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Monday, January 16, 2017

Kate's Birthday - Richmond - Washington - Tamaqua

The Capitol is all blocked off for the party on Jan 20th

Kate was born on 1/11/11. So even though we get to see her on Christmas - she reminded us that we have not gotten to a birthday party yet. So here we are - flying to Richmond - going to a party - then heading north to Washington and Tamaqua PA to see everybody.

We left Tallahassee about 5 AM on Thursday and were in Richmond at 9 AM. We enjoyed 3 nights at Drew's house. The Skating Birthday Party was Sunday afternoon - so after a wonderful afternoon which included me donning skates for the first time in almost 50 years - we finally got to a party. I guess it does not leave you - but I was able to go around without killing anyone or myself.

After the party - Lulu and I drove our rental Ford Focus to Washington where we got to spend some time with Max before it was his bedtime. Monday morning - we had breakfast with Liz and Keith - and then we toured the "calm before the storm" at the Capitol and National Mall.

Washington reminds me so much of when we were in town on the "Eve of Destruction" right before Bush decided to invade Iraq. It feels exactly the same way - right down to the overcast skies and crisp cold 40 degree winds. It would be the trifecta for us - because Lulu and I came here in 1973 to attend Nixon's party that only lasted about 18 months until he resigned.

Tomorrow - we will travel north to Tamaqua to visit friends. We will be dodging ice storms to get in and out of the Valley. We will be staying with Betty for 2 nights - then we drive back to Richmond to catch our flight home on Friday.

Parade stands on Pennsylvania Avenue - and lots of toilets

German V-2 and V-1 rockets in Smithsonian

The National Botanical Gardens were the warmest place in town

Jan 20th - a party will be in the Building Museum

Botanical Gardens

Walking on that pad produces electricity for the lights in the park

Palm tree feels like home for Lulu

Swearing-In Stands

Party girl is 6 years old

The blur is me skating - remembering Wenzel's Rink

Putting a plastic pad down over the grass on the Mall

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Florida State Basketball Pounds Duke by 16 - We Were There

Harry trying to buy tickets before the game.

We had been waiting a long time for this year's version of the Everhart Bowl. Son Drew got his bachelor's degree from Duke. Son Keith got his master's from FSU. Lulu got her doctorate at FSU and is a professor there now.  Since Duke is such a national power in basketball - and FSU is the football factory - usually the basketball games go in the Devils' favor. But not this time.

The game sold out yesterday. 12,000 tickets were sold - the first time in a long time that no tickets were available. Not that we care because we never buy at the box office. I like to stand outside with two fingers up - often times fans hand me free tickets - seldom do I pay over $10. Because of the big crowd - this time we drove to the arena early. It is about 1.5 miles from our house to the arena. Sometimes we take the scooter - other times we take the electric car. Usually we leave about 20 minutes before tipoff - but this time we allowed 90 minutes for the 8 PM start.

When I got to my spot - the first ones to visit me were the scalpers. After I tell them I want seats along the court for $5 - they leave me alone. I was offered a few pairs but the prices were too high. A guy had 4 tickets behind the Duke bench - but he wanted $80 each. I offered him $60 for two - no luck. He got his price. With 50 minutes to tip off - an old guy ran up and sold me his season tickets for $30 each. He had some upgraded box tickets with food and drink.

We were in our seats 45 minutes before the start. The place seemed empty - except the student section. It was hard to believe 12,000 people were coming. At 8 PM - everyone was there - but you could count about 1000 empty seats here and there. Why do people pay $40 for tickets and not go to games?

We expected to win this time. FSU took an dearly lead - but Duke stormed back many times. At half the Noles led by a few. FSU has a deep bench and played 13 players. Duke was missing a good player - and Coach K. He is out for a month with back surgery. About ¾th the way - Duke ran out of gas. The Seminoles won by 16.

The Seminole are now 16-1. That is the first time ever for that. They are also 4-0 in the ACC - first time for that. There is a new sheriff in town - this is a very exciting team.

The end of the game - FSU won by 16.

Deshaun Watson Lives In A Warrick Dunn House

You never know how far your sphere of influence reaches. Florida State's Hall of Fame running back Warrick Dunn has made a practice of building and furnishing homes for single mothers. Families get to move into completely furnished homes working with Habitats for Humanities.

One of his homes went to Clemson National Champion Deshaun Watson's mom. And the rest is history. Pass if forward.

Lulu works with Warrick Dunn to fund and select libraries that are placed in the new homes and matched to the interests of the kids.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Tamaqua PA in Winter

My friend - Don Serfass - publishes the prettiest pictures of our old hometown. It reminds us what we left behind. Cold - snowy  - dark winters.

We are flying north on Thursday for a week to visit friends and family.

