Monday, October 22, 2012

Auntie Elvira

Today, the White Family (which includes all the Egans) gave a fond farewell tribute to a great lady, Elvira Charlotte Robbins White. She was 95 years old. She was our Aunt, neighbor, chauffeur, caretaker, mentor and friend for our entire childhood. She was one of a very few who was willing to invite the Egans (all 13 of us) to Thanksgiving dinner. She drove us everywhere. We all loved her spaghetti and hot dog dish served on summer holidays, her chocolate cake and most of all her selfless service to all. The above photo was taken at the annual White family flag ceremony held every May to commemorate the love for country inherent in our family heritage. Elvira, though an in-law, was the greatest patriot of all. The closing song at her services was America the Beautiful. We all miss you Aunt Elvira. We hope your reunion with Uncle Verdi is joyous. We know it will be a barrel,of fun. Say hello to our dad for us. We are  getting together as a family to celebrate his 94th birthday tonight.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


                 Ironman Swim Start

Green Caps=Men
Pink Caps = Women

At the Gun

Swim Frenzy

And then the wind and waves

112 miles on a bike

26.2 mile run


Monday, May 7, 2012

Pit in the stomach

Spent the weekend in St. George viewing the St. George Ironman. For those of you new to the Ironman world (like I am) this is the longest triathlon and features (an odd word to describe this grueling endurance event) a 2.4 mile swim, 112 miles on a bike and a full marathon of 26.2 miles. I have watched a number of marathons and always thought they were inspiring. The Ironman? Well, it's just unbelievable. I was there to support our son, Ty. Those of you who know Ty, know that he is a physician working longnshifts, often all-nighters and often working 60-80 hour weeks. He also has a wife and five children ( sixth child on the way in September). WHEN DOES HE TRAIN? "hi honey! (after working all night) See you in five hours" (as he jumps on his bike). Not to mention all his other activities like coaching two sons in their sports' teams and Church responsibilities and DATE NIGHT! Hugh and I split up the support team duties. I accompanied Tiff to the reservoir for the swim, dropping Ty off for the athlete transport at 4:45 am and then driving to the spectator shuttle. (Hugh stays with the five kids.) Everyone was going well at the reservoir until one minute after the starting gun. The wind started up as if somebody in the special effects department had flipped a switch. 40 mph winds, with 4-5 foot swells. White caps doesn't even come close to describing it. Athletes were being pulled out by the dozens. Even the support personnel on kayaks jumped into the pontoon boats. Meanwhile, Tiff and I are hunkered down next to a dumpster praying that Ty doesn't drown because we know he won't quit. The pit in the stomach begins. Finally, the pros start arriving in the bike transition area. The volunteers rip off their wet suits and they run to the changing tent. The announcer tells us "times are all so much slower than expected." (Really? Did anyone actually train in a 4 foot wave pool? We applaud for each one. We hunker down by the dumpster again. We are freezing and we are not even wet. Ty's expected time comes and goes. Now hundreds have arrived in the rescue boats. There is no communication. We have phones but the athletes do not. The stomach pit widens. Do we care if he finishes? NO. We just want him alive on dry land. Then, about thirty minutes after we thought we would see him, we see him trotting down the concourse with his bike. What a joyous moment! We are both jumping up and down and cheering wildly! Ty hops on the bike and takes off in the wind. The pit subsides momentarily. Tiff and I head for the shuttle where we sit for an hour or more. We are following the race on our mobile phones. We hear from family and friends who are also watching on the internet. They report that the leader has been blown off the eoad by 40 mph wind gusts. Did i mention that st george is known to be the toughest ironman in the world? So many brutal hills to climb on the bike, plus the temperature is often in the 90's in May and there is always a chance of wind. The busses can't leave until all the swimmers are out. So three hours after the start, the busses roll. We arrive home to rescue Hugh at eleven am. He has been on kid duty for seven hours. He gave them breakfast at McDonald's and then took them on a looooong lizard hunt. What a man! We then load up and head for the bike route to cheer him on. We are wearing neon green shirtsnthat say " Swim Daddy Swim, Bike Daddy Bike, Run Daddy Run. We think he will be able to see us pretty well. The kids carry signs they made at the kids' event. Again, we wait with the pit. His time is way off. Head winds hamper progress. Five kids climbing on the barrier gates We finally see him and again jump for joy. He waves. He looks good. Only, 42 bike mules to go. We next see him at the run transition. He gives up his bike to the volunteer. (the volunteers work so hard.) He waves and heads for the changing tent. He has a slight limp. Tiff worries about a muscle cramp. I am pretty sure it is his knee. (I have a problem with one knee whenever I ride a bike over ten miles. I know, wimpy distance.)
He spends some time in the transition tent. We worry that he is not coming out. The whole day was just one worry after another. First we are sure he has drowned. Then we are convinced he has been blown off the road and is in a heap somewhere surrounded by EMTs. One thing we are always sure of. HE WILL NOT EXIT THIS RACE VOLUNTARILY. HE WILL NOT QUIT UNLESS SOMEONE DRAGS HIM OFF. We are sure of this.
Finally, he walks out of the transition tent. He no longer limps. We figured one of the volunteers had worked the cramp out of his leg with magic fingers. (Later we learn that the only volunteer that acknowledged him was an eight year old kid that offered him a bottle of water, so no magic fingers.)
