Archive for category MCC

Expanding the Stable

So there has been news swirling around the household for the past few months, and there’s a bittersweet edge to it. My step-father died in early October from complications after surgery. Two weeks before, right after his surgery, he at least knew the news.

We are expecting.

Hence the subtlety of the title… We made a big deal a few years ago about having a baby dragon. This time around, the delivery will be during the Year of the Horse… Stable… Get it? When MC first made the announcement on her Facebook account, they read it as an actual equine addition.

Only, it’s not just an addition. It’s a pair.

That’s right, twins. But we didn’t find that out until late-October.

For the first pregnancy, we didn’t find out the gender until he emerged. At the time, we said that IF we were to have another one, we would find out. With twins, the decision was guaranteed. Which was today. Would there be a filly and a stallion? A pair of stallions? A pair of fillies? Inquiring family members wanted to know.

We found out this morning.

Officially: A pair of stallions are due for arrival at the stable sometime in the spring.

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Celebrating 5 Years

On this date, five years ago, Marry Catherine and I were married.
Here’s to many, many more.

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Birthday Wishes…

My wife’s birthday was yesterday. Here I was, planning on being all ahead of the curve and declaring my love for her on Valentine’s Day AND witshing her a happy birthday. I had started putting this togehter some three weeks ago, and then “other things happened”… I had the video picked out, but the words of eloquence got sidetracked, and I forgot to flip the switch…

Sweetie, I’m sorry THIS piece is a day late, but this one’s for you

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Celebrating 5 Years

Five years ago today – a Wednesday even – I first met the woman who would become my (second) wife. It wasn’t an overtly planned thing – we had met online and decided to meet in person at a local Mexican restaurant for chips and tea. I had only been a widower for a very short time and was just looking for people to hang out with – to get me out of my head and help to keep me from slinking into whatever dark places 30-year old widowers might find themselves in.

But something interesting happened.

We talked for close to two hours, and made plans to get together over the weekend for dinner.

And she cancelled.

But she agreed to try dinner again the next week.

Then she talked to her neighbor, someone I had worked with, and his wife, and it went something like this:
MCC: Do you know Jeff Evans?
Neigbors: Oh, yeah, great guy. Why?
MCC: We met last week, and –
Neighbors: When you go out again, can we go with you? We haven’t seen him in a while and want to catch up.
MCC: Um, okay, sure. How about dinner, [day, time and place]?

And that was it. MC and I started hanging out together regularly, going from a few times a week to daily over the summer, and have been together ever since. I think the longest we’ve actually been apart in that time has been about a week.

Sound sappy? Probably, but she is one of the best things that has happened to me, and I’m truly grateful every day that we found each other – especially since our paths probably crossed several, several times during our years in college without meeting.

Even Wayne Brady gave me props.


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May Flowers…

Happy May! Come what May! May Day! Cinco de Mayo! Bastille Day! A little free association to get started this morning… on this 1st of May.

Exams are almost over (the true “finals” for my classes are next week), and I’ve almost finished what I plan on submitting… some “reflections” for the Teaching Portfolio, and fleshing out and “naturalizing” a baseball game that I’ve got in the script (Red Sox vs. Yankees double header, 1904, for the AL Pennant on the last day of the season – Sox leading by 1.5 games – playing in New York)… I’ve got the main events down, but I want to flesh it out, add some chatter to keep it interesting, and draw out the “at bat” moments for a better read (and more game-like). As it is now, I’ve cut a 3-hour double header to four pages – maybe 15-20 minutes, depending on how the shots would be put together…

In other news, I have finished book # 13 for the year, which after 4 months puts me well ahead of the curve. Also, I have been keeping a daily journal… personal notes and writing thoughts, etc. which has helped establish a routine… one I hope to transition into, adding actual prose content as well once the classes are over… five days from now…

And it yet other news… MC and I have now been in our house for a year… We signed papers last April… woot!

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I’m Back…

Just in time for the new year… well, not really, since we’re almost a week after the ball has dropped… but I (we) have returned from our South American honeymoon. To many things that I would like to try and post, but I am and work, and don’t have everything lined up that I would like to say (including pictures, etc.)… so that will have to be pending….

I also need to make some corrections and updates, with regards to the “movies watched and books read” items, but that will also come in the “recap” post. As will the “2009 Resolutions” be in the works… I’m working on the “To Do” list as I type this, and it is just going to take a bit of time to put it all together…

Right, now it’s off to Flickr, to get a space ready for pictures…

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This will likely be the final “active” post of 2008…  I do have a few entries that will post in my absence, but today is the day that I think was mentioned several months ago… my wedding to Mary Catherine.

I am putting this together in a little bit of the downtime preceding the events this evening…  And tomorrow we leave the country for two weeks, and will not be that close to a computer (rather… blogging will be lower on the priority list during those two weeks…)…
Adios for now… I’ll post again upon the return…

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Weekend Update: Concert (part 2)

We arrived at the hotel by 4 o’clock, still a little full from lunch at MC’s parents, so we just hung out at the hotel, setting up the fold-out couch, and getting ready for the concert. The room was nice enough – two queen beds and a pull-out sofa, but I was thinking it might actually be two seperate bedroom spaces (like I have had at some other hotels)… oh well…

My sister had not told her boys what the grand plan was for the weekend, but they had picked up that we were going to a concert. The youngest asked, “Mom, are we going to a concert?”

“Yes,” she replied. “And who would you want to go to a concert to see?”

He contemplated this question, tapping his chin in deep thought. “Rush?!” he said, his voice almost asking a question, as well as giving an answer. He’s seven, and likes to rock. His older brother (10) got in on it, “We’re going to see Rush?” And there was much rejoicing by them.

We stopped off at a Bob Evans, right next to the hotel, for dinner on the way to the show, and finalized the seating arrangements. I would be in the closer group of seats, with the two oldest boys.

We tried to use text messages between the sections, during the course of the show, but there just wasn’t the same immediacy as sitting with MC to point out some of the videos, or items on the stage. Also, since they released a live album from last year’s tour, and there are plans for a live DVD to be released this fall, I wasn’t so worried about trying to track down the setlist (like last year… which, by the way, I realized I was wrong with what I thought some of the songs were…).

The main recognition that MC’s nephew had with Rush was “YYZ” from Guitar Hero 2 (which was the last song they played), but he enjoyed himself. Of course, my nephews had fun (even though the youngest fell asleep during the encore, I was told his head was rocking along during the drum solo. MC was actually quite receptive, overall, for her first substantial exposure to them. “They’re obviously very talented,” she said, “but I couldn’t really understand them. And with everyone standing, I couldn’t really see the screens.”

However, one point of humor that has to be pointed out… you know how most of the time the line at the men’s room is usually very non-existent, or moves quickly, while the ladies room will extend 20-30 people from the entrance? Exact opposite… the ladies room was a breeze through while the guys were stuck waiting to go. “And I’ve never seen so many mullets it one place,” MC mentioned (referring to many of the fans).

Another humor point that my sister and I noticed – a guy, driving a black Ferrari… and having to park in a gravel parking lot. What the hell was he thinking?

We returned to the hotel, blessedly by way of a “back route” (the same way we go to the venue, actually – but it did not involve getting on I-85, which was how virtually all of the rest of the traffic was heading), everyone showered, and collapsed onthe beds for a few hours of sleep.

The next morning, we met up with my friend Ben who lives out there, and we all went to breakfast (at Cracker Barrel, again, as it was too early for the lunch-themed restaurants, and we were all hungry). After breakfast, we all went to Concord Mills mall for a little over an hour, to do a little shopping “since we were there”. After dropping Ben off back at the CB, we reversed the route, going back to Winston-Salem before coming back east, and calling it a trip.

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Weekend Update: Concert (part 1)

What had started as a plan to go to the concert with my sister and my fiancee morphed into something else… a family trip. As previously recounted here, I took my sister and nephews to see the Rush: Snakes & Arrows tour in 2007. When I heard they were doing another leg, extending the tour into 2008, I planned to go. I had only planned for the three tickets, since the nephews could have been with their other parental unit in Texas for most of the summer (didn’t happen, long story, but the ex-bro-in-law has moved back to NC… and I mention this only because it’s relevant to the story) on the anticipated concert date…

But I am a geek in that respect… I had the three tickets, but wondered, “Is there anything closer?” I checked, and there were (by about 15 rows), and I got another three tickets. But I had time to decide what to do with the other tickets, so I didn’t sweat it. I checked with some other friends (and MC’s family), with no takers. Since the ex-BiL was in the vicinity, I did the nice thing and offered to sell them to him – not because I really wanted to see him, but because it would give him a chance to actually, maybe, be a parent and allow him to spend time with his kids. And that fell through.

So we changed tack, and decided to take my nephews, which left us with one ticket – a little easier to deal with. So we tried the adult rounds again, but with no takers. MC had been considering seeing if her nephew (age: 14) could go, and with everyone else in our area declining, she called “out west” to see if he could go. Which, after some discussions out there, it was decided that he could go.

The weekend came for the concert, and my sister and nephews came up on Saturday – and we went out for dinner at Cracker Barrel, and breakfast at a local bagel shop – before leaving kinda early on Sunday. We drove out to Winston-Salem to pick up MC’s nephew, and switch vehicles (into something that would be more comfortable for six people). From there, we rolled down to Charlotte so we could check in to the hotel, relax a little, and get dinner before the concert.

Next: The details…

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Las Vegas, pt. 3 (The Trip Concludes)

[Originally started on 2/28/08. Photo added on 6/6/08.]

When last we left our weary travellers, here, they had returned to their hotel room after a windy walk back from the Venitian, where they had just seen Blue Man Group.

So, yes, it was a very windy walk back, and Blue Man was cool. And we were tired. And we went to bed.

And we slept late. Thursday, being what it was (birthday & Valentine’s Day), we happily slept in. We got up, went for a late breakfast, wandered around a little, and then returned to the room for an afternoon nap. We had dinner reservations for shortly after 6pm, so we got up around 4 to start getting ready (two showers, taxi in traffic… and allowing a little “fluff” time). We made it to Paris around 5:30-5:45, and killed a little time with some slot machines until presenting ourselves for the reservation.

The Eifel Tower was great. There was a “special” (limited) menu, and we sampled each others meals. Despite the smaller-sized portions (especially compared to the other Vegas meals we had experienced), it was easily enough to fill us up. We were positioned so we could face Bellagio, able to see the tops of the fountains when they would spray high enough. It was in this setting that I “officially” proposed.

After dinner, we were whisked away from France, back to Italy (via cab, from Paris back to the Venitian), where we had other, grander, festivities planned. As I have mentioned before, the trip planning started back in November. In looking at shows that were available, I decided to go on a limb and do something really cool as the icing for the birthday trip. Comedy is fun. Wayne Brady is funny. Put them together, and we had a ball. I got front row tickets (special VIP seating) for the show that night (which, it turns out, included a meet-and-greet after the show). We ended up sitting almost center stage (about two seats off center).

The show itself was awesome. It was set up in two distinct segments. After the initial “welcome to the show” montage, there were a few “Whose Line” style games that were played. After a brief intermission, it was all music – an homage sequence (song & dance) to his various R&B/Soul influences, including James Brown (among others). This is my one true regret about not writing these when I actually wanted to (right after the trip), because the details that were fresh then, are fuzzy now – like Wayne & the male dancers in the show all dressed like Tina Turner for a number, and MC’s comment that the female dancers were “real dancers” (changing styles as easily as the music could change), and how funny & stupid drunk (audience) people can be – especially when associated with improv comedy!

During the “Meet & Greet”, though, as we were near the end of the line waiting for the photo op and autograph, was one ofthe cooler experiences of the show, for me. MC went first, and they were chatting a little about it being her birthday, and that the trip and show were for her. Wayne looked at me, and extended his hand. Now, the specific words are lost, but it was something to the effect of “You are the man.”

[edit: 6/6/08 – click on the picture to get a bigger version.]

We (MC & I) walked back to the hotel, laughing and reliving moments from the show, and prepared to call it a night.

Friday was our “open” day – we had nothing planned, short of using some of the day to shop and pack. We had been debating for most of the week about trying to take in one more show – George Carlin (in town for a couple of nights doing a work through, preparing to film an HBO special). We seriously considered it, but were just too tired to try and go to the show (way off of the strip), and still get ready to fly back the next day.

So we just spent all day shopping, wandering around another mall that was across another street from our hotel. It was in this other mall that we secured a couple of items. MC wanted to get me something, and we wandered into a Cross (pen) store. I had been reading Neil Gaiman’s site (he states that he does a lot of his writing with fountain pens), and I had been thinking about trying one out. So I have a nice, lightly used (now) pen, crying to be put to the page… but that’s for another story…

The other (much more significant) find in the roaming of that “other” mall were the rings. We had been looking all over, here, trying to find just the right rings, and kept coming up short. While walking around the shops in Vegas we were looking, just to see what was around, and came up big in one of the last shops we decided to look into – and we got all of the rings at the same time! We stopped of for a snack before trekking back to the hotel (a stuffed pastry wrap and a “bubble tea” – interesting). We packed some, but still had a few more people “unaccounted for” in the gift area.

We went back to the shops around the Venitian for dinner, and poked around for ideas for the remaining people on our list, finishing off the shopping before it was too late. Back to the hotel to begin the packing adventure, which we eventually finished, and called it a night.

Our shuttle to the airport was scheduled for around 8, so we were up around 6:30, getting dressed and finished packing the “incidentals” that couldn’t be packed away the night before. We ate breakfast at the hotel buffett, and strolled out into the brisk desert morning to wait for the transport to arrive. The ride back to the airport, like the one to the hotel, was cool for the exposure of stuff “behind” the strip.

And it was annoying, because of the nagging old lady that was sitting behind us for the entire ride. She had been out there with a goup of folks, and has been several times before, but she didn’t really seem to have anything nice to say – and her friends really didn’t have a chance to say anything else once they got her started. MC & I looked at each other, and exchanged our comments after they had left the bus.

The flight back was long (direct, so no chance to stretch legs) and full. I did manage to get quite a bit of Grapes read by the end of the week – mostly on the plane (I was down to the last hundred or so pages by the time we landed). We drove home, after calling the hotel shuttle to collect our plane-weary bodies from the airport.

And that was Vegas. With no Elvis. Go, us!

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