There’s a Will Smith song that comes to mind when I hear the word Miami, but I can neither remember the title of the song nor a catchy lyric from it. Just know that there is. As a good excuse to celebrate Cindy’s 41st and catch up with great friends, the Seiberts, we headed to Key Biscayne in Miami for a long weekend of pretty much just relaxing. It was pretty great and not just because the hotel had a buffet of free Valentine’s Day candy set up at the entrance.
It struck me talking to Cindy on the way down to Miami about what people think about when thinking of Florida that I am really grateful to have grown up in South Florida. As an aside, we couldn’t really come up with much beyond older folks and sunshine to characterize Florida – would love to know what you think. Not having an immediate thought pop into you mind when you think about a state’s characteristics isn’t always a bad thing, just ask Alabama or Alaska. Seeing the sunrise out of the ocean and enjoying some beautiful weather in February when the rest of the country was dealing with a snowstorm is not too shabby. Seeing diversity beyond what we have in much of the rest of the country and experiencing all of the benefits of such diversity is also pretty great. Interestingly enough, seeing waterways everywhere and boats and marine/tropical life (Ibis, huge lizards, etc.) is something I only now realize how much I took for granted growing up as I really enjoyed seeing it in such abundance again. Lastly, bikes. South Florida had a huge population of cyclists and on Saturday morning they apparently flock to the Key Biscayne area.
While in Miami we ate at the iconic Joe’s Stone Crab (in spite of the 3 hour wait that no patrons seemed to even flinch at, nor did we until doubt kicked in at the 2:45 minute mark) and the several decent spots in Key Biscayne. We wandered the Bayside Mall and enjoyed the marina there with some early day Mohitos from the MojitoBar in spite of their tricky, almost bait-switch pricing tactics (buyer beware). But mostly we enjoyed relaxing by the pool or over a meal with good friends we see way too infrequently. If you can’t be grateful for picking right back up where you left off, whether it be with your home state return or with close friends, then enjoyment isn’t your gig.
Speaking of enjoyment – hope you enjoy this brief slideshow as much as we enjoyed the times behind the photos.
After nearly a week of daily updates, warnings, bread loaf ratings of this wintry storm it actually happened. It is not unlike the Charlotte area to talk it up big and not have anything to show for it. This storm came in on Wednesday midday, dropped 6-8 inches on Fort Mill and then stuck around on Thursday to drop another 3-4 inches. A full winter walloping! A storm like this is pretty welcome so long as it only happens once. We sledded, had snowball fights, rolled snowmen, ran in it, drove in it and shoveled it. For 2 days we were northerners. On day 3 it was melted which gives us a leg up on the north.
Fun times for all. Even more fun to drive out on icy roads on Friday morning to fly to sunny south Florida for a Valentines/Birthday celebration with Cindy. We are pretty fortunate folks.
Click here for a sled show of the fun!
While I am grateful for the run the Florida Gators have been on (15 straight and undefeated in conference play leading up to this weekend’s showdown with Kentucky at Rupp), this time I’m grateful for the kind you wear to keep junk out of your shoes when hiking or running. This morning the “junk” was snow and ice after getting 8 inches or so in Fort Mill yesterday and another 3-4 inches this morning. As much as I have disrespected them over the years while hiking, I’ve never run in gaiters before and found odd enjoyment from what was the scourge of my hiking gear as they kept my feet/shoes quite warm and dry on my run. I had strong doubts as I set off onto the trails behind our house and watched my feet sink in snow and ice up to my ankles or further with each step. While I knew few things beat a snow run, I now know maybe a snow run wearing gaiters takes the cake. Like our Gator basketball team is doing for our lame football season, the running gaiters may have redeemed my former negative thoughts about my hiking gaiters (same gaiters). Gaiter grateful.
A first for me and my family occurred tonight: we attended a Vietnamese New Year celebration. A wonderful woman named Thi has a Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Rock Hill and she invited Our friend Alex to bring his family and another family to join in on the celebration. We were joined by other friends of her restaurant as well as 15 teachers from other countries who received a grant to come to the U.S. and share/learn with other teachers at Winthrop University – this group was hosted by the mayor of Rock Hill.
The two times I have been to Thi’s, the food has been incredible (Thi cooks it and will bring us what she thinks we will like) and the service is always personal and attentive. Tonight, she outdid herself with a New Year’s festival complete with dancing dragons and tigers. The kids loved it and had never seen anything like it before. Very cool. Very grateful.
Click here for a brief slideshow.
