Tag Archives: mandy

Congratulations Andy and Mandy!

Hannah Riley Owens arrived this morning via c-section, weighing in around 6 pounds, which is only slightly smaller than her mother. Congratulations Andy and Mandy! That’s awesome news. I love days like this. We haven’t seen pictures yet, but Andy described his daughter as having a birthmark that looked strikingly similar to the NY of the New York Yankees. He also said that her gentle cry sounds similar to a crowd shouting, “Jeter! Jeter!”

It’s fitting for Andy and Mandy that Hannah was born on the Jewish New Year. As strausmouse has said, Happy Rosh Hash-Hannah! Even though there is supposed to be no labor on the Jewish New Year, my guess is that not only would rabbis make an exception in this case, they’d probably say it was a sign of good fortune.

So congratulations once again, kids. You have all sorts of amazing things to look forward to. Just read strausmouse‘s blog to see what I mean.

I can’t wait to see her!

Copper River Salmon

[Written on May 27 and backdated to May 24]

I had dinner for the second night in a row at Ocean Avenue Seafood, and this time, they had copper river salmon on the menu. After work, I went out for drinks with Eric, Danny, and Enrique. Afterward, Danny drove me over to Ocean Avenue Seafood, where I met Lisa, Andy and a pregnant-looking Mandy for dinner. We had a very nice dinner and I even managed to convince Andy to try the copper river salmon, which he did and which he enjoyed. It was outstanding, certainly well worth the wait.

After dinner I said goodbye to everyone and then walked back to the hotel. It was a very nice evening.

Norm and Vicky’s wedding ceremony

The bus dropped us off at the Disney Wedding Pavilion and we went in and took our seats in the third row on the right side of the pavilion sitting with Mandy Andy was in the wedding part, as was Scott. Walking in, there is a huge window at the far end of the building which perfectly frames the giant castle at the center of the Magic Kingdom. That was pretty cool. There was some light music playing as the guests arrived and the ceremony started right on time, at 2:30 on the dot.

What we found out afterward was that AJ’s fears of catching the bus to the ceremony were not unfounded. For reasons we never discovered, the bus skipped AJ’s resort and 16 or 17 people didn’t get to the ceremony until we were about 15 minutes into it. But they did make it in time to see the bride and groom say their vows, place their rings and, of course, kiss.

Vicky looked radiant in her wedding dress, and Norm even managed to look pretty good in his getup. Norm was really hamming it up as he walked into the building, looking around in all directions, nodding and smiling at various people. Up on the stage, both Norm and Vicky occasionally nodded or winked at someone in the audience.

Several people got up to do readings during the ceremony, and Lisa was one of those people. She gave a very nice reading.

Throughout the ceremony, I wondered if Norm and Vicky would really attempt to pull off the little stunt that they had planned. I hoped that they would do it because it was so them. The reverend pronounced them husband and wife and said that Norm could kiss his bride. Norm and Vicky kissed.

Then they took a step back from one another, smiled, gave each other an excited high five, then turned to face the audience and did a posed thumbs-up. It was absolutely brilliant and I’m glad they did it!

They went off to get pictures taken. Meanwhile, the rest of us filed out and lined up along the sidewalk that led toward Norm and Vicky’s escape limo. When they finally emerged from their photo shoot, they walked through the line as we all tossed flower petals at them. Then they were whisked away and the rest of us made for the buses which took us to where the celebration festivities would occur.

Epcot: the future of gas and wet willies

Andy, Mandy, Lisa and I caught a shuttle bus from Animal Kingdom to Epcot and if the day hadn’t already been fun, and funny, it was about to get funner and funnier. It all started with Andy’s comment, “Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.” Wait, let me back up, I’m telling this slightly out of order.

There we sat on the bus and sitting in front of us was a woman holding a sleepy little boy. So sleepy was he, in fact, that just before the bus left, the boy peed his pants, much to the surprise of his mother. Andy, in an effort to make light of anything at all, pointed this out to Mandy, at which point the mother looked up at Andy in sad, soaking desperation. And that’s when Andy said, “Don’t worry it happens to the best of us.”

It was Mandy who jumped in and said that it had happened to “Ands” last night.

The four of us arrived at Epcot (dry, thankfully) and proceeded directly onto the Spaceship Earth attraction, which allowed us to sit down and relax for a little while. From there we headed to “Soaring” but discovered that all of the fast-passes for that ride had been given out for the day, which meant we’d have to stand in line for it. So we went ahead and grabbed some food and then got into what ended up being a 55 minute line.

