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Feel-Good Flashbacks, Dodgers Baseball, and Freshly Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies

26 Oct

As a kid there are certain flashbacks that warm your heart and make you smile, that give you that feel-good-feeling vibe … like freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

Flashbacks you hope  last longer than a flicker. You try to hold onto them because they feel so good, they’re filled with love and peace, laughter and heart. You want to keep some of that. Unfortunately there were no Kodak captures of these nights, but I remember them and the pictures in my mind feel like old Polaroids. Faded, but cherished. And there are a few things that can help enrich their color and bring them back to life, to help me feel what I felt back then.

And it happened.

For two nights in a row, I felt the magic of the past.

The power of sports brought him back to me and I was grateful for the memory. I traveled through time and all it took was some Dodger Blue.

1988. That’s when it happened.

It was the biggest event of my city and everyone was watching. The world didn’t stop, but my city was focused on one thing and I was with the most important dude in my life when this happened. I was hanging out with my Dad watching the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

I didn’t realize how big that moment would be until I got much older and had kids of my own. But that game wasn’t just a game, it was a memory that would come back to me and remind me that family shares big moments, high-five moments that fill your heart when it’s on empty. They give you something to hold onto when you need a line.

Orel Hershiser took the mound and eventually pitched his way into a World Series Championship. I wanted Fernando, I’d watched Fernando for a long time and we were big fans. He was one of favorites, but that series belonged to Hershiser and I remembered my Dad’s excitement after the win. Witnessing something big like that brings you closer together somehow. You experience a magic that may not ever happen and it’s amazing.

Hanging out in our old apartment, the one with chocolate shag carpet and the television with rabbit ears antenna didn’t seem that special at the time, but it’s one of the most awesome experiences I’ve had. I remember beating Conseco and just feeling the wow in the air because of that victory. The city was behind them. Excitement was everywhere. We believed.

And I remembered it. I felt it again.

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I remembered it when the Dodgers won the NLCS Championship game this year, I remembered it after their first 3-1World Series win over the Astros and after the second game where Houston evened it up in a most epic battle going into extra innings. I remembered it, because my son was sitting next to me, and my daughter was standing in front of me. I wore my Dad’s Dodgers cap and remembered it as I sat on the bed. I remembered it as my son watched the game with me and we rooted for the Dodgers to take the lead. I remembered the moment and tried to hold onto that flashback as long as I could, but it disappeared. But I was glad to have lived in it’s presence if only for a few minutes.

I looked at my daughter and son and hoped that they’d want many flashbacks. I’d hoped they’d want to hold onto them too. I hope that 10, 20, or 30 years from now they remember the time they watched the World Series with me and it was just as good if not better than freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

 

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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!

The Night Before Six …

13 Jul

It didn’t occur to me that the Birthday Eves were important to kids too. I just thought only adults took stock and thought about the night before turning 40. I realized it’s a moment to pause for kids too. I wished I would have thought about it sooner, so I could have done this earlier for my kids and for my son, so that I could look back and remember all the times that slip into forgotten memories unless you have a picture of it. But I was grateful to have remembered and started today.

So I wrote her a letter …

 

You didn’t even need me to catch you this time.

You found the courage to jump off the edge and perform your best cannonball yet. And it was only your second attempt. You smiled. You finally went on the blue slide … six times you raced me. Six times I won but you didn’t care, because that wasn’t the point of the blue slide.

We were there three-and-a-half hours.

You ate a strawberry-orange-fruity Popsicle and it claimed your front tooth, the one that wiggled all morning long, the one you wouldn’t let me touch. The pool-side Popsicle made the arrival of the tooth fairy possible.

You won a book, a dinosaur book, on the last day of the summer reading book club over at the library, and you high-fived me.

The hotel that lost your soft, plush brown stuffed-dog that you’ve had since you were one-year-old, the hotel that claimed it had no idea how it disappeared from your bed, sent a FedEx package to our door. Brownie appeared and was back in bed with you tonight.

But before you went to sleep we talked about it being your last day as a five-year old and how that felt, what you expected six would be like, what your best memories of being five were … you were grateful for that day. You cried a little, though, you were worried about being six. Your brother told you that being six was gonna be great and that you’d probably be tall enough to ride some roller-coasters now, play on the big playground at school, and read some good books.

Being six would be easy for you.

We had a family hug for a couple of minutes and that seemed to do the trick. You were still worried but you found your courage.

