Sunday, December 29, 2013

Wrapping Up the Year

For me, the hoopla around New Years is not about the New Year.  It's about the old year.  Wrapping it up. Coming to a close.  I can't celebrate the START of something - we don't know yet what it is going to bring.

I guess I can't really celebrate the ending of something.  Maybe I don't want it to end?  It's a wrap-up. Maybe it's a break-up that you aren't ready for.

For me, (and you can laugh if you want), my "fiscal" year, usually runs from July to July.  Not this arbitrary January to January stuff.  As I was born in June - my year runs until June.  I do better from July to July.  January though is a good way to look at my "calendar" year.

Of course, that whole time of your life that you are in school - your "calendar year" is September to June.  Taking a break from June to September.

The nice thing though - I look at the ending, not the start.  What I'm wrapping up.  What I'm finishing.  I can't really prepare for the "what is going to happen next".  I can just tell you what ISN'T going to happen next. What I'm finished doing.

I do have some goals for next year.  Because, you know what?  I really set no goals for 2013.  And you know what?  I didn't achieve anything.  I survived.  I don't like just surviving.

What I'm done doing:


  • Surviving - mentally, physically, fiscally, spiritually.  I'm done with "surviving".  "Surviving" has never been enough for me.  Why is "getting through all this" now enough for me?
  • Not planning trips.  I had NO adventures this year.  And no, Hawaii does not count - we "went" there - there was no adventure.
  • Wearing my workout clothes all the time.  I don't even work out all the time.  
  • Being worried about the next phase of my life.  The boys will be off in college soon - and just life everything else, there is something waiting for all of us.  I just have to be present.
  • Having the opportunity for sadness in my life.  I had the opportunity to attend 5 funerals this year.  I have one more left on January 4.  While, I only attended 3, that's more than I've ever attended in one year before.  It doesn't matter if they were young or old, it was sadness - and I just need to keep remember I was glad I was touched by so many wonderful people.
  • Not being in charge of my life.  It's amazing when I step-up in FRONT of my life, I have a great time.


My goals for 2014? Those will come next week.  When I'm not hungover.  When I've experienced some new traditions. When I'm in Denver.  When I've wrapped up 2013.  When I'm ready to thrive.....


Friday, December 27, 2013

Traditions

As much as I accept change, there is honor in tradition.  While I attended and graduated from Texas A&M University and understand ALL there is to know about tradition  - sometimes things still change.

They need to change.  Maybe just a bit - not major changes.  Just a few changes.  Honor thy tradition, yet accept modifications?

What happens when someone gets married?  Or moves away?  Or has a baby?  Or all of the above.  Yes, we are at the traditional time of year, but things do change.  It's not easy.

This year, I attended 3 Christmas parties.  It was a record year.  I don't think I attended any last year.  That different.

We had friends over Christmas day - 6 adults - 5 kids.  Last Christmas day was a different number, a different crowd - yet the same sentiment was there.  Friends together for Christmas.

The boys and I head out to Utah tomorrow to wrap up 2013.  A tradition we started several years ago.  We did miss one.  We didn't like it that year.

This year will be different too.  We aren't staying where we normally stay.  They have a new baby.  The mom seems a bit over-whelmed.  (Not is a good way). That's okay, we are going to let her adjust.  We are going to adjust too.  My sons friends (really, the ones whom are my friends), well, one of the brothers is staying with us.

A tradition we started a few years ago.  Now changing for the seasons too.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Photographs

Good thing/bad thing about digital cameras:

Good things

  • You don't ever have to worry about not getting the "perfect shot".  One of the pictures you take will have a great shot.
  • If you didn't get the shot, someone else will have - and it's easy to "share" with you.  There is no need to expect them to actually MAIL you a copy.
  • No more paying to "develop" film.

Bad things:

  • You now have 100 pictures from ONE day and can't bear to delete even the bad ones.
  • Those 100 pictures you took - are all on your computer, not in a picture book, not in easy accesible place for friends to look.
  • That "shoebox" full of pictures is now something on a computer.
Now we have, let's say 50 GREAT pictures (those on my camera, your camera, and the person next to you whom you give your e-mail address).

What about the bad photos?

But I like the bad pictures too.  I say that, but I'm the worst.  I've gained some weight and am really not inspired to do anything about it.  So therefore, I've been participating in the American Culture - of well, not participating - - finding me in a picture is a rarity.  I guess I like the bad pictures of other people.  Just not the not flattering pictures of me.

These kids are growing up with a "perfect" childhood.  Man, adulthood is going to really suck.  When they look back at pictures of their childhood - everything was perfect. Just look at the pictures.

The good thing about one of the bad things?  We are no longer subjected to "family vacation" videos. But now, I understand WHY people want to share their photos.  It's not to brag - in a "look what we did", "look where we have been sense", but more of a "I want to share with you, who I am, what I have become" moment.  It's not a jealous thing.  It's a proud thing.  And yes, I want to see your pictures too.  I want to share your experiences.  I can experience them with you.

However, it's no wonder we are more narcissistic than we used to be.  Every picture we keep, well, we look perfect. But this is a vow for 2014.  I'm getting in the picture.  

Because, I don't really remember pictures with me and my parents.  I don't have pictures with me and my mom.  Or me and my dad.  Other than special occasions. Until I was an adult.  It's okay, times were different. There were probably pictures on film that was not developed.

My kids are almost grown.  They aren't going to remember I thought I was out of shape at one point - and it was a couple of years before I was in a picture.  (Please don't tell me, "you look fine" - we all have our internal battles.)  They are going to wonder why I wasn't in the picture. They don't know about those internal  battles. They will just wonder where we were.  They will one day, they will understand - they will have their own battles.  Don't we all?

I love the surly teenage pictures where I take the picture of all the kids.  They need those photos too.

But this time, I'm including the mom.  The good photos.  The bad photos.  The I love/hate my life photos. I love/hate my mom photos.  Inclusive of all the love we have.  The wrinkles in the neck.  The "wow" she got old photos.  The "wow, that's my mom" photos. Because, they will have them.  

One photo at a time.

*****I tried, and I don't have a photo from my childhood I can find.  It's okay.  Or one that is on-line.  I can find a bunch with me and a lot of great people whom we all love.


But, here is me - in the middle of the ocean. With my arms open. Around people I love. To me, this picture is more valuable than all the rest.

No, I won't put it in a photo book.  But this, is me. With them.  With you.  Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Holiday Cheer from the Past

****This post is from a year ago - and while not wanting to bring up sadness - just remember the good in people.  Merry Christmas*****  The original post is here or you can read it below.


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.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

MY friends

I've mentioned two guy friends of mine quite a bit.  They are brothers.  Brothers I met one summer, the summer I turned 20.  One turned 19 that summer, the other 16.

Brothers I'm still friends with today.  Of course, there was a gap in there.  This friendship was from the "pre-internet" days.  The only way you kept in touch, well, was to write letters or call someone.  Heaven forbid, actually, pick up the phone.  But it was LONG distance to call (meaning it would have cost money).  And, really, what would we have said?

We went on with our lives.  Their parents did come to my wedding.  (Their dad worked with my dad).  But that was really it.

I remember hearing from my dad that their dad had a heart attack.  That was probably 10 or so years ago.  I sent a card to their mom.  I could have asked her for their phone numbers or address.  But, once again, what do you say?

A couple of years after that, I was online - still before there was a Facebook - there was a place called "Myspace".  It's still around, I think, but now it is more of a place to find new bands.  (I think - I haven't been to the site in years).  A friend of mine had a nanny for his kids - I asked her to show me what it was all about.  You search for people.  You are connected to friends through friends.  Much like Facebook is now, but it was the "new" thing.

I do remember around the same time, or a bit earlier, there was a thing called "Classmates" and you could look up people you went to high school with.  For some reason, I'm thinking it was just your school - I digress.

Back to Myspace.  Long story short.  I found the older brother.  He was living in LA.  It was September.  What do you do?  Well, now everyone does this.  At the time - wasn't sure what to do.  But I do what I've always done.  I try.  I sent him a message through Myspace;  "Hey, how the heck are you?  Summer '89???? (maybe)"  I wrote a few more sentences.  I left my e-mail, my phone number.

