Category Archives: family

A Bit Of The Mid Atlantic States

When the “save the date” arrived for Greg & Tiffany’s wedding, Mo and I sat down and worked out a vacation trip around it in which we could leisurely visit several locations for the first time.

Our trip started on the end of September with Niagara Falls. We could easily see the mist drifting up from Horseshoe Falls in the distance as we landed in Buffalo. Mo had our first stop though for lunch at Sophia’s Restaurant, a Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives-featured restaurant in Buffalo.

After getting settled into our hotel, we walked over to Niagara Falls State Park and made our way over to the American Falls. As we got closer, we could see the Niagara River picking up speed around Goat Island. It was a real eye-opener as we reached the US side of the river and saw what all the rush was about.


Mo poses with American Falls

While the view was outstanding, it was pretty obvious why everyone says to see the falls from the Canadian side — the American side is closer (you’re right on top of American Falls!) but the other side of the river gives a better panorama of all the falls.

After a leisurely stroll across from the falls, we drove further into Canada to the southern shore of Lake Ontario, where we had a nice lunch at Lake House Restaurant overlooking the lake, with the tall buildings of Toronto visible across the lake at the horizon. We then travelled south into Twenty Valley and bought some homemade fudge, and sampled wines from Cave Spring Winery.


American Falls and Horseshoe Falls from the Canadian side

Leaving Niagara Falls, we took the NY Thruway to Syracuse and then northward to Lake Placid. The trees were changing, and there were lots of burgundy and deep orange and red colors, but not so much yellows — maybe we were spoiled by the Aspens of Colorado.

We were also spoiled by the lower elevations compared to Colorado. We hiked several trails while in the Adirondacks, but the most taxing was the 1/5th mile climb from the parking lot to the top of the Whiteface Mountain — a combination of stairs and large rocks. The temps at the top were just a bit above freezing, but the view was outstanding, with Lake Champlain visible to the east and the skyline of Burlington, VT and Montreal visible at the horizon.


Lake Placid from the top of Whiteface Mountain

Just two hours away is Fair Haven, VT, home to several of Mo’s immigrant ancestors. This was a great excuse to visit Vermont for the first time for both of us. We had a chance to hang with the locals as we lunched at The Wooden Soldier, then made our way over to St. Mary’s cemetery, where after a little searching we found the grave markers of Edmund and Mary Pinders, James and Catherine Morgan, and Patrick and Ellen Sloan, who are Mo’s g-g-g-grandparents, g-g-grandparents, and g-g-grandparents, respectively, all originally from Ireland.


Edmund and Mary Pinders’ grave marker

On our route back to Lake Placid we passed Fort Ticonderoga, and we stopped at Swedish Hill Winery, where we made my life more difficult by picking up two more bottles to pack for the flight home (plus a wine glass).

Following our stay at Lake Placid, we spent one night in Lancaster, PA, and the next morning on our way to pick up K at the Philadelphia airport we had a pleasant drive on roads shared with several Amish horse buggies.

This was the first time in Delaware for all three of us, and the wedding and reception at Thousand Acre Farm were beautiful. We enjoyed catching up with the Morgans and with others we’d met a few years back, and our time with them went by much too fast.


the wedding couple with some additional Morgans and tagalongs

(btw, the three wine bottles arrived home unscathed)

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Am I Proud?

Damn straight! Way to go, K!


University of Missouri – St. Louis, May 17, 2014

Distant Relatives

I had been trading Christmas emails with the Nilsson family in Sweden for several years after they had discovered (via another person) my genealogy website and found we were related through my father’s father’s family. Kristen is my second cousin once removed. In the latest Christmas email, though, we were asked if we would welcome a visit from them this year, and of course the answer was, “Yes!”

On June 29th my Swedish cousins arrived, and we did our best to show them a bit of St. Louis and to get to know them better. We also discussed our ancestry, and shared information about our families. And K’s dog Belle took to them fairly quickly and was a hit.

