signs that you're getting older

- the new surgeon being introduced on the sign outside the nearest hospital graduated with you in high school
- a picture and career update of a fellow you worked with at your college library is in the University Alumni magazine
- college students look like ninth graders
- the dorm you lived in as a freshman has been torn down

I can't believe I've had this blog for 6+ years.

Then, 2007
and Now, 2013


Whiteboard fun for a 4 year old

Some of those words at the bottom include:
mine = mini
miniskl = miniscule


Hey you in the coupe, lighten up...

What if we chose our friends based on how people looked while driving a car?

The answer: We'd have no friends.

People look so serious, so intense, (can I go as far as saying) so mean while driving.  Have you noticed this?  Take a look at your fellow drivers the next time you drive in a car.  You'll see what I mean.  And, no, I don't think I am immune to this syndrome. I am sure, almost certain, that I look way intense, in fact I probably have a scowl on my face when I drive.

But back to my original question, how would you go about choosing who you'd be friends with if you were to base it on the driving face?  I've seen some very nice people, people who I consider quite friendly and delightful, look quite sinister behind the wheel.  And the look seems to get ever more serious when drivers turn.  They do that lean to one side as they turn and it is very serious business.  Very serious. 

I'd be friends with the dude drumming on the wheel.  But to tell you the truth, I haven't seen that in a very long time.  Maybe I'd be friends with the girl who's singing at the top of her lungs.  Again, doesn't happen  often.  Then there are the people eating a burger/cone/beverage (of the non-alcoholic variety of course).  That makes them seem nicer.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe it makes them seem less robot and more human (or more like a slob).  Still, I'd steer clear of the texter, the phone user, and especially the car arguer.  Their problems concerning friendships (not to mention that none of them is safe) respectively are, lack of eye contact, lack of attention, and lack of communication skills.  And then there's the person that stares you down as you pass them.  Now that's a bit intimidating.  "I'm sorry, you're going 60 and I want to go 68.  No hard feelings, okay?"

If looking at the face while driving can't help us out, maybe the car model or car sticker or license vanity plate could steer us in the right direction.  Hmm, probably not.


Good morning!

Wishing you a pleasant Monday morning.  Photo courtesy of my sister-in-law.


Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

This book was highly recommended to me and was a Readers Choice book, so many people have really liked it.  For me, it was probably a 2 out of 4.  The story is told from the point of view of an old dog, which was pretty clever.  Plus, the author intertwined the skills of Formula One racing into the story and used it's tenets as a backdrop for dealing with life's twists and turns.  But, the story is sad.  I wanted to finish it just to get it over with, and luckily it was a very quick read.  I am in no mood for sad stories, maybe that is why I gave it a 2.  True, there is redemption at the end, and that was good.  And, just as a let's-see-if-my-prediction-is-correct comment, I could see this book being made into a movie someday.


My lucky day according to some guy in Jamaica

Lately, I've been getting a lot of calls from area code 876, originating in Jamaica.  These calls always tell me about something I should buy, or somebody I should support, or something I've won.  Just recently, after answering the phone (I have since learned to stop answering), it was announced to me:

You are the winner of one million dollars and a Mercedes Benz!

Not only had I instantly become a millionaire, but I had also won a car, and not just any car, but a Mercedes Benz.  Which Mercedes Benz, it doesn't matter.  Give me a cargo van, a C230 Kompressor, who cares!

With feigned excitement I replied, "Wow! A million dollars AND a car!"

Have you received your Publisher's Clearinghouse envelope mentioning this prize?

"No. I have not."

Well...[and now with the same tone and excitement as the first time he declared it]...you have won a million dollars and a Mercedes Benz! 

The man went on to ask my name and address, at which point I was finished acting as though I was falling for the gimmick and hung up.

Have you guys had these phone calls?  I am always surprised at the tactics they use and kind of get a kick out of hearing how they respond to unsuspecting answers.  However, I am still not a millionaire nor do I own a Mercedes Benz.

photo found here



"There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor."
Charles Dickens


9 years

Jess and I recently celebrated our ninth anniversary.  Nine years of goodness.  Jess cooked a restaurant worthy dish of panko-crusted filet mignon with fresh rosemary potatoes and fresh oranges.  In fact, I think I preferred what he made over a restaurant dish.  This guy can really cook.  And this guy is one top-notch husband.


