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Posts Tagged ‘Family’

This was no doubt the best film of the whole series, with a central message no one can argue with.

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cfb2009_1We are hours away from the beginning of a new college football season and I have been feeling the excitement for weeks now! I heart college football!

I mean I really love it. But I’ve become aware that it could be because I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. Even when we were terrible at football the pageantry, enthusiasm and celebration surrounding game day is the glue that binds the community together.

In fact I think that’s the point. I love community events. People come together, even if they’re opposing sides to celebrate the exciting of human achievement, camaraderie and the excitement of life.

To sum it up, there’s nothing like sitting among 85,000 of your best friends and screaming your head off for no apparent reason.

Reasons to love College Football:

  • Community, Colors &Tailgates
  • Traditions & Songs & Mascots
  • Pagentry , Halftimes, Bands (5th Quarter if your’e a Badger fan)
  • Passion -Originality Cheer, Frivolity
  • Rivalries and Underdogs
  • Bowl Games & Heros

cfb2009_2

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vistaico_christmas-png-christmas-holly-256x256It’s here folks! The Christmas season.  There’s no time that I have better memories for. Having grown up in Wisconsin where the snow is plenty by the beginning of November and the days got dark in early October. Christmas was always a welcome respite of warmth just before the grueling four or five months of winter ahead.

Classic Wisconsin Winter

Classic Wisconsin Winter

Curling up in a blanket with the fam all around like a den of rabbits in our makeshift family room (half finished basement) with hot cocoa after shoveling the walk for 2 hours or delivering newspapers at 5am in the morning was good for soul. And of course instead of the warm glow of a fire, we were glued to the electrode rays of our 25 year old Zenith, watching movies on a VCR.  So here’s a top ten list of my favorite Christmas movies.

Movies definitely NOT on the list. A Wonderful life. Grrrr…. that movie drives me crazy! Got news for you kid. Angels don’t have wings.

Honorable Mention:

The Polar Express (2004) -Technology at it’s best. Bringing the magic of story time alive.

The Holiday (2007) – A recent favorite of mine. A really good romantic comedy that’ll keep a skip in your step and a little hope for the future. Nice soundtrack. Jack Black, Cameron Diaz play their usual selves.

Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer (1964)– “Hey what do you say we both be independent together.”

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)- The original Debbie Downer does Christmas his way. But at least of all these movies this one pays tribute to the real reason for the season. “That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.”

In reverse order of preference here it goes!

10. Santa Clause the Movie (1985)– Critical Acclaim this movie has none. But for some reason this was a family favorite.

9. Miracle on 34th street (1947)– I am a believer. And so is the U.S. Postal Service. Progressive for it’s time a tribute to all the “working girls” out there.

8. Scrooged– Classic Bill Murray. A good spin on an old snoozer of a tale.

7. Holiday Inn (1942) -The movie that set the standard for making hits songs. Find yourself a someone to cuddle up with for this one. But be careful…. it’s my heart. _

6. White Christmas- (1954)– Classic fantasy of the 50’s. With a plot so sugary sweet it rivals the plight the sugar plum fairy. This was the perfect blend of music and dance for no apparent reason, a way to mix in the patriotism of the war and camaraderie of the times. Thought I can never tell the difference between this one and Holiday Inn.

5. Home Alone (1989)– When I saw this the first time I was really in Manheim Steamroller. Yes I was a nerd in high school. The soundtrack was perfect for this comedy of errors. The kid looked just like my little brother at the time so it all brought it “home.”

4. Elf (2003)– Classic Will Ferrell. This is what happens when someone tells Will Ferrell he can’t play to the fraternity crowd! A perfectly funny and endearing comedy! This is on the rise and chase the number 1 spot.

3. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) -Lines from this movie have become family favorites over the years. This is a great adaptation of the original which I always thought to a yawn fest followed by a horror flick. Muppet magic steals the for this one. 

2. A Christmas Story (1983)– Nostalgia at it’s best. Red Ryder BB guns, Double-dog dares, Major awards, Far, ra, ra, ra, rah, the one liners are endless.

1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) – Classic Chevy Chase. This is a must see every year, in ritual form. Must have blanket, cocoa and friends willing to laugh out loud!

Did you notice a pattern there! I love to laugh. But let’s face it folks, what makes these show good are the heart of it all. Merry Christmas EVERYONE!

What are you favs?

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Race Finish

Last Spring a co-worker of mine asked me if I wanted to train for a 10 mile running race together. A 10 miler led to a Half-Marathon with some other friends and just recently I finished the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. Prior to that I had participated in various small triathlons and small running races.

Marine Corps Marathon Start 2008

It’s only a been a few weeks and yet, I look back and I can’t believe that I actually did it. I’ve fantasized about it time and again, but having done it, I can replace those hopes or figments of my imagination with a real memory. I know the strength of community everyone feels at the start, the friendship along the way of miles 4,5,6; the joy of catching a glimpse of family and friends on the side, enjoying the friendly support of perfect strangers at mile 16, the loneliness and pain of miles 20-21, the shear will power over pain of miles 22-26 and the satisfaction of completion, when you don’t even really care to celebrate because you’ve got absolutely nothing left to actually use on emotions. Dreams can fuel you do to great things, but be sure you’re doing something everyday to make them happen or you will always be stuck in the vault of your own mind.

Mile 10 - Near the Lincoln

Truly the unsung heroes on race day are the countless numbers of supporters and race volunteers who give their own time just to support others accomplish their goals. It can’t be all that fun, to stand around for more than 4 hours and cheer on perfect strangers you’ve never met.  I wish there was a way to adequately let each race supporter know how much their cheers, chants signs, and presence helps. Every high school band that played kept me in a cheery mood.  People’s signs of encouragement kept me thinking of things other than my gradually slowing body. My favorite sign was posted on a 20′ stick, it read, ” The Kenyans are Just Ahead!”, Occasionally I caught someone’s eyes and instead of being odd it was almost as if I had known them.

After a particularly long stretch over  the 14th street bridge on mile 21 where there were no spectators, and the wind started to whip over the Potomac, it felt as if you were crossing the Sahara Desert. Seriously. The muscles start to contract and you feel like a lost member of the French Foreign Legion. Coming back into Arlington to a crowd of spectators was the just the catapult that was need for those final but lonely 2 miles around the Pentagon to the finish.
Thanks to Friends and Family, who made the trek to support me. I really wanted to stop the last 4 miles but just kept thinking that if I could just keep going they were there to see me finish well. Running maybe a singular activity but truly no one, can stand alone. We are as strong as the community we are a part of.

The Fam

The runner’s rewards are endless; views of  the early morning sunrises and golden sunsets, glimpses of cardinals and blue jays, an occasional run in with a deer,  a brief “hello” shared when passing by a fellow trekker on your daily route, hidden wildlife that only come out for those dedicated enough to run in the rain to see, views of twilight stars, the feeling of accomplishment and physical work, the runner’s high. But none are as great as the unexpected feeling of being a part of a larger community. Thanks to everyone who’s volunteered their time to support their communities.

Marine Corps Runners

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