Friday, September 30, 2011

Some Sense Amongst the Noise

Through ALL the news on the Red Sox historical collapse, I found one article which truly puts things into perspective. Reading this story really hit a spot with me, so I thought I would share:

Better things to dwell on
By Brian McGrory
Globe Columnist / September 30, 2011

It could be worse, folks. Your system could be getting cleaned out faster than Yawkey Way.

Or you could be Setti Warren, ending his Senate campaign yesterday by telling the voters of Newton how much he treasures being their mayor, the very job he was trying to leave after doing it for about a year.

In other words, perspective, please, which is what I also got when my phone rang with Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis on the other end of the line. He is a good man and a wise cop, so when he suggested that I high-tail it to a part of Mattapan that he had just left, I did what I was told.

Which is how I came to be walking across the potholed playground of the Mattahunt Elementary School in the middle of seemingly nowhere, listening to the sounds of laughter spill out an open door to the old, rickety gym.

Inside, there were young kids, the boys in blue polos and khakis, the girls in skirts, dribbling basketballs, practicing bounce passes, heaving shots with all their might toward rims that seemed unfairly high. They were having the time of their lives. Guys in green tee-shirts shouted instructions and constant praise.

The adults were, I learned, the coaching and scouting staff of the Boston Celtics, which was interesting. Then I saw what was unfolding around the rest of the school.

Back outside, dozens of men had swarmed a section of playground that had long ago been basically condemned. They were wielding saws, pushing brooms, digging into the ground with heavy shovels, attacking overgrowth, leaves, and litter that were probably there before Havlicek stole the ball. A 12-foot tree had sprouted in the middle of a street hockey rink, if that tells you anything.

I introduced myself to a worker who was ripping out human-sized weeds, and he told me he was Rich Gotham. Rich Gotham is the president of the Celtics, which caught me off guard. He was sweating like a buffalo.

He said the Celtics swarm a few schools a year with 150 or so volunteers from the front office, basketball staff, sponsors, and season ticketholders. “It’s amazing what you can get done when you pull a few people together,’’ he said. “It’s the most gratifying stuff we do.’’

As he spoke, volunteers pounded together benches and flower boxes. Inside, a few dozen people overhauled the library, which lacks a librarian, organizing shelves and setting up computers. Another couple of dozen volunteers were painting the vast community room.

“I’m elated,’’ said Ruby Ababio-Fernandez, the principal. “My kids deserve this. The staff deserves this. It says a lot to the school.’’

By day’s end, the kids were left with what amounted to a new playground, new outdoor basketball court, and new library, as well as a sense that they mattered, which they don’t get anywhere near often enough.

Which gets to the point in all of this. Baseball in Boston ended with a heavy dose of poetic justice Wednesday night, the Red Sox collapsing and Tampa Bay surging back to life, a season summarized in two remarkable games. But life goes on. Life goes on in victory, and it goes on in defeat. It goes on both on the field and off.

Boston is lucky to have the teams it does, even today, every one of them community-minded. And the teams are fortunate to have the passion of the smartest fans in sports.

Every once in a while, it doesn’t hurt to take stock: What happened at Camden Yards was memorable, but what happened in Mattapan is important.

Brian McGrory is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at

Amen, Brian. AMEN.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

No Time To Lose

Ya, I'm not sure I'll be keeping up with blogging like I have for the last couple of weeks. We'll see how things go, but three classes, on top of a full-time job, and fatherhood is starting to catch up with me.

Things the girls say: Allie has been sleeping in our bed recently - she's been waking up and coming in our room anytime between 12:30 and 5:30 am. She came in the other night, fell back asleep, and then woke up a short time later,looked at me and said "Snuggle with me daddy". Oh...melt my heart!

Workout log: Thursday I did some lifting. Friday was an off day and today (Saturday) I did about 3.2 miles.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Humble Pie

Fans of Boston professional sports have certainly had reason to celebrate for the past decade with the Bruins, Celtics, Patriots and (of course) Red Sox all winning at least one championship in that period. Peppered within those team accomplishments, there have also been numerous individual player accomplishments and records worth noting. The last couple of days, for example, a couple of my favorite Boston players (and one coach) are getting some well deserved attention for contributing to their respective sports.

Tim Wakefieldknuckle ball pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.

In his 16th season with the Sox, Wakefield beat the Toronto Blue Jays last night at Fenway Park for his 200th career win. Considered an all-around great guy, “Wake” has consistently shown class and professionalism on and off the field. According to, Wakefield was named the recipient of the 2010 Roberto Clemente award - an award given annually to the player who "combines a dedication to giving back to the community with outstanding skills on the baseball field." It was the eighth nomination for Wakefield, a player who has given tirelessly to charities ranging from the Jimmy Fund to his "Pitching in for Kids" organization.

Congrats, Wake!

Tom Bradyquarterback for the New England Patriots.

In the season opener against the Miami Dolphins on Monday night, Mr. Brady threw for a franchise record 517 yards. Accolades of Tom Brady’s accomplishments and contributions could go on forever. For now, I’ll just say we love #12.

Bill BelichickNew England Patriots head coach.

The hooded-sweatshirt ("hoodie") wearing, all business head coach of the Pats will be highlighted on “Football Life”, a NFL Network series. Per the NFL Network, Football Life will take “an in-depth look at the life of one of the NFL's most intriguing coaches, Bill Belichick, using unique on and off-the-field sights, sounds and stories”.

To promote the Belichick series, The City of Boston has allowed The NFL Network to adorn several historical statues in Boston with a New England Patriots hoodie! Too cool.

The timing of the above events is ironic considering the arrest charges of the not-so-humble Manny Ramirez yesterday. Manny, who spent a good part of his career with the Red Sox, allegedly assaulted his wife. Wake, Brady and Belichick are extremely confident, yet humble. "Manny" and "humble" have never been used in the same sentence.

Workout log: Lunchtime runs along the Charles River both yesterday and today, both of which were spectacular days in terms of the weather with temperatures in the low 80's. Today I did about 3.5 - 4 miles in @30 minutes. Yesterday's run was @5.5 miles = 48 minutes.

Things the girls say: Emily has been planning a birthday party for Lil' Lion, her cherished lovie. With a play phone to her ear, she walked by me in the kitchen, saying "...birthday was going to be today, but there is going to be a storm so we better not..." Must be from all the hurricane (Irene) talk a couple of weeks ago!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Feeding the Reindeer at Santa's Village

Things our girls say: Although thankful my girls are not slobs and are instead very much lady-like, their compulsive cleanliness can, at times, be overboard. Hearing "I spilled some MILK...I NEED a napkin...I got dippy on my shirt.." from three whiny voices gets old. Sometimes I just want to say GET OVER IT. Like I said, I would rather this than having kids that make it a habit of tossing food around like a baseball! The girls aversion to all things icky was apparent when we went to feed the reindeer at Santa's Village - check out the video clip:

Today's workout log: I escaped for a run just around lunchtime today. In terms of weather, I would call it a 9 on a 1 - 10 scale!! Sunny, mid to high 70's and no humidity! Since I don't think there is a hill in my town, all my runs are pretty flat and today was no exception for the approximate 4.5 mile route which I did in about 39 minutes.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Splish Splash

Thanks (again) to my mother-in-law for getting some good pics of us. In these pictures we are riding the water coaster at Storyland:

Things our girls say: Daddy, hold me. Daddy, sit with me. Those two are obviously in my top ten!

Workout notes: Besides chasing my daughters around and running errands, no workout today.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Jump In A Lake

In my entire life, I may have heard my mother swear once. TWICE at the most. My dad (God rest his soul) was a different story because, well, he is a guy. His language was clean most of the time. But when we started playing golf together his frustration came out in four letter words! Ha!

My mother would tell my siblings and me to use expressions like "jump in a lake" or "take a hike" rather than the more off-color expressions used by many kids. As a parent to triplets who is sometimes beaten down with exhaustion, I have to be careful of my language and behavior around our daughters. Everyone knows that children hear and remember EVERYTHING once they hit a certain age. Our kids have hit that age.

Anyway, another of my mother's sayings was "go fly a kite". Well, for the first time in decades, I did actually attempt to fly a kite a couple of weeks ago with the girls. The wind wasn't quite right for kite-flying, but we did have a good time anyway. Sarah's mom got a couple of pictures of our flying turtle.

Can you notice the quizical look on my face as I attempt to assemble Mr. Turtle?

Up up and away....

Things the girls say: Allie asked me to set-up their folding chairs in the backyard the other day (for a show they were putting on). I set-up the Mickey Mouse chair and then the Princess chair. Allie says "Daddy pull out the CheeseBob chair." I mentioned Allie's comment to Sarah that night and she told me that, yes, the girls call SpongeBob CheeseBob. SpongeBob (SquarePants) = CheeseBob. I think that is awesome, considering he does actually look like a piece of cheese!

