Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Untold stories of 2010

West Point

I have a great respect for the patriotism of our military. That American Airlines commercial about uniformed service people boarding first makes me misty. That being said, if for some reason the draft was back and I was eligible I would move to Mexico. Draft Dodger all the way or at least maybe conscientious objector. It wasn't exactly my idea to trek out to West Point during my recent trip to New York but I really liked it more than i expected to.

Here are some fun pics...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Untold stories of 2010

With all of this talk of the Rose Parade, I think i should share about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

My father's brother and his family live in Connecticut, a mere train ride from NYC. We spent Thanksgiving there and without a doubt one of the highlights was being able to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade live in person. Of course, I am a bit of a parade junkie -- i watch it every year on TV religiously -- it was on my parade bucket list. Also on there, to be the Grand Marshall of the Rose Parade. Give me twenty years or so, right?

We got up fairly early, braved the train and the cold weather to Grand Central Station. We took a cab (mind you it was super cold for us Angelenos) to the corner of Central Park where we were able to see most of the balloons. I think we blended pretty well with the locals. To add a strange coincidence, the Purdue band marched in the parade which my father a very devoted and proud Purdue Alumni absolutely loved.

Here are some pics of more balloons and Central Park in fall for fun:

Super Size Me...

From the Happiest Place on Earth...

Me trying to be "artsy"...

And how could I not sneak a peek at the tree at Rockefeller Center???

Monday, December 27, 2010

untold stories of 2010

As 2010 draws to a close, I realize I have shared very little about big pieces of the year. In particular, there has been very little mention of the amazing trips I have taken this year -- Indiana, Florida, Peru, Michigan and Connecticut/New York City. So in these remaining days, I will try to get every thing caught up.

Untold story #1, Michigan.

In October, I traveled to the Grand Rapids area for a conference. Having never been to Michigan, I did not know what to expect. But believe it or not, I absolutely loved Michigan. Mind you it wasn't January and it wasn't Detroit. But Grand Rapids and in particular the little city we were in Holland were, well, quite charming. Holland is the quintessential mid-western small town and frankly, it felt like I woke up in Mayberry circa 1955 (I never did see Opie, though). It didn't hurt that it was right on an inlet of Lake Michigan, had perhaps one of the most fabulous candy stores known to man and a great brewery.

But without question, the star(s) of the show of my week in Michigan were the LEAVES! Having grown up in Southern California where all my life I have heard about leaves changing colors in the fall, but never actually seen it, I was blown away by the majestic colors. I always thought these midwestern transplants who lament the loss of fall were belly-aching over nothing, but a week in mid-October in western Michigan has corrected the error of my ways. I am already trying to figure a way back there next fall -- any ideas?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Secret Santa

As is the tradition in many workplaces, my work does a Secret Santa gift exchange every year. We don’t do it company wide but instead the fun is limited to our smaller – 15 or so – department and also limited to $15 per gift. A few weeks ago, when the particulars of the how, when, where and who of our exchange was going down, I shared with most of our team a very tongue-in-cheek gift I had in mind for one of our peers who was notably absent. It was affirmed by laughs. Two days later when it was time to draw, I shamelessly rigged my turn (of course I went first) to ensure I drew out this man’s name. Within a week, not only did most every know who I had, another person gave me a used version of the proposed gift to the collective chagrin of our team. Another “win” for the class clown alive and well in my soul.

But then another one of my co-workers – bless her heart – revealed that she prayed before her turn at the draw. Huh. A sharp contrast to my brazen attempts to work the system/showcase my subtle yet poignant wit (guilt trip starting now). But really – prayer over who she draws in the secret Santa? Is my faith so jaded (or maybe so grounded) that I think this level of spirituality seems so over the top? Does God really care who we pick in the office Secret Santa? It seems to me he has more important matters to consider like AIDS, global poverty, widespread economic failure, wars, cancer and the recent release of the entire collection of the Beattles music on iTunes than who I have to spend $15 dollars on.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

College Game Day -- 10/30/2010

South Carolina. Wisconsin. Missouri.

Three weeks in row, three undefeated number one teams have been dethroned by underdogs. Three weeks in a row, ESPN’s College Game Day has been there to tell the story. Today, College Game Day for the second time in their history broadcasted from the hallowed Coliseum giving the Trojans the hope of extending the three-week trend to four as they host the undefeated AP #1 Oregon Ducks.

It is no secret that USC has had a very disappointing off-season and on season. However, their two losses were for a combined total of THREE points. Yes, they have no hope of any kind of post season for years to come. They can expect all of their best players to announce their transfer in early 2011 (if not sooner). And perhaps worst of all, they are stuck with the captain of the Titanic as their coach until the sanctions end. However, tonight they have a chance to do something that speaks to why College Football is perhaps the true National Pastime.

All eyes will be on the torch and lets hope Traveler is all warmed up and ready to run tonight!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Back to the Practice

Tonight I went back to Yoga after a four month hiatus. Believe it or not from approximately mid April through mid June I was going to Yoga class two and even three times a week. For those of you following along at home, that time period corresponded to my intense weight loss/exercise campaign where I lost something like twenty-five pounds. Not only was I going to Yoga quasi religiously, I was counting calories like a crazed anorexic, drinking Slim Fast for 2/3 of my meals and power walking miles a day with two sets of arm weights and Shape Ups (I know, very, very dorky).

However, with the end of my contest, summer heat, the arrival of young Fisher and my trip to Peru, diet and exercise fell by the wayside. Of course, so did my weight loss and to date, I have gained back almost ten pounds of the weight I lost – what is that saying about two steps forward three steps back again? Perhaps because I have officially become middle-aged, tonight I found some sort of discipline to get back on the horse again, at least when it comes to Yoga.

One thing I learned, is purchased classes expire – so while although I had four of five classes paid for, after a few months they expire. SIGH. Embarrassing and shameful, I had to buy more classes in order to get back three of the expired five classes – some bargain, right? And the quaint, long-haired check in guy and my favorite Yoga teacher asked where I had been. I got a dog. I went to Peru. They didn’t judge, but I am sure they have heard lots of excuses before. I also think they have lots of regulars fall of the face of the earth never to be heard from again.

While I don’t anticipate graduating from the beginning class anytime soon, I am committing to the practice.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

1975 – Volume VI Stanford University Cardinal

October 9, 1975 Yoko Ono and John Lennon celebrate the birth of their only child Sean coincidentally on John’s 35th birthday. As the story goes, John became a househusband upon the Sean’s birth and stayed home with him until his tragic murder just five years later.

Today on Sean Lennon’s 35th birthday I hear he is hosting part of the celebrations of what would have been his father’s seventieth birthday. I would rather write about John Lennon than the sad state of affairs of the Captain of the Titanic’s sinking ship (aka Lane Kiffin’s USC Trojans). And so in honor of John Lennon’s 70th birthday and Sean Lennon’s 35th here goes:

Imagine there’s no NCAA sanctions
It’s easy if you try
No Reggie Bush debacle
He still has his prize
Imagine Pete Carroll
Still coaching the Trojans

Imagine no vacated wins
It isn’t hard to do
Still BCS champs in 2005
No post-season ban
Or scholarship penalties
Imagine heritage hall
Not shamed at all

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday NCAA will come around
And USC glory will be restored

Imagine Lane Kiffin
I wonder if you can
Still coaching Tennessee
Icing kickers and sandbagging time outs
All he wanted
Imagine USC football
Not a sinking ship at all

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday NCAA will come around
And USC glory will be restored