Duck, Duck, Goose

It is hard not to enjoy watching young kids be kids. While hanging out on the beach at our Mexican resort I was treated to watching a group of 2-4 year olds play the timeless children’s game Duck, Duck, Goose. This resort had The Adventurer’s Club where parents in need of a moment to themselves entrusted their kids to resort staff dressed in the garb of a jungle adventurer.

The one I saw had the kids form a circle (no easy chore) and gave a short explanation of how to play the game. Clearly some of them were too young to get the rules and strategic intricacies of DDG. Yet somehow there were smiles and giggles all around.

Sometimes the Goose would get up and just stand there. Other times the G would follow the one who tagged them. My favorite was when one little girl who was not going to be the first around the circle took a short cut through the circle and calmly sat down in the open spot. Her stunned playmate paused for a second and then just started around the circle again patting heads while saying, “duck, duck, duck…”

I began to wonder what it would be like if adults played DDG. I imagine a bunch of aggressive, competitive men and women standing around before the game swilling Red Bull. Then a few would be doing some stretching, adjusting their pads and tying their $200 specially designed DDG shoes (kind of like running shoes but with a special edge to help you get to your feet faster). Each person would be eyeing the other contestants looking for the weakest and strongest competition.

Once the game begins they play to win no matter what the cost. People diving head first to hit the open spot. Elbowing or tripping an opponent is just part of the game— “you don’t like it, find a baby’s game, Sucker”. Oh yeah, lots of name calling.

By the second or third round, Survivor-like alliances begin to form. I will knock out Paris if you “accidentally” trip Thad as he passes by. A little blood is part of the game. Fortunately there is an ambulance and full medical staff on alert.

By the end there is only one winner. As it should be. The DDG trophy is awarded by the league commissioner. It is a gold plated statue of two little water fowl chasing a larger one.

Oh to be a kid again.

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Please Don’t Feed The Iguanas

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Interesting wildlife was all around us at our resort in Puerto Villarta. First noticed were the dive bombing pelicans. Pelicans have this fascinating approach to catching fish. They circle around for awhile and then dive straight down to the water. It was one thing watching this show from the beach but another to be swimming in the ocean and have one hit a few yards away.

A school of dolphin swam parallel to the shore during lunch one day. Two pairs of hunchback whales did likewise one afternoon. This is migration season for the whales. I wish I had been up close and personal. Still, we saw water spouting and a few hunched backs come out of the water.

One night a sea turtle came to lay eggs on our beach. She must have been at least 4 foot from head to feet. They lay eggs by finding one spot and then moving in a circle. We watched for several minutes. She was there when we came back later. We were told by another guest that the staff came by and removed over 100 eggs.  This hotel finds a safer place for the eggs, hatches them and then releases them back into the wild. We watched for a bit longer as the turtle finished circling as part of the egg burial ritual and then began to slowly make her way back towards the water.

Last but not least were the two iguanas that hung out on the rocks near one end of the pool. I have seen many an iguana in my day. These were two fine specimen. I watched them for some time as they lay in the sun and occasionally yawned. Not unlike myself. While the staff at the resort were generally very helpful and attentive there was one lapse of judgement. A 2 year old child momentarily escaped the watchful eyes of his parents and headed for the iguanas. One of the staff gave him a piece of fruit and suggested that he feed the iguana. Not the best of ideas. One bite, one visit to the doctor on staff, no serious harm done. For all you out there with little ones or if you find yourself facing an iguana after a day of all-inclusive resort alcohol consumption, I have only one piece of advice. For those moments have a copy of this post handy and remember to read the title.

H Is For Hammock

It’s February and at home its as cold as witch’s…well you know. It’s sunny and 80s where I am. People come by every few minutes and to take my order and return with the beverage of my choice. The sound of the waves crashing on the shore surrounds me. I am relaxed.

What could be better?

All this and to be swaying softly in the breeze on a medium designed especiallyto conform to my body. I am weightless, suspended in the air.

BLISS.

One day I will write an alphabet book of adult pleasures. I already have one letter done.

H is for Hammock

Yesterday All My Troubles Seemed So Far Away

That’s because yesterday I was in Puerto Vallarta. Sunny, cloudless skies, cool early mornings transforming to mid-80s by 10 am, beach, pool, good food and alone with my wife. 4 days 4 nights of heaven.  Came back during a snow storm to cold temperatures and a need to go to work today.

We stayed at a place called Dreams. It is an all-inclusive resort. Drinks food and most activities paid for up front. No money, no watch, no worries. Private beach, relatively quiet. A few kids, mostly young ones, the type that are cute and make you wish you had a little one again– until they dart toward the ocean or try to pet the iguanas. Then you watch the parents chase after them and you are glad to have a teenager who is at home instead.

The hard part is the near instant transition. One moment it is sunny and 85, then you walk onto this metal tube with the things sticking out the side, you read and nap for awhile and the next thing you know it is snowing and 28 degrees.

Now I long for yesterday!

Random Thoughts Of A Day

  • I like going to meetings of important people. I get picked up at airports in a limo.
  • I had a good dinner and better conversation with one of my clients.
  • I saw a monk at the airport. I had assumed his burnt orange robe was like a big sheet that was wrapped and folded. However, he took the opportunity to adjust it right in front of me as we were riding the airport tram. It seemed to be more like a tube of cloth that he tucked in certain places to make it fit. I want one.
  • On the plane I sat between a woman from Lansing Michigan and her adult son. She appeared to be a “typical” late sixties grandma from a small Midwestern town going on a “wild” vacation to Orlando. She mentioned that she preferred flying first class but we were on a coach only flight. Then it came out matter-of -factly that she has flown over a million miles. She keeps flying to keep up her 100,000 mile status. Sometimes one or more of her six children come with her and her husband. They are preparing for a trip to India after recently having been to China, Thailand, Vietnam and other parts of Asia. I swear she looked like some homebody who never leaves the small town. First impressions can be deceiving. Assume that people are 48faceted and you will be right more often than not.
  • The son seemed to be very mildly retarded. I could tell by his general mannerisms and speech patterns having been around autistic and retarded people most of my life. He was fairly articulate, strongly opinionated, a little loud. All I could think was that I wish my sister was nearly as high functioning.
  • A boy of seven or so was walking with his mom in the Orlando hotel I stayed at. She had asked him if today he wanted to go to one of the theme parks for the day, I did not catch which one. He responded with the wonder and enthusiasm that only a child can. “Of course, I have been waiting my whole life to go there.” Classic.
  • My son watched American Idol last night with a buddy before all his homework was done. I was a thousand miles away. By not succumbing to my normal lecture mode on the value of doing homework first I received a very quickly spoken  “I love you” before he hung up.
  • 71 degrees is better than 5 degrees.

My Funny Valentine

A belated valentine for the woman who is and will always be my Valentine.

Once again I am late. No cards, flowers or other expression of my love showed up on February 14. This is totally a reflection of me, not her or even my feelings for her. After 14 years together, 13 as husband and wife, I still let my anomosity for these types of “holidays” get in the way. If I am to be the loving spouse I like to think of myself as, then I must recognize and act on what is important to her. She appreciates recognition of my love on Valentine’s day, and other relevant holidays.

Enough with the prologue.

Dear honey love of my life. Our relationship is intense. It may not seem that way as I lay asleep on the couch snoring away but it is. Happy, sad, agreeing, disagreeing and loving. All intense. Sometimes the intensity of the “less than good” clouds the overall picture. Let the winds of my love blow away the clouds. (OK I know that was a little corny but poetic verse is not my strong suit.)

My view of the world expects that there will be ups and downs. Therefore in my world having less than good moments never means that I do not love you. I do.  I can be happy gazing at your face for hours. I know that you thought it was weird as we dated that I stared at you. It was, I am, but I cannot help it around you. In that way I feel the same as I did when we met.

Let’s not forget that despite the fact that we do not “get” each others’ humor we still laugh together. Let’s not forget that we do many things for each other though they often go by without enough recognition. Let’s not forget all the things we have overcome. Let’s try to forget the old hurts and instead remember the beautiful ones and to make as many more as we can. 

I am glad that you reminded me that I once had more of a romantic streak. How early on in our life together you were in Italy over Valentines Day and I sent many cards to you there to make sure that you knew that I loved you. I still do. I need to show it more.

Why say these things on  my blog I know you ask. Why in some respects is it easier to share my feelings here than to you directly? I don’t know the answer to that but I do know that I want all the world to be able to know how I feel about you.

Since I do not sing well I will let another sing to you a Valentin’s song. Just pretend that the talented African American woman below is me.

Word History: Lovers and the greeting card industry may have Geoffrey Chaucer to thank for the holiday that warms the coldest month. Although reference books abound with mentions of Roman festivals from which Valentine’s Day may derive, Jack B. Oruch has shown that no evidence supports these connections and that Chaucer was probably the first to link the saint’s day with the custom of choosing sweethearts. No such link has been found before the writings of Chaucer and several literary contemporaries who also mention it, but after them the association becomes widespread. It seems likely that Chaucer, the most imaginative of the group, invented it. The fullest and perhaps earliest description of the Valentine’s Day tradition occurs in Chaucer’s Parlement of Foules, composed around 1380, which takes place “on Seynt Valentynes day,/Whan every foul cometh there to chese [choose] his make [mate].” Copied from dictionary.com

The Longest Day

The longest day is one that lasts more than 24 hours.  Though last year I was on more airplanes than in any previous year I do not remember not having made it to wherever I intended to be. Last night I could not get home.

I awoke yesterday in Allentown, PA. We were with our client from 8:30 -1:30 and then drove back to the local airport in a steady snow. It had also been snowing in Chicago so I knew that delays were certain. There was only one flight that night from Allentown, PA. back to Chicago and the plane we were to be on was coming from Chicago. By the time we arrived at the airport our flight showed a scheduled delay of  2 hours. As a seasoned traveller I was certain it would not leave that night and if planes did not get in there would be none leaving in the morning. Since we had already eaten at the “best” restaurant in town we immediately thought “Road Trip!”.

The choices were Philly or Newark. I pulled for Philly because if I ended up staying over I knew that I could share good times and  an excellent meal with the friends I have in town. My colleague, who controlled the rental car, on the advice of those at United Airlines, voted for Newark and I could not persuade him otherwise. So Newark, NJ here we come.

Two hours in the car. Wait-listed on a flight scheduled to leave in an hour from the time we checked in. Flight delayed another hour within moments of settling into the airport lounge. More waiting by the gate as the departure time gets pushed further and further back. I have fairly high status on United after my travels last year. One level above my colleague. I get a middle seat but at least I am on. He does not get on that plane.

In the perverse world of flying in winter, he is better off. The later flight that he was to be on got canceled 20 minutes before mine. By rescheduling immediately he was booked on a flight out of the same airport the next morning. By the time I got off the plane the best I could get was a noon flight out of LaGuardia which is 32 miles, several bridges and tunnels away. In the perverse world of flying in winter I was happy to get that since for the 5 minutes before being confirmed I was told I could not leave until Thursday.

My colleague claimed that he had gotten two rooms at a Newark airport hotel. I meet him at the luggage carousel. (BTW I had had to check my bag in order to get on the plane that ended up not going to Chicago because the carry-on bins were full.) More waiting. While waiting I asked how he had been lucky enough to snag rooms since hundreds of people were now stranded. If you have been bored up until now reading about someone else’s minor travel problems I think you will be rewarded by reading this next part.

Colleague Boy, as he will be known from now on, had spoken neither to our corporate travel service or to the hotel’s reservations service. This 30 year consulting veteran who has travelled and lived internationally got frustrated waiting for the hotel to answer the phone. He was however able to reach the guy that runs the hotel shuttle. Raoul told Colleague Boy that he would call the hotel desk and give them our two names so that they would hold the rooms. No credit card number exchanged. No confirmation number. But we had Raoul’s word. Colleague Boy waited over 45 minutes to share this with me. Here we are hoping my luggage will show, hundreds of people all around us frantically booking rooms and all I have is Raoul.

I tell Colleague Boy to call the hotel while I call our notoriously poor corporate travel service. He gets through first. Surprisingly they are not holding rooms for us. Fortunately they have two rooms available.

Much more waiting. First for the shuttle to the hotel and then standing in a long line once there. It is 10 pm before I am in my room and 11 before food arrives.

This morning consisted of more moving around. More waiting. But I made it home. A long day.

The Longest Day is also a movie about D-Day. One notable aspect of this 1962 film is that all characters speak in their native languages with sub-titles provides for those not fluent in French or German.