Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Two days in and it has already proven to be a challenge. Claire's little ones all want to be her best friend, use her as a pillow and struggle with the idea that she is not a jungle gym. My group loves to push the bounds of authority, are terrified of being embarrassed and can't decide if they want to be "cool cats" or just kids.
One kid in particular has been a challenge for me. When he wants to be, he is sweet, charming and very smart. When he decides he is done with that, he is difficult, prone to anger outbursts, and cannot tolerate authority.
Last night, he asked if we could go outside of the group and chat. He shared with me that he had a "lot of stuff to worry about" and it makes it hard for him to behave. We chatted about the things going on in his 11 year old life and I was stunned.
I don't want to get into specifics, but he is clearly dealing with some very adult problems, most of which he should not even know about, let alone being involved in.
Last night, my heart hurt for him.
If you had 2 weeks off to do whatever you wanted what would you do? BEFORE you answer that, let me put some limitations on it.
Limitation #1 - Travel more than 2 hours is barred and overnight travel is limited to 1 night.
Limitation #2 - You have to do anything you schedule alone.
Limitation #3 - You have a limited budget to work with.
Okay, let your mind go. What would you do with 2-weeks off from responsibility?
Monday, July 28, 2008
Typically we run around for hours each day. Getting up early and staying up late.
We usually walk 8-10 miles in any given city, exploring every nook-and-cranny that we can find. We get on the plane back to VA and crash. We are normally very exhausted and are eager to get back home.
This week's South Florida trip was different. VERY different.
I flew down to Fort Lauderdale last Tuesday for a work conference. Claire joined me at 1am on Thursday night/Friday morning.
After my breakfast meeting on Friday (at 7AM...jerks), Claire and I put on the suits and headed down to the pool with books/newspapers and sunscreen in hand. We only got up at 1pm to grab lunch with some friends, then we headed back to the pool...at 7pm we went out to dinner on the boardwalk.
Saturday was the "busy" day, including an early breakfast at the local bakery, shopping on the Miracle Mile and some other fancy dancy mall, a visit to La Gloria Cubana cigar factory, walking around Little Havana (yes, with a cigar burning away), lunch in one of Claire's favorite restaurants, and dinner on the beach at the Art Deco area of Miami. This day included the purchase of way to many things, something neither she, nor I ever do. Linen pants, a shirt from "Pinks", a stone ashtray, a box of cigars, and vintage cigar boxes were in my haul and Claire pulled down some clothes on the Miracle Mile.
Dinner on the boardwalk was amazing!
On Saturday we found this cool little fountain...Claire loves fountains!
The La Gloria Cubana Factory. A little slice of heaven.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
So, when I moved out to P-Towne, day 2 included me heading to the grocery store to buy mustard, hot sauce, mayo, ketchup, eggs, bread, conditioner, shampoo, etc...
Shampoo. Yes, it was put into my cart. I even got a deal. 2 bottles for the price of 1. It was Vanilla Coconut scented (wish it included that flavoring!!). It was great!
Little did I know, Claire did not like this so much...no, the smell was fine, it was the buying shampoo and conditioner that made her look at me cross-eyed. I, of course, did not know this until a few weeks after. I just liked the way my hair smelled. I felt pretty...strike that last comment...I felt manly. Claire, just thought it was stupid.
The evening I found out was a romantic one. I went over to her apartment to find that she had prepared me a nice dinner, complete with wine AND dessert. She even had candles.
The conversation was light hearted and fun. We laughed. We teased. We flirted. The food was great, the dessert amazing and the bottle of wine was perfect. We got to the end of the meal and just as I was sitting back in my chair, reveling at what an amazing woman I was dating, she leans in and says that she "has something important to show me." I smile, knowing that she bought me some cool present like a flat screen TV or a new motorcycle...
