Archive for the ‘About Me’ Category

My Favorite Santa

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

This evening, we drove to Macon to a Chick-fil-A. I learned that my favorite Santa would be there. This Santa was my Sunday school teacher when I was in 7th and 8th grade.  It was great to catch up with Rena and Wayne!

Federal Court Leadership Program

Friday, December 14th, 2018

Over the last two years, I’ve been participating in the Federal Court Leadership Program. I’ve read books and articles, wrote papers, studies other leaders, participated in monthly webinars, and even played Legos to develop my leadership skills.  Last year, I travelled to a 3.5 day workshop in St. Louis and this year I travelled to Washington, D.C. for the conclusion of the program.

This week, we visited the Lincoln Cottage. It is located on the grounds of Soldier’s home, which is the highest point in Washington, D.C. Abraham Lincoln would spend summers here to escape the humidity and political pressures of the White House.  This is the location where he drafted the Emancipation Proclamation.  I wasn’t permitted to take any photos inside, but it was surreal to stand in the room where such historic decisions were made.

At the end of the week, was graduation. I, along with about 30 others, graduated from the program.  Other than developing my leadership skills, I now have contacts from courts all over the country. The best part about being done is no longer having the work off of my plate!  Now I can focus on the holidays.

Santa Saturday 2018

Saturday, December 8th, 2018

Today, we were able to visit with a couple of Santas. First, we took Rilianne to see the Bass Pro Shops Santa.  It is free and it is right across the street from where Mackenzie plays indoor soccer.

Later in the afternoon, we dined at The Swanson, where I knew a familiar Santa would be.  This Santa was my sunday school teacher when I was in middle school. The kids are always impressed when Santa calls me by name.  I tell them that he knows all of the bad kids!

Hanson String Theory Tour with ASO

Sunday, October 21st, 2018

From middle school until I was about 17, I listened exclusively to country music.  I went to several concerts, including two Reba McEntire concerts. I was even in her fan club at one point.

In 11th grade, I sat in honors chemistry next to this girl named Travero. We would talk about all sorts of stuff, including our cultural differences. She was a very smart black female and I was just an average white male. At some point, she encouraged me to branch out and give other types of music a try. Of course, I didn’t know which genre to listen to so on the way home, I tuned in to the local pop station.  After listening to that for a few months, I began to watch a little MTV and became hooked on Total Request Live.

Sometime during my senior year, I was exposed to this band of little kids, called Hanson. I was intriqued that these kids, all of who were younger than me, were such talented musicians.  The song MMMBop was a little cheezy — of course, it was the late 90s when everything was cheezy — but when Weird came out, I knew it was my anthem. I bought the CD “Middle of Nowhere”. They quickly became my favorite band.

Unfortunately, they were classified as a “boy band”. All of the other boy bands were a manufactured group of while males who could sing and dance. They had no real musical talent or instrumental abilities. There was 98 degrees, Backstreet Boys, NSync, LFO, and others during that time.  Hanson on the other hand, were a set of brothers who wrote and played their own music. Grouping them with the “boy bands” has caused them to be terminally underrated.  I believe that their Christmas album “Snowed In” (now 20 years old) is the best holiday album of all time.

I attended my first Hanson concert on July 5, 1998 at Lakewood Ampitheatre in Atlanta. Two years later, I followed them from Atlanta to Charlotte to Myrtle Beach. In the years since, I’ve seen them several more times in Atlanta. I have all of their CDs and know all of their songs.  I’ve met them twice. Over the years, their music has consistently matured. Today, their art is so far from MMMBop that when the average person hears their more recent stuff, they are in disbelief when I tell them it is Hanson.

When I was on my 2nd or 3rd date with Kimberlie, I was looking through her CD collection and stumbled across a Hanson album. I knew then that she was the one for me.

It hasn’t been easy being a fan of Hanson.  Their typical fan in the beginning was 12-15 year old white females who had one or more of them as crushes. And then, there was me. I was just there for the music.  I’ve been laughed at, ridicules, called gay, etc. for being a fan.  I’ve made many Hanson friends along the way and I’ll be a fan forever.

