Friday, September 6, 2019

Football Friday: Send in the Teddy Bears

Photo Credit: Baby Lukoshus
For Bears' fans, such as myself, it has been a long offseason. A season that started with the signing of Khalil Mack that overnight energized a fan base that had been craving a new Monster of the Midway, ended with a double doink. The days following that missed field goal were somewhat surreal, Cody Parkey went on the Today show to talk about the experience, and Goose Island offered any fan who could kick the field goal Parkey missed free beer for a year (and eternal glory). No one made the field goal and Parkey was cut from the Bears... and all Bears' fans breathed a collective sigh of relief. To be honest, probably on both fronts as I think it would have only made things worse had some "regular person" off the street hit the 43-yard field goal thereby adding insult to our emotional injuries.

Still, we made it through the offseason that in my case has included a disappointing NCAA Tournament, the Broncos signing Joe Flacco and hiring Vic Fangio (I only cared about the latter, the former made me laugh), a roller coaster of emotions with the White Sox, utter and complete frustration at the abysmal play of the Colorado Rockies, and unseasonably warm temperatures in the last part of summer in Denver. Therefore I was ready for football, regular season, commemorate the 100th season, celebratory football. I don't have it in me to watch much of the pre-season games. I came to realize that herein lay my problem last night:  I was expecting a "real" football game, and what I saw, outside of the play of the Bears' defense, was something akin to a bonus pre-season game.

In the offseason, I purchased a Khalil Mack jersey. I wanted to represent the Bears of now instead of longing for Urlacher to shave his head and come out of retirement. Now that he's in the Hall of Fame, that's no longer a viable option. Plus he seems to like the hair... My purchase, however, was also driven by the fact that it came with a 100th Anniversary patch. I am such a sucker for milestone markers like this one. Last night was the opening of the 100th season of pro football, and the 199th meeting of the Bears and the Packers. Soldier Field was rocking, filled to capacity with people who wanted to be there, many of which probably overpaid for their tickets. It was a national audience with NBC commentators wearing 1920s attire, which according to Cris Collinsworth was quite hot. This line alone is indicative of the game:  the commentators had to resort to talking about their wardrobe to fill the air time, in large part because, like those of us watching the game, they were bored.

There were moments of excitement with Aaron Rodgers being shown the turf five times and holding him to 203 passing yards and one touchdown. Sadly shutting down the Packers' offense meant that the Bears' offense had to come out onto the field. Here's where I think the game plan went awry. I am thinking that Coach Nagy should have sent my soon to be born niece's stylish teddy bear into the game rather than the offensive players that missed the memo that the regular season started last night. The offense needed to overcome one touchdown and they couldn't do it. The only points were a 38-yard field goal from new kicker Eddy Pineiro. A guy that will be kicking with a target on his back until he shows that he can stay away from the goalposts. 

The trend across the league this season seemed was to sit the starters during the pre-season for fear of injury, but it came at the cost of live game reps. *Said as the person who has never played football,* I do not see how you can simulate the true feel of a game in practice. The timing was off, penalties incurred due to panic (I'm looking at you 1st and 40), and clock mismanagement were all ridiculous moments that should not have been allowed to happen in a regular-season game. 

Am I worried about the Bears over the course of the season? I don't think so. Am I annoyed at the disappointing play last night? Absolutely. Am I relieved that the Bears' defense looks like a formidable force worthy of the moniker, Monsters of the Midway? You bet. Do I think the Packers' defense is that good? No, but that could just be because I can't validate anything done by the Green/Yellow.

Until the Bears' offense is a well-oiled machine, however, the players need some reps in the pre-season. The concern around injuries is valid, but the solution is not to put them in bubble wrap on the bench. There may need to be fewer pre-season games - the fans don't like them anyway - and maybe an extra regular-season game that allows each team to have a blow-up moment like what we saw last night.

Bring on the Broncos in Week Two, and since I will be at the game, I would like to see Da Bears (both defense and offense). Please don't make me buy the teddy bear and double doink goal post that Brett Favre is pushing, just so that I can throw it onto the field in disgust.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Football Friday: 60 Minutes

A pro football game is four, 15 minute quarters for a total of 60 minutes. When watching a game, you need to allow at least three hours, but usually, more time to allow for something ridiculous to happen. Let’s be real:  something is going to go awry. At the end of any given game, someone will be unhappy. 

