Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Dear Theo,

First off, I would like to congratulate you on signing Jon Lester.

However, I am here to tell you, you’ve made a grave mistake.  I understand why you would think that this signing is one more step in the right direction of getting the Cubs that elusive World Series Championship – a little over 10 years ago you signed another horse of a pitcher to the Red Sox.  That signing paid off immediately with the Red Sox’s first World Series Championship in 86 years.  The situations of that 2003 Sox team and the 2014 Cubs are different, but you’ve laid down a similar foundation, between a new manager and a big time pitcher, both of whom have proven they know how to win.

But I wonder if you and your team truly realize what, or more specifically, who brought the World Series trophy to Boston a decade ago.  It wasn’t a big time pitcher like Schilling or Lester.  Truth is, you could have signed this person, who is responsible for 7 Championships in the last 18 years for 1/10 of what you signed Lester for last night; someone who might have delivered the first of three or four championships as early as 2015.

That’s right, 2015!  Even with the acquisition of Lester and Joe Maddon, I don’t think that anybody is picking the Cubs to win it all that soon.

So who is this person?

Allow me to tell you a story.

***

In 1995, I was teaching at a small school in New England.  As fun and satisfying as that job was, it simply did not pay well enough for me to pay off any of my student loans from college.  After much soul searching, I took a job in New York City, starting January of 1996.  Coincidentally, this was right after the Yankees had finally made a playoff appearance after over a decade of mediocrity.

Who won the World Series that year (1996)?

The New York Yankees.

Who would go on to win 4 World Series championships in 5 years from 1996 to 2000?

The New York Yankees.

Shortly after the Yankees 2000 victory, my wife and I would move out of the City and out of the State of New York.  The Yankees would wait nearly a decade before tasting season ending champagne again.

***

In late 2003, a colleague of my wife approached her about taking a position in another city.  We weighed our options.  We now had two children and we’re fairly comfortable living where we lived.  After some talk, the company made an offer she couldn’t refuse; we packed our bags and moved to, you guessed it, Boston.  That March (2004) we moved into our house.

My girls were 3 and 1.  An avid sports fan, I was determined to raise my children fans of their local sports teams – that meant the Patriots, Celtic, Bruins and…dear Lord!!!…the Red Sox.

People, both local and out of towners, tried to wave me off the idea.

“You’ll only suffer heartache!”

“You’ll wait your entire life for nothing!”

“Don’t do this to your children…think of the children for God’s sake!!!”

Yes, it was tough; a tough, scary (down 0-3?) 7 months before we were finally able to taste the bubbly and celebrate a World Series championship.  Over the next 10 years, the Red Sox would win 3 Championship trophies.

***

So whaddaya say, Theo?  I’m willing to offer up my services residence to the Windy City.  I’ll gladly take 10% of what you offered Jon Lester – 6 years, $15.5 million, with a team option of $1.5 million for a 7th year.

5 years in New York, I brought 4 championships; 10 years in Boston, I brought 3.  Give me 6 years in Chicago, and I can almost guarantee at least 2 World Series trophies if not more.

Whaddaya say?  Clock’s ticking.

***

Dear Ben (Boston’s GM),

I’m willing to take a hometown discount – 6 years, $13.5 million.  Call me!

***

To the other 28 GMs around the league,

Feel free to get in on the bidding.

***

Don’t you want to experience this feeling:

mlb-trophy

I’ll be waiting by the phone,

Sincerely,

Luau

Connection

fingers_touching

With the onset of middle school, I had to finally give up walking Brooke to her class every morning.

***

We stop at the bottom of the hill, some 50 yards from the entrance to the school.  We give each other a kiss on the cheek and then do something we call the “rollers” where we rub our cheeks together.  I watch, every morning with my breath held, as a little piece of my heart goes running up the hill and off to school.

