Eagle Scout

Ethan, our next door neighbor, was inducted as an Eagle Scout today. We’ve known Ethan all of his life and it seems almost like yesterday that he was just a little kid playing in his backyard. Now, he is a young man. Anne and I attended his induction ceremony this afternoon. Ethan is a bright young person and hard working too. He exemplifies all the virtues that an Eagle Scout should have. His parents, Arthur and Caroline were rightfully and visibly proud of their son.

Ethan had earned 49 merit badges, more than twice the number required for Eagle Scout. His Eagle Scout project was the design and construction of a garden swing and tiny free lending library. They were installed at ECC, where Anne is currently teaching. Just this week she observed three little girls, who would borrow books from the little library and then read them while swinging. 

Ethan’s induction ceremony was held at the Maplewood Methodist Church, where our neighbors attend Sunday services. This church also served as a location for several scenes in the 2009 George Clooney movie, Up in the Air. In this movie Clooney plays a man whose job is to fire other people. Companies would hire such a person to handle their layoffs and if you recall, 2009 was a booming year for this kind of business. The front of the church was used as the site where Clooney’s character attends a family wedding. The wedding was supposed to take place during the winter in Wisconsin, this being Saint Louis though there was none of the proscribed snow for an exterior shot. Instead a white plastic sheet was laid across the green lawn and dirt that had been spray painted white was added for texture. We spoke to the pastor who had been in attendance back then. The event had made a lasting impression on her.

Our New Car

2019 RAV4 Hybrid Limited

We pulled the trigger today and bought a new car. It is a 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited, which is a mouthful. Technically it is an SUV and not a car per se, making Anne and I the newest Rani and Raj, riding atop our Asian elephant. After years of cursing SUVs and their owners, I have finally succumbed. 😦

It is a sweet ride and we got all of the bells and whistles with it. It is a dark blue, not quite black and is the top of the line of Toyota’s most popular vehicle. By buying a 2019, we eked out a small discount. I figure that in ten years, when this car is just hitting middle age, the difference between 2019 and 2020 will be nil. 

We’ve been very happy with our 2011 Prius and have had absolutely no issues with it. 2011 was the year of the Fukushima earthquake and Toyota’s supply chain was a wreck. Finding Toyotas then and in particular a Prius was a struggle. We ended up buying our Prius off the delivery truck, when another customer’s financing fell through. It was the base model, with no options.

This RAV4 is totally the opposite. It has heated seats, a moon roof, power everything and not one, but two backup camera displays. The only thing that I don’t like about our Prius is its combination of poor rear visibility and no backup camera. Having two backup displays may just be overcompensating. The RAV4 also has more safety nanny features than if Mary Poppins was sitting in the backseat, going tsk, tsk. Someday I will have to bite the bullet and figure out what else it has and RTFM. Until then it will be fun learning on the job.

We’ll be a two car family again for a little while, until Dan swings by to pickup the Prius. We don’t need two cars and actually don’t do that much driving in Saint Louis. Most of our miles are accumulated on our epic out-of-town road trips. The RAV4 will be quite the step up on this kind of cross-country travel.

Silver Sneakers

Apolo Ohno’s Silver Speed Skates, 2002

Yea I know, they are not exactly sneakers, but they are silver. Silver Sneakers is a fitness program that we get through our Medicare coverage. I exercised this benefit for the first time today. The Heights is our local community center and I worked out in its gym for an hour. The Heights is currently undergoing a major renovation. The pool, track, basketball court and locker rooms are all closed, but the weight room is still open and I used the machines there. I mainly used the tread mills, but also some of the weight machines. Being my first visit, I tried to take it easy, expecting to get muscle soreness no matter what. Construction is scheduled to be completed early next year. During my mid-morning visit most of the other patrons looked like they were also Silver Sneakers members. This program allows us access to many other fitness centers too. I think next time I’ll tryout the nearby YMCA. It has a pool, which is probably not closed. I hope that working out this winter will help with my health and fitness next year.

I’ve watched a movie, Brittany Runs a Marathon (Amazon Prime) that tells the story of a young woman who turns her life around as she prepares to run the NYC marathon. Based on a true story, Brittany is an overweight party animal who is starting to get health warnings from her doctor. She starts small, barely running a city block, but persevering through many setbacks and with the help of her friends eventually finds herself lining up on the day-of-days at the starting line of the NYC marathon. Throughout the movie Brittany struggles with her own self image, always being her worst critic, often self destructively. In the end the movie is inspirational, offering a path forward, by following in her footsteps.