July 21, 2014
To summarize my weekend we have been through hell and back. What I’m most proud of is that we worked together as a team to problem solve and overcome obstacle after obstacle. . Claudia shined in every occasion. She never expressed fear, doubt, or anything other than love of life and appetite for adventure. She was an amazing guide, friend, confidant, and partner in crime (Misdemeanors and traffic violations mostly). The past few days have been stressful, challenging, and befuddling but as I write this I realize more and more how we have had the time of our lives. Inspire of all odds we raced well and posted strong times in all three disciplines. I am more proud of this gold at ITU Magog than I am of any other previous victory. We fought fought faught for this one. We took this race to the octagon and we won. Claudia is a treasure. Her good spirit and good humor kept my sanity in a trying time. I will always be thankful to have had her by my side. Thanks to Mark Sortino for all his help and as always thanks to all the ongoing support from Challenged athlete foundation.
Recently Claudia Spooner stepped up to be my fearless guide. Claudia is a remarkably accomplished triathlete participating in power bar elite team, Watty Inc., having trained for Olympic Trials for marathon, and qualified for her pro card the past two years All of her athletic achievements prepped her perfectly for the lunacy we were going to encounter in our attempt to represent Team USA at ITU Magog. A remarkable many of Claudia’s story have either reference or analogy from princess bride J
Our trip started with usual travel malady. I arrived at the airport very early to check in the bike. Have you ever traveled with your Grandmother and she insisted on arriving hours before it was necessary. Well, I am kind of like that. I am only like that when I have to check the bike. I’m convinced there will be some problem. I always end up waiting at the gate 90 min or more. Claudia encountered some turbulence with regard to a conference call conflict and found herself achieving Olympic qualifying sprint to the gate to make it just in time for the flight to be canceled L
While waiting for information I called our travel agent while Claudia vaporized, I have no idea where she went. I discovered that our travel consultant was on vacation until Monday and no one would be answering the phones until 9 am PST which was in about 4 hours. Leaving us without options. I then received a frantic text from Claudia asking me to meet her at gate 15 as she got us on a flight. Claudia performs miracles; I still don’t understand how this was possible.
In an attempt to ease Mark Sortino’s nerves I sent a text to assure him we were safely on a flight. I had a mish mash with Seri and intended to say “We are safely on a flight, see you in Magog” but really sent “We are crashing on a plane now, I’ll keep you posted, I think to be crazy”. To which he responded “Great” because somehow someway he knew what I meant to say.
Upon our arrival to Montreal I was stopped by the Canadian customs. I am stopped going into Canada every time as I have been red flagged. In 1996 dear old dad had a poorly timed joke with the customs agent heading into Canada and I have been red flagged ever sense. They still interrogate me for at least 30 min. They ask me crazy questions like “Who was governor general of Ontario district 217 in 1996?” To which I offer a sincere blank stare and say “I have no idea”. To be honest to their 30 questions I have maybe one or two answers and they are guesses.
While I was dealing with customs Claudia was dealing with our lost baggage. And on to the next crisis. Bike and both bags are nowhere to be found. They assured us it would be in at midnight and they would rush it to our hotel 2 hours away in Sherbrook. I was skeptical as they seemed generally apathetic. We then went on a scavenger hunt of process and steps getting stamps from one guy to the show to another guy to then be released to get our rental car. It seemed like everyone we talked to had one piece of the puzzle and you had to wait for the next step to be revealed. Like we were expected to mature into leaving the airport. You can’t just exit until you’re sure you’re ready to cross the threshold of the automatic doors to stay in Canada for 3 days and prosper. Don’t rush into it. You don’t acquire a black belt overnight it takes hard work, dedication, and deliberate practice as does exiting the airport.
Finally to the rental car with only our carry ons in hand. We were about 2 hours later than we intended and about to try to navigate the mind craft that is Montreal roads under construction. Sure enough we hit a detour about half way. So began our wilderness farm adventure. We were driving around one lane dirt roads with corn and cows on either side just trusting that our gaps understood our intent and we understood its direction. There were no other cars, no signs, and nothing but meteors to guide the way. Claudia saw a mediocre and was pretty excited.
Meteor sighting was as climactic as rats of unusual size. On several occasions I asked her “Are you sure…?” She responds “Noooooooo.” We proceed as we were beyond the point of no return. We couldn’t go back if we wanted to. We finally arrive at the hotel just after 1 am. We were worn from the trip but in good spirits. We were laughing like children as Claudia searched up and down for the slot for the key. I said “give me that!” and introduced her to the magic of RFID and swiped the key to release the door.
