Thursday, July 30

Baby Rabbit versus my Flowers & Veggies

Baby Rabbit won the first round hands down...

How do I get even with this little cuttie pie??

I want my flowers to grow!!

Tuesday, July 28

How not to love Shaq!!

I know it is not WW. related and I haven't watched WWE in 10 years but I heard the buzz this morning and I am not sure how long the HD Video will stay on YouTube.

Monday, July 27

Running in Central Park, New York.

When you run on the same trails over and over again, it is nice to experience new runs. I love running in Central Park back. It is a very exciting atmosphere - you have bikers, cabs, pigeons, horses, celebrities - I happened to pass Dustin Hoffman years ago and the guy Mr.Big from "Sex and the City".

I came to the Park very motivated last Wednesday night. Almost 3 years since my last run in the Park. I decided to run a 8.10 min/mile pace which is pretty fast for me - it translates into a 3h35min. marathon - The 6.1 mile run was completed in just about 50 minutes. But here is the catch. Besides, a pregnant woman and a guy who pulled his hamstring on one of the hills, I passed absolutely zero runners. To the contrary, they all passed me like I was running in slow motion. WOW! What a sick feeling... New York is in shape, I tell you that!

I was exhausted and out of breath, realizing that it might me better to be a big fish in a small pond than the other way around. Mentally, I was down!

Since I had nobody to take pictures of me to illustrate this post, I will use a few pictures of random people to depict the story to its fullest. I mean really random people. Don't see in these pictures the insecurity of a guy about to hit 40 years of age. Not at all. I am just trying to expand my female reader base and finish this post on a high note.

So I am dragging myself back to my apartment in New York to take a shower...

I am feeling miserable and pensive about that run...

Should I have done something differently? Did I start too fast? I was devastated...

All jokes apart, what are the most memorable trails you run on, outside of St-Louis?

Over 1000 hits and counting...

Thanks to all of you for supporting this Blog!!

After less than 2 months, we just pass the 1000 hit mark. And no, Brian, I am not getting any artificial help from my wife's high-school girlfriends who don't spend their days clicking secretly on my blog to make me feel better. Well, I hope not...

When you enter the keywords "Warson Woods" on the Google search engine, this Blog is now on Page One in the eight slot.

I know it can be intimidating to leave a comment. I am not going to hold that back against you. I will try to keep going promoting our wonderful WW.

If you - yes you - want to become a contributor on this Blog, let me know.

In the meantime, i want to say:

Saturday, July 25

My first red Tomato

To all the savvy green thumbs out there, I have decided to set a small vegetable garden in the back of my house.
Granted it is not the right time to start, but I had the urge of removing the ivy and get something going. Like my son Harry said, we don't need to go to Schnucks anymore for Veggies!

I need all the tips of the world not to fail. With August around the corner, what am I supposed to do?? I planted beans, corn, melon, eggplant, radish, tomato, squash.

Friday, July 24

Petanque is taking WW by storm!! Contact me if you want to play!!

I know that Petanque is not physically as intense as Football, but I can tell you that as soon as you give it a shot, it becomes quite addictive. After pouring 500lbs of play sand in my driveway to set the play area, teams were set and the game was on the way.

Not sure with Petanque ball is the closest on that play?

It is not required to play with a drink in your non throwing hand but it helps building your confidence.

Thanks Harry for raking the area in between games!!

Thursday, July 23

The Story of Laura Cannon

I came accross the great story of Laura Cannon, one of our WW. resident.

Here is the article from the St.Louis Post Dispatch written by Susan Weich that was published in 5/20/09. And here is the link for the video as well, courtesy of the Newspaper Web-site. VIDEO

I would love to hear more about it. The article is two month old. Would anyone have any update?

"Two winters ago, Laura Cannon was a partner in a marketing firm when her plane got delayed by a snowstorm in Fargo, N.D.

She found a local newspaper and read a paragraph that changed the direction of her life. The item was about a lending program for medical equipment, and the idea stuck with her.

Four months later she founded the nonprofit St. Louis Health Equipment Lending Program — HELP.

