Saturday, December 29, 2012

The bad boy

I've written some about my part-time job.

I'm learning a lot.  I'm re-learning the mistakes I made when I owned my own company.  What to do.  What not to do.  Inventory and employees are huge components of any company. I'm NOT a good manager.

Suddenly, I'm running this company.  Oh, and I don't like this.  He doesn't plan.  He says we can do anything.  We are going to sell this company.  Blah, Blah, Blah.

When I made up my mind to get a part-time job - I was interviewing all over the place.  That's not true.  I had several phone screens.  Three face-to-face interviews, two job offers. 

Company #1:  There were 7 people, the Owner and the Director of Sales had worked together for 17 or so years.  The Owner had gone out on his own about 10 years ago.  She went two years later.  Casual office out in the industrial area of town.

Company#2"  Start-up.  Owner is in the USA on an "investment VISA".  Everyone has been working together for about a year.   Over $1 million in sales since January.  Cherry Creek office.  (close to home)  Casual trendy environment.

Company not even considered:  A Market Research company.  Hiring technical people.  (If you truly get the irony of this company, you know me).

Well, really, only one job offer. The first place was e-mailed.  I let them know I had accepted another position.  I was REALLY excited about that opportunity.   I didn't let the first give me an offer.  They got delayed.  They wanted me back for a second interview, but the second place gave me an offer first.  I jumped.  I took the offer immediately.

Something is wrong with me.

I was SO excited about my part-time job in the industrial environment.  That's the whole point of a part-time job.  I have recruiting.  It's faithful.  It's loyal.  I'm loyal.  This part-time job was supposed to get me out of the house. A distraction

Then, well, the bad boy came along.  Stock-options.  Manufacturing (I get that).  An idea.  Also an entrepreneaur willing to take a risk.  Never mind you that the other guy also took a risk.  That was ten years ago or so.  Heaven forbid it's actually up and running.

I WANT TO TAKE A CHANCE.

Where did that girl appear from?  She was alive for years.  She did it all. She's supposed to be gone.

I work - but work doesn't define my life.  My kids.  My summers in Hawaii define my life.  Not some job.   That girl left us long time ago.

Friday we had a crazy day.  Insane.  Packing, shipping, manufacturing.  I'm running to the road to meet the trucking company to pull off something that could make or break this company.

Yes, I nicely asked them to come back the next day.

Do I really need this drama in my life????  Really? 

No, I don't need this.  I do want drama in my life.  It always arrives in some shape or form:  my boys, guys I like or work.  Right now, two are settled down.  Two out of three ain't bad....








Saturday, December 22, 2012

Open me

I was at Target today.  The Target by the club where I work out.  I don't really like to go to this particular Target.  It's nice, but the parking lot is always crowded - no matter when you go.  I do end up at this Target quite a bit because it is convenient.  I just try to go to other ones.

Today, though, I'm glad I went to this one.

The boys former hockey coach is in town and what started as "hey, coaches, come over for lasagna" has turned into 18 people coming over for lasagna.  Which is fine.  In fact, it's more than fine.  I love it when this happens.  The more the merrier.  I'm going to need to make a couple of lasagnas. More stuff needed.

This is a Super Target.  Groceries, Alcohol, Household goods, etc, you know the drill.  I also needed some stocking stuffers.  Then I'm done.

I've done all the grocery shopping.  The stocking stuffers are in the basket and I'm headed to the check out.  I stop at the little section at the front of the store (the $1.00 area) to see if I need a couple of more things.  On the opposite side of where I entered the store. This is the section designed for you to stop at on your way in.  Oh well.

I'm looking through the bins.  And in one, is a light green envelope marked "Happy Holidays"  (Open Me) both hand-written in red ink.  I pick it up.  I turn it over.  It's sealed.  I look around. Puzzled. Hmm?  I wonder what this is?  It doesn't match anything in the bin and it was facing out.  I open it.  Thinking, well, if I wasn't supposed to open it, I'll pay for it if I made a mistake.  It's a note card.  Opening the card, printed is "Season's Greetings with all good wishes for the New Year".  Hand-written below in the same red ink:  "In honor of Charlotte Bacon".  There was a $10 gift card inside.

Smile. First thought "How sweet.  What a nice thing for someone to do in memory of someone."  Maybe I'll go buy me a little something extra.  Just for me.  Thank you. 

Oh wait, there is a typed folded over slip in here too.  "In honor of the lives of the 26 children and adults that were just taken from us in Connecticut, I offer you this random act of kindness in hopes of bringing a smile to your face this Holiday season."

It didn't bring a smile. I started crying.  There ARE good people in this world.  We think sometimes there is more evil, than good.  BUT, we are wrong.  Good will always win.  Then, I smiled.

On the back, the cards were produced by the "Child Welfare League of America"   Whomever our random act of kindness person is/was, really went out of the way - not only to purchase cards contributing to children (I haven't looked up what the organization is about), but then purchased the gift cards.  Then randomly placed them.

Thank you random person in Glendale, Colorado for taking the time from your hectic life to spread good and happy thoughts.  I looked around to see if anyone was watching a grown woman cry in the middle of the aisle, but if you were there, you didn't let me know it.

I don't know if there were more throughout the store.  I don't know if you spent a total of $260 honoring each and every victim or $10 honoring Charlotte Bacon.  Either way, it's all good. There ARE angels among us.

Thank you for showing this little piece of the world, there is still good.  Lots of good.  

To the family of Charlotte Bacon - she is touching lives still.  Her life wasn't in vain.  Her memory won't be either. 

I didn't spend the $10.  We might have to buy an ornament with the name Charlotte on it, to honor her.  Someone thought she needed to be our angel.  Or maybe, I need to read what she liked and buy another little girl a random gift to donate.

Or maybe, random act of kindness person, we might just take your lead:  we start sharing the joy of life in random little ways too.......

Thank you.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Oh Christams Tree

Our Christmas Tree looks like something out of a bad tourist town drug store.  Tacky.  Musty.  Missing Lights. Leaning towards the front door. We LOVE our Christmas Tree. - it's EVERYTHING we are not.

It's fake.  It's probably 8 years old.  I bought the wrong one - 8 years ago.  And every year, I say "we are throwing this tree away.  Buying a new one while they are on sale AFTER Christmas".  Only every year, I don't really want to spend any money on a tree that is going to go in the crawl space for the next 11 months.  I meant to buy the "pre-lit" tree.  The ones with the lights on it.  Only I purchased the tree with fiber optic lights.  The ends of the tree will light up.  We quit using those lights 3 years ago and now hang real lights back on the tree.  So much for a "pre-lit" tree.

Tree skirt:  Something from when I owned the gift company.  Plaid, with lace, and a "Merry Christmas" embroidery.  Nothing about this tree skirt belongs in our house.  Only, I have it. I should use it and I'm not going to buy another one.

Decorations:  There is no "theme".  No color scheme. Here is where the "drug store" look REALLY takes over.
  • Handmade ornaments: Those from preschool.  Music classes.  Ski ticket holders, all looped in a chain from a weekend in Vail when the boys were little.  Beaded "bells" that go on some of the lights from a great Aunt whom is no longer with us.  
  • Collector ornaments: Nice "Old Worlde Ornaments".  "Real" ornaments.  Mostly gifts from family members. Some family members have given ornaments over the years - a pickle, an American flag, musical shadow balls, a bird, hockey players,  an angel.  Usually in pairs (one for each boy to later take to their homes).  Also, gifts from friends are hanging there too.  Personalized.  Special.
  • Swarovski crystal ornaments:  All in one section.  One every year from I think 1999.  From my Granny.  Every year I think I really should keep them out year round.  They are so pretty.  But then I would have to dust them and I know that won't happen.  Instead they go back in their individual boxes to be stored until next Christmas.
  • My medals:  The "medal" section.  8 Tri for the Cure medals.  Several half-marathon.  Several more triathlon medals.  A couple of 5k's. (Most races only give medals for "distances" - a lesson learned the hard way).  A few years ago, they were all hanging on the back of my bedroom door.  I like hanging them on the Christmas tree every year.  The "First" of every class (first half marathon, first triathlon, first marathon, etc) - those are framed and are out year around.  The rest of them enjoy the limelight for the month of December.  So, no, there isn't a new one this year - the half-marathon I did with Nolan, it's being framed with his.  (I guess - I haven't done this yet, maybe I need to ask - he might want his own medal framed without mine)  In which case, mine will still be framed.  It was my first with him.  The boys medals stay out year around.
  • Ornaments from Carolyn:  We stopped exchanging Christmas presents years ago.  Each year now for, gosh, at least 20 years, we have sent each other a Christmas ornament.  One year, we went to London in November, that year we sent each other the EXACT same Christmas ornament - a snowflake with a picture in the middle picture.  We were in a "bike taxi" in London at midnight after a play.  We were stuck in traffic.  The people in the car next to us took the picture.  We both put that picture in the ornament and sent it to each other.  Smile.  For the next two years, we actually sent each other very similar ornaments to the one each had sent the other.
  • The drugstore ornaments:  Scattered throughout the tree.  Ornaments from all over the world.  When I first got married, we started the tradition.  Instead of a souvenir, we purchase a Christmas ornament.  Or something that would work as an ornament.  I've continued the tradition with the boys.  We always buy a Christmas ornament to remember once a year our journey's.  Vail, Myrtle Beach, Port Aranasas, Hawaii, San Diego, etc. Greece, Germany, London, Mexico and on and on and on.  I think we can stop buying ornaments now.  Only I won't.
  • Then there is "special section".  Only we call it the "Handicap Section".  Smile now.  And please don't tell the politically correct police that we segregate around here.  The "Handicap Section" is well, for the broken ornaments.  (It is okay if you are laughing).  With boys, of course, every year, we break a couple.  Some are too bad to salvage and they go in the trash.  HOWEVER, the ones, well, let's put it this way: we have a ballerina with no legs.  A Sponge Bob with only leg.  A snowball  with only half of one ski.  A surfer with a black eye (only that was intentional).  A martini glass with no stem.  They get hung on the tree. So, we have a "Handicap Section" of the Christmas tree.
The rest of the house looks like you would think.  The monogrammed stockings are hung on the mantle with the NOEL letter hooks.  The real wreath is on the door.  The Nativity scenes are in the bay window.  The Christmas runner on the table. Candles in holiday colors.  The cards from friends and family displayed.