***

For those of you who have been here from the beginning, or who have an autistic child, you know that Brooke’s attempts at play bids are clumsy and awkward at best, often leaving the recipients of those bids unsure of what to do.  Different kids react in different ways, but often, they will simply look at each other and move on.  I don’t know if Brooke is totally aware of how things are playing out or if she is blissfully ignorant – either way, it hurts to watch as a parent.

***

About halfway up the hill is a girl, by the looks of her from 25-30 yards, I would guess she is in 8th grade.  She is obviously waiting for some friends to arrive on the buses that are beginning to pull in.  Brooke veers toward her.  My already held breath turns into a ball of lead in my sternum.

***

Lately, Brooke has taken to making faces at people.  She will put her thumbs to her temple and stick out her tongue and squinch up her face.

***

I see the hands go to her head, elbows flaring out.  Though her back is turned to me, I can easily tell she is making faces at this girl.  ‘Oh crap!’ I think to myself…

…and then the girl makes a face back.

…and then Brooke bows to her.

…and the girl bows back.

…and then Brooke heads into school.

***

This has been played out on almost a daily basis.  Sometimes, if we are early or late, we miss her, but whenever we are on time, it is the same routine…the same connection.

I have no idea who this girl is, but whoever you are, thank you.

…just excuses

I could blame it on my focus on getting my personal training and boot camp business up and running.

I could blame it on my studies for a nutrition certification.

I could blame it on the weird pain I’ve been suffering through in my left foot.

I’m sure if I really thought about it, I could find a lot of reasons.

But if I’m going to be honest with myself (and with you), I have to simply admit, I haven’t been motivated.

I have a half-marathon next weekend, a full marathon and a 100-miler in October.

Bay State (the marathon) was supposed to be my attempt to return to Boston.  Ghost Train (the 100-miler) was supposed to be my attempt to go sub-24 hours.

After watching my social media feed back in April, as many of you ran a glorious Boston Marathon, I got excited.  I got psyched.  I was pumped at the prospect of running a competitive (for me) marathon and getting myself back to the starting line in Hopkinton.  With the added 10 minutes allotted to me because of my impending age bracket change, I knew I had it in the bag.

I bought new shoes (Go Mebs).

I announced my plans.

I pulled out my calendar and worked my way back from October to determine my base building runs and then my Bay State specific runs.

I planned it out.

My early morning runs.

My late night runs.

I was going back to Boston…

.

.

.

…and then I wasn’t.

My calendar began to fill.  Early morning runs became a problem.  With 6AM clients, 4 to 5 days a week, I was already getting up at 4:30AM to prepare.  Late night runs became a problem for the same reason.  You can’t give your clients your best on only 4 hours of sleep.  I was studying at night.  My feet were (are) suffering from an undetermined ailment.  The list could go on and on.

Honestly though, those are just excuses.  The fact is, as excited as I initially was to run both Bay State and Ghost Train, that motivation abandoned me at the first hurdle I faced.  Perhaps I really didn’t want to run, I merely wished I could.  We make priorities in life in part because there are only 24 hours in a day.  We make choices.  Maybe it a day was 30 hours, I would have found the time…maybe…probably, the results would have been the same.

At this point, if it isn’t obvious, I will not be running Bay State in an attempt to qualify for Boston.  I may still run it, depending on my feet, but it will be simply to enjoy a long run through the town of Lowell, MA.  Ghost Train is out of the question.  Attempting to run 100 miles on zero training would be foolish.  As for Boston 13.1, which happens next weekend, I am not sure.  Like Bay State, we’ll see how the feet hold up over the next week.

 

…of course, if you aren’t a runner at heart, I hope that you’ll understand as well.

I have a friend who recently took up running.  She built up slowly, using the Couch to 5K program.  I would see her about once a week where our girls were enrolled in a weekly program.  She’d tell me about her progress, new distances, new paces.  I would give her some strategies to overcome barriers, both perceived and real.  To help her stay with the program, she had signed up for a local 5K.

