Sunday, May 17, 2015

Tough Love

Started working out again yesterday.

It's been a while ... so I wanted to take it slow. Don't be fooled by this 3 ounce weight that I am carefully lifting over my head. There's method to my madness.

First of all, I know that my muscles need time to re acclimate to this new strenuous regime. I can only lift this weight three times without getting winded.

Secondly, I didn't want to intimidate the legions of bodybuilders that were all around me (clearly, I can still bench press 500 pounds if I wanted to but why bother today. It's not worth having all these guys who spend most of the time here looking at themselves in the mirror get so upset).

Third, this was the only free weight left on the rack.

What do you do after an intense workout?

Right ... you head for the beach to show off your brand new body.

That's exactly what I did. Debbie had a full day of showing houses so I strolled the Pass-a-Grille sands from the condo to The Don Cesar. What a day, the beach was smooth and silken, the water was cool and the weather was perfect.

There was the one kid who kept throwing up in his sand pail and a woman who lounged by the waterside with a large tent wrapped strategically around her white body which was about 25% larger than the tent.

And there were THE guys who threw a football where everyone else tried to walk. Why is it that the only guys who do this are the ones that you know never made it on any real teams and try to look like they not only played but that they were the team leaders in pass receptions? One guy dropped the ball (actually it slipped right between his fingers ahead of me). A little skinny ten year old picked it up and hurled it 20 feet to the guy who threw it originally. Now HE'S a player

Time to head back. Had lunch time at Sea Critters on the way home. The TV at the restaurant was showing the Lightning playoff game, which sadly went the other way in the Rangers favor. It's okay ... we'll get them next game.

All in all ... a beautiful day in a beautiful city.




Saturday, May 9, 2015

Not Quite Brady Bunch Mother's Day

With Mothers' Day here, I've been thinking a lot about my mom.

I wanted to write something sweet and uplifting about her now that she is no longer with me ... but  she would probably just roll her eyes.

You see, sweet and uplifting are not the adjectives that someone who knew her would use. Interesting, funny, a little crazy, smart, competitive, obsessive/compulsive and prickly would be closer to it.

Esther really didn't want kids. This fact she told my brother and I repeatedly. I think the day the house was on fire and she forgot to get me out until she realized that perhaps she was hasty running out alone was a sign of that.

She was born to be rich (we weren't), destined to be famous (she was known in New Orleans as ... well lets skip that part) and spent time in the kitchen only as a visitor (she never cooked a meal ... just made sandwiches and reservations).

She was freakishly smart. She graduated from Newcomb College (Tulane's woman's college at the time) on a full scholarship. She was only 19. She was a math major. Got married to my dad, had kids and didn't work.

Esther's biggest fear was always being poor and not being able to have "things". The irony was that she spent all the money we had on shoes, clothing and jewelry. Her closet was as big as our house .

Now in fairness to Esther, I have to disclose an important fact: she was neurotic. No ... not just ordinary neurosis, the type that required treatment. She was obsessive/compulsive, had a fear of flying, fear of being in a small room, fear of being in a large room, fear of being outside, fear of being inside, fear of having children, fear of being married ... oh well ... you get the picture. My dad just had one fear: Esther.

We would never be confused for The Brady Bunch or Ozzie and Harriet. But, Esther tried her best. She had no role models when she was growing up. She could have been a doctor or a lawyer or just about anything after she graduated. But instead she put her own career aside, raised two children and tried to do what she could to help build a family unit.

At times, she was often a prisoner in her own body. As children, we didn't understand this. We would be embarrassed that our friends didn't come over or that she had fits of depression and anger and hopelessness that were hard to deal with.

But she stayed ... for us.

That's what good mothers do. You were there Mom ... for better or worse. It's taken many years for me to appreciate what a strong commitment that must have been for you.

Thank you Mom. Happy Mother's Day.

Monday, May 4, 2015

They're at the POST (party, that is)

So Saturday night, Deb and I went to sister Keli's Derby Party for Lift Academy, the school that Keli co founded for children who have learning disorders and neuro spectrum disorders.

Great party ... the big screen was up in the Coliseum to watch the race as everyone ate, drank bourbon and mint juleps and bid on silent auction items.

We wore our dapper Kentucky finest. I even wore Lee's hat for a picture with Deb. She had a bumble bee on hers. Appropriate because I think she got a little buzzed that night
I gave it back so that the sisters could all pose together.

It was close to 11PM when Deb and I drove home. We got into our comfortable pajamas and turned on the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight.

Just as I settled in, the phone rang.

Brother in law Mark (still at the party): "Joel ... are you gonna watch the fight?"

Me: "Yeah."

Mark: "Can we come over?"

Me: "Um ... sure."

Okay, I thought, Mark and Keli coming over. No biggie. We can just kick back in my man cave with my big screen and when we get tired ...

Mark texted ... "What's your address? I just invited some more people."

Me ... "Okay ... What did you say? How many ..."

Mark ... "Don't know yet."

Me ... "Wait ..."

Too late.

Kevin came over first. We had matching hats at the event and he was still wearing his I think. I can't remember ... I was half asleep. Then two couples walked in that I never saw in my life ... two more ... somebody with a couple of six packs ... two more couples ... two more couples ... lost count ... finally Mark and Keli for a total of 29 people.

Deb and I just stood there incredulously and looked at the crowd. It was then that we heard what I considered the final blow.

Mark looked in the fridge and said ... "Joel ... What's this? You don't have anything to eat!"

 That's when Keli snapped this picture.