Last night, I attended ther Atlanta show on their String Theory tour. They are touring and performing with symphone orchestras around the world.  Last night, they performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Since Mackenzie plays percussion in the middle school band, I took her along. For her, seeing the instruments at work was amazing. For me, hearing my favorite band accompanied by a 75 piece grammy winning orchestra was simply amazing.

Mackenzie and I in front of the tour bus:

Mackenzie playing a random piano outside of the arts center:

Hanson!

Over those 20+ years of attending concerts I’ve noticed that Hanson fans have changed considerably. They are no longer the cute little teenage girls. Now, they are typically 35+, overweight (this is not meant to be derogatory — I am in this boat as well). They also need a glass of wine before the show. They mostly all wear glasses (as do I sometime) and have tattoos. Oddly enough, a good bit of them smoke.  Those are just my observations.

Farewell Snickers

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

Last night, I said one of the hardest goodbyes. My 14 year old cat Snickers crossed over the rainbow bridge.

Shortly after Kimberlie and I were married, we wanted to get a cat. But, Kimberlie heard horror stories about how a cat might try to get milk from a sleeping baby’s mouth and suffocate them in the process. So, we decided to wait until Tristan was at least six months old.  In August, 2004, we decided to look for a kitten. I found a listing for free kittens and called the lady and we headed over to her house.  There was a litter of several kittens who had been born on July 4. Kimberlie bonded with one in particular and we took him home and named him Smickers.

Kimberlie may have picked him out, but he instantly became my cat. He never left my side.  For 14 years, he has watched me shower and then batted at (or chewed) my shoestrings every morning as I put on my shoes.  We haven’t been able to leave food on the counter because he considered it free game. Whenever I would cook bacon, I would have to hide the plate of bacon on top of the refrigerator.  Every evening when I watched the news, he would lay on my chest. Every night, he would sleep by my side.

One of his favorite things to do was go outside on the screened porch or even roam around the backyard as we swam.  He would eat up the weeds and then puke them out all over the floor.

Back in March, I had one of the scariest moments of my life. We were scrambling to get Mackenzie to a soccer game in Savannah. We were gone for about 15 hours and when we got home, I wasn’t welcomed by the cat who always welcomed me. I became concerned and we tore the house apart looking for him. It became apparent that he had gotten outside that morning as we were loading the car. I was heartbroken. While the rest of the family went outside to search, I jumped on Facebook and posted a help message to the neighborhood facebook. Someone responded quickly that they saw some boys tormenting an orange cat at the corner a few hours earlier and he ran into the rose bushes. I ran down to the corner, even through it was pitch dark and found him scared to death under those roses.  I was so happy to have him home.

A couple of months ago, we noticed he wasn’t grooming as well as he normally did. He usually took great pride in his appearance. Later, he started to lose weight. After we noticed a little foaming at the mouth, we took him to the vet and they thought it might be an auto-immune disease causing sores in his mouth. They gave him some shots and we hoped things would be fine.  Two weeks ago, when things had not improved, we returned to the vet. He had lost about 2/3 of his weight. They sedated him and looked into his mouth and realized there was a large tumor growing on the back of his tongue. There was nothing they could do but put him on pallative care to keep him comfortable. we fed him liquid food but even that was a challenge for him. Over the weekend he stopped eating and drinking and I spent as much time with him as possible, knowing each cuddle could be my last.  Yesterday, when I got home from work, it was apparent that the end was near. I was able to hold him one more time. About 30 minutes after being home, he crossed over the rainbow bridge with Kimberlie and I by his side.

I know things will get easier, but there is a huge void in my both my heart and my life.  Snickers was the most loyal friend I ever had.  He’s been with me longer than both of my daughters. I love that stupid cat.

Kimberlie, Snickers, and Tristan 12 years apart.

He was part of every birthday:

Rilianne especially loved him since they were almost the same size.

Work Trip: Minneapolis — The City

Friday, May 18th, 2018

Although I go home early tomorrow, Minneapolis has been a nice place to visit.

This is a view from my hotel room. This is the corporate headquarters for Target.