We toured around the area, seeing old St. Charles and the riverfront, the Augusta wine region, the Arch, Basilica, Forest Park, and of course eating toasted raviolis at The Hill. Frozen Yogurt also went over big with our Swedish friends. And we learned a lot about Sweden as well.

swedes
Kirsten, Johan, and Lennart at Montelle Winery

After we said our goodbyes to the Nilssons, we departed the next day on a 13-14 hour drive to my parents’ home in Minnesota. Since we’d been there during the county fair the past couple of trips, we decided to visit during calmer times, so we drove up the week before the fair this year. Also, since K is in summer school, this time around she and the dog remained behind.

Our time there was night and day compared to previous years; it was very rewarding to put work aside for a few days and spend time relaxing with family and friends.

up north
Mo, Dad, and Mom at Bergeson’s Nursery

Our vacation time is over for the Summer, but Fall vacation plans are already showing up on the schedule….

Merry Christmas!

There’s another mouth to feed in the Runner household!
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Belle is a 4-yr old Dachshund/Miniature Pinscher mix (Doxie-pin). She loves car rides, barks very infrequently, and is a better fielder than Delmon Young ever will be. And K is already her best friend.

Merry Christmas everyone from the Runner family!

They ARE Giants

K is a wonderful daughter and for my Father’s Day/birthday she bought two tickets to They Might Be Giants concert at the Pageant Theater. Well, as the day arrived, she came home from college for the weekend and we (eventually) found ourselves standing just a few feet from center stage.

The Pageant is a great venue; while it might not have been sold out, it was close, but the floor was not uncomfortably crowded. The opening performer was Jonathan Coulton; he and “The Jonathan Coulton Both Stars” very much reminded me of Bowling For Soup. He opened with an amusingly entertaining version of “Mr. Fancy Pants”, performed on…something. I’ve got some Googling to do. After the rest of his band came out, they played “Code Monkeys” among other songs. If I played Portal, I might have recognized “Still Alive”.

TMBG came out firing with several hits (here’s someone’s video of their opener “Dead”), including their new single “Can’t Keep Johnny Down”, several oldies but goodies (“Don’t Let’s Start”, “Birdhouse in Your Soul”, “Ana Ng”, “The Mesopotamians”, and of course “Particle Man”). Linnell rocked the keyboard, accordian, bass clarinet, and Flansburgh, his voice reinforced by a glass of Ecstacy-laced hazelnut LSD (well, that’s what he said it was) was very entertaining. My voice was a bit sore from providing the tragically missing high third to the harmonies, and K and I found them to be a lot more fun live than we were anticipating.


performing “Particle Man” stage left

It’s safe to say a good time was had by all.

“How I Spent My Summer Vacation”

Okay, it’s not one of those papers written for school, but I’m due to post a note about our family trip up to The Homeland and all our activities there — boring to some, even more boring to others.  Well, here goes…

The 14hr 2min drive up nort’ went about as smoothly as it could, and we arrived with most of the clan already there. The first couple days were spent visiting with family and friends, checking out the Polk County Fair, and getting over the “jet lag”. I swung a trade with a baseball card booth in one of the display buildings, and picked up grab bag goodies for the young nephews. Staying just ½ block from the fairgrounds is pretty darn convenient, and a nice location to watch the fireworks, too. And since we apparently brought our St. Louis weather north with us (we had a couple days of 90°F+/high humidity) the shorter walks were appreciated as well.

Friday night the four brothers and their wives had a nice supper at Joe Dimaggio’s Pizza & Grill. (My first car was a 1977 Honda Civic hatchback previously owned by Joe, and I got to tell him that it served me well. And yes, that is his name.)

We had a pleasant surprise when Max (our foreign exchange student from Germany back in the 80’s) dropped by in the middle of his business trip in the US. We were two Texans and a serviceman in Iraq away from the entire shebang.

Saturday morning started with a 5-K walk/run, and many of the clan were among the 140+ that participated.


Polk County Fair 5-K Walk/Run (K on the far right)

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A New Year’s Eve with Family Out the Wazoo!

On the event of nephew Paul II’s New Year’s Eve wedding to Alyssa in Tulsa, the Runner family joined a mass family migration to south-central US. Besides a beautiful wedding and some great quality time with family, this was the first gathering of all of the grandkids in one place – quite a trick!


ALL the grandkids; K is in the gray dress towards the back, and a dapper Paul II in military formal

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