Saturday, October 26, 2019

Alpha Phil Omega's 5K Race for Suicide Prevention

Last year a friend's son committed suicide. He was a student at The College of New Jersey (our alma mater) and seemed to have his entire life ahead of him. Last week would have been his birthday. His parents wanted to organize a 5K in his memory, but it just didn't happen. Last weekend they went on a walk for Suicide Prevention about two hours north of us. Today Don and I walked in Ewing in his memory.

Turns out there were three suicides at TCNJ in the past year (or so the person from the co-ed fraternity I spoke with could remember). No matter the number, it is too many.

The 5K started 20 minutes late (readers of the PillsPress know this is an annoyance of mine, hence the reason for mentioning). It was a perfect fall day with temperatures around 50 degrees and no breeze. A super flat course with two loops of about 1.55 miles (it measured very short -- my GPS said 2.83 miles, giving everyone a PR). 

The fraternity provided fabulous support and encouragement. The event reminded us just how picture perfect and friendly the campus is. If only they offered a Tech Theater major (they are talking about having one) then Ashley would apply.

Really glad the track team did not participate,

or we would have been crushed.

Love the Class of 2019's gift of a swing.

 Totally off-topic, but the new "Trenton State College Park" next to the old TSC Roscoe L. West Library highlights how frequently the alma mater has changed names since 1855. The "new name" is 23-years old, which is turning into one of the longer times the college has had the same name. Perhaps it is time for me to adjust to the new name before someone decides to change it again?


Notre Dame's Pink Out

Last night was baseball weather, not football weather, but I'll take it. A 60 degree evening in New Jersey in October is a rare treat.

For the past 11 years Ashley's high school has raised money for breast cancer by hosting a Pink Out football game. They honor the "heroes and angels" who are surviving breast cancer, and those who lost their lives to this disease during their extended halftime. They also line up people to quickly donate 8-10 inches of hair, which will be turned into wigs.
A before shot from Thursday

Ashley and some of her friends were among the 45 women donating their hair. 

They line the women up into nine groups. Each hairdresser quickly snips 5 sets of ponytails. The actual snipping is done very quickly -- hard to get good pictures, though we all line up and try. Doesn't help that they all look alike from the back with their pink shirts and long, straight hair. I think I did pretty well.

Seven months until prom, let's see how long it will grow.

(After picture to be posted after work, the haircut has taken place.)

Bridget, Ashley, Sarah, Rose
Sarah, Bridget, Ashley, Rose

The cut

Ashley, Bridget, Rose

The middle (after comes after seeing a hairdresser to even it out)

Ashley, Bridget, Rose

My parents with Diane, the coordinator of the event

Ashley's favorite teacher from middle school --Casey


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Archaeology in New Jersey

While at the Spirit of the Jerseys State History Fair a couple of weeks ago I stopped by the booth for the booth for the Archaeology Society of New Jersey (ASNJ) and learned two weeks later they were hosting an archaeological dig open to the public.


The dig was at the Jonathan Dunham House in Woodbridge, NJ on Saturday and Sunday, September 28 and 29, from 8 am-4 pm. The days were divided into two four-hour shifts with slots for up to eight volunteers.

The "tool box" of finds.

Both professional and volunteer archaeologists were encouraged to participate. Experience ranged from a professional archaeologist from Pennsylvania to someone who was walking by and got swept up by the fun -- it was something she always wanted to do. I fell someplace in-between having gone on small local digs and a month in Israel.

It was fun.

This reminded me of the pictures they took at Tel Keisan.

Unlike my experience in Israel, I felt more than qualified and strong enough to do the work. It did help that the shift was four hours instead of four weeks, and that I could sleep in my own bed instead of in a dorm on the other side of the globe.
But it was more than that.

It was also the type of work done. The squares were 5 foot by 5 foot, instead of 10 meter by 10 meter, plus everything was sifted -- my favorite part.

As we sifted off the loose dirt, we have a treasure hunt looking for finds. Children were visiting the site and helping us look through the dirt for treasures. Their parents were also totally engaged. 

We used small tools -- not the giant tureens and pick axes, but trowels and smaller shovels. I brought my own trowel and put it to work. There were plenty of strong bodies to lift buckets of dirt, and much appreciation for our efforts. 

Also a lot of education about a time period I understand.

Jonathan Dunham, the original owner of the house, was President Barack Obama's 8th great-grandfather. It was built in 1717 (which is more relatable than 7th-9th century BCE in my head).

As for what we found, some bones (which I did recognize from Israel), lots of brick, mortar, nails, oyster shells, and charcoal, some sherds of pottery (different from Israel), and a thimble.

Pig foot on the right
I met someone who is a student at my alma mater, Trenton State College/The College of New Jersey. TSC is where I took my first archaeology class, which was my favorite class. They are still digging around the William Green Farm House. I met a woman who runs galas at her school in North Jersey. It was a neat assortment of people.

This is an annual event. Now that I know about it, I hope to hear about more digs. Have trowel ... will dig.

Shutting down for the day