Monday, October 24, 2005

A Great Weekend

Have you ever had one of those weekends that you just don't want to end? We did.

It started, for me, on Thursday. I took the day off so I could get the house in order before the big weekend away. This was my second of 4 weekends away from home this month, so the extra time helped set my mind at ease. I cleaned house in the morning and shopped in the afternoon. Overall it was a great day. I also dropped Maggie off at the vet and took Meghan to Mom Davis' house, since she was keeping her for the weekend.

Friday morning started early. Lorenzo, Alex and I had a 8am flight out of DFW to O'hare, so we needed an early start. At 4:44 a.m. Alex came running into the room. He was dressed, his teeth were brushed and he was ready. Obviously, he is my son, as I had been lying in bed for a half an hour awake too.

We got going and headed to the airport. Disappointingly, we discovered that the Chick Fil-a on Macarthur didn't open until 6:30, so we ate that the Chili's in the airport instead. Lorenzo genuinely enjoyed my newly earned gold flight status, as we had special (and I mean shorter) security lines and got to board in Group 1. I must admit, I am enjoying it too.

The flight wasn't exciting and I am glad for that. Alex finished his October book reports, so we could enjoy the weekend without homework over our heads. Once in Chicago, we got in the rental and headed to South Bend.

Traffic wasn't too bad, except for some construction on 294 and 80. We arrived at 1 and stopped in for a quick visit with Putt. Lunch was at Macri's and then we headed to the bookstore for shopping.

After doing our part to bolster the Indiana economy, we had a quick visit with Karen Putt at the alumni office. From there, we split. Alex and Lorenzo headed to the band practice, while I walked over the the Grotto. All of the candles were lit and it was beautiful. There was a priest giving blessings. I thanked God for another wonderful year of blessings and feeling refreshed, went to meet Alex and Lorenzo. The band practice was going well. Alex made some friends with his football and was enjoying running around with them.

From there, we made our trip to Meijer to support the tailgate. I got the supplies for Bloody Mary's and we added a few other items.

We had plans to meet Jeff Squyres at Doc Pierce's for dinner at 8. Alex was showing signs of fatigue but wasn't ready to give up yet. We headed to dinner and met up with John Shipman and one of Jeff's computer colleagues. We had fun remebering stories and catching up. About 5 minutes before dinner was served, Alex put his head down and fell asleep. He didn't wake up until morning. Poor kid. When he did finally wake up Saturday he said, "Mom, I don't remember eating my popcorn shrimp.". That's because he didn't.

So, Saturday morning, we awoke early again to prepare for the tailgate. Lorenzo and Alex went out for coffee, donuts and Chick Fil-a, (he was not to be deterred!), while I got up and ready. We helped Putt, Karen Putt and Erin load the cars and headed to campus.

The tailgate was in full swing by 8:45 with flags flying, beer flowing and Mary's mixing. A great time was had by all.

The game started at 1:30 and Alex and I sat together. It was raining slightly, but our ponchos kept us and our nachos dry. There was a family sitting next to us with a son of eight, who made friends quickly with Alex. There were many touchdowns and most were in our end zone. We were in the upper deck behind the students. Alex had a great time and enjoyed the interception for a touchdown the most.

The game ended and we stayed to watch the band play and sing our alma mater. It was a beautiful day for Irish football.

We met Lorenzo back at the tailgate and partied with the group until the sun was well set and the crowds were diminished. With a pizza from Brunos for dinner, our day ended with us watching the replay as we nodded off on the couch.

Sunday, Lorenzo, Alex and I had breakfast at Bibblers and headed back to Chicago. We bought a lottery ticket, because you can't win if you don't play and the jackpot was $125 million. Our flight was again, uneventful, and we made it safely home.

It's been a while since I have seen the Irish win at home. My last few trips to ND have had heartbreaker endings. I am glad we got a win this weekend. But mostly, I am glad to have a family like mine.

Alex was extremely well behaved for the weekend. Lorenzo and I had fun and got to meet some old friends. My in-laws took great care of Meghan, as always, and we all got home safe and sound. This is one of those times that it's really good to be me.

Monday, October 17, 2005


It's just not fair that the only 5 minutes of the Irish game that I saw were the most gut wrenching and ultimately heart breaking of all.

Then you add the continuous stream of "oh, it's too bad", "tough loss, Lynn", and "maybe next year" condolences I have received and it's like I can't forget Saturday.

I am proud of the Irish. They played well. We proved USC is not un-stoppable, just damn lucky this week.

