Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Family Pics

So like 9 months ago we got family pictures taken and the CD has been sitting on my desk at work since then. Here are a few with more to come.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

California Vacation (Day 2)

We all woke up Day 2 still not feeling awesome, but headed south to the Long Beach Aquarium. It was awesome! There were so many amazing fish/sea creatures to see. We took a bunch of pictures on my cell phone, some day I will figure out an efficient way to get them off my phone and share them with you.

After the aquarium, we walked around the pier for a while, it was gorgeous out, but a bit windy.

We got back to my dad's and Chad was feeling pretty lousy, so he stayed at the house while the rest of us went looking for a train museum.

They had a little train that went around the museum a couple was less exciting than the Blank Park Zoo train, and that is saying a lot!

My dad thought there was more to the train musuem than there actually was, so we found a park on the way home to let the boys burn off some steam.

Urbandale 4th of July 5k

We had such a fun 4th of July. It started with the Urbandale races where I ran the 5k, Gavin ran the kids mile, and Sam ran the toddler trot. We also had several other kids from the track team run the kids mile and the 5k.

After the races I took the kids to a (hot) parade where they caught tons of candy and have subsequently forgotten all about it. Dare I say that the candyholics have left the building??

Late afternoon we headed to the house of one of our track kids - we have really enjoyed getting to know some of the track families this season. Just a great group of people! There were tons of kids there, from the track team and the neighborhood. Despite a 10 yr range of ages, the older kids looked after Sam so nicely and let Gavin join in on the play. It was so nice to be able to sit and chat with the adults and just peek in on the kids every so often. And the kids had a blast!

Here are a few pics that a friend took at the races. Gavin finished the mile in 7:15 (not sure how accurate the distance was, the 5k measured a bit long on my watch), was 4th overall, won a trophy for getting 3rd male elementary, a a medal for 2nd place 3rd grader.

Starting to make his move

Going in for the pass


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

We're Going to Nationals!!

A full recap with pics will be up soon whenever life slows down.

Gavin competed at the USATF Region 8 competition this past weekend in Oshkosh, WI. We already knew he was going to Nationals, as the top 5 make it, and there were 5 or less in each of his events. We didn't exactly tell him he was a sure bet to nationals, we just talked about running his best race.

He set some goals for himself - to break 6 minutes in the 1500m and to break 3 minutes in the 800m.

The short story is he made his 1500m goal with a time of 5:58.64 and narrowly missed his 800m goal at 3:02.02. He was disappointed, but moved on quickly.

So we are headed to Baltimore at the end of the month and making it our summer vacation. We will spend the first two nights with a family friend, spend a day in DC, hit the track for Gav's events Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, and then have most of the day Sunday, all Monday, and most of Tuesday to explore Maryland. Chad hooked us up with a cute cottage on the beach for our last couple nights there.

Monday, July 9, 2012

USATF Region 8

Gavin and two other kids from our youth track team competed in Oshkosh, WI this weekend. Pictures and a full recap to follow, but wanted to let everyone know that we are so proud of Gavin!

He ran a PR of 5:58.64 in the 1500m race, breaking the 6 min mark, and accomplishing his goal. Unfortunately he didn't quite make his goal of coming in under 3 min on the 800, but he was very close. 3:02.02. He was a great kid the whole trip (a couple grumpy moments right after running and when he got hungry).

This weekend he is going to Twilight Camp at Camp Dodge with the boy scouts in the evenings, so he is taking it a little easy on the running, but will be back in competition this weekend in Ames at the Iowa Games.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Family History - Vitorino Saldanha

I love how close I am to my American family.

Let's back up. For those that haven't known me from birth - well, it's a long story. One I hope to capture here so that my kids, grandkids, and anyone else that follows and has interest can come back to. I guess not everyone is as sentimental or grounded in their roots as I am. But for me, well - knowing my family history matters. It really, really matters. And half of it has been missing for a long time.