Cannon, 52, began operating out of her garage in Warson Woods. She sold her portion of the marketing firm so she could devote more time to the program, but she kept a part-time job so she could pay her bills.

While Cannon was sure her agency would succeed, friends and family were skeptical about starting a nonprofit in terrible economic times and funding it through a home loan.

"I said, 'I don't know, somehow in my heart, I just feel like this is really the right thing to do,' and it's just turned out to be exactly that," she said.

In just one year, Cannon has collected more than 4,000 pieces of medical equipment — wheelchairs, portable commodes, scooters, canes, crutches — and given out more than 1,000 of them.

Many of the items are unusable because they are too old or beaten up, so Cannon recycles them for the plastic, metal and wood. Other donations, things Cannon doesn't use like bandages in open packages, are given to a local veterinarian who works with support dogs. GET MORE
VIDEO: Learn more about St. Louis HELP
Read Susan's earlier columns

Cannon's program has gotten a financial boost from two grants from private foundations. And at a donation drive 10 days ago, people dropped off more than 900 pieces of equipment at a dozen sites in St. Louis and St. Louis and St. Charles counties. (Anyone who wants to donate or borrow an item, can call Cannon at 314-567-4700.)

A 2,200-square-foot warehouse in Olivette is the headquarters for St. Louis HELP now, but Cannon already is trying to get more space.

"I thought this would be a fun weekend project, but it's become a minimum of 10 hours a day," she said. "I have never been happier about the work I'm doing though."

The equipment is refurbished, cleaned and given free of charge to patients who are asked to return the item when they are finished with it. There are no income requirements, she said, but many of the people aided by St. Louis HELP would have had nowhere else to turn.

One of them, Sheryl Nackley, 46, of St. Louis, gets by on disability payments. She has diabetes and her kidneys are failing. When she suffered a broken ankle, she had to move in with her parents in Ballwin.

After meeting with Cannon, she came back with a wheelchair, walker, cane, shower seat and cushions.

"Laura knows about everything that she has," Nackley said. "She tried at least eight seat cushions for the wheelchair with me before we decided on one. I just admire her dedication."

Nackley has since returned the wheelchair because her legs have gotten stronger, but she was unable to go up and down stairs until Cannon got her a 14-foot-long stairlift a few weeks ago.

"New ones cost $3,000 or $3,500, so I don't think there would have been any way for me to get one if it wouldn't have been for St. Louis HELP," she said. "This is a godsend because now I'll be able to get to my bedroom."

Cannon said she gets help from about 60 volunteers, including Eileen and Leo McGeoghegan of St. Ann, who help with wheelchair repair and office work.

"My husband is a paraplegic, and insurance doesn't cover a lot of the needs of people in that situation," Eileen McGeoghegan said. "So many people out there who didn't have the means for transportation via wheelchair have been helped now."

Knowing that is all the motivation Cheryl Nankivil of St. Louis needed to donate several items that had belonged to her parents, both of whom died in the past year.

"I knew I wanted to donate the items, and now I know that they're helping somebody else instead of just sitting around collecting dust," she said."

Friday, July 17

Neighbours at War!

This letter gave me a good morning laugh. Click on it to enlarge the text. Happy Friday everyone! I am very fortunate to have the neighbours I have, how about you?

By the way if you like Michael Jackson, this is the best Tribute Site I found so far: it is called Eternal Moonwalk
Maybe see you on the site!

Wednesday, July 15

Wild Life in WW

Boy, I am glad I live east of Woodland. My new friend Brandon who lives on the west side of Woodland just sent me some pictures of a snake who visited his yard. Wow!!

Has anyone else ever spotted creatures like that in WW?

Link to Brandon's Blog
Thanks again Brandon for sharing these pictures with me. What happened to the snake??

So you want more Gossips of the Hood??

Based on the recent Poll, a majority of my readers want more Gossips. Am I surprised? Not really... do I really want to go that road?

I am not sure. There is a fine line I don't want to cross. How to be entertaining without going to far?

Few themes I could bring here:
- How so and so spent the 4th of July
- So and so trip to Mexico
- Most controversial Moms
- Fashion Police
- Best/Worst pool bodies

and add some paparazzi pictures?

