Tag Archives: WV

UC Half Marathon

Last weekend was the University of Charleston (WV) half marathon.  I like to run, but I have typically only run in 5K races around the area.  I had never run a half marathon, so when I heard about it, I knew I wanted to run.

UC Half Marathon
The map generated by my running watch

 

I wrote this race report for /r/running on reddit:

 

Race information

Goals

Goal Description Completed?
A < 2 hours Yes
B No injuries Yes
C Don’t die Yes

Training

I am a fairly new runner, having started in March of 2015 to run with my daughter. At the time, we were planning to train together to prepare her for X-C season. She does nothing in the off-season but I kept running. I didn’t follow a plan per-se, but I run 3-4 days per week for an average of probably 25 miles per week. About 6 weeks ago, I somehow screwed up my posterior tibialis so my mileage dropped some. I ran a mix of hills and flats which is probably what messed up my leg. I have run a number of 5Ks locally since starting running.

Pre-race

The race was managed by students and faculty as part of a sports management class. As such, they seemed to really do things cleanly (with the exception of their website). I had a lot of communication via facebook and email regarding the course, volunteers, aid stations, etc. They took great pride in advertising that local artists were making the finishers medals and prizes…it was very cool. Packet pickup was easy the night before and ran smoothly. On the race day itself, I wanted to be onsite at 7am for an 8am gun. As I said, I am inexperienced but I like to be early even though this was not a huge race. I needed to pee 25 times before lining up, etc. The weather was pretty crummy…40 deg F and rain at 7am. Snow was forecast for later in the day so the expectation was for miserable conditions. I got to the University of Charleston at 7 and we were greeted by a ton of volunteers. I may be making this part up, but I swear I heard there were 300 volunteers. Inside the student union where we waited for the start, the crowd was good though thinner than expected. At packet pickup, I asked how many were regsitered and was told around 300. Earlier in the week, they had advertised that they had crossed 200 runners, so I assume they were correct in the 300 number. I later found out that there were 127 finishers. I am certain the weather kept a number of people away…seems odd that 180 didn’t show but who knows? A few people I know who I saw at packet pick-up were not at the race so at least a few stayed home. Anyhow, about 15 minutes before the gun, the rain stopped and the temp help steady…so it was sort of perfect for racing.

Miles [1] to [3.1]

I didn’t know what to expect, never having raced a half so I found a 2 hour pace group and started with them. It was ok, but within a half a mile, I knew I wanted to speed up. I increased my pace to around 8:40 per mile and found a friend. We talked for a mile but he started to slow and I was feeling good so I speed up to around 8:20 per mile. The rain started although not bad…it was one of those rains that makes you wet but you don’t really notice it. I settled in on that pace and found a woman right ahead of me who was very steady so I just ran with her. About 2 miles in, the first water station came up and a large number of university students were having a great time listening to 80s music. They were playing my song (well, it seemd like it was being played for me) as I ran by…Danger Zone. I give the volunteers a lot of credit…they came out in good numbers with great signs and cheered on everyone! Basically, the course runs from the university along the Kanawha River so it was really pleasant to watch the river flow by. There were 3+ volunteers at every intersection and every turn so it was very clear where the course was. Miles were well marked and actually corresponded with my gps watch. The course was USATF certified which was pretty cool for such a small and new race.

5k time: 25:50

Miles [4] to [7]

I was concerned that this race was going to be a little boring as it was through neighborhoods and was a double loop course. I don’t know what possessed me, but I chatted a little with a few people as we ticked off miles in the middle of the course. I am usually pushing pretty hard on a 5k so don’t talk at all, but I didn’t know what to do here so I decided to pass a little time. Generally, people were happy to chat and they made more conversation than I did…2 miles flew by and I didn’t have any problems. My pace had stayed pretty steady around 8:10 at this point

Miles [8] to [10]

I decided to try to drink a little gatorade at around mile 9. I never drink gatorade as I am a water guy and generally not a drink-on-the-run guy at all. Something possessed me to try though so I grabbed a cup and put it to my mouth and promptly spilled it all over myself. I think I was more tired than I realized. The woman with whom I was pacing was feeling it too and we traded the lead back and forth a few times. We stayed pretty solid at 7:50-8:00 pace. The course was very flat which was nice, but the wet was starting to bother me too I think. Being a dummy, I forgot to tape my nipples so I was getting raw around this point. I won’t have to learn that lesson again…rain + cold + distance = blood spots on my shirt. Anyhow, I still really commend the race volunteers and police officers…they were great about cheering and played some great 80s tunes…some Cindi Lauper tune was blaring as I ran through the second time!