We woke up first thing to go gather our bike which we had been assured would arrive. No bike. Throughout the day we called over and over to find out its most recent sighting. Every time we spoke to them they had a different answer. Claudia mentioned she knew someone who was a retired Captain from American who may have some insight. I was only paying 50% attention as I was reading on my computer. I thought she said she knew someone who was a retired captain America. I gave her a puzzled look to suggest “That is not a real job someone can be, it just isn’t, no one is captain America. Besides between you and me, I think this is more with in Batman’s scope of influence.
Throughout the day it is starting to seem more and more like our bike isn’t coming. So I say to me “What would Beyoncé do in this situation?” I don’t think a Beyoncé show would be canceled just because of lost equipment or costumes and so is true for our race. I called every bike shop in town and found a beach cruiser to rent. This is a 50 lb. cycle cross hybrid tandem that was never intended to be ridden anywhere near a race more or less in a race. You are not allowed to say “High Performance” in the same room as this bike as it would split the parallels of the universe and create a black whole.
Weight = 50 lb. + It’s like in Princess Bride when Butter cup says “We’ll never survive. “And Wesley says “Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”
So we talk these guys into renting it to us on the condition that we add one of their stickers to the bike and ride it with the price tags waving the entire time. We agreed as we were stuck. Claudia seemed concerned justifiably so… so I asked “Which part of this are you concerned by?” Because there were too many possible reasons to be concerned to just take a random guess. There were compounding concerns so I had to fall back on precision questioning.
We joked that in riding on these flat pedals with our running shoes we might have the fastest transition times ever. As we go to leave it occurs to us that we can’t fit the bike in the SUV. I admit it…. When problem solving I yell out the bad ideas peppered in with one or two decent ideas in rapid fire. I said “you take the bike, I’ll drive and hear GPS audio directions!”, “You drive yell left / right out the car!”, “Tie it to the top of the car”, among others. Finally we both rode it back up a 60% gradient hill in flat pedals. We borrowed one helmet. I handed it to Claudia and said “You’re a Mom”. Implying that I only have a dog and if we are going to die today I’d rather it is me. We only have 4 miles to ride (uphill) but my confidence in survival is low. Make peace and get the bike back to the hotel.
As we were riding I expressed that our only saving grace is that the way that we were dressed made it pretty clear that we never intended to be doing this. In the words of John Maloney “I also don’t want me to be doing what I’m doing”. I had on a yoga outfit and flip flops with all our documents wallets, and phones in my bra. Not a sports bra that might have made sense, a regular clearance bra from Target. Claudia had a running skirt and running shoes, remember we didn’t have a change of clothes. I’d rather people say “I wonder what happened?” than say “Those girls have escaped from an institution, call the authorities”. There seemed to be people congregating. I asked one of them what was going on. Due to language barrier she expressed that it was the festival of show and amusement. Joel was kind enough to take the two of us (a pair of liabilities) back to the bike shop to retrieve our rental SUV.
The rest of the day was one problem at a time. Piecing together kits, what can we buy at Walmart? can we tape our shoes to the bike? And on and on. We were going to finish this race no matter what. . Join me in this visualization. Giant heavy bright purple beach cruiser. Kits out of whatever we could find at Walmart to then puff paint ITU on. Whatever helmet I could find at Walmart. Running shoes taped to flat pedals. Claudia and I attempt to seriously race this race. Can you imagine that? How could we be taken seriously? It would be as if the man in black from Princess Bride ran for president.
At 9 pm the night before the race at least our bags arrived. It was a relief as I had some key pieces in the bag. Lesson learned anything I need for the race that I can fit in my carry on will go in my carry on in the future *Never Again*!!!
I then received a call to say our bike was on the way. I said “I’ll believe it when I see it and I’m blind so that is never going to happen, so really I’ll believe it when my butt is on my own seat.” They had no response. –Snap- Who’s confused now?!?
Sure enough at 5:45 I ran downstairs to verify that my own bike was there. Thank you Santa Clause. The bike shop opened at 9 am. We arrived in the bike shop 30 min before they opened. No time to lose. I started building my bike in the parking lot. Claudia had been so curious to see me build the bike. I need complete quiet to do this as it required a lot of concentration for a blind person to build a bike. I don’t want anyone to move anything or touch anything. Usually I insist on being alone for this process. It’s like in Princess Bride when Count Rugen says “Stop saying that!” Claudia tried so hard to be quiet. She was pacing all around me telling me how good she was being at being quiet. I thought it was hilarious. I really do need to be on my own for this process. My concentration demands are so stringent that little distractions are blown up. I don’t think it reasonable of me to expect someone else be able to be that quiet. I cannot tune out people moving because I here for space and movement. It is hard to explain to sighted people.