One week, while asking for some pre-race advice, she prefaced her question with, “I know it’s only a 5K and that must seem really silly to you but…”

I stopped her.  I told her something anybody who ever seeks advice from a long distance runner should know:

You never, ever have to preface a question with, “it’s just a 5K”.  You never have to qualify any of your running questions to us.  We’ve been there.  We know the trepidation.  We know the uncertainty.

And just so you know, we still feel it today when we toe the line for a 100-miler or a 5K (if we are running for time).

My point is this – we all run and it doesn’t matter if you run 3.1 miles, 50 miles, 100 miles or farther.  There was a time, when I first started on this running journey, that 13.1 miles might as well have been 100 miles.  The thought of the distance was staggering.  Anything with the word “marathon” in it (half, full, ultra) all fell in the same category and all seemed equally absurd.

Come race day, it doesn’t matter whether you finished first, DFL or anywhere in between; it’s not whether you finish quickly or slowly – ultimately, it come down to whether you enjoyed yourself and are satisfied with your performance.  Sure, there are always exceptions to the rule – certainly there is the occasional ultra trail runner who seems to think they’re a goddess of some sort, and therefore can look down on the more casual runner, but those people are few and far between.

If your butt is off of the couch, your feet are pounding the trail or street, your quads are burning and your lungs working; if you are running, then you are one of us.

Welcome to the warmest, coolest family outside of your own.

*if you aren’t a runner, then please, come join us!

Sad Cheese News

TLC_MBB_Product_Shot_Bonbel

A year ago, I wrote —>>>this<<<—.  I was ultimately able to find a semi-local store that I bought out AND Laughing Cow was kind enough to send me a case.  For a while we were flush in yellow circle cheese.

A couple of months ago, we finally ran out, and I ran into the same problem.  I could not find my baby’s favorite cheese anywhere.  I finally reached out to my contact at the source.

I have some sad news to report.  Late this morning, I received this email from Bel Brands USA:

Hi Luau,

I remember speaking with you last year, and we at Bel Brands USA were all very happy to be able to help you get the cheese your daughter loves.

Unfortunately, I have bad news: a few months ago, the Bonbel flavor of our Mini Babybel cheese was discontinued (along with our Laughing Cow Blue cheese, and our Strawberries & Cream cheese.) Those three products were just not selling well enough across the country, and it had reached the point where some of the major grocery chains had told our sales reps that they would not be ordering any of those items for their shelves. Our parent company in Europe had already discontinued the Bonbel flavor more than a year ago, so at this point it is a product that is no longer made by our company in any location.

Shane, the person who had been so kind to help us last year when I was desperately trying to track down those little yellow-gold circles of yumminess, went on to suggest that perhaps we could try the Baby Bel Originals (Reds) with Brooke.  Apparently the recipes are very, very similar.  Sadly, as many of you know, sometimes, with kids like Brooke, it’s not just the flavor that makes or breaks an item.  The color it is wrapped in can change a food item from a must-have to a can’t-eat.

Perhaps if I had been more effusive in my praise of Bonbels a year ago, more people would have bought them and they would have stayed on the market.  I know I did my best to keep their “mover” status at my local stores, yet somehow I feel like I have failed my baby girl.

For now it looks like cheese may be off Brooke’s  menu, which, as a cheese lover, seriously bums me out.

Native Dutch

Dutch-flag

I read an article on the Interwebs this morning about the discovery of a young autistic boy who was being kept in a cage by his parents.  The article itself, though not approving of the parents’ actions, tried to address the fact that many families and school systems are simply overwhelmed by what they face on a daily basis.  This particular boy was said to be violent and the parents feared for his and their own safety.  Obviously the writer had done some research, citing this expert and that.  The writer also talked about how various institutions regularly sought expert help.

After I read the article and then reflected for a while, this thought popped into my head.

If you planned a trip to Italy, but your plane ended up in Holland, who would you seek help from?  Would you call someone in Italy?  Would you seek out fellow tourists?  Maybe call your travel agent back home? Or would you try to find a native?

