The Master of The Dig on Motivation Monday

9 Oct

Tell me something good it’s Motivation Monday they said …

I stuck up for myself today, not that I don’t do that if the situation presents itself. I do. It just happened today. It happened with one of The Masters of The Dig.

You know this person. Everyone knows this person. You have one or have witnessed their slimy skills once in your lifetime. It’s the ambitious co-worker, your mother-in-law, your best friend’s sister’s cousin, the girl scout troop leader who wants your kid to join but you don’t want that in your life, the worst bridesmaid ever, your neighbor.

You’ve seen them. The Master of The Dig.

They have this look. This word. This way of delivering news that makes you twinge. They suck out the life during a conversation and you need like 45 minutes to recover from that interaction. It sucks.

Toxic people are bad and you usually have to keep your distance but sometimes you can’t. You see them every day, every week. Like Carol from accounting, or your neighbor Mark, who always parks over the line. They just get to you and know how to do it so you think … give me a little more grace today.

But I didn’t have it in me.

I was in need of the famous DayQuil, NyQuil, and tea regiment. So you know, when you’re sick and fighting inner-cell battles, mucous, and symptoms you have very little tolerance for people that add to that fight. I mean if you’re not gonna help me, great, but don’t think I’m gonna let you make things worse, especially when I’m feeling at my worst, and when there’s no chocolate in the house.

Digs. They’re nasty bits of criticism full of contempt with no constructive or helpful nature behind them. They use something you’ve said to them in confidence or in a moment of sadness and then break your trust by turning it around and zinging you with it. Sometimes it’s nothing that you’ve said, but an observation they have and they keep drilling it over, and over and over again.

It’s a hidden hostility really, to just bring about some flaming response, just to get a rise out of you. In essence it’s just trying to tear you down, bit by bit for whatever motive. Either because they’re insecure, or they’re having a bad day and are lashing out. Either way it’s not you.

So there was no grace for this person. I had no patience for toxicity today. Zero. And I tried to do the nice thing and just ignore it, but they just kept going, continuing the conversation and dug in, so I had to put an end to it.

I sassed my way out of their nastiness, and I found it interesting that they were not happy with my defense. Some people are so used to getting away with all these little attacks, trying to tear you down, but I just couldn’t. These last two years I’ve tried to rid myself of this type of toxicity, and minimize any interaction with people who’s primary focus is the dig.

I’ve tried to Zen Master my way out of things, but sometimes sass works too. In-need-of DayQuil-and-NyQuil kind of sass.

So on Motivation Monday tell me something good that happened …

I stuck up for myself … and the Dodgers won.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

 

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Pockets of Hope for More Good Times and Noodle Salad

2 Oct

Pockets of hope. I’m filling them up and sending them through the cosmic airwaves, wanting them to reach a Puerto Rican family, or a grieving family member of a slain music lover in Las Vegas.

In just one month, a lifetime of heart aches and hurt, and recovery seems so distant. But pockets of hope that fill the air can land on someone’s shoulder and make it possible to get through the day.

 

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Pocket of Hope

Breathing in the morning air and facing the warm glow of the early sun gave me pause. I realized in mid-breath that the same sun that shined on me in this peaceful, hidden habitat was the same sun warming the faces of teary eyed music fans that remained grieving. in disbelief over the deaths and unexplained violence of bullets. It was the same sun that rose over a broken island functioning on the mercy of kindness.

Sadness and aching hearts are a part of life I wish we never had, but there are silent tragedies that happen everyday when no one is looking, when Facebook and Twitter don’t post links, when newspapers and local TV stations don’t report the story. It’s a time to strengthen resolve and bring in laughter when sadness tries to darken it out. It’s a time where pockets of hope rise up and communities forge together.

It’s a time where finding moments of laughter can help heal a little, because those are small steps to the recovery of happier times, to good times and noodle salad moments that were being robbed from people .

So as just one person, far away from both tragedies, I ask myself what I can do to help someone who’s suffering. I can click on links and donate, I can send good vibes and positive wishes, I can raise awareness to their cause, and I can try to lighten the heavy load in their hearts and on their shoulders by trying to comfort those that are suffering and make someone smile. I can continue sending pockets of hope their way, and try to stand with them during  an overwhelming pain.

It’s always lightheartedness and finding the funny at not-so-funny times so that we can go on, that’s the formula over here at The Wish Factor. But making light of an act of cruelty isn’t.  Awareness in hopes of bringing about change is what I champion for, and I hope that sadness felt by so many in Las Vegas and Puerto Rico isn’t breaking their spirits, as the whole nation stands with them, sending pockets of hope and doing what we can for healing hearts.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

 

Windmills, Æbleskiver, and My Uncle Erick

23 Sep

A ride along the coast through windy roads and mountain tops, through heavy clouds and mist, I found the small town that sparked the sunshine and gave us smiles good enough to be sealed in by the Jar of Awesome.

 

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With all the wineries and quaint feel good vibes of this small town, I had a flashback of Miles from the movie Sideways and his wine-tasting montage, without the comedic angry outbursts, of course. I was out and about on a quick getaway to find out what this Danish Days Festival was all about, and in the process I discovered the awesomeness of Æbleskiver.

 

 

Now I couldn’t even pronounce it. But they knew what I wanted when I got there and this was the place to get them. I was lucky to come before the lunch time rush and I only had to wait about ten minutes in line. But after I got my order, the people behind me weren’t so lucky. The line got pretty crazy and they were there at least 30 minutes.

Yeah. They were that good. Flaky, fluffy, sweet, tasty treats sprinkled with powered sugar and hitting the spot.

Now normally I wouldn’t drive about three hours anywhere for food I could probably buy in the melting pot of our culinary city, but this little town was a place my Uncle Erick liked to go to when family visited from out of town. He enjoyed the drive along the coast, the vibe of the place, the peace of a small town, the wineries, pastry and coffee shops on every corner. He enjoyed feeling like a tourist as he walked around admiring the architecture and enjoying the food. He smiled when he was there. It probably reminded him of his trip to Europe, and he liked the quick three-hour getaway down memory lane. I felt it would be a good excuse to go, Danish Days Festival, I mean come on … Viking stuff, Legos, woodcarving, music, dancing, kids jamboree, parades, and tiny wooden shoes.

This spoke of adventure. As soon as I told my kids Legos and food with powered sugar was involved they were on board.

 

 

And so we toured the place and felt the vibe. I could see what my Uncle Erick enjoyed about it, but most of all I remembered my Uncle Erick and his willingness for three-hour road trips just to get the family together, just to try something new. I remembered my uncle as I watched the woodcarver make art from blocks of Redwood, I remembered my Uncle Erick as we watched the parade, I remembered my Uncle Erick as I saw the windmills and the city sign, I remembered my Uncle Erick as I sat to eat the Æbleskiver,  I remembered my Uncle Erick, the dreamer who always wanted something better and never stopped looking for it, the one who loved his daughter above all else, the one I looked up to as a kid, and the one my kids never met because he died before they were born, but I know he would loved to hang out with them.

I remembered my Uncle Erick and told stories about him all day.

Buen Camino my friends.

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Staying Within The Lines

16 Sep

Some people just roll on out of bed with a wish for confrontation.

I’m talking about regular people with blatant disregard for the common decency rules of life. Yeah … they’re out there. And I saw one. I took photographic evidence.

But not so much to report anyone, more so to laugh.

You see, about an hour before I saw this dude, I had pulled into a lot and did my very best to park this loaner I was driving into a spot. Now seeing how I’m not used to parking this bad boy Toyota Sienna, it took me about three attempts to completely stay within those double white lines. Yup.  I was putting it in drive and reverse, drive and reverse, and then drive and reverse again, with all eyes from the AARP Crew looking at me from the diner across the way. Just sipping their coffee and staring at me through their bifocals.

My parking job doesn’t have to be perfect and my tires don’t have to be equidistant from the lines on both sides. I just have to be in the slot, I want to give people enough room to open their doors. I just don’t want to be a jackass. That’s it. So after my multiple failed attempts and a triumph that took 5-10 minutes, I moved on and went to run some more errands and that’s when I saw this dude.

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I mean he wasn’t even close. And you guessed it … it was one of the last spots on the lot.

Now normally things like this really burn me out, but under this new Super-Soul Sunday everyday vibe I’ve been flowing on, I ended up cracking up. This dude did not care. Not one bit.