Two things happened in the line that had us in stitches.

Halfway through the line, Mandy was getting tired. It was a wide line with lots of people packed in pretty tightly. Mandy had been leaning her head against Andy’s back, half asleep, when all of a sudden, she said, “Oh, Ands, that’s terrible!” and walks away from him. Apparently, Andy had let one go much to the dismay of everyone around him, but to Andy’s great delight. He was laughing so hard he was shaking, which made me laugh so hard that I was shaking. We probably laughed for five minutes barely breathing. It was hysterical.

Flash-forward about ten minutes later, surrounded by kids (and their parents) who have been standing in line for 45 minutes. Andy was leaning up against the wall, asleep. Lisa, with a devilish look in her eye, licks her finger and promptly sticks it in Andy’s ear. Andy instantly wakes up, and shouts, “That’s fuh–” and then freezes because he realizes we are surrounded by kids. I went to pieces, though, and so did Lisa, and so did the two girls who’d been in line in front of us all this time. I was laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes.

Oh, we finally did get on the ride and it was awesome. You really felt as though you were hang-gliding over all of these places. The funniest thing about the ride, however, were the sounds Lisa made everytime we swooped over a ridge and suddenly appeared to be very high up in the air. I can’t quite describe the sound. It’s a sound that I wouldn’t think a human voice could produce, but clearly she made it.

After Soaring, we decided to stay grounded for a while and take a walk all the way around the International Plaza and lake. The weather was perfect. We walked around and I managed to have myself not one but two ice cream sandwiches. People thought this was funny for some reason. We got some good pictures here too, including one of Andy performing a rather un-Disney like act on a ice-pop. (For that matter, we got one of Mandy doing the same.)

We took a boat back to the hotel. Andy and Mandy had to get ready for the rehearsal dinner and Lisa and I headed up to the room to relax for a few hours. We planned to have a late dinner on the boardwalk and then head over to Jellyrolls that evening to meet up with everyone.

And I want, and I need, and I love, animal

Friday morning I woke up early feeling a bit dizzy and that’s because I drank quite a bit Thursday night. I lay in bed for about an hour and finally got up, showered and started to get ready for the day. I decided to skip the gym. Lisa and I met Andy and Mandy for breakfast and then caught the bus to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

We had perfect weather all day long: clear skies with temperatures reaching up into the 80s. It felt great. Lisa had a plan for what she wanted to see at the Animal Kingdom, and we more or less followed her plan. There were all sorts of cool things to take pictures of, and I couldn’t take pictures of any of them because my battery had died and all attempts at finding a charger or replacement battery had failed.

We took a train to the vet hospital to see how they take care of the animals. We visited the petting zoo in order to pet the sheep and goats, all of whom seemed strangely attracted to Andy. We got a Fast-Pass for the Safari, which was what all of us were really looking forward to. Andy and Lisa got some amazing pictures of the tigers, but you’ll have to wait for them to post their pictures.

Mandy couldn’t ride the safari because it wasn’t recommended for pregnant women. So it was just Lisa, Andy and I. We were in luck because all of the animals were out in force, even the cheetah and then lions. There were elephants. A giraffe walked right along side us, until it saw Lisa and then it took off the other way for some reason. We even managed to catch some poachers.

Given that we spent only about half a day at Animal Kingdom, I think we did pretty well, and Lisa and Andy have the pictures to prove it.

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

The b/b’ette parties turned out to be really fun, because most of the time we were all together. Things got started in the lobby of the Dolphin hotel, where everyone was meeting. There were 8 guys: me, Norm, Andy, Scott, Bob and Matt, Norm’s boss. There were also several girls: Lisa, Vicky and Mandy. After a drink, we all got into a stretch Hummer limo with a mission of picking up several other people. The Limo was stocked with all kinds of drinks and over the next hour and half or so, we picked up several other people: Steve, Ken, JJ (Vicky’s Maid of Honor), Julie and at least one other person, if I remember correctly. When all was said and done, there were 14 of us in the limo.

We then headed for a place called the Blue Martini, or something like that, a typical Floria-style club/martini bar. Inside, we watched the ladies dance for a while. Even Andy got out onto the dance floor (he might have been the only guy aside from Norm to do so) which was a sight to see. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of this because by this time, the battery in my new camera had died and I left my charger and spare battery at home. So from this point forward, I have to depend on everyone else’s pictures.

