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Monday, August 8, 2011

An Ode to Those Who Have Given Their Lives for Us and Who's Lives We Carry with Us

On this day one year ago my uncle passed away. I vividly remember being in the San Antonio airport, waiting for a flight to Albuquerque, when my father called me and delivered the news. I broke down and couldn’t believe it.

With his passing, my family bloodline shrunk to four: my mother, father, brother and myself. It was a blow to all of us. He had been sick for a long time and had battled numerous ailments in the past decade, but he was just beginning to regain his health when he fell ill for the last time. He had had a very rough 2010 with surgeries, hospital stays, and constant oversight and nursing. Uncle Dave had always had health issues, but the future was starting to look bright. He had recovered from heart surgery and was regaining his strength. Yes, we worried every time he went to the hospital, but rarely was it as serious as the last time. I knew that he was unexpectedly back in the hospital and I wanted to fly to Wisconsin to see him. My father told me no, stay in San Antonio with your friends and that he would keep me updated on any developments. When my father called me and told me that my uncle had died, I didn’t know what to do. My first and strongest reaction was to change flights and get to Wisconsin as soon as possible. Again, my father told me not to. He said that he would take care of everything and that Dave did not want any kind of public funeral service. Still, the urge to travel to Wisconsin was great and hard to ignore.

Today, sitting in Miami, rain pouring down outside, I am filled with thoughts of my uncle. I loved him as much as one could and will always cherish every memory I have of him. As my brother and I have already reminisced today about him, his laughter always brightened a room and he had the presence of someone twice his size. I always looked forward to holidays with him, especially in the past few years as I might only see him once a year. He always traveled to see us and sacrificed so that he could. There is nothing that he wouldn’t do for us and nothing we wouldn’t have done for him.

I am filled with more emotion today than I expected because I would probably not be here in Miami if it were not for my uncle. It is his car that I am using and drove across the country and it is the trust that he left my brother and I that I am using to help pay for my personal expenses in law school. I will never be able to repay him for those gifts and everything he has given for me. It is hard to write this because words cannot describe what it is like to have someone in your life who gave everything so you could have everything. The selflessness and generosity my uncle always showed my brother and I are values that I want to live by and promote in my kids (when I have them).

I decided to write this post not because of the anniversary of my uncle’s passing, but in memory of him and everything he gave my family. I will not dive into the cliché of holding your family close and their importance. However, I do think it is important to understand those that have provided the lives we live and that we carry their memory with us where ever we go. I am not an overly sentimental or emotional person, but just thinking about my uncle, something I do every day, can and does bring tears to my eyes. As I wrote above, carrying on his life and his meaning in my life is a goal and life purpose for me. Without a doubt that will be difficult and require a commitment, but it pales in comparison with the commitment that he made to my brother and I and how much he has given us. I do not know where my life will take me; but what I do know is that where ever it does, my family will be with me every step of the way and I will carry their memory and everything they have taught me with me.

I have lost relatives before, but as I have gotten older it has gotten harder and I believe that is because my connection with them strengthens over time. Death is a fact of life, but it shouldn’t be the end of someone’s existence. Their memory and impact should continue in the lives of everyone they positively impacted. You don’t have to take time out of your day and talk your loved ones or make a grand gesture to them, just reflect on what they have meant to you and how they have affected your life. My brother, father, and I reflect on my uncle Dave every day and it helps us keep his life and memory alive and further his impact on this Earth. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Drive - Part 2

It seems like it has been ages since I blogged. Truth be told, it has been over a week since I blogged or even though about a post. I’ve been too busy driving from Washington, D.C. to Miami, Florida and moving in to my apartment, well, condo.

So, I already posted about the first half of my road trip, which was a great three days traveling East across the US. However, it only got me halfway to my destination. In DC I had three days to relax and enjoy my time there before a grueling week of driving and moving.

What to say about DC? It was a blast! I saw a lot of friends, spent time with my family, and got to enjoy all of my favorite places one more time. The one negative was an inability to see a few people due to conflicts and travel, but I will be back in DC in a few months, just not sure when yet… (Probably not homecoming, sorry Paul.)

In order to best spend my time in DC, the day I got there the very first thing I did was go to The Tombs. If you don’t know yet, that is my favorite bar. It was my haunt for my Senior year at Georgetown and holds an incredible number of great memories, life experiences, and friends. The only disappointing thing is that they have yet to install the plaque on the wall for all of us who went to The Tombs and purchased something every day for 99 days. The 99 Days Club is a special bond that members of the Georgetown community have with the bar and it is one that destroys wallets and credit ratings, but endears its members to the bar and each other for life. Anyway, I had a nice long lunch at Tombs, saw some friends that were there for the same purpose, and eventually made it to my brother’s house. I relaxed there with his roommates until it was time for dinner with my mom and stepdad. It was great to see them, even though they were coming to Miami just three days after I drove down here. Oh well, family is family, so what can you do?