I mean I’d understand if we were at the ER and it was a life and death situation, but I was at the 99-Cent store, there are plenty of Cup O Noodles.

So when I saw this Volvo, I just paused for a minute and laughed. This dude is living by his own code.

You see out here in the traffic congested city I live in, there are parking rules that people let slide because you know what the drawbacks are, for example an SUV parked in a compact-only spot will probably get his door scratched or dented by the other cars. That’s a given. If you park in someone’s driveway, you might get hit, or towed before you roll out of bed early enough to move your car,  it happens. You take two spots instead of one, you might get a nasty note on your windshield or a confrontation in your future.

People are aware of the consequences. They know. This guy knew, but he didn’t care.

Growing up in this city I take these rules fairly seriously. I don’t want to  be a jackass. So I tend to stay within the lines. The fact that I worked so hard to park my loaner car an hour before and then see this Volvo-driving nut just handle this spot like a dictator cracked me up. I mean who thinks that way. I just had to laugh. I couldn’t react any other way.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

 

Writer Wednesdays … Literary High-Five

6 Sep

Sometimes you’re just in a funk, and you can’t find the right words for your characters or feel like that missing piece is never going to fall in place.  You have no idea where the writer inside disappeared to, then all of sudden you write a letter, an email, or do a different type of writing  and you get the groove back.

I’m getting my groove back.

 

Recently, I had a blogging buddy of mine Jacqueline Cangro edit one of my manuscripts and let me tell you, having someone read something like that gave me the butterflies. I mean I know that eventually it’s going to be out there for everyone to see, and some close friends of mine have seen parts, if not all of it. But Jackie was going to edit it … really edit it. So I was nervous. I was like … dude what if she hates it? Will she ever return to my blog? Or how will she let me down easy. I was creating all kinds of scenarios in my head, but none of them panned out.

Jackie was really nice about it and spoke with me about my concerns. Sh did an amazing detailed job with content analysis, story and characterization. I was so glad to have met Jackie. Her advice was on point and I could feel the missing pieces coming together.

But I’ll be honest with you, rewriting and rewriting after edits and edits became a daunting task, even with the awesomeness that is Jackie. I got a little nervous. I didn’t want to veer too far off course, I didn’t want to get lost in all the editing that I couldn’t find my way back. And then the universe sent me a sign.

A friend of mine asked me to write a grant proposal for arts programs at my son’s school. Now normally I don’t get involved with the Mommy Mafia or the PTA clicks, which she is a part of,  but seeing how this was a close buddy and it was for a great cause I thought it would be a great service for the community and a good opportunity for a pause in novel re-writing plan.

So I took a step back from my 100th rewrite and did something good for someone else. During that process I learned that tapping a different avenue of my talents, helped stir up the writing mojo in all areas of my life. Writing about advocacy and arts engagement helped boost my own focus. Being able to write a cohesive statement that had nothing to do with my crazy character and her journey, helped glue ideas together in the recesses of my mind, and make things click. I was making connections and feeling confident about the fine-tuning that was going on.

And this is where I find myself.

I find myself looking back on how I turned the corner and I never would have guessed that grant writing or executive summaries would have the power of a high-five, because that’s what it was … a literary high-five. After I finished writing it … I thought damn! That was me … I put these words together. I conveyed how critical arts were for inventiveness and out-of-the box thinking. I put together a piece that speaks to the heart of this school and the need for arts education despite financial cutbacks. I convinced someone, I persuaded them to give money … and just with words. They hadn’t even met me yet. All they knew were my words.

And that seemed to be pretty powerful stuff. That seemed to be the make-up of a writer. That seemed to put be back on the yellow-brick road pathway.

So while, I’m still working on the grant, which will be due in a couple of days, I feel that time away from my story, spent working on a different discipline, has helped bring the story back full circle. I don’t know if any other writers experienced something like that, because I figured people get inspired or back into the story, by being away from it for a moment, taking a trip somewhere and then coming back from that sabbatical refreshed ans zoned in, but it was my first way down that road. And I’ve got to say, it was interesting.

 

Buen Camino

 

 

Inspired by Hanna-Barbera … Duct Tape Adventures Return

3 Sep

I look forward to this adventure every year, it takes me back to my seven-year old self, the one watching Hanna-Barbera cartoons on Saturday mornings.

I’ve told you about this before, my love for these kinds of races and the origin of it all …

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Cartoons were a big deal to me back then, that’s where I got most of my fantastic ideas. And this one — the Wacky Races —  has always stayed with me. So when I heard about this cardboard boat regatta down by the beach a couple of years ago, I jumped at the chance to participate in the fun. It’s actually turned into a family tradition. Something I hope my kids will look back on fondly.

The entire process jazzes me up. From conception to creation to craftsmanship. The annual cardboard boat regatta challenges the small artist I have in me. I’ve learned to enjoy the process, the trials and errors, the measure twice and cut once philosophy, the entire duct tape process, being present, and enjoying the building part with my kids was one of the many takeaways from this experience. I’ve been grateful enough to remember it every year. The actual race takes about five minutes so enjoying every bit of the process leading up to that helps slow time down and increase the gratitude factor. I’m glad I can remind myself of this, but feel even happier that I’ve introduced my kids to this life lesson. So it’s a win-win.

Creativity happens here and I’ve learned that it involves duct tape. I look forward to the seven rolls of duct tape that make my vessel seaworthy. This year it was five rolls of Gorilla Tape and two of silver duct tape, not that it matters or anything, but thought I’d share the supply list in case you wanted to get creative too.

The multiple trips to the local Do-It-Yourself Hardware Center become a weekly adventure during our creative process. I enjoy seeing whether or not the finished product meets my kid’s expectations. Most of the time it does, last year, it was so amazing that I even patted myself on the back. This year was a little trickier, considering inspiration came from Despicable Me 3, Gru’s car, and his minions of course. But we managed and came up with this …

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Gru’s Car/Speedboat

Cardboard and duct tape. Total Festivus Miracle! And not only was the creative process enjoyable, we also ended up winning our heat. For the second year in a row, after losing the first few years, we paddled our way to the finish line first, without sinking and eventually placed third overall in the parent-child category.

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Making it to the finish line … smiling all the way.

But in addition to paddling our way down the pool, hanging out with and talking to the other boat makers was so much fun. I enjoyed seeing some of the masterpieces and listening to the inspiration behind it all.

 

 

My son really enjoyed the Star Wars vessel and my daughter loved the Moana boat, but I have yet to recover the picture for that one. My favorite was of course this white one.

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AMAZING!

 

I couldn’t believe it when I saw this whole boat made out of cardboard, but it was only for display and not for racing purposes. The creative process on this one must have been great.

 

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🙂

Everyone ended up having a good time. Don’t know if they were inspired by Hanna Barbera, but something inspired them and the inventiveness came through in the form of cardboard and duct tape creations. Remembering that the process and being present were just as important as paddling to the finish brought sunshine to my heart.

Buen Camino my friends!

Sandbox List Adventures: The Sun, The Moon, The Vibe

27 Aug

This was in the hands of the universe …

But before I continue on the wonder of the Cosmos I must apologize … this was supposed to be posted last Wednesday, but for some reason it got locked down in my drafts file. Maybe it was delayed in order to bring something good among all the bad that’s going on in our country. Maybe it was kept there to remind you of the amazing powers of science and how one small cosmic miracle can bring us all together …

I had never seen one, so the fact that  we were in the path of this scientific awesomeness gave me pause. Not everyone around the world got to see it, but we were lucky enough to experience the eclipse and check that off the Sandbox List Adventure.

Now seeing how my kids had school that morning I made an executive decision in the name of science to skip the morning scholastic activities in elementary school and drive down to the university and join grad students, professors, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory  (JPL) scientist for an outdoor learning session. There were solar eclipse sunglasses, telescopes, awesome shadow boxes, and a live stream news feed airing the path of totality in one of the lecture halls. It was an astronomy extravaganza!

I felt since this was a once in a lifetime event for many people, it had to be something our family needed to witness. And the thing is, it would have been fine hanging out in our patio and watching it by ourselves, but being among all those people was an amazing vibe that lasted the entire week. It was so much more being in that environment. It wasn’t something to look at during a commercial break, it ended up being an experience. A Sandbox List Adventure experience. It was excitement! I was excited to be there and when is the last time that you felt excitement over some astronomical event?

I mean if you live in the city a shooting star is awesome, because it’s a rare sight with all the bright lights hampering your star gazing experience. I was happy to be there, and even more so to have my kids see something like this. Us city kids watching a solar eclipse, that called for Pink Floyd music to accompany us on this journey.

All of us outside on the lawn, strangers, just hanging out and experiencing the eclipse brought out the neighborly vibe in everyone.  In the frantic mad dash to get those oh-so-elusive-solar-eclipse glasses, many people weren’t able to get one of the thousand free pairs that JPL handed out. So many people, including ourselves, shared with neighbors so they could get a glimpse.

 

It was a good feeling to be among people and have my kids share the positive energy and camaraderie of spectators coming together to witness something beautiful. And although we didn’t have totality, the 60% that we did experience made for an awesome memory.

The eclipse had the power for just a moment, to remove emotional hangovers, bad conversations, rejection letters, cold symptoms, no parking zones, chaotic mornings, DMV clerks, credit card bills, and empty-gas-tank-lights during congested traffic. It had the power to cause deep breathing and slowing down time. It had the power of gratitude and bringing people together. It had the power of making it on the Sandbox List Adventures.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

Sandbox List Adventure: Feeling The Burn But Enjoying Pockets of Nature

13 Aug

Slowing down the clock. Making the moment last longer. They’re getting better at it.

Wanting adventures to last longer or remembering them with more clarity became a summer goal that’s probably going to last us some years.

They close their eyes, put their hand on their heart and take three deep breaths. Then open their eyes and watch … just watch and take three deep breaths again.

We had an opportunity for that today, We had an opportunity to escape the ugliness of what’s happening in our country. We had an opportunity to find some good, to be present in the moment and have gratitude envelope us. We had an opportunity for one last field trip. One last adventure before school started.

We needed to end our summer on an awesome note, considering the bumpy ride we encountered at registration. So once again we headed to the water.

I thought of the beach, but my kids wanted to change things up a bit.

A Sandbox List Adventure.

Paddle boating.

My son wanted to do this all-summer long, but for one reason or another it didn’t work out. We’d been to the lake a couple of times but it ended up being closed. However the day before school started … Sunny. Open. Clear sailing.

The one thing my son was unaware of was the massive leg workout this would be, but his muscles were pumping and my daughter, as captain of the ship, made sure we kept the boat moving. But if we’re being honest, I was breaking a sweat after the first lap and in desperate need of a water break. I was picking up the slack because I could tell my son was feeling the burn. We did a lot of drifting though, just letting the wind and the ripples guide us through the water.  But I guarantee you,  I’ll still be feeling it tomorrow morning, Word to the wise … sunscreen and stretching are necessary. You’ll feel the burn, but it’s worth it in those quads, but finding pockets of nature in the city is always worth the work.

There were highlights … awesome ones to accompany the quad workout.

Circling the water fountain and feeling the wispy breeze behind hit, made everything all right that day. Forgot about class complications, teacher meetings, principal emails, and class supply lists agony.

We were on the lake and it was Sandbox List Adventure time. The feel-good vibes from today will help fuel the rest of the week.

 

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Checking out the scene and mapping out our course …

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Had our sites on the fountain … a definite highlight of the day.

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Then we headed to the lily pads to get a closer look at nature …

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Duuuuude up close was just as beautiful …

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And so after all that beauty and all those laps, we pedaled our way back.

 

Buen Camino my friends.

You’re Not Alone Out There …

6 Aug

Laundryitis.

I suffer from this.

I never thought I would but I do. So now I’m like an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.

If you’re not familiar with this syndrome, it may happen to tired moms and dads, or college students. It can happen to anyone really, but the judgement seems to be worse when you’re a mom I guess. You’re supposed to have it all together. At least that’s what Facebook people appear to do … have it together.

But I don’t. I’m a mess in progress.

I suffer from Laundryitis … you know, when you wash your clothes and then take them out of the dryer, and put them in a nice pile. Shirts on one side, pants and shorts on the other. And you tell yourself I’m gonna fold those as soon as I get a minute. You know that elusive minute when you’re a parent. You know when you have that oh-so-famous down time, when you unwind in the quiet of the night. I’ll do it when I’m watching Netflix. And then four days later … they’re still there … on your bed. They may even make the start of the next clothes cycle, where you wash another load and you’re just adding to the pile. It’s happened.

The clothes just lay in the corner, not as smooth as before, a couple of lumps and wrinkles, but no longer in two neat piles. Just one lump some of Costco-Fabric softner-smelling clothes. I bring them down with me every night, but for some reason, they don’t end up getting folded. I lay down for a minute to rest, only to wake up at 1 a.m. and drag myself to bed. I write a post, or edit my book, and lose track of time, or I end up getting lost in some Netflix or Amazon Prime episodic binge adventure.

I’m not really proud of this Laundryitis, but just wanted you to know … those of you hiding in secret … not posting your Devil Wears Prada closet on The Facebook Instagram tip that you’re not alone. It happens, it especially happens to tired moms.

So I think I’m more prone to Laundryitis, in fact I think that if you have a cleaning lady or cleaning crew helping you out, you might not suffer from this. You might have your act together because you clean before the cleaning lady gets there, or she may just do it for you. I don’t know.  Maybe you have a Jetsons futuristic setup.

I guess if I shopped at IKEA I would totally be on top of this entire situation, you know with the state-of-the-art awesome drawers of organization with potential Jetson possibilities. But I don’t have the IKEA awesomeness in the bedroom.

I’m not that futuristic though … I don’t even have a dishwasher. And I think a dishwasher is important. I think these technological advances in the home economics sector have a cause and effect correlation with Laundryitis. Maybe I wouldn’t be as tired if I could just load it up and press wash, instead of Palmolive all over my hands for hours. I don’t know, I’m no scientist but I see something.

The more help you get, Kenmore or Maytag technology, or IKEA awesomeness, or just another human being, the less likely you are to suffer from Laundyitis and be caught up in your own episode of Everybody Loves Raymond with an Everybody Loves Raymond kind of mom sending you the guilt stare.

But don’t worry … shed the guilt … you’re not alone.

 

Buen Camino my friends …

 

Dude … The Magic of Garth and Shark Week Living on 42

30 Jul

I felt like I was riding a wave of electricity in a thundolt-filled sky.

The energy brought life into my life, and for the third time in my existence, I crossed off a Bucket List Item in honor of my birthday. I wasn’t sure how I would celebrate the big 42. I wasn’t worried as much as when I turned 40. Not because it wasn’t a big day, it always is, but because both Jackie Robinson and James Worthy wore No. 42 jerseys, so that had to be a sign of awesomeness to come in my year of 42 … At least that’s what I thought.

But it was even better.

The Magic of Garth can overpower any bad spells on any given day, and turn a good day into a great night — the unforgettable ones that belong in The Jar of Awesome.

In spite of a couple of personal snags that evening, which could have sucked the blue out of the sky, I was still … STILL able to enjoy the sparkle and wonder of the Big Magic that is Garth Brooks. I had a little bit of it sprinkled on me as I experienced the musical testimony of of this cowboy dude. He had the power to erase bad conversations, frustrations, anger, and ill thoughts. He had the power of the ocean.

Two Pina Coladas. That Summer. Thunder Rolls. Unanswered Prayers. Shameless. Friends in Low Places. And … And his new song  Ask Me How I Know. Not to mention his duet with Trisha Yearwood and her solo songs that night.

And it was awesome. He left it all out on the stage and it was inspiring, contagious, live-your-life-like-this energy.

Definitely a great way to celebrate a birthday and live in the moment, in that live-your- life-like-Shark-Week moment I was talking about last week. Every single person surrounding me surged with the good vibes of country music’s finest.

 

I had never been to one of his concerts before, and now I know what I’ve been missing out on. It was a never-disappointed nighttime adventure.

The birthday celebration began with the greatness of the sandy beaches on a California coast with my kids, coupled with good food. Then the night …the night was filled with The Magic of Garth.

It was the kind of birthday weekend I like to imagine. It gave me a day to spend with my family and live the best mom life on the beach, riding waves and building sand castles under the Californian sun, and then The Night with Garth which fed my feel-good feelings soul of the regular Chapsiptick girl in me.

Blowing out birthday candles, wishing for big dreams, and Bucket List Adventures involving The Magic of Garth Brooks was a good way to ring in the Year of 42. Shark Week Living and Garth Brooks … Definitely a great combination.

 

Buen Camino my friends!