarm for Day One was set for 4:30am.



3-Day Pictures Posted

OK, there's not exactly a narrative or anything. I promise to post actual anecdotes soon, when I've had some time to absorb and process all of this. It's pretty huge and I'm not sure I can ever adequately describe it.

But, I do have all my pictures posted and captioned on Picasa Web. Hop on over there and take a look.



I did it! I walked it. The whole thing. 60 miles around and through Philadelphia.

I'll have tons of pictures, comments and details eventually. It's a little weird coming back to real life. I heard a quote on NPR about troops returning from Iraq and it totally applies to how I feel right now. "Being there was hard, but very simple. You did what you were told -- what you had to do. Life at home is easy, but very complicated." I feel kind of overwhelmed, to say the least.

Anyway, sneak preview... stay tuned for stories about Yellow Car Lady, The Odd Couple, swamp ass (sorry mom, but that's what everyone called it), 3-Day Rash, PB&J graham crackers, Crazy Flag Guy, the wonderful support of families along our route, the bizarre natural phenomenon of walking 20 miles in and around Philadelphia ALL uphill, the bliss of a lawn sprinkler across a sidewalk, and naturally ... lots of pictures.

Finally, this was (roughly) our route on Day Two. I can't do the same for days one and three, because I'm just not as familiar with the Philly suburbs as I am with the City, itself. This is from memory and is bound to be inaccurate in places. But it's darn close. And the mileage came out right, so I'm going to go with it. Click in to zoom around and see more detail. We hit a lot of Philly's highlights all in one day.


ps. Thinking of doing the Washington DC walk next year. Depends on what my friends and I work out for teams and scheduling. Not going to join the same team as last year, except maybe for my friend Jen, with whom I did pretty much the whole walk.


Packed and Ready

My walking training peaked a few weeks ago before school started. I frankly haven't had enough time to get in a lot of miles recently.

But, ready or not ... here comes the 3-Day!

Last night I packed. I have 5 gallon-sized Ziplock bags labelled Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Evening Misc, Cold/Wet. And some smaller bags with toiletries, etc. My fanny pack is stocked with sunblock, my camera, Bodyglide, lip SPF stick, my credentials lanyard. My clothes to wear up tomorrow night are laid out on my dresser.

I crammed my sleeping bag, pillow, clothes, spare shoes, etc. all into a duffel bag and strapped (not bungeed! My goodness, the safety warnings against bungee cords were everywhere in the paperwork I've received!) to the top of the duffel.

And, it's all under the 35 lb proscribed weight limit.

Still, I can't help feeling more than moderately unprepared for this. I can't help thinking I've forgotten something crucial. Granted, I get that feeling before every trip I take. But, this is unlike any other trip I've ever taken.

Tomorrow I load my bag in the van, pick up my friend Dana and head up to meet up with 2 of my teammates. We'll continue up to Willow Grove, PA to stay overnight. We leave the hotel by 5:30am to head over for Opening Ceremonies on Friday. After walking 22+ miles on Friday, we camp (I'm thinking it's in Fairmount Park. They don't announce the route ahead of time, but mention neighborhoods we'll pass through, and I can't think of anyplace else big enough in that area.). Saturday we walk all through Philadelphia proper, about 21 miles, returning to the same camp site. On Sunday, we head south, down the Main Line west of the city. The Closing Ceremonies start at 5pm in Ellis Preserve in Newtown Square.

Joe can reach me via cell in case of emergency, so don't think I'm unreachable if anything happens. Pray for cool dry weather (so far the forecast looks promising, if even a bit warm). Pray for my feet.

Thanks for your support! (for further "Supporter" info, look here)