Notes on today's workout: Great day for a run: partly cloudy and in the low 70's. I did my lunchtime 3.5 mile route from the office over to the Charles River and back. The run felt somewhat sluggish with some soreness in my quads and hamstring muscles, but other than that it was a good run.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

First Class

Today was orientation day at the girls' preschool and both Sarah and I went into work late so that we could both attend. I think this year will be much different than last year for the girls given the fact that they have come out of their shells a bit since school ended last spring. Plus, Sarah and I have been very happy with the teachers and curriculum at the girls' preschool - so let the school year begin!

Speaking of school, classes started for me this week. I decided to "suck it up" and take three classes this semester in hopes of finishing up the MBA program by the end of next summer. I am fairly confident I can do it, but I am feeling some anxiety as well. I'll just take it one day at a time.

Things the girls say: Yesterday, while out and about in our van, the girls apparently saw a car, which looked like our car, parked at a local Dunkin' Donuts. The girls said something like "look...there's Daddy's car...he must be getting a coffee on his way to class...."

Workout log: My hopes of a morning run did not transpire. No workout today.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hey DJ Play That Song

Both Sarah and I tend to be practical. This is not a bad thing but gift giving tends to be a challenge sometimes when trying to be practical. We have even opted for not swapping gifts or buying something we needed for the house (a television, for example) instead of a gift.

The last couple of years, however, we decided to make an effort to buy each other something for our birthdays and at Christmas. We work our butts of all year long - both at home and in the office. We should treat each other with something - it doesn't have to be an iPhone or laptop every year, but something to say "hey, we work hard, we can afford it..."

With that said, it can still be tough to find a nice gift which will be appreciated and put to use, especially as we get older. Aren't parents and other adults over thirty-five the hardest people to buy for? Sarah and I usually try to get each other at least one thing that was not on the list and then get some suggestions. Sarah isn't a golfer and has no ideas what I have in my golf bag, so I would tell her I could use a pair of golf shoes, for example.

When the question of what to give came up this past Christmas, I suggested a turntable which converts vinyl records to digital. I got my wish with an Ion USB Turntable which, eight months later, I finally set-up and starting using.

I did some dee jaying for a few years back in the late 80's, early 90's - mostly for family and friends, but I did end up with quite a collection. I have about five or six milk crates filled with mostly 12 inch singles which I am glad I have kept. Most of my collection is hip-hop, disco,pop and rap. I think one of the first 12 " singles I got was from a girlfriend - Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl! I must admit that replaying these classic tunes while converting them to MP3 digital has been fun.

Some tunes I have converted include Miami Sound Machine's Bad Boy, Pump Up The Volume by Marrs, Finally by Ce Ce Peniston and Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince.

I only have about one hundred or so more to convert...maybe by the end of the year this project will be complete!

Things the girls say:
After taking Emily on a quick errand with me (according to Emily everything takes so L O N G) to pick up some batteries, she said " are a real fast battery-picker-outer, Daddy!"

Workout log: Rest day - no workout today.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Moose is Loose

As Sarah mentioned in a recent post, we stayed at my brother's place in New Hampshire for our recent vacation. And, while driving through the nine hole golf course which sits among some condos as part of the "club", we spotted a moose in the fairway of the first hole! The girls didn't really seem to care, but I thought it was pretty cool considering I have only spotted a wild moose two or three times.

Both Sarah and Sheila (Sarah's mom) got a couple of photos, but Sheila had a zoom on her camera so you get a better view with this picture.

As a side note: I know that my blog posts have no flow nor consistency in terms of subject matter. My blog instead is somewhat hap-hazard in subject matter and consistently inconsistent in terms of when I post. With that said, I have decided to make an attempt to put some flow into the blog by adding a training log to my posts.

(The real reason for posting a training log is for personal motivation, of course! Who really cares how many miles I run, right?)

Training log:no run today, some light strength training instead. Did some bicep, chest and a few tricep sets.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Slip Sliding Away

Fortunately, the weather forecast for this weekend was not correct in that there were not any thunder showers AT ALL. Today was actually fairly warm for most of the day so we took advantage of the summer warmth.

After Sarah left for some "outlet" shopping, I asked the girls if they wanted me to fill the pool - they firmly responded they wanted me to set up the slip-n-slide instead.

It took zero coaxing. Allie, Anna and Emily were soaking wet in minutes. And Allie quickly learned why they call it a slip and slide!