He called the next night.  A friendship was rekindled.  We caught up.  His daughter is 6 months older than my oldest son.  We e-mailed.  We talked.  For hours.  For weeks.  Catching up from almost 15 years of an absence.

That same fall a friend of mine was dating a woman whom worked at DisneyLand.  The stars were aligned.  Santa needs to bring a trip to Southern California.  He offered us to stay with them.  I had us free passes to Disney.  Basically, a week long trip - free place to stay, free magic of Disney, all for the cost of plane tickets.

We go.  Of course we do.

My sons and I got on an airplane from Denver to Vegas to Orange County on New Years Eve morning.  To fly to a place to meet some "old/new friends".  It wasn't until we were landing in Orange County that I actually felt a moment of panic.  I looked at the lady across the aisle from me on the plane.  (I had told her the story).  I swallowed very hard.  And for the first time thought, "What the hell are you doing?"

We go to baggage claim.  We get one bag.  He calls to say he just pulled up curbside.  "Duncan, take this bag, and head outside - there is a guy in a white Land Rover going to pick us up".  Both of the other bags arrived before Duncan got out the door.  (Sure mom, don't talk to strangers, but go in this car???").  We get to the curb and say hello.  I introduce him to my sons.  His daughter was waiting at their place for us.

We had a great week.  Bits of it were awkward, funny moments.  Great moments.  Phrases they still repeat from that trip.

There have been many more "family" trips.  Camping.  More New Years. A tragedy. Some grown-up trips too.  A half-marathon.  A triathlon.  A weekend of 8 hockey games.  

Really, the story of meeting these guys - and re-connecting could be several more stories.  These guys are my family.  But, a funny thing has evolved during the last few years.  It's now been 24 years since I first met these two brothers.  Not only now, are they my friends, they are my sons friends.

A couple of years ago on one the camping trips - there was an "older brother/younger brother" bocce ball tournament - ALL WEEKEND.  The brothers and my sons.  I was told to go play with the girls.  Then they have taught them how to drive a stick shift.  The brothers have taught the brothers other bad habits as well. MY brothers now just call my sons.  They all text.  They plan things.

I do still hear from the brothers.  After all, they were MY friends. Of course I do, I still have to get this set of brothers to see the other set of brothers.  "My friends" are now my sons friends.

They try to tell me, "Mom, they are our friends now.  Not yours".  That's okay.  I think it's pretty cool these guys I met sooooo many summers ago are friends with my sons.  No one would have ever believed it.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

What you wish

I'm a true believer in putting out to the "universe" what you want.  Your "universe" might be God or a God or several Gods.  Your "universe" might be your friends.  You might be strong enough to "think about want you really want a lot", then it comes true.

What is the difference between WANTING and BELIEVING?  Believing you will one day get what it is that you have been wanting.  Do you just believe it?  And at what point does wanting become believing?

It's a fine line.  I read the book "The Secret"  What about all those things we REALLY believed were ours, and if we just believed it for long enough, it would come true?

What happens when it DOES come true?  Your wish is fulfilled?  We all finally have want we have wanted for years.

Is it okay to say we no longer want it?  It wasn't really him/her/it/the watch/the trip and on and on.  We became addicted to the "wanting".  Not sure if we really wanted what we were wanting, we were just so used to "wanting it", we didn't know how to survive "not wanting it"

Peter Pan is moving back to Denver.  Supposedly.  I've heard this before.

For some reason, it seems different this time.  He's really coming back.  Be careful for what you wish, it just might come true.

Only now, I'm not sure what to do.  It's been on again.  Off again.  When do I get to see you again?  I never want to see you again. I don't even know if we still like each other.  We just don't know how to go on, not "wanting" each other.

It's funny, when Lily's dad told me he was getting back together with his on again/off again love, I completely understood.  How could you NOT finally give it a chance? The stars were aligned, it was YOUR time. 100% I got it.

When I told Peter Pan the story, he understood too.  But could we actually say good-bye to each other?  We both agreed yes. In theory. We also both agreed, you have to go after the one whom set your heart racing, the way we set our hearts racing.  We will always love each other.  He will always be the one whom helped me save me.  But sometimes, that is all it will ever be.  And for that, I love him even more.  I always will.

With Peter Pan - I always thought he'd be the one I'd fight anyone for.  The one I would give up everything.   But I realized, I don't have to risk it all for him.  There is nothing to risk - that was all in my head.  He will always be there for me.  The love of my life.

He's not the one whom held me close.  He's the one, whom set me free..

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Some place in between

I'm sitting here drinking a glass of wine and eating some Godiva chocolates.

Just for the record, I don't like chocolate.  Well, unless it's Godiva.  It's not plastic.  It's real.  It's creamy. No wax.

Yes, it still makes my face break out.  That's not why I don't like it.  I truly don't like the taste of chocolate.  Unless, well, it's the real stuff.  The stuff that makes you think, "ahhh, this is what I've been wanting".  The chocolate that sets off that endorphin's that makes you want even more.  A Hersey kiss?  I've been known to spit those out.  They are gross.  Every once in a while, I try one again.  Thinking, "maybe, it's not as bad as I remember"  What we forget though, is that, well, we didn't like it in the first place.  Why would we like it now?

Yes, people change.  Things change.  Taste change too.  SOOOO, every once in a while, you have to try something you didn't like - just to make sure you still don't like it.  Really, it's called trying something new.  Only, we keep thinking it's the old thing.  Only, it's a new thing.  Just because we didn't like it the first time, or the second time, we keep trying.  Or we don't.  We won't try it the second time.  Well, because, we didn't like it the first time.  Why would I try it again?  Right?  Either I'm going to like it, or I won't.

I just left a party.  Our "parting" gift was a bottle of wine, a calendar and a box of Godiva chocolate.  Yes, each guest received this - this was our "parting" gift, while the valet was sent to get our car.  Graciously handed to us by one of the grand-daughters of the host and hostess.

The romanticized version of life.  The attendees:  The Opera director.  The head NFL football coach.  The society column.  The painter.  The mom.  The next door neighbor.  And me.

A gamut of people with a variety of backgrounds.  The place where you some how end up.  With a group talking of the "next marathon" we need to run.  A place where we never thought we would be.  Yet, not quite a place we would want to be.

A place in between.
 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Just a little more

As of yesterday, I wrote more this year, than I did last year!

Well, yes, I did spend an extra week (or so) in Hawaii from the previous year.  Regardless, I'm celebrating this as a win.

I'm writing more.  You are reading more.  I'm thinking I need to set some pretty incredible goals for next year.

Or maybe not.  Maybe just a little more.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Complete Your Life

When I started this story, the title was going to be "Ruin your life".  Only, after a bit of research, I realized I was falling into the void of everyone else out there.

Quite by chance, I ran across an article entitled "6 reasons Hawaii will ruin your life".   The really funny thing is, I'm not quite sure how I got to this article.  I'm sure the title intrigued me, and I do like to read The Huffington Post, but not quite sure what caused me to stumble across this one particular article.  Well, besides the fact that there are now all those "crawlers" out there dictating what we read.

A funny thing about me though - I read it all.  From the Huffington Post to Fox News - and everything in between.  To ME, the BEST thing about all the information out there is well, we CAN read/hear it all.

I love a good fight.  In the sense, back up your story, give it some legs then go to war.  But you know what, I want the other side to do the EXACT same thing.  I LOVE passion.  I LOVE hearing both sides of the stories.  Even if I don't agree.  Even if I don't agree with either side.

HOWEVER, people who have NO legs and just ramble their thoughts (much I like I do here), be prepared for other people to disagree.  That's why we live in America.  We are free to think our own thoughts.

I digress.

Not many times do I read an article, and think "you are wrong".  In fact, I completely disagree with what you are saying.  Usually, I think "well, that's one way to look at things".  But this time, I was ready to fight.  I felt I could.

But, then I got busy, and I did a couple of other things, then I tried to find the article again, then, well, I probably went to watch a football game.  Then a hockey game, then, well, you get the point.

THEN, I tried to find the article.  I went to the Huffington Post and searched for articles:  207,000 showed up for "ruin your life". (with the quotes).  I then went to Google and typed in "ruin your life" - 61,900,000 different articles showed up for "ruin your life".