Norm’s boss, Matt, bought everyone a Kamikaze shot. We watched the dancing for a little while longer and then the gentlemen left the ladies at the club while we headed back to the limo for a 20 minute drive to a place, the name of which I can’t recall at the moment, but which I’m sure someone who reads this and was there will remember.

Andy and Scott had arranged for us to get a stage-side table, and indeed we did. We had a few rounds of drinks, watched the show, and in general, tried to make sure that Norm had a good time. It was fun (albeit, smokey), but it was not quite the same as Olympic Gardens in Las Vegas. Still, we had a good time, but after about an hour and a half, we had to leave in order to pick up the girls and start dropping people off at their respective hotels. (We only had the limo until 2 AM). We headed back to the martini bar and loaded the girls, all of whom were giddy and giggling, back into the limo, and then started making stops. Ours was the last stop and we were dropped off just before the clock struck 2 AM.

The plan for tomorrow is to spend half the day at Animal Kingdom and the other half at Epcot. Once again, we’re planning on an early start. We’ll see how that goes.

Orlando dinner Chicago-style

Andy and a pregnant Mandy came up to our hotel room and we hung out there for a little while before heading off to dinner. Lisa felt the need to show Andy (and everyone else) her favorite Justin Timberlake video, which I then had in my head for the rest of the evening.

We decided on Pizzeria Uno for dinner and Andy drove us out there, with me acting as navigator, and a good thing that! We did have a nice dinner, although my idea of ordering a steak in a pizza joint probably wasn’t one of my better ideas.

We had to be back before 8 PM because that’s when the festivities began for the bachelor/bachelorette parties, so we headed back after we finished our dinners and got ready for the parties.

An afternoon with Andy and Mandy

I had a very nice afternoon and evening with Andy and Mandy today. They picked me up at the hotel at about 1 PM and we headed to Westwood for lunch at In’n’Out which I have been craving since my last In’n’Out meal back at the beginning of March. We then headed back into the Valley.

I went to the Iliad Bookshop for the first time since moving away from Southern California–and was surprised to find that it had moved to a location. Actually, I should say I was relieved. I picked up 5 books while I was there so it was worthwhile.

Andy and I then sat around watching the Lakers get killed–something that filled me unshameful glee. Afterward, we headed back to the west side for dinner. We made a small detour however. Ever since I discovered that Harlan Ellison lived four houses up the street from Eric’s parents (how many time did I drive past Ellison Wonderland in high school and never know it!) we had to drive by so I could see for myself. Sure enough, there it was, gargoyles, signs and all. It is really quite a magnificent house and I grabbed a couple of low res pictures (on my cell phone) to prove to myself that I was there. An Eric was right–it was just a few houses up from his parent’s. (No, I’m not going to post the address–I think Harlan deserves his privacy.)

We headed to the Grove and met Lisa and her friend Michelle, and Joel was there as well. We ate at Wood Ranch and, naturally, I had the tri-tip. Joel was kind enough to bring me back to the hotel, and now I’m finishing up my packing and heading off to bed. My flight is at 8:45 AM in the morning.

Santa Monica, Day 6

I was up early this morning because I went to bed early last night. I didn’t have a big breakfast because I knew we’d be meeting up for lunch later on today. So I walked toward the Santa Monica pier and got a donut on the way there. I sat at the end of the pier for about an hour listening to my “Autobiography” playlist on my iPod.

Lisa picked me up at the hotel at noon and we headed over to the Rose Cafe in Venice where we met Andy and Mandy for lunch.

After lunch, we headed over to the Santa Monica pier to check out the Ashes & Snow exhibit at the Nomadic Museum. This was Andy’s suggestion, which surprised me for some reason. It was an interesting exhibit. The films were somewhat hypnotic. But the thing is: I just didn’t get it. I understood it a little bit better afterward when one of the staff explained to us what the longer-term plans were.

Lisa headed home to nap afterward and I went back to Andy and Mandy’s place to meet their new dog Rudy, who is a very cute dog. We went for a late dinner at El Torito Grill, which was very good. I had a couple of Cadillac margaritas there, bringing my grand total to four. I like them.

Andy brought me back to the hotel close to 11 PM.

My flight back home is at 8:40 tomorrow morning.