Well, talking about Gardening & Kid Stuff might not bring as much traffic to my blog but it is a safer road.

You know & I know that I will never run out of Gossip Material but I think I need some feedback and input on this one...

Thursday, July 9

Blue & White Meet - What an Evening in WW!

First and foremost I want to thank Carrie Lewis for rushing the pictures to my house this morning. Great job last night Carrie at capturing the fun and the drama - Drama? I am just kidding - of a wonderful evening.

Props to all the parents who voluntered and pulled the evening off. Over 70 races! Forget about Joe Buck - Mike Martin, I must say that you are an amazing Announcer, very impressive work! The DJs were awesome - young wow did you see that?, but absolutely awesome - and all the kids had a blast.

So here we go with a raw, unfiltered vision of last night Meet. Feel free to email me more pictures you would like to share with everyone.

Fantastic Group Picture:

The Men's Relay:
Leslie's full extension

The Parent/Tot Race:
It looks like Danny is pulling a rear naked choke on his Dad Pat

The Dance Floor:

The Mark Thompson Show:

I have to apologize but at this time I still don't know who won the Men's Relay. More to come later today as I recover from a disgraceful last place in the relay despite a strong start from my teammates Sean Fitzgerald, Michelle Hammersmith and Bo Goodgame. Sorry guys, I let you down in the final lap!

Tuesday, July 7

The Hurricanes at Big Ben Woods

Back row (left to right): John Lindsey Douglass, Michael Kennedy and Sydney Carr. Front row: Connor Fitzgerald (who swam in his first meet) with coach Nate Sizemore; Laura Halliday (who also swam in her first meet and was part of a winning relay team) with coach Kate Doneff; and KC Kuehl, with coach Michael Kubik.

Here is John's report from last night Meet:
"We had a great meet last night, even though we came out on the short end of a 306-263 score. The meet was close all the way, until Big Bend Woods pulled away in the relays. We were a little short-handed and many of our swimmers put out an exceptional effort. We had two young swimmers who participated in their first meets and placed.

We had at least two noteworthy performers (and probably more that I don't know about), in addition to our Swimmers of the week. William Kruger gave a terrific effort, even though he was suffering from a bad ear infection. You could tell Will was not healthy because you seldom see him without that great grin, and he was hurting getting out of the pool after his races. Because we were short-handed, we asked Mason Roethler, who is 11, to take a leg in the 15-18-year-old medley relay. We didn’t win the race, but Mason gave a great effort swimming up two age groups. It takes a lot of courage to do that and without him, our relay team would have been a scratch. Michael Kennedy, one of our SoW, had to bounce back from a pretty ugly knock in the noggin’ to swim a leg in the 11-12 medley relay. The starting blocks at BBW are at the shallow end of the pool and Michael got a close-up view – like forehead and nose meeting the bottom of the pool view -- when he dived in the first time. He was not quite the Michael we know for a time after that but hung in to swim the freestyle and then the medley relay, the last event of the night. I know there were other swimmers who rose to the occasion, as well, and our hats are off to all of you.

One last note to report from Monday night. Many of you knew that Teddy Phelan spent Sunday and Monday back and forth between home and the hospital emergency room because of severe headaches and other troubling symptoms. We missed Teddy and his sisters last night and were glad to see him up and around at practice today. All appears well at the moment and we’re grateful for that.

On to the Blue & White and then conference."

Better than Speed Bumps?

Better not push your stroller or run with your eyes closed in WW!
Although, why would you do that in the first place?
Well if you do then beware...

on Flanders:

further on Flanders:

then on Beaufort:

back on Old Warson Rd:

and on Bennett:

Monday, July 6

Swim Meet - a Message from John Rawlings

"Good morning!!

As hard as it is to believe, tonight is our final dual meet of the season, at Big Bend Woods. If you have not been there, please give yourself at least 30 minutes given the time of day and the kind of sneaky location. I don't think I have been to a meet there (if I have, those brain cells have expired), so I don't know about parking. I feel certain BBW will offer the same fine array of foods and beverages we do, though I'm just as certain it can't match the friendly service we are accustomed to at our own pool.

Directions are included below. Volunteers please arrive by 4:45 p.m. Warm-ups at 5 and meet at 5:30 p.m.

Our own Blue & White meet will be Wednesday at 5 p.m., with a lot of fun activities for everyone planned after the official part of the meet. If you haven't attended a B&W meet, it really is a good time for our swimmers and families. We will use that time to make posters and decorations that we'll blow away the competition with at conference, rather than have a separate psych part on Thursday, as the original calendar says. We rock on well into the night.

Conference meet is Saturday at Country Surf. The morning session -- 10 years old and under -- will start with warm-ups at 7:30 a.m. and the meet at 8. The afternoon session -- 11 and up -- will start warm-ups at 12 noon, with the meet at 12:30 p.m. It will be a thrill-packed day for everyone, I know. Directions are included and there will be more about logistics as the week goes along. If you have questions about the meet or the venue, please send them and I'll get answers to share with everyone.

I hope we do not have any more changes in availability. If we do, though -- for today or Saturday -- please let me know right away with both a phone call and an email.

I am not including directions for the Blue & White meet.

Your friendly correspondent,

Tonight: at Big Bend Woods , 732 Big Bend Woods Drive, Ballwin 63021

Saturday for conference: at Country Surf , 2851 Barrett Station Road, Ballwin 63021"

Saturday, July 4

The streak is still alive!!

For the first time in 41 years, it looks like the 4Th of July Parade was on the verge of being cancelled. 41 years!!
But then a break around 11.15 a.m and within minutes the word was out: the Parade was on, the neighborhood was moving quickly towards Andrew Drive.
The fire truck was there and so was the police car. The Parade was on its way!

The games at the park draw a big crowd:

The Egg Toss:

The Water Balloon Toss:

The Bubble Gum Contest:

And a special mention to the Bayers lemonade stand which has been a staple of the Parade for so many years:

By 2 pm the Games were on the way at the Pool. As usual the Diving Contest was a big success:

Great job by the Judges who were exceptionally nice.

Kate won the Girls Diving Contest. Sam Andrews won the boys one.
Justin won the Hoops contest and a flurry of candy was handed to the participants of the Baby-Pool game and the "Dive for quarters & pennies" game.

Here is the list of people I want to thank:
Lana & Sean Fitzgerald + Eileen Bishop for setting up the Parade once again.
Ruth Carse & Debbie Garza for stepping up and putting the games together at the Park.
Joan & Tom Bayer for the Lemonade Stand. What a wonderful tradition!
The Firemen who showed up today and the police car which escorted us as the Parade was moving along.
Mark Nigh for cranking the food. The BBQ was awsome. Mark, thanks for being here once again and cooking for everyone. And thanks Dede for the great Poster.
Brian Carr and Chip Austin for assisting Mark with the BBQ.
Mary Huss for helping us with the clean-up part.
Our great Lifeguards for watching after us today.

Friday, July 3

Shirts are in! Hurry to get yours!!

The 4th of July Parade in the Old Section of WW.

You don't have to make a fashion statement, but please come dressed in Red, White & Blue. It starts saturday morning at 10.00 am in the Old Section. Parade, Fire Truck - great to have our little ones sitting at the wheel, bring your camera - Egg Toss, Bubble Gum Contest, Water Balloon Toss to name a few highlights of our morning.

You don't want to miss it!!

Thursday, July 2

Looking for players to start a Petanque Club in WW.

Petanque is a great game. Very easy to learn and anyone can play regarding of age and physical condition. I have all the petanque balls needed to play. I can teach the game. What I am looking for is a few people interested to meet and play once or twice a month for an hour or two at the most. Great social activity. I will answer any questions you might have.

The only catch is to find a shady area with the appropriate surface. Any surface, with the exception of concrete, asphalt or tiles will do. Best is not too soft however. Very short grass will do as well. The best is hard soil, like clearings in the woods, baseball diamonds or an unpaved backyard. Some fine gravel enhances drainage and makes it more exciting and unpredictable. There are no limits as to maximum size of the court. The generally accepted minimum is 4 meter (12 ft) wide by 12 meter (39 ft) long. Do you know an area in WW that fits the profile?