I'm guessing here, but I know there are many that are "tongue in cheek" - meaning, good in a bad way. I'm guessing more of these things are actually positives - disguised as negatives.

I did find the article - and I will dispute in in my next blog, but you know what?  Here is what is really wrong.

When I searched for "complete your life"  (in quotes) on Google - there were only 40,800,000 articles with those exact words.  AND, on the Huffington Post?

THREE.

Yes, the number three.  I'm hoping this story will become number FOUR.  Because, I'm not here to tell anyone how to ruin that there thing you call life.  Just remember, it's so easy to focus on what we don't have, instead of what we do have.  Let's focus on saying it right.

I'm here, to help you, complete your life.

Fully.

Wholeheartedly.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Follow Me

As we all know, one of the greatest things about the Internet is we can all be anonymous. It's easy to comment on things - no one knows who you are.  It's easy to write, some people might know you, but in a way, it's a bit like having an alter ego.  In fact, when people do say something to me about the blog, I almost get a bit shy.

Shy in the sense of, "Oh, we really don't need to talk about it".  I've written all I can about the subject.  There is nothing more.  But really there is.  We all know there is more to every story.  It's just kind of easy to hide here.

Which brings me to how we really hide on the Internet.  We hide what we read.  NO ONE has to know what we read.  (Just make sure you clear the history on your computer if you really don't want people to know).

The good news:  people are reading again.  Reading all sorts of stuff.

The bad news:which is also a good thing - no one knows who you are.

Yes, there are stats on the sites.  Very general stats.  Geography (general) - you can tell what country people are from and then regions.  I can see what "keywords" people search on the find this site.  And "new" vs "returning visitors".  On average, 90 "regulars" are reading the blog.  Which is awesome and scary at the same time.

BUT, and it's a HUGE BUT here - if you notice over on the side of the page, there are 11 public followers. Which means they don't mind the world knows they are following this blog.  I know there is an option for "private followers" - and I have NO access or IDEA how many "private followers".  All this really means is that you get an e-mail when I've updated the blog.

What I need?  19 more PUBLIC followers.  You see, I've entered this contest and they won't look at my submission unless I have 30 Public followers or more.  It's a really good story, that I would like to carry on.  In fact, I had to take it off the site for now, so it can get published.  I'm almost there.

I don't care if you make up and id or a name or an e-mail for your dog or cat, I need some help.  Please do what you can and "Follow Me"


Saturday, November 23, 2013

My kind of humor



I like laugh out loud kind of humor.  Sometimes I really like dry humor.

The last picture, this is what I do to pay the bills.  But really, I think if I could re-arrange the pictures - I would change two of them around.

The guy on the raft - that would be what I think I do.  What society thinks I do would be find people jobs.  What I actually do - is well companies hire me to find people for them.  It's not the other way around.

Yes, I know - you know someone whom needs a job.  Happy to put them in my database, but that's not how recruiting really works.

The funniest thing I heard this week:  When talking to a potential candidate about a position I'm working on in Arkansas, he replied  "Ma'am, I can't even located Arkansas on the map - I would not be interested in moving there".  Obviously, he was from the South and yes, he knew where the state is located, but I did love his humor.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I'd like to thank

A very good friend of mine is the Director of a local Chamber of Commerce.  (I'd like to name the city, but I can't - she would kill me).  She does a great job.  She has done an incredible job of helping the local community become all they can be.  And a variety of business owners/employees become all they can be. She has done a fabulous job.

We've known each other for about 10 years.  I had just bought my gift company.  She and her husband were starting a computer consulting company.

We met through the same Chamber of Commerce.  We were in a "leads" group together.  A "Leads" group is where one person from an industry meets with about 20 other people from different industries.  Industries are not allowed to overlap (for example, if you are in the mortgage industry no one else can come to the group from the mortgage industry).  The point is to develop business relationships so you have trust to refer other people you know to those people in your group.

We met every Tuesday - this group of us - at 11:30 - 1:00pm.  I was a member of this group for 5 years. Then one day, I just couldn't go any more.  I had checked out.  But a funny thing happened.

When you have lunch with the same group of people, every Tuesday for 5 years, well, you get to know these people.  Yes, some people would come and go.  But a handful, I'm still friends with today.  One of them is Heidi.

Heidi and her husband divorced.  She quit talking to me.  You see, I was good friends with her husband too. That's okay though.  We all go through rough patches in life.  And she will tell you the story.  I wouldn't quit calling.  I didn't call her every day or even every week.  I just reached out to her here and there.  We had a couple of awkward lunches.  But she will tell you the story, I never quit being her friend.  Even though she wasn't being a friend to me.  Isn't that when we need our friends the most?

I was still good friends with her ex-husband.  It was like I had to choose.  But I didn't have to choose.  I'm very good at compartmentalizing my life.  When I'm with him, I'm his friend.  When I'm with her, I'm her friend.  She just needed her space.

She came back around.  I knew she would.  All real friends do.  There was never a "talk" about "not talking" for a year.  She just called one day and asked if I wanted to do something.  To tell you the truth, I don't even remember what it was.  I just knew, that we were back to our friendship.

Heidi and her husband also had a triathlon company.  They would take triathletes to compete in an Ironman distance race called Challenge Family triathlons in Germany.  She kept the company after they divorced.
I had been asking her for years "I want to go with you".  She finally asked.  I went to help.  She got there first.  I took a plane by myself to Frankfurt, then a train to Nuremberg, then she picked me up there in a great big red conversion van and drove us to Roth.

I worked harder in those 4 days than I probably ever will again.  We had athletes from all over the world as a part of our group - "A" type personalities all about competing.  We have some great stories from that trip.

Race day - we are up at 4 am to get ready to get the athletes to the swim.  We all just had to walk, but we needed to get them there.  (The day before we had all driven the course).

Long great day.  Our athletes did great.  What a great group of people.  Oh yeah, two nights before we had been to a festival in this small town and met many locals.

While on the way back from taking one group of athletes to the hotel (after the race), we got stuck in this traffic jam - a one lane road with cars parked on each side.  No one was alternating.  Heidi was freaking out that we weren't going to get the athletes in time.  I just tell her to stop and let me out of the van.  She unlocks the doors.

In the middle of Germany.  Where I don't speak a word of German, I got out and directed traffic. Apparently, when you hold your hand up in the stop position and push it away from you - well, is universal for BACK UP.

Needless to say, I got the traffic flowing.  She pulled up.  We went on to get our athletes.

Friendships sometimes need some space.  Or maybe just a continent change.

Which brings us to tonight.  I was at a Chamber silent auction.  She's doing her "part".  Telling about the chamber, the sponsors and THEN.  She goes to thank her "committee".  Only, she says "I'd like to thank my kitties".  "Oh, I meant my committee"

We all smiled.  She did explain she has "two and a half kitties"  (the half is the neighbors kitty whom comes in through the kitty door) - although, no one else there knows this story.  I just smile.  She looks over and shakes her head at me.

All I could think was, "It's okay.  It makes a really good story. If you were a kitty, I would thank you too"  ;-)


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Addicted to the Drama

We've all known those people.  People whom, no matter, what, something is wrong with their life.  One problem gets solved, life is good for day or so, then there is another problem.

I guess these are "glass half empty" types.  Also, most of the time, these same people don't look in the mirror and accept that they are causing most of their own problems.  It's easier to blame someone else.

You know, those classic examples:


  • The waiter was rude to me, so I had a lousy dinner.  
  • My ex-wife won't share the time with the kids, so I don't get to see them.
  • I have an allergy to wheat, so I'm fat.
  • No one ever calls me, so I don't have any friends.

I could go on and on.  But what I realized is people are just addicted to the drama of it all.  Without complaining about each and every thing, they wouldn't know what to do.  They just play the "victim" card.  Poor me.  If everyone else would just let me do things my way, it would all be fine.

Gee, I wish life were really like that.  But no, instead, people need to understand we cause our own drama.

In the four cases above, there are a million different scenarios where it's just the situation.

  • Your dinner was lousy?  You were tired.  It was cold out side.  YOU were grumpy, not the waiter
  • Can't see your kids?  What you are retired and live in another state?  YOU move.  Did your kids move?  Or was it you?  
  • Wheat is making you fat?  Stop eating wheat.  No one is forcing you.
  • You don't have any friends?  You have to call them too.  The phone rings both ways.
Of course, I've over-simplified these examples.  But, the holidays are here and in order for us all to get along, we all need to accept our own responsibility for OUR own thoughts.

