Monday, July 06, 2020

An Uplifting Fourth

The blahs have been making way too frequent appearances in my life lately - but this past weekend did a find job of vanquishing them. The excitement started Friday at 6 a.m. when running buddy, Connie, and I - and Kendall and Taz - rendezvoused at Davidson Mesa for one trip around to complete the Buffs4Life Virtual 5k. Connie and I were to run it and Taz and Kendall would walk it. After the 5k run, Connie and I would reverse course, find Kendall, get Taz, and cool down a bit more. The plan worked beautifully - with just a bit of excitement after the Taz hand-off.
The venue for our 5k - Davidson Mesa
Connie - ready to run
Run done! (Me & Connie are the masked runners - Taz is standing guard)

The slithering excitement just after we got Taz from Kendall - slowing down Kendall's 5k walk considerably!
Me turning back around to get a photo of K and The Snake!
K reaching into his pocket to get his own photo of The Snake!
Saturday and the Fourth of July. For years and years our tradition has been to bake a cherry pie for the Fourth of July (if you say it right, it's a delightful little rhyme!). Usually the cherries are from our tree.
1990 cherry picking extravaganza
This year, Paul's tree provided the bounty and, once again, our Fourth of July back porch feast culminated with a hot-out-of-the-oven cherry pie!  The progression in photos:
Freshly picked & ready for pie cherries
Paul's loaded cherry tree

Pretty darned pleased we're going to have pie!

Happy Fourth!
Sunday evening of the Fourth of July weekend, Kendall and I watched Hamilton - now being broadcast on the Disney channel. Wow. ...still running it through my brain... Yes. Wow.

So, yes, it is possible to vanquish the blahs. And to have the kind of day / weekend / pick-your-time when it's perfect for bringing out the t-shirt Kendall gave me when I crossed the finish line of my run from Boulder to Petoskey.

Words to live by!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Zooming Extravaganza!

A few weeks back, Kendall's brother & wife (Steve & Kitty) & I decided a Family Zoom would be a grand idea - and to liven it up (as if the Millers need livening), we'd add a dessert decorating contest to the evening's entertainment. The big event was last night. What fun! Extraordinarily clever desserts and two hours of rapid fire chatting. Excellent!

The gang - a bit difficult to see in this photo but, from left to right / top to bottom:
  • The southern Oregon gang, K's sister Cheryl and husband Harry, Cheryl's younger daughter Shana and her husband Moudy and their sons Andrew and Tony. Andrew did the baking and, unfortunately, I did not get a photo when he first displayed it to the Zoom crowd - and then the Medford gang ate it all before the end of the zoom call!
  • Me and Kendall (Boulder, Colorado)
  • Paul (Boulder, Colorado) our younger child
  • Corinne calling in from North Carolina
  • The Fraser, Colorado mountain gang, K's middle brother Andy and our great-nieces Sage & Juniper - visiting for the summer / daughters of our Portland Oregon niece, Sara.
  • The Brooklyn contingent, Kersti Bryan - family friend and the person who first planted the seed of the Miller gang having a zoom call and godchild of Steve & Kitty (with whom she planted said seed). Also joining in on the frivolity, Kersti's partner Jonathan.
  • Tara (Arvada, Colorado) our niece, Steve & Kitty's elder child
  • Sara (Portland, Oregon) our niece, Cheryl's elder child
  • Sasha (Portland, Oregon) our elder child
  • Steve & Kitty (Westminster, Colorado) - Steve being the eldest of the Miller siblings

Now on to The Desserts:

Steve - a play on A Trip to the Moon. Steve said he was thinking of Kendall when he made this (the candle in the back of the rocket is actually lit!):

 Kitty - a combination of two favorite things - a cookie and pizza!!!

Tara - who proudly announced that the decorations all came from the Dollar Store. What a party cake they make!

Sage - who, speaking of party cakes, celebrated her Birthday Eve by concocting this beautiful creation (another yummy dessert that was disappearing quickly during our call).

Kendall - should have know that whatever he made would have at least somewhat of a science fiction twist - in this case, meet Oreobot!

Paul came up with some of his very most favorite things for his dessert: pancakes, cherries (from his tree) and blueberries - and, voila'! A volcano! With cherry lava pouring into a blueberry ocean!

And, lastly, mine - Michigan. As Kendall said: if we can't go visit Michigan this year, at least we can eat it. Bonus points to anyone who can find: lighthouses, Mackinac Bridge, Traverse City cherry, Michigan State University logo, Detroit 'rusty chevrolet' (borrowing from the Yoopers hit), ore boats, sailboats, and Isle Royal. (Mackinac Island is there too but is a bit hidden.) I'd also give bonus points to those who know what kind of stones those are along Lake Michigan, but anyone who knows me, know what those are :-).


This really made for a fun evening. I highly recommend it for those of you missing your favorite friends and family!

Wednesday, June 03, 2020


I must confess, I am not one for repetitiveness. My career was built upon designing and implementing administrative computing applications with a new project every couple of years. My running has always gravitated toward new distances, new sights, new quests. With the stay-at-home orders of the last couple of months, and without the delightful diversions of running companions, the feeling of same-old same-old was beginning to creep into my daily runs even though I've been switching up all of my running routes since, without the normal metropolis hubbub, I've been able to run carefree routes down normally busy roads. To attack the humdrum, I came up with a mini-quest: a tour of the four buffalo statues on the CU campus, with Taz and camera at the ready. We went on that tour yesterday and, oh my goodness, did we ever get a break from the humdrum between buffaloes three and four!