At the finish!
At the finish!

Miles [11] to [13.1]

I was all turned around as we wove through the neighborhoods along the river so I only had a sense of where I was based on my watch…my pacing woman and I were both pretty tired at this point and I could feel both my hamstrings and my calves starting to fade/pull. I figured that worst case, I could walk depending on what happened so I decided to keep pushing. We both ran the last mile or so into the finish about as fast as we could…we kicked it down to a 7:30 or so pace. She faded about a quarter mile out but I was still ok…ok being a relative term. Rounding the building in front of which was the finish line, I caught a guy and passed him which gave me mixed emotions…I hate when people do that to me, but I loved placing one spot higher than I would have. Originally I told my wife to expect me around 2 hours, so when I rolled in at 1:47:38, she was not exactly expecting me but she was able to get her phone out to get a few pics.

After the race...headed home
After the race…headed home

Post-race

I grabbed a banana, a water and a cookie after they hung my finisher medal around my neck. It was a really cool medal made of ceramic by a local artist (and some university students). I was sort of sad in a way to finish. As this was my first half, I was over the moon excited in the days and weeks leading up. My saintly wife had to have been done with me for all of the talking about my strategies and questions about how I should run, what to wear, etc. I guess you never forget your first time and this half will always be sort of a cool memory. I didn’t know what else to do at the end so I lingered a little bit and we finally decided to just go home. I iced and put on some compression socks and generally relaxed all afternoon.

This report was generated using race reportr, a tool built by /u/BBQLays for making great looking and informative race reports.

Our stay at the Greenbrier

The Greenbrier Resort and Hotel is a bit of a legend in WV.  The Greenbrier is located in White Sulphur Springs, WV,  where rich folks used to come to drink/bathe in the sulphur waters in the area.  People believed that there were medicinal powers in the water so they flocked to the area to cure all sorts of things.  Of course, amenities built up around as the influx of people grew and the Greenbrier Hotel was built.  It’s a palatial structure situated on 11,000 or so acres and  it caters to all sorts of outdoor activities including pheasant hunting, horseback riding, off-road Jeeping and high-end golf.  The PGA holds the Greenbrier Classic there each Summer and it draws all sorts of golf-y folks.

Us at the Greenbrier
Us at the Greenbrier

People still travel from far and wide to partake of the ambiance of the area and it truly is beautiful in the Greenbrier Valley area.  We have visited Lewisburg as well as the Greenbrier Hotel to do the bunker tour, but we had never stayed at the hotel itself before.

At the Greenbrier
At the Greenbrier

Some have said that I am a bit thrifty.  Emily calls it other things, but I prefer to find a value whenever I can.  A few months before Christmas this year, I saw that the hotel was running a special deal on a weekend stay in January.  It was perfect!  We could stay at the hotel and take in all that is the Greenbrier, and I could feel content in having gotten a “bargain”.  Please note that the Greenbrier’s special price was a “bargain”, not a bargain.  It still cost us around $500 for two nights, but we had a nice enough room and the opportunity to stay!

Upon our arrival, a gate-man had a card for our car with our name already printed.  He ushered us through to the grand entrance where bellhops grabbed our bags and hustled them inside out of the snow.  I couldn’t bear to pay the valet so I parked the car myself…at least 100 miles away…in the newly falling snow/rain.  But it’s good…and definitely cheaper.

At the Greenbrier
A very large but wonderful fireplace

Anyhow, we received champagne and our room keys and were good to go.  All checked in, we decided to explore the massive building.  There are ballrooms and great foyers.  Enormous fireplaces burned delightful fires and the atmosphere was rich.  There is a dress-code at the Greenbrier which we followed to the letter, but it appeared that not everyone bothered.  I was a bit disappointed, frankly, that people chose not to follow the rules and that the hotel allowed them to get away with it.  I normally hate dress-code stuff, but it just felt right there…like people should be dressed up.

At the Greenbrier
The beginning of the snow

Anyhow, we caught a live singing performance where a really talented group sang a variety of tunes and did a great job interacting with the crowd.  We clapped and sang along like good tourists…it was a blast!