Every year I really think "Oh, we don't really need to put up a tree - it's a lot of hassle".  As I write this though, I can feel the love that our crooked, drug-store looking tree emits.  All the way up to the cracked "Star"fish on top. 



Friday, December 14, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Moments

As mentioned in the previous post, it's the moments that get me through this time of year.  So, this is going to be like November - only you have to check this post on a daily basis and these are moments that we forget to notice in the scheme of things.

I'm going to post my moment each day, that is getting me through the "organization" of it all.

My moments so far, this month that are getting me through:

  • Attending the Broncos game
  • Doing an errand for my "husband" (he's the guy I work for, only he's not really a boss, so I call him "my husband") - and he's great about saying thank you.  In fact, he left me a bottle of wine on my desk.
  • Watching Nolan roll his eyes when I asked him a silly question
  • Telling Duncan I was taking him to lunch at school for his birthday.  You see, he doesn't want me too.  I told him I would call Kyle (his friend) and take Kyle and Duncan.  Kyle would say it's okay.  Duncan's response?  Please don't call Kyle, you know he will let you take us to lunch.  ;)  Okay, maybe I'll let you win this one.  Although secretly, I wonder if he really wants me to show up to take the guys to lunch.
  •  Having such good friends whom drive from Vail to go to a Christmas party with you.  And they are such good friends, the wife decided not to come at the last minute and she trusts her husband can attend the party with me only.  Such dear friends.  And I had a really cute date to a party.
  • Watching Duncan's arms shake as I let him drive the car down the street.  (I may need some Xanax for this next portion of my life).
  • Girlfriends having drinks and texting Joe in Hawaii, telling him we were coming for a girls weekend.  Him calling twice to confirm our dates. Wants to us to know we are always welcome.  He only pretends to be ornery.
  • Christmas cards in the mailbox every day for the entire month.
  • One of my girlfriends has the most adorable husband - he's been trying to set me up with a guy at the fire station for about a year.  This is the text I receive the other day:  "You and Lynda go work out on Christmas Day then come by the station".  Not sure why we have to go work out first, but it's pretty cute how he's trying to set me up. 
  • The guy at the liquor store whom last year told me "You are really cute, for your age" - that he still flirts with me when I go into the store - even if I have sweats on.
  • A text from Duncan saying:   "I miss Hawaii.  I miss the blue water.  I miss the stupid coral that I cut my feet on!  I miss the stupid lava rocks that I step on.  I miss the sand!  Even the sand with the rocks in it.  I miss Joe and his jokes towards me!  I miss the dog!  Mom, I miss Hawaii everything about it and everything right now seems to be about it"  Granted, the sun is setting at 5pm and it was cold yesterday, and he had a cold.  I'm not sure he misses Hawaii or our unscheduled way of life.
  • Standing in line at the post office.  Auld Lang Syne comes on.  For some reason it was magical - only it wasn't snowing and I didn't run into an old lover.  Other than that, it was just like the song. ;-)
Okay, that's it - and I'll probably just add a new moment each day and each blog instead of adding to this list.  

Monday, December 3, 2012

Color Coded

From September through May, my life is color coded.  We leave, breathe, act, move and play by color coded schedules.  I tried to do a screen shot of my calendar and post it here - I'm not that technical.  I was able to do the screen shot.  I pasted it here, but it won't show up.  And this time of year, I don't have that scheduled, so sorry, you will have to go with words no visuals.

Both boys play Club level hockey.  Duncan also made the high school varsity hockey team - as a freshman.  (yea - I think).  Think two practices per person, per team, per week.  Then add at least two games per weekend, per kid. Then add orthodontist appointments, dentist appointments, well visits, high school shadowing, piano lessons, ukulele lessons and school activities.  Oh yes, then add my work appointments, my appointments.  Everything is schedule this time of year.  It's all color coded.  Blue for Duncan.  Beige for Nolan.  Red for my phone calls.  White for something I want to do, but don't have to be there.  Yellow for school breaks.  Green for when the boys are with me.  Thank goodness they have an incredible involved father - this is only my half!

Oh, wait, then add the holidays, Duncan's birthday and maybe a few unscheduled "fun" things thrown in.  Meals, grocery store, laundry and on and on and on.  Birthday parties, seeing friends, sleep overs.

Honestly - it's not like this September through May.  Mainly just November - February.  My "survival" period.  Four months out of the year.  During this time, I try and appreciate the moments.  The moments that get me through.

"You are going to miss this" we tell people this all the time.  And I can tell you, "No, I'm not going to miss this". The over-scheduled, over-worked, over-everything time of the year?  NO, I'm not going to miss this.

What I am going to miss though:

  • That moment in the car, when it's just two of us and I get told a funny story about practice.
  • Or told a "riddle" they learned in the locker room
  • Having the boys as an 'excuse', not to do something I do want to do
  • Family dinners


Okay, I'm having trouble here trying to think of things I'm going to miss about this "season" in my life.   I know there are moments I do love during the chaos.  Right now, my creative liberties are scheduled.  Ask me in July, I MIGHT be able to tell you what I miss about these months. Or I might just look at you like you are from another planet.

And we do get stolen moments that aren't color coded.  They are unexpected.  They feed my gypsy soul and let the hockey mom stay in charge.

This week for example.  Yes, we had 3 hockey games in addition to everything else.  My running buddy called and asked if I would like his 6 season tickets to the Broncos game on Sunday.

"Yes, yes I would".  Believe it or not, there was only one conflict.  I took my other running buddy, both boys and they each took a friend.  6 of us went.  45 yard line.  32nd row.  Two of the five had never been to a Broncos game (one of those was Duncan).   The guy behind us, bought me a beer.  I was then informed by the 15 year old friend "Leasa, he's flirting with you!".  Smile.   "You think so?"  He wasn't sure I knew, after all they think I'm ancient.

It was a beautiful day. In fact, I was colder at the Rockies (baseball) home opener in April then at a Broncos game in December.  Who woulda thought......

The Broncos won.  Then I took them to Taco Bell.  We all thought we had a perfect day.



We did have a perfect day.  It was unscheduled, it wasn't planned. We did have to put it on the schedule or we would have never made it on time. 

During my "survival" time, it's the moments that get me through.  The moments I can think of.  The moments I will think of later.  The moments not planned, not color coded just appearing when they know you need them.

Looking at the color coded sheet, it's not manageable.  It's over-whelming.  But in all that space that isn't scheduled are moments that keep us going.  Keep us dreaming.  Keep us holding on.

And, if I keep repeating those last few sentences, I might just begin to believe it.

Repeat after me.....





















Saturday, December 1, 2012

Crumbs

A lady worked for me for about 5 years.  She is a dear woman.  I often joke, she was my "therapist" for the five years. 

She had been through quite a bit in her life.  Four kids, a husband whom left her, breast cancer and I could go on and on.  I could go on and on because this is what I knew about her.  It's what she shared with you about her life.  Years of therapy.  We used to joke, her Weight Watchers group would leave the meeting and go to lunch.  She was about therapy.  Only, she was addicted to the therapy, not the getting better.

She taught me much.  Much about me.  Much about life.  Much about other people.  She taught me to listen to what other people are saying.  She needed someone to listen to her.  I needed her to listen to me. She was addicted to the therapy.

When we met, I was recently divorced.  For her, her divorce was dramatic.  Full of angst.  Devastation.  She was the victim. When she spoke of her divorce, you thought it had just happened - not twenty years previously.

I was not the victim.  I had asked for the divorce.  Yes, there was sadness.  Confusion.  Not understanding this next phase of my life.

She was my surrogate therapist/mom/auntie/friend.  We had an incredible friendship/relationship.

We had many conversations about my life.  Her life.  What I wanted.  My hopes.  My dreams.  Her thoughts.  Her notes.  Her experiences.  How her experiences could help me.  My experiences could help me help her.  We were meant to cross paths in life.

