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Saturday, February 26, 2011

American Football Coach Moon Style

Some of you may know that my father was a prominent and highly successful American High School Football coach.  Tonight we watched the DVD of his championship game from 1981.  I was in college when this happened so I wasn't present to see this magical season unfold, but so many of the player's names became household terms that I feel like I knew them personally.  It was great fun to watch the game with my dad, listening to his commentary.  His memory from his coaching career is amazing.  He knows what play he called, what mistakes were made, what yardage was gained, who did what when and where!  His knowledge of the game is staggering and his love for the kids is even more moving.  Many of these former players have kept in touch with Coach Moon as my father was affectionately called and it is a real testimony to how big his life footprint really is.
At the end of the game, when his young team finally won the State Championship in triple overtime, you see my dad running across the field and then bear hug his defensive coordinator and long time friend Bob Salerno and then jump on him whilst the two of them shared a huge, warm, victorious embrace.  It brought some tears to my eyes because those two were such a dynamic duo and Bob passed away last year.  The triple overtime win ended up being an epic game in southern California high school football lore and changed the rules of California high school football forever...from then on, they never played overtime in the final game, but instead allowed the teams to be declared co-champions!
This particular DVD (made from old video tape) showed part of the locker room speech that Coach Moon gave after the game.  It was inspiring and thoughtful and very fun for me to see this as I had never seen footage like this before.  Watching my father impart wisdom upon these young kids made me realize how great it must've been to be part of these championship seasons as a player.  I loved being a fan and a family member, but to be part of the inner circle of that's something.
One of my regrets in life is never having had the opportunity to play for a coach like my father.  I  know I'm bragging, but trust me, if you talk with the players who played for him, they will tell you what an extraordinary experience it was.  Some call it the best time of their lives and why else would so many of the players, now in their late 40's and 50's, want to keep in touch with him?  Because he offered them something that was indeed extraordinary.  I so wish I had in my history the opportunity to play on a team with an extraordinary coach at the helm.  Of course, I am very happy to be his daughter and share in family life and re-live these moments in such a warm manner, but for those of you who got to play for him and especially those on the championship teams of 1977 and 1981, I hope you realize how lucky you are.  To watch the magic unfold on DVD tonight was pretty special for me.  To remember the kids and the families that shaped our family life during those years brought back warm memories for me.
What I also learned tonight is how close he came to winning more championships.  He made the finals 6 times.  Lost one by 1 point.  Lost another by 3.  Of course, since I was a senior in high school when his team won the first championship, the 1977 win will always be the best ever.
At any rate, I am a happy that we took the time to watch this game and re-live some of his glory years.  I know I'm bragging, but if you can't brag about  your dad on your own blog once in awhile, why bother having a blog, right?!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Winter in the Desert

 There are not many places in our world where a backdrop of snow-capped mountains will be fronted by towering palm trees and golf courses, but here in Palm Springs, California, that is exactly what you get when the valley gets a lot of rain and the mountains get a lot of snow. 

It is staggeringly beautiful here once again due to the snow-capped peaks that surround this desert paradise. 
This is one of many reasons that I love it out here: the beauty is dazzling, different, surprising, and lovely.  When it rains a lot, the hills and the lawns turn emerald green.  The blooming flowers dot the landscape with bright colors and the sapphire blue sky lights up the day.
On our morning walks, we wander around the neighborhood, checking out our dream houses and thinking about the day when we will live here.
It is uncharacteristically chilly for this late in February.  We're hitting the rare winter jet stream that blows through the desert on occasion.  Of course, the high 60's F is a welcome treat when my dear friends in Stockholm and in the midwest are still fighting blizzards and sub-freezing temperatures.  I must admit, I'm still wearing shorts, enjoying time by the poolside and working on my tan every day.  By early next week the 70's come into view and shortly after I return to Stockholm, the high temperatures look like they arrive to stay.  At least the light is coming back in Sweden.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Best Day: Doug's Birthday in Cabo San Lucas