We took the bunker tour again and visited all of the shops (or are they shoppes?) in the Greenbrier.  The weather was not amenable to our touring the grounds or doing many of the outdoorsy things, but we really enjoyed the time to lounge around and talk and read.  All-in-all, it was a nice trip.

At the Greenbrier
The side entrance

The only complaint I had was with the food.  We chose to stay in and eat at the hotel.  It was convenient and part of the experience in my mind.  It cost more for four of us to eat three meals than the room cost and we didn’t eat high-end at the hotel.  Food was really expensive there.  We ate breakfast at the main dining room and both the food and service were really great.  Lunch and dinner, however, were no better than what we would have gotten at Applebees, but at 3x or more the price.  Both service and food were average which was a shame for how much it cost…live and learn I guess.

At the Greenbrier
The Springhouse…you can smell the sulphur water here…kind of the symbol of the Greenbrier

Anyhow, I would like to go back and visit in the Spring when I am sure the place really shows its beauty.  I am not much of a golfer but I hear that part of the fee includes a guy who will stand out in the fairway and watch where the balls land.  For golfers, the savings in lost balls may make up for the expense in the food department!

I am glad to have stayed at the Greenbrier and look forward to the continued improvements that the fairly new owner is making after years of neglect by the previous owner!

Crummy snow

Like about a quarter of the US population, we got hit by the snow event named Jonas 2 weekends ago.  For at least a week beforehand, we heard hype and warnings and altered forecasts.  At first, I think we expected a good snow but not too bad as predictions seem like they are often overblown, at least around here.  As the week wore on and we grew more and more tired of hearing about the storm of the decade, it became apparent that we were going to get a good covering with a really good chance of a wet snow which would lead to widespread power outages.

The snow was just starting
The snow was just starting

Starting Wednesday or so, people started to really pound the grocery stores to stock up on milk, eggs and bread…I guess to make their emergency French toast.  We shop on Sundays most times so we avoided the mess, but I hear a lot of places were cleaned out.  Thursday was a really weird time as all forecasts pretty much pointed tot he same thing…we were going to get a lot of snow.  I went to the office on Friday morning as usual.  The sky was dark but there was no snow at that point.  Almost on the hour, at 9. the snow started.  I think by 9:07 we had an inch.  Well, that might be an exaggeration, but it came quickly.  We closed the office by 9:30 and by 10 when I left, it was questionable as to whether I would make it home.  My car had no problem, but lots of folks in two-wheel drive vehicles were pretty much screwed.  I weaved through a developing parking lot on the main road up the hill to my neighborhood.

Piling up against the door
Piling up against the door

We hunkered down and basically waited and watched.  Snow piled up very quickly.  Fortunately, the temperature didn’t rise enough to produce the wet snow they expected so we never lost power.  We stepped out occasionally to measure snow, but it was accumulating so fast that we quickly gave up.

Ugh...my yard showed around this, but the official measure was 18.6"
Ugh…my yard showed around this, but the official measure was 18.6″

Saturday morning, we found that it was still snowing, but not nearly as hard.  I tried to open my front door at some point but found it was snowed closed.  I had to go out another door and shovel my front door open.  That sucked a little.  I took a few quick measurements which pretty closely coincided with the official measurement of 18.6 inches when it was all said and done.  I measured as high as 21 inches but all things vary of course.

It looks like a bunch
It looks like a bunch

The city was a bit of a mini-disaster as people had abandoned cars all over.  Plow trucks were working hard but we don’t usually see snow this deep and fast so they just couldn’t keep up, try as they might.  We started baking cookies Saturday sometime and baked our way out of butter so, by Sunday, wanted to get out so we could bake/eat more.  Our road had not been plowed at all though, and we figured that, with the chaos all over, they wouldn’t be getting to us any time soon.  Our driveway is maybe 50 feet long and very steep.  We started with it, hoping that would entice the plow trucks to come and plow us in, much like washing a car encourages rain.

Buried
Buried

Finally, we decided to just go for it and we shoveled out our neighborhood road from our place to the main road which was somewhat passable.  I’d say that road is maybe 100 feet long where we were interested.  My wife, my amazing workhorse of a wife and I shoveled out the road as well.  It wasn’t a lot of fun, but we had eaten a lot of cookies so figured it balanced out pretty evenly, calorie-wise.

2016-01-23 02_03_2016 026

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First the driveway

 

2016-01-24 02_03_2016 010

Then the road
Then the road

A lot of roads are still not passable, but I was able to get to the office.  Schools are still closed, wisely.  The biggest problem now, is where to put the snow that the highway crews are plowing.  Our road was finally plowed out after dark, about 60 hours after the snow started.  That’s not terrible with all things considered, but I am glad we dug out ahead of time.  Let’s hope it takes at least another decade before we see this again!

We survived!
We survived!

We did finally make it to the Potomac

For a summer that doesn’t feel like we had any vacation, it occurs to me that we have done some pretty fun things.  Earlier in the summer, we had planned to tube on the Potomac River.  Of course we were rained out and altered our trip some.

Family time!
Family time!

A month ago, we actually made it to the Potomac, but rather than tubing, we spent the weekend boating.  My brother and sister-in-law have a river house along the river and invited the family for the weekend.  My parents and aunt came from PA and my crew drove in from Charleston.

The dock and watercraft
The dock and watercraft

Rock and roll!

So, their place has a dock which was begging for something to be tied to it.  My brother has a saying:  “If you’re gonna be a bear, be a grizzly.”  We use that all the time, but in our case, it’s usually when we screw something up…we go all-in.  Anyhow, my brother goes all-in also but not usually in the screw-up department.  My point is that when the decision to buy a boat came up, he decided not to settle for a mere 16 foot boat, but rather to buy a 30 foot long pontoon and two jet-skis that will knock the tears out of your eyes.

07_21_2015_Em 434 07_21_2015_Em 410 07_21_2015_Em 425 07_21_2015_Em 447

When I was a younger man, I had a motorcycle that I rode everywhere in all weather…even once in the snow…don’t ride a motorcycle in the snow…it’s cold and really really hard to not slide.  Anyhow, I loved riding my bike but as newlyweds, we really needed a washer and dryer.  I sold my motorcycle and never got another.  So, the jet ski was a perfect sort of hearkening back to my motorcycle days.  I could go crazy fast, do stupid stuff and have a much lower risk of getting killed compared to a motorcycle.  It was perfect!

07_21_2015_Em 334 07_21_2015_Em 437 07_20_2015 207

 

Anyhow, we had a great time at the river house and boating and eating all sorts of food.  My brother cooked bacon outside on an electric skillet and my kids raved and raved about it.  It’s hard to beat camp food or anything cooked outside for that matter.  And of course, anything cooked by their uncle is good too.

That's the bacon
That’s the bacon

I love these family times and boating and the Potomac, at least where we were, was absolutely beautiful  There were eagles and lots of fish and turtles and ducks.  People were nice and we all had a wonderful time sharing each other’s company!  I’d call that a good trip!

All-County Band

I know I have been posting a lot of band stuff lately but it has been our lives lately.  School is winding down so band is slowing too although lessons and playing are definitely not!  Anyhow, I have been remiss in posting about our kids’ participation in All-County Band for Kanawha County!

All-County Band
All-County Band…They can get along!

Abigail started lessons a few years ago as a younger-than-normal flute student.  She had her ups and downs with it initially, but has developed into quite a flutist.  Jump ahead to this year, the first year she is actually old enough to play in band.  She was ahead of the curve some from experience which set her up well to try out for All-County Band.  As I understand it, she was the only 6th grader in the county to make the band and to boot, she made 9th chair out of 22!  I am so proud of her and she really stepped up her game.  She rose well to the challenge and plays all the time now around the house.

Music Of John Williams
Pride Of Wv
Rage
Tempest
America The Beautiful
Lullaby

Isaac also made the high school All-County Band for tenor sax. He’s such a funny kid…he did his audition but felt like he didn’t play as well as he had hoped. He was disappointed and never bothered to even look at the list of students who made the band when it was released. By dumb-luck, one of his friends made a comment along the lines of “See you at practice tonight.” He had to query what the friend meant who of course, let him know that he was in the band…the day of the first rehearsal!  Isaac had no idea that he had made the band as second chair!  Anyhow, he also played very well and I am so proud of his playing as well.  Band truly does mean a lot in our house and we enjoy watching the kids develop into really great musicians!

Give Us Peace
A Slavic Farewell
American Riversongs
Americans We
Fiddler On The Roof

Outdoor band concert

It’s the season of band!  Well. it seems like it anyhow.  Last night, Isaac played in 2 separate concerts.  First, the George Washington High School band played their final concert together as the 2015 band last night.  Seniors are hitting the road so this was a nice opportunity for them to get together one last time as a group and play a killer concert.

GWHS Band
GWHS Band

I think what made it especially nice was that it was outside and that the weather was perfect!  We enjoyed their music as always and especially liked the opportunity for a little vitamin D!

Don't look...it's Dad
Don’t look…it’s Dad

Like any good kid, Isaac refused to look up at his parents so I sort of had to sneak a few pics.  Meh. I’m good with that.  More excellent were the selections they played…of course, it was outside with my cell phone sitting on metal bleachers where kids played and adults shifted about so please excuse the extraneous noises:

Visions Of Flight
America The Beautiful
American Folk Rhapsody
Desert Patrol
Rough Riders
Loch Lomond

After that concert, a number of the high school band members ran over to the middle school which was performing their annual arts showcase. The middle school jazz band director had arranged with a few former-middle-school-jazz-band-now-high-school-band members to return to perform in an alumni jazz band as part of the larger concert…and of course, they were great!

Sesame Street
In The mood
Hey Jude
Lean On Me

Tonight we celebrate the end of high school band season with a banquet. After that, we have one middle school band concert, a banquet and an end of the year trip. It’s been a little wild around our neck of the woods lately, but I am so proud of my kids in particular and the entire bands in which they both play as well!

George Washington Band Concert

I have mentioned many times that the kids are both very involved with band in their schools.  Band means many things to different people but I never ceased to be amazed at how incredible these kids play and how truly kind and awesome the majority of our band kinds are.

Isaac at the GW Band concert
Isaac at the GW Band concert

Isaac’s high school band played their spring concert this week at the Clay Center in Charleston.  Truly, Charleston is fortunate to have such an amazing performance hall.  And even more fortunate is that our high school has the opportunity to play in the same hall as the WV Symphony.  It’s a high-class, beautiful location!

The GW Band
The GW Band

Synergies
Shepherds Hey
Belgian Paratroopers
Stella Maris
Korean Folk song
Chanson de l’adieu
Trieste
(click above to listen)

Isaac was principle chair for his instrument, the tenor sax.  I am very proud as you might imagine.  His band-mates all seem to be very driven and really respect their band director.  He’s a serious man, and demands excellence from these kids and absolutely gets it.  I think the kids very much respect him for helping them to see how great they can be.  I am very pleased with his ability to inspire the band to play as he does.  It’s clear he loves the music and the kids and that’s just perfect in my mind!

Cool pic outside the Clay Center
Cool pic outside the Clay Center…Venus (I think) in the night sky also

So friends, I know that these may take a bit to download, but if you find the time or the inclination, please enjoy the music from the George Washington High School Spring Concert – 2015!

The Greenbrier and the bunker tour

Where did the last 10 days go?  It seems like we just got back from the trip we took to Lewisburg, but it’s been a while now!  So, it turns out, the Greenbrier resort is in White Sulphur Springs, WV, a few miles from Lewisburg.  The Greenbrier is one of those pretty high-end resorts that reminds me of where Daddy tried to put Baby in the Corner.  It’s not a place I really understand, but they have really pretty grass, so why not?

Front of the Greenbrier
Front of the Greenbrier
The Springhouse at the Greenbrier
The Springhouse at the Greenbrier

Emily and I decided to go and walk around the place and enjoy the beautiful views and take a tour of the declassified bunker that was built into the mountain during the Cold War.  The bunker was called Project Greek Island and was built to allow government to continue to exist in the event of nuclear war.

The ugly wall paper false wall hiding the blast door of the Greenbrier bunker
The ugly wall paper false wall hiding the blast door of the Greenbrier bunker

The bunker itself is not all that notable, but the tour given by staff is well worth the cost of the tickets.  There was so much secrecy and Cold War intrigue in its construction that simply seeing the structure without the story would be to miss the real gem.

Greenbrier Clubhouse
Greenbrier Clubhouse

We had a  lot of fun walking around the grounds as the staff prepared for the Greenbrier Classic.  We spend a few moments indulging our fantasies of wealth and importance and the state of the world during the Cold War.  I think the Greenbrier is exactly built for that…a place to get away from reality and ponder things.  The cool part for us, at least, is that we didn’t have to pay to stay in the hotel or eat at the restaurants.  We were able to escape for a few bucks for the cost of the bunker tour.  And even better was leaving with my savings in my pocket, my wife at my side and a reservation back in Lewisburg!