As we are waiting the owners pull up. In a word they were perplexed. Claudia is pacing. I’m filthy and asking her over and over to be quiet. I had the handle bars on upside down. It was a scene. We then tried to explain our situation. “I don’t look blind, but I’m blind, and I did my best, but it was not great, and we need your help, because we are running a race in an hour…. “And on and on. It was a tribune of run on information. They relented and fixed up the bike.
Next hurtle is we now can’t fit the tandem in the SUV. So we flattened all the seats. I laid flat with my stomach on the back of the front seat and my elbows on the back of the head rest so that we could put the bike on top of me. Proving yet again we will do whatever it takes. Claudia insisted that I at least buckle my seat belt such that if get pulled over we could suggest that we hadn’t understood the law. Our violations per second were accelerating.
We show up to the athlete check in about 10 min before they closed. We set up, did our best to familiarize with the course, and got ready for our swim. Claudia started the race with nerves of steel. We played this off like this is just how we do it every time. We had a pretty strong swim. Coach Natasha had spent some time with me this past week educating me on ways I can reduce drag in my wet suit. Those small adaptations made a huge difference. We flew through the bike course getting smoother every stroke. We had a solid run with a small hiccup regarding a penalty. I had taken off my helmet prior to racking the bike. One of those were I knew better but honestly forgot. All and all I was thrilled with our race. There were a few that were disappointed that we didn’t race on our beach cruiser. I myself kind of sort of wanted to prove myself on that cycle cross. I just couldn’t imagine racing on that 50 lb. bike with price tags waving on flat pedals trying to make those tight turns. We would have ruined our quads. We would have compromised this whole week of training. Thank god my bike arrived.
We had some fans in the audience. Our scene had attracted some attention in the parking lot of the bike shop. So at least one of those guys came to cheer us on. He is our biggest fan. Thanks Andy new friend!!
Immediately after the race we bolted to get our bike back to the shop to pack it up. Same routine. Face down with bike on top. Chaos is our first, middle, and last name. The guys at the bike shop were so happy to see us. Like we were old friends. They were skeptical that my bike could fit in that box but I confidently told them it could. I said “How do you think we got it here?” They looked at me with sincere befuddlement and said “Any way, any which way!” With wild gestures that might be mimicking a tsunami or an earth quake. We will always be so grateful for the great guys at Planet Sports Magog…
We then were rushing to Montreal. We hit traffic which was weird because why are people there at all. Claudia told lots of stories of her experiences as a flight attendant. I really need to see princess bride again so I can keep up a little better. In Montreal the GPS and directions were nightmare on Elm Street. We were so confused. I had a psychic moment. At one point I reached down, grabbed my purse, and held it to my chest. A few second later I said to Claudia “I don’t mean to sound crazy, but for a second I thought you were going to reverse on the freeway.” There was a bit of a pregnant pause. She said “That is exactly what I was going to do.” So funny! I’m fine with it; I just didn’t want my stuff to get all over the floor boards. We made it to the hotel safe and sound. The second I exited the SUV my cane snapped in half with no explanation. We stopped at a restaurant to ask for chop sticks to create a splint with some tape. Before I knew it all there head chefs were hovering over my cane with chop sticks and cane in their full apron plus hat get up acting like they are performing delicate surgery in fixing my cane. We shut that restaurant down by accident.
This race came together at the last minute and it was a miracle, it’s just like in princess Bride when Wesley comes back to life and finds Buttercup. I am so thankful for everyone’s willingness to help. I am beyond thankful for Claudia’s undying positivity and good spirit. I am thankful to Captain America for being alive in our imaginations. I am thankful to Mark for all his help. Crazy though it was we had a great weekend and a great race. I honestly have not laughed so hard in years. As always proud to represent CAF Elite Team and Team USA.
November 22, 2012
April 26, 2012
I am practicing a new speech. I am finding one of the key elements is to reenergize intermittently, practice with distraction, and practicing gestures. I have joined Aim High toast masters here in Austin Texas to provide for opportunities to practice to work on my polish.
