My five favorite Disney theme parks:
- Walt Disney World
- California Adventure
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney-MGM Studios)
Can I borrow your towel for a sec? My car just hit a water buffalo.
My five favorite Disney theme parks:
“What are you trying to do, scare me? You sound like my mother. We’ve known each other for a long time. I don’t believe in magic, a lot of superstitious hocus pocus. I’m going after a find of incredible historical significance, you’re talking about the boogie man. Besides, you know what a cautious fellow I am.”
Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark
In no particular order:
My mom died one year ago today. It simultaneously feels like it was only yesterday and like it was a thousand years ago. I miss her so much that there is an actual ache in my heart.
She died much too young. It was undeserved and unfair and unjust and I still rage inside that my son does not get to have her as a grandmother. She wanted to be Nana more than anything, and she loved her two children — me and my sister — more than anyone could ever comprehend.
I love you, mom. I love you and I miss you and I wish you were here.
I spent a half-dozen painful hours on the phone exactly one year ago tonight. My mom had been rushed to the emergency room and I was desperate for answers. The hospital had told me she was fine; she had a urinary tract infection which was causing acute temporary dementia, but they’d given her some antibiotics and sent her back to the assisted living facility and told me not to worry. When I asked the nurse for a list of her medications, she told me mom was being administered a drug called Risperdal.
That was a big deal because just a few days before that I had gotten confirmation from the assisted living facility that under no circumstance would they give her that drug. (She’d been given it months prior and had a bad reaction to it.) I spent the night on the phone with multiple nurses and administrators at Woodland Terrace, begging them to tell me what was happening. I was in tears and asking to speak to anyone who would help me. They told me that I needed to call back on Monday morning and rudely hung up on me. I would call again and beg and again be rebuffed and again be told nobody would speak to me and again they hung up on me.
My wife called and begged for answers on my behalf. They told her that they wouldn’t give her any information because she wasn’t listed as a contact, even though I was very certainly listed as a contact and they wouldn’t give me answers either. I asked if they’d simply confirm or deny whether she was being given the drug which they had asked for my permission to give her (and I had refused) and they told me I needed to speak to an administrator. They told me the administrator I knew — a lovely woman who’d spoken to me a dozen times in the previous several weeks — was no longer employed there, and they refused to tell me even the name of the new administrator. (And their website hadn’t been updated yet; it still listed the woman I knew.)
I begged for someone to just please understand that I was a son asking for information about my mother and I was told I needed to call back on Monday and speak to an administrator. I said, “That’s not going to do me any good if she’s dead on Monday!” The nurse hung up on me.
I spent several hours on the phone with the Florida Department of Children and Families and managed to have them send an “investigator” to the facility on Saturday. But because of some absurd Florida law, he was unable to tell me anything about his visit or even to confirm that he went. (I learned later that he did, in fact, visit Woodland Terrace that Saturday; I’ve never been informed anything else.)
On Saturday, August 11, 2012 I ran 5.15 miles in fifty minutes and twenty-six seconds. I stopped at one point and got in an argument with a guy and his girlfriend. They had stopped traffic on Pico by jaywalking and then the guy was flipping birds at cars who honked at him. I told him he should be ashamed of himself and that he was the one in the wrong. At first he was a complete jerk; he even made a rude remark about my Mickey Mouse t-shirt. But after we argued for a few minutes, eventually he apologized and said he was just trying to look tough for his girlfriend. We actually shook hands and he said he’d been having a rough day and I felt bad for him.
It was a gorgeous, sunny day.
Five very important, but often overlooked, factors to consider when buying or renting a new house or apartment:
I read Happy Yoga the week before my birthday, and then in July I read Bad Monkey, World War Z, and In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex1. Two non-fiction and two fiction is a pretty good balance, I think.
A twenty-something David would never believe it if you told him reading only four books in a month was a big deal. But at forty — and after having not read a single book in well over a year — I’m happy about it. Right now I’m reading an anthology titled Classic Sailing Stories. (I try to knock out thirty pages each day.)
What do you think about that, Supes?
I hit the pavement this morning to kick off August with style:
— David Vincent Gagne (@davidgagne) August 1, 2013
The shuffle gods frowned on me for not running much in July. I was punished with a set list that made no sense at all.
The JFK Presidential Library and Museum has just released fully digitized copies of Ernest Hemingway’s mother’s scrapbooks, which chronicle the writer’s childhood and adolescent years in five volumes.
The scrapbooks … juxtapose [her] observations and notes with photographs, drawings, and other ephemera … [She] recorded all of the bits of baby talk that she found brilliant and (as she wrote) “spontaneous and original.” She called Ernest “Mama’s little mink” and delighted in their confidential conversations.
One of my favorite memories of my mom — of my entire childhood, actually — is singing Runaway by Del Shannon in the car with her and my little sister while driving to St. Paul’s Catholic elementary school. I love that song. She loved that song. She loved singing that song.
Mom loved music. And I don’t just mean, “She loved music,” in the way you would say that about someone who has a huge record collection and can sing the words to thousands of songs, or someone with really groovy eclectic taste, or anything like that. I mean she had a love affair with music. She was passionate about music in a way that transcends explanation to or comprehension by anyone that wasn’t her or me or my little sister.
My mom, even towards the end of her much-too-short life, loved music with a rage and angst and lust that would have been familiar to any teenaged boy in the late 80s (e.g. me) screaming, “F* you! You don’t even get Pink Floyd the way I do, man!” (She never would have vocalized it that way, of course!) And she felt that way about Mozart and church hymns and The Beatles and country music and calypso and the Star Wars theme.
Runaway will always make me think of my mom. I can still distinctly remember the unbridled joy and laughter and giggling, the three of us doing our best to match the pitch of the whistle solo. She could do it, of course. My mom had pipes and she used them. I can’t sing to save my life, but she raised me to do it anyway. I remember my sister laughing in her seatbelt in the back seat of our cordovan AMC Concord. It’s a lovely memory.
My NFL team is the New England Patriots. It always has been and it almost certainly always will be. To have five favorite NFL teams seems irrational, because only one can win the Super Bowl each year. But you’ll notice that they are all NFC teams, with the potential exception of the team using my favorite player of all-time, which gets a spot on the list just below my team.
My mom raised me to be a Pats fan and we rooted for them through all the dark years. (We were long-suffering Red Sox fans as well. Aside from the Celtics, and until I got to college at the beginning of the Spurrier tidal wave of championships, sports to me meant futility, failure, and sadness.)
Aside from Green Eggs & Ham a thousand times, and the Hemingway novels I was reading my son as bedtime stories when he was an infant, I haven’t managed to read a single book in almost three years. That should be an astounding fact to anyone who has known me for a while, since I have always been a ferocious reader.1
I’m not upset by this, though; I realized a long, long time ago that there will always be more books that I want to read than I will have time on this Earth to read them. Right now I’m more than happy to trade time with my nose in a book for time spent on the floor covered in building blocks or having my abdomen used as a trampoline.
But my wife insisted that I read Happy Yoga by Steve Ross before my 40th birthday, so I did. (I’ve got a chapter to go, but I’ll probably knock that out this evening.) It is a fabulous book, and I highly recommend it. I don’t say that lightly. I have immediately classified it as one of the best I’ve ever read, and it belongs on the shelf alongside the others that I constantly try to convince friends to read: Labyrinths of Reason, Lempriere’s Dictionary, and To Have and Have Not.
And I went to a Level 2/3 class at Maha Yoga this morning. I’ve done P90X Yoga a dozen or so times in the last year, but I haven’t gone to an actual yoga class in a long, long time. It was wonderful.