Thursday came and the Nationals game with the infamous Tranimal was nothing but miserable. It was so hot and humid that you regretted going and sitting outside to watch two terrible baseball teams attempt to play a beautiful game. We didn’t stay for the last two innings because we simply couldn’t take it anymore. Thank god. I love baseball, but not in those conditions. Thursday got better because my brother and I had dinner with our Dad at Café Milano in Georgetown, which is one of our favorite places to go. Other than the waitress ordering me Tuna when I wanted Veal, it was an absolutely fabulous meal. The irony, and I’m sure my father will find this as amusing as I did, that there is a Café Milano on South Beach (no relation) that I’m sure he and I will experience hopefully sooner than later.

Friday was nice because my brother had the day off so I got to spend some quality time with him and also had lunch at Tyson’s Corner with my friend Christine, who is studying for the CPA. I found that in the three months since I graduated so many of friends have already begun to do incredible things and their lives are changing so fast. I have countless friends who are already working, studying for various high-level industry certifications, and making an impact in the lives of many. I know that sounds very aloof and idealistic, but it is true. I know people in banking, tax, accounting, medicine, nursing, sales, marketing, and law. It amazes me to see my friends studying for the CPA or becoming an investment banker and what that means for their career and life and how quickly they went from being a college student to being a real person in the real world; oh how we grow up fast. Haha

Well, Saturday came and then it was time to head South to Cary, NC to see my stepdad’s sister and her Husband. Mary and Paul are great. I hadn’t seen them in years, but I had an amazing time with them catching up with Beefeater and Tonics on their porch. They’re great people who I am honored to know and have the privilege to spend time with. I cannot wait for them to come to Naples for two months at the turn of the year to spend the harsh Carolina winter in Florida. I will certainly be making the drive over to them a few times once they come down my way.

Sunday was a long day. I woke early and left Carolina soon after 8AM so I could arrive in Orlando before dinner time, and I did just that. It was great to see my boy J.R. in Orlando and stay in his pretty swank pad for a 22 year-old bachelor. We had some organic burgers in downtown Orlando and then proceeded to walk to a very large cigar shop and bar to have a smoke, an Old Fashioned, and a Mojito. It was quite the highlight and I know I will be back up there before long. As my last stop, I couldn’t have asked for a better time.

Well, then it was on to Miami and that was about a 4 hour drive, not too bad after the 37 that came before it. I cannot describe the feeling of turning into the condo complex after 2,300 miles of driving that spanned 41 hours and 8 days to take me from Racine, WI to Miami, FL. Once I got down here and had my keys, it was all moving in and building furniture, but that’s a post for another day. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Drive to Miami, Part 1

So, it’s Friday night and I’m in DC taking it all in. The drive has been quite a trip, literally. The 96 hours that it took for me to go from Miami to Milwaukee to Washington, DC were too eventful and stressful for my liking.

It all began last Saturday night when I met a friend in Coconut Grove for a night out in Miami before I left and began my drive. The night started at Sandbar, an apparent UM haunt. It lived up to its billing as a place for cheap drinks, good specials, and the clear Coconut Grove equivalent of Thirds. I’m not sure how often I will be able to frequent to the bar, but it looked to have some good affordable food and certainly is a place to have a good time. My friend showed me around the neighborhood, pointing out the best restaurants and bars. I must say that one of the highlights were the alcoholic slurpees that come in 5/6 different flavors and can be mixed and have a shot added to them. She even introduced me to some French guys who work for a good French restaurant in Coconut Grove that I plan to try within my first few weeks in Miami. All in all, it was a great night out and made me even more excited for my move.

Speaking of my move… Sunday proved to be quite eventful. I had an early flight out of Miami to Chicago that tested my ability to quickly recover from a late night out. As I learned yesterday, I’m not quite the same young man that I was a few months ago, but that’s another story. The flight to Chi-town was basically on time and pretty smooth. However, when I landed at O’Hare, my connecting flight to Milwaukee had been cancelled. American Airlines couldn’t reschedule me until the next morning, which simply was not going to work. They told me that my bag would be released in Chicago because my connection was canceled, but as I soon learned, that did not happen. Instead, my bag never came out and the American Airlines Baggage Service personnel politely informed me that regardless of my travel plans, my suitcase would travel to Milwaukee on the next flight out. At this moment my only concern was hoping that my suitcase made it to me ASAP and finding an alternative way to Milwaukee. Luckily the relatives I was meeting knew of a bus that would take me right to their town. I guess everything happens for a reason, but this really made everything a lot easier. So, I got to Racine, WI, met my relatives, and crossed my fingers that my bag was coming soon. To make a long story short, and trust me, it is a long story and my relatives are a bunch of characters, my suitcase did not arrive until almost noon on Monday. A night without my bag is nothing, but given that I wanted to be on the road much sooner than later, it began a large speedbump.

Anyway, now it is Monday morning and I arrive to the dealership when my Uncle’s car has been since early May. Getting the keys and car was easy enough, but when I tried to start the car, nothing. The service guy gave me a jump and I was on my way. Sounds good, right? Well, I got about a mile down the road and noticed that the speedometer and odometer were not functioning. I turned around and went right back to the dealer. The service guy was a little more than surprised to see me back so soon, let alone at all. After an hour, it became clear that it was a bad speed sensor, a $200 repair. Ugh. Well, after leaving the dealer for the second time, the car was finally all good and ready for my drive. A few hours later, my suitcase arrived and I loaded up the car and off I went.