In my mind, the NFL playoffs ended when the Bears were doinked, well really double doinked, from the playoffs. Did you see what I did there? If not, here’s a video. In Parkey’s defense, the kick has been ruled a block, but I still stand by the fact that I called the miss before it happened. I did not anticipate the double doink, otherwise, I would have gone out and purchased a (winning) lottery ticket with my newfound psychic powers. As a Bears’ fan of many, many (lean) years, I have learned to manage expectations. Even though I allowed myself to dream of the possibility of the Bears winning the Super Bowl, which I did do; I am not sitting here weeks later blaming Parkey. The defense did not play at their best. Going for two after the touchdown was probably a foolish call. Trubisky never found his rhythm, etc., etc., etc. A football game is 60 minutes, too much energy, strategy, and effort go into it; so to boil it down to one play feels like a disservice and dare I say ridiculousness?  

The Eagles came out the victors of their game against the Bears and had to go on the road to face a formidable New Orleans Saints team. The Eagles seemed to be flying high (more wordplay), after beating the team that allowed them to even make the playoffs. The irony is not lost on me that this is the second time in as many playoff appearances that the Bears have allowed their opponent into the playoffs, but there you hate it. Anyway, the Eagles go into the Superdome to play a team that absolutely embarrassed them during the regular season (48-7), and one that is playing really good ball with a seemingly ageless quarterback who went to that other school (Purdue). The Eagles get out to an early lead scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter, but that would be their score at the end of the game. New Orleans was able to take a 20-14 lead that seemed to be in jeopardy as the Eagles were driving down the field with mere minutes left in the game when Alshon Jeffrey - who did nothing for me in fantasy football by the way - let a very catchable ball go through his fingers. It felt like the equivalent of the baseball going through a players legs (it went through the wickets)! As mad as I was at Jeffrey, both for the aforementioned fantasy disappointment, but also for his criticism of the Bears coming into the game; this loss is not squarely on his shoulders. The Eagles’ defense held a high-powered offense to 20 points, the offense needs to be able to score more than 20 points. The Eagles even making the playoffs after Wentz went down again was nothing short of miraculous. Still, at some point, the better team is going to prevail. The whole of the 2018 Saints was better than the defending Super Bowl Champions this go around. 

This is all leading to the mother of blown calls and one-off moments. The Saints seemed to have the game in hand over the Rams. I am sure Saints’ fans had started purchasing plane tickets to Atlanta, planning a road trip, or at the very least planning their Super Bowl parties. Then comes a blatant hit on a WR, Tommylee Lewis by the CB Nickell Robey-Coleman before the ball arrives. If you’re a college basketball fan this is when you insert the Dick Vitale diatribe, “come on ref, even I could see that and I’ve only got one eye...” In all seriousness, it was an epic fail by the official. Even Robey-Coleman said he didn’t play the ball. The Rams take the game to OT and kick a game-winning, Super Bowl ticket punching field goal to win. Now you have a New Orleans attorney suing the NFL, eye doctors offering NFL referees free eye-exams, Saints’ fans signing petitions to try to get the game replayed, and Sean Peyton telling anyone that will listen that the NFL head of officials acknowledged the call was blown. Here’s the rub for me, however, and it lies in the overtime. New Orleans won the coin toss. They received the ball, as everyone other than Marty Mornhinweg, would choose to do. If the Saints score a touchdown, the game is over. Even scoring a field goal at least forces the Rams to match it. Instead, Brees is picked off, the Rams get the ball and score the field goal.

In many ways technology with the power of instant replay, and the challenge system now wide-spread in sports today has ruined us against the possibility of human error. Blown calls, missed strikes, erroneous safe/out, they are all part of the human dimension of sports. Did this official make a mistake? Absolutely. Is it an offense worthy of termination? That is not for me to decide. I just know that I have made some whopper-sized mistakes in my life, and I would hate for any of them to play out before the public. Again, this game should not have come down to one make-or-break play. The Saints had their opportunity in overtime, they were not able to capitalize on it. The Rams won the game, and the opportunity to (hopefully) beat the Patriots. 

Back to the fact that I am a Bears' fan... I am sitting here with my head held high knowing that my team beat the NFC Champions and should have beat the AFC Champion Patriots. Onward and upward for the Bears, but it is time to find a new kicker.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

19 for 2019

A bayberry candle burned to the socket brings food and larder and gold to the pocket.