Outside of the tent was a cadre of volunteers with purple gloves. They were the sunscreen team. In a flash of movement all over his body, the purple gloves slathered sunscreen. Ty then began the last leg of the Ironman journey. Twenty-six point two mile run. Should I repeat that? That's 26.2 miles to run after swimming 2.4 miles in gale-strength winds and riding 112 miles on a bicycle in that same forceful wind.
He trots over to the barrier fence where we are all waiting. Wife, five kids and mom and dad. He leans into Tiffany and the kids with what looked like a hug. To me, it looked like a "if I get close enough to my family, I may be able to gather enough strength from them to keep going."  Ty probably wouldn't like reading that hypothetical quote, but as an observer, and I'll admit, a very emotional observer, that's what it looked like to me.
Then he took off through the RUN gate.
We decided it was time to get this pregnant lady some food. It is now 4:30 PM and she hasn't eaten since the meager granola we picked at while sitting by the dumpster.
We head for the car, which is a good mile or so from where we saw the run transition. The first food purveyor we see is Arby's, where we go in and relax and eat. The kids and I play Battle of the Books using Ella's copy of Journal of a Wimpy Kid. Ironically, I ask questions about a wimpy kid, when the opposite of a wimpy kid is running a full marathon.
Eventually, we head back to the running course, hoping to see Ty---to cheer him on---to give him some of our strength. We don't have anyway to find him. The tracking system isn't working. We have no idea where he is on the course. Maybe participants walk a good part of the running course in order to have enough energy to finish the Ironman. We don't know if his 7 minute/mile training time is holding, or if he has lengthened his time due to fatigue. Finally, we see him. We yell "Ty!" "Ty!". He ignores us. We yell again, louder this time. "TY!" TY!". No response. Then we realize it isn't him. Yes, there is more than one runner wearing a black tank top and a white visor. We feel kinda silly as we have disrupted all around us with our yelling. So again we wait.
The kids settle in to climbing the barriers, playing in the gutter, dropping stuff down the rain gutter, (Tessa tries to pull the gutter out of the street without success, but now her hands are black.) I offer $1 to the first person to see Ty coming. That keeps the kids busy for a minute or two, but then they continue pulling out grass and tossing it on each other. Then, Hugh wins the $1. He spots Ty. This time it really is him. We jump up and down and wave our arms. He sees us and waves. He still looks good. We decide there is one more time to cheer Ty on before he heads for the finish line. Again, to keep the kids focuses, I offer another $1 for the person to see Ty next. We drill down on every runner in a black tank and white visor. It is amazing how many runners passed by us that looked so much like Ty. Hugh again added to his stash by being the first to spot Ty. The gang in neon green t-shirts again cheered and sent positive vibes to their husband, dad and son. We now get out the calculator and try to figure out how much longer this endurance event will last (at least for Ty and us). Based on when Ty started the running event and where he is now (mile 18), well you know the drill. We then gathered up our troupe of monkeys and head for the finish line. Now to find a spot to witness our Ironman complete the grueling day. That last six miles took a long time. Jackson lamented when the thirteenth hour mark passed. "Dad wanted to finish in thirteen hours." With the added delay due to the wind, even the pros missed their targeted mark on the clock. We watched from various vantage points. The kids played in the splash pad. We all scouted our favored spots for the big finish. With eight of is looking for a best vantage point, it was unlikely we would be able to stay together. I favored the corner just before the "chute" (the place very near the finish line where the course narrows). There was also at this juncture a raised planter area which would give us a better view ---(important for those of us who are height impaired). It was also advantageous because you could clearly see the runners as they rounded the turn for the last half mile of the Ironman. My goal was to "high five" TY as he made the turn into the chute. I convinced his kids to hang out with me there. Ella was the only taker. The rest wanted to be nearer the finish line. I encouraged Ella to hold out her hand to high-five the finishers. She was delighted when the first runner touched her hand. She set a goal to get ten high-fives. When she reached that goal, she set another goal---fifteen this time. I thought it was so cool that this little six year old was setting goals for herself. Pretty soon, she had encouraged thirty runners with her outreached hand. Then it got kinda dark. We weren't able to see the runners as well. Jackson and Davis hung out with us at the corner for a time. Then the competitive nature of the Church kids kicked in. Who could get the most high-fives? Even with her big lead, Ella soon got discouraged. Jackson could reach so much farther. The athletes his his hand sooner. Then Davis joined the competition. He too could reach farther. Davis reached out so far, he nearly fell head first over the barrier fence and into the path of the tired runners. I tried to distract them with the $1 reward for the first one to spot TY. Low and behold, Jackson won the buck. He and Davis departed for the finish line. But Ella and I prepared for that all-important high-five. When Ty turned that last corner, we were there to cheer him on. Moments later we heard the announcer, Mike Riley, announce: TY CHURCH ---YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Paris to Prague