The drive from Southwestern Wisconsin to Bloomington, IN. was fun. I got on the road, had lunch at a pancake house, encountered Chicago traffic, and drove through the flat Indiana corn fields. Getting to Bloomington was great. I had driven a good 6 hours by myself, bonded with my car, and realized how valuable my GPS was to me. It was all good. Bloomington was a lot of fun and a good night out.

Tuesday was an eventful day to say the least, and it all began with a 6AM alarm. Up and on the road, I began my day-long trek to Philadelphia. It was extremely uneventful until. Pennsylvania. Despite the beautiful topographical changes from flat fields to rolling hills to mountains, rivers, and forests, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I will say that the bridge into Wheeling, WV is gorgeous and something everyone should get to see. That all said and done, once I got into Pennsylvania I let my mind wander and was caught speeding at 75MPH in a 55MPH zone. This was my first speeding ticket and the officer took his time, a good 20 minutes, researching my clean record before giving me a $160 speeding ticket. The best part was definitely his comment that if I don’t pay the ticket or contest it, that my license will be suspended in 10 days and that county will come looking for me. I can’t wait to mail that check. Ugh. After the citation, it was smooth sailing until Philadelphia traffic. I got to the infamous Bodzin’s apartment not quite 12 hours from when I left Drew. We quickly donned our baseball gear and headed off to Citizens Bank Park. I love the game of baseball and most of the time love going to games, especially when my team is playing. The Giants unfortunately lost, but the stadium was great. It really is one of the nicer parks in Major League Baseball and was designed and operated for the fans. That is the mark of a great park. In terms of all of the stadiums I have been to, this one ranks near the top. The lone black mark for the night was one fan’s rather offensive and derogatory name that he yelled to me as I was walking to my seat. Oh well, Phillies fans are still Philadelphians, no shock there.

Wednesday was a short drive down to DC, and I have to say it felt great to be home.

That’s it for part 1 of my drive to Miami. Part 2 will be in a few days once I get to Miami and am settled in my apartment. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Healthy Shot Across the Bow

This post started out with one idea, but then due to the timing, my move to Miami, the Law Preview course, and just getting busy, it is a jumble of things about what’s been happening to me lately.

1) Over a week ago now, I got the results of the blood work I had done as part of a post-college physical. I will just say that they were less than stellar and forced me to look in the mirror. They weren’t horribly terrible, but I shot across the bow. Four years of drinking excessively and eating whatever whenever, not only added inches and pounds, but it resulted in some higher than ideal numbers. The solution? Significantly less sugar and carbs. Sounds super easy, right?

I’m sorry to report my friends, it can be that easy. Cutting out carbs and unnatural sugars isn’t especially difficult, it just takes time to adjust to. I know that the result will be better health and the more than likely loss of a few pounds, but that would be a very very good thing. I readily admit that I was glad to graduate from college and move home for a few months because it meant a severe diet change. I barely drink at home, certainly now that I’m watching my dietary intake closely and now am barely eating carbs, especially bread and chips. Oh the fun that all of this brings. Haha

I will say that it has been a refreshing two weeks to just eat super healthy and barely be tempted by those evil evil carbs, potatoes. I’ve got blinders on and my goal is just to get the numbers down, be healthy, and do me and see where that takes me.

2) I spent all of yesterday traveling from Albuquerque, NM to Coral Gables, FL. My flight from Atlanta to Miami was delayed 2+ hours because of suspect weather. I will put this more clearly. There was some rain and lightning near the Miami airport so after holding over Tampa and Naples, we flew to Sarasota to refuel and fly to Miami to hover there for another 45 minutes before finally landing at MIA. It all seemed ridiculous when they were spotty clouds and rain over Miami, but safety first!

3) The Law Preview course began today and so far so good. It felt a little weird being in a classroom from 7:30AM-5PM, but woe is me. The professor today was a little guy, but it was a lot of fun and very interesting. It’s nice and reassuring to be in this setting and enjoying law school material. I can’t predict how the rest of the week will go, but I am looking forward to it.

4) Start watching the show Big Brother on CBS! I am not a big fan of reality TV (except for cooking shows), but I make an exception for this one. It gets very strategic and really is telling about how people cope with each other, different personalities, and being away from tons of creature comforts for a long period of time.

If you are unfamiliar with the show, they lock 14 people in a house and the last one to be evicted wins. It sounds simple, but each week someone wins Head of Household (HOH) and nominates two people for eviction. There are other competitions to decide on what people can eat for the week and who has to take cold showers. Someone wins the Power of Veto and can save the eviction nominees, and on live TV (Thursday nights) the houseguests not nominated for eviction and not the HOH vote to evict one of the nominees. It is NOT a simple game. It takes a lot of strategy and manipulation. My very good friend Kelsey turned me on to it two years ago and I am ADDICTED.