A line I remember when we were discussing relationships:  "You are settling for the crumbs".  (By the way, I had to look up how to spell settling - not sure I'm familiar with that word).  Smile.

"You are settling for the crumbs"

Me:  I'm not sure I understand

Her:  You deserve the whole piece of cake.  Don't settle for the crumbs.

Me:  I don't really like cake.  I'm not sure what you are talking about.

Her:  You date.  You have these stories, you have these men all around you.  Only, you aren't letting anyone be more.  You take what you can get.  Then you go on to the next one.  Some is good enough for you.

Me:  Yes, all of the above is true.  What is wrong with it?

Her:  You deserve the whole cake.  Not just the crumbs.  The goodness.  The hard times.  The highs.  The lows.  The whole cake.

Me:  I don't like cake.  And besides, if you take more than the crumbs, you eat to much, then you feel sick.  I just like the edges.  I don't like frosting.  I don't like a whole piece.  I LOVE the edges, the crusty part.

Her:  Understood.  You are cheating yourself the richness of the middle.

Me:  I don't like the middle.  I've been telling you this.  I like the edge.  The pieces.  Bits & Pieces.  I don't want a whole cake.  A whole bag of chips, maybe.  A cake?  No thanks. 

This conversation has played over and over again in my head for years.  "You are settling for the crumbs".  My answer has always been the same:  "I only want the crumbs."  Then I added, "I tried having cake.  It wasn't for me.  I don't like cake".

Recently, though, I think I can finally see what she really meant.  By committing to the "whole cake", you get it all.  Only, I think if you commit to the "whole cake" you might just make yourself sick.  Hence, the reason I don't want the whole cake.  Too much makes you sick.

Everyone else has cake. 

Am I cheating myself out of the middle?  The richness, the moist wonderful part of the cake?

The funny thing? When I eat a piece of cake?  I scrape off the frosting.  Scrape away the crumbs.  Enjoy the middle.  Only really, I don't like cake in the first place.  I still keep making the cake try to fit me, when really, I prefer chips.

Salty.  Crunchy.  Dipped with a bit of salsa.  Chips?  I'll take the whole bag.

So, Judy, I'm not settling for crumbs.  I'm also not settling for cake.  I'm holding out.  But, I want chips.  The whole bag.



Sunday, November 25, 2012

ADD ***OS

ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder

It's runs fairly rampant in this household.  ADD isn't really a bad thing.  We don't have bad cases of it.  Just "bursts" of it. 

Several projects always going on.  Bursts of boredom, followed by creating new things.  Everything gets finished around here.  Usually all at once too - One projected is started, then another, then another, then Oh, we have to go to hockey.  We have too.... You name it - we are busy doing it.  Then suddenly all at once, we get focused and it all gets done.

I really do wish I could start a project.  See it through to the end.  THEN start another project.  Truth is, I don't really know a lot of people whom can do that.  Unless of course, they have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).  Although, their projects never get done either - they are always perfecting it.

We really "diagnose" things these days.  It used to be, someone was good at one thing, and not so good at others.

For me, I need lists.  If it is not on a list, it won't ever get done.  You can tell me, but unless there is a note, a piece of paper, the back side of my hand or sticky reminding me that I need to do something.  Even if I WANT to do it.  It works much better if I have it written down.

Which brings me to my shopping list.  I'm okay going to the store without a list if I only need the basics: 

  • Milk,
  •  Eggs,
  •  Cheese,
  •  Bread, 
  • Chips, 
  • Fruit, 
  • Vegetables, 
  • Pasta and Sauce
With these 8 things, we can make it through the week around here.  However, if we are out of even "staples", I need a list.  You know those things you don't have to buy EVERY week, but it's nice to always have on hand:
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jelly
  • Oatmeal
  • Etc.
I couldn't tell you if we ran out or not.  It's got to be on the list.

Tuesday, I was making Nolan's lunch.  (Yes, I still make the boys lunch.  A few years ago I was very tired of making lunches.  We rode that wave and I now realize I only have a couple of lunch making years left, so I don't mind).

Nolan looks over and says, "What's that big bag?"  I reply, "Well, we ran out of sandwich bags, so I just put your sandwich and chips together in a gallon size bag."  Smile.  The look on his face?  He just shakes his head.  I smile and start laughing.  "Would it be better if you just lived with your Dad?".  He just laughed.

And today, at the store, guess what?  I forgot sandwich bags.  I didn't write it down.  My poor children........

Oh, and his favorite joke?  You know what ADD OS stands for?  Attention Deficit Disor****   Oh Shinny!

He's familiar with that feeling....






Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankfulness

Many people this month posted on Facebook the things they were thankful in their life.   30 days.  30 things.

I actually tried doing this a few years ago.  Only, it wasn't November and it was in notebook.  I wasn't appreciating my life.  I was feeling sorry for myself.  Only, there was nothing to really feel sorry for, only a little self pity.  Like me telling some kid to get over the fact he didn't make a team.  In the big picture, I was having a pity party. In the little picture, I felt sorry for myself.

And that's okay.  Can't we feel sorry for ourselves, just for a moment?  Big picture - OH, what a wonderful life!! Even better - looking back at the things that made moments not happy, and realizing later they made you a better person.  We have to be thankful for those things too.  The bad things, made us better.

I am thankful for:
  • My health
  • My kids, and other peoples kids too
  • My relatives

****I watched a show the other day (a new network show), it's was actually quite funny.  They invited all their friends, family and relatives over for Thanksgiving.  It was chaotic and stressful.  Then all those whom were related by blood left.  They proclaimed "their family" was left.  After that they decided, "Family is for Thanksgiving.  Relatives are for Christmas".  I thought it was pretty funny.  Family/relatives

  • Friends
  • Safety
  • My house
  • A reliable safe automobile
  • Roses growing up my front walk
  • My education
  • Living in a country where I take my freedom's for granted
  • Pink toenail polish
  • Tomatoes on the vine
  • Public safety
  • Airplanes
  • Credit cards
  • Vineyards
  • Things that shine
  • The Internet
  • Belief
  • Electricity
  • My bike
  • Heartaches - they make the sweet even sweeter. 
  • The dishwasher
  • Washer/Dryers - could you imagine??  UGH
  • Convenience
  • The library
  • Pencils.  I don't really like pens.
  • Love
  • Knowing that no matter what, someone has always believed in me.
The last thing I'm thankful for:

Okay, not really, I'm sure my list should go on and on, but really I would put those things in the middle. This would always be the last thing on my list:

  • Not always getting what I want, when I want it.  I always get what I want.  The universe just makes sure I appreciate it.....

And for this, I'm thankful.  I think.


Monday, November 19, 2012

"The worst moment of his life. Ever"

We all know, I'm not on the parenting band-wagon, of "my poor child".  You can not instill WANT in people.  You cannot instill "determination".  It's either that, or they will they learn it.  Or they won't.

Hockey season is more than under way.  It's full blown.

I battled back and forth if this article should be titled "Perspective" or the one I picked. 

Background:

I play the "mom friend" game really well.  I have great incredible friends from all walks of life.  My "mom friends"  - well, we are just outside the "A group".  We are just fine on whom we are with our kids and the role we lead in their lives.  We are also quite comfortable at not playing the "game" of "needing" friends.  We are the group of "non-friends". (more on that later)

My soapbox for a moment:  THIS IS YOUR CHILD'S LIFE:  NOT YOURS"

They are going to fall down.  They are going to have broken hearts.  They are going to fail.  LET THEM.  The biggest injustice we are doing to our kids today is not letting them fail.  You will learn more from failing than you will from succeeding.  It sucks.  We all know it.

Yes, we want to protect our children from that hurt.  When really, we aren't protecting them.  We are hurting them.  They have to learn it.  We can't have them "not learn it".  Then there will be injustice in the world.  The kids think that everything should always go their way.  My, oh, my are they in for a rude awaking in the real world.

UNLESS, of course, they go create it.  If THEY create the next chapter in their life, even if they fail, they will succeed.  They will know more about them.

The conversation that led us to this discussion:

Me:  (to hockey mom from last year):  What team is Bo on this year?

Her:  He didn't make a team.  There were no goalie spots loft.

Me:.  Oh.  I thought you went to another team

Her:  No.  "This has been the worst thing that has ever happened to him."  He's playing stick and puck with with 4th graders.

Me:  Oh

What I wanted to say?  "Then he's had a pretty good life and should consider himself lucky"

I didn't say it.

After she left.  I did turn to the mom sitting next to me.  I asked if it would be wrong of me to say the above statement.  I added, yes, it does suck.  But really?  Would have been wrong of me to say?

The other mom?  It sucks.  (they are friends, so I know she heard what I said). 

Me:  Yes. It sucks.  But really, the "worst thing that has ever happened to him???"

Get real.  Tell your son congratulations.

There are stories after stories about bad things in children's childhood.  I don't believe ONE has ever mentioned not making a team.   Yes it sucks.  When you want something and you can't have it.  Yuck.  That feeling will never change.

Should we review the list:

Abuse
Neglect
Abandonment
Divorce (this is a subject for another blog, but only if the parents are acting liking douche's - divorce isn't always a bad thing.  Living with two people whom hate each other, that is a bad thing)
Hunger
Childhood cancer
Loss of a child/parent
On and on..... there are tons of things out there to make the moment "the worst thing ever"


When your son/daughter doesn't make a team?  Yes, it sucks.  The worst thing that has ever happened to them??? 

Count your blessings......





Thursday, November 15, 2012

Love the one you are with

Be present.  In everything you do.

You know what's annoying?  When you look around a restaurant and people are engaged with their paper or their phones.  Not with the person/people sitting at the table with you.  Yes, sometimes, you do need to answer a call, but really?  Not really.

People aren't present.  Right here and now.

I'm really bad at this - just in the opposite way of everyone else.  When I'm present, I can't imagine ever being any where/place than where I am at that moment.  I don't wish my time away. I want to be right here.  Right now.

Then, of course, I take it too far.  I then imagine I will always be in this place.  HOWEVER, an hour later when the time is over.  I'm on to the next thing - and can never imagine, once again, that I could be any place else.  Not pining for where I was either.  Present in the new place.

Examples:

My new part-time job.  It was much needed in my life.  I'm distracted.  Happy.  Busy.  What I needed in my life.  My thoughts:  "this job is great.  I'm helping out a lot.  There are shares for me - this is an 18 month project. I could really make some money when this company sells.  I can do this for 18 months."  Hmmmmmm, wonder what I'm going to do about Hawaii next summer?  I guess maybe I can only be gone for two weeks next summer.  I'll need to be here for this job.

Recruiting is going well.  My part-time job is going well.  Boys are doing great.  Hockey season is under way.  Life is flowing along....  We are healthy.  We are loved.  We have a roof over our head and people to care about us.  Who would want for more?

THEN:

A phone call.

What you say?  Can we trade houses again for the original Hawaii house?  After all our daughter is having a baby.  We want to come for the summer.  Can you stay longer this summer?

Poof.  Just like that.

Gypsy Leasa says:  "We can trade for as long as you want.  Just let us know".

Huh?

What happened to "only two weeks next summer?"  What happened to "being right where I am?".  Shares?  Stock options?

Oh, what you say???  You want me to come to Hawaii and live in my house again, with the neighbor Joe next door?  

I love this whole wonderful incredible life we've created here in our everyday life.  I also love our summer life.

Thankfully, we don't have to choose one or the other.  We can choose both.  I can love both wholly, fully and in the present.  Together.  Each at their own time.  Loving the one I'm with.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Call me when you get there


From my childhood, in the back-seat of a car, I always heard him tell my mom "call me when you get there".

Even at a young age, I remember actually thinking "we just live a few miles away, why does he want us to call when we get there?".

Years go by.  I learn to drive a car.  I hear it again.  First long road trip.  Back to college.  Across the ocean.  Across the states.  The phrase is heard again and again.

I've always called.  The same phone number.  My whole life.  The same house.  The same people.  Every time I leave the same house, I've always left, I always call and let the sweetest grandparents in the whole world know I've gotten to the next destination.  I'm safe.  I've "journeyed" to the next location. Suddenly a few years ago, I wondered if he wasn't talking about more.  Day to day life, no he wasn't talking about more.  He wanted to know if I got where I was going.  He's a simple man.  And I'm now a woman - I want something to mean more than it really meant. It doesn't.  He truly wants to know when I get there.


A few years ago on Facebook there was a "note" type of "dare" to list 25 random things about yourself and "post".  Several of my friends did this.  In fact, quite a few did this.  I "started" my list.  "25 random things you need to know about me".  This was pre-blog.

I never finished the list.  I started it, and from the drawer, hand-written;

Here is the start:

  • I love to ride my bike.  Still
  • Swimming makes me whole.
  • The color blue is my favorite.  And not because it matches my eyes.
  • I hang on to things too long  (stuff, pieces of paper, people I shouldn't)
  • I love good quotes
  • Stargazer lilies are my favorite flowers and we plant a new bulb every spring in the yard.  I was told to plant your own flowers in life.
  • Friends and family are the backbone of my life.
  • I enjoy being a mom much more than I thought I would.
  • I am a participant.  Not an observer.
  • I don't like peas, but I like split pea soup
  • I don't like coffee or milk, but I like lattes.  *****And now, I can even say, I've picked coffee.  
  • Music makes me smile.
  • Watching random strangers make me smile too
  • I can't stand in-efficiency.
  • I met one of my best friends at the airport.
  • I can hold my breath for a REALLY long time.
That's as far as I got.  A long way from 25.  It was written in 2009 But my last written entry:

  • My Papo (grand-father) told me my whole life to "Call me when you get there".  Every day, I wonder if I'm there. Does he know I made it?  




 



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ukulele Lessons

I can barely pronounce Ukulele, much less spell it, much less play it....

Nolan wanted a Ukulele for his birthday.  Of course he did - we were in Hawaii.  Whom doesn't want one when you are living there?  It's charming.  It makes you want to want one.  They make you smile.

You see other people playing and well, you really wish you knew how to play. Yes, there are other instruments out there that when we see someone else play them, well, we are a bit envious of their talent.  As with anything talent require practice.

He's taken piano for a couple of years and really enjoys it.  I understood him wanting the Ukulele. 

Just the word makes you smile.  Know what makes you smile even more?  When you tell someone you play the Ukulele.  Or your son is taking Ukulele lessons.  I mean, how can you not smile?

There is an organization in town call Swallow Hill Music - think community college - only it's music lessons.  All ages.  All instruments.  THEY TEACH UKULELE lessons - AND it's one mile from our house. 

He's too old for the "kid class". He is in the everyone over 12 class.  There are seven of them - and this is just Ukulele class on Tuesday nights, there is also one on Wednesday night.  So, on average there are 14 people in DENVER taking Ukulele lessons? How can that not make you smile?  Even better.  There is Nolan, there is a teenage girl and there are 5 men over the age of 50 taking the class - he thinks one might even be "REALLY Old" - like thirty - ha ha, kidding he thinks about "Aunt Jeanette's age"  (75) 

How awesome is that?  There are 5 people over the age of 50 trying something for the very first time.  I'm so inspired.  Good for them.  Trying something new is hard.  It's hard to sign up.  It's hard to walk into a situation and not only not know ANYTHING, not know anyone.  It takes guts to go and try something new. 

It made me so proud.  Not just of my son, but of these strangers.  Pushing themselves to try.

Maybe I will have to try a Ukulele lesson.  Or a _______ lesson.  Something that makes me smile.

After all, it was 10 years ago when a girlfriend suggested we do a "triathlon".  I've done 11 now.  I couldn't pronounce that word either......


Monday, November 5, 2012

100th blog of the year

WOW!

Today is the 310th day of the year.  Which means, I write a blog every 3.1 days.  Or my "column" is "published" at least twice a week. 

Only this is skewed - I write once or twice a DAY in Hawaii.  Once or twice a month in the real world.  The real point though:  I have written 100 blogs this year.... 

HOLY COW.  Still not sure how this writing thing happened. 

Several people this month are stating one thing they are thankful for a day.  I think this is a noble cause.  Some things are simple to think of why we are thankful.  When you keep going, it's harder and harder to be thankful.  They tend to start out big.  Then towards the end of November, people either have quit or get down to what the lesson is really about.

The small IMPORTANT pieces of life.  First thankful thought is usually:  family.  At the end of 30 days:  the air I breathe.  We take SO much for granted.  We think of the big things first. Really, it should be read in reverse.  Day 1:  I'm thankful I have fresh air to breathe - then build big....

This is sort of like my blog.  I started out big - just ramble and write.  Now at 100 blogs for the year, not counting the 52 blogs LAST YEAR, the blog has taught me about simple things.

Appreciating that I do like to write.  That my writing has improved.  More people read what I write - and that is less important than WHAT I write.

I've also learned more about me.  It's actually fun.  It's endearing to know people want to read. 

I read a great article about the "Great Lost Generation" - not knowing how to communicate with each other.  Not knowing how to speak face to face.  And yes, this next generation is in for ride.  It will be interesting to see their social skills.

HOWEVER, you know what IS happening???   We are reading again.  It might not be in print.  You might not "clip" an article and give it to a friend.  What you can do?  Hey you should read this article.....  and poof it's there.

Yes, I like handing a book to my friends and telling them about the book.  I love my little used bookstore.  What is really important though:  We are reading again.  And, some of us, are learning to write.....

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Carolyn, I'm so sorry

We now know why you had to be friends with me.

You and I have known we were supposed to be friends from many, many years ago.  No, we didn't grow up down the street from each other.  Our parents weren't friends.  We didn't have friends of friends.

Honestly, it was the cliche that brought us together.  "We were sorority sisters"  We joined the same sorority.  Our sophomore years, not freshman.  Then, as we proclaim, "The day the Gods got together" and put us in the same room together at the house our junior year.

You go through "rush" (where you/they decide which "house" where you will belong) and they tell you OVER and OVER again:  "You will know these girls for the rest of your life".  Really?  Didn't believe it for a moment.

Me:  it's a great way to meet people and "belong".  We all want to belong.

