Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Cruise

Bathrobe Party with the Newlyweds, Ramonita and Raul
One of the nightly towel creations from our cabin steward
Sunset on the Caribbean
The Lido Deck
Formal Night
Fishing trip in St. Kitts
The Bride and Groom...Ramonita and Raul
Safety Drill with Kelly's Parents Night #1
Town square in Ponce, Puerto Rico
Zip Line Adventure in Barbados
San Juan Puerto Rico
St. Lucia

Our boat, the Carnival Victory

Kelly and I went to Puerto Rico on December 12th to celebrate the wedding of my friends Ramonita and Raul. After the wedding we joined the wedding couple and their families on a seven day Caribbean Cruise.

This was my first cruise and I can’t wait to go on more! You get first class treatment, nightly entertainment and everyday you wake up at a different island. Our cruise stopped in St. Thomas, Dominica, Barbados, St. Kitts, Antigua and St. Lucia. We enjoyed all of our stops, but we were most impressed with our time and shore excursion in Antigua.

Below are several photographs and stories from our trips. Enjoy! More photos and stories coming soon!

The Power of the Internet

If you don’t believe in the power of the internet, read this e-mail that I received from a woman who was a complete stranger about two months ago. She is a voice over actress for commercials. She didn’t receive payment for her work for Applebees, so she performed a search on the internet for information on the commercial. I was in the commercial for Applebees last year. I posted the information on this blog. She found my blog and contacted me. The rest of the story is below:

Hi Frank,

Hope you and your girlfriend have a Happy New Year!

I'm really writing to say THANK YOU for keeping a blog. Thanks to your blog mentioning the Applebees (which led me to find out that it was running on the Internet......), I received a check for roughly
(Large Amount Omitted on purpose).

Thought you'd like to know that your blogging can have significant outcomes!

Have a succesful 2009!


Our First Marathon

Kelly and I ran in and COMPLETED our first marathons. . The main word is “completed.” We ran in the PF Chang’s Rock and Roll Arizona Marathon
A marathon is definitely hard work mentally and physically. If you ever decide to compete in one; “check your ego at the door!” I also learned that the first eight miles of a race turns a city into the worlds largest urinal! Too much fluid in peoples bodies and not enough bathrooms when nature calls!

Frank, did you do? How long did it take?

I finished with a time of 5:12:48. I am a competitive person and wanted to run my race in four hours and thirty minutes. I was on pace to hit that goal until my body became a part of the decision making process. I started to get some calf cramps and my quadriceps began to lock up around the seventeen-mile marker. I did what I could but had to walk a lot of the last six miles. I was able to loosen up my legs for the last half mile and ran across the finish line at five hours, twelve minutes and forty-eight seconds! I quickly gave my marathon retirement speech to my friends who were waiting for me at the finish line. After icing my legs and getting some first aid attention, I headed back to the finish line to wait for Kelly.

Race temps hit 78 degrees, so she had leg issues just like me. Her hips locked up and limited her running around the same point at me. Kelly kept moving though and walk most of the last eight miles of the race. She race across the finish line too. She finished in six hours and twenty three minutes. 6:23 She finished the race and is already talking about running in the race again next year. She would like to train a little differently and plans on improving her time. I’ve told her that I will be there as her number one supporter and possibly ride a bike along side of her during the race.

Approximately 10,000 people signed up for the marathon. Only 6600 finished! 26.2 miles of road running takes a toll on the body!

Kelly and I would really like to thank our friends from who supported us during the race. Brian, Teresa, Caden, Cole, Chad, Tracy, Holly and Karen thank you for either running with us, cheering us on and providing cold drinks along the race route.

My good friends from Ohio…..Brian, Teresa, Tracy and Chad.
Kelly finishing the race. Woo hoo!

This sign was made up by my friend’s Teresa, Brian, (their sons) Caden and Cole. They were in town to for the race and for Brian to help coach is Team in Training running team. Brian ran a total of 28 miles!
Here are a few pictures of us at the starting line and are starting corals.