So far, we are only a week and a half in to the season, but it is already developing into a great one! It is on three days a week, which is a lot, but it has to be with everything they compete for and all of the changes and manipulation. My favorite BB members are Jeff and Jordan (J/J) and they seem primed for a deep run!

If I had to make a prediction right now, Cassi will be evicted this week, hopefully Dom wins HOH and puts Brendon and Rachel up for eviction. That would really flip the house upside down. Personally, J/J should have nominated R/B this week after Dom won the POV and saved himself and Adam. This all probably confused you, but if you follow this blog you won’t be.  I’m not sure who yet will win, but I have a feeling that it will be Jeff, Dani, Shelly, and perhaps Adam or Porsche in the final 4. I can’t see Brendon or Rachel getting that far with all of the enemies Rachel has made in the house. If someone is smart, they will get Brendon evicted first because that will set Rachel off and she will either leave or become such a problem that everyone will evict her.

Anyway, that’s it for me. I need to do some review for tomorrow’s class on Torts, probably connect with my realtor and go eat some dinner. Laterz!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Law Preview: Preparing for Future Torment

I can’t say I’m noticing it, but with each passing day, I am one tiny step closer to beginning law school. It’s an interesting feeling. I know I am ready for it to begin and excited about my road trip and move, but it can’t seem to get here soon enough. Well, that’s not entirely true.

Next week I will be in Miami for a Law Preview course. This is an intense week long course where I will be exposed to all of the courses that I will take as a 1L: Civil Procedure, Torts, Contracts, Property, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Legal Research & Writing. I think it will be very beneficial to have a head start going into law school. Specifically, it is giving me experience reading and briefing cases before my classmates. Now, I don’t know if that in itself is the advantage, but the week long course will certainly be an eye-opening learning experience. My plan is to be a sponge and take as many notes as possible so I am that much more prepared.

Preparing for this course has been quite interesting. They send you a large thick book full of cases and other pertinent information and it is my job to brief them to the best of my limited ability prior to the course. I am over halfway through all that and each day is its own challenge. The first few days were a breeze; it was fun reading all of the cases and trying to brief them accurately. As the days have worn on, my motivation seems to wax and wane with my energy level and mood. I still have a lot to do for my move, so that is slowing me down. Fortunately, the one constant is that I enjoy the different cases, which I will assume is good because law school is going to be a lot of case reading.

All I know is that I am more concerned with my move than this course or law school. The condominium association wants a background check on me and three references as part of its application process. That is a lot if you ask me. They have my credit report and a signed lease. An escrow letter showing that I have money for the security deposit and multiple months’ rent.  It all seems a tad much, but none of this compares to the test that I will have to take on the day I move in so they know that I understand all of their rules and regulations. Oh boy is the move becoming more than I bargained for.

All of this to simply apply to the condo association is giving me some trepidation about purchasing furniture. I don’t want to jeopardize anything until I know I have the place for sure, 100%. This all has been very enlightening and in a way is forcing me to “grow up” by doing all of this on my own and experiencing this for the first time. Thankfully, there shouldn’t be any problems being approved by the condo association and I would be surprised if I do not pass their test.  All in all, these next few weeks are sure to be educational, quite the experience, and fast moving.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Road Trip!!!

So my last post was disappointingly weak, I’m working on that.

I hope ya’ll had a delicious and patriotic 4th of July! I’ll update with photos of my grilling from the holiday weekend and this coming one next week.

As I move closer and closer to leaving Albuquerque for Miami, I am putting the final touches on my road trip that will take me from Racine, WI to Coral Gables, FL. Here is where my travels will take me:

Day 1: Racine, WI to Bloomington, IN
The first day of my trip will be very low-key until I reach Bloomington and my friend Drew. As it looks now, my step-dad’s cousins will help me get going in the morning by taking me to the dealership. I am fortunate that they live in the same town as my uncle, who’s car I am taking. I left the car at the dealer in May and will have to go there to pick it up before I can get on the road. That shouldn’t be too bad, but then I have to double back to my uncle’s condo to pick up my stuff and one or two small boxes of stuff I have to take to DC for my dad, brother, and me. My goal is to be on the road and through Chicago by noon. I do not want to stop for lunch or gas until I get through The Windy City. My thinking is that it makes more sense to get through the city with the most traffic this day as soon as possible. I’ll be doing my best to go to Gary, IN before I stop so if anyone knows of any good places to eat south of Chicago or in northwest Indiana, please send your recommendation my way. This 6 hour drive will culminate with spending the night with my friend Drew in Bloomington, IN where he is currently beginning law school at Indiana University.

Day 2: Bloomington, IN to Philadelphia, PA
I am not looking forward to this day. It is just over 12 hours from IU to Philly. I can do the drive, that’s not the problem. The problem is that the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants begin a 3-game series against the Phillies that night and I want to be there. That means I need to be in Philly by 6PM, ergo, I need to be awake and on the road at 6AM.  Sorry Drew, I’ll take however much sleep I can get, but I think I’ll be up early to begin driving through Indianapolis, Dayton, Columbus, Wheeling (WV), and Harrisburg that day. Again, if you know of any good eats along that drive, pass the good word on to me. Hopefully I make it to Philly on time and can go to the game. If not, I might just have to stay an extra day to see them the next night. The real concern right now is where I am going to stay in Philly, so Bodzin and Manny, you need to let me know if your couches are available for a night or two that week.

