Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Birthday Weekend

Well I guess every year that you get older comes with a little more stress from the outside and the thought that your birthday is really just another day.  This year I would spend my birthday some place similar to home another pool deck in another city, but like always Brennan went above and beyond to make my birthday special.

I was on the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo campus for the Western Water Polo Association regional tournament. I have been the head coach for the San Diego State Women's Club Water Polo team during the 2010-2011 school year.  This was our first real travel trip of the year. We were seeded into the tournament in 3rd which was a great seed that would allow us to get into the semi-finals with little stress.

The trip would start with a terrible drive up the coast to San Luis Obispo (slo).  It is located about two hours past Santa Barbara and about 250 miles from San Francisco. I left San Diego a little past noon with a car load of girls. Well needless to say we made a few bathroom stops and a food stop.  We finally arrived a good 8, Yes I said EIGHT hours later.  Once arriving with my car load we headed to a team dinner.

Saturday would be filled with two games.  We first played USC and won the game easily.  All my players were able to get some time which was awesome.  Between games I would go to get Brennan at the bus stop. Brennan had take a train from LA to Santa Barbra (3 hours) got off the train and road a bus to SLO (2 hour trip).  Overall I think he had a trip of about 6 hours all so that he could be with me to spend my birthday. I guess he loves me, cause early on in our relationship we had a joke about riding the city bus.  He did not have to ride a city bus, it was a charter bus, but it was still a bus with random people. I would pick up Brennan and head back to the pool.  We would play UCI and get another win.  Once again allowing all my players to get some time in the game.

Sunday I would wake up to it being my birthday and we would be playing in the Semi-finals of the tournament.  Mind you if we won our game at 11, we would be playing in the finals of the WWPA Tournament. For the two teams that make the final it automatically qualifies them to compete in the Collegiate Club Water Polo National Championship Tournament that was to be held 2 weeks later at Notre Dame University.  The best finish the Aztec's have ever had was 4th going into this year.

Needless to say some how the team had figured out that it was my birthday and I received multiple "Happy Birthday's" while at breakfast.

At 11am, we were facing UCLA in the Semi's.  They had a good team, but very beatable.  They however play the game of water polo putting it nicely I guess with a chip on their shoulder's.  And play the game dirty.  That came out very quickly as we played some great defense and I had a girl get punched in the face.  Yes for those of you that read this blog and do not have a ton of background knowledge the game of water polo is very physical.  But hitting people with a closed fist is a whole new level and seen as a disgrace to the game.  For whatever reason we did not get the call and I had a hurt player.  It was not two defensive plays later I had another girl get clearly punched in the face.  She went under water and the goalie ended up having to grab her. (You can see her in a picture below sitting on the bench behind me)

I am not someone that really gets after the ref's. But I am a Vessey!  I have a coaching father and a strong willed mother.  If there is anything I have learned over the years, there is a time and a place when you make your views know and this was it.  So as you can imagine as the girl was being helped to the wall, I started my quick walk and very loud yelling at the ref. Of course saying only logical things (right?). I guess he did not agree or see it the same way. He finally turned to me and I received a yellow card. The first card I have received in my water polo coaching career. A yellow card is much the same as soccer, I was basically being warned.  If he carded me again with a red card I would be ejected from the game. What I have left out is that I am being warned only about 3 minutes into the game. But it was needed, it did manage to fire up my team a little. I gave the bench a laugh and said " he just wanted to give me something for my birthday." The card however did limit my ability to yell at them the rest of the game.  We ended up losing the game, BUT my team did some great things.  They played a good clean game (not ever reverting to playing dirty) and they never gave up.  They fought hard!

My team. Go Aztec's!!!

This was later in the game after I got carded, so guess I was still able to yell.  However this was not me yelling at the ref this was at my team. (It was positive encouragement of course)

On our way home Brennan allowed me to be upset about losing for a few minutes and then we went about having a great day.  We had a joyful drive and I pulled a very risky driving maneuver to stop at a view point along the ocean. I think Brennan was secretly impressed that I made such a last minute decision. It ended up being a great stop.  We ventured down to this beautiful beach and there was no one around. We found some great tide pools, and just had a great adventure.  Making it not the normal run of the mill birthday.
The beach we found :)
Under the train
View from by the car.. Beautiful

We had a great time at our random stop

Well the drive back after Santa Barbara was seemingly with everyone else that lives in California. So needless to say we had a very slow drive.  Once back in LA we made a nice dinner and I opened my presents from Brennan.  Which was an amazing canvas picture collage of us, that he had made through shutter fly. And of course we had Ice cream. 

That Sunday evening and then early into the week Brennan and I had some different options present themselves. Just when we thought we had it all figured out.  But that is what makes life an adventure, so in the coming weeks you will read about some BIG changes in not only my life, but Brennan's as well.  But I am really excited about it all!!! So stay tuned! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Phoenix for Donnie's Wedding

With the swim season over and the girls in out of season training meaning they only have to make eight hours a week. I have found myself with a little more time on my hands.  I was still coaching the club water polo team (however that ended April 17th- that will be discussed in another blog) and started back up working as a ticket seller for the San Diego Padre's. And I am in my last class of grad school, May 20th is approaching fast. I cant wait to be done!! But honestly have not been doing much.  I have been spending most of my free time searching for jobs and then emailing and mailing out my resume.  I have applied to multiple places at this point and heard back from very few, but no worries.  Just keep sending it out.