As you lay in my arms I remembered this was the year you tried out for softball and you liked playing first and third base the most. Your favorite part was batting. It was your first year of kindergarten and you met your buddy Emma. Your favorite shows were PAW Patrol, PJ Masks, Doc McStuffins, Sesame Street, and America Ninja Warrior. Your favorite animals were elephants, hippos and dinosaurs. You really liked reading Elephant & Piggie books by Mo Willems, The Fred and Ted Series by P.D. Eastman, The Skippyjon Jones Series … all of them, Dr. Seuss, The Hungry Caterpillar, and Good Night, Goodnight Construction Site. Your favorite movies were The Ice Age Series, Despicable Me and Moana. You didn’t like getting out of bed, you were the give-me-five-more-minutes-mom kind of morning person, but you did enjoy you feel-good songs to wake you up. You enjoyed Footloose, Our House In The Middle of the Street, Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Starting Something, and U2’s Songs of Innocence — the entire CD.

You liked art and drawing, you liked playing Legos and America Ninja Warrior with your brother, you like me chasing you, giving you piggy back rides, splashing in the kiddie pool, watching you ride your bike, and you really like doing The Wave at baseball games.

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It was a great day to be five-years old. The last day you would be five and it had many Jar of Awesome Moments. You have a Pippi-Longstocking-Amelia-Bedelia-Goonies-Moana adventurous spirit. I’m hoping to remember it all.

I’ll especially remember me making your birthday cupcakes. You requested chocolate cupcakes instead of a cake this year, chocolate with chocolate with chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles.

I tried a new recipe and it was an epic fail. Disaster all over the kitchen and cupcakes tasted and looked nothing like cupcakes at 11:23 p.m. They were just gross. I have no idea what happened, but I imagine it had something to do with my math and my ounces/grams to cups/tablespoon conversion.

So, what could I do but laugh and start again. Finished the cupcakes after midnight and then started on the frosting … Birthday cupcakes will be great tomorrow.

Last day of being five definitely rocked it.

 

 

Simple Moments and Evacuating The Premises … Immediately

7 Jul

Feeling miserable isn’t one of the things I enjoy talking about, you just wake up and that ugh feeling is staring at you. You try to get your inner Wonder Woman vibe on and you feel it somewhere, you know you’ve got it, it’s just hitting the snooze button I guess.

I mean I was feeling good with that 4th of July fireworks extravaganza and ball game, where my favorite pitcher on Earth rocked it and the fireworks just wowed the kids and myself.  You were toe-tapping to R-O-C-K in the USA by Cougar-Mellencamp and just feeling the vibe with Ray Charles singing that America the Beautiful.

That whole experience made for an awesome holiday, so I couldn’t understand why I woke up flat and just feeling the blah … of the day. That bad mood voodoo took over and funkified my whole outlook. And you know it’s you, when nobody does anything and everything seems to irritate you, like the kind of irritated you get when you’re hangry. 

I had to check myself.

I needed to evacuate the premises immediately.

So I grabbed the Coppertone 1005 SPF and the swimsuits and headed for the pool. The beach was too far and the freeway would have made the irritability worse, so I needed a fast fix and the pool seemed to work it’s magic. Nothing like racing your kids on the blue and red water slides to help bring your inner Wonder Woman mojo out.

The fact that we were not sweating out the 104-degree heat at home brought a smile to my face. I sat on the edge of the pool with my legs feeling the light resistance of the cool water and I looked up. I felt the warmth of smile as I watched my kids enjoy the Willly Wonka-like splish-splash structure. And it was good. A calm feel-good vibe sat with me, and I enjoyed the simplicity of the moment. I forgot about the morning moodiness and that’s always a good thing to put in your rear view mirror. If I had that gratitude journal right there, I’d mark that moment as the highlight of the day, bottle it up for the next time.

It wasn’t anything fancy, rich, or epic. It was just old-school and simple, like the times in the old neighborhood when we’d splash around Marisolita’s giant plastic pool from K-mart. Everyone from Apartment 2 all the way to Apartment 9 would be out there swimming around for hours. And when it was time to go because our fingers and toes pruned up, we’d ask for five more minutes. Just five more. Then we’d empty out all the water on the stairs to create our own make-shift Raging Waters slide adventures.

Simple stuff, but pretty awesome when you’re in the moment. So I’m glad I caught it.