My short story version is that I was born in Switzerland to an American woman and an English man (who had been born and raised in India). We moved to Iowa in 1987, I was 7 at the time. Shortly after, my parents split and my dad moved to California. I grew up surrounded by, and very close to, my mom's family - grandparents, two uncles, one aunt, and six cousins.

There is a long version of that paragraph, but that will be reserved for another day.

I know where my mom came from. I've grown up surrounded by the people that knew her growing up, I've heard their stories and anecdotes, I've slept in the bedroom that she grew up in, ran through the cornfields on the farm where she lived.

What I don't know is my Indian heritage. There is this magical, mystical, vague story that I know little about. I knew my grandmother on my dad's side as a child, and I did see her once after we moved to the US (I think I remember her coming and visiting us at my mom's house), but don't have much memory of her. More of a feeling, and a picture in my mind. My grandfather died before I was born. I have met my uncles, when I was very young, I can't even picture them. And then there's India. I can only imagine.

So it felt a bit like an episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" when my dad forwarded me an email the other day. A cousin of his has spent some time in India tracking down the family history. What he sent were some stories of my great-grandfather, Vitorino Saldanha.

What touched me most was reading the comments, the family relations to this man......these are my distant relatives. I've watched that show a few times and never understood the excitement as they discovered these relatives that they didn't know existed - but as I read through this, I started to feel the same way.

I have sort of a standing joke with Chad - that Indian people are "my people". It's really only half-joking, in a way I want to feel the connection to this group of people, because despite it being 50% of me, I know so little about it. So, reading through these comments, I kind of felt like these really were my people.

The businessman in East Africa

by Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas

I got to know Vitorino Francisco Saldanha, a prominent personality from the village of Saligao, when he finally returned to Goa from East Africa. I felt good when he affectionately tapped my head and spoke sweetly to me on a fine Sunday in May in the early fifties.

Vitorino Francisco Saldanha
Vitorino Saldanha : Saligao Serenade

He wore a sun hat, his attire was elegant but simple, he sported a moustache and walked in a stately manner. He looked a gentleman to the core. In the later years of his life he moved about in his Ford car, one of the few four-wheelers we saw in those days.

His son-in-law, Hubert de Sousa, described him as follows:

“To amass wealth in business requires a high degree of intelligence, shrewd business acumen and a tremendous capacity for hard work, and Mr. Saldanha had all these characteristics in abundant measure. He displayed his intelligence in his ability to handle finances without having had the knowledge of accounts and banking. His shrewdness was shown in his foresight in buying land and plots in Nairobi, which in a few years became gold mines of that fast-growing city as far as their location was concerned, and became worth many times the price he paid for them.

“Vitorino Saldanha’s hard work in the building up of his three business houses in Mombasa, Nairobi and Nakuru was shown in the long hours he spent in his shops and estates in putting up edifices that were modern in design and construction for that time and which were eventually sold for five times their original investment.

“He hardly had any education except in music at church school, where he learnt to play clarinet and reading music. Thus when he was in Ceylon he played the clarinet in an orchestra, mastered sufficient English to deal with the government and other officials in connection with his business and properties.

“Vitorino was very generous. He was the benefactor of Saligao Church, Saligao Institute as well as the Seminary of Saligao-Pilerne. At that time his contribution to the seminary was large. His portrait is displaced in the parlour of the seminary. He always had a ready helping hand for those who approached him. His life was calm, methodical, serene and always busy. His food and drinking habits were also good, hence he lived a long life of 87 years to see his sons and daughters well placed in life.”

Hubert de Sousa says: “Vitorino Saldanha was an excellent card player and excelled in that skill-cum-bluff game of Trook, which was widely played in Goa until a few years ago and which has now lost its attraction. He had a real poker face and it was extremely difficult to guess whether he was bluffing or was in earnest with the cards. In the end it was usual for his side to win.”