At the suggestion of one of my favorite authors (Gretchen Rubin), Danny and I created a list of the nineteen things we would like to do in 2019:

  1. Build our mini block Camden Yards
  2. Make the leap to Instagram
  3. Launch Danny and the Designated Driver (documentation of his beer escapades) and evaluate this blog... is it something I wish to maintain?
  4. Shutterfly Projects:  Wedding Album and Killmer Family Thanksgiving book with Aunt Alice
  5. Visit Gunnison National Park
  6. Create more white space... both in our home and on our calendar
  7. Rainforest Yoga at the Butterfly Pavilion
  8. Schedule a weekly Power Hour
  9. I will not buy books, perfume, or DVDs
  10. Do at least one shared health-focused activity per month 
  11. Plan a trip to Baltimore, Union City, and the Region
  12. Take a couples' cooking class
  13. See Steamboat Springs in the summer
  14. Whip the yard into shape
  15. Hike Green Mountain
  16. Try fly fishing
  17. Host a holiday beer swap
  18. Send Christmas cards and maybe an epistle
  19. Work toward weight goals
I expect there will be times where I have to remind myself that these are goals for a year. I also hope that I can be graceful toward me and us in our efforts to meet this list. Still, it was fun to think about what could be done in the coming year. 

Friday, January 4, 2019

Football Friday: MITCH PLEASE

It's January and I am dusting off my blog, both as part of my 19 for 2019 (forthcoming list), and because I can write about my BEARS. In a positive light, no less, as we are in for bonus football (aka the playoffs). Considering the Chicago Bears have not been in this spot since 2010, I had to refresh myself on the terminology.

I do not like to dwell too much on the playoff run in 2010 as the Bears lost to the Packers in the NFC Championship Game. Yes, the Packers, the team that defeated the Bears in the "play or go home" game 17. Worse yet, the Pack went on to win the Super Bowl. All around, it was a dismal end to an otherwise solid season that included an NFC North Championship... 

Now it's January 2019, the Bears have claimed the title of NFC North Champions, and were again pitted against a division rival who had to win to make the playoffs. Both the opponent (Minnesota Vikings) and the outcome were different this time around. Perhaps Coach Nagy is a franchise historian who felt that one team from the NFC North in the playoffs was enough, or maybe he hates that stupid Vikings' horn as much as I do, or maybe he wanted to carry another win into the playoff. Whatever the reason, I was grateful for the result.

On to the post-season and a match-up with the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles. The irony of this game is that I told Danny should Philly get in, they could cause some damage for teams. They are not the team of last year, but they seemed to have once again found their way under Nick Foles. As a Bears fan of 25+ years, I have to operate with cautious optimism and a huge helping of hope.

At the core of this hopeful optimism is the defensive Monsters of the Midway. While Khalil Mack is the face, the Bears D is also sending three additional players to this year's Pro Bowl: DT Akiem Hicks, CB Kyle Fuller, and S Eddie Jackson. Teams continue to prove that defense wins championships, specifically the Ravens and the Broncos of recent memory. The Patriots continue to enter into shoot-outs with teams and line up a defense that is good enough to get the job done.

This leads me both to a point of personal confusion, and the outer layer of my hope. This Bears' offense could be good enough to play against anyone. They employ a diverse offensive scheme, led by Nagy and his out of the box thinking, two different running styles in Cohen and Howard (HOOSIER), and Mitch Trubisky a quarterback who can run and limit the stupid mistakes.

Yet, it feels like the national media and my local Denver market analysts, seem to be focused on Trubisky as the lynch pin. Now I am cutting the Denver guys some slack as they seem bitter about how the Broncos are playing abysmal football and show no signs of figuring out a direction anytime soon. Case in point: Chuck Pagano made a strong impression on the front office. How is he different from Vance Joseph? I digress. I struggle to understand, however, why other people are so down on Mitch? Perhaps it's because of that aforementioned 25+ years of watching the Bears and their merry-go-round of quarterbacks that would take until next week to list; but Mitch and I are good. Was I concerned when the Bears jumped up in the draft to get him, yes. Was I annoyed that he is a Tar Heel, absolutely. Does he give me heart palpitations like Jay Cutler, absolutely not!

I believe that MT has the potential and athletic ability to be a very solid QB in this league. At some point he is going to have to start trusting his arm more than his legs, but for now he's a big kid who can become a running back as needed. The Bears offense also lacks a true, consistent number one receiver. While there are advantages to spreading the ball around, it has to be hard for a QB not to have that one guy who you know is going to catch the ball if Mitch gets in the general area. All the great QBs have had their favorite receiver. Mitch needs to find his, or Pace needs to get him one. 

I was not a Bears' fan in 1985, but I was 2006-2007 (Bears vs. Colts, Super Bowl 41). The Bears had a formidable defense, a ridiculous special teams dimension, and a blah QB by the name of Rex Grossman (Sexy Rexy). The 2015-2016 Denver Broncos (Super Bowl 50) had a powerhouse defense and an end of his career, Peyton Manning. Manning did not win that Super Bowl, Von Miller was the MVP for a reason. Super Bowls 35 and 47 went to the Ravens and their dominate defenses. I have heard comparisons between this Bears team and the Broncos of Super Bowl 50. Relax JDP (Danny), I am not saying that Mitch Trubisky is Peyton Manning. I do, however, believe that sometimes the biggest impact a QB can have is staying within his lane and his own skill set.

So... MITCH, PLEASE play your game and BEAR DOWN.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Let's Go to the Constitution

My Man James Madison and Me at the National Consitution Center, Winter 2010

I have watched a lot of sports in my day (pause for a reaction of shock and awe), and for some reason, a line that has always stuck with me is, "let's go to the videotape." The second chapter of the with the same title by Warner Wolf with Larry Weisman asks what we could learn had there been videotape in the early 20th Century. If we were able to review play-by-play would it help determine with certainty that the 1919 Chicago White Sox (called the Black Sox World Series) did actually throw games? 

"If they really were taking a dive, why did the White Sox bother to win Games 6 and 7 of the best-of-nine-Series?"

Cue the Field of Dreams reference...

"Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa!"

 Maybe in heaven, I will get to ask Shoeless Joe Jackson who hit .375 and made no errors throughout the whole series if he really did take money to throw the Series. In the meantime, I need to stop digressing after I say that I think I need to go home and watch Field of Dreams.

All this is a lead up to saying, let's go to the Constitution and more specifically, the Bill of Rights to get a better sense of the 2nd Amendment as that has become a hotly debated issue around the rash of violence in this country. 

Disclaimer: This is not directed at P Trump as this issue is a bipartisan one as neither party has done enough to take action against the ease of access to guns.

One of the best classes that I took at Indiana University, Bloomington in the pursuit of my Bachelors' in Secondary Education, Social Studies was Constitutional Interpretation. The crux of the course was looking at the different ways in which the Constitution is analyzed for legal purposes. An interesting article from the Huffington Post outlines 14 ways to interpret the Constitution, 14! 

Within those methods, I believe the focus for the sake of a discussion around the 2nd Amendment is Textualism (Literalism, or Plain Meaning), which is what I think is being utilized and Living Document (Aspirational) the technique that would allow for conversation and perhaps even change. In other words, this is the approach that I utilize and my studies of American History lead me to believe the framers - specifically my man James Madison, intended.

One of my favorite episodes of The West Wing is called "The Supremes" in which the staff is charged with helping President Bartlet name a nominee to the Supreme Court following the death of a very conservative justice. In comes Evelyn Baker Lang (Glenn Close), a brilliant and wildly liberal appellate judge and Christopher Mulready (William Fichtner) a staunch conservative...

Evelyn Baker LangI am not... No, I am not rewriting Article I. I am saying that a gun free school zone...
Christopher Mulready[Cutting her off]  Is not a federal issue. In Lopez
Evelyn Baker Lang : [Cutting him off]  Lopez overturned 50 years of precedent.
Christopher Mulready: No, it stated that a plain text reading of the Commerce Clause does not allow Congress to
Evelyn Baker Lang : [Cutting him off again]  A plain text reading of the Constitution values a negro at 3/5 of a man.
Christopher Mulready: Hence the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.
Evelyn Baker Lang: Oh, how generous. Thank you

This exchange serves to articulate the fact that a textualism (plain text reading) of the Constitution does not take into account the time and space in which it was written. The Bill of Rights (the first 10 Amendments of the Constitution) also "shows its age" in the Third Amendment: "No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law." Other than the Revolutionary War or perhaps the Civil War, what other time in history would this rule apply?

A textualism (plain text) reading of the second amendment does not acknowledge that much has changed since 1787. The framers of the Constitution could not have fathomed automatic assault weapons used in battle, let alone used against their own children or friends or neighbors in an educational or entertainment environment. The framers of the Constitution were some of the most educated men of their day, I have to believe they would have valued safety in schools.  

Instead, I believe that the forward-thinking framers of the Constitution would have expected their successors to employ a Living Document (Aspirational) viewpoint of this document. As a student of history I have stood in awe on more than one occasion at the fact that there have only been amended (updated) 27 times, and two of those have to do with alcohol! In 231 years, lawmakers have only made 27 changes to this document that shapes the law of the United States of America. An aspirational view of the 2nd Amendment would allow lawmakers to allow for people who wish to arm themselves to do so, but within some level of rational thought, that would limit access to assault weapons or other firearms that your average citizen does not need to carry. 

Each time the news reports that another crime has been committed with a gun, I think of the word beget. Not the reproduction definition... Rather the thought that violence begets more violence. If people think the way to protect themselves is to carry a gun, does that not encourage other people to arm themselves? It feels like such a vicious cycle.

Until someone breaks the cycle, I am going to continue to vote carefully and consider each candidate's record on accepting donations from special interest groups especially the NRA. I will also make a donation to Every Town for Gun Safety. The irony of these plans is that the framers of the Constitution did not even allow me to take these actions as women were not given the right to vote until 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution. What do you think my man James Madison and his compatriots would have to say about that one? Or perhaps I should say, "how do you like them apples?"

I will leave you with this striking quote from Supreme Court Cheif Justice Warren Burger (Conservative - appointed by P Richard Nixon), "The Gun Lobby's interpretation of the Second Amendment is one of the greatest pieces of fraud - one of the American people by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime. The real purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that state armies - the militia - would be maintained for the defense of the state. The language of the Second Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or she desires."

Proof that a Textualism interpretation can work too...

Saturday, January 13, 2018

One Final Broadcast: The Love and Kindness of Mister Rogers and Grandparents

Last year for the April meeting of the board, I was asked to give the opening devotion. I get terribly nervous in these instances where I am surrounded by highly educated (many of them theologically trained) people, but for this one, the timing was well suited in that I truly had been thinking a lot about my grandparents. Today would have been my Grandpop's 88th birthday, so I again find myself thinking about him more than usual. While there are days marked on a calendar where I can anticipate that I will be thinking about my grandparents, but truth be told not a day really goes by where they don't float across my thoughts. It may be something sensical like my sister taking me to see The King and I  stage play as we grew up watching all the Rodgers and Hammerstein movies (except South Pacific which was a one-time showing). Or it could be something more random like a visit to the grocery store's deli department and thinking how Grandpop would have approved of their selection and the person who cut the meat (or disapprove as the case may be). It is in these moments of grief that I am reminded of the fragility of life, and try to tell myself not to squander time or opportunities. We can give ourselves a lot of things, but more time is not always one of them.

One Final Broadcast

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about grandparents, mine specifically. On Easter Sunday my grandmother turned 90, and this past Tuesday was the third anniversary of my grandfather’s death. Many people knew my grandfather as Alice Killmer’s husband of 64 years, father of two, a veteran of the Korean War, an employee of Acme markets for over 40 years, a life-long Episcopalian (let it be known, however, that he had Presbyterian leanings), but to his five grandchildren he was Grandpop.

My Grandpop retired at 55 and has encouraged us all to do the same. Since most of us will not be lucky enough to follow that lead, the life lesson regardless is that he knew how to live life to the fullest. Even in his last years when dementia took his mind, he was always in good spirits. There are times when the grief washes over me, and my only solution is to put on one of his shirts. He had a quality collection of flannel shirts, and everyone in the family went home with one. I also have a terribly scratchy wool sweater that I wear at times when I miss him an extra lot. In fact, I am wearing it today. I am convinced it is real love if you are willing to wear an itchy wool sweater that also gives off a Mr. Rogers vibe (a direct quote from my youngest sister).

I see a lot of similarities between my Grandpop and Mister Rogers, each with their own gentle spirit that the world needs more of. I would now like to read a short section from the book, The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers: Spiritual Insights from the World’s Most Beloved Neighbor by Amy Hollingsworth.

"The very last time I saw Fred in person, I asked him a question for no apparent reason, except perhaps out of idle curiosity. It didn't fit with the rest of the interview or even the context of what we were talking about at the moment. In fact, I didn't even remember asking it until I looked back the interview tape years later. Hearing his answer again, after his death, I found that his words had a 'quality of eternity' about them, as if they were spoken from eternity and not from the conversation we happened to be having that day.