It's not Russia - but you can see it from my house.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Florida State Basketball is 15-1. Add in a 14-2 Women's Team - It Is Easily the Best Year Ever So Far

Michael Ojo - number 50 on right - is a graduate student in
International Affairs. Son Keith - earned his masters at FSU
in that program. 

As I type this - it is Sunday 9 AM and 30 degrees - sunny - in downtown Tallahassee. I am not bragging or complaining - just the facts. We are enjoying two great basketball teams here at FSU this year. The girls are 14-2. The boys are 15-1. Yesterday we attended the game between FSU and Virginia Tech boys where the Seminoles won by 15 points. This is the best start our team ever had. 9000 tickets were sold for the arena that holds 12,000. Tuesday night Duke comes to town without Koach K. He just had back surgery over the weekend. The Seminoles are in the middle of an unprecedented run of 6 games - with teams ranked in the top 25. They beat Virginia - then VT - now they play Duke - UNC - Notre Dame - Louisville. The last time such a fete occurred it was the University of Maryland - and they lost all 6. We were hoping for 3-3 in the run - now after winning 2 - us foolish locals are thinking winning all 6. Duke can end that foolishness on Tuesday night. Yesterday - we went to the 2 PM game an hour early. We found a free parking spot - and then a nice fella walked up to me and handed me to FREE very nice tickets. I was wearing the FSU leather letter jacket I bought on Craigslist list for $20 - at 68 and gray - I must look like a sorry sight - and the guy even asked if I needed 4. I was startled at the quality for the $32 tickets - and I said just 2. He walked into the game with the extra 2 in his pocket. I know there are a lot of Duke fans out there - and usually we cheer for Duke because son Drew graduated there. But just this one time - I request that you cheer for this ragtag group of upstarts in Tallahassee. 5 are freshman - 2 will probably go in the NBA first round of the draft in June. We will be back to reset again. FSU is usually thought of as a football factory by the rest of the nation. Leonard Hamilton - our basketball coach - has a 94% graduation rate among his players. Michael Ojo - a 7 foot 300 pound graduate student from Nigeria - has played his first organized basketball at FSU. Who knows where he will be next year - I doubt it will be the NBA. So Tuesday night - when you tune in to see America's Team Duke play - I hope you will be cheering for those playing against the Blue Devil's tripping All-American. Sharpen up your Tomahawks and look for Lulu and I in the stands. There will be 12,000 of us for the first time in years. We will be the ones sitting in someone else's seats.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Two Free Tickets - Almost Sold Out Game With VTech - Face Value $32 Each - Go Noles!!!

It must be the jacket. Great seats. We are sitting 30 minutes before tip off.

Seminole won the game by 13.

The Civic Center holds 12,100. I would say there were about 8000 people that showed up.

A nice guy outside gave me two for free. He said - do you need four? I said no. He walked in with the extra tickets. He did not want to sell them.I guess he was given them for free.

Tuesday night Duke comes to town. That will be close to a sellout because FSU has a better chance than usual to win.

FSU is 14-1 and tanked number 12 in the nation. Virginia Tech was number 21.

FSU is playing 6 ranked teams in a row. They beat Virginia and Virginia Tech - both ranked.

See you Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

We Attended Two Seminole Basketball Games On Monday

The FSU Golden Girls Dance Team performs at every basketball game

Our view for the men's game
FSU men won by 8

The women's game as seen from our regular seats.
We sat with George and Joel Dawson. 

Monday we got to see two basketball games. Even though the students went home for the holidays - both the men's team and women's team got an early game in before heading home.

At 2 PM - the boys took on Samford University- beating them by 8. Although the Seminoles have a 12-1 record - they never quite put away the Bulldogs. FSU schedules a hand full of small schools to start out the season and fatten up their record. The crowd was sparse - between the 3000 that they announced and the 1100 I counted. Our friends Paul and Michelle gave us their season tickets - so it was free for us - and we moved down to sit behind the announcer at court side.

After that we went to Sonny's for supper. Sonny's is my favorite barbecue place to eat in town. Next we took a walk in the mall to kill time.

At 6 PM the women tipped off against the University of North Florida - a small school in Jacksonville. It was a laugher and FSU won by about 50 points.

FSU men and women have identical 12-1 records. The men lost to Temple after being ahead by 18. The women lost to UConn by 5 - but were playing without their best player - Leti Romero - the Olympian from Spain.

The men next play Wake Forest here on Dec 28th. We have 8 tickets for that game and plan to take our kids and grandkids. Games will get more difficult now that FSU starts their ACC schedule.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

We Got A Little Sprinkling Of The White Stuff Last Night In Tallahassee

A picture of our white stuff

We are decorating - getting ready for the Holidays. Nature provided a sprinkling of the white stuff to make us feel at home - like back in the Coal Regions of Pennsylvania. Temperature dropped down into the 50s - it was 59 degrees at 4 AM.