We spent yesterday and today watching nephew Brian Lenz compete in the Nationals for high school gymnastics at Eckerd College. Brian came in 7th in the nation on rings! We enjoyed the opportunity to get the family together. Brian had his Grandpa and seven of his nine aunts and uncles on his Mother’s side there. We had the chance to spend some time with Mark, Patti, and Rebecca who were staying out at the beach. We had some good food too, at Patrick’s Grill, Sea Critters, and of course Ted Peter’s.
In preparation for Deck Day Ed came over and “helped” us with pool cleaning. To commemorate the occasion CJ took no less than 469 photographs of the event. Now the question… were the photos to record a truly extraordinary event? Or was CJ trying to learn more about the capabilities of her Dad’s camera? Or did Ed have a reason for wanting so many pictures taken of himself?
Greg turned 25 years old today. Thankfully he agreed to drive over from Tampa to join us for a low-keyed celebratory dinner at Applebee’s on Fourth. With three fractured ribs, Karen didn’t want to go too far afield for the celebration but it was good to be with our middle kid on a landmark birthday.
CJ turned 21 on Monday. On her actual birthday she had an Organic Chemistry final and had to study for Physics and Athenian Culture finals. When she finished with her last final Tuesday night, we met her on the USF St Petersburg campus and took her to Courigan’s, a nearby Irish pub for her first legal pint this side of the Atlantic. The owner served her a “Snake Bite” and she began the process of recovering from finals. She celebrated Wednesday with a Birthday Dance at PASA. James & Arleene had emailed the regulars that we would be celebrating CJ’s Twenty-first Birthday, so lots of her favorite partners were there.
Since the Fall of 1999, the HO train layout has been a part of our lives. When Dave and Greg left for college at the same time we converted half of the the upstairs bedroom space into a 14′ x 18′ model train haven. Dick VanAlstine and Steve designed and built a very realistic layout. CJ got quite involved in various aspects of the scenery. Several of our relatives and friends followed the progress of the project through the years. To see the trains became one of the highlights of our annual Deck Day Party. Now the time has come to move on. The trains are chugging into history but we have documented them quite well in photos and video.
During the Heritage Village WWII event yesterday we reconnected with Alicia Addeo, now the historian on staff with Heritage Village. She had served as an advisor to Dave when he was doing the reconstruction of the battery storage building at Ft DeSoto for his Boy Scout Eagle project. While we were talking they held a drawing for a ride in a Red Baron biplane. Since she had multiple reasons why she did not want to fly in the biplane, she gave the certificate to Steve. His was one of three biplanes that flew out of Clearwater Airpark on Sunday morning. His plane did only one loop de loop, enough excitement for him. But he got some fabulous aerial views of the area.
As part of the Heritage Village annual WWII Homefront reenactment, we danced our version of a USO dance in the outdoor pavillion at Heritage Village. If our count is correct, this is the sixth year that we have participated and since Jamie and Arleene could not be here, Steve emceed the event this year.
We left Sunday midday to drive to Nashville to take our Greek Scholar (CJ is studying Culture & Identity of Fifth Century (BC) Athens as an Honors Course this semester at USF St Petersburg) on a field trip. Nashville TN has the only full scale replica of the Parthenon in the world. Travel plans were frustrated by the fact that the facility is not open on Sundays or Mondays, otherwise Greg would have joined us. We arrived Tuesday mid-morning and got a hotel room across from Centennial Park with a fabulous view of the Parthenon from our balcony. We spent a rainy afternoon at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. Got a personalized tour of the African Exhibit and spent a lot of time in the two Impressionism Exhibits. We did some textile printing and gawked at the Art Noveau silver pieces. We spent Tuesday morning wandering through and gawking at the interior of the Parthenon with CJ as our personal guide. Then we made a beeline back to Florida so we could see Patti and Rebecca during their visit to Zephyrhills.