Day 3: Philadelphia, PA to Washington, DC
There is absolutely no hurry on Day 3 to get going. Whether I stay in Philly for a day or drive to DC, I’m going to be sleeping in and getting as much rest as I can. I don’t mind sleeping on couches; so this shouldn’t be a problem. The drive from Philly to DC should only take 2.5 hours depending on traffic. I’ll make this drive after the morning rush-hour so as to avoid all traffic along the way. To spite my brother, I just might stop in Baltimore at Attman’s deli for a delicious pastrami sandwich before heading south on I-95 to Georgetown (I’m a good Jewish boy).

Day 4 & 5: Georgetown
The plan is to spend 3 nights & 2 days on my brother’s couch at 3509 O St. NW in Georgetown to kill time during the drive, to see him, catch-up with DC friends, and to spend a few long long days at The Tombs making up for my lack of drinking since graduation. I did go and have a drink there for 100+ days in a row. I just hope Greg, Rachael, Fish, John Q, and the rest of The Tombs staff will be as happy to see me as I will be to see them. If you're going to be in DC at the end of July, let me know so we can make plans. I would prefer to not spend both of these days completely alone at the Volta pool.

Day 6: Washington, DC to Cary, NC
On Saturday morning, with just two days left in July, I will lazily get up, recover from the night before, grab some greasy brunch, loads up my car with everything I stored with my brother, and make my run south. My stepdad’s sister lives in Cary, NC and that will be my rest stop Saturday evening. I am really looking forward to seeing her and her husband for the first time in a few years. They are a real couple of characters and it will undoubtedly be a lot of fun to hang out with them. This is only a 5 hour drive, so once again, there’s no hurry, especially as it will be the end of the month and every county cop along the way will be looking for me (lead foot and out of state plates). One of my goals for the trip is to make it all the way to Coral Gable without any tickets or fines; tolls are ok. If I can do that, I will certainly be buying myself a drink Monday night in Coconut Grove.

Day 7: Cary, NC to Jacksonville/Orlando, FL
So, Day 7, the last day of July is still up in the air. I know that I will be driving along the Georgia coast and into Florida on I-95, I just don’t know where I will be spending the night. I have a friend in both Jacksonville and Orlando, so if I can’t squat in Jacksonville, then I’ll be off to the city of Casey Anthony and Disney World for a night. Orlando is a bit out of the way, but not too much and I would enjoy seeing JR, so Meghan, it’s up to you where I sleep that Sunday night. I want this to be a very relaxing and enjoyable road trip, so I’ll go wherever the road, my car, and my friends take me.

Day 8: Northern FL to Village of Kings Creek Condominium in Coral Gables, FL
Whether I leave from Jacksonville or Orlando, the last day of my road trip will involve 6 hours or less of driving, especially if I do it as planned and arrive in Miami in the middle of the day. I expect that this will be the bittersweet leg of the drive. I know I will be excited to get to Miami and move in to my apartment, but it will also mark the end of my road trip and turn the page to the next chapter of my life. I must say, I am really looking forward to this day.

Total Trip: >2,250 miles & >30 hours of driving. We won’t even try to predict the number of Red Bulls, water bottles, and Big Macs that will inevitably be consumed during this trip. I will keep track, receipts and all, and blog about it once I get to Miami. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Post #7

I’ve been slacking on the posts, I know, and I apologize. What can I say? It happens.

I’ve been doing some thinking and I have about 4-5 posts, including this one, in mind, so there will be a bunch of posts in the next week or so. That said, here’s what I’ve got:

About six months ago I had the enlightened thought that this summer I would take the time to send messages to a number of people that I have lost touch with over the past four years. In college I did a poor job of staying connected to a number of people who have been good friends and meant a lot to me. I’m not saying I have ever known, but those people who were important and played a role in who I am.

I could drone on and on about this or that, but rather I’m talking about something that means a lot to me. I know I have been pretty bad at staying in touch with some people since I went to college, and I want to change that. There’s no way to make up for lost time, but it’s the effort that matters. I can’t decide if I need to try a carrot and stick approach with myself and whether or not that would even work. Instead, I think that I need to take the rest of this summer and be much more productive than I have been. I’ve enjoyed relaxing and enjoying my time at home, but as that comes to an end in two weeks, I’ll be right back at work. There is no time to slack and let these things slip through the cracks. I want to do this. I need to do this.

In news about my future life in Miami, I closed on a one bedroom apartment in the last 24 hours and will be living alone in a 700+ sq. ft. apartment near the Dadeland Mall in South Miami. I’m only 3 miles from school, making my commute short and easy. The biggest question I have left is what to furnish my apartment with.
I know that this is a short post, but I promise more in the coming weeks. You can blame it on the fact that I slept on the couch all week cause the A/C was broken in my room.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Does Time Ever Heal A Broken Heart?

