How I spent (and didn’t spend) my summer vacation

I didn’t spend summer in the hospital. [Fox applauds, then passes out.]

I feel like I won the lottery by not going in, though the pattern for me has long been one without summer hospital stays. With falling leaves, colds and other viruses on the way, you can bet that I’ll soon be returning to hell.

Ebony and Ivory, living in perfect harmony on the beach

I didn’t spend June, July or August coughing up blood, though summer hasn’t officially ended.

And if you’re a betting man or woman, I’d bet on the blood thanks to the blood thinning shots I’m stabbing into my McGriddle-fattened six-pack twice a day. And I’ve just tempted fate by mentioning it on the blog, which means I’ll probably be in the hospital coughing up blood within the next two or three days.

I did spend June working on what the Donald would call a “super-big, important, super-large” project at work. It was a success and once again I proved it’s better to be lucky than good, and assembling a talented team always makes one look better than they truly are. Go Team Unknown.

We did spend the summer with a new puppy – a goofy, mischievous, shower-squeegee stealing, whining, scared of her own shadow, mystery of a black lab that I wanted to give away, but was outvoted by my wife and daughter, who are both attached to the black shadow-thief. (That’s all I can write about the dog, otherwise my friend @onlyz tunes out at this point and starts to read the back of the vegan muffin package.)

I didn’t spend this summer blogging or watching TV, but I did spend it reading. I read over 8,000 pages and enjoyed every minute, staying up late and making the most of when time takes its mandated-by-law break.

Malibu coastline on a nice summer day.

I did spend the hot months milking every bit of fun I could. I filled every weekend with an activity and dragged my wife and daughter to all kinds of places. From the American Idol concert, to the beach, the circus, a dog agility trial and canyon roads we’d never driven. We didn’t take a summer trip this year thanks to the blood-thinner shots, but we still had a great time and spoiled ourselves by eating dinner at restaurants more often.

The end of a great concert at Theatricum in Topanga. Check out a play here if you're in Los Angeles.

Monday, Labor Day, we ended the “holiday to holiday” summer with the annual benefit concert at Theatricum in Topanga. What an amazing afternoon filled with talented singers singing Burt Bacharach songs. A great way to finish my favorite season of the year watching some of Los Angeles’s most talented musicians, like Inara George and Sara Melson, play music for two hours.

So, I’m happy with the job I did having fun this summer. I cannot guarantee I’ll see another one. I hope I do, but it’s not written in stone that I will.

Now it’s time to focus on autumn and the Denver Broncos winning and me staying out of hell and not catching colds or the flu or coughing up blood. I’m optimistic, but know sometimes there is nothing I can do but ride out ill-timed surprises.

Here’s to a healthy fall and winter to all.

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Mother’s Day is not just for Moms

As the event planner for our family, I scheduled quite the weekend of fun. I made sure I did what I wanted to do and brought my wife – the mother of our child – and said child along for the ride.

Yes, I am the world’s least thoughtful husband. I stopped just short of buying myself a gift.

At one point, my daughter thought it hilarious, in her 9-year-old way, to state all of the work my wife does and compare it to how little I do. This wasn’t on my list of events for the weekend. But that didn’t stop her from delivering this bonus gift to her mom, at my expense. Ouch.

This is what you'd call industrial size fun if you were into washing clothes. Is anyone into washing clothes? Wouldn't it be better if we wore plastic and hosed each off? Creative Commons: Cherrycoke

Then my wife joined my flogging and asked me if I ever did laundry before we met. I must have. But to tell the truth, I don’t remember how I did it.

I don’t think I can operate our current washing machine. I’d have to stare at it and hope my Jedi powers would jump start it. But I do remember putting quarters in the machines I once used. Quarters in, wash. Quarters in, dry. Walk away without a date.

I can say this: I hated washing clothes.

Anyway, that was a long time ago. I’m sure I’ll get another beating on Father’s Day. But, the male lion did defend himself with the building of our bathroom, a deck, the furnishing of the house, and the planning of this weekend, which without me would have left the two ladies in my life sitting around playing Uno and watching HGTV – all in the house that I built with my bare hands while wearing a manly tool belt and oozing a certain man musk that attracted every feral cat in the neighborhood.

I saved my wife and daughter from the mundane and episodes of “House Hunters.” Growl. Now let me take my 16-hour nap while you hunt for my dinner.

Every angle of this building looks cool

The fun started Saturday with “The Songs of Patsy Cline” at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. We’re not big fans of Patsy Cline songs, but we were of the talent singing the songs. And, having never been to the amazing hall, an attraction in itself,  I decided it would be a fun thing to do on the evening prior to Mother’s Day.

Come along, ladies, you’re my invited guests.

Five jammed lanes of L.A. traffic killed our plans to eat dinner in a historic downtown firehouse, now transformed into a restaurant. So, we improvised and ate chicken curry, peanut butter and jelly, and saltwater taffy at the concert hall cafe.

Oh, and what a building it is. It lived up to every photo I’ve seen of it. And the inside – equally jaw-dropping.

The concert delivered voices best appreciated in person. Inara George of Bird and the Bee fame and The Living Sisters hosted and brought tears to my eyes with their harmonies. Guest stars included John C. Reilly, the actor, who is an excellent performer, John Doe of X fame, who my wife couldn’t stop talking about after the concert, as if he would be a better husband than I, because as we all know, rock stars make great husbands, and Zooey Deschanel, who my daughter knew of from Elf, the movie.

I had to take a picture of the empty stage because I wasn't allowed to take a picture of the performers. No, one wouldn't want a picture promoting them on a blog now, would they?

Sunday included a trip to our favorite local secret hideout of talent – Theatricum Botanicum. I used the term “secret” because this outdoor theater is one of the best values in L.A., and showcases incredible performers.

We watched Momentum Place presented by Take Note! and Lexi Pearl. The show  mixed acrobatics with comedy and the reading of the written word. It was fantastic.

The highlight for us was a comedian/juggler/contortionist named Scot Nery. Here’s his web site: http://jugglegood.com/#home  If you ever get a chance to see him, do it. He put on one of the funniest “clean” shows I’ve ever watched.

I’m grateful to have weekends like this one, as we made the most of the two days we had. I only wish they weren’t so fleeting.

I can’t wait to see what my wife plans for Father’s Day. Probably a mani-pedi, or something delicious like watching reruns of Sex and the City, or talking about our feelings.

Payback can be cruel.