And once you walk away from the drama, once you realize that YOU are in charge of your own happiness.  Well, it's a pretty darn good world out there!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Juicing

I bought a juicer.

Not a super duper Vitamixer.  Just a regular juicer.  A used juicer on top of that.  Yes, off Craigslist.  This juicing crazy has been around for a while, but I always seem to be late to the party.  I'm okay with that.

This juicer is a Jack Lalanne juicer - probably $100 at Target.  I got it for $30.  It had been used once.  Of course it had.  That is why I looked on Craigslist - and kept looking.  There were many out there for $75 and $100.  Still quite a few at $50.  Finally got the one at $30.

We had to drive to the suburbs to get it.  Duncan needs more driving hours.  There was no school on Monday - so we ventured into the burbs.

Got the juicer.  Stopped at our local "Sprouts" store (cheaper version of Whole Foods and better than Vitamin Cottage) and picked up lots of veggies and fruit.

I found a 3 day juice diet on the internet.  Not that I have any interest in doing a 3 day juice cleanse, but figure it might give me some good ideas for juice.  It has five different juice ideas.  Of course, the machine came with a "recipe" book.

Really though, you can pretty much just put whatever you want into the machine and it will spit out juice.  Pretty nifty.

The first night - we made pineapple (Duncan won a pineapple for being best player - and yes, only my kids team in the middle of Colorado would hand out pineapple's), strawberry and apple juice.  It was pretty yummy.  Although it take a LOT of fruit to make 3 glasses of juice.

The next day?  Let's see:  kale, cucumber, ginger, apple & lemon.  It was pretty yummy.

The next day?   Beet, celery, red pepper, apple & carrot.  It tasted a bit like dirt.  I did wash the stuff.  Maybe I need to wash it better.  I think apple is in everything to make it sweet.  I'm not big on sweets, so I could probably make it without the apple.

Still working on those juices.  I'm not quite use to so much juice.

Then there is the pulp!  What the heck do you do with all the pulp?  We don't compost around here.  (We tried that once years ago and ended up with mice in the compost - ACK and YUCK).

I did read some good ideas for the pulp:

  • Mix in with plain Greek yogurt as a dip.  (that to me actually sounds yummy)
  • Make latke style pancakes
  • Put in spaghetti sauce as extra nutrient
  • Put in a food dehydrator and make chips/crackers out of it
To me, the last one sounded like a good idea.  Only I don't have a food dehydrator.  Well, maybe if I put it in the oven on low heat - for say 50000 hours, it might work the same.  Maybe.  It didn't.  (Martha Stewart is trying to come out).

Maybe I should just look on Craigslist for a food dehydrator.  Then I can make chips.  Then, I'm sure it will be something everyone else wants.  Which I will have to turn into a business.  Which I'm sure will then cause another purchase.  And then another......

All I wanted was a way to get my salad into liquid form.  All I wanted was a glass of juice.  

(Really though, you should hear the boys version of this story - they thought I was crazy before)



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Muscle Memory

Our bodies are an amazing piece of machinery.

We use our bodies.  We abuse our bodies.  It forgives us - most of the time.  It may punish us for not taking better care of it, but for the most part, well, our bodies are as good to us as we treat them.

What I find really amazing is how we can ignore our bodies.  Ignore our health.  And yet, still, our bodies continue to function.

Think about it - we wouldn't treat our cars the the way we treat our bodies.  The car manufacture tells you to put in high grade oil and high grade gasoline - you don't do it always.  But, you wouldn't ever buy the cheapest gasoline - made with "fake" oil, from a discounter, with aspartame and put it in your gas tank.  Or what about bad tires?  Driving on bad tires isn't safe.

Even if you can afford the most expensive (best) tires, you make sure you have good tires on the car.  Our health?  Ah, well, we can put that off.

We put off exercise.  We put off eating right.  Going to the dentist?  Can't that wait?

What we put INTO our bodies could be an entirely different story.  What about what we put ON our bodies?  They say the skin the the "Rodney Dangerfield of the body - it gets no respect".  I don't ever look at ingredients in skin lotion/oil - just slather it on every day.  I'm kind of in the camp that Sunscreen ingredients probably cause as much cancer as the sun.  (BTW, try Coconut Oil - it's a natural sunscreen)

What about exercise.  Yes, exercise can also put stress on joints, bones, muscles.  But, overall, exercise is SO good for your health.  Not to mention your mental health.

I HAVE to at least go for a walk every day.  Otherwise, I live too long inside my head.  Walking helps clear the mind.

For over a year now, I haven't trained for any particular event.  No marathon.  No triathlons.  No half-marathons.  No 5ks.  No bike rides.  No nothing.

I did participate in a biathlon this summer - but there was no training involved.  I just did it.  I was also in the Canoe Club.  But once, no training.  No everyday rigorous activity.

And you know what??  I'm out of shape.  For the first time in a very long time.  I'm sluggish and out of shape.

But for the last three weeks, I've been back on an exercise routine.  Not training for anything in particular, but actually a "routine" workout.

No, my walks will no longer cut it.  Also, just going to the club for a steam and shower and to get dressed - that doesn't cut it either.  Neither does a once a month or so toning class.

I mean a routine.  I mean 30 minutes on the elliptical and two sets of different weight machines.  One toning class a week, if not more.

It's amazing what the body remembers.  I haven't lost any weight, but I can already see the definition in my arms.  The tightness of my abs.  3 weeks - 3 times a week, maybe 4 and I can already tell a difference.

My muscle remembers what it wants to look like.  Maybe my brain will remember what it wants it's body to look like.  I'm hoping it remembers soon.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Library

I LOVE the library.  Yes, I still go to the library.

AND, I swear, the same old ladies whom were working at the library when I was a kid, well, they are now in Denver, working at these libraries.

They know EVERYTHING.  Can still tell you what book is where.  What book you might like also in addition to the three in your hand.  Won't excuse you from the overdue book fine.  And yes, will still "sush" you.  (BTW, when is the last time you "Sushed" someone?)

Yes, I still read BOOKS.  No, not e-readers.  Not, whatever electronic version of anything they send and call it a book.  A real book with paper.  (Back to my old-fashioned ideas - you must read the Newspaper and the Post Office).  I like being able to GIVE someone a book.  Not send them an e-mail.

Maybe it's my last hold out.  Although, I thought the others were too.  Which tells me, if any indication of my past behavior is a future predictor, I will one day NOT be reading a paperback book.  But in the meantime, I love my paperback books.

That's really not the point of my whole topic here, I'm more about the PLACE not the BOOK.  Denver Public Library also allows you to check-out on-line books.  They just expire after two weeks (maybe three). Poof.  Just like that.  The book is gone.  You checked it out, then you can no longer access it.  No late fees.
Helping you get to where you need to be, right on time.  (how can we NOT like that?)

I was reading a library book before Duncan's hockey practice the other day.  One coach commented, "I LOVE the library".  It made me smile.  A few years ago, another coach, stopped and commented on the book I was reading ("Rum Diaries") and says "I LOVED that book, maybe I need to pick it up again.  I should stop by the library."

Once again, I'm not sure what people ACTUALLY do, just we all miss something we don't do.
 
At the start of this year, I mentioned a blog, and a story she wrote.  This is the part of the story:

In The Library you are safe.  It smells of old books and worlds you’ve yet to explore.  It smells of worlds you’ve loved that beckon you back.  It smells of the bacon sandwich the guy in the corner has smuggled in while he devours words and food, not sure which is more filling.
In the library you are prepping.
Everything that happens in the library is just preparation for the next year.  That means if you fuck something up this year it’s fine.  This whole year is just practice.  The library is made for that.  Maybe you spend the year writing a book no one will ever read.  Maybe you spend the year recuperating from last year.  Maybe you burn the Thanksgiving turkey and forget an important birthday.  It’s okay.  It happened in The Library.  It was just practice for next year.  Maybe it’s insanity, or maybe it’s just me, but somehow I think we all need a year in The Library.  A year where it’s safe to make mistakes.  A year where it’s okay to have to escape and stare out the window without someone asking you when you’re going to get back to work and fix your life.  A year where we all whisper quietly about our plans and our wishes and dreams and darkest fears.  A year in The Library.  A year of getting lost in dusty, forgotten corners, and a year of finding the want.  (The want to leave.  The want to play.  The want to shrug off the dreams and walk out in the sunlight.  The want to pounce on 2014 with glee and rapture.)