The humor of the rehearsal scene occurred to me mid speech.
I have a 4 x6 carpet I use as my practice stage. As I pace back and forth to practice movement and gestures Camilla adorns her position as my shadow. I walk from one side of the carpet to the other, so does Camilla. She immediately lies down on to jump but up for us to head the 3 feet to the North West corner of our carpet. This goes on for hours. She never gives up on keeping up (I love this little dog more every day).
To reenergize we take break dance breaks. Those of you familiar with my “hot stalls” know that what I really mean to say is from time to time I throw myself on the ground and roll around.
I practice with distraction by playing movies loudly in the background. My favorite most distracting garn to talk over is action films. So while heroes are walking away from explosions I do inspiring Camilla, Zoe, and any microbes that may inhabit our empty bed room.
April 16, 2012
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April 13, 2012
My Nana cried through Mighty Ducks I and II. If you questioned why she was crying she would retell the plot. She’d cry about the kid whose Dad came to the game for the first time, and for the girl who played with the boy’s team…. She cried for the kid who’s Mom worked two jobs but she managed to make it, and on and on. She was so heartfelt. She cared about everyone with marvelous sincerity. I ware her same rose oil. I derive tremendous comfort in having that little bit of her with me all the time.
For those who have known me in the year’s sense she has passed I don’t know how to describe how close we were. She was my strongest supporter, my closest friend, and always my partner in crime. She was fun. Always in all situations. She was beautiful even as she was in her late 80′s. She would always charm the people around her. She’ stays up with me until 4:00 am as I told her all the ins and outs of my little life.
I realized later that she often didn’t understand what I was doing as I embarked in a career in technology, but she was always behind me. I no longer feel that sick sadness that comes with losing a parent, but I can honestly say that I think of her every day. When things are rougher that others I wish for her presence desperately. I am so thankful for those who have filled her void, Sandy, Glen, and Aunt Janet and of course my beautiful baby sister. That being said in her memory it may be worth pointing out that it took 4 incredible people to fill her void.
I treasure every moment that I see her in my actions or mannerisms. Every year on her Birth day I sent pink roses. She loved them. A few years I ordered something different, or sent a gift. She really didn’t like my alternative gift attempts, she just wanted her roses. I don’t remember how old she would have been today, it seems irrelevant, and I will say I miss sending her the roses she loved. I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to be as close as we were. She had a love of life that I haven’t seen in many people. Even into her late 80′s you could always get her to dance with the girls. I knew all the ins and outs of her life too s I was one of the few she felt comfortable talking about herself. My relationship with My Nana shaped me more than any of my other relationships as she so consistently unconditionally was loving. I do get a pang of sadness on her birthday, more than anything I just have a wave of gratitude for the years I had with someone more precious than most.
She was always terrified of technology. She would take copious notes on basic things, like how to play a cd. She would then tape the notes to the device. Even after all the notes were taped to the device she would still be so terrified of breaking something that she would never touch it again. Electronics were for taping paper to, nothing else. Se thought I was brilliant that I could play a cd. She bragged to her friends about it. She always had the phone somewhere weird, like under the bed. She’d answer a call, then for reasons I never understood put the phone back under the bed.
She would stay in her pajamas all day but go to painstaking efforts to ensure her pajamas and make up were well coordinated. Once I bought her a pink nightgown, is was all the money I had earned in odd jobs for 2 months, I found out months later that she hadn’t worn it. I asked if it was wrong size or something. She looked at me, cried a few tears, and expressed that she couldn’t ware it with her blue slippers and the lipstick she had was the wrong shade. So Sandy and I had to take it to the mall to find slippers of the appropriate pink. All the street musicians new her by name and they all lit up when she came around, everyone did. I could go on and on. She was wonderful. I don’t think she ever understood how special she was. I think everyone else undersood immediately.
April 12, 2012
Isn’t it incredible how “Brave” and “Stupid” kind of look a lot the same once in a while. Not the words obviously, but the actions. This Past Sunday Christopher and I embarked to explore Austin. I had been snagged up from a coffee shop so I really wasn’t prepared for a hike.
We walk and walk… We determined ourselves to be the most positive people who have ever taken a walk. We went on and on taking turns talking about what incredible thing we saw, what we love about this city, what is the best ever that has ever been….. We were high on the energy of Austin. We explored the green belt for a few miles. We found drum circles along the water, amazing rocks to climb, and lots of people out enjoying the incredible day.