The one nice thing with more free time is you look forward to the big events you have had on the schedule for months. That big event was Donnie Dulle's wedding to Lindsey Kirk in Phoenix on April 9.  We were fortunate enough to have Donnie go to college at the University of Redlands and freshman year he spent a lot of time around the house.  Not sure if he enjoyed our company or the fact that we had free laundry, good home cooked meals or just that it was not the dorm.  He may be the first and only person to ever say that the Vessey house is a quite relaxing place.  We got in our fare share of baseball games and got to see the Dulle clan a good amount in those few years.  So the Vessey's have been looking forward to this wedding!!

The trip started out with the quick (ok 7 hour drive to Arizona).  Being not that far we decided to drive it,  I road tripped it with Brooke and her boyfriend Nik from San Diego.  For being as far as it was we had a good time- had a few random stops and Brooke had purchased plenty of snacks..  The weather on the other hand was crazy. In those 300 miles through the desert we had rain, hale, snow, a rainbow and then just a beautiful cloudless sky.  Once we finally arrived we had all of 5 minutes to get changed and head to the rehearsal dinner that was held at Tommy Bahama's Restaurant. It was a fun event and we got to hear some great stories about Donnie and Lindsey and see all the family who had flown in from all over the country.
At the rehearsal dinner

After the rehearsal dinner I got to spend some time hangout out with my siblings at the hotel.  I am very fortunate in that I get to see them pretty often but I still have missed things just being done and so busy. So the more time I get with them the better.  Brennan had been in San Francisco for the week with work and was flying in to Phoenix for the weekend.  He had one of the last flights in Friday night. 

Saturday morning we all met at breakfast and decided we would head to old Scottsdale for the afternoon and then come back get ready and head over to the wedding.  It may not have been our best idea of the weekend, but we still had a fun time and ended up rushing to get ready for the wedding.  The weather was trying to stay away from rain but the clouds were not promising as we headed to the wedding.  But no matter the weather we knew we were in for a party!!! And that is exactly what we got. 

The ceremony was very beautiful.  Emotions ran high for everyone and the love that was felt was something that is hard to describe.  Since Mikayla is Donnie's favorite cousin (or so she claims) she was asked to read during the ceremony.  I thought she might get nervous, but not at all she nailed it. She sounded great!! 
My Aunt and Uncle- 2 very inspiring people!! Keep kicking butt Uncle Don

Cousin Donnie and Aunt Kay

KK reading during the ceremony

"After 6 years of practicing being best friends" they finally made the jump and got MARRIED!!!

After the ceremony there was a nice cocktail hour which was spent mingling with family and catching up on every one's lives.  Then we headed back over for dinner and a fun filled reception.

The reception area

Donnie and the Vessey's

 Brennan and I were seated at a table 19 with my cousin David and his wife Staci (Live in San Fran, who we are looking forward to seeing very soon at graduation) my cousin Jimmy and his wife Lindsey (DC) as well as my cousin Laura and her husband Ryan (St. Louis).  We had a great time enjoying dinner and laughing up a storm. We also played a bit of musical chairs, during the cocktail hour it became very cold and rainy.  Since it was outside under a large tent by the time dinner came we were all excited to get back into the huge tent with walls hoping it would be warmer.  Brennan and I snagged the seats near where they were pumping in hot air, however within minutes I was sweating. So every few minutes we would all switch seats to warm up and then cool down.  Our table would later be invaded by relatives who were freezing.
Brooke and KK with our cousin Molly and Mary Grace

All the females with Grandma and Grandpa and our newest addition Lindsey Dulle :)

Once dinner was over and the music started it was an all out party.  There are some parts of the evening that will not be mentioned in this blog... But needless to say we all had a great time. We danced the night away. The Vessey family attempted to close the place down and we did just that.  With the party still in full swing when the band was done, we all managed to get them to do an encore.  With some help from the University of Redlands crew.. It was awesome!! 

 This Midwestern boy now represents LA I guess. haha

The boys : )

<3 my sisters

So if a picture does not tell a thousand words,  the Vessey's had a wonderful time at the wedding.  

To the Kirk's for all your hospitality, thank you!
 To the Dulle's thank you! 
To Donnie and Lindsey CONGRATULATIONS we are all so happy for you. And your wedding is going down in the record books. Rain or shine you guys can through one heck of a party. 

Brennan's and I would not end our fun filled trip to Phoenix Saturday evening.  Sunday I got to meet some of Brennan's family.  His grandpa lives out in Phoenix and we would spend the afternoon watching baseball, chatting and having a great lunch.  I see where Brennan gets his good looks and great charm.  We would then head over and spend some time with his Uncle who also lives in the area.  It was nice to have a relaxing day and spend it with some wonderful people.
Brennan with his grandpa

For everyone else Monday was back to the grind but Brennan and I were still on our mini AZ vacation.  We left Phoenix Monday morning and would have a very adventurous trip back to LA.  See Brennan enjoys stopping at gas stations purchasing a few snacks.. Me not so much. I am a lets get there kinda person.  He kept reminding me we had no where to be, but I cant help it.  We did stop in a weird town of Quartzite before the California border for lunch.  We ate in what looked to be the only restaurant in town and you could tell we were considered the outcasts.  Never the less it leaves us with a funny story to tell. The place also had a Jerky shop next door and we stopped in. You can see from the picture below that Brennan could not pass up the urge to try some different jerky's.  All of which I will say were pretty good...
Creepy restaurant. I took the picture while driving away, so they could not see me.

Brennan and his jerky- Alligator, Pork and Venison (deer for us Cali people)

It was one heck of a weekend with memories to last a lifetime. So for all my time waiting around doing a whole lot of nothing.. I did a whole lot of activities in those 3 days..

Again Congratulations to the amazing couple!!!