Category Archives: Friends and Family

Ironman Texas

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In a moment of weakness and/or bravado a couple of years back, I claimed that I would do an Ironman on every continent.  So, Brazil 2008 (South America: done); Germany 2010 (Europe: done).   Last year they announced, for the first time ever, that there would be an Ironman event in Texas — right here in the Houston area.  I was bummed — on one hand, if they’re having one in your hometown, you can’t NOT do it, but I’d loved doing them as “destination events”  in cool distant places.  Worse, they scheduled it in late May — in south Texas where, you may already know, it gets really hot in late May.

And so we did it.  My friends / training partners all did great.  Scott exorcised his IronMan demons (his last attempt – in Germany – landed him in the ICU rather than the finish line).  Shane logged his fourth Ironman (his third within a 12-month span).  The one female in our group, Angie, kicked all our butts (in our defense, she’s a fitness “professional” and she’s about three age-groups younger than the Shane and me).  All good.  Me?  I had some unmentionable problems during the bike section, which set me back nearly an hour and gave me my worst Ironman time ever.  But hey, I finished, so who cares, right?  North America: done.

And my Mom and Dad even came down to watch.

That’s me in the black tank top (#2079).  [Update: I added some pics of Scott, too].  I’ll try to gather and add some pics of the others.  Here are a few for now.

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(Obviously, I didn’t TAKE any of these pictures).

 

My nephew — at Second City in Chicago

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If you’ve been around me much in the last 22 years or so, you’ve likely heard of my baby nephew, Tyler.   If you’ve been around me in the last one year or so, you’ve likely heard that little Tyler is about 6’5,” that he was the captain of his collegiate basketball team (OBU), and that his team won the NAIA National Championship in 2010.

After graduation, Tyler headed to Chicago to try his luck at the Second City comedy/improv “institute” there.  Transitioning from the sheltering arms of OBU in Shawnee and moving to the Windy City to take a run at show biz shows a level of bravery and spirit that his uncle never mustered at that age.  Everybody asks, “What’s he gonna do?”, but of course neither he nor I knows the answer to that.  But I’m proud he’s willing to take the adventure.

Last week I flew up to Chicago to hang out with him a bit, and to see him at a short ‘showcase’ at Second City.  It was dark and my pictures are no good, but at least you can recognize him in his debut on a Chicago stage.  Remember this day.

Belize Retreat

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This year’s annual Gibbs & Bruns firm retreat was on Ambergris Cay in Belize.  It may or may not be my last one (I’ve never missed one since 1993), so there was definitely a bittersweet element.  But I’ll get sentimental about G&B some other time.  I didn’t get the camera out much, but I did get one interesting and “okay” (not great) shot of a sweet Guatamalan lady peddling blankets on the beach.  I couldn’t resist and bought a couple as baby presents for folks who missed the retreat due to pregnancies.

The shot of Scott is no work of art, but it’s here because it makes me laugh.  He’d got up at sunrise and wandered out to the beach to read, only to discover me already out there:  shirtless, as I recall, and experimenting with how best to balance light from an off-camera flash unit with the natural light of the sunrise.  His expression reveals his role as an unwilling model, his bemusement that I was out there doing that at that hour, and his discomfort that I was shirtless out there taking his picture.  Like I said, it makes me laugh.

The couple in the other picture is Kathy Patrick and her husband Arthur.  Kathy is one of my long-time G&B friends and partners — a Harvard alum who recruited me to Houston and who is thus one of the reasons life turned out the way it did.

 

 

Laughlin, NV with Ricochet

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I got to fly out to Laughlin, NV to spend a week with Ricochet, the country band (of “Her Daddy’s Money” fame) led by two of my Vian, OK childhood buddies, Greg Cook and Heath Wright.  Laughlin is a small casino town an hour outside Vegas in the pointy south tip of Nevada.  They had a six-day gig at Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort and Casino, which has apparently stood on that site for 50+ years.  Entering the place is a trip to the 1970s, but it was lots of fun.  We met Don Laughlin himself, and even hung out with his grandson (who works there as a pit boss).

Part of Ricochet’s deal was to sing the Star Spangled Banner at the Laughlin River Stampede (rodeo) each day, so I got to see a high-quality PRCA rodeo with VIP I’m-with-the-band access.  One day I took Greg and Heath aboard N3738R for a flying tour over Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell and Monument Valley.  It was truly great to spend a week with dear “old” friends (let’s just say that Greg is (a) “a little older” than me, and (b) a two-time grandpa).

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Final Four

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Fortunately for me (but sucking for him), my friend Scott had tickets to the Final Four Championship game, but wound up being out of town on game day.  I got to be Stacy’s “date,” and join the Merzes for a fun experience.  Congrats to the Huskies.