It was funny this morning; I went to the gym earlier than normal and was about to hop in the shower when about four people tried to g chat with me. Normally, the moment I leave home until I am out of the shower and dressed is strictly “me” time. I guess some friends had other ideas. I was a bit short with them simply because I was not fully in the mood for lengthy conversations and needed a shower. But this is all a digression.

A few weeks ago I was home and an ex-girlfriend of mine sent me a text message that she had met some guy who knew a guy I knew. My first thought was “WTF” I don’t care who you meet while interning in New York and even if I did this barely concerns me at all. It was simply unnecessary on her part, but another one of her attempts to “stay friends”. I hate that. This is a girl who I dated a while ago now and we had a number of rough patches and worked through a lot of stuff, almost all of which revolved around her inability to move on from an ex and be a mature person in a relationship. What gets me now is that even after everything and how there were some bad splits; she still wants me to be a part of her life. Now, I wouldn’t mind that if this was a former girlfriend where things ended amicably and there were no hard feelings. That simply is not the case with this girl. I cannot stand her repeat attempts to “stay in touch” with me and have me be her friend. I do not want that. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I do not appreciate someone not getting the picture after all of this time. It is the kind of thing where she would text me when we were at school as if she wanted to hookup but that would all be a tease. It got to the point where I told her that I didn’t want her to talk to me unless she actually wanted to hookup. Other than that I was not interested in seeing or talking to her. That clearly has not stopped her. My hope is that she will finally move on with her life and mature to where she can have a mature and fulfilling relationship with someone. That is my hope, and if she doesn’t mature I pity any guy that is willing to be in a relationship with her. She simply does not get it.

Looking to positive relationships, in the past six months I have had the pleasure of spending time with two girls whom I am good friends with today. Those were not what you would consider full relationships, even if at times they might have seemed as if they were. Instead, they were two people spending time and talking to one another because they enjoyed each other’s company and when the dynamic changed and was no longer what either party wanted, they ended, no hard feelings, just mature young adults resolving differences and accepting the end and moving on. I have a lot of respect for the most recent one who forced me to admit that I knew that the dynamic had changed, it was no longer the same, and that if we didn’t discuss and resolve it, it would only lead to animosity between us. She was 100% correct. It is hard to admit to yourself what you know deep down, but ultimately that is for the best and enables us to be friends today and going forward.

Since this particular ex-girlfriend texted me, I have been doing a lot of thinking about love and how we handle ourselves and our emotions once a long relationship ends. A short relationship can end amicably because neither person has been involved so long that they have completely shifted their life to accommodate the other. The two people can see that it isn’t working and go their separate ways because that is for the best and even if they disagree on that, the emotional investment tends to be such that they can be friends if they understand that even good things have to end. The same cannot be said about a long relationship. Oftentimes people become very emotional invested in their partner and struggle moving on without them. That is not necessarily because they can’t, instead it is because their life shifted and now a main component of that has been removed and they struggle to cope with that fact.

This post is not about people being able to move on from relationships, but about that time doesn’t ever fully heal a broken heart. As you can tell from my large rant about an ex-girlfriend, you know that I still have some very real emotional wounds because of her. I want to see the good in people and so I kept myself invested in a relationship with her long after I should have ended it. My brother hates her to this day, and I don’t blame him, but I don’t hold the same animosity toward her. Instead, I just want to move on with my life and not have to have her continue to try and be a part of my life. What people struggle with is understanding that even if they moved on from a relationship that does not mean that the other person did as well. I would think it is rare to find an ex-couple that are complete friends with each other after having had a long relationship. In my experience, and talking with friends who have had similar experiences, once you care deeply about another person, it is hard to fully heal once things turn sour. I do not believe that time fully heals those emotional wounds. Time helps us cope, but it doesn’t erase the pain and the memories. My high school ex-girlfriend most definitely still feels animosity toward some high school friends because of how things ended between people the summer after graduation. It is like scar tissue, it can cover the wound, but it will never be 100% the same.

Time is important in the healing process, but no matter how many good times were had or the feelings you might still have for someone, you have to pick yourself up and move forward with your life. You cannot wait and hope that they will still want to be in your life. A broken heart may never fully heal, but time will help you cope and find the person who you will love and will not break your heart. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Time as an AEPi: The Importance of Brotherhood and Community

At 5:50AM MST I am departing via Delta to New Jersey for the remainder of the week. I will mostly be in Avalon, NJ with many of my best college friends enjoying one last hurrah before we all begin the next chapter in our lives. What that means for you is that I will effectively be MIA until next week. 