We eventually decided to join this group that was jumping off a cliff that was 18-20 feet high. The day earlier we had been jumping off a 4 ft. rock into a big pool. We had so much fun with that the 20 ft. Rock was irresistible. Naturally I went up first feeling ridiculously (and stupidly) confident. I walked up to the edge, cowered at my fear of heights, tried to put on a brave face, walked up to the edge, and completely chickened out. I got to the edge enough to almost jump off; I even had jumped on one foot, only to hear every one gasp. Is it would turn out I was right over a bunch of rocks. Needless to say the roks were out to get me. I want to say it was my intuition that stopped me, but more accurately it was everyone else loudly gasping in fear for my safety.
Chris joined me at the top; he tried to play it cool as he realized how bad that could have been. Eventually he jumped. I calmed my nerves and jumped off a slightly lower 15 ft. ledge with a little direction on how to avoid rocks. I managed to jump with relatively safety. I acquired an ear infection, but all bones in one piece. Today’s mission is to find low cost health insurance. A person like me with questionable sense for “Safety” or “Well Being” shouldn’t be without insurance. In fact I should assign myself an adult supervisor in the interim period to ensure I don’t let these impulsive moments get the best of me. To be clear I jumped fully dressed, skirt, nice shirt, ET all. What a spectacle.
April 3, 2012
Yesterday morning I woke up in the familiarity of my friend Aalap’s apartment. Everything I had with me had been thrown about as if a tornado of one woman had hit the apartment. Shoes, clothes, and cords everywhere the eye could see. I let out of bed, ran to the gym, and ran my final errands in the Seattle area. This morning I woke up on the couch exhausted and with the sensation of having been hit by a tornado myself. My move is complete. I now live in Austin Texas. I’ve been talking about doing this for 3 years or more. The weather is perfect, the air smells of some fragrant flower I can’t identify, and I’m happy to be home.
We arrived at the airport with 2 suit cases ado and a cat. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to evaluate that Camilla is not a service dog. We had to try to get her by as a service dog as that was the only way to get both animals on the plane.
At the ticketing counter the cashier was having trouble understanding that I had a cat. I get that they weren’t charging me for Camilla as a service dog but there should be a $125 charge for the cat. I kept offering her my card, pointing to my cat, saying “What about the Cat?” and reminding her to charge me. She acknowledged my cat and said we don’t charge for service animals. In the back of my mind I was thinking “A service cat?” I’m fairly certain no such thing exists.
We made it to security. I overheard one of the security guard say “there is no way that’ a service dog”. I admit they had a valid point. By this point we were all in, no turning back.
I used a little trick I learned from my Dad. You can glaze over something that someone says no matter how valid or obviously true by acting indignant. It is in these situations where you have to not only look at them like you are obviously in the right, but add a hint of I’m shocked you didn’t know this. A look that say “You didn’t know that they use terriers adopted from shelters for the blind? You didn’t know that the fact that she is standing behind me with her own tale in her mouth as part of her duties as an assistant? How is it that you didn’t know that? I bet your feeling rely stupid.” It works every time.
Onto the next hurtle. Now we have to get through security. There is a rule that if you are traveling with an animal you have to carry the animal in your arms. It follows that if you are traveling with two animals you have to carry both in your arms. I wish I had video of this scene. I had a cat and a dog under my arm as I follow there guidance through the metal detectors. We made it with flying colors. Fortunately for me both m animals are good travelers.
Throughout the trip I had at least 3 people ask me if Zoe was a service cat. I responded that shies my financial advisor. She handles to books.
I had a man who trained service dogs approach to talk to me about Camilla. I knew my answers would be weak as I’m a terrible lira. It is in these situations that you’re best to ask someone else a lot of questions. Just keep them talking about themselves. So I bombarded him with “Where are you from, how many siblings? do you swim? Where’d you get those shoes? …. “And on and on.
Truth be told considering that I crammed a terrier and a cat in a space about 1 out wide and maybe 2 feet long for 4 hours they were incredible. Camilla didn’t bark once. Zoe didn’t meow. Everything was smooth sailing until the last 10 minutes when they both got restless. Even then they weren’t so bad. A man sitting next to me was returning from a chemistry conference. He didn’t realize that the duffle bag at my feet was actually a soft carrier for a cat. At the end of the flight he taps me on the arm and says “I’m sorry to bother you miss, but your bag is moving.” I was shocked to find out there was a cat.