Book Review: Open by Andre Agassi

After reading the Sampras book, this one was pretty crazy.  The differences between Sampras' life and attitude are a complete one-eighty of Agassi's.  It was neat to read about both of their careers back to back, and more fully realize how successful tennis players don't all train the same, think the same, eat the same.  I mean, they don't play the same, so why should they do all of that the same?  I guess I kind of thought, same game, same spiel.  Not so.

Agassi has some wild stories about how his Pops was a tyrant, his teen years were wickedly rebellious, and his adult years were up and down with disappointment and triumph.  One of my favorite quotes from the book was:  "[S]everal sportswriters muse about my transformation, and that word rankles.  I think it misses the mark.  Transformation is change from one thing to another, but I started as nothing.  I didn't transform, I formed.  When I broke into tennis, I was like most kids: I didn't know who I was, and I rebelled at being told by older people.  I think older people make this mistake all the time with younger people, treating them as finished products when in fact they're in the process.  It's like judging a match before it's over, and I've come from behind too often, and had too many opponents come roaring back against me, to think that's a good idea."  He had some great insights, and his since of humor was pretty good, especially his comments on thinning hair.  Classic.

Agassi's life could be made into a movie.  I am not kidding.  There is so much material to work with, you'd be glued to the screen.  I was glued to the book (and I caught Jess reading it in the morning before work, pretty much glued) up until the very end.  There is language, so just know that.  But this is one of the most well-written autobiographies I have ever read.


Reunion Time

This past month was my family's reunion. We spent most, if not nearly all, of our time on the beach. We went to the beach for the first two days, then had a chance to drive up north to visit Jess' bro and his wife (such fun!), and then every morning I'd ask Jess if he had anything else he'd like to do. "Go to the beach" was his answer. It the rest of the our family's and the others families' too. We all had a great time, and when we left the sand for the last time, we lingered, we took more pictures, we soaked in the setting sun. Reunions are always a wonderful time, and this one was no exception.

Ansel takes a bath in the bathroom sink

Beach umbrellas and boogie boards a must!

Oliver and his cousin search for cacti as we make our way down to the beach
This guy couldn't get enough of the water
Sun soaked and enjoying our last day on the coast


Personalized kitchen tools

Exclusively by Oliver


Book Review: A Champion's Mind: Lessons from a Life in Tennis, by Pete Sampras

First let me tell you, I don't really play tennis.  I've tried a couple of times and had a lot of fun, but I don't really know what I am doing.  Still, I really like watching tennis.  I'd probably say it is my favorite game to watch.  I picked up this book after Wimbleton because I was caught up in all of the hype. 

Sampras explains why he succeeded in tennis.  He certainly had the tennis gift, he was disciplined, and he worked hard.  It was fun to read about what motivated him and how he perceived what was happening to him as a tennis player.  For example, during his first grand slam win he was kind of like, "What? I actually am here and I am winning this?"

It is always interesting to see what makes a successful person tick.  And that's why I enjoy reading biographies.  This one was good.


Book Review: Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife, by Eben Alexander M.D.

This was a fascinating non-fiction book.  I had heard about it several times and I understand why.  The premise is this: neurologist is well educated and thinks of the world in scientific terms, he gets very sick and goes into a coma, during the coma he has a near death experience and is engulfed in a spiritual reality, he miraculously recovers and now has an understanding that there is more to life than what he originally thought.  This book is the result of his efforts to explain what happened and what he gained from the experience.  

Some of my favorite passages include an explanation of the higher worlds as he describes it, “The very fabric of the alternate dimension is love and acceptance, and anything that does not have these qualities appears immediately and obviously out of place there.”

And another, “Free will is of central importance for our function in the earthly realm: a function that, we will all one day discover, serves the much higher role of allowing our ascendance in the timeless alternate dimension.  Our life down here may seem insignificant, for it is a minute in relation to the other lives and other worlds that also crowd the invisible and visible universes.  But it is also hugely important, for our role here is to grow toward the Divine, and that growth is closely watched by the beings in the worlds above.”

And one more, “For all of the successes of the Western civilization, the world has paid a dear price in terms of the most crucial component of existence – our human spirit. . . our focus on exponential progress in science and technology has left many of us relatively bereft in the realm of meaning and joy, and of knowing how our lives fit into the grand scheme of existence for all eternity.”

The author describes that some may have difficulty believing his story, but he insists that science and belief in the eternal can co-exist.  His insights are, like I said before, fascinating, especially for an individual who only went to church every now and again and didn’t really have any basis for belief.