Friday, June 26, 2009

Pomp & Circumstance

It's the day one waits for - when that special person finally grows up and graduates from college. They set out into the world with high hopes and a new degree tucked under their arm. It's a day of celebration for this wonderful achievement.

Tomorrow Dad graduates with a BS in Information Technology from Strayer University and I couldn't be more proud. He's been taking classes off and on for as long as I can remember, but he's really buckled down the last couple of years and worked hard to get to this day. Aunt Anne helped him with his math homework and I helped him write or edit his papers. He left family functions early our couldn't come at all because he had to do his homework. Tomorrow, Dad becomes a college graduate. Congratulations, Dad!

Dad is not one to rest on his laurels now that he's come this far: he's already signed up for his first class on his way to earning his Master's degree. I suggested that he take as many classes as he can before he decides to retire so he can get his company to pay for it!

Michael Jackson Memory

First, poor Farrah Fawcett. She was my childhood icon and I wanted to BE a Charlie's Angel. I loved Farrah's hair. I wanted to learn to skateboard because I had a poster of Farrah on a board (didn't happen for me). Later I saw her in "The Burning Bed" and was blown away be her acting chops. When I heard she had cancer, my heart went out to her. May she now rest in peace.

Poor Farrah must be ticked off. Yesterday was supposed to be her day and the King of Pop stole her limelight. Who would have ever thought Michael Jackson would round out the trifecta of celebrity deaths? (Ed McMahon, Farrah, and now Michael).

In the summer of 1988, Michael Jackson performed at the Munich Olympic Stadium and my brother and I were there. I've never seen a performer completely fill an entire stadium from the field level to the nosebleed seats. Americans had already started to turn on Michael just a bit by that time, but the Germans were all out HUGE fans and I thought what better place to finally see this King of Pop whose music marked my childhood. The concert ROCKED and it was truly the best concert I've ever seen. Michael Jackson knows how to put on a show and he gave it his all. People around me were screaming his name and fainting like Elvis himself was in the house. I was truly stunned by just how good it was. My brother and his friend pushed their way to the front near the stage while I hung back so I wouldn't get crushed by the crowd. During one dance number, Michael took off his hat and flung it into the crowd. My brother reached up and grabbed it! Unfortunately, the crowd fell on him and ripped it apart so all he had left was a small piece of felt. It didn't matter: it was a magical night and an awesome show.

For all of Michael Jackson's faults and troubles, I am saddened of this loss. He was a fantastic performer and a one of a kind. May he also finally rest in peace.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Volleyball Post

Last season I dropped from BB to B (the lowest level in my league. I sucked it up and played, but wasn't thrilled about it. I ended up with a pretty good team of about three other players who had also dropped down a level. We had a decent season, but fell apart during playoffs. This season, they were short captains at BB and asked me at the last minute in the middle of tryouts (of which I was also trying out) to be a captain. I agreed and then asked the league commissioners for the list of all the players and started watching tryouts a little more closely so I could pick my team. During the draft, I had to ask a lot of questions about the skill level of the players because I didn't know a lot of them. I knew Ben from my B team the previous season and Kay because I had played with her before, but none of the other players. From the first game, I knew I had managed to pick a really good team of unknowns and we had a most excellent season with a 20-1 record. It was truly exciting to be play with such a great team. The other captains started asking me how I managed to pick such a good team and I told him it was all by pure luck. We continued to play well during playoffs, but still had a couple of close games. Then Tim dropped the bomb on us the week before finals that he was heading off to London and would miss our last night of playoffs. Tim's one of our strong players and I worried what it would mean.

During the final night of playoffs, we fell a little flat. We lost our first match and struggled as a team. Our faces were downcast and our hearts were weary. Our opponents beat us the first game, but we rallied beautifully in the second game and snatched the win from them in a tense nail-biter of a game. Without Tim, we struggled mightily and felt his loss greatly. The third game was just as much of a struggle and they fought valiantly to defeat us, but we all stepped up our play and in the end we were victorious! What a sweet end to a sweet season!

Two years ago I dropped out of the season to focus on defeating my tumor, Priscilla and now I have the Spring 2009 Champion t-shirt to show how far I have come. I am back!!! (Picture to be posted as soon as the volleyball website posts one)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

100 Miles

Mike biked 100 miles today for the Diabetes "Tour de Cure" event in Reston, VA. Well it started in Reston anyway. I waved him off at 7:45 am this morning and realized I had his cue sheet with turn-by-turn directions. I had planned on volunteering for the event, but we arrived late thanks to me setting the alarm for the wrong time. I decided to try to find him at the first stop (and hoped he would make it there without getting lost). I headed off down the road with the cue sheet and my somewhat trusty GPS (nicknamed "Bree" like hoity-toity Bree from Desperate Housewives). Bree could not find the first stop at Carolina Brothers BBQ so I tried to hone in as close to the street name listed on my cue sheet. On the way there, I passed a small group of bikers on the side of the road who looked totally lost so I stopped and asked if they needed help. They asked if I was a volunteer and I said, "no, but I'm out looking for my husband." I tried to help them find their way back to the trail because they had made a wrong turn (someone had deliberately moved or removed some of the signs, I later found out). I used the cue sheet and Bree the best I could to help, but they had to turn around and find the trail. I got in the car and proceeded to try and find Mike but because the street ended at the trail where I couldn't take my RAV, I never found the rest stop. I managed to call Mike on his cell phone and said I'd meet him at the second rest stop in Leesburg.

I waited at the second stop for at least 30 minutes, watching all of the bikers roll in for a water or food break. The volunteers clapped and hollered for all of them. It was pretty impressive. I pulled out the cue sheet and realized that there were only 6 miles in between stop 1 and stop 2 so Mike had probably already been by this stop so I called and said I'd meet him at the fourth rest stop in Purcellville. I drove through the beautiful countryside and caught glimpses of the bikers (not Mike) along the way. It was nice today and not too hot - great for the bikers. The Purcellville stop was the halfway point for the 100 milers and it was really busy when I arrived. I waited a long time for Mike, but figured out where riders needed to go to continue on their way or head back to Reston and ended up helping quite a few with directions. By the time Mike got there, I was an expert!

I finally caught up with him and the other MSM crew from his office (Glen and Greg) and provided them with more goo for the road. Mike didn't need the cue sheet after all so I kept it. We heard how bumpy the next portion was so I said I'd meet them back at the rest stop in an hour and a half in case they had a flat tire or something. It was a good thing I did because the volunteers were packing up as I arrived back from lunch. I told them that there were three riders still out there who were going to need water. They stuck around until the guys arrived (luckily about 15 minutes later) and asked if they wanted to ride back since there would be no more support on the way back as all the rest stops were shutting down. Of course they said no and we made sure they had water and I gave Glen and Greg some Gatorade from the car since the rest stop was all out. They chowed down on some cold pizza and headed the 27 miles back to Reston.

I drove back to Reston and did a little window shopping at the Town Center while I waited the 40 or so minutes from them to arrive. Once again, it was lucky I was there because they started shutting down the finish line activities and packing up all the food and water. I said that there were still riders out there and they gave me three goodie bags and I loaded them up with apples, bananas, granola bars, and water. I walked over to the trail end and saw volunteers pulling out the signs and told them too that riders were still out there. I was getting annoyed that they were so quick to shut down. Then I met up with another MSM staffer who had only done the 33 mile loop and we waited together for the guys who finally crossed the finish line at 4:3opm. Woo hoo! Yay, they made it 100 miles!