Benjamin Franklin, Motorcycles, and Ann Arbor Parking

We’re not playing the Pyramid here, but wouldn’t that be great? Man, I miss good 70’s game shows. Give me the Pyramid and Match Game and I’m happy as can be. Anyway…

Benjamin Franklin

I’ve always liked Mr. Franklin. Some think he’s the only non-president on money… but those people probably think Mr. Hamilton was once a president. Anyway, Benjamin Franklin is perhaps my favorite American in history. I love his quotes and many of his thoughts can guide us still today.

Today’s the following Benjamin Franklin quote comes to mind:

It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.

Which brings us to… Continue…

December 2008 Pics Posted

See this and more at the Picasa Site

See this and more at the Picasa Site

It’s a start. ;)

Over 1,000 pictures were taken in December, 2008 — perhaps due to the re-purchase of my favorite lens that died or maybe the addition of a new (fancy schmancy) flash. Regardless, many pictures were taken and as always, I like to share.

I’ve selected a few and put them on the Picasa site. I think I may go to Flickr one day, but for now, I have to say I’m pretty happy with Picasa for my needs.

Anyway, please let me know what you think of the photos so far…

Christmas Day

Fred with Bear in Montgomery, MI

Fred with Bear in Montgomery, MI

I learned that Colombian tradition places a lot of emphasis on Christmas Eve.

Last night, after eating tamales and playing Wii at Michael’s, Yeni’s family and I returned to the house, ate more tamales with friends, and then opened presents. I received some excellent presents this year, including Spider-man trinkets and a new Harley outfit for the bear.

We crashed very late and woke up to find much of Ann Arbor closed. The snow had let up and the roads, although icy, were mostly clear — so Yeni and I loaded up the family in the truck and headed outside the house.

Earlier in the year, Yeni and I stumbled upon a great little area called Chelsea (during one of the Harley rides we could take before riding the Harley would result in severe frost pain). We thought it would be great to show everyone this quaint little town and took the very long way through some Michigan side roads. After detouring through Saline and Montgomery, we arrived in Chelsea. We played in the snow for a while, looked at the Jiffy Mix factory, and headed back to Ann Arbor.

Yeni plays Wii

Yeni playing Wii

Back in town, I introduced Yeni’s family to my family’s Christmas traditions — and headed to Great Lakes Chinese Restaurant. We sat at the last available table and it was standing room only for those unlucky soles who arrived just minutes after us. The place was packed, and after finishing our delicious meal, we headed back to Michael’s for some more Wii action.

A lovely day.

So this is Christmas…

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young

So in Colombian tradition (as I’m learning), Christmas is all about Christmas Eve. So today we are bringing Yeni’s family over to Michael’s for some great times with family, friends, and loved ones.

I wish everyone a safe Holiday!

And congratulations to Daniel… look out Cook County!

Headin’ up to San Francisco

Yesterday, we woke up at 5am and headed through the snow to take me to the airport. Even after spending 5 hours on the tarmac (and being de-iced from a de-icer named Fred), I still have to say I love American Airlines.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not like flying. I hate almost everything about it… From taking off your shoes to the airline reps behind the counter (has anyone ever had a positive experience with a gate agent??), from flight attendants to busy crowds, flying today for me is a last option. I’d much rather drive than fly on any given day, and, if time isn’t a factor (like Thanksgiving), it’s exactly what I do. I remember once being excited about flying and loving going to Airports, flying in airplanes, and just traveling by air. Loved it. Much like my hair, those days are gone.

But, I digress. So, if I have to fly, I like American Airlines. Let’s put it this way. When I’ve missed connecting flights from other airlines, getting a new flight was a hassle. Hassle and drama, drama, drama. With American, by the time I got off the plane, they had already reserved me a seat on one flight and put me on standby for another. (I ended up getting the standby :) ).

Anyway, I made it to San Francisco and had a great dinner with my sister, Scott, my parents, Tovah, David, and Scott’s mother and father. We were celebrating Scott’s graduation from college and was a great reason to see so many people that I love.

On plan for today? Dim Sum with the family and then throwing a duck into the ocean in remembrance of Forrest (today’s the 2nd anniversary). Also, it’s the first anniversary of Shadow’s passing.

See also:

Monday Morning Quarterback

 

Yeni's Family Post-Buffet

Yeni's Family Post-Buffet

It’s Monday morning and the smell of coffee surrounds the home — courtesy of Yeni, who made a fresh pot on her way to work this morning. Her family has arrived in Ann Arbor and will be staying with us for a few weeks to celebrate the Holidays and a few birthdays.

Yesterday was Yeni’s father’s birthday which was celebrated with a “Day of Buffet.” First, we enjoyed the Bob’s Big Boy Brunch Buffet followed by joining Mike, Becky, Tina, and the kids for the dinner buffet (at the local Buffet house).  We then continued to stuff ourselves at Michael’s house with a celebratory birthday dessert and song (Christopher knows Happy Birthday in both English and Español).

Now it’s off to a fun filled week of work and travel…

On Friday, I’m headed to San Francisco for a quick weekend visit (my sister’s fiance Scott is graduating) and when I return, Yeni’s brother will be joining us.

Lot’s of family for the holidays.

Thanksgiving 2008

To me, Thanksgiving represents not just a “vacation” day, but rather a day to reflect on the past year — no matter how bad — and be thankful for what life has given to us. Every year I look forward to celebrating two days with my family and friends; selfishly, the first day (my birthday) is all about me. And, as you can guess, the second day I look forward to comes on the fourth Thursday in November.

No one truly knows the origin of Thanksgiving. Although we have been taught in school that the first Thanksgiving occurred in 1621 with the Pilgrims, the settlers of Saint Augustine celebrated a “Thanksgiving” more than 50 years earlier. Of course, those thanksgiving celebrations were more religious in nature. In fact, the Saint Augustine celebration featured a “Mass of Thanksgiving” offering thanks for safely arriving in Florida (aka the New World). And, much like the Florida Thanksgivings of today, the earliest one featured an enormous feast. But as usual, I digress.

Fred’s Thanksgiving tradition involves a pilgrimage (yes, it’s a pun — deal with it) to my parent’s house in Davie, Florida. In the last 20 years, I can only remember two Thanksgivings not spent in Davie. One was a road trip that David and I made to Pensacola (while my parents celebrated elsewhere) and the other I spent in Gainesville; not having enough seniority to skip the UF-FSU football game.

Thanksgiving at my parent’s house involves the three F’s — Family, Food, and Food. But wait, did I just say Food twice? Yes, and why? Because there’s that much Food. Mmmmm food. Anyway, Family from all over the country flock to Davie much like the Cliff Swallows to San Juan Capistrano, California. Although the numbers vary yearly (small celebrations have 12 people, large are well over 25), there are constants that never change. First, we will have brisket, turkey, stuffing, and more food than one person can eat in one sitting. Second, family will be there and will be welcomed. And, lastly, we remember why we have gathered together.

Much like Prince said in the eighties, we have gathered to celebrate this thing called life (yes, technically, he said gathered to “get through” this thing called life, but I’m taking liberty here). Anyway, no matter what the day brings, at the end of our trials, our family and friends remain to either share our joy or sorrow. They lend a shoulder for consolation or hug for congratulations. Our family provides the support we need to “get through this thing called life.”

Although I’ve said it before, I like to say it every year… I truly believe that family does not merely consist of shared blood or upbringing. Our friends are the family we choose. Let’s face it, I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I was lucky to be born into a family I truly love. A family I can count on when times are tough, and I family that can count on me to be there for them. But, I’ve also been able to add to my family great friends that have helped me grow (yes, I’m on a diet :) ) and well, let me say this:

Yes, I look forward each year for 2 days — my birthday and Thanksgiving. This year, my birthday witnessed the brutal killing of a dear friend; a person I considered family. And although it’s been just over a month since Ricardo’s death, I am thankful for the laughter we shared and to have been able to consider him not only a great friend, but also a part of family. He was the first to respond to my Thanksgiving messages (he kept odd hours) and always returned both kind words and a reminder that there is no Thanksgiving in Argentina. Sadly, this year, I’m afraid he’s right on that one.

The trials of life remind us that we live. This year, I am choosing to remember on Thanksgiving that even when family are taken from us, we must be thankful for the time we shared. I am thankful for many things. My health, my relationship, and of course my family. My family provides me the ability to smile, the tissues to wipe away tears, and the moral compass to always find my way.

So, my thanks are to you — yes… YOU. You are my family, and today, I give thanks to have you in my life.

