U. S. Youth Soccer Group Play

Our final week was spent in Kansas City where thankfully the heat wave had also broken and the highs were now in the 80's rather than the 100's.  Brock plays for the Beadling Soccer Club.  Founded in 1898 it is the oldest continuously operating soccer club in the United States.  Brock joined the team last November and has played a key role in its journey to its third consecutive trip to the semi finals of the national championship.  Brendan and Eileen have been a key part of this journey since the club is located outside Pittsburgh and the Pickett family now lives in Bay Village OH, just outside Cleveland.

Brock is a center midfielder on the 16U team.  Beadling qualified for the national championships by winning both the National League and the Eastern Division championships.  A total of eight teams compete in two groups of four randomly selected teams.  Two teams from each group go through to the semifinals based on their group play.

All of these teams are very competitive an…

Three hot and fun days in Kansas

It took us a day and a half to drive from Appleton WI to Maize KS, just outside Wichita.  While the temperature was a bit higher in Maize at 104, the heat index for Kansas City, three hours north and our next stop, was 127--later it reach 129.  Levels I had never seen or experienced.  Believe me it was quite hot enough around Wichita!

We were in Kansas to visit our wonderful cousins, Andy and Lois Sciolaro.  We try to visit them annually and they in turn typically visit us in the Finger Lakes annually as well.  They always have things for us to see and do in Kansas and Oklahoma.  We have learned a lot about the prairie and have come to have a deep and somewhat unanticipated love of the region.  As we review our options for this trip over dinner, we all reluctantly decided that the oppressive heat would not permit an enjoyable trip down into Oklahoma.  So we decided to stay closer to home, which is in Maize KS.

As usual, we got started in late morning, actually early afternoon with a …

Appleton Visit

We spent the next three days in Appleton WI visiting our family there:  daughter Meg and her partner, Heather Hietpas, Meg's children, Harry and Bronwen, and Heather's son, Pierce.  Our welcome was as warm as the weather.

We began with a visit to Meg and Heather's new house which is on Little Lake.  It is lovely and very comfortable.  Of course, the lake view is outstanding and, facing to the west, provides colorful sunsets.  After relaxing with Meg, Heather after she finished work in the upstairs office, and Harry, we went to a nearby Little League field where 11 year old Pierce was playing a game.  Just before we left, Heather learned that Pierce would be the starting pitcher.  This always ramps up parental anxiety.  His usual position is catcher.  he comes by that naturally since Heather was catcher on his high school softball team.  She has been working with him on flipping his mask off on foul popups behind the plate and as you can see from the photo, he got the messa…

Mackinac Island

We began our two week trip to the Midwest in the Straits of Mackinac, Lake Michigan to the south and Lake Huron to the north.  Crossing the straits on the Mackinac Bridge brought us to Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Saint Ignace where we spent two nights at the Sunset Motel.  Sunday morning we were up early to catch the first ferry to the island that also made a side trip under that very bridge.

The day was spectacular with temps in the seventies and rarely a cloud to be seen.  It could not have been a more perfect day to spend on the island.  No automobiles are permitted on the island.  Transportation is by carriage or bicycle.  We opted for a carriage tour to give us an overview of the island.  Fun Fact:  there are more horses--more than 500-- on Mackinac than permanent residents--fewer than 500.  Another Fun Fact:  The horses winter on the mainland because it is less expensive to do that than transport hay to the island all winter.

The carriage tour was filled with all the exp…

Late Spring in Delaware and Pennsylvania

After spending two days in Charlotte for Aidan's high school graduation--see photos here--and then two days in Centreville VA with Tom and Sarah--see photos here--we made our way to Duling-Kurtz House & Country Inn in Exton PA. This 1830 building gave some an idea of what travel and inn stay might have been like:  small room on the third floor with no elevator!  However it served its purpose of giving us a reasonably price base from which to explore this region, mostly in Delaware.

After checking and lugging our baggage up two floors, we went to a local AAA office to get some tourist information, brochures, and advice/suggestions. The staff probably knew more about travel to Italy than they did to their local area.  They hadn't heard of some of the gardens and had hard time coming up with suggestions.  The one place they insisted we go--Kennett Square PA--was a bit underwhelming when we visited for lunch and some shopping.

We began our visit the next morning at…

Five Days in Southern California

From March 15 through 19, I made my annual trip to visit Galen and his family in Huntington Beach CA.  This year was special because Galen is on sabbatical.  As much as I enjoy sitting in on some of his physics classes at Cal State Long Beach, I looked forward to spending some time with him exploring parts of the area and we don't have time for during the academic year.

Shortly before I left, however, I had a chance to hear Galen talk about physics and some of the current issues in this fascinating field.  He was interviewed by the university's local access television channel.  Those of you who saw this were, I think, as impressed as I was.  It is clear that Galen is not only an accomplished physicist and Professor but is someone who takes joy in facilitating other people learning about this discipline.  If you didn't watch it, you can do so below.  Or click here to go to the YouTube channel and watch it.

I arrived on Thursday and the very next day, Galen and I took off t…

Winter Trip to Kansas City

I grew up in Kansas City and, in many ways, still consider it home even though I haven't lived there since 1973.  No matter where my jobs took me, I always figured out a way to travel through Kansas City so I could visit Mom and Dad, my grandma, aunts and uncles, and my three sisters and their families.  My two brothers and I pursued our professional lives outside Kansas City from the East Coast to the West Coast and points in between.  Mom died in 2014 at 102.  We tried to all get to Kansas City at the same time at least once a year though not always successfully.  When we did, it was a special time for all of us and for Mom.  Since her death, we have all been together twice in KC with the possibility of another grand visit this summer.

Normally I try to visit between Thanksgiving and Christmas so I have a chance to enjoy the Country Club Plaza with its spectacular lighting display.  However, this year life in both Rochester and Kansas City intervened and a visit after the first…