Jun 22, 2011

today i will....

i know wednesday is called hump day because it marks the middle of the week and gets us over the "hump" and moving in the direction of the weekend.  for some reason, today seems full of humps that are just knocking me backward instead of helping me move forward.  so, to combat the hump day blahs, i thought i'd make a list of things that i want to accomplish or do today.  here we go...

- go for a run
- pick up my newly strung tennis racquet
- laundry
- sign up for live mocha spanish class
- distract myself from the waiting game
- don't let my boss get to me
- schedule a massage
- avoid margie's delicious ice cream

that should do the trick! 

Jun 13, 2011

words of a father

june 13 is a bittersweet day for my family, as it is the birthday of my little sister, amber, who lost her battle with cancer at the painfully young age of 7.  my other sister wrote a lovely post over at noble savage and as i sat pondering what or if i should write anything today, i got an email from my dad.  he sent it to a few family members and the subject was "amber's 30th birthday."  i thought it was so nice and heartfelt that i wanted to re-post it here.  thanks, dad. 

"Today would have been Amber’s 30th birthday.  I hope you all will join me in celebrating!  She can’t be here physically with us, but I know her spirit is with us always.  I often wonder what she would look like and what she would be like at 30.  We would have to have a homemade cake from Lyn, and it would probably say something about being “over the hill”!  

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday  to you, no matter how many years, I’ll never get over you!  Hair of gold, smile full of sunshine, always ready with a joke, making sure you knew that she loved everyone. I try very hard to remember the good times we had, but somehow I miss you more, and I get all sad.  I can only try to be a better dad, with your smiles and hugs forever locked in my heart, I want to share that love you taught us all to be glad for every day we have.

There is no promise for tomorrow, please celebrate each and every moment with the ones you love the most.  You see, this is the legacy that Amber left us, love one another, like this is your last day!  The best present we can give her, is our vow to live our lives with that in mind.  I’m a silly old man that doesn’t write well, but I love you all, and hope each day is good for you.  Remember though that the days that bring you the most pain, can make you become the best you can be.  But only if you let your heart not be broken, but full of love for all. Amber, always on my mind. Amber, always in my heart.  Amber, in my very soul!"

Jun 12, 2011

conversations with cabbies

i recently went to key west with the bf for a few days and was thoroughly impressed by the cab drivers there.  every single cab ride we took (and there were quite a few since we didn't rent a car) came with a driver willing to chat about the weather, local hangouts, and general information about key west.  living in chicago and being used to cabbies who spend their time talking on their cell phones or pretending to know where they're going when they really don't, it was a refreshing change from the norm.  some interesting things we learned/discussed:

- hurricanes don't often actually hit the island due to the shallow ocean water that surrounds it
- big pine is the home of the key deer - a species of deer that only lives and breeds in this one area.  because key deer are endangered, if you hit one with your car (even, as our cabbie said, if it is trying to commit suicide) you get a hefty fine.  key deer love to eat flowers so big pine is the only area of the keys where you will find no flowers.
- one of the preferred modes of transport on key west is the scooter.  tourists come to key west, rent scooters and assume they can drive them properly.  on a given day, there are at least 5 scooter-related accidents that come through the emergency room at the local hospital that require the driver to be hospitalized.
- daddy bones is the best bbq in key west and happened to be located right next door to our hotel.  it came recommended by a cab driver and it did not disappoint.
- locals tend to avoid the crazy, tourist infested duval street but will make an exception to frequent the green parrot, a bar a block or so off the main drag.  the green parrot has live music and no cover but still attracts well-known bands.  we enjoyed the al castiglia band on the recommendation of a cab driver during our visit to the parrot.
- there are four naval bases on key west, one of which is a training facility where you may be shot on sight if you step foot on the property.  yikes.
- natives of key west are referred to as "conchs", being that key west is known as the conch republic.  we never met a single person who was actually from key west.
- even though key west technically has a policy of no boozing on the streets, as long as you take your drink in a plastic cup, no one is going to say anything or make you pour it out.  bars will give you plastic cups to pour your drink in if you want to take it to-go.  amazing.
- hit up happy hour.  tons of places do happy hour specials that are great deals on food and drinks.
- police seemed to be a rare sight, something we thought odd when we were on duval, given the mardi gras-like atmosphere.  when we asked a cabbie about this he said not to be fooled - many cops in key west walk around in plain clothes.  good to know.

i'm sure there were other facts and lessons but i can't recall everything now.  i just thought it was a nice touch that the cab drivers were so friendly and willing to give local recommendations, random information and insight about key west.  next time i go i'll be sure to learn more.  :)