My favorite line from the quote "a year of finding the want".

To my overall being, this year has been BORING.  A year spent in the dusty old library. The gypsy girl?  She went to Hawaii, she was happy for a bit, but she has an itch of reading a classic, of dreaming and escaping.

The hockey mom got lost back in the stacks.  Dusting. Trapped and Depressed.  Back in the section where she's not happy.  Martha Stewart must be hiding in the library too.  As we haven't seen her for a while.

The Vail girl?  We haven't really seen her in years.  She pokes her head about about once a year, but has let someone else be in charge.

The athlete?  The lover?  The business owner? The adventurer?  The mom  (you know the one making baskets. The one paying attention to the details)

Where the hell has all my support staff been?  Where were they when I needed them?

I think they have all been in the library.  Reading some books.  Recovering from their mistakes. Learning new things.  Deciding what to dust off. What to leave on the shelf.  But never wavering.  Always there.  Gathering speed.  Recuperating from their past, to make them even stronger and better.  Setting their goals.

Here at the start of the year, I was thinking a year in the Library might be a bad thing. Now, well, I'm thinking, it's just what we needed.....





Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A funny thing happened

I recently wrote a story called "Words with Friends" and told of playing the game with an old friend.

An old friend whom I will always hold dear.  We went on a rampage of playing.  I think we played two games in one week. (and that is TONS for me).  Then we were going to take a break.  Only I was bored at a hockey game and asked to play again.

We started again, only a bit more slowly this time.  Not playing a bunch of times in a day, but just once or so a day.  More like a "good morning" and a "good night".  It was nice.  I liked the good morning.  I liked the good night.  It was just enough.

One morning though, I didn't want to play any more.  I wasn't tired of the game.  I think I've even learned a thing or two.  Learned the meaning of some new words.  Learned that some words, well are actually words (oohed - for example.  They "oohed and aah ed" at the performance.  Only "aahed" is not a word, but "oohed" is.)

I realized the game was making me sad.  I don't like playing games.  I don't like that you are playing a game with someone else and me too.  I don't like that I'm playing games with others and not just you.  After all, I'm pretty loyal.

Yes, I've cheated.  I've had to look up words and try over and over again to see if something is a word.  If it's real.

I went to resign.  Quit the game.  I no longer wanted to play.  But then I realized, if I quit the game, it would then start a new game - a game of me quitting first.  Where you wanted to quit first.  An entirely different game. You can't just quit.  When you've played for this long.

Then a funny thing happened, I realized sometimes it takes a bigger person to quit then to hang on. Just because you are use to playing, doesn't mean you still should.

So, instead of resigning, I quit.



Saturday, November 2, 2013

What does your husband do?

For some reason, last summer, I heard the question a lot.  "What does your husband do?".

I don't remember hearing the question the summers before.  I always answer "I don't have a husband'.  Then, without fail, the question is "Are you a teacher?"

The question was asked many times last summer.

Although we know what they are really asking.  "How do you pull this off?".  Only by saying "What does your husband do?", well, seems a more polite way to ask.

The truth is, this is EXACTLY how I wanted my summers to end up.  I just didn't figure out what I wanted the other 9 months to look like.  We all have to be careful what we put out into the universe - be very specific.  I knew what I wanted out of my summers.  I just wasn't sure what I wanted the other 9 months of the year.

Yes, I could have had that husband.  The one where he keeps working and the kids and his wife go to the beach for the summer.   He joins us with Carolyn's husband for a week.  Then we get the rest of the summer with the kids at the beach.  We meaning Carolyn and I.

Only my picture doesn't look like that.

It's a little more clear now.  And my husband?   He's not here right now.  He will be here soon.  But, until he joins us.......  I"m not quite sure what he does.......


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Just like that

They "meaning - those whom are wiser than the rest of us" tell us, it's ALL gone.

All of it.  The carpools.  The field trips.  The, "the kids" wanting us to be around.  Just like that.  It's over.

While in the middle of it, that is not the way it seems.  There are good days.  There are bad days.  Highs and lows.  The days that make you want to hit your head against the wall.  It doesn't matter if it hurts.  Just keep going.

They suddenly you blink.

Yes, you are right.  Keep hitting your head against the wall.  Do it ONE MORE TIME.  But after the next blink, well, you realize, "they" (whomever they may be) may have been right.

It's over.

Just like that.

The funny about this time is: you don't believe them.  Elementary School  High School College.  It lasts FOREVER.  While you are in it.  While you are in the middle of it all.

Then they tell you the next "phase" of your life:  "It's going to go so fast, you can't even believe it".

Do our brains stop learning?  Do we stop wanting to fulfill MORE of our lives?   What is the trigger that makes us want MORE and not enjoy WHERE we are in our lives?

"They were right".  I believe them now.  I was wrong.  Because, just like that I was....


Monday, October 28, 2013

Words With Friends

Computer games.  Video games.  Not really my thing.  I'm in front of my computer a vast majority of the working day.  When I'm done working, I don't want to be in front of the computer.

It's hard though - I do like my photo books.  Or writing on my blog.  But once again, I have to be at a desk/table looking at a computer screen. I don't want to be there if I'm not working, hence the reason I then don't play the games.

I get invitations to play all sorts of on-line games.  Just have no desire.

Except for one.

Really, I don't like playing that either.  It's more of a puzzle.  I can also play on my phone. I don't play on the computer - I really wouldn't like it then.

Words With Friends.

That's the game.  Basically, it's the online version of Scrabble.  Only it's even better - it will tell you when you have made up a word and won't let you play it.  Although, that can be a downfall too.  I had the letters for the word "Huevos" today.  It told me that word was not acceptable.  I guess you can't play in two languages.

I'm not sure when I got it on my phone.  I think it was after the boys got tablets last Christmas. Nolan would play WWF (Words with Friends) with my mom.  I thought it was pretty cool way for a grand-kid and his grandmother to connect.

Then I played a game with Nolan.  Only we would do something where we were both playing on his tablet, we would just pass it back and forth.  Then one day, it was on my phone.  I'm sure it was Nolan playing the game with his Lalo.  Then of course, it "syncs" with the e-mail address on your phone/phone numbers.  Ah, the magic of the Internet.  ''hi''- from Duncan  (this is from my "editor")

The truth is, I SUCK at Scrabble.  I'm not much better either with WWF.  Only, I can stop playing and do other things then come back and play.  Usually too, after about four plays, I'm tired of playing for several days.  You can also have several games going at the same time - against different people.  Which I don't know if that is better or worse.

Pretty much I now have four rotating games going on at once. I stop. I start. I play tons of 3 letter words.  I'm not very strategic.  I forget to play for weeks at a time. I play with a variety of opponents. Nolan, my mom, a girl I met once at a bar and she is friends with friends of mine and we are friends on Facebook and I'm not quite sure why we play WWF with each other, but we do. Then people come and go - a friend of Duncan's and Peter Pan.

Peter Pan and I actually just started playing this game together.  He's really smart.  In one of those bookish ways.  Only he doesn't show the whole world he's as smart as he really is.  But, I knew.  I also knew I should be intimidated playing this game with him, because all this time he thinks he's intimidated by me.

We played our first game recently.  We were playing rapidly. I was sitting at a hockey game in which my son wasn't playing, but had to still be there. Strong words, many letters strategically placed.  Just like that, he was 200 points ahead of me.

He sends me a message  "Want to give up now?"

I reply, "I haven't given up in over 10 years, why would I give up now?"

I play a couple of more words.  I then message him, "We are probably too far apart, should probably call it."

The next message from him, "Are we still talking about the game?"  "I think we should see it through to the end".

He won.  I was down to one letter. He beat me by 266 points.

The game then notified me,   "PeterPan won" "PeterPan has requested a rematch".

I'm not sure if we are still talking about Words With Friends.