The chemist, Geon, was the kindest man on the face of the planet. He is doing his PhD in Houston, but is originally from Manila. As I was DE boarding the plane he and his fellow grad student were asking me if I needed help. Of course my first reaction was to give them the 10 k reasons why I didn’t need help. In these moments I really believe I can navigate an unknown airport with 2 bags, one hand, a cat and a dog. As I was walking away I had a realization that they actually would be happy to help me. I turned around and walked right back and asked them both for help. They were such a godsend.
So there I was as my two new friends gather my baggage I alternated walking my dog outside on a leash allowing her a break and walking my cat on a leash. I arrived a 2:00 are, left the airport on the shuttle about 2:30 am, arrived home at 3:00 am. I knew the cat needed litter and the dog a walk. I took off for the 24 hour grocery. As it would turn out I didn’t know exactly where the store was. We walked for an hour to find a store that is 4 blocks away. In the end we found it and made better time on the way home.
What a long day, but everyone made it home safe against all odds. I’ll write more soon.
March 28, 2012
Yesterday two people came to pick up my treadmill. They acted like they had ben reunited after a long absence. So here we are three trying to move a treadmill about 10 feet and they keep stopping to have this long heart to heart.
I stood as a third wheel wondering if I could somehow sell this interaction to a sit com or something. Every few feet we’d take a break. I really am bothered when people act like you are wasting their time, I remembered this as the list of thousands of things that need to be done were scrolling through my mind. I over heard one of the women mention that she had recently started her own business. She and I got to talking. Her business is in selling natural skin products. I was shocked at the degree of similarity between her experience and mine. She asked me if I felt like a dear in headlights most of the time. I told her I felt like a Tasmanian devil in headlights. This is a business of action action action until you wait wait wait.
I am completely motivated and not exactly sure where to start. I assume like anything else context develops over time and the gems of time management will make themselves known. In public speaking they almost always need 6-12 months to make a booking, this is challenging for me as I don’t get any feedback in real time on my approach. I am writing proposal after proposal, throwing all that energy into a black hole, and then waiting.
Inn some of the videos from my last day at Microsoft a close friend mentioned how I didn’t think I am emotional, but I really am. He is so right. I was at 24 hour fitness last night at 12:30 am and I found myself oddly sentimental that I won’t get to meet up with Coach Aaron for early morning TRX. This is my favorite time with him. We both love TRX. We talk and catch up. This morning I was on my trainer and Camilla made a pile of things I had intended to donate right by my bike. In that moment I was so thankful for my funny little devoted dog. The truth of the matter is that I am sad to leave Seattle. There are so many people here I love that I know come Sunday my heart will ache a bit. That being said I’m feeling nothing but hopeful for y move to Texas. I’m excited for this coming season. I am excited to be a more active partner in theparariathelon committee for USAT. All things look good but I think the next few days may be rough on my heart.
March 16, 2012
Griffon had tweated a pic of our new house. I would take some pics with my iphone but it is dark out. It’s dark at night even in Texas. Yes, I’m still in my pajamas.
March 16, 2012
I recently secured a pretty big international deal. Needless to say I am thrilled as things are coming together fairly naturally. When faced with a big intimidating task my tendency is to really start with the basics first then build from there. So I joined toast masters and started on their first assignment, the ice breaker. This is a 5 to 7 minute speech where you introduce yourself, discuss your ambitions, and conclude with what you hope to get out of toast masters.
I had taken Millie, Griffon and Geoff’s 6 year old, with me to a coffee shop. She and I have always been a good team. We have great adventures together and both really love the time we get to spend in adventures together. Out of curiosity I asked if she wanted to give an ice breaker speech. So here we are in a coffee shop a 6 year old and I giving speeches to each other back and forth. Millie gave a few speeches. In each ice breaker She leads with “Hello everyone, welcome to my speech, I’m Millie from America”. One of the interesting things about her is that she had been the tallest 2 year old in the world, since she was 2 she has only gotten shorter, she was taller at the age of 2 than she is today. Apparently at some point in her life she got spaghetti on her face. She is smart because her Mommy is smart. Her ambitions include having hair that is half straight and half curly, professional tap dance, and having a bed room in our new house. Millie apparently thinks she is a motivational speaker, she says “Here is the part of my speech where you are going to freak out, I am getting a room in our new house tomorrow, and you know how I did it? My parents”. So according to her thinking we can all get what we want if we just ask our parents. IHer speaches were priceless. She wasn’t so impressed with mine. Her bit of constructive criticism was that I should consider adding more jokes.