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Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

A Journey of a Thousand Miles…

In Family, Life on March 8, 2011 at 5:38 pm

…Begins with a Single Step

Patience in our instant gratification society has become a lost art.  Often times we want to skip the journey just so we can arrive at our destination.  We spend so much of our lives planning and looking towards the future that we sometimes forget to live in the moment and make each day count.

Adjusting to changes that take us out of our comfort zone can be difficult at times.  But the bumps in the road help us appreciate success much more than a life devoid of challenges.

This is the 100th post of Waldo’s Life / Waldo2010.  When I started writing the blog, it had an entirely different purpose, look, feel and tone.  The blog was hastily launched in an attempt to seize the day after experiencing a tragic event with a very close friend.

In all honesty, I started the journey without a plan, a map or an even an idea where it would eventually take me.  Since its inception, I have experienced the highs and lows that make life interesting.  It took some radical life changes to help illuminate the path that I wanted to take.  But without the radical changes, I may never have realized what I really wanted out of life.

Many of us long for a breakthrough moment, but get impatient when it takes longer than we would like, and we give up too soon.  Like most parents, I find the breakthrough moments that my kids have to be particularly satisfying.

When this journey of a thousand miles began, my son was adjusting to a new way of life, and trying to excel in football (his favorite sport since he was old enough to walk).  My daughter was a late developer who walked and talked much later than most kids.  As frustrating as life can be sometimes when things don’t go as planned, it is nothing compared to watching your children struggle to find their way.

Thankfully, both of my kids have had notable breakthrough moments since our journey began.

This morning, my little one ran to the car with her backpack almost knocking her over.  When we arrived at her school, she ran into the school, and then into her classroom.  She was so excited to be in class that she barely said goodbye to me.  She regularly talks about how much she is looking forward to starting Kindergarten next year so that she can go to school every day like her big brother.

The difference in her attitude towards school since the beginning of the year is astounding.  She used to cling to me and cry so hysterically that you would have thought that I was saying goodbye forever.  Little by little, she started to enjoy her days in school.  And now she is at the point where she cried when school was cancelled because of the weather.  She cried when she had to stay home with a fever.  Often times, she asks to go to school on days when it is not even open.  A thousand miles ago, I could never have predicted where this journey would have taken her.

Since she has embraced school, her enjoyment of learning has increased dramatically.  Because she was a late developer, she still has her share of challenges, but you would never know it by the way that she acts or the way that she thinks.

At 4 years old, she can complete a United States map puzzle nearly as quickly as I can.  She knows which states we will be passing through (in the exact order) when we drive back to New York from Texas.  She can recite the names of the kids in her class in alphabetical order, even though her teachers have told us that they don’t do that in class as a rule.  She climbs on the playground with the same confidence as her older brother.

For a kid who didn’t walk until she was nearly a year-and-a-half or talk until she was around two-and-a-half, the progress that she has shown still amazes me on a daily basis.  A thousand miles ago, this progress was beyond my wildest dreams.  The journey was not an easy one, but the results have been very rewarding.

My son has always done well in school, and continues to excel to a level that is beyond anything that I ever achieved.  He has been playing football since he was in Kindergarten, but he wasn’t one of those kids who had the natural ability to succeed even though the desire was there.

To his credit, he has always been very coachable, and has always worked very hard on the football field.  He has progressed every year to the point of being a solid player, but far from dominant.  He was not blessed with the speed to carry the ball or the size to push people around on the line.  Even though he has played on the line since he was 5 years old, he has never looked the part.

This season, nearly 100 kids participated in tryouts.  We had planned for him to land on a team where I could be an assistant coach because I had a relationship with the head coach.  I feared after watching him in tryouts that he wouldn’t make it to the team that we wanted because he performed so well.  On draft day, he was picked before the head coach that I knew could get him.  The head coach thought that he would easily get him because of his size and speed, but it wasn’t meant to be.

The team that picked him ended up being a great fit, and he has never been happier.  His head coach told me that he had him ranked 10th out of 100 kids, and grabbed him early even though he already had already protected the best line in the league.

In previous seasons, my son had started off slowly and gradually got better as the season went on.  This season, with a confidence that I have never seen, he has picked up where he left off and then some.  Going against the best kids in the league in practice, he is more than holding his own.  His head coach has already told me that he won’t be coming off the field on either side of the ball.  A thousand miles ago, when this journey began, I never would have predicted this breakthrough moment.

Unfortunately, we will only get to play with this team for one season, as another journey of a thousand miles is about to begin.  Actually, this journey will be closer to two thousand miles, as we pack up and return to New York for good.

Like the journey that we took nearly two years ago when we decided to move to Texas, this journey will be bittersweet as well.  It will be difficult to say goodbye to the family who is staying here and the friends that we’ve all made since our arrival.  But as the saying goes…“home is where the heart is.”  And though there will be aspects of Texas life that we will miss, our hearts are in New York.

A thousand miles ago, our lives were very different than they are today.  No one knows where we will be at the end of the next thousand mile journey, but I’ll do whatever I can to make it memorable for all of us.

Thank you to those who have followed this journey since it began, and also to those who have started following somewhere along the way.

To paraphrase Natasha Bedingfield – “Today is where this book begins…the rest is still unwritten.”

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Mad Love – New CBS Sitcom Worthy of Filling the Two and a Half Men Void

In Television on March 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm

When Charlie Sheen was fired by Warner Brothers, the fate of Two and a Half Men was virtually sealed.  Although the show hasn’t officially been cancelled, moving forward without Sheen would be extremely difficult, if not impossible.  Luckily for CBS, they may already have a show ready to step in and fill the void once Two and a Half Men goes off the air.  It’s early in the game, but if the first few episodes are any indication, Mad Love (starring Jason Biggs and Sarah Chalke) looks to have staying power.

It came as somewhat of a surprise to see Jason Biggs on television, given his successful silver screen career.  After watching Mad Love, it’s easy to see why he made the decision to accept the role as Ben Parr, a thirty something lawyer who works with his best friend, Larry Munsch (Tyler Labine).

The two best friends couldn’t be more different…a sort of modern-day “Odd Couple.”

Biggs is perfectly suited to play the straight, hard-working, somewhat anxious lawyer who is determined to build a long-term relationship with Kate Swanson (Sarah Chalke).  Labine, on the other hand, doesn’t look (or act) like a typical lawyer.  He is kind of sloppy, does whatever he can to cut corners to avoid working, and carries himself with a swagger that would seem cocky if he weren’t so likeable.  Of course, his abrasiveness doesn’t appeal to everyone, most notably Connie Grabowski (Judy Greer), who is Kate’s best friend and roommate.

Connie and Larry are always at odds, although there is an underlying sexual tension between the two.  In a recent episode, they realized that they actually hooked up with each other at a costume party several years back.  Both agreed to keep it a secret because neither one wanted to admit what had happened between them to their friends.

Even though Biggs and Chalke are the bigger stars, the biggest laughs on Mad Love are delivered by Labine and Greer. Both have been around for awhile, but neither has become a household name to date.

In recent years, Labine has starred in Reaper and Sons of Tuscon.  He seems to play the same type of character in every show, which makes you wonder if he’s even acting.  Loud and boisterous, funny and likeable, Labine is the type of character that you would like to hang out with in real life.

Greer has made numerous appearances on television and in the movies, but has never been the main attraction.  Her pessimism and acerbic wit are a perfect complement to what the rest of the ensemble cast brings to the table.

Mad Love features a great cast, interesting story lines and plenty of laughs to go around.  If the show is given the chance to shine, Labine and Greer may very well become as famous as their counterparts.

Even if Charlie Sheen didn’t self-destruct, the time was probably drawing near for Two and a Half Men to end its incredible run.  Because the “half” man is now almost out of high school, the show has transitioned away from the original premise into an endless string of sexual innuendos.  It’s still a very funny show, but the premise is nearly identical from week to week.

Networks are usually left scrambling to find a suitable replacement once a hit show goes off the air.  Fortunately for CBS, that show is already on the air, and they would be wise to immediately start promoting Mad Love as the replacement for Two and a Half Men once it is officially cancelled.

Post Game Tears? Looks Like Miami Can’t Take the “Heat” of the National Spotlight

In Sports on March 8, 2011 at 4:53 am

When LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh decided to join forces to become the NBA’s supposed version of a super power, they thrust themselves into the national spotlight as a team to either be loved or hated.  Not much room for middle ground.

Aside from the New York Yankees, who are hated by non-Yankee fans because of their continuous success and ability to outspend the rest of Major League Baseball, there is no other professional sports team that is as hated as the Miami Heat.

LeBron started off the disdain for the Heat with his ill-advised “reality” special, simply referred to as “The Decision.”  Before people even had the chance to accept what the Heat had become, they added fuel to the fire by referring to themselves as “The Heatles.”

“If you’re gonna talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk.”

Although the Heat have the sixth best record in the NBA, they are currently on a four-game losing streak, much to the delight of even the most casual basketball fan.  Their record against the five teams above them in the NBA is an embarrassing 1-10.

The team that some predicted to win 70 games this year, still has not found a way to compete with the other top teams in the league, despite having played 63 games together.

After last night’s one-point loss to the Chicago Bulls, head coach Eric Spoelstra said that there were tears of frustration by some of the players in the locker room.

If Spoelstra revealed the fact that some of his guys were crying after the game to endear the hated Heat to the masses, it failed miserably.  The Heat got no sympathy from the media or basketball fans. Instead, what they received was a healthy dose of deserved mockery.

Is a four-game losing streak in the midst of an 82-game season worth crying about?  If not for the brash predictions and self-indulgent titles, would anyone even care that any team has lost four games in a row in the NBA?  Has the sports world ever celebrated regular season losses in any sport with such glee?

The Heat (once again) have adopted an “us against the world” mentality, which is comical because they are the ones who created this atmosphere in the first place.

“I do chuckle a little bit when they complain about the scrutiny they get,” said Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. “My suggestion would be if you don’t want the scrutiny, you don’t hold a championship celebration before you’ve even practiced together. It’s hard to go out yourself and invite that kind of crowd and celebration and attention, and then when things aren’t going well, sort of bemoan the fact that you’re getting that attention.”

Van Gundy’s Orlando Magic basically overhauled their entire team in December in order to compete with the top teams in the Eastern Conference, and yet they are a mere three games behind the Heat in the standings.

The Heat would be wise to stop worrying about what basketball fans and the media think of them, and start worrying about what they are going to do to right the ship and live up to the lofty predictions that they made before ever playing a single game together.

Any attempt to garner sympathy from the masses is an exercise in futility.

“The Heatles” have been “talking the talk” since they joined forces in the summer of 2010.  If they want the mockery to stop, they’ll need to “walk the walk” under the heat of the national spotlight.

 

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