Keeping the perspective, for me, helps. The past 3 years we have lost by 31 points. ND has not even been competitive in the second half during the last few years. This year, nail biter is the only word to describe the game. We looked good, period. I am very proud of our team for that.

Oh, if only ...

Lorenzo, Alex and I are heading up on Friday for the BYU game. I hope Charlie has the boys ready, because we need a home win.


Friday, October 14, 2005

Competing Allegiances

Oh, to be in South Bend this weekend. Lorenzo and I are really struggling with our obligations and our desires this week. All of you ND fans who can't be in South Bend are probably feeling the same. The kids are ready. Meghan has her ND t-shirt on today and her cheerleader outfit is ready for tomorrow. Alex has his jersey ready for tomorrow. Meghan has been practicing "Go Irish" and Alex is singing The Fight Song.

So, what's the problem, why aren't we there?

It's my fault. When Lorenzo and I put in for tickets this spring, I didn't want to go to SC. Yes, I was a skeptical believer in our ability to be ready. I am at fault.

In addition, we have a few personal commitments this weekend. Alex has soccer games. I am attending a few bridal showers and we're basically out of town the next 3 weekends. Reality, life beyond ND football has intervened.

I am sure some of you don't comprehend that statement. "Life beyond ND Football" may not compute. For my other friends, you're probably saying "Lynn and Lorenzo are finally joining reality". (Mica I mean you.) Say what you may. Think what you think. This reality is not easy for us.

ND football has been our Saturday religion for 13-15 years. It's a tough transition beyond it. BUT, we will be back.

AND, we will be in South Bend next week.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Grand Opening

Lynn has been traveling a lot lately for her job. She is currently in Florida now but will be back here tonight. This weekend will be the Grand Opening of the new Firewheel Center Mall that is about 3 miles from our home. We have been looking forward to this for a while since it has some nice anchor stores (Dillard’s, Foley, Barnes & Noble) and several other stores where Lynn and I like to shop. There are grand opening event all weekend for it. There will even be a 15 screen AMC theater adjacent to the mall but will not open until later this year. This will be so convenient come Christmas shopping season.

On the kid front, Meghan is, for the most part, potty trained. She has not gone while she is sleeping and has not had an accident for a long time while at her daycare. She is also learning new words everyday and has a tendency to mimic everything you say with pretty good accuracy. Her independent streak is not letting up as evidenced by her desire to climb into her safety seat in the back of my car. She also has to get out by herself while saying, “I do it. I do it.”

Alex made us very proud this week by making the ‘A’ Honor Roll at Kimberlin Academy for the 1st six weeks of school. He has been doing well on his homework and reading a lot more than the summer. Alex has also been doing well in soccer having scored the first goal of the season for his team. In a classic setting, he played goalie for most of the game and after the half, coach put him at the forward position. In no time at all, he and Caleb, his teammate took the ball into the opponent’s side of the field. With Caleb handling the ball, Alex, moved ahead, called for Caleb to pass to him, fielded the pass, then moved on to score the goal. It was just a perfect play.

Notre Dame is now in their bye week having gone 4-1, the one loss having come at the hands of Michigan St. in overtime. No one thought they would be at this point. Charlie Weis is the man. He has taken a 5-6 team with basically the same players and made them into this offensive machine. Not to get to carried away but the amount of yardage that ND is gaining is high compared to last year and raking 9th in the nation out of 117 teams. Now the not so good part, the defense still needs work and the secondary is still a trouble spot. However, it does seem that the Irish had adopted a bend-don’t-break philosophy, so while opponents score they do so with field goals and late TDs when the game has already been decided. When the Irish come off the bye week they will be facing USC. Ugghhh. These are the 2-time National Champions USC team that will be coming into ND Stadium next weekend. I have faith in Charlie to come up with a good scheme against this USC team but I am not sure the talent is there to stop USC and come out with a win. But ohh if they did……..

So in lieu of watching ND play, as this is their bye week, I will be attending the Texas-OU game this weekend, thanks to my Uncle Ernie. He got tickets and since he has extra I will be joining him. It will be nice to not really have to have a lot invested emotionally in the game. I would like Texas to win, since I grew up a UT fan but I will not be heartbroken about it if they lose. It will be good to get out and see a game.

We are due a load of wine from one of our favorite wineries around Napa later in the month. Vincent Arroyo Winery is a local favorite and Lynn and I ran across it on the wine tour that we took there for her birthday trip. Our standing order with them should be coming soon. That, in addition, to the wine we recently got from our trip to Temecula, CA will make for a closet full of wine.

All for now.