Saturday, October 26, 2013

Boredom

I always wonder "What is going to be enough for me?" Is there actually a time in my life I will say, "No thanks, I don't want to go"

I'm thinking no.  I wish I wouldn't want to go.  That right here, right now was enough for me.

School is going well for the boys.  Hockey season is in full blown action (I have four hockey games to attend this weekend).  Work is going well.  I've actually been dating a great guy for about month now.  (He's age appropriate and a personal trainer - hoping he will get me back in shape).

Then, what happens?

It's either a phone call.  A text.  An e-mail.  "If I send you a ticket, will you come to an island in the middle of the Caribbean for the weekend?"  Says, Peter Pan.......

Oh Peter, how do you know just when to call???  No, not the Pan from the Pacific.  The original Peter Pan.
The funny thing is, I actually had to think about it for a moment.  It had to be discussed with the "Board of Directors" (my girlfriends) - as we were wondering if Hope would want to come along.  Or if this could truly just be a fun trip.

Okay, I'm calling your bluff this time Peter - I want to come.  Send me the ticket.  I actually have NO hockey games next weekend, and the boys are with their dad.  Nothing to rearrange.

By the way, my passport expired in September.  And this is why I always have a passport!!!  Valid!  And with me.

Or maybe it's why I have a new favorite island - one that doesn't require a passport.  Too bad that Pan can't be alone and still has the old girlfriend living with him.  I could just go to that island.

Or maybe I just need to be okay and realize I'm not bored.

Who am I trying to convince??

Oh Peter, then the same thing happens - you get scared when I say yes......  And the ticket won't arrive, but next time I know I won't have to ask my friends, I will just say yes.  Wondering why this time, I thought it was going to be different.  I guess I was bored.....


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Arguments

Does anyone actually WIN an argument?

In the history of all arguments has ANYONE EVER convinced the other party that YOUR way of thinking was better than THEIR way of thinking?  I'm thinking no.

What do we do?  I haven't had a "good" argument in a long time.  I told Carolyn, well, except for my ex-husband the only person I've argued with in the past 13 years is well, Duncan.  He's a teenager now, he knows everything.  That doesn't really count as an argument.

IN MY OPINION, when people argue, this is what they are saying  "I'm right, you are wrong"  "I completely don't understand why you don't think the way I do".

What do we do?

The boys dad and I have the same argument year after year.  The price of hockey versus every other sport in the world and being well rounded.  He presents his side.  I present my side.  We have this SAME argument every year.

I know, no matter what, he's NEVER going to think the way I think.  There is also nothing he can say or do to convince me to his way of thinking.

How do you draw the line the sand?  Much less WHERE do you draw the line in the sand.....

Every year he tells me his wishes for the boys and their aspiring hockey careers.  I have learned to just keep my mouth shut.  I want those same wishes.  Every year I wish he understood my side.  He doesn't understand why I don't understand the way he thinks.  We both want the same thing, we just have different methods on how we were going to get there.

The funny thing is, we both want the same thing.  We just both want the accomplishment of the goal in different methods....

I have another example:

Politics
Abortion

Both sides.

You are right.  I'm wrong.  You are wrong.  I'm right.

Can't we start in another place?  Can't we find something we both agree on SOMETHING?

I'm firmly pro-choice.  Yet, I believe abortion is wrong.  Aren't we all?  Don't you think we can all start there?  I don't think there is ANYONE out there whom agrees with abortion.  Can't we start there?

I'm not going to convince you I'm right.  You aren't going to convince me you are right.

What can you do/say to convince me?

We are both right.  Today.  We both agree we don't want a certain thing to happen.  I'm doing what I can to help prevent happenings.  I'm not sure where you are in your statements.  But can't we both start at the same point in the argument?

Otherwise, it's just two people arguing.  I would much rather say, I was wrong.  Or maybe, we were both right. Because, arguments don't lead any place. Wait, maybe that was we were both wrong.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Toe Rings

Every summer I get a toe ring.  I wear it on the toe next to my big toe on my left foot.

This tradition started about 14 years ago.  I figured if a $5 toe ring helped me hang on to my youth, well, it was worth it.

Each year, there would be a new toe ring.  Toe rings find you - you can look for one and really want one. But when you are in some musty souvenir shop at the beach, well, that's the one you have to have.  It found you.

My first one - I say it was from Don Henley - I was still married.  Carolyn and I had just been to his concert at Red Rocks. I found it in a gift shop in Morrison, CO.

The toe ring is worn until real shoes have to be worn.  Then it actually gets annoying - either that or the shoes get annoying.

Sometimes they fall off.  They disappear.  Sometimes a cute guy buys you one and it serves as a "reminder of love".  Much like a teenage promise ring.  Only a summer love ring.  Or a short term ring.  Or a reminder of the one guy whom never had the guts to actually buy you a toe ring.  He knew it meant so much more than it really being just a $5 toe ring.

The year I "ran off to Hawaii in the winter" - well, I bought a toe ring.  Sterling silver.  At a toe ring store.  A store completely dedicated to toe rings.  This toe ring cost me $40.  There was one in there that cost $1500.

I joked that I would take that as my wedding ring one day.  Just an exchange of toe rings.

My $40 toe ring - I put on that March and wore it all last summer.  I also wore it this past summer.  At one point this summer, I tried to take it off.  It was bent.  My feet were swollen.  It wouldn't come off.

Yesterday, it slipped right off.  I guess summer is officially over.  My love for Hawaii and the summer is not over.  Just the ending of a season.

One day, I'll get my permanent toe ring.  The only ring I've ever really wanted.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sneaking In

Thursday night, Nolan's hockey team was participating in a fundraiser.  Selling programs at the professional hockey game.

The great thing about this, is that 100% of the money raised by selling the programs goes directly to the team.  So, if you are in Denver and buy a sports program (I think they are three dollars) - the team gets all that money.  This fundraiser usually raises about $1000 towards team expenses.  Think travel costs, paying extras for the coaches, etc.  

Each family has to pay "team fees'.  This is in addition to the club costs, equipment cost, all other costs.  It usually runs about $400 per family.  By participating in fundraisers, it lowers the total cost per family.

I'm all about the fundraisers - rather than just paying the money.  Especially the ones where the kids have to participate too.  

This year, there was also a "50/50 raffle" at the game.  50% of the proceeds from the tickets go to some lucky winner - 50% of the proceeds go to Colorado Youth Sports.  Since this is a "raffle" - it's actually considered gambling, so us parents had to sell the tickets.  

3 for $5
10 for $10
40 for $20

I was assigned the restaurant on the club level.  A bit boring, but fun still.  The best part was the break between 1st and 2nd period.  Everyone came out of their seats.  Out of their boxes.  Everyone had had a couple beers.  It was fun. 

A great group of guys from Detroit bought $80 worth of tickets.  It was their first time in Denver.  They loved our city. They wanted to tell us how great our city is.  I really hope one of them won.  They were fun.  One guy in another group, so wanted to ask me out.  If he would have asked, I would have gone.  Bravery always gets points in my book.

The kids were done.  The adults were done half way through second period.  I left the club level (which has security at all the entrances) to take back my equipment.  I turn it in, Turn the money in and go find Nolan.

The pot was worth $5000 - Some lucky winner walked away with $2500.

Everyone was gathering, so they could escort us out.  You see, we didn't have seats.  We were supposed to leave.  Key word being, well SUPPOSED.  

"Hey Nolan, want to go watch the rest of the game at the restaurant?".  "Sure" he replies.  "Okay, we have to leave the group, before they escort us out.  The two of us go to the restaurant.  

The restaurant was crowded.  Standing room only.  The game was sold out.  The second period ends.

"Hey, want to see if we can sneak on to the club level? I was talking to one of the ladies watching the elevator, maybe she will let us in".  "Okay", he replies.  After all, he is my son.

We get to the club level - only we came off a different elevator.  There was an elderly lady working at security.  She says, "Do you have your tickets".  "No" I replied.  "We were working the 50/50 raffle at the restaurant" "Oh, go ahead, the restaurant is that way" - letting us in.  Truthfully, I went to ask and just see if she would let us back in.  Only, I didn't need to keep explaining.  She just let us in. 

We smile as we head down the hall towards the restaurant on club level.  Giggling the whole way.