Then, we were put in a room together.  There were two others girl there too - in the same room.  We both had the bottom bunks.  We both looked at each other like "okay, what do we do now?".  Want to go to The Chicken?  YES.  A friendship was born.

23 years, a couple trips through Europe, lots of guys, lots of men, lots o stories, a few marriages, a few kids.  We've known for years why we were given each other.

The Yin to my Yang.  Wait, I was the Yin to your Yang.

About 16 years ago, the boys dad and I were living in California (pre-boys).  I remember telling her "Oh, you can't see this rental house, it's so not okay".  Her answer  "I have to see it, I live vicariously through you".

Me:  NO, are you kidding??  I'm the one whom lives vicariously through YOU!"

You see, we are truly very different, but together, we make one.  As we have all learned in life, soul mates arrive in all shapes and sizes and places.  They arrive to teach you about YOU.  They help you become the better person.  I can't imagine my life without you.  You have helped me well, find me - but without YOU, there would be no ME, nor YOU.

This year on Halloween though, we again learned why we are friends.  We once again were shown why we had to know each other.

You see, I was given boys.  Carolyn was given a girl.  However, this "girl" was "NOT THE ONE I ORDERED".  Beautiful, great hair, charming and well, how do we say this "spirited".

She likes dolls.  She likes make-believe.  She likes all things girl.  (the daughter that is).

HOWEVER, she is part Aunt Leasa

She walks on the inside of her feet.  The doctor told Carolyn, "the best thing you can do, is let her run around barefoot - it will correct itself".  Carolyn says, "Her Aunt Leasa will like that".

Every year in March, they come to Colorado for her birthday trip.  A couple of years ago, as she is climbing on to the trampoline, while it is snowing, with no socks or shoes on.  She looks back at us and says, "I'm NEVER going back"  With only the full conviction a 4 year old could muster.

Then, Tuesday, it was Halloween.  For the first time in 15 years, I didn't have a kid in a costume.  Everyone tells us "you will miss these years".  Not me, I enjoy the times as they come.  Halloween though proved me wrong.  There were no costumes this year.  Two years ago when I ran the marathon, it was on Halloween.  Only there is no Halloween in Greece.  It was weird then too.

I miss my "heroes".  I miss my "Woody & Bulls Eye".

Hmmmmm, wonder what Marie is this year.  (BTW, I talk to Carolyn at least twice a week) I don't know why this hasn't come up?  Hmmm..

Then, true to Carolyn's form - I receive a text Halloween night with the picture.

Let's see:

She has been Dorothy, a princess, I think a bumblebee

This year:

Bethany Hamilton

The lead from Soul Surfer - professional surfer whom lost her arm to a shark bite.

She's dressed as Bethany, the professional surfer, with her board shirt and surf board.

It brought tears to my eyes.  Of course it did, it had to do with Hawaii.

I'm sorry Carolyn.  Maybe one of the boys wives/girlfriends will want to go shopping with you.  Or maybe, we might have to teach you to surf too.

Not that we didn't know, but now at least you know the wave you are going to ride with Marie.  Call me anytime - scratch that, you were there, you can handle this.

I'm sorry.  :-) Sorta.



Monday, October 29, 2012

Columnists of the Next Generation

NEVER, did I think I would be writing.  Or people would be reading what I write.  I hated English & Composition.  What??  Writing?  A few things I remember:

Don't end a sentence in a preposition because of.

I before E except after C, except for a few exceptions like WEIRD, but that's a weird word anyway.

An before a vowel, A before a constant.

Pretty much sums up my entire literary writings. On top of that - I didn't like it PLUS wasn't very good at it.

Once though, there was a foreshadowing event in my life.  I was in 12th grade.  I ended up in riding home from an event with the Assistant Band Director.  "So, Leasa, what are you going to do with your life?"  he said to me.  I was 17.  I had no idea.  NONE.  I'm going to be a teacher.  I'm going to get married.  You know all that stuff everyone tells us what we are supposed to do.  Did I say that to this man?

No

My answer:  I remember this as clear as today.  "I'm going to write a book".

Him:  What's the book going to be about?

Me:  No idea

Him:  SO, what if you write this great, incredible, wonderful book and you sell a million copies  (WAY before Internet days), that's it?  One book?

Me:  Yep.  Pretty much

Him:  What's if it's the best seller of all time????

Me:  Doesn't really matter.  I wrote my book.  I don't need to write another one.

This conversation was buried in the vault of "many conversations" never to be thought of again.  Although, I remember this one clear as day.  I even remember the smirky look over like "okay, you go with that".


Obviously, I remember this conversation.  25 years ago.

It's time.  I have the basis.  I have the characters.  AND, I have the following.....

WHICH, truly brings me to the subject of our conversation.......

It's okay that you read my blog.

I read other blogs too.  Although, I do know how you feel.  You feel - wait scratch that - I feel when I read a blog, I'm reading someones personal journal.  I feel guilty - I'm invading their personal space.

Only, we are putting it all out there for everyone to read.  We put our journal out to the world.  Yes, it's scary.  We try to not to write knowing those we know are reading it.  They might judge us.....

OR, they might admire us.  What I REALLY love - and you will all know whom you are, the ones whom would never tell me you read my blog.  Truthfully, there is no way to track whom reads any blogs - (or at least mine) - it's all by country.  I do have readers in Germany, South Africa, the US and Russia (figure those are the spam bots).  Yes, I'm sure the stats people know by IP addresses, but not to worry, it doesn't say:  so and so is reading your blog. 

Those that read my blog - I have no idea.  Except of course - my mom, my aunt and my cousin. Much like the columnists of years ago.  (I guess times haven't really changed)

What I do know.......  When you mention something that has happened in my life.  Then I take a moment and look at you in a peculiar way, thinking how do they know that?  Did I post it on Facebook??? Granted it takes me a bit.  When I do figure it out, I think: Oh yeah, they must have read my "column"......



*****************************************

A few of MY 'regular blogs' - as a disclaimer, I have no idea what anyone reads/read or their Sunday paper, but here are two of mine:

smithscooptexas.com    

(then from the above blog, I read Kate McRae) 

thebloggess.com

They are NOTHING like each other.  They are columnist.  I like their stories.

Thanks for liking mine.......  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Earnest

Granny:  How's Earnest doing?

Me:  Granny, his name is Everett.  He's doing well.

"Earnest is nice man"

Me:  Yes, Granny, EVERETT is a really nice man. 

This conversation went on for years.

Everett was one of my closest male friends.  I would even go to say he, for a period of time, was one my my closest of friends.  Period.  He was in the "inner circle". 

I loved him.  I love his children.  We vacationed together.  We skied together.  We met fun friends together.  It was everything a "relationship" was/is supposed to be.  ONLY, there was no chemistry. We were FRIENDS.  Only, male/female, but JUST FRIENDS.

On a camping trip years ago, I had his son and my two sons (he wasn't there), late at night, I was sitting around the campfire with one of his dearest male friends. 

Granted,  I'm a little slow some times.  I accept things at face value - I don't dream on.  Remember, this is an Independent Film.  However, here is this very successful male with two kids.  Here is a successful female with two kids.  It worked for us.  Truth be told, I have never kissed this man.  It would be like kissing my brother.  Our joke for years "I don't care what you say about kissing your sister/brother, I'm still not kissing you".

Back to the campfire.  "Earnest" is really high maintenance. I did love the man.  Only, I didn't LOVE him, like society thought I should.  Loved him in the way, that we worked well together, only, well, I was attracted to him in a safe big brother kind of way.  Not sure if he was never attracted to me. 

Once again, back to the campfire. 

Me:  "Robbo, are we the only two people that don't know we are in love with each other?"

Robbo  (his closest male friend):  yep........

He walked off.

Ok, game changes.

Only, I know I always loved this man.  Only, he's too controlling, too...... and on and on and on.  He remained my good friend for many years.  Then one day, a new girlfriend didn't understand, truly, he IS JUST MY FRIEND.

In the picture, he fits.  I fit into his picture. It all works perfect.  Only,  it doesn't matter HOW long you know someone, how much money they have, or where they live - if it DOESN'T FIT, well, it doesn't fit.

I wish it did.  He was a great dad.  (It's been years since we've hung out together).  He's financially, well, let's just just say, the his and her Porches' would not have been a problem.  Then one day, he quit calling....  Wait, "you are one of my dearest friends and you just STOP CALLING ME???"  Being the proud woman I am, well, let him go on...

We ran into each other and he can't even talk to me.  I don't have friends like this.  When you have me as a friend, you, well, have me forever.  I was friends with him for years - then he just went away.....

I asked Robbo about this one day.  After all, we are still friends.  "What did I do wrong???  Where did my friend Everett go??."  Usually, when I have friends, I have them for the rest of my life.

Pause  "I had nothing left to give". 

Robbo:  He knew that - he had to go get more

Me:  I don't have friends like that. 

Robbo:  The rest of us know that - that is why we all will be together forever.  He was put here to connect the rest of us.

Me:  Yes.

Me:  But, I don't have to miss you.  You will always be here for me.  He keeps going, trying to get more. 

Robbo:  Yeah, but he was supposed to connect the rest of us - and we all knew that from the beginning.  We just didn't know we knew it.  (BTW, I had two knee surgeries, I golfed with your son)  Debra and I can't wait to dance at the boys wedding.....

Me:  My boys know that. 

BOYS:   By the way,  Robbo and Everett know each other???

Me:  Everett was friends with Robbo & Debra, that's how we met them.

BOYS:  Really, Robbo and Debra are friends with Everett?????

Every once in a while, you get a tap on your shoulder.......  "Do you want to meet????"  Only, well, you add this person to your team....

I ran into Everett tonight.  He introduced me as the mom of "Our kids grew up together".  I immediately mentioned, "Oh, Granny, says hi".   I have to go.......




Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Part-time

I took a part-time job.

No, no longer delivering flowers (although I did this a few weeks ago).  I got a whole one dollar tip.  I hate running errands.  I really don't need to do this.  If I'm going to earn some extra money, I need to do something I like.  Not this ridiculous thought of running errands - I HATE running errands......   Remember, I did this already.  I owned a gift company.

I need to do something I've not ever really done before.  I need to be a place I've never been.  I need to work hard doing something that challenges me.

I just landed.

Right where I needed to be.

Of course I did.  Where else would I land???

My part-time job?  I'm an "Office Manager for an Internet Start Up Company".

Me:  Three days a week.  X amount of money

Him:  The position pays X - y.  Let me know if that works

Me:  You want me there.  I will take (X-y) and two days a week.  I want a piece of the pie when you sell.

Him:  Ok - so I will pay you at X - y.  And, we will put the paperwork for you to have some pie. ;-)

Me:  I will take it.  You aren't going to be able to live without me.

Him:  We know that.  Thank God we found you.

Me:  It's been two weeks. Just when I think I have it all under control, I learn something new.  And I'm finishing your thoughts.  BTW, I leave for Hawaii in Jan.  And I need a month off in July.

Him:  When you run off, we aren't going to be able to live without you.

Me: I know.

Him:  Smile.

Me:  I didn't say this out loud.  My first thought:  "Did you ever watch Ghostbusters".  I'm that girl.  The receptionist. If you haven't seen the movie in years.  You should.  The receptionist starts out very mild mannered.  In the end, she was one of them.

I was always afraid of the stereo type of "receptionist"  "office manager"  "Admin".  I was too proud.  Too proud to admit I wasn't everything I appear.  Too afraid to admit that I'm "just the receptionist" I've worked hard to not be "An Admin" - I'm the woman in charge". 

Then something changed.  Maybe spending two summers in Hawaii helped me find the girl living inside the woman. I'm over being in charge.  I don't care what you call me.  Well, as long as it isn't "B*tch"..... They aren't two separate people, they are one and rolled into one...... we should all be afraid.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Where the ocean meets the land

There is a song out right now with the lines 


                       Someone said they might have seen you where the ocean meets the land
                       So I've been out here all night lookin' for your footprints in the sand
                       Did you hear the ocean singing, baby did you sing along
                       While you danced out in the water to some ol' forgotten song,

I think I've lost another one to the water.

Nolan, my youngest son, just arrived home from SeaCamp in San Diego. All the parents were at the escalators waiting for our kids off the airport train.  It was fun.  All the parents waiting to hear the stories of the week.  There was a blog that kept us updated, but nothing like the real stories.  Three of us moms rode together to pick up our boys.  The ride home is so much better when you have several of them in the car - they tell stories to each other, forgetting the moms are in the car.

The general consensus:  They will be so glad to be home.

Me:  Not my son.  He's going to want to pack his bag and head back.  I would bet you on this one.

Here he comes.  Sunglasses still on.  Hat on backwards - wavy blonde hair escaping from the cap. Shorts, flip flops and a SeaCamp sweatshirt.  A tinge of sunburn on his nose.  "The water is SO much better than the mountains".   "Sam and I thought we should hitch a ride and go to LA.  I'm going there after college.  Heck, I may go there to college".   I really should bet on this child.......

I want my sons to realize they live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.  We have perfect weather - we get all four seasons.  We have the snow.  We have the dessert.   We have SUNSHINE.  LOTS OF SUNSHINE.

The only thing we are missing?  The water.

I want them to realize what they have.  I want them to realize there is a WHOLE BIG WORLD out there.  BUT,  Be present.  Be and live where you are.  Don't spend your whole life wishing you were some place you aren't.  Being someone you aren't.  But go TRY.  Pack up your stuff, and go experience it all.  OR DON'T.  Just don't spend your time here wishing you were there.

In 8th grade, one of my best friends name was Mark.  Mark and I were going to go to UCLA.  We were going to have matching white Mercedes convertibles.  My license plate:  "Buffy"  His "Bif".  We never made it.  Our dreams were big - we just didn't know how to get there.

I've been to the UCLA campus.  I still think of Mark when I think of UCLA.  Mark and I lost touch years ago, but I am friends with his older brother on Facebook.  I still think I want the Mercedes convertible. (only it will probably be an Audi with a retractable roof - still white though)

The first time I was on the campus - I wanted to send Mark a picture and the quote "I made it".   My license plate will no longer be "Buffy", it will be "NVRLKNBK" (let me know when you figure it out)

One thing I've realized about dreams.  They all come true.  Sometimes just later than you wanted.  They change a bit - the premise is still there. AND, you don't have to stay.  You can check it off the list. Then go on.

Now though, I believe, I could make it. If I really want it. I also know my sons can make it, if that's their dream. 

"When you are ready to run away to the ocean, don't every worry.  I'll take you"  said me to Nolan.

I don't have to stay with you.  Chances are though, I'll be living down the street.  You can find my footprints in the sand.....




I write better in Hawaii

My mom didn't believe me.

Neither did anyone else.

"I love what you write."   I've been hearing it more.  This blog started two summers ago as a journal for the next "adventure" of my life.  That's all.  Just stories of our House Swap.  Then I discovered there was a write living inside of me.  She needed to come out.  Then I come home to the mainland.

Then my mom agrees.  Granted,  no loves you more than your mom.  Some point in time, she agrees, you do write better in Kona.  My cousin writes me: " When are you going back to Hawaii? I miss your blogs".  A local friend I didn't know read my blogs:  "You need to go to Kona, your musings from Kona are great"

Are they great because I'm at my happiest there?  or are they great, because YOU can live there with me.  I'm just writing well enough for you to imagine it there not here.  YOU get to escape with me. 

Happiness moment:


On the beach this summer.

Me:  Reading a book I bought at the recycling center in Holuloaloa.  $ . 50 a book.

It was a book signed by the author.  It was simple.  It was beautiful.  It was a beach book, I paid fifty cents for, signed by the author and I was sitting on the beach reading it.  It was a perfect moment in time.

I just finished the book while sitting at the beach.  It was  happy book.   A lady on the beach walks by:

LOB:  You represent what it means to read a book on the beach

Me:  Really?

LOB:  You should see your face.  You are smiling from ear to ear.

Me:  I got this book at the recycling center for $.50.  It's a signed book.  It was a simply happy book

LOB:  Thank you for letting me share your joy. 

Me:  Mahalo

We should all be so lucky. 

Yes, I had just read the book.  Yes, I was smiling.  What I was really smiling about???  (Yes the book did make me smile).  The last page.  You know, the page they tell you about the author.

The author:

She left her corporate job and lives on the Big Island.   She writes books.  She lived happily ever after...

I'm still smiling..


Sunday, October 14, 2012

A different perspective

       This post is being written by a different person, my moms youngest and favorite child, Nolan. My mom is, well, a nut.
        For example, she does hula hooping I mean come on; one of my friends saw her on the news for hula hooping and all I could do was shake my head. He doesn't understand, I have to live with  - she's always like this.  She even goes to classes for it and actually thinks its exercise. She also carried one to the beach every day, and expected people to join her.
        Next, her friends are crazy too, one of them walks around with a clown nose on, and has a dog named Walter. That's not normal. Her friend even brought me a clown nose thinking I would join their little clan. One New Years Eve, two of her friends were over and started "partying a little to hard".  One of them found a sushi making kit with a Japanese bandanna in it and he ran around the house screaming SUSHI!!!
         Then every time something about Hawaii comes up she completely loses it. She starts crying and wishes she was there. When the Kona Iron Man was on she had it streaming for over 8 straight hours, COME ON.  Also, all she can talk about is moving there when we are in college.
        Another story:  my mom is the biggest dork ever. One time when we drove our car on a ferrie in Texas to take us to the other side, she and my crazy Aunt Carolyn were talking about how this was so much fun as a kid, so she got out and started taking pictures, but the ride was only about 2 minutes long.  Also, if I go somewhere without her she talks for 1 million hours about how much she's going to miss me.
          My chance at a normal childhood has completely gone out the door.  I am not saying that is a bad thing necessarily, but with Moab, and Salt Lake City I've just stopped trying.  While all this stuff  might be true,  I wouldn't have her any other way.       Well, maybe just a little different.
                          
Thanks for everything mom.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Focus

I have a piece of paper dated October 2009  - Goal  $1056.

It's in a Folder that says 2010 on the label.

