Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Place Called French Lick..

Believe it or not, I spent approximately 30 hours in a place called French Lick during my vacation. Our sojourn (okay, it wasn’t a sojourn at all I simply wanted to use that word) was at my mom’s prompting French Lick is a city out in the middle of nowhere and, as my truck driver cousin described, a pain in the a** to get to, who’s claim to fame is it is home to what was once the world’s largest free standing dome. All other things being equal, you’d probably see it too if you could and too boot Larry Bird is from there and it also boasts a huge casino.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hoosier State

I spent a chunk of my recent vacation in the birthplace of legendary coach, Johnny Wooden. Yes, it was final destination, Hall, Indiana for me for the better part of a week. No, I didn’t go to any kind of shrine, mainly because as far as know there is no such shrine, although as Johnny Wooden’s 100 hundredth birthday is less than six months away (10/14/2010), perhaps it is high time my cousins get started on that.

My time in Indiana confirmed a theory some of my dear friends have made fun of to no end about, but I am Hoosier. I don’t mean Hoosier in the sense of rooting for the University of Indiana or being really into the movie Hoosiers. Instead, to answer the question someone as American and cultureless as me must face in Los Angeles, arguably the most cosmopolitan city in the world, on a daily basis – what are you? In fact, if it was a choice on the census or other such times one is forced to declare their ethnicity, I would gladly mark the Hoosier box with certainly and pride. I can claim just as much of a connection to Indiana as my friends who were born here to parents from places like China, Korea, Mexico, the Philippines and the Netherlands and have never lived a day of their lives in those foreign lands.

Both of my parents grew up in rural Indiana and even though they moved to Los Angeles long before I was born, I still have more biological relatives in Indiana than I do in LA. And if things continue as they are heading, when I am old and outlast all of my immediate family members and have no one left to care for me, save for my Indiana family, I will inevitably have to pack my bags and return (even though I was never there in the first place) to the Hoosier state to live out my old age. Okay, perhaps I can be a tad less pessimistic.

But my time in Indiana confirmed I am blessed beyond measure to have a pretty amazing family. Yes, we have our moments and there are a fair share of quirks and geeks, but I am glad I got to see within a little over a week most of the people on the planet who share my DNA. Also, I learned Truck Stops don’t generally sell tomatoes in case you ever wondered.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Recent Travels

This time I have a really good excuse for the delay in my posts, I have been on vacation for almost two weeks! My time away has given me much material, expect pictures and elaboration soon but here are some strange highlights in no particular order.

In the last two weeks I have seen most of my relatives including three brothers, two parents, one sister-in-law, four uncles, three aunts, four first cousins, three cousin-in-laws (is there such a thing?),eight second cousins and one second cousin once removed (I think).

In twelve days I have been in five states (okay, I never left the airport in Colorado or Georgia). I have slept in five beds including a twin-sized dinosaur bed that belongs to a six-year-old boy. I have seen giraffes, alligators, polar bears, bald eagles, scores of crazed college basketball fans and flamboyant older men clad in fluorescent Speedos (only in South Beach). I watched a little bit of a triathlon, saw the Duke Blue Devils win a national championship for the second time in my life, went to the last ever regular season game to be played in Amway Arena and somehow found time to go to a T-Ball practice.

I have flown three different airlines, took a taxi, driven in the back seat of a convertible without a seat belt, rode in an air boat through what I prefer to think was the Everglades instead some run of the mill swamp in central Florida and perhaps most memorably traveled through the bowels of Orlando on a broken down bus traveling at 10 miles per hour for well over an hour.

I lost $140 bucks playing blackjack in a place called French Lick, was exposed to chicken pox, was rained on, read a wonderful novel set in New York City, did the electric slide, had a mean rooster jump on me, was rained on, got a facial, unsuccessfully flew kites one of which got stuck in a tree, saw the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, eaves dropped on a phone conversation with my aunt and Kathy Lee Gifford, sized-up my sixty year-old cousin’s latest crush, put up a bouncy house, ate gazpacho, was rained on, carried around a box full of baby chicks for about an hour, and met the owner of the Orlando Magic. Who am I kidding; I have enough material for a short novel. My one regret is that I didn’t go swimming.