Summary: Ann Arbor to Fort Lauderdale

Fred enjoying Dunkin' Donuts

Fred enjoying Dunkin' Donuts

Yeni and I started early — very early — Saturday morning. After loading the truck and topping off the tank, we hit I-94 somewhere around 4 am. It was BEYOND cold with the truck showing outside temperatures ranging from 10 – 15 degrees. Normally, I make as few stops as humanly possible; combing fuel stops with rest breaks (and yes, “rest breaks” means exactly what it sounds like). I learned quickly, that while traveling with someone else (aka Yeni) brings great joy, it also requires more frequent “rest breaks.”

Our first break was near Dayton, OH. Finding a Dunkin’ Donuts, we stopped for “rest,” coffee, and an egg bagel. Mmmm, egg bagel. After topping off the tank, we heading back on the highway hitting a major traffic jam in Cincinnati, OH. After staying in place for the better part of an hour, we were able to cross the bridge, enter Kentucky, and put Ohio behind us.

When we reached Lexington, KY, we got off the main road and visited a college friend of Yeni’s (Maria Fernanda and her husband Diego). After a nice visit and a great breakfast, we dropped Mafe at the Univeristy of Kentucky and continued south. I’d never been to the University, and it’s always nice to visit a place where the Gators have dominated (this year we destroyed Kentucky, but that was a home game).

My favorite part of driving to/from Michigan is the leg from Lexington, KY to Knoxville, TN. The trip takes you through the Cumberland Mountains (southeastern section of the Appalachian Mountains) and provides beautiful climbs, views, and scenery. Although best experienced riding on a Harley, the trip is still enjoyable from the truck.

Little Lil puts a smile on Fred's face

Little Lil puts a smile on Fred's face

After reaching Knoxville, we called my good friend Patrick and met with him, his daughter, and wife (Jessi) at a local Italian restaurant. It was great to see their family and playing with lil’ Lil put a big smile on my face. After eating some pasta, rolls, and cannoli , we were back on the road — this time with Yeni at the wheel.

Chattanooga is only a few miles north of Georgia, and the drive through Georgia is long; very long. Did we mention construction? Georgia’s I-75 passage can be described in three words: Pecans, Outlets, Construction. Despite being on the road for more than 20 hours, Yeni was determined to drive through Georgia by herself. She made creative efforts to stay alert, such as talking to the GPS device, counting Juanes songs, and singing.

We reached Florida around 2am and I took over the wheel. When we arrived to the house in Gainesville, Yeni wisely suggested we inflate the bed, grab some shuteye, and rest for a few hours. We rested until around 7 am, loaded Grandma’s chandelier into the truck, grabbed breakfast at DD, and hit the road. Yeni had never seen Florida’s west coast or the Everglades, so I decided to take I-75 straight through to Fort Lauderdale.

Spider-bear at the Gulf of Mexico

Spider-bear at the Gulf of Mexico

When we reached Tampa, we took I-275 to visit the Tampa Bay and see the ocean. I-275 takes you over the Sunshine Skyway bridge (the world’s longest cable bridge) and the ocean view provides a great contrast to the snow we woke up to on the previous morning. Yeni seemed to enjoy the ocean, and Spider-bear was excited to play on the rocks (during one of the “rest” stops).

We continued driving (well, I drove while Yeni napped), and after crossing the Everglades reached the Casa de Parientes. I cannot wait for the rest of the family to arrive and celebrate my favorite holiday.

Yeni sleeps in the Everglades

Yeni sleeps in the Everglades

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Uno! Ok – I can think of no better way to start this post than with a movie quote. After all, this is the Fred Posner blog, isn’t it? Ok, maybe it would be better if I gave the full Inigo Montoya quote but nonetheless, Buttercup is marrying Humperdink in a little less than half an hour.

New York City

After spending the weekend in Oregon with my family, Yeni and I joined my parents and cousins in New York City for a great weekend. Yeni had never visited New York before, and we tried to shove as much touristy goodness in 48 hours as could be humanly possible. What did we do? We went to Times Square, rode the Subways, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, checked out the Statue of Liberty, whispered in Grand Central Station, walked all through Central Park, saw a Squirrel-Rat, visited Lincoln Center, the Museum of Natural History, and shared an ice cream in Brooklyn Heights.

Not shabby, huh? We snapped a lot of pictures, and have them posted at my Picasa page. The weekend it self was amazing. The trip home sucked. Let me sum it up in three words: US Airways Sucks. How much do they suck? The enormity of their suckitude is beyond all knows means of measure. Comparable to a black hole, they simply do not allow any intelligent thought to escape. Continue…