Then it reads as follows:

  • Wyoming             $50
  • Tylenol                 $180
  • Lotion                   $75
  • Baking                  $75
  • Wine                     $100
  • Tylenol II              $90
  • YP Study               $200
  • Radio Station        $50
  • Dating                    $85
  • USAA                    $150                          Subtotal  $1055
  • Software                $250                           Total  $1305

Lipstick Communications    $1500                     Final Total  $2805

In September 2009, I received an e-mail about a marathon in Greece.  I've mentioned completing the marathon.  Here is where it all really began.

A dear friend of mine wanted to go to Greece.   We were setting goals together.  I was doing research for her.  I found the marathon in Greece.  Let's go do a marathon.  She replies "I want to go to Greece.  I hate running".  For me though, the idea took over.....

It was the Twenty Fifth hundred anniversary of the original running from Marathon to Athens.  If I ever was going to do one, this had to be the one.

Gypsy girl - says "I'm going"  - Career Woman/Hockey Mom - says "How are you going to do this??"  The practical one of the two of us.  Not only "HOW (by running) but HOW (by how am I going to pay for this??)

The running part:  Run 1 minute, walk 1 minute;  Week 2  run 2 minutes, walk 2 minutes, the suddenly it was run a mile, walk a minute.  Then somehow, it all came together.  I was focused.

Which brings us to:  "How am I going to pay for this?"  I make decent money.  Not over the top.  Comfortable, yet I still feel like I'm always going to run out of money.  I do budget, and I had year to come up with this money.

The Goal was born   $1056 - 5 nights in Athens, transfers, dinner before the race, reception 2 days before the race, extra night.

The of course, let's add a few nights - let's go to Santorini.  Spend a couple of nights there. Airfare to get there $1200.

(By the way, I went with a group  www.marathontours.com - a travel company whom takes people to run marathons).  More on my recruiting abilities for them later......

My total is now close to $2500.  New goal.  How am I going to raise my money? 

As I mentioned, I recruit.  I'm a good recruiter.  I could have easily said "make an extra placement over your goals for recruiting - and it more than covers it".  That would be SOOOOOO boring.  Recruiting pays for the real world.

A friend of mine whom lives down the street e-mails one day - she leads/creates market research for different companies.  "Would you come to a focus group for 2 hours on Wednesday, the compensation is $50 - and we will provide lunch".  Sure, no problem.  It will get me out of the house.

Then, I was in a coffee shop - "Tylenol study" - need research participants - cash compensation $180 on the bulletin board.  Take a slip.  What, am I in college??? 

Wait, I just spent basically 4 hours of my time, in two different activities and earned $230.  Huh.  What if I started a list, and tried to see how many studies I can participate in during the next year -  use this to pay for my trip???  An the idea was born.

It was no longer about the money - it was a goal to help me reach my other goal. 

The really funny thing is - USAA is my insurance company - I was 151 dollars short of my goal and it was August.  They called me and asked me - RANDOMLY and asked if I would participate in study reviewing them as a company, they would pay me $150.  Really??? 

Two months out.  I was  ONE DOLLAR short of my goal. 

One more surfaced - from some place in this universe.  THEN, the woman down the street.  The one whom asked me to participate in the first study?  She called.  Can you help me out - I have this research project, but I don't want you to participate.  I know you are a recruiter - can you help me recruit participants.  It will take x amount of time at x per hour- can you get done before your trip?  Yes.  Yes I can. 

$1500 later.  I not only surpassed my first goal.  I paid for my whole trip. 

Most market research companies probably don't want to know I was this active in their marketing research, but I was FOCUSED. 

PS - I had a GREAT time in Greece......

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

When you are doing your job right

I received the following e-mail from my oldest son today:

To:  Mom

From:  Duncan

Re:  hawaii

 
you will love this video, try not to cry
Duncan



Not sure where he found it.  Or how he found it.  BUT, he also knows that I heard that song for the first time upon returning from Hawaii in August.  He knows it's my favorite song.  A Colorado band.

Not sure if the e-mail or the video made my eyes water more.

Gotta love that boy.....


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Random Strangers

Random Strangers have shaped my entire adult life.  They probably shaped parts of my earlier life, but I love when moments happen and someone leaves a mark.  They never know it.  You can never tell them.  You remember them forever.

Today.

Today was a picture perfect Colorado day.  Not a cloud in the sky.  55 degrees.  Crisp.  Leaves changing. 

I've been seeing this guy - and this was his suggestion of the day:  "Let's take a drive.  Go the changing of the trees and pack a lunch.  We'll be back in time to watch the Broncos game."  (Oh, we didn't make it back it time for the game - it was just too beautiful outside to worry about going home).

Sounds like a delightful day.

We head out.  Let's go to Estes Park.  Beautiful drive - beautiful town 2 hours and a lifetime a way.  We live in an incredible place.  There is a guard at the Stanley Hotel (you know, the one from The Shining).  I say, "tell him we are here for the wedding".  He does.  I can't look, I'm trying not to laugh.

We sit on some side steps of the Stanley Hotel and have lunch.  We have wine, wraps, fruit, nuts. A relaxing perfect afternoon.

(Looking at the pictures, we were on the first steps to your left).  Yes, I took this picture - turns out my camera has a panoramic button!!!

(Our view from the steps)

A lady walks out of the hotel and notices us on the steps.  "Look, they are having a picnic.  Aw...."

Me:  "You can join us, if you want".

Him:  "We have plenty of wine".

Her:  "Aw..... They are having a picnic.  Aw......".

No, she didn't come over.  She did make me smile.  Thank you random lady for making us smile.  I hope you are still smiling too....

Then we are in Rocky Mountain National Park.  Some roads were closed and some park rangers were out at different spots.  Not sure how, but we got on the subject of "Yogi Bear and his buddy BooBoo".  We are at this dead end, in the middle of a forest, and there is a park ranger.

Him:  "Excuse me, we are looking for Yogi Bear and BooBoo"

Park Ranger:  Pause.  Smile  "Haven't seen them in a while, but I know they are here"......

Still no bear sightings.  Lots of Elk.  Lots of tourist.  A few deer and a few rams.  Still no bear. 

Lots of random strangers making each other smile.....



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"I wouldn't wish a 13 year old girl

upon anyone.  Speaking from someone whom WAS a 13 year old girl".

I've said those words, over and over and over again.

Stereotypical 13 year old girl:  hormonal, moody, hates you, angry with the world, beautiful - insecure. Wait, doesn't that really describe the whole world??

First 13 year old girl:

TIFFANY  I was 18.  She was 13.  Divorced father, little brother, dad's girlfriend is pregnant, Mom left them.  How the hell did I fall into this??

She needed me as much as I needed her.  I was a freshman in college.  I was there to baby-sit the little brother and help out around the house.  Cook dinner.  She did not want to like me.  She cried when I left.  She didn't recognize me when I showed up at her wedding 15 years later.  When she did, we both cried.  Sometimes you can leave the people you love - you know they will pick you up later.

ERIN:

My second 13 year old girl.  I've loved Erin since she was one.  How could I not love the 13 year old version of her too?  I didn't have to live with either one of these girls.  But, that's what Auntie's are for.

I took her to her first R rated movie.  I let her have her first drink of alcohol and stay up past midnight.  She had some obstacles in her life, and she didn't want me there - thinking she would disappoint me, only she should know, I would be there.  It wasn't me she wasn't letting down.  It was herself and her expectations she had, not me.  I will always love her.  No matter what.

THE BOYS:

Then God gave me boys.  THANK YOU.  For my wonderful incredible boys.  Because, after all, "I wouldn't wish a 13 year old girl upon anyone".  I was given the children I needed.

THEN I was told, ONE MORE:

You aren't done yet.  Here is another 13 year-old girl.  Beautiful, insecure, hormonal, love-struck, boy-crazy, 13 year old girl. She needs you - just as much as you need her.

I've said for years, "I wouldn't wish a 13 year old girl on anyone".

I've changed my mind.  You could only be so lucky to share this part of their life with them.. I have loved them all.  I have been very lucky.   Yes, I'm the lucky one.  The one whom warned everyone about the teenage girl. Teenagers?  YES.  In fact, give me a room full of them.  I can handle it.  All of them.  Every single one. 

They don't need me in their lives.  They want me there.  I want to be there.

Now, babies on the other hand, I'm not really good with them........






Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Foreshadowing

My life has been filled with a series of  "foreshadowing".  I would even go so far as to say, all of our lives are filled with events that will predict future events in our lives - only we don't always listen.

FIRST:  My first concert I remember.  John Denver.  Okay, truly, I think it was Donny and Marie Osmond, but I went with my mom. (really, I can't tell someone my first concert memory was Donnie & Marie!)  My Aunt took me to see John Denver.  She let me sit on her lap and drive down the freeway on the way home.  I couldn't have been more than 8.  John Denver, freedom and getting to do something that was fun with someone whom loved you.

Ok, if I look back - I might have been 10.  John Denver spoke about their being no snow in the mountains that year.  His daughters were complaining.  I remember it clear as the sky today.

A cousin of mine moved to Denver.  Denver?  Where is that?  