For those confused by this seeming nonsequitor, there is a poem written by Emily Perl Kingsley, a parent of an autistic child, that tries to explain why the experience having an autistic child is similar to planning a trip to Italy, but discovering that your plane has landed in Holland.  If you haven’t read it, google it; it’s worth a read.

Now, I know that most people would probably either call their travel agent or maybe even the airlines, but for the sake of argument, let’s just say there are no flights to Italy and you are basically going to have to spend your entire time in Holland.  Maybe you seek out the local American Embassy (if you’re an American like me).  Perhaps you, as Kingsley’s poem suggests, go out and buy a new guidebook, maybe even learn a little bit of the language.

Here’s my thought though – tour guides and guide book and maps and phone apps will really only let you scratch the surface of what Holland truly has to offer…what it means and feels to be Dutch.

Do you get where I’m going here?

Who knows Holland better than any tour guide, guide book, or even fellow Americans who landed here before you?  You know who knows Holland?  The Dutch, that’s who.

***

There has been a lot of hand wringing about this child who was kept in a cage.  A lot of people saying how wrong it is, that no one should be kept in a cage.  I could not agree more.  But hand wringing and condemnation will not help either the boy or his family.  Many experts, both medical and social, are doing the best they can with the tools and knowledge they are equipped with, but I think that this story exemplifies the lack of resources, not just for the families, but for the dedicated people out there who work tirelessly to help safeguard our kids (those under and over 21).

I know that when you’ve met one autistic person, you have only met one autistic person…but don’t you think that the people of Amsterdam may know more about the people of Rotterdam than the average American?  I’m not saying that autistic people have or could give you all the answers on how to help families with autistic members, but I’m pretty darned sure that they might be able to see from a perspective that most of us never thought of.

Perhaps it’s time for advocacy groups, supports groups, school systems, hospitals, police departments, and the like to begin employing autistic individuals to help brainstorm what we can do to help the families scattered across this nation who are struggling daily with little or no services.  Knowing why a child or adult reacts in a certain way may guide us to the tools to help alleviate stressors or even stop what is causing a violent outburst.

Families deserve more.

Autistic individuals deserve more.

That way we can all enjoy our stay in Holland…perhaps even making our friends who got to go Italy to want to pop over for a visit.

 

Jam Session

It had been a long couple of weeks.  Between the transition from the school year to summer, a long road trip and making sure I was prepared for my clients, I really hadn’t taken the time to workout.  I finally carved out an hour to go down to the basement for some high intensity Spartacus intervals.  On so many levels I needed it.

On my way upstairs to change into a pair of gym shorts and a T-shirt, Katie called to me from the living room.

“Daddy?”

“Yes?”

“Can you show me how to play some chords on my guitar?”

She had received the guitar as a present many years ago, but had never really picked it up.  Over the last year she has been playing a lot of piano on her own (she’s almost as good, if not better than I am now), but I think the performer in her would love to be able to stand on stage with a guitar in her hands.

My workout was calling to me.  All I wanted to do was go downstairs and sweat for 60 minutes.  I took another step up.

“Please?”

How could I say no.  Katie is 13….13 going on 26.  Having spent time with my father-in-law this past weekend, I am all too aware that our babies grow quickly, time compresses, and change happens in the blink of an eye.

I sighed.  I can’t honestly tell you whether I sighed because I wasn’t going to get a much needed workout in or because I had a realization that time is flying by.  Perhaps it was a combination of the two.  Regardless, I came back down the stairs and sat down with Katie.

The next hour was a mix of teaching her some basic chords (A, Am, G, D, C, F, E) followed by a jam session where she sang a bunch of songs I don’t know, while I played the ax.  It helped that all the songs had pretty easy chord progressions.  It didn’t take long to get in sync, not just rhythmically, but expressively as well.

Ultimately, connecting with my kid was a heck of a lot more satisfying that any 60 minute workout could have been…I just hope nobody saw me jamming on her pink guitar.

10433129_10152536172394419_5657206307126606149_n

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,166 other followers

%d bloggers like this: