Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Conversation Topics

Many of my stories come from people I know.  Only I change names and embellish, but the "ideas" aren't always mine. 

This topic, I will disclose, was not my idea, but I do think it's a great idea.  We have all been in situations where we start talking to someone new or someone we work with whom we don't know well or someone else's friend THEN we have to make a conversation. 

Standard conversation topics:

  • The weather?
  • Local current events?
  • What do you do?
  • How long have you lived here?
  • Blah, Blah, Blah

We now have new conversation starters and some new answers to the above questions:

  • I'm a Zamboni driver - what do you do for a living?
  • Did you hear that Mike & Ike broke up?
  • What is your favorite holiday?
  • I'm training for .............. (just fill in the blank) - it doesn't matter, if you are training or not, it will start a conversation.  Which brings us to all the things we could actually train for in life:
I'm training :

  • to be the worlds slowest quilter
  • to qualify to be on "The Biggest Loser"
  • for an Ironman Triathlon
  • to be a speed reader
  • my mouth not to talk so much
  • to be a Hula Hoop expert
  • to enter the Olympic Curling event.
Go for the shock.  It doesn't matter if it's true or not.  The other person will either have a fun conversation with you.  Or you will know this person can't handle a conversation with you, and move on.

Someone will converse with you. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pregnant & Cheating

I received a "Spam" e-mail this week from the house owners in Hawaii.  The original trade house, not Joe's house.  From here on out the first house will be referred to as "the house owners".  The second summer house will be "Joe's house". 

There were only 10 of us whom received the "link to riches".  I let her know she had been "attacked".  We caught up via e-mail - she sent a really nice e-mail to all of us whom had received her "spam".  She thought it was the universe's way of telling her she needed to reach out to some people.  Made me smile.

They are doing well.  They are trading the house over the Christmas holiday's for a couple of weeks in  NYC.  Their son and daughter-in-law live in NYC.  I've heard it's beautiful in NYC over the holidays. I knew they were thinking of doing this.  She said she hopes these "traders" are as great as us and the boys. 

I'm not really the jealous type, just more of the possessive type.  What?  You are trading my house?  Yes, I do realize it's really your house. Yes, I realize I let someone else come live in your house here in Denver this summer, but really?  You are going to cheat on me and let someone else live in our house???? I should have known.  If you would trade with me, OF COURSE, I'm not the only one out there willing to trade.  I'll get over my jealously.  I'll forgive you that you are cheating.  Secretly hoping the whole time, you really will like us better. 

THEN, just when I was about to want to break up with you forever Hawaii house owners, you went and saved the best for last.

The daughter whom had the wedding.  Whom caused the house swap in the first place.  Well, she's having a baby next spring.  The boys had wanted her to have a baby "every summer" so we could keep going back. 

I told her, NEVER in the history of the universe (and I could state this with certainty) that no two boys will have EVER been so excited to hear someone was pregnant.

There are no plans yet for next summer.  Get through Christmas first.  Of course, Joe's house hasn't sold yet.  They can go cheat on us..... 

Who knows, we might have two houses to watch next summer......

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Quitting Time

It's okay to quit.

No one else will EVER tell you this.  If you need to hear it again, call me.  I'll tell you:  Sometimes, it's okay to quit.

Has anyone ever told you it's okay to quit???

No.  We are told.  Sign up for this.  Try this.  Go for it.  See it until the end.  What if you don't like it?  What if you don't want to do it?

Pretty soon, people quit trying.  Want to know why?  Truly, it's easier to NOT do something, than start something and tell anyone you are going to quit. Instead of quitting anything.  We just quit trying anything.

Keep going.  Hang in there.  You can do it.  All encouraging words.


The complete opposite.

Why would you do that?  Isn't that hard?  What if you fail?

Is there no medium in this mix????

Can we not TRY something and if we don't like it quit?  Yes, it is FAR too easy to quit with long term commitments.  But, really, can't we admit we made a mistake???

I tried to like running.  Really, I did.  I ran.  I ran again.  I ran half-marathons.  I've run a marathon.  Truly,  I don't like to run!!  What I do like is a goal and an accomplishment.  What I don't like?  The actual physical running - oh wait, that's not true.  When I'm in shape, I LOVE to run..... Some how your body takes over.  Mentally, I'm not one of those people whom ever get the runners "high".  It's okay, I can quit running anytime I want.  I've tried running.  I keep "trying" to "be" a runner.  It's not me.  I run.  I'm not a runner.

YOU signed your 10 year old up for football.  He hates it.  The usual conversation goes:  Just finish the season.  Would you EVER imagine saying.  You know what?  "Thank for trying something.  Thanks for going outside your comfort zone.  Thanks for telling me: " I don't want to do this". You don't have to go back.  You can quit.

 It takes a bigger person to say "I can't" or "I don't" than a person whom just says "I do"......

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Go write down 10 things you like today.  I mean REALLY, REALLY like.

I'll go first.  Let's see if I can even come up with then things I like - and think I will like forever:

1)  My sons  (but 20 years ago, I didn't have sons - so this list would be different)
2)  My best friend Carolyn.  She was my best friend 20 years ago.  20 years from now too.
3)  Tomatoes (I don't like them in the winter though - they have no flavor)

4)  Swimming
5)  To be outside
6)  Sunsets  (always)
7)  Riding my bike
8)  Wine
9)  Chips and salsa
10)  The back side of Vail

Next lesson.

What do you like today that you liked 10 years ago.  Heck, even FIVE years ago.

Make your list.

That's a harder one isn't it?

What do you like today, that you liked when you were 5?

This is a very silly example, but today I like to eat eggs for breakfast.

As a child, I loved to eat eggs.  Scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, fried eggs, deviled eggs.  Yum.  At 5, YUM!  Then, and I'm not sure what happened or when, but I didn't like eggs anymore.  In fact, the smell of them would nauseate me.  I didn't like eggs.  Oh, for at least 20 years.  Now, slowly and surely, I like eggs again. I'm still very particular about my eggs, but I will eat them again.  And actually do like them.  I just don't "like them, like them". 

Someone told me a few years ago it had something to do with hormones and me producing eggs myself.  So, I guess maybe I don't have any eggs left in me...

Eggs are my example, but we all have those examples.  What do you like today that you liked 5 years ago?

It's a tough one. Not for only me either.  So, WHY OH WHY, would you put something on your body PERMANENTLY?

My friend Ed has his last name tattooed on his back.  That makes sense - that's not changing.  We all joke it's really because when he passes out someone will at least know his name. ;-)  (Maybe he should tattoo Richie's phone number in case of emergency!) :-)  Missy - the Olympic rings.  I get it.  As Nolan says; "What if I had the Ironman Tattoo when I do mine?".  Well, you earned that one.... You are also over 18......

I just don't GET tattoo's.  That's just me.  It's okay.

I thought I wanted one years ago.  I wanted the "sun" above my ankle bone on my right leg.  I wanted to own a bike shop in San Diego and name it "Sunshine Rentals".  That was a lifetime ago.

Granted, I do have commitment issues - at least long term permanent ones.  Because today, I might like it.  Tomorrow I might not. Where did we come up with idea we have to like something FOREVER????

There was another tattoo I always wanted.  I did want the "sun"  The sunshine outline.  The rays of the sun and a circle.  I wanted the blue/black in.  No colors.  None of that stuff.

I view tattoo's as a personal thing.  You don't get one for someone else.  Just for yourself.

And if I "caught the sun" where would I put it????  A place where it wasn't obvious.  Not a personal place.  A place hidden.  Yet, in plain sight.

 I would have put it on the bottom of my foot.

On each foot, I have a freckle.  In the same spot on each foot.  When you can see the one of the right foot is visible, you can't see the one on my left foot.  Vice verse.  (one fades, the other one comes out).

This summer, I fell off a board AGAIN.  Cut my foot open.

I have scar on the bottom of my right foot.  Ironically enough, it looks like the line for the Hawaiian islands.  My right foot.  As I joke, the scar on my sole...  Or was was that soul????

Someone thought I finally needed that tattoo on the bottom of my foot.....

Patience my friend.  Patience.....

Craigslist, I LOVE YOU

Really, I do. And this is from a woman with commitment issues.

You, I love.

I sold a fish tank once. Left it on my front porch - and when I arrived home. The fish tank was gone and the money was in the mailbox. And I can't even count the number of items, I've sold.

I've rented out my basement to some incredible people. Four summers.  Two of the four, I still hear from.  I still contact them. 

I needed a running buddy. Found the most incredible friends - that's a story in itself.

One time - I was trying to get rid of an old couch and chair.  I tried to sell it, but no no one wanted them.  They were red.  I go to the "Wanted" section - there was an ad "WANTED RED COUCH".  Seriously.  Single mom.  She and her Dad came and picked them up!

Once, even a LONG time ago, I went on a missed connection date - it wasn't my missed connection. :-)

I've NEVER tried the dating on Craigslist.  Maybe next summer?

I've had my haircut and colored by a woman whom had an ad.

I can't tell you the number of focus groups I've participated in. Let me put it this way - enough to pay for a trip to pay for my trip to run a marathon in Greece.

Resumes - I've hired people, I've had some part-time jobs from here too.

I've confessed to true love. And finally had the guts to send him the e-mail after it made "Best-of". And the best thing is, he still sends me quotes from my own 'tirade'!  (One day, I'll be brave enough to post it, with my name attached.)


I traded my house for a house in Hawaii......  FOR A MONTH!!!  As it turns out, the couple wanted to come to Denver - their daughter was getting married.  She lives seven blocks from me. All because of you.  Because I was trying to find a summer renter....

My dear friends,

It's not all fake, it's not all a scam - really, it's just like real life. Take a risk, be cautious, take a chance and maybe, just maybe, it will be ok.........

If anyone out there knows a movie director - I've got a film for you - forget "Craigslist Killers" - Maybe "Happy Moments from Craigslist" - someone can think of a better title.  We can make it a documentary.....

There ARE good things that happen in this world. The movie "The Holiday" - it does happen in real life.  Cute boys included.

For me, Craigslist, I love you. Mahalo for changing my life. 

(and I really love the fact you don't care, I don't know how to spell) :-)


Thursday, September 6, 2012


It's what is lacking in the world today.

Not just America.  Being able to take someone at their word.  There is no such thing.

First of all, I was born and raised in Texas.  I may have "grown up" in Colorado, but I was born in Texas.  There are LOTS of things you can say about TEXANS, but I can tell you - when I tell you something - it's coming out as it is.  No sugar-coating.  "You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can't take the Texas out of the girl".  It truly is a different world.  A good place.

There is much to not like.  Much to like.  When people tell me they miss Texas (we have tons of misplaced Texans here in Colorado), I look at them confused.  Isn't that wonderful???? That's why we live in this incredible country and you can like Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches for lunch, and I can like Salami & Cheese - and some black olives on the side.....  Because it's OK.  We live in America - you don't have to like what I like.  Just a reminder though, if you are free to dislike what I like...... I can dislike what you like.  Can you handle that?????  Takes a big person to say yes.

Recently, my sons tried out for club hockey.  (Another tangent for another day about club sports, but for now, lets focus!).  Some place at some time - the parents took over.  It's SOOOOO sad.  Yes, every organization is "run" by parents, but hopefully with a "non-partisan" point of view.  We all know it's the parents whom are in charge.  (BTW, my kids both made teams and here in Colorado, on the club level, there are kids that don't make teams).

This really sucks.

What are we teaching our kids?  We are teaching our kids to play the political game.  Nice.  At least we are preparing future politicians for a career.  Suck up - and you can get what you want.

I wonder if the kids know?  Only the kids whose parents don't play the game - they get cut, or stuck on a lower level team.  So, so sad.....

A good friend of mine is a head coach at a local high school for a varsity sport.  About 10 years ago, he cut a kid whose dad had built a website for the high school team.  We then got into an argument if he would be able to cut Duncan from a team.  He said he wouldn't even blink and cut Duncan.  I told him (in my all knowing way) "there is no way you would cut Duncan".  He was consistent in his reply:  "There is no integrity to the program if I don't cut the weak players".  (side note:  They have won the state championship in that sport 9 out of the last 10 years - since he took over).

Ryan Lochte's (our latest hot Olympian swimmer) father sent him to the shower for YEARS, because he wasn't focused. He said Ryan spent more time in the showers than the pool.  If you aren't going to focus, get out of the pool.  He was 14/16 when he finally made up his mind he was tired of losing.

THANK YOU MR. LOCHTE for having some integrity.

For the rest of you:   This is NOT your moment.  This is your child's moment.  AND the MOMENT  you let go - if they were meant to make it happen, well, then they will. 

Make them fight.  Help teach them to fight for what THEY want.  Not what you want for them.  It takes a bigger person to let go than hang on to something that isn't right.  Back out.

They will figure it out....

If THEY want it.

If YOU have the integrity to let it happen.

By the way,  my conversation for years:

Random Person:  "Where are you from?"

Me:  "I live in Denver, but was born in Texas"

RP:  "What brought you to Colorado?"

Me:  "I met a really cute guy and moved to a ski resort.  He worked there."

RP:  "You don't have an accent"

Me:  "You are right.  I left my hot rollers, my accent and I got the HELL out of there"....... ;-)

RP:  Hot rollers?  Really?

Me:  Lip bite. Head Nod. Smile. Wink. 

All smile now.... ;-)

PS.  That was 20 years ago. 

PSS.  She's thinking she might need some hot rollers..... because, well, she wants some.....

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Rite of passage

Always friends.

I've mentioned them before.  My ALWAYS friends.  THEY WILL ALWAYS BE MY FRIENDS.  ALWAYS.

I have two hand fulls of ALWAYS friends.  Several go without saying.  Then there are two - the ALWAYS friends I met one summer.  One summer many years ago.  Yes, we lost touch.  We re-connected.  They now have a friendship with my sons I couldn't have imagined.  It's a friendship we should always have.  With someone.

Only now I realize they are my sons friends.  They will forever be my friends, but my boys come first.

I'm very okay with this.

Are these the best role models for two young men?  No.  Absolutely not. 

Would they go to the end of the Earth to get my sons?  Drive them back?  Not tell me?  Make sure they are okay?  Yes.  Without one moment hesitation.

In fact, my sons now get invited to the camping trips and parties before me.  It doesn't make me sad at all - it makes me smile.  Only they are stuck with mom for a few more years on these trips - then mom won't go.  We will let them journey on without me.

We have an annual trip to Moab, UT.  My always friends go.  One day I had been out on a motorcycle ride.  I get back to camp.  Duncan is jumping around.  In a red Under Armour Shirt and grey shorts shouting "I got to drive, I GOT TO DRIVE"  "ED, taught me how to drive".  WHAT?  Rich said the look on my face was priceless.  "WHAT?  You taught him to drive????"

"He's twelve", I thought it was time.

Two years pass.  We arrive in Moab again.

Yes, they remembered it was Nolan's turn.  It was Nolan's turn to learn to drive.  We are on dirt roads in the middle of nowhere and Ed decides it's Nolan's turn - he's 12 after all.  Gee, here is an adult whom has been drinking beer all day and a twelve year old whom has never driven before.  We are going to wait until the morning.

I then turn my back.  Yes, you guessed it.  I just shook my head as Nolan appeared back into the campsite driving the Land Rover.

He waited.  He hoped.  He dreamed.  It was his turn.  It was his rite of passage.

Tonight, we were having dinner at a house with some of the people from our Moab trip.  The youngest son is 11 and turns 12 in April.  His mom mentioned how excited he is to be 12 for this Moab trip in the spring.  He will get to learn to drive.

First thought:  This is a rite of passage for my sons.  Not yours.  Sorry.

Second thought:  When did you say his birthday is?  It's TWO weeks AFTER Moab.  They aren't going to make an exception.  We are going to have to move up his birthday.

He's SO excited that the Quinn brothers will teach him how to drive.  I'm only a tad bit possessive that he thinks he's included in this rite of passage. And at the same moment, SO excited that we now have a third boy ready to pass over the "rite of passage".

Of course we will include him.  Of course my "brothers" will make sure he gets his turn.

It's his "rite" after all.....