I was in maybe 9th or 10th grade and I was making some brownies.  I think it was the first time I had ever made something from a box - not scratch.  On the side of the box with the instructions:  "If you live above 3500 feet, add less flour and more water (their directions were a bit more specific)".  My first thought:  "Who the hell would live on the 36th floor of a building???" (each floor represents 1000 feet above sea level")

In 10th grade, there was a girl whom moved to my high school from Boulder, CO.  The only thing I knew about Boulder?  Wasn't Mork from Mork and Mindy living in Boulder?  Wasn't it cold there??? (and I still smile when I think that)

THEN, the biggest foreshadowing event of them all.  Landon.  Landon moved to Denver.  My mom babysit Landon and I was in love with Landon from my very first thought in life.  Of course, Landon was 8 years older than me.  He grew up and got married and moved to Denver.  Of course he did.  Where else would he move????

It's no surprise to me that I ended up in Denver.  One night sitting at Landon's kitchen table we laughed on the fact that we both ended up in Denver.  Can you believe we both live in Denver??

Landon replies:  Would we have ended up anywhere else???

He's back in Texas now.  He spent his 20 years here.  So have I.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Locker Room Ladies

I work out at a club.  It's not a country club.  It's a workout club.  It's not 24 hour fitness.  It's not a "gym".  Well, really it is.

There are exercise machines.  Fitness classes.  Mind/Body (stretching, yoga, Pilates) classes.  There are men.  Women.  Young.  Old.  Middle aged.  Only it's not a "top of the line fitness facility" - only it's nicer than a "gym.

There are towels for you in the locker room.  The lockers lock, and you just have to slide in your membership card.    An indoor pool.  An outdoor lap pool and recreational pool, whirlpool.  Racquet and handball courts too.

In the locker room, there is also a steam room, a sauna and a whirlpool.  (One in each the men's and women's). There is shampoo, conditioner, body wash, combs, hair spray, lotion, deodorant, tissues, hair dryers and curling irons. Oh, then there is a "family" locker room.  The family locker room is where those with children under the age of 13 are banished - unless your kids are in the "Kids club".

Yes, it a little pretentious.  I've tried other clubs.  One is closer - same price.  The gyms - I just can't do.  Part of my whole "workout" is my "comfort" level.  I don't need showy things, I just like nice things. 

Truth is the classes are better at this club than others.

I like to think of my life as "just outside the A group".  No need to be on the "A List".  Too much trouble.  My club is that way.  Just outside the A group.

As with all things though, there are groups within the groups.

9:00AM classes - I refer to these classes as the "skinny mean girl classes".  Except for the pregnant woman there is Power Sculpt today, well, I was the heaviest person in the class.  The class is not welcoming.  It is cut-throat and all the women look anorexic.  It's an awesome class.  The Body Pump class the other two days a week at the same time, well is the same group of women.

However, not everyone at the club is this way.  There are also the "Locker Room Ladies".

This would be my group.  We are definitely not all anorexic looking.  Although two of my dear friends from the locker room do have bodies to die for - curvy, fit, athletic.  I have older friends, younger friends.  Married.  Kids.  No Kids.  Grand kids.  Husbands.  No husbands.

I left this club for a year.  I tried another club.  It's closer.  Same price.  Same amenities.  I hated that place.  I arrived back at my old club:  literally:  the phrase was "where have you been".  You see, I'm friends with the ladies and they know tons about me and a few are friends on facebook, but really, we are locker room friends.

My two friends with the great bodies and I chat.  No non-sense - after all, we all three work, we are in there to work-out, visit, but no chit chat.  (and if I'm going to be really honest, sometimes I just go steam and get dressed).  Tell me what's going on:

In:  So, what's going on with your social life?  You still seeing that guy??

Me:  Yes, I guess we've been seeing each other for a bit now.

In:  You mean, you are dating.

Me:  No.  Remember, I have commitment issues.  I'm seeing him.

In comes, Th

In:  Hey, L is seeing someone

Th:  Dear God, please tell me he's over the age of 30.

Me:  Actually, he's age appropriate.

Th:  What???

Me:  And he's hot.  He looks like Bradley Cooper and it's been fun.

Th:  So, do tell......

Me:  He also does this CrossFit class - he goes three times a week.  He's got an incredible body.

In:  That's why we have seeing her more lately.

Th:  Oh....   Now I know why.... I've got your number lady.......

I needed a new goal.  This is actually a healthy one.  As I sit here with my beer - I only went to one workout class today.



Thursday, September 20, 2012

Diversity

My kids attend public schools.  They attend VERY GOOD public schools.  Denver Public Schools.

We live in the city.  I got as close to the suburbs as I could get.  Technically, the suburbs start across the street.  Literally.  We live on the dividing line.  In our one neighborhood, you can either go to Denver Public Schools, Cherry Creek Schools or Englewood Schools.  In fact, you walk through the "Cherry Creek Schools" portion on the way to my sons school.

Technically, they now attend two different schools.  First I'm going to start with our neighborhood school.

Actually, I'm going to back up and start at pre-school.

My sons attended a Montessori school in "Five Points" for the first five years of their lives.  Yes, daycare, pre-school and kindergarten.  All at the same school.  What a wonderful place this is.

"Five Points" is one of the more "challenged" areas of Denver.  There are shootings. There is poverty.

Half the kids were to come from outside the neighborhood.  The other half were from the neighborhood.  I couldn't have asked for a better place.  My children were loved.  Cared for.  And both were bilingual in Spanish when they hit first grade.  The had culture and diversity in their lives.

I then moved.  A whole 4 miles away.

I'm still in Denver.  I still expose my children to all that the world offers.  Only I went from Yuppy-ville to "Stepford in the City".  My thoughts:


Can't stay inner-city - only 5 years after moving the elementary school around the corner, became really good.

Can't move to the suburbs - I can't play the game.  I don't care what you have.  What someone else has.  Or doesn't have.  (Of course, I've never lived there - this is my perception) I'm here to make this world a better place.

My compromise - I live in Denver.  My kids attend the best Denver school there is.  Hands down.  It wasn't "the best" when we got here.  It is now.  We are about to win a "Blue Ribbon Award" - a national award.  A national award several DPS (Denver Public Schools) have been nominated for - I don't think any elementary/middle schools have received.

Truly though, this is how I imagine the suburbs.  We are truly "Stepford in the City".  It's the parents that run this school.  Honestly though, I think in suburbs (once again, just my opinion since I don't live there), they let the "school" run itself.  Yes, they are involved, but the "establishment" knows best.  At our school, there is over an 82% participation rate in activities.  Seriously?

The EDUCATIONAL system will NEVER change unless the parents are involved.  Period.
We can't make people want to be involved.

Back to the school  It's a great, incredible, wonderful school.  It's small.  50 kids per grade.  One grade has 75 kids.  Everyone is white, upper-middle class.  We live in the city.

Wait!!  Isn't the whole purpose of living in old houses to provide the parents with easy access to the city (a life outside our kids and easy to get things with our kids) to show them what city living is all about?

I guess not.

This sums the diversity we have experienced at our school:

Two Asian girls - both adopted and living with white families.
Two "inter-racial" families.
A couple of foreign adoptions
A couple of kids with ADD
Two kids with two moms - whom should be the poster parents for all parents.  Period.
Some of the parents are divorced.


Yep, I think that pretty much sums it up.  This has been their exposure  to the "world". 

Which brings us up in time.  Until today.

I now have a high schooler.  In the state of Colorado, you can "choice" into any high school you want.  Not everyone gets in (unless that is your "home" school).

He attends a high school in "downtown" Denver.  Okay, so not RIGHT DOWNTOWN, but "in the city".  Literally, "in the City".

We are back to:  half the kids are, as I lovingly refer "over-indulged white kids" (although they aren't all white) the other half:  well, we live in the city.

There is a girl in one class whom has 8 brothers/sisters and her mom is 30.  There are 4 different dads.   A kid in one class is a freshman and has a tattoo.  There are piercings.  There are kids whom can't afford food.  The school gives away breakfast everyday.  Side note:  even though my child eats breakfast at home everyday, he goes and grabs a free burrito.  Keeps saying how happy he is with his school.  This is a big adjustment.  For all of us.

He's a little more skittish these days.  He locks the door between the garage and the house.  He's seen a couple of fights where the police have to come.   I have a glass of wine every night.  He doesn't want me to have any wine.  (I immediately fall asleep - he wants me alert).  He rides the city bus home from school.

He wanted to attend this school.  His teachers are incredible.  I've been very impressed.  He's impressed.  I'm not impressed that all your friends are still "over-indulged white boys"    He's right where he is supposed to be.

I told him:  "This is the real world".  Learn to play the game.  He can't believe you can graduate with high school with a "d". 

He said today in the car (he is a bit dramatic, btw) "I've just never been around something so different".

My response:  You don't have to like it.  I hope you will.  I hope you understand not everyone is like you or likes the life you live. 

He said:  You know what I have noticed?  It seems the people without "money" have really nice "stuff".  And I think I have money, but I don't have those things.

Me:  They have things that won't matter later.

Him:  The people with things, think things matter.  We don't think "things" matter.  Only people matter.



Maybe I'm doing okay.......