She took me by the hand, led me to the bathroom and opened a drawer. Inside, there were hundreds of bottles of shampoo and conditioner. I then came to realize why she felt me buying a bottle of shampoo or two was a waste. See, she and I travel a lot for our jobs. We usually stay in pretty nice hotels that have very nice amenities. So, for the past year or two, she has been gathering up all the nice bottles of shampoo/conditioner, bringing them home and saving some cash...not to mention using some pretty frigg'n nice shampoo on the cheap.
When I say this drawer was full, I mean it. It had to be rearranged to close it. The hinges on the drawer were bending. The wood at the bottom started to bow. This drawer had shampoo from around the world. This drawer was Shampoo mecca.
I quietly slid the drawer closed as she averted her eyes. She was embarrassed.
I grabbed her by the hand, nudged her chin up so that she could look me in the eyes and I told her "I love your shampoo drawer. I will never buy shampoo again."
I ran out of my two bottles of Vanilla Coconut scented shampoo two weeks ago. I called Claire, met her at her place, had a romantic dinner, lead her to the bathroom and asked if I could have some bottles of shampoo. She happily obliged.
I now have 47 bottles of Bvlgari, Bumble and Bumble, Kerastase Bain and Alterna Ten , to name a few.
My hair thanks Claire.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
This weekend, I realized that the music I listen to really effects how I drive. Let me share with you my ride to Volleyball on Sunday.
I started off listening to a nice little song like this:
My driving is slow and measured. I might stick my hand out the window, feeling the wind flow over and under my fingers. Speed = 54mph
Then I get through the tunnel and cross the bridge. The radio station I was listening to goes to commercial, so I change to button 3. The song that comes on is this one:
My driving picks up a bit. I am bobbing my head and drumming on the steering wheel. I set the cruise control and tap my feet. The people driving next to me are laughing as they drive. Life is good. Speed = 61mph
The song ends and I have to change stations again. It isn't until preset #6 that I find a song that I like. It is this one:
4:30 seconds into this song, I turn off the cruise, put the pedal to the metal and rock out. I am banging my head, yelling at the other drivers to get out of my way, and putting cracks into the dash board. I hear my self growl. I am fired up. Speed = 97mph and climbing.
Just before I arrive at my destination, smoke pouring from my ears, a sneer on my face, I hit preset #4 and the song that comes on is this:
Speed = 0mph...I had to pull over to allow myself to feel the emotion of this song.
I walked into Volleyball with tears in my eyes. I needed a hug. I called Claire and told her I loved her. I bonded with my team.
The music took me there.
And I went through it all again on the way home.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
I was reading this post over at Charming Hedonist's sight this morning and it got me thinking about how some relationships can get so sour so quickly.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
It is an amazing story, one that I have been watching for a couple of years now.
Congratulations to Josh and his family! What an amazing display he put on last night.
Claire and I went and saw Hancock on Sunday. It was silly, stupid and campy, yet it was a lot of frigg'n fun. Both Claire and I enjoyed it. Just thought I would pass that along.
Monday, July 14, 2008
After our tour of Suffolk, we had a little BBQ at a friends house to celebrate the end of softball. The Bridge/Monumental team was not very good, but we took losing well and always had a good time together.
Our manager Bob invited everyone over to his home to have a grill out, a bonfire and a SLIP-N-SLIDE...you know, for the kids. HA.
By the time the 8 kids were getting tired of it, 4 of the players decided it was time to take it over. I won't share all the pics (this is a family friendly blog and nobody needs to see that), but as you can see, this homemade slip-n-slide was well used by the end of the day!
I was given a nice little blog award this weekend from Practically Joe over at Practically Wisdom. Joe has been a contributor to my comments for a while now and has a very enjoyable and unique blog. Pop on over and say hey....thanks for the award Joe!!
My other culinary treats this weekend included a chocolate covered macaroon, a chocolate dream bar, 3 chocolate chip cookies, 5 chocolate mint brownies, 1 piece of marble pound cake, 1 1/2 hamburgers, 2 hot dogs, 1/4lb of coconut peanut brittle, 1/4lb of chocolate covered peanut brittle, 1 tomato sandwich, uncountable amounts of chocolate chip cookie dough, and finally some Sushi on Sunday night to be healthy.