Unlike other times when we have had the girls in the backyard, they kept playing and playing and playing....until it was time for a snack.

After about an hour or so, the girls started to ask me to fill the pool - they agreed to sit and eat something while the pool filled up. This year was a turning point in terms of them being comfortable in water and today was no exception as they wasted no time getting in!




So...a good day overall.

Running log: got back at it this past week after not running for almost two weeks (due to a cold and general lack of energy). Yesterday I did a local route which is about 5K flat. It wasn't too hot, but it was humid.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Summer weekend.

Halfway through the last unofficial weekend of summer: a little beach action, some overdue house clean-up and some good laughs!

Yesterday's visit to the beach didn't exactly go according to plan, but we did get a couple of hours on the sand before the day was done so it ws not a total flop.

Today was a somewhat typical weekend day in that Sarah got some much needed sleep while I took the girls with me grocery shopping. The afternoon took an odd twist, however, when Emily said she did NOT want to go with her mommy to the fabric store. So...Allie and Anna went with Sarah while Emily and I did a quick errand and then hung out together for about an hour and a half. I cannot remember the last time Emily and I had alone time! I really enjoyed it.

Having returned from The White Mountains (Storyland and Santa's Village) just a few days ago, we have also spent the last couple of days "catching up" - getting the van cleaned up, laundry done, re-stocking the refrigerator, etc.

During all this, in the back of my mind is my return to classes in a few days....ARGHHHHH!

Both Sarah and Grammy (my mother-in-law Sheila) captured our vacation to New Hampshire with some great pics:

The water coaster at Storyland

Anna behind the wheel of an antique car at Storyland

Friday, September 2, 2011


The phrase “life is short” certainly becomes more apparent as the years pass. Life is short, indeed. Yesterday marked a significant 22 year mark for me and as with every anniversary, I reflect on how things were, as well as how things have changed. In my early years, I recall speaking with a man with a great deal more experience and wisdom than I. Tom M. told me “it’s like being shot out of a cannon” when he was asked to reflect on him reaching the 20 year mark. Well I agree whole-heartedly, Tom!

Just twenty three years old at the time, I had been blessed with a gift that many are not given until they are in their 40’s or 50’s. Some never get the gift at all and die an early death, end up in jail or just spend their lives in a state of depression, chaos, misery and fear. I am grateful for being given the opportunity to walk a different path.

Pain and heartaches of the 22 years include canceling plans to marry (just months before the wedding), a divorce (to the same woman, yes), the passing of my 13 year-old niece Julie, and the death of my father the following year. Sitting next to Sarah while a nurse told us that our daughter Abigail had died before she was delivered is the deepest sadness I will ever feel, of course. I am grateful that I had a strong foundation on which to stand upon as I walked, sometimes ever so slowly, through the pain of these losses. The polar feelings of joy and happiness have of course been realized many times as well.

For me, the freedom I have allows me to experience all of the joys that life has to offer. Knowing that I am no longer bound by feelings of "less-than" or false pride, I am able to make healthy decisions for myself as well as to think of others. I completed my first marathon within five years of starting this journey. Places traveled include Key West, Italy, The Bahamas, and Yellowstone National Park. After many years single, I met my wife Sarah. And oh ya – I was in the delivery room with her when Alicenne Hope, Anna Abigail and Emily Blessing came into the world! I don’t think I ever felt as high as I did that day. EVAH.

So here I am, twenty two years later - older, but wiser. I continue to apply all that I have learned. Of all the lessons, I think the one that I adhere to most is Easy Does It. I know now that it is important for me not to rush into anything, whether it is a decision to buy a new set of furniture or the process of sorting out my emotions. Easy Does It. Remain grateful and things will be okay.

Another friend told me many years ago that if I’m having a bad day to go to bed early that day. That made a lot of sense to me. No need to go to bed early today, folks. Life is good, 22 years later.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Road Race Directors

Busy Fall days approach and I am deliquent with my blog posts. Oh well. Our lives are full in a good way so I will not utter a single moan of complaint!

We just returned from a fun-filled four day vacation in The White Mountains and I have a few cute video clips which I will share but I first wanted to share the clip below.

Allie's, Anna's and Emily's imaginations and creativity continue to blossom, giving Sarah and I great joy. A great example is from the afternoon when we returned from The Falmouth Road Race and the girls spent a solid two hours playing "road race" with their various toy characters. Most impressive was the fact that they had a wheelchair division in their imaginary races: