Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Yoga As The Sun Comes Up

When I was in Cape Cod a few weeks ago for my friend's bachelorette weekend, at check-in we got a schedule of the weekend's events. The cheerfully orange piece of paper contained every activity from fishing and beach bonfires to camps for kids and a late afternoon dance party. There to relax, get a tan, and read some books, not very many of these activities intrigued me, but for one:

Saturday 8:30 am - Yoga on the beach

I am a runner, and I dearly love my solo sport. I like hitting the streets alone at dawn and soaking up the quiet before my city awakes to face another day. I like the serenity that comes from logging mile after mile with only the sounds of my breathing and the staccato rhythm of my running shoes hitting the pavement for company.

Over the years I have tried various group exercise classes, everything from spinning and step to yoga and pilates. I always get excited at first, but burn out after a few classes. Group fitness just isn't for me. I know this now.

But lately, as I put together a training schedule for the full marathon I want to run in the spring, I have been thinking about some other exercise to add to my routine. It seems that you can not train for a marathon only by running, so I need something new to do, at least a day or two a week. Apparently it makes you a better, faster and stronger runner. And who doesn't want to be better, faster and stronger?

So on my vacation, I woke up before 8am, gathered my things and headed down to yoga on the beach overlooking the Nantucket Sound. I was skeptical, due to the aforementioned aversion to group exercise classes.

But I was wrong. It was glorious.

From the first minute I sat down facing the ocean on the beach towel serving as my yoga mat, I felt calm and centered. I moved through the positions much more easily than I though I would, and loved every second of the class. I spent the entire rest of the day in the peaceful haze that comes from a good morning of exercise, and vowed to do yoga more often.

When I got home I went straight to Target and bought myself a yoga mat, and have since spent fifteen minutes every morning in my back yard, greeting the sun as it rises over the horizon.

I never really understood why people treated yoga as practically a religious experience, but I do now. For those fifteen minutes, when it's just me standing under the sun, I feel the presence of something indescribable, just like I do on Friday afternoons, when I stand in front of my candles and welcome Shabbat into my home.

There is a lot going on now in this life of mine, but for a little slice of time, when the sun is rising and I am standing on my yoga mat or lacing up my running shoes, it feels like there is nothing to worry about at all.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Five Years Ago Yesterday

Five years ago yesterday, at 7:15 am, I shot up in bed, my heart pounding and my stomach a tight ball of fear.

I jumped out of bed, stumbling on the blankets that had tangled around my legs during my sweaty anxiety dreams, and grabbed my Wills notes from my desk, frantically scattering pages until I found the one I was looking for.

New York Will execution requirements. Two witnesses. A notary. Everyone in the same room.

The following day was the first day of the New York Bar Exam. Monday was supposed to be a rest day. It said so right there on the bar review schedule. A day to let our brains absorb all the law we had been cramming into them for ten weeks.

But I didn't want to leave my room. I hadn't been farther than two feet away from my study materials in almost three months, and the idea of leaving to meet friends for the early movie and dinner that I had planned was not at all appealing. I wanted to stay with my notes and my books where it was safe. Where I could look something up if I forgot it.

But the schedule said to take some time off, and the schedule was gospel. So I shoved my review notebook into my bag went to meet my friends.

But I couldn't settle. Despite my friends' best efforts to talk about anything but the impending test, during dinner I was listing elements of torts in my head. During the movie I was trying to remember the difference between robbery and theft. And by the time I left my friends, my deliberately placid veneer had started to melt, leaving behind a wild-eyed mass of terror and nerves.

I meant to go home, but instead I found myself at David's apartment, twenty blocks away. He wasn't there, so I let myself in and sat down on the couch, careful to keep my head still. Sure that any sudden moves would cause all the information packed in there to fall out and scatter all over the floor.

When he got home, he found me sitting in silence. He asked me what was wrong and for the first time I said the words that I hadn't yet allowed myself to even think.

"What if I fail?"

I waited for him to assure me that I wouldn't fail. That I wouldn't end up in this exact same place six months from now. But he didn't. Instead he simply said,

"You're ready."

And then he sent me home.

I got into bed, sure that I wouldn't sleep. But as I pulled the covers up I felt the exhaustion that I had fed with caffeine, anxiety and adrenaline for nearly ten weeks take hold.

And for the first time since the first day of bar review I wasn't furiously listing elements of crimes or the rules of evidentiary proceedings. As I drifted off to sleep, my mind was blissfully empty but for one single word.


Friday, July 26, 2013

This Is What Happy Hour Looks Like At Our House

I'm in the kitchen.

David's at the grill.

And our very best friends - the ones we think of as family - are gathered around our table.

This is our life at its absolute sweetest.

Happy hour indeed.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

When Thirty-One Minutes Becomes Two Hours

During my commute home yesterday, I planned this post for today where I extol the virtues of Metro North Railroad and my daily commute from Westchester County to my office in Manhattan. I had all of these nice things to say, and as I mapped it all out in my head, I was feeling so sorry for all those poor souls in New York City still commuting to work every day on the subway while doing their best to avoid the sticky floors, stifling hot cars, sweaty fellow passengers, and incessant train delays.

It turns out, karma's a bitch.

I caught the 6:52 train to White Plains last night right on time. I could probably have caught the 6:33, but I was running a little late and just didn't feel like attempting the anxious sprint through midtown that the earlier train would require. So I made my way to Grand Central at normal speed, figuring that if I missed the 6:33, the 6:52 would be just fine.

After almost nine months, I have my commute down to a science. When I get on the train in the afternoon I sit in the quiet car, pull out my book, and start reading. I have come to treasure this time, and rely on it pretty heavily to decompress as I make my way home. I read without pause until the train passes the Honda dealership, which is precisely one minute before we pull up at the White Plains station. I am a creature of habit, and this system works for me beautifully.

Until it doesn't.

The first thirty minutes of my thirty-one minute train ride went exactly according to plan. I sat in the quiet car and read my book, pausing only for a second when a man who obviously enjoys the quiet car as much as I do got up out of his seat to shush two teenage girls who didn't know that they were carrying on an intense conversation about their love lives in a car where talking is strictly prohibited. And when I say strictly prohibited, I mean that while the conductors will politely ask you to keep it down, the passengers in the quiet car will come at you with flaming swords and pitchforks if you so much as utter a word or allow your cell phone to do anything except vibrate quietly. Silent mode is strongly encouraged.

And when we passed the Honda Dealership I put my book away and gathered my things in preparation to get off the train.

And then something weird happened.

Just when the train should have been picking up speed to roll into the station, it started to slow down. At first the slow-down was hardly noticeable, but as each second ticked by, the train got slower and slower until we finally came to a complete stop. The roar of the engines came to a sudden halt, all the lights in the train went out, and we heard the conductor on the radio saying something that sounded suspiciously like "we're dead in the water."

The conductor got on the loudspeaker and told us that we had "lost our third rail connection," couldn't go anywhere, and that they were going to send another train up from the south to literally push us into the White Plains station.

No problem, I thought. I mean, a little annoying, but I had a book to read, and 5 full lives in my Candy Crush game, so I was set. How long could it possibly take?

My question was answered almost 2 hours later.

Yes. For one hundred minutes, we sat on a train looking at the White Plains station, but unable to get there. We were stuck in a packed car with no electricity, which meant no air conditioner, and no way to open the doors for ventilation. People were sweating, it was nearly impossible to pay attention to my book, and the conductor kept telling us, "just a few more minutes" for an hour and a half.

Finally a full sized train came up behind us and the mechanics somehow connected the two trains, allowing our train to be literally shoved into the White Plains station. We all got off into the blessedly cool evening air, and left the crippled train behind.

As I was driving home, I marveled at the fact that even though it was hot and supremely annoying, no one seemed to be too upset or worried about anything, and pretty much just went about their business as the conductors figured out a solution. The quiet car, it turns out, is remarkably calm in the face of a commuting crisis.

The other cars? Not so much.

I did some searching when I got home, and came across this string of tweets from one of my fellow commuters who was, apparently, sitting in one of the not-so-quiet cars, and he was infuriated.

Turns out, there's more to the quiet car than just a silent ride home and a place to get lost in a book.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Shelter From The Storm

The wind raged, the rain lashed at the windows and the lights flickered. Hurricane Sandy had swept ashore, and she was mad.

I had been pretty cavalier about this storm. I ignored the severity of my closed office and the shuttered subway. I went for a run even as the NYPD urged people to stay inside, and wrote a chatty blog post about it. I wasn't worried about this category 1 storm. My family lived in Florida for 12 years after all. Show me a category five, I thought, and then I'll be impressed.

But that was day, and now it was night, and half of Manhattan was in darkness.

My lights were still on, but since we were about to move we had already switched the cable and internet to our new house, so I couldn't watch any news, or even the Gilmore Girls marathon I had saved on my DVR. Our temporary internet wasn't fast enough for streaming, so I had little entertainment to distract me from the Armageddon befalling my city.

So there I sat, filling pots with water and checking to make sure all my devices were plugged in so they would be fully charged in case we, too, ended up in the dark.

I hadn't spent much time on Twitter before the night that Sandy arrived, but without TV, it became my lifeline. Every time I refreshed the screen more tweets would pop up with pictures of the devastation in lower Manhattan. I watched as the streets and river became one. I saw the water pour into the 9/11 memorial site. I was sitting there when NYU Hospital's generator failed and nurses carried tiny babies down stairs and out into the storm.

And as each story broke, I shook a little harder. My heart pounded a little faster. The walls of my tiny Manhattan apartment closed in a little more.

I knew I should get off Twitter before I really lost it, but it was like driving past a bad car accident. You know you shouldn't look, but you can't help yourself.

In an effort to calm down, I joined a Twitter conversation with Yeah Writers, and fellow tri-state area residents StacieMichelle and Kristin. We had never met in person, but that didn't matter. We had read each other's blogs, commented on each other's stories, and learned about each other's lives. And as the storm raged, we talked about what we were eating and drinking, who still had power, and what we were writing about. We talked about how our houses and families were fairing, and wondered how long the whole thing would last. We were each other's windows to a world that had suddenly become very, very dark, and with them, I didn't feel so alone anymore.

Sometimes there are people who come into your life at exactly the right time, and touch it in unexpected and important ways.

These three ladies are those people, and their friendship during that long, scary night gave me shelter from the storm.

Day 22 of Yeah Write's 31dbbb series asked us to pay special attention to a reader.
These three readers are not only incredible writers, but very, very special people as well.
I am lucky to know them in this online world, and to call them my friends.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Super Fun Monday Morning Treat

NYC in the summer is a funny place, and I get to see a lot of that funny on the way to work in the morning. Whether it is the crazy tourists at 30 Rock waiting to get noticed by Matt, Savannah, Al and Natalie, the Today Show concert series in Rockefeller Plaza, or the sundry street vendors peddling everything from sunglasses to battery operated fans to NYC baby onsies, there is always something interesting or nutty to see.

This morning, as I crossed 6th avenue at 9am, I stumbled upon this.

Yes, that is a giant Snapple flip-flop, size 879.

It seems that Snapple thought New Yorkers would be particularly thirsty on this Monday morning, so they set up free beverage stations along 6th avenue between 50th and 51st street, staffed by really cheerful volunteers who peddled the company's product to people sweating their way to work through the soupy morning air.

And the people lined up.

Including me.

Thanks Snapple, for this Monday morning treat. 

Kiwi-Strawberry is my all-time favorite, and it made this New Yorker just a little bit happier at the beginning of a full 5-day summer work week.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Soundtrack to Our Friendship

We were six, the radio was blaring in the corner, and we were jumping on the bed to the beat of Bad.

I was at my best friend's house. I loved going there because she had her own record player. So when Bad was over and the radio started playing something we weren't interested in, she took out her Michael Jackson records, put them on, and we were entertained for hours.

We danced to the songs on Thriller and Bad and, a few years later when Dangerous was released, Black or White and Heal the World took the top spots on our most favorite songs list. We were eight, and a little too old for jumping on the bed at that point, but we listened to the songs just the same.

Our parents were cool; cooler than cool, so there was very little kids music for us. Michael Jackson was all over the radio, all the rage in the late 80s and early 90s. It was what our parents listened to, so it was what we listened to. It was the background music to our childhoods, and the soundtrack to our friendship.

These Girls

Became These Girls
I was sitting at my desk at work in 2009 when I heard the news that Michael Jackson had died. Suddenly, his music was everywhere. It was playing on every radio station, his music videos were garnering a massive volume of hits on YouTube, and all the morning shows did daily retrospectives on his life and his life's work.

And every time I heard the first strains of Billie Jean, Heal The World, or Rock With You I thought of two little girls jumping on the bed who grew up into bigger girls, and gave thanks for a friendship that has spanned thirty years. A forever friendship.

And Then Grew Up Into These Girls

Zebra Garden

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Very Best Way To Watch a Show

It started off innocently enough.

It was summer, our shows were all on hiatus, and it was about a year before the networks caught on to the fact that people still like to watch TV when it's hot outside and started a full slate of programming from June through early September.

At this point you may want to say something like, "it's summer! Go outside and do something summery! For the love of God, get up off your couch!"

And you might be right, but we're not listening.

Because we love TV. TV has been central to our relationship since it began. Our first kiss happened while we were watching TV. We bonded at first over a shared love of The Office and a mutual need to unwind at the end of the day with the TV on. As time went on we each adopted some of each other's shows so that much of our time spent together was in front of the TV, which suited us fine because talking at the end of the day gives us both a headache. When we got married we decided we were above compromise when it came to our shows, and became the proud owners of two DVRs to accommodate our habit.

But that summer we didn't have anything to watch. We subsisted for awhile on movies and some random stuff that had been crowding our DVRs, but before long we were out of shows, and in withdrawal.

It was David who came up with the idea for 24. Neither of us had seen it and we figured 192 episodes would take us all summer to watch. We figured wrong. We watched them all in three weeks, barely stopping for things like eating, sleeping and going to work.

And our era of binge-watching was born.

When Jack stared up into CTU's camera drone and the clock counted down to zero for the final time, David and I looked at each other in similar torment, wondering what to do next. We tried going back to our regular schedule of a show or two a night before bed, but we were strung out like meth addicts jonesing for a fix.

Binge watching was the only answer.

The next night we started The West Wing, and plowed our way through its seven seasons. By the time we were done with that, fall TV had started up again and we had little choice but to watch our shows like regular people. But we decided that was the amateur's way to watch TV, and we had graduated to the NFL.

So while we watched our weekly shows we also downloaded all the seasons of Fringe, Big Love, Friday Night Lights, Weeds, Gilmore Girls and a few others. And lately it's been House of Cards, Falling Skies, and Chicago Fire. Some we watched together and some we watched separately, but to both of us it was clear.

Binge watching is the absolute best way to enjoy a TV show.

There are plenty of people who disagree with me, and that's just fine. The truth is, I don't really have time to argue.

Netflix just released all 13 episodes of Orange is the New Black, and tonight, it's go time.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Beach Weekend

I'm tan and everything I own smells like sunscreen. So in my head, I'm still at the beach.

This past weekend, we celebrated my best friend's impending wedding with a trip to a beach resort on Cape Cod

Celebrations got underway Thursday night with pizza at my house, accompanied by a midnight viewing of the amazing Pitch Perfect and a ferociously late bedtime. Bleary-eyed, we packed up the car with the essentials:

Hit Dunkin' Donuts for coffee, and got on the road.

Three hours, forty minutes and one I-95 rest stop later, we made a quick detour for some additional essentials:

Then made it to our beachfront hotel where we were greeted with this view:

Not too shabby.

And the view from the back porch of our lake-side room? Spectacular.

A beach-side lunch was the first order of business:

Followed by some serious beach-sitting and reading time:

As the sun started to go down, it turned cold. When we were packing, none of us considered a sweatshirt a necessary item for a beach vacation, so the cool weather gave us the opportunity to hunt up some delightful Cape Cod swag:

I can't take pictures on Saturday because of Shabbat, but Saturday's activities included an early morning yoga class on the beach, pina coladas on the beach, snacks on the beach, reading on the beach, dancing The Macarena, The Electric Slide, Cotton-Eyed Joe and Cha-Cha Slide with a bunch of little kids, and a twilight swim.

Saturday night we got all dressed up and spent the night in Hyannis, eating dinner and celebrating the bachelorette:

And then getting stopped at a sobriety checkpoint on the way back to the hotel:

When we woke up Sunday morning our room looked like this:

Evidence of a weekend well-spent. Also proof that we packed way too much, and didn't make a mistake by buying the fancy plastic wine cups at the grocery store on Thursday night.

M, it was our greatest pleasure to spend the weekend celebrating with you. We all wish we were still on the beach.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Beach Toes

These pink toes, along with two bathing suits, three summery dresses and one very cool fedora, are headed to Cape Cod for the weekend to celebrate my very best friend's last few months as an unmarried lady.

Here's to a weekend filled with sunny days, beachfront cocktails, laughter, friendship and fun.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My Happiest Moment

A couple nights ago, a Sports Illustrated writer posted a question on Twitter. He asked his followers, "How many of you have a photograph of the single best moment of your life?" His followers answered the call, and the pictures came rolling in.

I stumbled across a Buzzfeed article showing the best pictures he collected, and I started thinking about my moment, and whether I have a picture of it.

And it turns out, I do.

A lot of people love their wedding days. They relish the hair and makeup, getting dressed, being surrounded by friends and family, and the spotlight.

I was not one of those people.

My wedding day was marked by anxiety. Not anxiety about getting married. In that, I was perfectly calm. But rather anxiety about being in the center of attention. About being required to talk to the 200 people who had traveled from all over the country and all over the world to be in Pittsburgh on that Sunday afternoon. I don't do well with crowds, and I don't like being in the spotlight, which is problematic on your wedding day, when the biggest spotlight of all is cast directly on your face.

I spent much of the morning and early afternoon of that day wishing it was Monday morning and that I was already married. During the different parts of the ceremony that mark an orthodox Jewish wedding, I could feel 400 eyes trained directly on me, and I had to force myself not to start fidgeting.

And then, something happened.

The second part of the Jewish wedding ceremony under the chuppah is called nissuin, literally meaning "nuptuals," and is marked by the recitation of seven blessings, or sheva brachot. It is customary for family members and close friends to join the couple under the chuppah to recite these blessings, and the people who will be reciting the blessings are told ahead of time, so they know when they will be called up, and what they are supposed to say.

Well, there was a bit of a miscommunication before our wedding, so for the fourth blessing, the person who was supposed to say the fifth blessing was called up, and he had no idea what to do. No one knew what to say, or how to fix it, everyone was whispering and trying to make sense of the mistake, and our chuppah descended into hilarious chaos.

And for the first time all day, I relaxed. For the first time all day, I was in the moment instead of floating somewhere above, watching it all happen.

And our brilliant photographer caught that moment on film. My happiest moment.

The moment where everything was chaos, no one knew what to do, and David and I were standing under the chuppah, hand-in-hand, laughing at it all.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Years Go By And What I Read

It was always books for me.

I was five when I taught myself how to read.

The book was called The Teeny Tiny Woman, and I spent hours sitting on my bed, little legs dangling, while I sounded out the words. I don't remember exactly what came before I opened that book, or what came right after, but I remember vividly thinking "I can read."

And read I did.

I was seven when my mom bought me my very first Baby-Sitters Club book. I read it in one day and made her take me straight back to the bookstore to buy more. And for the next few years, wherever I was, there was always a Baby-Sitters Club book close by.

I read The Truth About Stacey in the coatroom at school. I read The Ghost at Dawn's House sitting on a bench on the playground while everyone else played dodge-ball. I read Super Special #5: California Girls on a family vacation to the Jersey Shore. I read Kristy and the Snobs at my best friend's 10th birthday sleepover party. I read Super Special #2: Baby Sitters' Summer Vacation during my third summer at sleep-away camp, and I read Super Special 11: The Baby Sitters Remember during the spring I was getting ready for my bat mitzvah.

I was twelve when I entered the wonderful world of Judy Blume. I lived in Miami Beach with Sally J. Freedman, I got my period for the first time and figured out that I could raise one eyebrow with Margaret, I was best friends with Stephanie and Rachel, and I spent some summers with Vic and Caitlin long before I was probably old enough to be a part of their story.

While I was reading my way through Judy Blume, I took a spin through the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Supermysteries, but was always more interested in Fred and Nancy's romance than whatever mystery the foursome was out to solve.

During the beginning of high school I read some Jane Austen, had an ephemeral obsession with the Bronte sisters, and started the Harry Potter books as a testament to my eclectic tastes.

I was sixteen when I read my first romance novel. I picked up a Nora Roberts book that my mom had left on the coffee table, read the entire thing in a single sitting, scoured her bookshelves for more, and began a love affair that has lasted for more than a decade. These are the books that bind me to the women in my family. They are the stories that comforted me on my first night of college, offered me an escape from a very sad summer, gave me sanity when I felt like everything was in chaos, and made my brand new house feel like home.

The story of my life is in the pages of the books that live on the shelves in the corner of my living room. The books that have been my loyal friends and constant companions as I have grown and changed and become who I am. And I may not know exactly what the future has in store for me, and where I will go from here. But I do know one thing for sure.

There will be a book in my hand as I figure it out.

Linking up with the Yeah Write Challenge Grid and
Yeah Write's 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer Slump

It's hot, hazy and humid outside.

And on this blog, I think I might be in a little bit of a summer slump.

When the weather was cooler, the ideas flowed. 

But now that it's hot, I'm feeling a little stuck.

But it's ok. I'm rolling with it.

So until the slump ends, my posts might be shorter, and since I'm doing a lot of weekend traveling over the next two months, and I'm going to let the pictures tell my tales.

This past weekend I flew to Cleveland to spend four days with my sister and her family, and to play with the kiddos. 

Now who, I ask you, could resist faces like these?

Not I.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Back to the Park

My First Favorite Running Path
I had occasion to visit Central Park one night last week.

My firm was having an evening event for the summer associates at the Central Park Zoo, and I went with some of my work friends. We had some fun checking out the animals, and spent some time at the buffet, and before long I decided to head home. 

But before I left the park, I paid a visit to the Central Park running path. It was the first time that I've been back since I moved away this past November. 

It was a hot and sticky night, but the road was full. And for a few minutes I stood there, watching the runners, awash in memories of my Central Park running days. Of making my way to the park every morning, my brain still hazy with exhaustion. Of feeling the haze clear as I began to run while the sun rose over Manhattan. Of my pace quickening as I reached the transverse that signaled the final turn towards home. Of leaving the park ready to face my day, knowing that I would be back tomorrow.

For more than three years, those roads were my home.

As I stood there, I thought I would feel sad. That I would wish that, just for a moment, I was back in the park, back on these roads. 

But I didn't.

Because I have a new home now. And for a long time, when I ran my new path I closed my eyes and imagined I was back in the Park. But I don't do that anymore. Now I run with my eyes open, happy to be where I am, to be running in a new place. To be making new memories. 

With a final glance back I turned and left Central Park and headed to catch my train, knowing that my new roads were waiting for me, and that I would be paying them a visit as the sun rose in the morning.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How You Know You've Got A Good One, In Ten Easy Steps

Today is David's birthday.

So, in honor of the day that the world was blessed with the presence of this hilarious, unique and interesting man, I present to you the top ten ways you know you've good a good one in your life.

Happy, happy birthday David. I got the best one.

1. You walk into your house one day to find a full sized R2-D2 that he built himself.

He loves it.

And then he helps little kids play with it, just for fun

2. When the occasion calls for it, he dresses up like Indiana Jones:

And Captain America

3. He turns this

Into this

All by himself.

4. He grills

Even in the rain

Before heading out to the midnight showing of the new Superman movie, in a vintage Superman t-shirt, natch

5. He doesn't even blink when you turn your apartment into a veritable library of romance novels.

And then do the same thing to your house.

6. He shares with you a love of TV so soul deep that you regularly watch full seasons of shows together in a single weekend, on a TV this big:

Because when it comes to home entertainment, he doesn't mess around.

7. He takes you to a Pittsburgh Steelers playoff game for your birthday, and sits outside for five hours in below zero temperatures because you think it's fun.

8. After various plumbing disasters from which you now suffer from PTSD, he goes down to the basement every single day to check on things so that you don't have nightmares of dripping pipes and flooded floors.

9. He can fix your computer

10. He picks out the best toy ever for your niece, so she has something fun to play with while everyone is focused on her new baby brother.

And she loves it, of course.

And for the bonus round...

Because when he was little, he looked like this: