It's been a long time since I've had a weekend free of committment of an kind. No soccer, no work, no studies...you get the drift. Karen and I took advantage of the wide open Saturday and took part in the Gulf Brew Fest downtown. Plenty of great beer, great music, and great friends made the afternoon one to treasure.
Some people enjoyed the fest more than others. Albo thought he was in heaven until he was confronted by an officer who forced him to throw his beer-sampling record-breaking evidence (shot glasses) away. Sometimes life just isn't fair.
Also got to hang out with the fam for the evening. I grew up the oldest of six, with 18 years separating Claire and I, and family is what makes us who we are. Living in South Louisiana, I'm sure a lot of you can realte. It's rare for us to be together in any instance these days as conflicting work schedules and school dictate such rendezvous, so the afternoon with them brought a little more meaning to the evening.
I'm a little tipsy in this picture. Here's to Paige and Karen for suppoting me.
The rest of the pics from the evening can be found on my flickr page. Just click here.
The destination for Friday's getaway was the N.O. as I took Karen to view a couple of her favorite artists works at the Ferrara Gallery. Derina Karpov was on display, and so we went. Some pretty incredible work was on display (nothing like MOMA), and the lack of supervision allowed us to steal a couple of pics.
After we decided to hang out in uptown around Tulane for the afternoon, and I was reminded of how great a city New Orleans is. The oaks lining St. Charles coupled with the small-town feel of Magazine St. had me coaxing Karen of throwing in Tulane as one of the schools she'll be applying to this December.
All-in-all it was a pretty nice day. Getting away from work, school, and the hassles that every day brings was extremely rewarding, and hanging out with my wife wasn't all that bad.
After watching Hideki Matsui's walk-off last night I have that feeling that this year's going to be the year. It wasn't that Matsui's finally coming alive with the bat, but rather the celebration upon reaching home plate. To see the "always-solemn" Japanese sensation smile and throw his helmet in jubilation is an omen...and we are now tied for first.
So what do a bunch of deClouet's do to cool down after a day of golf. Take over the lazy river, and trade war stories while grabbing beer from strategically placed ice chests along the river route. This place was packed with travelers who couldn't wait to pass up our crew of 16+ who wouldn't (or couldn't) budge...we just floated, and it was great.
Picture taken of Scrap after 4.5 hours and too-many-to-count rounds of laziness on the river...in one sitting.
Your eyes aren't deceiving you. We're floating in a 18 inch river. Pictured is current triathalon training partner and cousin Michael Paul (husband of Good-bye 20's...hello botox) falling off his calorie count with beer number 12 for the day...jj!
Just returned from five days in Orange Beach. A week of playing golf, reading, and relaxing with family was exactly what was needed as the last couple of months have been entirely too stressful. It has to be mentioned that this was a deClouet vacation that's centered around golf, an activity that I am becoming more and more familiar with but that doesn't necessarily point to success. My game is quite the opposite of successful, and I am more than happy to admit that. Back-to-back scores of 110 and 111 are proof that I'm improving (120+ has been my average at this tournament) while continuing to struggle with the basics.
It's shots like this one that allow me to record more swings than anyone in the tournament.
Being that this is a deClouet invitational, there is a lot of competition going around. The only bet that I won involved retrieving a ball in 12 seconds with my cousin Paul. Upon playing behind the slowest group ever, Paul noticed a ball in the wooded area:
Paul: "Hey Mark, there's a ball in there. Grab it."
Mark: "Paul, tha's ten feet in and a couple of layers of woods. Forget it."
Paul: "Five bucks I can grab it in 12 seconds."
Paul's attempt at retrieving a ball in 12 seconds...failure.
Followed up by Mark's successful attempt. Thanks for the beers Paul!
Other small successes include chipping in for birdie at the Penninsula, recording five pars, sinking a 50 foot put to save 9 on a par 5, winning a bet with the pro shop to land on the green on a par 3 (I bet on Paul), and only loosing five balls in 36 holes (3 on one hole).
I don't claim to know a thing about 80's pop culture, but the past couple of weeks have found me intrigued with Michael Jackson. While kids my age grew up listening to "Beat It" and Billie Jean" I was stuck in the back yard leading Ellen and Matthew in praise and worship. What a sheltered world I lived in, but it was great...
...but I digress. The past couple of nights Karen and I have stayed up watching youtube video of Michael Jackson performances, and have come to the conclusion that despite all his shortcomings, he's was a great entertainer.
A couple of our favorite videos:
While most of the coverage on tv has been negative in nature, leave it to the Economist to publish a great obituary on Michael Jackson. Consistently the first column I turn to each week, they say goodbye the way it should be.
Maggie returned home after spending the night aty the vet clinic. She received her second round of heart-worm medication, and is now lounging around the house in a manner that would make Al Bundy proud.
Four more weeks to go before she can roam free again. Our friend, John Mikell, has just finished treating his two dogs, but was forced to let them free a week early. "Being that both dogs have lived 10+ years, I figured that if it's there time then it's there time." That was a week ago, and as of this posting they're both ok.
On another note, Maggie has only gained 1.5 pounds since her treatment began. She looks so pathetic!
I was in Chicago this past weekend for soccer, and can officially say that I'm done with assessments for the year. I was able to catch an Super-Liga game at Toyota Park between Chicago and Tigres. Despite the 1-2 defeat I can say that the 60 minutes I was there was one of the more relaxing points of the trip. Some seriously hot weather mixed with no wind provided for some long games. At least the soccer was good
Josef Michna and I after the last match. This man has been on the road instructing referees for 16 days straight. If that's not dedication than I don't know what is.