Thursday, November 6, 2008

The "Gift" That Keeps on Giving

I must have a kind, generous heart...or I'm just a sucker. A couple of months ago, I received some fun address labels in the mail, along with a desperate plea for donations. After learning that a friend of a friend was recently diagnosed with leukemia, I didn't hesitate to send in a donation to the Leukemia Society, sender of the aforementioned address labels. It was a nominal amount--the least I could do--but hopefully appreciated. Several weeks later, I received a similar notice in the mail from the American Heart Association and then the American Cancer Society. Feeling compelled to share, I sent a small donation to both charities. The floodgates had been opened. Giving to charity is not a new thing to me; however, receiving personalized address labels is. At first, it was kind of fun. But the day I received five sets of address labels from various charities, I knew things had gotten out of hand. My generosity had apparently secured my name on "the list." I was receiving labels from charities I'd never even heard of: the Omaha Home for Boys?!? Hopefully the pre-donation gift giving tapers off a little (I feel so guilty when I don't immediately write a check). In the meantime, make sure to admire the return address of any mail sent from our direction. Apparently I have some catching up to do in the correspondence department.

13.1 Miles...Sehr Gut!

Considering we are obsessed with all things German, it should come as no surprise that when we decided to run a half-marathon, we did it Oktoberfest-style. Leavenworth--Washington's answer to Bavaria (Missouri folks, think Hermann)--hosted their 2nd annual marathon and half-marathon at the beginning of the Oktoberfest season. A large production it was not. I ran in the Kansas City half-marathon last year, which was a huge race with thousands of participants and vendors at the finish line. Conversely, Leavenworth was on such a small scale that we picked up our numbers and commemorative race shirts at the fish hatchery. What the race lacked in porta-potties and water stops, however, was made up for in scenery. Even though we had the constant call of the highway patrol shouting "Runners, stay to the right!" in our ears, it was a beautiful course through the valley along the river. And it didn't rain...much. Overall, we were pretty satisfied with our respective performances. I set a new personal record by running close to 15 minutes faster than Kansas City's race, and Jon finished in one hour, 51 minutes, which is awesome, especially considering it was his first half-marathon. Some friends of ours also ran the half-marathon, so we rented a condo in Leavenworth and made an entire weekend of it. Jon and I were feeling as good as you can feel after running 13.1 miles on next to no sleep, so we spent the rest of the day enjoying the "fest"-ivities. While far from Germany, both literally and figuratively, there was still plenty of beer and oompa music. However, Americans don't have any traditional toasting songs like the ones in Germany, so when they raise their glasses, all they can think to shout is "Heeeeeyyyyyy!" This proved to be especially amusing to Jon. Needless to say, we called it a night fairly early and limped back to the condo on sore muscles, exhausted, yet triumphant. Now it's time to train for Seattle's half-marathon over Thanksgiving weekend...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Update

In our previous post, we mentioned many exciting things going on in our families, including the fact that Jon's sister and her husband were expecting. Unfortunately, we now have some sad news to convey. Our nephew, Josiah Kayd, entered the world three months early, only to depart it a short twelve hours later. We would like to use this forum to express our condolences to Jon's sister and her husband and would appreciate any prayers extended their way.

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