Me, Kelly and our friend Holly (She finished in 4 hours and 15 minutes)
Race day. Wake up at 4:00 AM. Get to the parking lot at 5:00 AM. Get bused to the starting line at 6:00 AM. Wait for the race to start and take pictures until race starts at 7:40 AM

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The 44th President of the United States

President Obama

The United States really surprised me on Election Day 2008. I didn’t vote because of race, but it was inspiring to see that face on the television screen. It was great to see so many people who put race aside to vote on a candidate they believe can lead this country. I just happened to be a black man. Seeing Barack take the oath of office and being our President was like seeing the new Pope. It’s not what you expected or were used to seeing.

In November I posted my feelings about voting and let everyone know whom I voted for. Two months later, Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States.

I had to work on Tuesday, but any time I got a chance, I found a television set or a computer to read or watch anything I could about the newest President of the United States. To be honest, I still can’t believe it. My girlfriend talked about having a new sense of hope with our new President. I told he I had goose bumps and shed a few tears.

I remembered watching the news on election night. A US Military Officer in Afghanistan said Election Day was the first time he truly believed the Constitution…”All men are created equal.” Tuesday doesn’t make this completely true. Many groups still aren’t competing on the same levels, but it’s a little easier to believe you can when you see someone with a background closer to yours hold the highest position in the land when you’ve never seen or thought of it before.

Being a Black American male it felt really good to see a face that looks similar to mine all over the media as the President of the United States. I have spent the last fifteen years working with people telling them anything is possible. But, when I talked to friends several years ago about the possibility of having a Black or a Female as President of the United States; I didn’t know if I would ever see it happen. Those scenarios where only seen in movies or on television shows.

This blog entry isn’t about politics. It’s about the possibilities for the future. After Tuesday, a lot of people won’t have an excuse to excel or achieve their dreams, no matter how impossible those dreams may appear. People can’t use any of the following excuses:

I’m multi racial
I’m Black/African American
My father left me
I can’t afford school
I can’t be President
I’m not rich
I had family pass away due to diseases
I’m too young

The United States is made up of so many unique and different types of people. Living in Arizona and traveling around the country. I noticed how much this election was and more importantly wasn’t about race. I saw young and old people supporting Obama. Rich and poor. People who said, “I believe he is the best candidate for the job,” versus talking about his race.

The media has made a big deal of this incredible day in history and they should.

The United States made a big step forward on January 20, 2009. The United States is always taking about being the land of opportunity and the land of diversity. But you never really saw it in high positions of authority. I hope Tuesday is just the beginning of opportunities for other underrepresented populations. I can’t wait to see our first female President, a President of Asian Heritage or a President of Hispanic Heritage. I know this won’t happen over night, but I really hope Tuesday shows people that the impossible is possible. If you believe in what you’re shooting for, take the proper actions and when things seem at there lowest you stay determined.

Barack please do a great job. You’ve been a great role model so far, but your journey has just begun. You have the pressure and weight of a nation on your shoulders. You have 200 years of politics to deal with. Congratulations on being the first Black President. You’ve made history! Now you are going to be judged as a President and a leader. You’ll need substance not history to keep people going during these tough times!

Happy New Year (Very B’lated)

My best friend Scott made is yearly New Year’s pilgrimage to the “Valley of the Sun” to hang out with me and golf as much as possible!
Kelly and I celebrating New Years with some friends.

Hello Everyone! This is my first blog of 2009! I can’t believe it’s taken me almost a month to blog. My life is always busy and crazy, but the Holiday Season and the first part of the month were even busier. I will do my best to catch everyone up over my next several blog entries. I hope everyone’s New Year has gotten off to a good start!

I didn’t have blogs for the first part of the year because I was spending some quality time with Kelly; I had to work a busy schedule at the Phoenix Zoo; I had friends come into town to visit; I’m finishing up the chapter to a book and I just finished several magazine articles. Did I mention I was training for a marathon too! Wow! I’m tired after reading this!

I would like to say Happy Birthday to the following “January Birthday Babies”