Monday, June 30, 2008


Five of the 42 cousins who traveled to Iowa City for a special weekend are shown in the front row with our host, Jim Hayes (right front), as well as spouses and the sculptor James Hayes, next to Leroy in the back row. This photo was shot on the last morning of the weekend, as we wound down one of the most amazing displays of pro bono grace and goodness I have ever witnessed.

In the background of this photo, the home called "1142 Court," lovingly restored to status on the National Register of Historic Homes, but still a location for celebrations large and small. This was a large celebration for the 150th birthday of the house. Around 200 guests, including descendants of those who have lived in the house, other civic leaders, and the Jim Hayes cousins, took part in the program and party that followed.

My cousin Jim Hayes, trial lawyer and philanthropist extraordinaire, opens the formal birthday program on Saturday afternoon. The home, its carriage house and three properties behind it are all to be donated to the University of Iowa when Jim dies. It was an extraordinary weekend, with all the Hayes family combinations represented, as well as members of the four families who have lived in the house. My photos are mostly of my family, not the house, though there is now a whole book about the house, a copy of which we each received.

Outside in the gardens near the pool and carriage house, my cousins Nancy, Ann and Beth as well as Morrissey and Barrett cousins in the background.

A view of the bronze figures commissioned by Jim from his nephew, the sculptor James Hayes, who lives in Bray, Ireland. The sculptures and fountain were installed in 2005, and is called "The Ball," featuring parents and child, with ball.

My sister and I grew up at home and also on the farm owned by my Uncle Jim, my godfather, and father of Jim Hayes. Here are three of us who spent a great deal of time together through high school: my cousin Kathleen (sister of Jim) , my sister Mary, and myself, at dinner the evening before the party.

At dinner the previous evening Jim explains to us how much it means to him that we have traveled from across the world to be with him for this special event. I think he is also warning us to be on time and to behave, since both the Governor Chet Culver and the president of the University of Iowa will be with us the following day.

My cousins, Ann, Nancy and Rose (sister of Jim). Though we saw each other in 2005, there is always a good deal of catching up to do at these events.

And at Sunday morning brunch, before we flew out, Leroy captured photos of the cousins one last time: from the left, my cousins Mary Sue, Kathleen, Susan, myself and Jim Hayes.

I am on vacation this week, and ready to get back into training for the 3 Day Walk, which is only 11 weeks away. It's sunny and hot, and I can't ask for more than that, because I'll also be able to work in the garden and on my book at the same time. We thought on Friday to drive north to Vancouver then across by ferry to Victoria to visit cousins Mary Siobhan and her husband Tony; and her sister Kay, who will be here from Prague with her husband Howard and toddler son James -- as opposed to my son James, my cousin Jim, or Kay's brother, the sculptor James from Ireland. These names do tend to run pretty consistently in the family, which after all is where I began this blog entry. This is a family that I am proud of.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A little Plato goes a long way.

Still walking carefully, making progress against stiffness.

"Perfect wisdom hath four parts: the principle of doing things right; justice the principle of doing things equally in public and private; fortitude the principle of not fleeing danger, but meeting it; and temperance, the principle of subdui."

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Since Monday, everyday walking seems an extraordinary challenge.

When I am in training, I have certain rituals I observe that remind me I am walking --attention to rhythm, breathing, tempo and speed. I also have reasonably thoughtful patterns in the form of instructions I give myself -- stretch now, pick up the tempo now, drink water now, and even stop now. These instructions have now become habits I don't need to think about when I am training.

But when I am walking in everyday life, my mind is ever elsewhere. I am easily distracted by streetscapes. I have not yet created a discipline to invoke that says look Annie, here comes a curb, be careful. And I still have to build the instruction set that says take off your reading glasses just as if you were on a training walk.

As I work on applying training discipline to everyday walking, I try not to feel too embarrassed that a walker in training could fall down and do so much obvious damage.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Face plant at Fourth & Union

Beautiful flowers from my team at work, to cheer me up after my most recent Kodak moment.

Yes, this is me with various shades of fashionable plum and purple on my face.

I was walking uptown yesterday, came to a corner, looked down, misjudged a curb, and ended up in the street, face planted in traffic. Lots of drama, but many people were helpful, including a woman who found paper towels and ice, another who tried to operate my blackberry to make a call for me, and the store owner across the street who brought me a chair to sit in while the fire department wrapped me up for transport to Northwest Hospital's ER.

