Friday, February 26, 2010

Introducing Flashback Fridays

As some of you may know, when leaving the US last January I deemed a very important cord to our brand new video camera unimportant and therefore left it behind. Yeah, because I'm brilliant like that.

Anyway, all year we just crossed our fingers we had enough space on our hard drive to capture what we needed to capture before we could get home to get the cord out of storage. Since this is going to be a painstakingly long process (because neither of our last names is Scorsese- wow, we stink at filming) we're going to be looking back one video at a time. Be sure to click on the links if you want to read the original blog entries.

This one is from our motorized rickshaw ride in Varanasi, India with Cloris.

video

Cloris keeps saying how happy we are because we were thrilled not to walking back. At least in the rickshaw there was no fear of stepping in poop- be that of cow or human variety.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

new gadget

whether you're going on a trip and can't remember the name of that city we visited, hotel we stayed at or tour group we took OR if you just want to reminisce- now you can search the blog and read all about it...again.

Monday, February 22, 2010

title

apologies for the delay in changing our title photo. sadly, in just 20 days i'll be needing to change it back to the previous one.

time is flying by!

our nation's capital


Our quick trip to DC definitely didn’t do the city justice. I hadn’t been since I was a kid and Julie since she was a teenager. We had a lot of ground to cover…ground that still had quite a bit of snow on it.

We did make it to a good chunk of the monuments in the Mall but, unfortunately, only to one museum…well, I guess two if you count Ford’s Theater.

We did fit in dinner with an old friend (great seeing you Los!!) and really just enjoyed being in a city where you can walk to practically anywhere and the amount of things to do and see are seemingly boundless…








Thursday, February 18, 2010

lent

Jules and I were never the best at getting to Church on Sundays. But, it was always there, just down the street-always waiting with open arms when our souls hungered for comfort. I felt its absence many times last year- missing it when I felt far away, when my faith needed nurturing, and on holidays, especially Easter.

We were in Athens last year for Easter where they celebrate the Greek Orthodox Easter on a different date. We ate McDonald's that night. The first American food we had eaten since leaving in January. It was the best meal we could have chosen really. It tasted like home and that night we were missing it dearly-our annual potluck, our friends, deviled eggs, our house full of people, our yard filled with flowers in bloom and our church.

We’ll be in Costa Rica this year for Easter or maybe a neighboring country. I’m certain we won’t be able to find anything but Catholic churches and the sermons certainly won’t be in English.

Although I know my chances of attending church this Easter are slim or maybe because I know my chances of attending church at all this year are slim, I’ve decided to observe Lent for the first time.

My great-grandfather was a Lutheran preacher (and a truly amazing man) but, mostly retired by the time I was 7. My childhood was dotted with visits both to his church, the Southern Baptist’s of my family or friends and the Church of God of my cousin’s family. Although Lutherans generally practice Lent, I never did.

The concept of voluntarily self-denial offered up in prayer is probably one of the oldest forms of worship and practiced in some form or another in the majority of religions- a constant reminder of your devotion, of your faith and your gratitude to your higher power.

I need the reminder. I need to feel a stronger connection to my faith. I need to show my gratitude for all my many blessings.

So…see ya, fried foods. We’ll meet again April 4th.

Update- I started this blog yesterday on Ash Wednesday but didn’t get it posted. We met friends for dinner last night at Serpas and *hello* right off the bat I was challenged. Flash fried oysters with pickled chilies- nope. Crispy duck rolls- nope. Even when I ordered the tuna tartar I was met with a plate full of fried chips. I wanted a constant reminder and it looks like, at least while we’re in the South, that is exactly what I’m going to get. Thanks be to God.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

grand way to spend a b-day



Julie and the rest of the guys took Friday off and we headed west on Thursday evening to Arizona. We spent the first night in Phoenix and left just after breakfast on Friday to head to Sedona.

We took a Jeep tour (actually the Pink Jeep tour which the boys were thrilled with) around the red rocks, through some desert terrain and ate some pretty good barbeque before driving the rest of the way to the Grand Canyon.






Although we had five different countries represented in the minivan it was your typical road trip with junk food, pit stops and “turn it up”, “turn it down”, “window up”, “window down”, “are we there yet” and “I have to pee” filling the air . Seems these things are universal.



We got into Grand Canyon in time to hit the Trading Post and grab some libations to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics in our room. I have to say it is much more exciting watching the athletes march in when you’re with so many from other countries. Each of us with our own swelling of pride and playful jabs in the spirit of competition.

We had planned to go to dinner after the ceremony but quickly found out that no restaurants in the little town are open past 9pm. We were lucky enough to reach the drive-thru at McDonalds just as they were closing. Had we not I suppose we could have fought over left-over peach ring gummies and sunflower seeds in the van.

We arose early on Saturday to get to the Canyon. It was just as awe inspiring as everyone said it would be…





We drove around to a few of the different viewing areas and then went for a much different perspective…






The flight through the canyon was unbelievable and a definite must when visiting.

We ended the day with a little birthday dinner...obviously before 9pm.



Sunday we got up early to head back to Phoenix for our flight only to find that our flight home had been cancelled due to weather. Weather that never happened and wasn’t even scheduled to happen by the time we would have been home but what are you going to do?