Yesterday I ran a personal worst in the Oral Cancer Foundation’s Run for Awareness, a local cause with tremendous community backing after the loss of a neighbor, Jeremy Blevins, to this disease (good local paper write-up on the event here). That’s right, a 50:58 and maybe my favorite 5k I have ever run. I ran it with my 4 year old Charlie. We chatted. We sprinted. Sometimes we ran backwards. Often we ran to make circles. We stopped to look at small bugs on the road. Twice Charlie said: “Dad, can we take a rest?” and rather than walk it out we sat on the curb and watched runners run by us. I have never considered sitting down on a run to rest but it was actually quite nice. I’m pretty sure I could have run the race faster but not sure I could have enjoyed it any more.
There are 3 things I made note of at this event:
1) I didn’t know Jeremy Blevins, but I can tell you he had an amazing family and circle of friends who are closer after losing him to this awful cancer. There is a light that they have…hard not to think what makes it shine.
2) This community (who have logged over 35,000 running miles in the past year in support and memoriam) cares deeply about each other. Everyone probably thinks their community is pretty great – ours takes the cake.
3) This family is positively impacting lives in his memory: nearly $30k raised at a first annual 5k. People running for the first time because of him. Awareness raised through free screenings. People caring about people.
Life can be pretty fantastic if you slow to see it every now and again.
While probably a bit dramatic, this is one of those movies that will change you. Yes a documentary and we all know what those are like. We probably even judge a bit those who spend their time watching documentaries. My family found their way today to places like the movies and the houses of good friends while I chose to stay back and take a tiny, much needed nap. Candidly, I thought what better way to get me to the sleepy state than picking off one of those documentaries that had been in my Netflix queue for a while. I selected “I Am” by Tom Shadyac and just thought I would read the brief summary of the film. When I tried to go back after reading the summary to pick a different film, I accidentally clicked the title of the movie again. Tired, and intrigued I set forth with fate.
While I won’t lie and say I stayed awake for the entire film, and trust me this is my affliction not the film’s, the film is truly amazing. Amazeballs as the teens like to say. Striking. Impactful. Filled with love and hope. Tom Shadyac, director of “Ace Ventura”, “Bruce Almighty” and “The Nutty Professor”, set out to ask two (2) questions of very smart, courageous and world-impacting people: 1) What’s wrong with the world? and 2) What should we do about it? He ends up very clearly finding out what is right with it. People willing to take a tiny step, do a tiny act that at the time seem insignificant and meaningless and end up changing the world. He lands on an inspiring answer not unlike a fantastic article I read by Sam Polk earlier this week who in a self-professed way in this Op-Ed Piece titled “For the Love of Money” (thanks for forwarding John Trefethen) in the NY Times summarized how he went from living like one of the world’s worst humans to making his life mission about making our world a better place – their paraphrased answers: connect with humans and start small to make the change in the world you want to see.
We are all busy. We all want great things for our family. I hide behind these two things to keep from making changes I want to see in this world. I’m grateful for this movie. It will become mandatory watching material for my kids. No shock, but I’m going to take the movie’s advice. I am going to set out small and change my ways to make a difference in small ways. My hope is this leads me to encounter clearer roads to doing what I long to do, leave the world a little better than when I entered it. Don’t worry Mom, I realize I likely have already done some of this to an extent (especially in your eyes), just looking to broaden it a bit. Here’s a few for starters that quickly come to mind: 1) help out more at home and be more present and in the moment when I am here, 2) to that woman on Friday who asked me to buy her paper to help the homeless while I was rushing to the train to get to my family: I wish I had stopped. Listened. Who knows, maybe even shared a hot cup of tea together. The next time I’ll invite you to join me. I still may not choose to support the homeless in that way, but a warm cup of tea and an ear for a few minutes would have made both of our lives a bit better and 3) start more often from a place of love – I spend a lot of my life beating myself up for being 5 minutes late or working more than I should or not doing enough at home (admittedly it is hard to keep up with someone like Cindy – she is tough to match…) and instead just root back to starting from a place of love with everything. This will be hard as it is not alway my instinct. Sharing the way I feel on the inside when I greet people, but instead showing it on the outside with something as simple as a smile, who knows, maybe even a hug (I know Cindy, I know…”walk before you run Sutton.”) are my starting points.
I’ve digressed a bit (shocker!) but don’t let it distract you from my message. This movie was really great. I hope you will watch if you haven’t already. If you can do no more watch the first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes, I assure you these 20 minutes alone will impact you in a great and positive way. Trust me.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and what are some of the things in your world view (big or small) that you’d like to impact and change one day. I’m always looking to steal a great idea on this subject.
In my last mile of five (5) quick, cold (10 degrees!) miles this morning I came across a gentleman driving a good-looking Infinity or Lexus who was putting on one of the more spectacular air drumming performances I have seen outside of a recent VW commercial. I can’t be sure but I’m pretty sure he was rocking out a Neil Peart drum solo (maybe YYZ) or the like with the flair of Motley Crüe’s drummer. I found myself smiling for the rest of what normally would have been a tough ending to my run. Thanks rocking air drummer. Thanks.