Ties to '21'

The official news from Reuters is that the movie, '21' topped the box office this weekend. The movie follows a team of card-counting MIT students who use their skills at the Black Jack tables in Vegas. The movie is based on the book, Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich.

OK, so why am I blogging about it? Yeah, I went to MIT. I knew about the book when it came out a couple of years ago. One of my friends from MIT is in the movie. But I only recently discovered (through a hallway conversation at work) that the book's main character, Kevin Lewis, is really a guy named Jeffrey Ma.

When I heard this tidbit of information, I thought, "hmmmm, I know a Jeffrey Ma - we went to Chinese school together, and he is the same age as my little sister, Michele, and his other sisters were my age and they all went to MIT as well".

It turns out that the Jeffrey Ma I knew as a little kid is THE Jeffrey Ma, aka Kevin Lewis. Wow, it is amazing what some people turn into!

Now, will I go to see the movie? Probably not in the theaters - after all, '21' is based on the book - which means it probably doesn't hardly resemble the book.... Plus, I know too much about MIT and knowing that the movie makers took the main Asian character and turned him into a "white guy" kind of gets my goat. I also hear that the scenes depicting MIT were shot at BU, which is disappointing to this alum who hasn't seen MIT's campus since the mid 1990s. But, I will see the movie eventually, because my friend, Henry, plays a blackjack dealer in Chinatown and Jeffrey plays a Vegas dealer.

Now, I will read the book - and looking forward to it.


I'm Committed Now......

I officially signed up for the Lincoln Memorial Half Marathon, which will be held next Saturday in Springfield, IL. I'll get to run past the Capital Building, Lincoln's Home, The Lincoln Presidential Museum and Lincoln' Tomb.

Last year, about 500 runners ran the race, so while it won't be as exciting as the Indy Mini Marathon, I won't be running alone.

So no excuses now - I am no longer a runner without a race (and I actually have to run this thing!)


Spring Break, part 2

Auntie Teresa, Uncle Ray and cousins Zachary and Matty arrived Friday morning. By the afternoon, they were brave enough to swim in LaoLao and LaoYeh's unheated pool:

Sunday morning and we were greeted by really cute Easter gifts:

Zach and Matty dig into their Easter baskets:

The kids and their Easter booty

After lunch at Duval Street Seafood Company (aka "Blah Blah Seafood"), I forced everyone to pose for a group photo. Under pressure, I couldn't figure out how to increase the self timer from 2 seconds. So Scott took this picture.

And alas, we headed back up north where we were greeted by snow showers and early morning frost.


Spring Break Sampler

Here are a sampling of pictures from our Spring Break adventure in warm, sunny Florida.

Scott waves as he and Erica embark on the Sheikra coaster in Busch Gardens (note - it's a GREAT ride). Erica rode on it 5 times, 2 times with Scott and 3 times with me.

Thrill seekers on the Montu Coaster.

Brian steers boat number 6 (while Mommy and Daddy enjoy some Budweiser beer from the Hospitality House).

Back in Fort Myers, we went horseback riding.

You can't go to Florida without playing a round (or two) of Mini-Golf. Our favorite place is Castle Golf.

We hit Fort Myers beach on Thursday - a storm threatened the day's planned activities, but it blew inland and soon it was sunny and warm again. We waited an extra hour on the beach while the storm past, and Erica dipped her toes into the gulf waters.

Then we were off para sailing. This year, Brian was brave enough to experience 1200 feet in the air (but he was a little nervous when he started up). Everyone on the boat gave him a High-5 when he completed his flight.

Hanging out on the beach chair:

Erica and Daddy along the water's edge (that's the Fort Myers Beach pier way in the background).

More pictures to come.....


Counting Down to...

Almost in my grasp
Warm weather destination
Florida's gulf coast

White, sandy beaches
Busch Gardens roller coasters
Spring Break, here we come!

Haiku Friday


Here's the 12th on March 13

I missed one of my pictures from yesterday -

Our older cat, Rascal, also enjoyed the warm weather. She was also in search of someone to give her a nice ear scratching.


12 on the 12th of March

It's still a little chilly in the morning as I drop off the kids at school, but the sun casts a warm glow across the prairie landscape.

After the kids are in school, I head to the dentist for a routine cleaning. Here are the "party favors" from the dentist, in front of the cup of coffee waiting for me and my freshly polished teeth. Even though I made the coffee at 7:30, it is still hot at 8:45, thanks to my awesome vacuum isolated Bodum Thermal travel mug.

As I roll into work 30 minutes later, one of my favorite songs comes up on my iPod. Actually, most anything from Sara Bareilles can be considered a favorite for me.

In the afternoon, warm temperatures lure the kids outside to play....

Cosmic Catch Ball



But a remnant of snow remains. Hopefully, it will be gone tomorrow....

Then it is off to Erica's horse riding lessons. Today she rides Toes and is seen here cantering.

After dinner, Brian plays a game off Club Penguin, the kids' latest internet obsession:

And a little bit more volleyball in the backyard as darkness falls.


Haiku Friday - Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time
Move your clocks ahead one hour
Monday morning hell


Wordless Wednesday - Gloomy Day


5th Grade Concert Pictures

Erica's 5th grade class presented a musical titled "I Have A Dream" last Thursday (Feb 28th) as a way to wrap up Black History month. Through out the year, each of the grades presents one of these musical concerts. In the past, K-3rd grade would present during the holiday season while the 4th and 5th graders would present theirs in the Spring. Having experienced the progression from Kindergarten through 5th grade, one can't help but notice the changes in attitudes of the kids as they prepare and perform.

In Kindergarten - the audience is packed. For each child on stage there is at least 6 people in attendance to watch little Johnny or Suzy in their cute outfits. The kids giggle as they take the stage and have to restrain themselves from waving to Mommy, Daddy, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and cousins in the audience. There is a constant stream of camera flashes and camcorders are working overtime to capture the children's joyous voices.

Fast Forward to 5th grade. The audience mainly consists of the immediate family. The stage risers have obvious gaps - missing students who decided that he or she was too cool to sing for a bunch of parents. (Because they are in 5th grade and they are too old for this sort of thing). I am amazed by how big some of these kids are - I am sure several are taller than me. Most of the kids sport some sort of grimace or sheepish smile. When I asked Erica if she liked the songs they were going to sing, I received a grunt of a reply. Ah, welcome to the cusp of the teen / tween years.

But as a good mom, I had my camera and took several pictures of my daughter's very last musical performance in elementary school. Such milestones deserve to be captured.

The kids wait for a cue from their music director - you think they could smile once in a while?

The eye rolling was fast and furious during this number where the kids had to use hand motions.....

I think their expressions say it all....


Spring Tease

Mother Nature teased us today with sunny skies and 65 glorious degrees. The local park was teeming with kids, parents, dogs, bikes, kites and an occasional squirrel. I noticed several couples taking walks, all enjoying the balmy weather. Even the birds were singing their spring songs.

Scott washed all three cars - they were coated with winter grime and road salt. We left the garage doors open all afternoon. Brian and Erica donned shorts in the afternoon while playing on the slowly shrinking snow pile at the end of the driveway. I ran in shorts and a short sleeved t-shirt; I used the grill to cook dinner - both firsts for 2008.

Alas, we enjoyed it while the sun shone in the sky. Because tomorrow we are getting ice and snow, and more snow is forecast for Tuesday.



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