Monday, July 26, 2010

Dad's Diagnosis 2010

As many of you have heard, my dad is sick, though he currently feels and looks great. He was in the hospital Monday-Wednesday, but they sent him home temporarily while the doctors await the results of his tests. Kevin and I went to visit this weekend at my parents' home and had a nice home-cooked meal with them. Dad will be starting treatment soon, and I will try to keep you updated. Thank you for all your kind wishes and calls and emails. I love you guys too. That's why I keep this blog, to remember all the wonderful times with all of you.

Update: The diagnosis is kidney cancer in his brain, lungs, and kidney. As some of you know, dad had kidney cancer 11 years ago and had one kidney removed. This is a recurrence. The brain tumor was what warned us, as cancer is typically silent. We are very hopeful about the treatment which will begin next week.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Visiting Sarah and Donald in Michigan 2010

After our wonderful airline experience, already documented by Kevin, the fun began in Ann Arbor. First and most importantly, the Sarah, Donald, Kevin and I went to worship the Sandwich at Zingerman's. The Zingerman reuben, on French bread (a Sarah-substitution) was divine. It was so good that it reminded me of Schwartz's smoked meat sandwich in Montreal.

Ann Arbor, Michigan 2010
Sarah and I outside of Zingerman's

We walked up and down Main Street and State Street, checking out the Farmer's Market. We walked around the campus and the law school.

Ann Arbor, Michigan 2010
Ann Arbor Farmer's Market

Ann Arbor, Michigan 2010
Michigan Law School courtyard
  
As you know, Sarah and Donald are engaged and they are getting married through the Catholic Church, so we also swung by the Ann Arbor church where they are taking their pre-marriage classes.

Ann Arbor, Michigan 2010
Their Michigan church
  
Back at their house I got to see Donald's Supreme Court Clerkship offer letter from Justice Scalia. I thought about taking a picture of it, but somehow that seemed weird.

For dinner we had Indian at Shalimar's Restaurant. I ate chicken korma for the first time ever. Then we went home to relax and watch the History Channel. Watching the History Channel, is, afterall, how Sarah and Donald got engaged in the first place. Since eating is one of our favorite things to do together, we started the next day with breakfast at Afternoon Delight. Again, I had something I had never eaten before, cheese blintz. Who knew Ann Arbor would be such a culinary adventure?

Sarah and Donald have long been soccer fans, and Kevin and I enjoy the World Cup so we were all excited to watch the final together. We were all rooting for Spain (and even attempted to buy matching Spain shirts- but failed) and Donald invited a few clerk-friends to join us, one of whom was rooting for the nasty cheating Netherlands. I am particularly supportive of Xabi Alonso because we share a last name, and De Jong from the Netherlands kung fu kicked him square in the chest. It was hard to image how it could have been a mistake. Thus, Spain victory was doubly sweet.

Thank you for a wonderful weekend Donald and Sarah!

Ann Arbor, Michigan 2010
At The Arena sports bar, watching the World Cup

Ann Arbor, Michigan 2010
Hooray! Spain wins!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Things My Husband Complains About

Reposted from Kevin's Customer Service Circle of Hell blog:

Flying from New York City to Detroit is quick, only about an hour in the air. So you can understand how frustrated I would be when I arrived 13.5 hours late. Here's the time-line:

Flight #1: New York to Detroit (Delta): Canceled

I'm thinking, well, stuff happens. Weather, mechanical, best to be careful. Surely, they'll put me and my wife on a later flight since it's mid-afternoon. Wait, what's that? You want to send us the next day? Through Minneapolis, which is several hundred miles past Detroit? And you believe this critical information should be delivered via a robot that doesn't leave a phone number where I can ask follow-up questions? Eventually, I found a phone number and an android who would confess, when bullied, that it had lied about (minimum): 1) there being no other flights that day, and 2) their ability to place me on another airline. Eventually, we were placed on an American flight leaving 75 minutes later. It had a connection in Chicago (again, going past Detroit), but at least we'd only arrive four hours late. Why the flight was canceled remains a mystery.

Flight #2: New York to Chicago (American): Delayed

My attempt to get a meal voucher (since we're missing dinner with our friends) is dismissed with something between indifference and abject hatred. To be expected, but I'm getting a little worried because that 75 minute window between when one flight lands in Chicago and the next flight takes off for Detroit is shrinking. And the delay stretches. And now the best case scenario is that the plane lands 20 minutes after the connecting flight is scheduled to take off, and my wife is weeping on account of not being able to see her friends, and hating to fly, and having to spend the night in Chicago for no good reason.

Flight #3: Chicago to Detroit (American): Delayed

Hooray for this delay! After sprinting through O'Hare with despair in our hearts to catch a connection that had surely already left, we find that the plane is still there and the kind attendants are willing to let us board it, even though boarding is over and the doors are sealed. But wait!

Flight #3: Chicago to Detroit (American): Canceled

Two flights--on two different airlines--canceled in one day, surely this is a personal record. There is no mystery here, though. The flight was canceled for the trivial reason of not having a pilot. Hotel and meal vouchers for all, leading to this exchange:

Me: May I have a meal voucher for my wife, as well.
Attendant: This voucher is for you and your wife.
Me: $10 each?
Attendant: $10 total.

We'll dine like kings in Chicago for $5 each! We'll split a "Chicago-style" dog and bottled water--who are you to ask for more? Later, this conversation happens:

Other passenger: You can use that voucher almost anywhere in the airport.
Me (inside my exploding skull): ALMOST ANYWHERE? Thank God, it's only five hours until our next flight leaves because I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight!

Flight #4: Chicago to Detroit (American): On time

This was a relatively painless flight. They did try to move my wife across the plane but failed. We had a nice time in Michigan.

Flight #5: Detroit to New York (Delta): Lost reservation

We're not in the system. The several confirmation codes I have are meaningless. This is confirmed by the attendant behind the desk. My wife explains most of the bad things that happened, while the attendant makes phone calls and whispers things like "this is strange" and "it's just not there." But wait!

Flight #5: Detroit to New York (Delta): Delayed

We're there, after all. You only have to look capable of crying or screaming for long enough. The flight is about 30 minutes late, but by this point, the delay seems positively generous. When the very, very bumpy flight is over, there are other planes at the gate, but this scarcely matters. We're home, and our hatred of domestic air travel cemented.

Final Stats!

Actual flights: 5
Delayed flights: 3 (remarkable since we only booked 2 flights)
Canceled flights: 2
Lost reservations: 1

Friday, July 9, 2010

Grandma Daisy 80th Birthday 2010!

¡Feliz cumpleaños, Abuelita!

1979 Baby E 270
With Grandma Daisy, "Abuelita," when I was born

185 edit
My brother David and our Abuelita at our wedding

Grandma Daisy's 2009
Christmas 2009

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Josh and Anna Are Engaged 2010!

Josh and Anna 2010
Wow, love is definitely in the air this year. My good friend from law school Josh just let us all know that he upgraded his special lady friend and they are now engaged! They met in Virginia and moved to Germany for Josh's JAG career. Sadly I have not met her yet, but she's pretty (see picture) and obviously a little crazy because she'll be marrying Josh.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fourth of July 2010!

We had a fabulous time on the Cape this weekend with Kevin's mother "Ma," and got home a little early to do some more home shopping for the new place and work.

On Saturday, we had a delicious lobster and calamari lunch at Chatham Bars Inn, then walked around the beach and checked out the Chatham lighthouse. Then we went shopping around-- The Christmas Tree Shops are a requirement every time we go to the Cape, though it's always tough to decide which one. Kevin had a Cape Cod League game high on his to do list, so I bravely sat through a game between Orleans and Brewster (this might provoke another TMWCA). Ellen had a fabulous Spanish-theme party for her third birthday complete with paella and sangria. Then various local renegades set off fireworks around Follins Pond. It was quite the show.

Cape Cod- July 2010
The Tavern at Chatham Bars Inn

Fourth of July 2010
The birthday girl is three!

Fourth of July 2010
Fireworks on Follins Pond

Sunday, the three of us set off early for the beach but many of the beaches, even the residents-only beaches were really backed up by 10 a.m. We finally ended up sunning and swimming at West Dennis Beach. Actually a pretty roomy beach and the sand wasn't as rough as usual and the seaweed was somewhat under control. I swam around with tiny schools of fish and jellyfish. Finally, finally, the thing that I had been waiting for-- Moose Tracks Icecream at Lil' Caboose. We rounded out the weekend BBQing with Ma, Fran, and George. Perfect.

Fourth of July 2010
West Dennis Beach on the 4th

Fourth of July 2010
West Dennis Beach

Fourth of July 2010
Nom nom nom nom.

Fourth of July 2010
BBQing burgers and ribs- yum

Fourth of July 2010
Fran, George, and Kathy

Fourth of July 2010
Saying goodbye to Nomar

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Donald is Kind of a Big Deal 2010

Scaramella Wedding 2010
On Thursday, D got big news. He will be clerking for the U.S. Supreme Court!

This is something that only the best of the best law students have the opportunity to do. First you have to be brilliant, then you have to clerk for another judge, and then if your application gets picked from among a stack of other brilliant people with brilliant applications, you get to interview. In Donald's case, Justice Scalia interviewed him and chose him to clerk. I've seen Scalia in action in the Court and I can't imagine that being cross-examined interviewed by Scalia is a ton of fun. But he was prepared to answer questions on a number of legal topics. About a month later, Scalia called Donald to tell him the good news that he will be clerking during the 2011-12 term.

Congratulations, Donald! We all knew you could!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cate and Matt's 5th Wedding Anniversary 2010

Happy anniversary Cate and Matt! Five years of marriage and two beautiful daughters! Wow! Congratulations! May your happiness continue to brighten our lives.

Lefebvre Wedding 2005
Cate and Matt's Wedding 2005

Despite my close friendship with Cate, because she met Matt at college in Massachusetts, and I missed some of his visits to Ramsey, I first met Matt the day before the wedding. I had heard a lot about Matt though, especially leading up to the time before he proposed. Talking to Cate on the phone, she described Matt as "her rock." You could tell she had chosen her life-mate.

Cate and Matt were married on July 2, 2005, in the same church in New York where Cate's parents were married many years before.  How sweet is that? During the ceremony, Cate cried all the way up the aisle. I have been to a lot of weddings, but she is still the only bride I've seen who was so moved.

Storm King Lodge 2005
View from the deck of the Storm King Lodge

Cate's parents now own the Storm King Lodge, a beautiful bed-and-breakfast so we stayed there and helped Cate get ready in the morning.  After the very warm ceremony, we went back to the Lodge and took the posed wedding photos. Cate's brother pored a champagne toast for everyone which we enjoyed while taking in the amazing scenery at the Lodge. The Storm King area, and the nearby Storm King Arts Center in particular, is one of my favorite places in the world.

Lefebvre Wedding 2005
Chrissy and Wendy helping Cate get dressed

Lefebvre Wedding 2005
The beautiful bride getting ready

Lefebvre Wedding 2005
Clark, Wendy, and Chrissy outside the church

Lefebvre Wedding 2005
The first time I met Clark! Clark and Wendy are married now.

Lefebvre Wedding 2005
The Ramsey bridesmaids enjoying the champagne toast (Cate's high school friends)

The reception was held at the equally scenic Chalet on the Hudson, with mountains to one side and the river on the other.  Matt and Cate raised the Cocktail Hour bar with super fun margaritas! I really liked the song that Matt danced to his mother, "I Hope You Dance," by Lee Ann Womack. I liked it so much that I wanted to steal it for my wedding, but I refrained.

Lefebvre Wedding 2005
Reception at Chalet on the Hudson

Lefebvre Wedding 2005
Cate and Matt at their sweetheart table with the view of the river in the back

Back in 2005, I didn't take as many photos or photos as nice as the ones I take now, so I don't have any cute ones of Cate and Matt being all mushy at their wedding, but let me assure you that they were.  Even more than that, they had an awesome time dancing with all the younger wedding guests at the wedding. I don't remember sitting much once the dancing started. I don't have photos of that either but it was so fun I still remember it.  You'll forgive my total photo-fail though because I got a picture of their awesome wedding "cake" made of all beautiful cupcakes. I know you probably read about this trend in some magazine a few years ago, but Cate and Matt got married in 2005-- they made this a trend.

Lefebvre Wedding 2005
Cate and Matt's Wedding (Cupcake) Cake!
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