Buffalo One, at the southeast corner of campus:

 Buffalo Two, at the CU Events Center:

Buffalo Three, at the Stadium:

And then our surprise. 
This little critter started following us after we left the stadium and as we circled through the campus to the fourth buffalo. We stopped often, for a good look at each other and for me to take photos. Occasionally when we stopped it would start to move closer to us (from its already close 10-20 yards away). I would say "unh unh" and it would stop. Such an amazing turn of events!

...and on to the fourth buffalo at the Fieldhouse plaza
 Buffalo, Cattle Dog, and Fox all posing patiently for the camera

 Nothing same-old same-old about this run. Extraordinary!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Memorial Day Weekend 2020

This was a rather unusual Memorial Day weekend for Boulder. Typically ~50,000 people would be running and walking the BolderBoulder on Memorial Day, with the course lined with cheering spectators, bands, belly dancers - you name it - all culminating in the CU stadium where Memorial Day ceremonies take place. These ceremonies include skydivers - each carrying a flag of one of the branches of the Armed Services, testimonials from veterans, a 21-gun salute and taps. With the stands filled with runners and families, it is a very moving event. This year, the year of the coronavirus, was much much quieter.

So, no 50,000 people descending on Boulder - BUT! - we did break my brother out of the senior apartment complex he lives in and brought him over to the back porch of our house to celebrate his 70th birthday on Sunday. A momentous occasion - both for the birthday and for the first trip out of his apartment complex since Colorado's Stay At Home Order went into effect. The big surprise for Dave was a zoom call with a gang of cousins, friends, Millers and VaughanMillers. This photo was taken when everybody sang happy birthday to him when I brought out the brownie/cake:

The next day, Monday, would have been the BolderBoulder. Since the real deal couldn't be held, the BB folks offered a free "VirtuALL" BolderBoulder. A whole lot of folks - from 20 countries and all 50 states according to the BolderBoulder website - participated in the virtual race, including several of my running buddies and I. We each ran our own 10k course and, according to texts and emails, we all had a grand time of it. My course consisted of 3+ times around a loop that just happened to take me past Paul's house each of those 3 times. I started my "race" at 6 a.m. and lo-and-behold as I came past Paul's approaching mile 2, there he was outside and at the ready to cheer me on. Kendall soon joined him and I had myself quite the cheering section for loops 2 and 3! Great fun!

Later that day, after going home and freshening up a bit, I walked back to Paul's house to help him weed his yard (it was the least I could do after his cheering efforts in the very early morn). On the way, I saw a fox! We had seen foxes in late winter in this patch of land but hadn't spotted any for a couple of months.  An exciting turn of events!

Of course, Memorial Day is about remembering. All of the men in the prior generation of my family were involved in WWII. We do remember.

My uncles: Porter Vaughan & Bill Murphey
Brothers: Porter and Paul Vaughan

My dad, Paul Vaughan, RCAF pilot, and Spitfire

My dad while temporarily stationed in Egypt

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Two-day catch up

It's been an enjoyably active couple of days.

Yesterday, Taz and I took another meandering run through campus, this time to check out the Kittredge ponds in hopes of seeing some goose families. We were in luck! Three families were just waking up, one after the other, much to our delight. (We stayed well back from the pond so as not to frighten them with my wild and woolly cattle dog.)
The first family - with the oldest goslings - ventures into the pond

The 2nd family, with younger goslings, makes an entrance. Both families staying well clear of each other.

Young goslings of the 3rd family wobble down the slope toward the pond while mama stands on shore

Next up comes Fitness Class via Zoom. Taz decided to hang out and keep an eye on me.
Taz's initial impression: booooooring
Then came wall sits and Taz decided he could help.
And with class over: I did good, eh mom?

Then it was back outside to do some weeding and such - such as take pictures of our irises which seem to be having a banner year.

Today: biathlon day - 
First an 8-mile hill run (running up and down a bunch of hilly streets on the west side of town).  Temperatures were in the 60s even at 5 a.m. so Taz was more than ready to take a quick dip in a creek on our way back home from the hilly bit of our run.

And as soon as I got home, it was time to swap out running shoes for retired running shoes - aka gardening shoes - pop back outside and plant our tomatoes in our new garden plot for tomatoes. Our old garden plot for tomatoes had become too shady as nearby trees grew ever taller and branchier.  This year we actually did something about it and cleared out what used to be a south-facing flower garden sacrificing a bit of fanciful color for, hopefully, delectable fresh and flavorful tomatoes.

 I suppose I could refer to this as a triathlon day since, after the tomato planting extravaganza, I tuned in to the zoom fitness class.  But I did give myself a 45 minute smoothie break between the tomatoes and the training so that hardly counts as a three-sport effort, eh?

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Springtime in the Foothills

In recent weeks, I really have been attempting to "train" rather than just run. This week I was well on track: good mileage every day, hill repeats on Wednesday, speed work yesterday and a steady-effort long run planned for today. I left the house at 5 a.m. (having discovered that Very Early runs are great for avoiding crowds) with a route laid out along roads to the east and south and a Kendall pickup on tap for 7 a.m. at a neighboring town.  I made it about 2 blocks into the run and decided, nope, I am headed west to the hills. Thus I turned toward the trails and, oh boy, am I glad I did. The hills are bursting forth with spring blooms - lower fields dotted with wild iris and upper trails coming alive with alpine flowers.  Another outing that reminded me just why it is I love to run - and run very happily as a tourist rather than a speedster-in-training.

Early in my run, a discovery of a new, most exquisite, Little Free Library on my way to the trailhead:

Then along the lower portion of the trail, wild irises:

 On the higher portion of the trail, alpine wild flower peeked out:

 ...and after a delightful couple of hours, headed back down toward "civilization":