Therefore, I am posting a piece I wrote reflecting on my time as a brother in the Eta Sigma Chapter of AEPi at Georgetown University. I held the titles of: Lt. Master (Vice President), Brother at Large, Master (President), and Pledge Master over the last three years of my involvement. I am the only remaining Eta Sigma brother for the Class of 2011 and I am proud to be an AEPi. Please read this as if it were Monday, May 25, 2011 when it was originally penned:

Two days ago I graduated from Georgetown and a sense of relief swept over me as I crossed the stage and shook President DeGioia’s hand. This relief was not because the university could no longer impact my social experience or because my family and friends were watching, but because I was fully prepared for this moment. I could point to my studies, internship, and friends as the reason, but that was not it. Rather, I felt prepared because of how I have matured at Georgetown and developed the skills to succeed in the world. No experience prepared me for that moment like the Eta Sigma chapter of the Alpha Epsilon Pi International Fraternity.

When I entered Georgetown I was an arrogant freshman who vehemently believed that they could conquer anything and would one day be a renowned business leader. Nothing is preventing me from accomplishing that goal, but that is not the person AEPi helped me become.

One of my earliest memories of Georgetown is meeting the brotherhood and instantly realizing that they were like me, only a few years wiser. They had similar interests and the wisdom that it would not be an easy road, but the best way to travel it would be with friends, learning along the way. I did not expect to join a fraternity in college; in fact I resisted the idea of it in high school and was even elated at the fact that Georgetown did not have any fraternities. Little did I know that that would change very quickly.

I vividly remember being initiated as a pledge and then inducted into the chapter five hectic weeks later. I survived the pledge process and by the end of my sophomore year was the only AEPi brother left from both my pledge class and the succeeding one. I had a burden on my shoulders. As fortune had it, the chapter was at a crossroads. At the end of the 2008-2009 academic year more than 15 brothers graduated, cutting the chapter’s size in half. There were maybe six seniors, soon to be two, and me as the veteran brothers. I was elected as Master and I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me.

I spent the summer preparing for the Fall and how I would lead the chapter. I attended the national convention and learned as much as possible from previous masters. What I realized is that no matter how much preparation I did, I would not be able to fully adjust to my position until the semester started. As a leader, I had to rely on my brothers to accomplish a fantastic rush and pledge process during both semesters and help the fraternity grow. Recently a current brother told me that without my work as Master, the chapter wouldn’t exist today, or at least would not be what it is. I respect him for the remark, but I disagree. Yes, I had an influence on the chapter’s proliferation at a time where it had only three upperclassmen. However, AEPi is more than one young man taking charge and pushing through his ideas. That simply fails. Instead, it is a brotherhood about working together, learning from one another, and maturing to a stage where you are able to truly lead your brothers by example from any position and one day make a difference in the world.

Whenever I am asked about what made my Georgetown experience special, I pontificate on the people that I met, studied with, and have become lifelong friends with. They are what made college such a valuable and unique opportunity. The brothers and people I met through AEPi were extraordinary in some ways compared to everyone else. They challenged me at exactly the right times to mature and grow as a person and a leader. Without them I would not be the graduate I am today. I saw with my fullest confidence that the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity elevated my college experience because it forced me to challenge my views, strengths, and weaknesses to develop the skills I will need to succeed. The Eta Sigma transformed me and other brothers from ordinary students into extraordinary young men of character and repute who can stand strong and know that they will make a difference and understand what it will take to accomplish that.

Life is about connections and relationships and the ones I forged through my participation in AEPi were critical to their development. I recommend that every brother, current and former, take a minute to reflect on their AEPi experience: what it has meant to them today and how they can make it more meaningful in the future. We should always strive to be better and that can only be done by leveraging the people around us. AEPi provides that opportunity and without it I would not have the support and alumni network that I depend on.

I hope you enjoyed that because AEPi meant a lot to me and I cannot understate the importance of brotherhood and community in my and many collegiate experiences.

In the coming weeks I plan to write about my continued preparations for moving to Miami and beginning law school, my planned road trip across America, and the Republican Presidential candidates.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

America's Favorite Pastime is My Favorite Pastime

One week ago today I was fortunate enough to be at AT&T Park to see the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies square off in the series deciding game. 

Yes, my team, the Giants, won 2-1 after scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 8th and getting a 1-2-3 Brian Wilson save. Sitting in the stands, 33 rows from the field (thanks Mom and Bill for the great seats) was unlike any baseball game I have ever been to. I have sat much closer a few times, so close that I could touch the dirt. The atmosphere at the game was electric. I know that is the term announcers love to use to describe a big game, but it truly was. Here were the World Series Champions defending their title and home park against one of their better division rivals. It was a pitching duel with Ryan Vogelsong going 8 strong innings and the Rockies no-hitting the Giants into the 6th inning. You could not have asked for a better or closer game. Each pitch was important and everyone in attendance knew that.

Lou Seal rides a bike before the game.

World Champs!!!

The Beard 
Sweet graffiti in North Beach

It was special being in the stadium because I am from Alamo, CA, a small community in the East Bay in Northern California, and even though I attended more A’s games as a kid, I was and still am a diehard Giants fan. They are my team. I would have given almost anything to have gone to one of the World Series games. I got into the games to such a degree that my roommates and friends couldn’t watch the games with me. Can you tell? I wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to these guys.

Watching the game was almost surreal. The fans were incredibly friendly and they all knew they were watching fantastic baseball. 41,000+ fans gathered on a typical San Francisco summer afternoon to watch their team come from behind and continue defending its title.