On February 17, 2011 we celebrated Doug's 51st birthday! What a special day this turned out to be.  Cabo San Lucas is our favorite place in Mexico so it was great that this was our port stop on Doug's special day. 
This sign cracked us up!
We got off early, found a local whale watching tour and looked forward to a great day on a catamaran. 
Our memories of how beautiful Cabo is were not disappointing.  This place is just paradise!  The water, the landscape, the beaches, the harbor are all just lovely.  We were among the last to board the catamaran but realized that no one wanted to sit on the front netting so we plunked down and enjoyed the best view on board.  Not long after that we were zipping through the ocean, pausing for a photo opportunity in front of the iconic arches and beautiful beaches.  Soon we were in whale territory and when we saw the first spray from a blow hole we were pretty excited.  Soon enough the humpback whales were surfacing all around and eventually whale tails were flipping all around us.  It was so thrilling.  What is it about seeing whales in their natural environment that thrills us so?  I don't know but I felt it!  We were out in whale territory for a good hour and a half and saw a lot of action.  We were sunning the whole time. The crew even gave Doug a special birthday celebration!  It was a perfect way to spend the day!
Back on board, we enjoyed a beautiful afternoon and got all dressed up for dinner.  How appropriate that shrimp and lobster were on the menu. 
We had a wonderful time celebrating Doug and enjoying the beauty of our last stop on the Mexican Riviera.

I love Cabo. It's easy to understand why.
We had one more day at sea on the boat after our Cabo stop.  We enjoyed a restful day playing cards, hanging out around the pool and watching loads of dolphins playing around the back of the ship!  What fun to see them jumping and swimming and giving us good free entertainment!
This cruise was great.  It was a wonderful vacation with my folks and a great, warm weather, sunny break for us.


Disliked Mazatlan so much last year that we didn't even bother to get off the boat this year.  The beaches are a good half hour away from the port and they aren't that nice.  We decided that hanging around the pools and relaxing on a less crowded ship seemed like a better option.  So we lounged by the pool, went to afternoon tea and played cards with mom and dad.  It was a great, relaxing perfect vacation day.

 We enjoyed a nice sail away, a beautiful sunset and the desserts at dinner were quite extraordinary. By this time, we were feeling good and happy little campers!

Puerto Vallarta

The first port was Puerto Vallarta and we eagerly found our way off the ship into a cab. I was happy to pull the Spanish out of the cobwebs in my mind and converse with the taxi driver in his native tongue.  We like Puerto Vallarta.  Last year when we were there, it was a stormy rainy day.  This year bright sun beckoned us to the Malecon, the main beachfront shopping and restaurant zone.
We headed for our favorite watering hole, the Cheeky Monkey, and were delighted to see that they still had $1.00 margaritas and Mexican beers on offer. 
We ordered chips and salsa and enjoyed the view. Sand sculptures dot the beachfront, while pelicans dive bomb the ocean waters looking for food.  We strolled along the beach, plunked down for a nap in the sand and took in the general feeling of tourism in this Mexican paradise. 

I like it here.  I like Mexico.  I like trying to speak Spanish.  I like the food and the drink and the people.  At the end of the day, safely back on board, we sat on deck and watched a golden sun sink behind the horizon into the Pacific.  These are the memories of my childhood growing up on the west coast...sitting on the beach watching the sun fall into the ocean. 
It's still one my favorite views.
Maybe one day we'll come back for a longer holiday and venture into the mountains of the Sierra Madre that lurk behind the coast.

Happy Valentine's Day

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that Valentine's Day on a cruise ship is full of kitch and frivolity.  The huge display of cakes and the silliest (scariest) cupid you've ever seen adorned the atrium on February 14!  They had a massive renewal of vows as well.  Doug and I skipped it and instead sat poolside and affirmed that we loved one another and wanted to keep being married! 
It's fun to get dressed up on the ship, enjoy 3 course meals, fun musical productions and good comedy.  One of the comedians, Steve Moris, was especially hilarious and he's opening a new show in Las Vegas next month.  If you get a chance to see this guy, do it.  He's clean, funny, and just zany.  It was good fun.
 It was great to be with loved ones surrounded by love on Valentine's Day.  It was a full day at sea so I worked on my tan, relaxed in the steam room and jacuzzi on board, walked a couple of miles around the deck and enjoyed my sweetheart all day long.