Marshall Honor Band

It’s been awhile since I have posted anything and I cannot decide if it is because I have the winter blues or if we have been busy or if it is the effects of the water chaos and snow.  Speaking of snow, we are covered again and stuck inside with the latest polar blast…like the other 250 million or so people in the country who are affected by it.

Omega March

Anasazi

Engines of Resistance

Anyhow, one interesting thing we did get into recently was Isaac’s involvement with the Marshall University Honor Band.  The Honor Band is an honor for middle school students.  Each school’s band director nominates their best students for a one day seminar with the Marshall University School of Music staff.  Students from the tri-state area come together in one day and get excellent instruction throughout the day that pinpoints their specific instrument.  Later in the evening, the students put on a concert.

What makes this concert especially impressive to me is that the band kids have never seen the music prior to the start of the day.  They learn the music and somehow pull together as a group in a single day.  It’s amazing but really so awesome to see and hear!  So, take a listen if you please…maybe you can forget about the polar vortex and poison water for awhile!

Water…or not

We made the news here in Charleston, WV.  It seems that there exists a several-thousand-gallon tank of chemicals used to clean coal (See here for a reddit discussion on it…thoughtful now but reddit often quickly turns wild wild west…so be warned) which is stationed along the river from which all of our water is drawn and processed.  The tank developed a leak recently…maybe yesterday and maybe earlier depending on who you hear…which leaked into the river.  Of course, that means that the water system pulled it in and ran it through the processing plant in preparation for distribution to everyone.

Water systems are designed to process typical stuff one finds in river water so this extra 5000+ gallons of stuff was not properly removed during the intake process.  No one seems to know how to remove it actually, even if it had been detected earlier.  That means the entire water system supplied by the water treatment plant was contaminated.  More good news…the plant that services Charleston, WV’s Capital and largest city, is the largest system in the state and supplies water to at least 8 surrounding counties leaving 300,000+ people with tainted water.

My family is among those lucky 300,000 so we are following the order to not use the water under any circumstance aside from fire protection (which we have not yet needed, thank goodness).  The water company is not at fault here but there are people blaming them for not notifying customers sooner (it took several hours for the entire issue to become apparent).  Some folks cannot believe that the water treatment plant didn’t detect the chemical until people complained of a “licorice-like” smell in the air, at their faucets, etc.  The water company replied that this was such an unheard of problem and that there was no good protocol to test or clean it and that they cannot possibly test for every potential contaminant.  Rather, they are designed to handle typical river-source contaminants.  I am not doing it justice but the water company has an excellent answer to the question and is not to blame here at all as far as I am concerned.  Instead, the owners of the leaking tank are completely to blame and I hope they find very expensive justice.

Ok, sorry for the rant.  Anyhow, people are behaving in all sorts of ways…some nice and some not so much.  There were runs on all of the stores for people trying to buy water, ice, drinks last night.  The local Sam’s club apparently went through 4200 cases of water in 1.5 hours.  Everywhere was wild and the cops were called into most stores to manage the unruly.  It makes me thankful that we have some water at the house.  Showering is my only real concern and I figure we will make it one way or another to get clean.

I heard that something like 20% of the state’s area is affected by this so we can’t just go to the next town over to get a hotel.  They are out of luck too.  Restaurants are closed, hospitals are on rationing protocols and stuff generally sucks.  Local government and FEMA are (from what I can tell) doing a great job in getting water to people who need it.  The big issue, from what I can tell, is that no one knows how to remedy this situation or how long it will take to work through the system/get cleaned/kill us all.

So dear friends, please consider keeping a bit of water for bathing and drinking in your house.  This problem hit fast here and may last for a significant time.  The unprepared rushed the stores and not all behaved appropriately.  I am very thankful we have water stored at the house so we didn’t have to go out amongst all of the people, some of whom were desperate.  While the government sources seem to be doing well in passing out water today, I am hoping to avoid those distribution areas as well as crowds have drawn there too.  It’s really a matter of how long this lasts though…we shall see!

Ok, that’s all from here.  I’d say we’ll keep a light on for you, but you probably shouldn’t visit right now!