Thought you might like to see some of the really pretty sites we were able to enjoy on our river cruise. Castles, church spires, flowers and vineyards were an everyday occurence. And yes, we hiked as far as they will let you go on the Eiffel Tower. You'll see the American cemetery at Normandy, a truly sobering site. Contrast with the Hall of Mirrors at Versaille. Also Rodin's Thinker! Took lots of photos of the bakeries and street markets. Thanks Hugh, for this amazing experience!

What to Wear Pro!

Recently, Hugh and I embarked on a terrific adventure....Paris to Prague. Prior to our journey, Kate was visiting Utah for her "get out of the heat" annual trip. As she is such a fashionista, she helped me pack for my European adventure. It was so fun to go through the closet(s) (yes I have moved some clothing into the closets FORMERLY "owned" by my daughters. I get teased about it but I remind them who now owns those closets.) We sorted through possible candidates for the trip. Kate okayed and nixed the wardrobe and soon I had a whole list of outfits to wear. Ordinarily, I just pack a bunch of travel pants (think parachute pants) that are light weight and oh so comfortable. Kate would have none of that. I had to be coordinated every day. It was so fun to wake up every morning and know that I was going to look good! Her expertise also made it so that I actually took less clothing as many of the outfits worked together to make several different looks using the same clothes. The only problem was that most days, Hugh and I looked like we were going to totally different events every day. We're home now and back to the old wardrobe habits. I really miss looking coordinated and fashionable every day. Thanks Kate!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Newport 2011

It has been so long since I posted to this blog, I hardly know how. I'm sure no one is actually following it any longer as I haven't posted in sooooo long. But, a gathering of 41 of my closest relatives is certainly reason enough to upload some photos and describe a few experiences. My one photo goal was to snap one with all 22 grandkids in the same photos with Hugh and me. That is not an easy task with four of the new ones less than 1 1/2 years old. I told all the "big" kids I would take them to Circle K for a slurpee if they would just smile in the group photo. Bless their hearts, most of them tried hard to make it happen. And with a few head swaps via photoshop, I might even have a frame-worthy photo. Catch the photos of all the girls in green pixie outfits and the boys in football jerseys and you have PAJAMA NIGHT. The kids always look forward to the matching pajamas they receive every year. Crafts. Scripture Skits. Church. Hugh's Birthday. Then there is the Disneyland shirt. This year, all the names of the forty-one family members are written on the surfboard. We moved around in a light blue gang throughout the magic kingdom. Suffice it to say, it was Cousin Paradise, and the rest of us managed to come home with some nice memories of our own childhood days at the beach. Mostly, the adults just look forward to a good night's sleep in their own bed.

                                               Pajama Night

     Church at Newport Ward

                              Minute to Win It

 Stripling Warriors taught by their mother
The Ark---Noah wanted to add some style.

     Noah preaching to the wicked
           Happy Birthday Hugh

The Adventures of Moses
                                                  Love Birds