Josh Groban at the Charlotte Time Warner Cable Arena

Gail’s son, Eric, has been fascinated by Josh Groban’s voice ever since he was a young boy. He has played each and every one of Josh’s songs thousands upon thousands of times. He can sing all of them word for word, even if they are in Italian or Portuguese. Groban’s voice is, of course, one of those extremely rare, one in a billion kind of voices. If it sounds awesome to a regular person, I often wonder what it must sound like inside Eric’s autistic brain.

Listening to Josh Groban is one of Eric’s special interests. So Gail decided to buy tickets to a concert, and we took Eric to see his idol last night in Charlotte, NC. We had good seats. Gail and Eric got to stand about 10 feet from him for a little while. It was a very special kind of night!


Phoenix South Mountain Park

I have had the joy and pleasure of visiting my daughter, Kelly, in Tempe these past few days. It makes me very happy to see how well she is getting on in the world. She graduated from Arizona State University in 2007 and since then has been working for a company that executes clinical drug trials. She’s good at it, but is already restless for more. This past year, at great personal cost of time and money, she decided to continue working full time while going back to school full time. Her goal was to make herself an attractive candidate for a much sought after Master’s degree from ASU in the area of Sustainability (the “green” movement.) It was a good gamble, as she has been accepted into the program! Her bigger goal is an eventual PhD in the area. I give her a lot of credit for setting such a lofty goal, and am awed by her smarts and her tenacity.

I also got to meet Kelly’s boyfriend, Jason. He strikes me as a very gentlemanly young man, who served four years in the Navy, and will complete his degree in computer hardware engineering next month. They seem to be very happy together, and that makes me happy!

Yesterday, they took us on a great hike in South Mountain Park. For those of you who don’t know Phoenix, it is a city in a large valley (the Valley of the Sun) surrounded on all sides by mountains. Tempe, the suburb where you’ll find ASU and where Kelly and Jason live, is in the southeast corner of Phoenix. So the South Mountains are close to where they live.

It was a hot and dry 96 degrees in the Sonoran desert for our hike, though that is way better than the 115 degrees that it easily sees in the summer. We had a great hike up the mountains to a beautiful vantage point that allowed us to see both northward towards Phoenix and southward. Here are a few pics of my beautiful daughter and of our great hike!

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Elizabeth Taylor vs My Mom (and Me)

After I posted that beautiful picture of my mom last week and got such nice responses, I called my dad to thank him again for taking the time to scan it and send it to me. It was such a wonderful surprise! I gave him the link to the post and he showed it to my mom. I made such a fuss over it that he scanned and sent me more pictures! Jackpot! 🙂

At the same time, Elizabeth Taylor has died. Liz was born in 1932, my mom in 1931. I always thought they looked alike in some ways. (But my mom is way cooler!)

So here’s a little tribute to two beautiful ladies from a day gone by. What do you think?

Megan visits her dad

This picture is from a couple of years ago. It is one of my favorites of my oldest daughter, Megan, and me. She is finishing her spring break, which she spent in Marco Island, FL. Two days ago she drove up the coast to spend a few hours with a friend in Savannah, then yesterday she drove up to spend an evening and overnight with us in Winston. We had a nice dinner yesterday at one of our favorite spots, 6th and Vine. It was great to catch up on all the scoop from back home. We had a nice breakfast this morning at the house, and poof, she was gone! It was a brief but wonderful visit!

I’ll share a couple of Megan stories from when she was growing up. The daily routine at our house after dinner was for the kids to work on their homework. My ex and I would help them whenever they needed it. I remember one night trying real hard to help Megan understand a simple math concept. She couldn’t get it, and would drift away, losing her focus. Then I became frustrated and lost it. I guess I said something like, “Megan, talking to you is like talking to a goddam brick wall!” Something loving like that. Well, I’ve had many opportunities to sincerely apologize for that, as Megan retells the story once in a while. Not my greatest dad moment. And we later discovered that Megan simply does not have the math chip. She is excellent with her finances and such, but she has been known to count on her fingers, if that says anything. Still, no excuses. I screwed up.

Then there was the time when Megan was a teenager that I told her I would pick her up after work. She was a clerk at a department store at the local mall. She closed the place, walked out at the appointed time of 9:30 PM to find her father not there. That was before everyone had a cell phone, so she couldn’t just call. She just waited, and stewed. I finally remembered and picked her up a little late. Not good. She said something to me like, “What part of 9:30 do you not understand!?” Well, I don’t let her forget that! We laugh about it now.

At her high school graduation, everyone was surprised when she got to wear a special stole that identified her as an honor student. They were surprised because she was such a prankster, a “cool kid,” not one of the typical brainiacs. When people asked her how she got that honor stole she said, “I stole it off a nerd.”

But she went on to the U. of Michigan, studied a semester abroad in Spain, is beautifully bilingual, and went on to finish a Masters degree and a Ph.D. When she goes back to school next week, at Heidelberg University, it is back to her job as a professor of Clinical Counseling. I guess she’s not such a brick wall after all!

I love you, Megan! You did really well, despite your father’s efforts! LOL It’s a joy and a pleasure to be with you!