Connected to the corporate headquarters (and two blocks from my hotel) is Target’s flagship store. I visited 3 times in 3 days.  The store is amazing with updated signage and technology and products I hadn’t seen at my Target.

This morning, I explored the city by running with about 20 other folks who were in town for the same purpose I was.

Minneapolis began as a flour mill town and the remnants of these old mills are everywhere. Most have been converted into awesome riverfront lofts.

Minnesota is supposed to have 10,000 lakes, but I didn’t see any. The Mississippi River, however, was beautiful.  This is the third Mississippi River city that I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. (The others were St. Louis and New Orleans.)

Any time I’m away from the family, I make sure to stay in touch via FaceTime!

Ten Years Running

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

On this day, ten years ago, I decided that I wanted to run the Disney Marathon. I really didn’t want to run, but I wanted to get to go backstage on the course and get the awesome medal. So, I talked to Kimberlie about it and after much resistance, she agreed to let me register for it.  I lied a little and told her I registered for the marathon, but what I actually registered for was Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, which is a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday.

After I registered, it was time to start training. I went outside to run. I didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t have special shoes or moisture wicking clothes. I had regular tennis shoes and a cotton t-shirt. I ran and ran and after what felt like forever, I made it to the stop sign — a tenth of a mile from my driveway!  After that, I walked for a mile and came back in. I was in so much pain. How the heck was I going to run 393 of those? I looked over Disney’s refund policy to see if I could get my $300+ back, but I was out of luck.

So, I kept running!

I haven’t updated this is quite some time, but here is my mileage chart through January:

And, here is the last 12 months:

I really slacked off in 2017, but I’m back on track and plan to stay there!

15 Years

Friday, February 24th, 2017

15 years ago on a Sunday evening (February 24, 2002) I had a date lined up with this girl I had talked to on the phone but never met. I had never been on a blind date before. I was 23 and while driving through her unfamiliar neighborhood I think I almost chickened out about 10 times. I found the courage, kept going, picked her up and met her family.  We had plans to just go eat at Applebee’s — I didn’t want to commit to anything else in case I didn’t like her. Well, I ended up really liking her so I took her to the movies. I think that ended up being the only date with her where I didn’t bring flowers. She must have liked me too because she’s still around.

Running Mileage and Other Data

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

I ran across a program that takes all of my data out of Garmin Connect and overlays it on a Google Map.

Here is a visual of all of the paths I’ve taken since we’ve moved into our neighborhood (Memorial Day Weekend 2013). I still have some streets and neighborhoods to check out!

running_paths_2

Zooming out a bit to show how far some of my longer runs have been:

running_paths_3

Here is a view of all of the running paths I’ve traversed in Warner Robins. The ones discontiguous to my neighborhood were races. You can clearly see my run(s) on Robins Air Force Base where I’ve ran quite a few Museum of Aviation Half Marathons.

running_paths_1

Here are my runs zoomed out a bit more. You can see where I’ve run races around central Georgia:

running_paths_5

Here are the paths I’ve taken at Walt Disney World during marathon weekends:

running_paths_4

And here are the two Disneyland races I’ve run:

running_paths_6

Here is the path Mackenzie and I took last October in Washington D.C.:

running_paths_8

And here are the two runs earlier this year in Chicago:

running_paths_7

This year has been my worst running year since I started.  You can see that in my mileage charts below. I ran about 10 miles in July!

Although 2016 was a bad year for a number of reasons, I have nobody to blame for my running setbacks but myself. I have become addicted to the wrong foods, lazy and fat. I weigh more than ever. Next week’s Dopey Challenge is going to be my toughest yet. I’m committed to doing better in 2017. I decided to start streaking again, running at least 5K per day every day. This morning’s run was day 10.

2017 is going to be my year. Happy New Year!

Hotel Life

Monday, August 8th, 2016

I feel like I’ve been living in hotels lately.  Between work trips, which have all seem to fallen together recently, and personal trips I’ve been all over the place.  Tonight, I’m in Athens, Georgia for work, trying out the Hotel Indigo.

IMG_0693