I might have to wear scrubs and other clothes with elastic waist bands for a while.
Finally, one of my favorite little clips...and it happens to have some bacon in it. "I just like that story."
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
CHOCOLATE COCONUT - valrhona chocolate cupcake with a vanilla cream cheese frosting, topped with coconut
Monday, July 7, 2008
Best part is that I get to go back in 3 weeks for a "routine" cleaning. That should be fun.
I think I know why dentists traditionally have the highest suicide rate of any profession.
Claire and I had an amazing weekend...will give the rundown later this week with some pictures, but it included a AAA baseball game, boating with people we did not know, shopping in Washington D.C., staying on a military base/NASA Launch site called Wallops Island and cruising the Eastern Shore. It was a great 3 days.
Thank you all for the kind words on my post about Mandy. She really was great...and yes, KP, that summer seems like forever and a day ago.
Friday, July 4, 2008
In March of 2000, she made the trip with me and 3 others to watch the Padres in Spring Training. We sang karaoke, she helped me impersonate a professional ball player and we learned about flashing truckers. She loved baseball and had a HUGE crush on Brad "Nice" Ausmus...always trying to score seats behind home plate so she could stare at Brad. She enjoyed food, good food and spicy food. She taught most of us about "White Trash" progressive dinners, racing in shopping carts and how to make a stranger ask about her faith.
21 years was not long enough for those of us who knew her.
The headache was crushing. She tried aspirin and ibuprofen. She tried sleep and rest. She tried to ignore it, but it would not go away. She had to see the doctor. On June 13 her mom took her to the emergency room. The pain was far to great. Something had to be done.
21 years is such a short time.
You couldn't miss a girl like Mandy. Tall and pretty with an unbelievable zest for life. You want to know who was the most popular girl at the party? It was Mandy. The girl so many of the guys wanted to secretly date? Mandy. The leader in the church group? The deviser of plans? The one that would visit you when you were sick, make you laugh until you peed your pants or cry with you until you both had no more tears to give? Mandy, Mandy, and Mandy. Just something about her made everyone want to be her friend...and she obliged.
21 years goes by so fast.
A softball sized tumor was in her brain. They thought they might be able to operate, pull it out, do radiation and chemo and then maybe, just maybe she might be okay...but probably not. Mandy took it in. Thought for a moment, then smiled at the doctor. She said "Doc, let's do what we have to do."
21 years should not be a lifetime.
Her faith was on her sleeve. It always had been and some little tumor was not going to change that. It did not matter where she was or what she was doing, Mandy lived her life by two principles...Love God and Love People. It was no different during her short time in the hospital. Nurses and doctors, strangers and loved ones, every single person that got to see her during this time got to see what it was to Love God and Love People. That guiding principle led her to enjoy life like so few do.
21 years can't be all that she got. Not her.
The surgery was successful. "There may be some complications" the doctors said, but it went well. Radiation and chemo were to start in a few days. Mandy rested and the rest of us prayed. 7 days later we got a call, the tumor had returned and it was already the size of a golf ball. Despite the "successful" surgery, Mandy's tumor was back. There was nothing that could be done. 3 weeks to the day of entering the ER, Mandy died. July 4, 2000.
21 years was all she had.
The funeral was later that week. The church was meant to hold 250...there were over 500 there. They were in the entryway...they were in the patio...they were in the parking lot. 500 people. There were only 100 invited. They were all there to say goodbye to Mandy.
At one point during the service, Pastor asked how many people's faith in God was impacted by Mandy...EVERYONE raised their hand. She was not perfect...she did not always say the right thing...she certainly did not fit the mold of a "good little church girl"...but she walked the way she talked...her faith guiding every step of the way.
21 years is all we got of her.
She is missed often, spoke about occasionally and certainly not forgotten.
July 4 is my reminder...21-years...She lived them right.