I would rather have skipped this episode, which slows down my training for sixty miles. But, as the Irish say, it could have been worse.

Not sure about makeup for work tomorrow, but I'm thinking of investing in some purple eyeshadow for the good eye so that they both match. The eleven stitches are actually quite dashing.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lovely weekend.

A wonderful weekend all round. Yesterday I clocked my four miles precisely, and then drove up to the 3 Day Expo, where Penny was just leading in 500 ten mile walkers. What a sight! Now I know what the 3 Day Walk looks like when you are driving by. It appears we've raised nearly $83,000 as a team so far this year, and are the #1 fundraiser at this point.

Today we celebrated nearly 24 years of friendship with Sam and Belinda, whom we got to know during childbirth classes that summer. Their sons Claiborne and Cameron were born the same day as James, and the three grew up having birthday parties together -- today we were celebrating the twins' graduation yesterday from the University of Washington. Friends and family were amazed to see "Baby James," (above) now standing about 6'3" and soon to be on his way to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, for graduate school.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Juggling asymmetry.

Just back from fast trip across the water to have measurement X-rays of ankles/feet, then knees, then hips. Quite an interesting machine, as it actually lets one stand up for the session, not lie down, presumably leading to a clearer analysis of whether or not both legs are the same length. Or if my hips are asymmetrical.

If the X-rays confirm the suspicion, then a lift will be made for the shoe that fits the shorter leg.

There are so many bad puns possible at this point that I have to stop myself from writing more.

Meanwhile, the physical therapy sessions continue and my work on exercises at home seems to be paying off. Amy has me working hard a couple of days a week in the gym also. I hope that there will soon be time for longer training walks again.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

"Ability will never catch up with the demand for it." -- Malcolm Forbes

Ducks and rowers have joined me the past two mornings at Green Lake. I am a bit faster than the ducks, and envy the crews their smooth coordinated strokes. The body is an unpredictable instrument -- yesterday it took me 80 minutes to do 2.8 miles...and today it took that same amount of time to do 4 miles. What can I say, except I have given up second guessing my body and will try to just go with the flow.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Nearly bionic.

I'm up early working on lists. I feel better when I can cross things off my lists. My routines are impacted for the next four weeks or so with physical therapy appointments. Right now, I'm off to see my trainer Amy before work. It's been a few weeks, and I'm anxious to get started again. Tomorrow morning I see the podiatrist. He'll use the video gait analysis and the reports from the physical therapist to design my new orthodics.

By the time I'm done with all these extra appointments, I should be close to bionic!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Be There or Be Square....

I've missed seeing 2007 walker Anna, whom I met at Green Lake, but I did hear from her yesterday. She says most of her team has now finished treatment(s), and adds a few more details.

"We're having a benefit for our team "The Lickity Splits" on Thursday, June 26th at Heaven nightclub. It's in Pioneer Square. It used to be the old "Catwalk" club. In any case, I would love for you to come, if you're available. Bring your team. There will be 4 bands playing the benefit: 2 loudish rock bands and 2 alt-country bands. Bring your earplugs. But, it should be lots of fun. We're just trying to pack the house, as funds aren't pouring in like they did last year! Damnit! So, doors open at 8:00. Show starts at 9:00."

I'll be on a plane back to Iowa, but if you're free on the 26th, please go kick up your heels for a good cause.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

"Be an opener of doors." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

There's more than one kind of door. Above, the Long Room of the Trinity College Library in Dublin.

It's been quite a week. I've started physical therapy to loosen my ribs from my spine. I've been walking, walking, walking. Yesterday I walked with the Kindred Spirits up in Mukilteo. It was wonderful to see everyone, including some new faces. Our team now has more than 90 people, including Darren and Jennifer Olson, back from last year.

At their request, I've signed up for the June 21st 5k (3 mile) "Race for the Cure" here in Seattle, as part of the "Marcy's Sole Power" team. Marcy was a friend of the Olsons, who died after fighting breast cancer for 16 years. She is a former 3 Day crew nenber of Seattle and Phoenix walks, and a financial supporter as well. There's 15 folks on that team right now, and I'll bet I can find a couple more.