So given that game, I went two nights ago to see the Albuquerque Isotopes beat the Nashville Sounds 7-6 on a walk-off HR in the 10th. I love AAA games because of how close you can get to the field and the fun atmosphere that is fostered. The Isotopes game was no different, except for the presence of Myron Noodleman, a comedian who travels to minor league parks entertaining fans. To put it bluntly, I am NOT a fan of this wacko.

What I am getting at with all of this about baseball is that America’s Favorite Pastime is My Favorite Pastime. Some days there isn’t anything more peaceful than watching a baseball game in person and just watching. Not getting too involved and allowing your mind to turn off for a few hours and enjoy where you are and what you’re watching. I love baseball. I love being at baseball games and doing just that.

To date, I have been to 10 of MLB’s 30 stadiums (Giants, A’s, Angels, Diamondbacks, Astros, Cubs, Mets, Orioles, Nationals, Braves) and have enjoyed every game; including the game at Wrigley Field this April where I saw the Giants win a rain shortened game in which in literally rained sideways and my brother and I got soaked to the bone. I’d sit in that stadium in the snow to see a game; it is that cool of a place to be. I’ve gone to games this season in the rain, in a suit, World Series champions gear, and everything in between.

Here’s my advice, if you love baseball, go see a game ASAP and just enjoy it. Don’t yell at the ump or any players. Take it in, turn your brain off, and enjoy my favorite pastime. 

My NBA Finals Game 6 prediction is the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heatles 96-89 in regulation.

Dirt Road Anthem - Jason Aldean

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Measuring Stick for One's Life

I was fortunate this Spring to take a class in which Ted Leonsis came and personally addressed the class. He spoke about his life and all that he has accomplished and what it has meant to him. One of the things he harped on was the value of making a “101List”. This is a list of life goals that can be used to measure one’s life or a fun exercise to think about what is important to you and what you want to achieve. I thought about my list and drafted what it would look like today. I have posted it below so you can see what it is like. Any item with a strikethrough is one that has already been completed (17 of 101). You can see Ted’s list by clicking the link.

I Family
Fall in love
Fall in love and get married
Marry once
Have multiple children
Have a healthy son
Have a healthy daughter
Take care of mother
Take care of father
Take care of in-laws
Take care of extended family
Have grandchildren
Have great-grandchildren
Leave trusts for family members
Leave all financial matters in great shape for family members upon my passing

II Finances
Pay off education debts
Purchase and own a home debt free
Net worth of one million dollars, after taxes
Net worth of five million dollars, after taxes
Net worth of ten million dollars, after taxes
Zero personal debt for family
Hold an investment worth one million dollars
Hold investments totaling in five million dollars

III Career
Graduate from law school
Pass the bar exam on my first attempt
Secure a job prior to law school graduation
Make partner in a law firm
Have my own legal practice
Do something I truly love and will enjoy every day
Have a career that includes some work in sports
Blend my business and legal education
Become a highly respected legal professional in my community

IV Sports
Go to a Super Bowl with the 49ers
Go to a Final Four with Georgetown
Go to a World Series with the Giants or A’s
Go to the Stanley Cup with the Sharks
Go to the NBA Finals with the Warriors
Watch a game at every MLB stadium
Catch a foul ball
Go to a World Cup Final
Go to a NBA All-Star Game
Go to a MLB All-Star Game
Go to a NFL Draft
Go to the Olympics
Have a golf game with a handicap of 5 or less
Play Augusta
Play St. Andrews
Play Congressional
Play Pebble Beach
Get a hole-in-one
Go to a Fantasy Camp
Own season tickets to two of the four major US sports
Go to a major golf tournament
Go to a major tennis tournament

V Travel
Go to Mexico
Go to Canada
Go to Brazil
Go to the Caribbean
Sail through the Panama Canal
Sail around Cape Horn
Sail around the Cape of Good Hope
Sail the Caribbean
Sail the Mediterranean
Go to England
Go to France
Go to Spain
Go to Germany
Go to Italy
Go to Greece
Go to Poland
Go to Russia
Go to Israel
Go to Belgium
Go to the Netherlands
Go to Australia
Go to China
Go to Japan
Go to Singapore
Go to Macau
Go to Hong Kong
Go to Egypt
Go on safari in Africa
Go to Antarctica
Go to Bali
Travel the world with my family

VI Miscellaneous
Own a beach home
Own a mountain home
Own a painting worth >$10,000
Commission a family portrait
Forge, maintain, and develop lifelong friendships
Write a book
Live overseas for one year
Swim with dolphins
Swim with sharks
Swim with stingrays
Take a year sabbatical
Become involved in local politics
Retire proud of my career and its accomplishments
Live a fulfilling and rewarding life
Reconnect with my Judaism
Go to the White House
Change someone’s life via a charity

As I allude to with the title of this post, this list can be a measuring stick for your life. However, I prefer to see it as a sense of priorities and what you want to do before you die. Hopefully you will find the introspection this activity provides as beneficial as it has been for me.