It’s Been a Long Run / Taper

This is the oldest photo I have from when I became a “runner.” It’s from Nantes in early 2011, not far from our house there. It’s early enough in the running game for me that I’m wearing a cheap pair of high top basketball shoes, and a really long run for me would be 20 minutes.

On Sunday I’m running the Seattle Marathon and I am aiming to run for 4 hours longer than that. Without stopping.

I was inspired to run long distances by my French friend Laurent. A couple of months after I started running, back when 20 minutes was a long run, Laurent ran the Nantes Marathon. The next day I went out and ran for an hour. Seven months later, last November, I ran the Seattle Half Marathon. Now this Sunday, it’s the full.

Laurent wrote to me today to wish me well in the days leading up to the marathon, what is known as the taper phase.

Thanks, Laurent!

A Better Picture

Well, it’s a better picture than last night’s as it’s clear and you can see both Claire and me. But I almost look angry, right? What with that facial expression and my finger pointing and all. You’d think I was lecturing to the crowd.

At least Claire looks friendly.

I *think* this was a moment when I was “joke-lecturing” to the audience at last night’s Teen Talking Circles event. I said something to the effect of you know that certain people are important to you when they keep reappearing in your life.

That’s the way it’s been for Linda Wolf, founder of Teen Talking Circles, and me.

Teen Talking Circles

In 1995, one of the moms at PSCS starting an after school girls group. In short order, all the PSCS girls started attended these events which gave them a forum for navigating some of the challenges of being a teen girl in our culture. It was a powerful experience.

An organization called Teen Talking Circles helped the girls and the facilitator create structure for these meetings. Much of this structure carried over to other aspects of PSCS. We begin and end each of our school days in “circle,” we have a special hour-long, school-wide circle every Monday afternoon, our major community events end in appreciation circles, and our graduation ceremonies were influenced by this concept.

So when Linda Wolf, the founder of Teen Talking Circles, asked me choose a student to come with me to represent PSCS at their annual feel-good/fundraising event, it was quite an honor. I just got back from the event and am thrilled to say that Claire, the PSCS student who spoke on the school’s behalf, was brilliant.

The photo is the best my cell phone could get of the Teen Talking Circle staff taking a bow on stage.

When 0 + 0 = A Busy Day For Melinda

Melinda designed our incredible kitchen soon after we moved in to our house in 1998. She then took steps to see to it that it could be built, which was done within a couple of years. Me, I’ve had the pleasure of using Melinda’s kitchen since then.

It no longer comes as a surprise to me that Melinda has the need to change things. The less things change, the closer they are to death, I suppose, and Melinda doesn’t want our kitchen to die. So she has been planning, and today spent the day exchanging out the ends of the island for each other. What was once shelves for bowls is trading places for what was once a place to sit, leaving us with a place to sit and shelves to place bowls.

Get it?

O + O = … She’s been at it all day.

Friday Night

We’re just back from a family dinner at the home of my brother Scott. Scott and his partner Sally live in Kirkland, which means to get there we need to cross the 520 bridge. That bridge closed tonight for construction at 11pm so we had to hustle home. We were likely one of the last cars across.

The dinner also included my parents and two of Scott’s three daughters, Stephanie and Olivia. The dinner was in celebration of our good friends Bill & Teresa Elder being in town from Denver to attend a fundraiser to help find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. You may recall that a year ago a number of us in the Smallman family traveled to Denver to a similar event at which Bill & Teresa were honored.

Bill took today’s photo of Ella across the dinner table on his snazzy iPhone and was gracious enough to email it to me. There it was, on my computer, when we got home.

Wonder – A Short Post About the PSCS Middle School

We have eight 6th & 7th graders at PSCS this year and have created a new structure to help them learn to get the most out of our unique school. Recently, this involved me reading aloud to them a book selected by our new middle school teacher, Tawni, a book called “Wonder.” The book is about a 5th grader born with a severe facial deformity that has kept him from attending school to this point in his life. The story describes his adaptation to attending school, the challenges he faces, and the successes. It’s a touching story, one that the students, Tawni, & I all loved.

Coincidental to me reading the book, a woman named Dawn, the wife of Melinda’s cousin Ian, created a Facebook page called Facing Up to It to promote the book she just finished writing about living with a facial deformity from birth. Dawn is feeling called to talk about her experience so I asked if she’d be willing to come in to PSCS to talk to our middle schoolers.

Today she did and her talk was not only great, it was inspirational. Thanks, Dawn!

Funny Night

Yup, it’s funny night tonight. And by that, I mean it’s comedy night. And by that, I mean it’s PSCS Comedy Night, a fun event at the Comedy Underground in which professional comics go on stage to support the school. We get 70% of the ticket prices and 100% of the raffle tickets we sell.

On top of that, two PSCS students will be taking the stage to be funny. They’ve been taking a class since September facilitated by a professional stand-up comedian.

That’s funny all by itself, right? An actual high school class taught by a professional comedian that culminates with its teenaged students taking the stage in an actual comedy club.

That’s not only funny, it’s fun! And that’s where Melinda, Ella & I are heading.

To illustrate something as fun as this I went looking for the perfect picture. I found this self-portrait.

Beer For Breakfast?

That’s what the sign on the corner said.

I’m not suggesting anyone take the advice of a sign on any corner. I just found the existence of this sign laugh-out-loud funny. So I took a picture of it. I’m writing about it.

That doesn’t mean I’m endorsing it.

I may have once had beer for breakfast, I admit. I was in college and a friend of my brother’s came to stay with me. He came on a Friday night We didn’t get much sleep. We drank some beer. We went fishing on Saturday morning. We drank some beer.

We didn’t catch many fish.

Snow in Squamish

Chloe sent a text last night indicating it was snowing in Squamish, British Columbia, the city in which Quest University, her college, is located. I asked if she could send me a photo, what with how exciting a first snowfall always is. She couldn’t send one last night because it was too dark so she sent today’s photo this morning.

She also commented that the snow had turned to rain. Another typical result of a first snowfall.

Poor Melinda, though. With the weather being chilly in Seattle and the darkness coming earlier, she is ready to hibernate or fly south for the winter. One look at her right now, huddled at the computer while completely bundled up in her warmest winter coat, and you’d feel sorry for her, too.

Wanted (Something to Say)

If a picture was truly worth a thousand words, I should just keep my big mouth shut and post nothing but this photo, right?

Actually, though, this picture is probably worth 1001 words, the one written on it being pretty important to my meaning.

Now back to the first paragraph and me keeping my big mouth shut. Does that expression work if I’m not saying anything but am just writing? Should I keep my big keyboard shut?

Let me close this post with an apology. I’m sorry. It’s been a quiet day (although I did run for 2 hours, had a 90 minute PSCS Finance Committee, and was sadly disappointed by the Seattle Sounders).