Like being a kid again

There’s something about birthday parties that make everyone feel like a kid again. Especially kids’ birthday parties. Lily celebrated her eighth this weekend with fourteen of her closest friends and a few party crashers (her brother, her sisters, Grandma, and a few who stopped by when they caught a glimpse of the movie – you know who you are.)

We celebrated by making pillowcases, eating pizza and ice cream cake, a few rousing renditions of “What time is it, Old Witch?” and an outdoor viewing of “Nim’s Island,” projected onto the screen affixed to the side of the garage with stadium seating arranged in the yard. Not to mention a large collection of blankets and pillows strewn about.

Ah, to be a kid again, even if only for a night.


For the first time in nine years, Team USA has recovered the Ryder Cup. Jack and I spent our Sunday on the grounds of Valhalla, walking amongst the crowds and 24 of the best golfers in the world.

We were there as Anthony Kim produced the spark that propelled his teammates forward as his relentless play bested Sergio Garcia. We were there when team captain Paul Azinger skidded his cart to a halt in the 13th fairway to pump up the crowds. We were there as the crowds welcomed homegrown favorites Kenny Perry and JB Holmes at every step and we were there shouting “Boooo!” as Weekly made one great shot after another, including a towering drive on 17th that he turned away from as he tried to expend the adrenaline flowing through him. We were there when Hunter Mahan made a 50-foot birdie putt to win the 17th and the crowd roared and roared and roared…

We were there to watch Furyk and Jimenez tee off on the first and we were standing in the 17th fairway as they hit their approach shots into the 17th green, securing the final point to win the trophy.

It’s my turn now, but I hope in years to come Jack will look back on this day and say, “We were there.”

Inside a Norman Rockwell painting

I’m sitting in the front yard, saved from the heat by the shade of the maple and elms, watching seven kids running a lemonade stand near the street. They’re selling raspberry lemonade for twenty-five cents a cup, probably losing a nickel with each transaction. But the lessons they’re learning have nothing to do with economics. They’re plainly exercising the real world skills of negotiation, persuasion, compromise and teamwork. Customers not required.

The wind is picking up, smoke billows from a neighbor’s burning pile of sticks, and the serenade of little voices continues unabated, non-stop, ever-sweet. If, like Rockwell, I could paint, I would paint this picture. I’ve tried to photograph it. I briefly considered video. But in the end, I opted to just pay attention, to record it in my memory, realizing that all attempts to capture it any other way would be wholly imperfect.

Drop and give me 100 pushups!

Or, as Chief Petty Office Paet used to say in boot camp, “Pushup position, hut!” (Although the exclamation mark may be misplaced, he was a smallish Filipino guy who never raised his voice.) So the days of actually doing 100 pushups at once are several years behind me. Until now, that is.

I stumbled upon OneHundredPushups today and I’m inspired that slugs like me (and yes, even you) can aspire to do 100 pushups in just six weeks using the plan created by Steve Spiers. I’m starting today. Char will start today. I’ll have the kids start today.

Why don’t you start today, too?

[Take the 100 Pushups Challenge]