Watching the huge jumbo-tron - standing in between two sets of box seats - it was still the break between periods. I probably don't even need to tell the next part.  If you've been reading the blog, you know what happens.  

One of the guys in the box seats had bought tickets from me.  I said "Are you going to invite us in?".  

We watched the third period from the box seats.  There was free food and drinks.  We thought that might have been taking it too far.

Our team lost.  Against their biggest rival.  That's okay. 

As we walked back to the car - and raced elevator against the stairs (he took the stairs, I took the elevator) - we tied.  We laughed.  

"That was a LOT of fun" Yes.  Yes it was.

So when I have to come get you because you and your friend are kicked out some place for sneaking in, well, I'll understand.  You won't be in trouble either.  As I know where you learned how to sneak in.




Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Modern Technology

I read this great article this morning on how TEXTING is ruining relationships for teenagers.  Great article.  I would even go so far as to say texting, Instagram, SnapChat, IM and e-mail's - well, they have changed the way we behave in relationships.

Some of it good.  Some of it bad.  Instant communication is great for little stuff.  Just landed.  I'm done.  Can't wait to see you.  Pictures of what I'm doing.

This morning I was completely on board with the article.  (click on TEXTING above and it will take you to the article).  Completely agreed with the entire article.  We spend too much time NOT communicating verbally.  Technology has made our lives easier - easier to avoid.

What ever happened to a good old fashioned phone call?  Say hi!  Just CALL the person.

I sent this article to a couple of friends - we have teenage kids - we could all appreciate the perspective.  Also, as a single woman, it's easier to depend on text versus verbal communication.

A magical thing happened then happened this afternoon.

We found out Lily did a photo shoot for a swimwear/snow wear line. Duncan picked up his phone and called her.  They talked for a while.  He put on her on speaker.

Nolan had fallen asleep on the couch.  The Duncan and Lily relationship is so natural - they are truly brother and sister.  There are no worries about "what do I say?" "will he think I'm weird?"  "will she think I'm weird".  Well, she might have a few of those worries, but on this end - Duncan loves her like he loves Nolan.  Duncan starts lecturing her about the pictures she posts, they talk about her crushes - it was a conversation of friendship.

The funny thing is that I know Nolan wanted to talk to her too.  But they still 'like' each other, only they pretend not too - so the communication thing gets a bit harder.

THEN, another magical thing happened.  Duncan decided to "Facetime" Lily - this is much like Skype where you can actually see the person.  So, Lily and Duncan can actually see each other.  Nolan could make his cameo appearance without being too nervous.  Lily could make gestures not to tell Nolan what she was doing.  As we all know they both still do like each other.  You know, like each other.

And then???

She joined us for dinner.  I hear her tell her mom "I can't do that right now, I'm having dinner with the McIntosh's".  We set her a spot at the table and all had dinner.  Laughing.  Going through our Good Thing, Bad Thing, Funny Thing.  Missing our dinners/breakfasts on the island

Yes, there were a few awkward moments. There were giggles and smiles.  All from many many miles apart.

As with everything, moderation......


Monday, October 14, 2013

Must have got lost

As a recruiter, I view many resumes.  Several years ago, I ran across this resume.  The guy had attended and graduated from a good university.  Had been very involved.  Got a good job.  Then suddenly, he was driving a truck.  

I couldn't tell you his name, or what city he lives in, but I remember thinking "at what point did his life make a turn and he was now a cross country truck driver?"  He wasn't a fit for the position.  I never spoke to him.  But still to this day, I think of him.  Did he always want to drive a truck - then the finally decided to do it?  Did something happen and it was the only job he could find?  For the longest time, I thought he had gotten lost on his career path.  

My ex-husband is a great guy.  He's a great father.  Yes, we annoy each other and we are different people, but in the "bones" of our relationship - he's good.  We had a good marriage.  We have beautiful sons.  I use to tell people all the time - WE just got lost.  The things that were supposed to be important, became less important to me.  I wanted different thing than I wanted before.  We got lost.  Or maybe I got lost.

The song from the J. Giles Band always makes me think of my marriage:

Well, I must of got lost, I must of got lost
I must of got lost somewhere down the line

 Now, I think, maybe that truck driver had it okay.  I'm going with the theory, he always wanted to be a truck driver - he only went the way society wanted him to go.  Maybe he had finally lived his dream.

When the boys were little, we were driving home from preschool.  There was a man standing on the corner holding a sign.  Nolan was still in a car seat.  In fact, I know Duncan was still in at least a booster seat too.   They asked me about the man on the corner and why he was holding up a sign.

I went into this politically correct speech:

Sometimes we make bad choices in life.  And it leads us to bad places.
Sometimes we are hard on our luck and need others to help us.

Figuring I had covered a couple of scenarios, not judged, but given the boys enough information.

I don't remember which one said this.  They don't remember the conversation.  But, one of them said,
No, I think he's just lost.    I replied "What?"  "He's holding up a sign asking for directions."

Yes, my dear, sometimes we are just lost.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  We all get lost.  Sometimes, we just need to ask directions.
 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Richard Parker

The movie/book "The Life of Pi" is about a family whom owns a zoo.  You either have to rent the movie or read the book, because I'm not telling you here what it is/isn't about.

I will tell you one part.

The family bought a white tiger.  When they bought it from this owner, in the line where it states:  "Tiger Name", he wrote "Richard Parker".  The line where it said, "Owners Name", well, he wrote the Tigers name.  The family thought it was funny.  Cute.  Humorous.  They liked it, so they called the tiger "Richard Parker"

My sons and I love that idea.  In fact, we now call our cat "Richard Parker".  We still call him by the name we have called him for the last 9 years, but we also call him Richard Parker.  He's a cat.  Truthfully, he doesn't come to his name anyway.  What is the difference?

Let me tell you the difference;

Someone comes to your house, you now don't quite know what to tell people your cat is named.
Those pesky security questions?  (What is the name of your pet??)  Are we supposed to put down the name we call him or Richard Parker?

Childhood memories?  "Oh, I had a cat named XXXX until I was about 14.  Then I had a cat name Richard Parker." - Oh, by the way, it was the same cat.  After all, I do know families that name the family pet the same name, generation after generation - why can't one pet have a different name?

Of course this is on top of my children's already confused childhood....

After all, their life was just fine.  Then their mom went and quit her corporate job, she owned a small company, then things calmed down.  Well, for bit, then next thing you knew she was talking about becoming a Macadamia Nut farmer in Hawaii and the cat got a new name.

Who re-names their cat????

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Quotes

I've always collected quotes.  Funny though, I don't ever write down their origin.  Whom says it is not as important to me as WHAT is said.  Or maybe what I hear.

When I can't think of stories to tell, I'm just going to share quotes - then usually they will cause me to remember stories.


  • My life is filled with a supreme cast of characters, I'm just unsure of the plot
  • I'm stuck between poor me and "why didn't I do it"
  • Life doesn't always turn out the way you wished it would or hoped it could.  Sometimes it turns out even better
  • I don't need a commitment, I need preferential treatment.
  • If I knew it was going to be a trial run, I wouldn't have tried so hard
  • When the storm is over, is it happiness or just relief?
  • You owe me a break-up - I'll break up with her for you, if you break up with him for me.
  • I don't think love and fame can live in the same place.
  • You know you love someone when you know you want them to be happy - even if their happiness doesn't include you.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The faces of Eve

There was some 70's made for TV movie I kinda sorta remember.  Okay.  Not really.  I remember the premise of what I think was a movie in the 70's - this woman was classified as schizophrenic and had 12 (or some different number, but this my memory) and different "people living inside her".  Someone later told me, they weren't literally living inside her, but as a child, you don't know these things.

I don't think I watched the movie.  Just watched bits and pieces of it. This movie scared me to death. Yes, mental illness (that is not what I'm bringing  up today)is a very sad disease, but we all have different "personalities" whom live within us.

I tend to classify my "inner being" into three groups:

  • Hockey Mom
  • Career Woman
  • Gypsy Girl

I know I speak of these three women often.  Often giving one control at a time.  Thinking one of them needs to be in charge.  After all, doesn't SOMEONE around here need to be in charge???