'If you had one final broadcast,' I asked, 'one final opportunity to address your television neighbors, and you could tell them the single most important lesson of your life, what would you say?'

He paused a moment and then said, ever so slowly:  

Well, I would want [those] who were listening somehow to know that they had unique value, that there isn't anybody in the whole world exactly like them and that there never has been and there never will be.

And that they are loved by the Person who created them, in a unique way.

If they could know that and really know it and have that behind their eyes, they could look with those eyes on their neighbor and realize, "My neighbor has unique value too; there's never been anybody in the whole world like my neighbor, and there never will be." If they could value that person -- if they could love that person -- in ways that we know that the Eternal loves us, then I would be very grateful.

"And I think that from where he sits in his new neighborhood, Mister Rogers is just that, eternally gratefully."

Eternally grateful. I am eternally grateful for my grandparents, as well as many people. I truly hope you have someone (or someones) that you too are eternally grateful for having in your life.

Monday, March 6, 2017

This "Toupee" Shall Pass: Diversion Technique #2

President Trump has been our reality for six weeks. Somehow it feels longer, but it also serves as another reminder of how quickly time goes by. It is now March, which means that I have not yet been successful at slowing down time. That concept, however, is a whole separate tangent. Still the focus of this edition of diversion technique or "This 'Toupee' Shall Pass" is: Exploration.

One of my favorite authors, Gretchen Rubin, recently reminded me that "...people who do new things -- learn a game, travel to unfamiliar places -- are happier than people who stick to familiar activities that they already do well." I think it is easy to believe that the only way to accomplish this goal is by planning a trip to some new destination; but there are so many other ways to find joy right in your own area.

This point was reinforced of by someone I have known since elementary school whom I live vicariously through on Facebook as she is quite the globe trotter. She has spent much of 2017 in Tokyo with a few side trips to other Asian countries. A number of people started messaging her after the election about how much they enjoy her travel posts/photos because they are a nice distraction (diversion!). She went onto remind us all that we can post non-political things too, including something like finding joy in a cup of coffee and sharing it through social media. We don't need to be on the other side of the Pacific Ocean to do that. Thanks, Valerie!

While I do revel in having someone ask me, "where are you going now?" after posting some silly airport experience (usually a result of morning brain) because I do enjoy traveling. Yet, I  also take great pleasure in being a tourist in Denver. I have lived here for almost 10 years (in May), and I am still finding new and interesting things to do. For instance, so far this year Danny and I have tried: the National Western Stock Show; a Monster Jam truck rally; and "Thank you for being a friend. In drag," The Golden Girls (now that was a hoot, especially the guy who played Dorothy). This weekend, the docket includes Frozen Dead Guy Days.  Please note that most of these things are done using some kind of discount offering - Groupon, Goldstar, etc. are worth subscribing to, or at least checking before you buy full priced tickets.

Yet, I also like to be a tourist in other places whenever possible. Working for a national organization means that I travel for work with some regularity. I often go sight-seeing on my own dime, even if it means coming in a day early. An example would be my side trips in Boston last week - Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum and the JFK Presidential Library and Museum were crammed in before my meetings started on Sunday. It was fun to see that my parents took advantage of the opportunity to come into Cleveland a day early to visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as they were picking up my sister and her boyfriend en route to visit our family in Baltimore for Christmas. My in-laws also jumped at the chance to continue on to Quebec City after joining Danny and me on our Cleveland leg of our east coast baseball adventures of 2016. As an aside, the four of us all enjoyed Cleveland more than we would initially thought. A lot can be done in 36 hours visiting, "the mistake on the lake."

It's always fun to think about what's possible. In fact, I have read that adventures create a trifecta of happiness: the planning/anticipation, the doing, and the memories after the fact. Let's be honest, I may take more pleasure in the first part (the planning) than most; but this may prove that others enjoy it too. 

I hope you will think about living out the quote from the Dalai Lama: "Once a year, go someplace you've never been before." I used this quote on the back of our photo book for 2016 because I took pride that Danny and I had accomplished it. And if you do it, I would encourage you to send yourself a postcard about it; in an effort not to forget what all went into this year, we made a conscious effort to document our fun through postcards.

Have fun, the year is still young!
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