Hit the closest ghost town in Arizona- that’s what. Jerome was at one time a booming copper mine town and considered the “wickedest town in America”. At the time the tiny town perched on a hill had a whopping 24 saloons and brothels. Now it’s a tourist destination filled with shops, galleries, restaurants and supposedly spirits not quite ready to leave their homes. We grabbed lunch at the Haunted Hamburger in hopes of catching a glimpse of Claire, their resident ghost, but all we got were full bellies.



Our rescheduled flight wasn’t leaving until 12:50am on Monday so we stopped in Tempe to watch the sunset and kill some time before heading back to Atlanta.

This was my first trip to Arizona and I hope not my last. Although we got to see a lot I know there is so much out there waiting to be experienced...painted deserts, indian reservations, pertrified forests...I'm ready to go back right now!

This weekend we’re off to our nation’s capitol.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

happy valentines day!

wishing everyone a day of love...




there is nothing more important in this lifetime or the next.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

29 (+3)



It seems that in the midst of traveling the world I was actually getting a year older. 31 was an amazing year- period. I have zero complaints. Zero.

Last year I decided to start measuring my years by my own birthday and made a list of resolutions. As I look over them I’m regretful and even embarrassed that so many are still on my “to-do” list.

But, as I get older I realize and accept that I will ALWAYS have a personal to-do list. I will always have things I want to change, want to improve, want to start, want to end, want to move towards, want to move away from and as I cross one thing off, five more will surely appear.

So, there might be a few repeats from last year and I’m okay with that…

- Actually do my Spanish lessons- okay this is the last year I want to have this goal…I mean really- JUST DO IT!!

- Focus on my children’s books and my short story collection. Focus!

- Continue to seek out volunteer opportunities.

- Invite forgiveness into my life- for others and for myself.

- Do more to nurture my relationships and rid myself of those connections that bring more negativity than joy into my life.

- Muster up some motivation to get back to the gym and back in a more desirable and healthy shape.

- Get things in line for our return in regards to my career and my business.

- ENJOY THIS LAST YEAR OF TRAVEL TO THE FULLEST!!!! Every second, every sight, every experience- drink it up!

Here’s to 32-can’t wait to see what you have in store for me.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

AARP

it seems 32 is the exact age at which to retire the "birthday shot".



goodbye old friend...we've had some good times and some really, really good times...but, you've burned me for the last time. it's over. officially. seriously. really, i will not ever have you again. i mean it. really.

cue dionne warwick and stevie wonder...

thanks guys for coming out to celebrate my upcoming b-day with me! it was so nice to be home with my nearest and dearest!

and thank you to my wonderful wife for planning everything and making me feel so special.

i'm really blessed to have you all in my life.













now if you could just join us in the grand canyon this weekend my birthday would be perfect!

Monday, February 8, 2010

latin america- part dos


Okay, okay...I get it God, I need to focus on my Spanish lessons- PRONTO!!

We're headed to Costa Rica next round!!!

Who Dat?!?!


Being that I could care less about the NFL my Super Bowl Sundays are usually spent not watching the game, drinking beer and watching the commercials. But, after being in NOLA last weekend it was very easy to get excited for the Saints...I've really never seen more devoted fans and *hello* I spend my falls in Dawg Nation, I know devoted fans.

It was an awesome win for both the fans and the city so kudos! And hey, this is the first Super Bowl I've actually enjoyed watching since 1989's 49ers vs. Bengals. What? I was 11, in love with Joe Montana and it was the first time I ever made a bet-against my uncle for $25 (which was like a million to me then) and I WON!

I have to say I was pretty disappointed in the commercials overall. The screaming chickens were by far my favorite...



To get a recap of last night's ad look no further than here to see our buddies on CBS. Very cool guys!

Friday, February 5, 2010

nola


already friday again...hard to believe. but, then again, i've spent most of the week in bed or on the couch hacking up my lungs and any other organs that weren't tied down.

enough of the excuses...i'm actually out of my pj's so no reason not to update the blog...

new orleans...well, if you've been you know what the city is all about and if you haven't you're missing out on the party of your life.

the Wife and i had decided to go to new orleans since it was the first weekend of mardi gras. the first parade was going to be saturday night and we thought it would be a nice way to get in on the mardi gras excitement without the true insanity that is mardi gras.

it ended up being a group trip and a pretty great group at that. no drama, no whining, no complaining or arguing about what we were going to do/see/eat. no easy feat in itself, but add in hangovers and it was like a mardi gras miracle!

we spent the weekend doing what you're supposed to do in new orleans...eat, drink and make merry. we feasted on oysters, po-boys, fried catfish, gumbo, jambalaya and shrimp creole, we drank bloody marys, hurricanes and voodoo juice, we stayed out and woke up far too late, we wandered around the quarter with drinks in hand dipping into one bar after the other.

on saturday night we had our second mardi gras miracle when getting ready to watch the parade. we had finally chosen a spot and low and behold- i look up to the balcony above us and spot our friends from atlanta. after screaming for a few minutes and my wife being smart enough to tell me to take off my mask they recognized us and invited the group up to watch the parade from above. nothing better than v.i.p.-ing it. nothing...



thanks rp & jm!!! you guys are the best!




to say the weekend was fun would be an understatement. the people, food, and vibe in new orleans are unlike anywhere else in the world. it all made for an amazing first weekend of what we know is going to be an amazing year.

more pictures to come- too many cameras and too much editing to be done to get them up this week ;)