Today though, I was participating in an arts & crafts project for a mud run I'm helping promote.  In fact, I was in the taping of a promotional video that will run on the web for this company.  Oh yeah, I've done a few TV/web spots before.  Oh, we got to make the T-shirts.  I learned a really cool way to take a T-shirt and make it into something fun and even fitting.  I was SO excited.  In fact, I think this is the cutest thing I've ever made.  (BTW, yes, it's totally lost on the boys)

So wait, where does this "woman" fit in?  Not really the hockey mom, definitely not the Career Woman, maybe a bit of the gypsy girl.  If I wasnt careful though, the Career Woman would try to make this into a money making thing versus just enjoying doing a project.

Then I started thinking....... "When am I really my happiest?"

The answer:  not what you are thinking.  Let's see, there is:
  • Martha Stewart - oh yes, I love to make things - my photo books, my picture frames with sea glass that I collected glued around the edges, my kids childhood theme birthday parties, the trip to Disneyland when Santa brought the trip.  
  • The athlete -  Running in the middle of Greece, swimming in the ocean, skiing on the backside of Vail, helping someone else cross a finish line for the first time. Being in shape.
  • The spokesperson - Need me to promote something for you?  I'm the person you can send on stage, in front of a camera, hula hooping on the news.
  • Mom - not just a hockey mom, but the fun mom.  The one whom had the neighborhood house for years.  The one whom has fun with all the kids, but still gets grumpy and irritated.
  • Girlfriend - incredible friends - both male and female.  Secrets of bunches.  Holder of hearts, alibis and stories. 
  • Vail Girl - Oh, you have to ask her about those stories.  Not a bad place to spend your thirties.
  • Lover - to those whom love me.  Or whom I love.  Loved.
  • Neighbor - for those needing anything.
  • Traveler - seeing the world one block at a time.
  • Adventurer - that nothing is a simple as "taking a trip", but making it an adventure for not only myself, but others too.
  • Business Owner - when I don't want to recruit or work, it's the Business Owner I blame, but it's not her fault I have to work.  Working is a function of something she has to do.  I'm also not against her profession - after all, she provides freedom and flexibility.  So, when I'm mad at her I need to realize it's not her fault.
  • The Writer - quite honestly, I forgot to include her at first.  She hasn't yet gained her voice - or maybe it's her sea legs......  She's still young.  Maybe she will replace one of the other personalities - or compliment.
All these things don't define me.  They are all me.  

What I realized is, when I'm my happiest, I'm feeding them all.  Just for a moment every day.  A little bit of balance.  A little bit of discipline.  One step at a time. 

Of course, some of the personalities are stronger than the others.  It's during those times we have to let that one be charge.  The rest just need to remember, she can't stay in charge - it messes up the whole function of our being - meaning me and all my "personalities".

I wonder if that movie would be so scary now?  Maybe, I need to make my version of the movie......It could be over Deux.  It's about time.....

  






Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The cost of a million dollars

A Powerball lottery ticket now costs $3.  For this $3 - I'm not going to tell you what you COULD get, but what you do get.  For $3 - you buy yourself a dream and support various state causes.  Actually, I'm not sure how the Powerball extra money works and where it goes.  I know with Colorado State Lottery, half the money supports the care of our open spaces.

I'm not going to go into the politics of the lottery.  I don't look at a lottery as a "tax on the poor' - more as a "donation of the hopeful"  (BTW, Colorado Lottery, feel free to use that tag line - although they can't really use donation as then people would be using lottery tickets as tax deductions).

Any who, back to what you get when you buy a lottery ticket.  You get a piece of paper with a number printed on it.  It might be worth something greater one day, it might not.  What you are buying for yourself is, well, hope, dreams, and other fantasies.  After all, someone does win the lottery.

I buy lottery tickets all the time.  Not those lottery tickets though.  Although, I do buy them on occasions - dreams are free, but you can't win the lottery if you don't play.......

The lottery tickets I buy?

Where do I start?

With people that I meet.  I have SO fallen in love with the POTENTIAL in so many people.  I have hope for them.  And yes too, to quote from EAT, PRAY, LOVE -
"I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness"
I buy their lottery ticket.  I spend my time, my energy and sometimes money trying to "HELP" other people. I can help make them better.  One of them, one day, will be my winning lottery ticket.  I just know it.

I don't think I knew I ever thought of my friends or romantic prospects as "buying a lottery ticket", but with some of them, I do now think I'm once again buying hope - for them.  For me, then I have helped them.

Next lottery ticket?

Start-up companies.

I don't have a "career" issue.  You know, where I need to be "President/CEO" of ANYTHING.  That to me is a job.  I wouldn't even begin to think that if I "work really hard, for the next forty years, I will then get to retire and see the world".  There is NOTHING wrong with thinking that way.  In fact, at times, I am a bit jealous of people whom can think that way.

The Hawaiian guy - Lily's dad - when I think of the fact that he had a job he loved and worked the same job, then retired at 54, I am a bit jealous.  He's still young (although if you had asked me at 30, I would have thought that was old).  He doesn't want to see the world.  He had a good job, worked it and now it's over.  (Every ONCE in a while, I do also envy the teachers of the world - and the summers off would fit my personality, just not sure the kids would.  Well, maybe the high schoolers)

So, I guess, I don't have a "job" issue either.  I think it's great for some people, but not a "ticket" I need to buy.

I have Start-up "issues".

If I told you now, you could work 5 days per week, over 8 hours per day, and in 4 years, you could have ONE million dollars, plus a decent (and by decent I mean you aren't starving, but not living large) salary for the next four years - what would you say?

It's this line that usually gets me.  For me, it's the latest "drug".  The latest "next start-up".  What can I do to help make this company a success?  Boom, I'm gone.  Gone, like someone getting hooked to something they will never be able to win.  I want the start-up to work.  I don't think it's going to be the next Microsoft, Google or even Facebook - I just think it's going to be a $5 million company, good profits, and provide something no one else has yet.

(Think of the show Shark Tank - the only TV show we will admit to be addicted to around here.)

Then I'm hooked.

I've always worked for small companies.  Some were franchises.  Some have been completely independent. Some have done quite well.  Others not so much.  I've even been screwed over by an unscrupulous owner.

Today though, I realized something about my start-up addiction.

I had two very hard conversations.

One, with the owner of one small business I've been helping out.  It's a great company, and they are going to be a "good" company.  While, I don't think she's ready for help, there isn't going to be enough money there, in the short term, maybe in the long term, but not enough for me.  So today I called her to "break up".  When she first answered the phone, she was very happy to talk with me.  We spoke for a bit, then I was honest.  I told her my concerns, my thoughts and what I wanted to do.  I also told her, it was okay, not to want a partner in this business right now.

You know what, it was probably one of the most liberating conversations I've ever had.  When I first phoned her, I was ready to say "This isn't working, I will send you the stuff back".   But I didn't say that.  Instead, I asked her what SHE really wanted.  Then I was able to say what I thought I was hearing from her.  By the end of the conversation, she was relieved.  She wasn't sure what she wanted  it either - someone else just needed to say it out loud for her. But it didn't need to be "gruff".  I just helped her realize she didn't really want this either.

The other business - he's of the understanding you need to be in the office 5 days per week, 40 + hours, available at all times and then in 4 years, you will have this great pay-out.  I did tell him I was in no way interested in that idea.  Except of course, of the great pay-out.  However, I was trying to make it black and white.  He's trying to make it black and white.  He's stuck on "you could have a million dollars in four years".

I'm stuck on, well, what if I don't GET the million dollars in four years?

I'm a glass half full kind of girl.  I don't say DON"T.  I say "how can we make this happen".  So I'm out on my bike tonight, and I come up with this:  "Why does it have to be 4 years (yes, this is my commitment issue talking) - why can't we say 9 months?"  "Why does it have to be a million dollars?"

Because, what would that million dollars really cost me?  Stress, time with my sons, my freedom - things money can't buy.

"What do you want from me for the next nine months that I could make a sacrifice, you could look a little shorter term, and we are both getting what we need?   I'll take an okay income, lots of free time, and give me $100k. In 9 months."

Maybe it could work for both of us.

Because, really, you see, I already won the lottery.  I'm healthy.  My two beautiful sons are healthy too. We have a roof over our head in a beautiful state. We live in Hawaii during the summer. There is food on the table. We are loved.

I have more than a million dollars could ever buy.