Evacuating the premises appeared to be good idea … that and cannonballs.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

 

Road Trips and Rain Man

1 Jul

Road trips make or break a family, whether it’s an hour escape to the beach, three-hour drive to Legoland, or a longer one across state lines. They often remind me of Chevy Chase’s quest to have a great vacation for his own family.

So when I recently packed the car, filled up the gas tank, and took off, I went with fingers crossed that I wouldn’t have to stop the car and resort to my “mom” voice. Road trip adventure. Definitely a Bucket List item, but one I feared. Road trips. I love them and hate them. I hadn’t taken the kids on a road trip this long, four hours had been the maximum, so when this unexpected trip happened I wondered whether we’d make it up Highway 5 for six hours. I remember taking road trips in the 80s, when my dad would pile us in the brown station wagon, no computers or Game Boys back then, just hangman or sleep.  Three hours back then seemed like forever, but now I was on the verge of a six-hour adventure.

Woo-Hoo!

And whenever anyone goes on a road trip, some memories stand out more than others. I enjoy the pictures, some of them help me remember things that belong in The Jar of Awesome. Everyone has different highlights of their family trips and some end up being spectacular National Geographic photos, while others get sent to the recycling bin. I get lucky and take one awesome shot from time to time. But this was more of my Rain Man adventure.

I love that movie. I’ve seen it hundreds of times, and Dustin Hoffman rocked it. I still have it on VHS and I crack myself up that I still own it this way.

Anyhow during the movie they go on a road trip and Rain Man documents the trip with a camera. He takes pictures of important things and then pretty random things. He’s taking it all in. His pictures come out at the end of the movie when the credits are rolling. Some of the pictures that my kids took reminded me of  that scene. Landscapes. Sunny faded out landscapes. It brought a smile to my face and helped me remember the different points along the road.

The pictures reminded me to keep things slow, that sometimes random moments are good ones, that patience on a road trip is essential, and most of all unplug myself from the world when I can, which in truth comes fairly easy because the Internet and social media aren’t really all that important. Netflix and mobster movies … well that’s something else. And you can’t really blame me either, I mean Rain Man could not even unplug himself from Judge Wapner. Five minutes to Wapner. Five minutes to Wapner.

Buen Camino my friends!

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The Beginning … sort of.

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 … of our long windy road …

 

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running into multiple farms on our way …

 

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… taking our best Rain Man photos …

 

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… on our five-six hour journey up the highway …

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… with a couple of pit stops on our way …

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To our final destination …

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Roberto Duran, Tuesday Night Fights, and Late Night Cup of Coffees on Father’s Day

18 Jun

It’s the day you think about the cool Thrifty’s ice cream cone he bought you on a hot day.  It’s the day you focus on the traffic-congested-day trips to Sea World or Raging Waters he used to take you to during the summer. It’s the day you think about him driving after a long day of work to try catch one of your basketball games. It’s the day you flip through the 1970s photo albums to try and remember the posed Kodak moments that sit behind that clear plastic covers.

As an adult it’s the day you try to hold onto good childhood (and adulthood) memories without crying, but smiling and laughing instead, because they happened and you can remember them.

 

 

 

 

Father’s Day celebrates all the dads and the adventures they led you through to make you the person you are today. It celebrates the stubbornness and adventurous spirit of the dude that sat behind those tired eyes at the end of the day and listened to my stories while stirring his cup of coffee.

 

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I tried to recreate a Father’s Day Weekend he might enjoy by heading to the mecca of golf shops and looking around at things he might want to buy but knowing full well he would probably just use them like twice a year, yet still be very satisfied with his purchase. Went to Fry’s Electronics store and stared at the big screen TVs and other gadgets for a while just thinking of what he’d say.

On Father’s Day Eve I watched a couple of boxing movies he had yet to see, but I guarantee he would have enjoyed them just because they had to do with boxing and the underdog. He liked Robert DeNiro almost as much as I did, so I imagine he would have given Hands of Stone two thumbs up. I imagine in part because it was a true story, and in part because he probably saw one of Duran’s fights on television. He would have told me about the first Sugar Ray Leonard fight, and what an amazing blow by blow battle it was. He liked Sugar Ray, but I think he would have rooted for Duran because of his upbringing and rise from nothing into something. He probably would have told me about the rematch as well, and had something to say about that Don King. He would have talked about it being on the news and how people heard Duran say “No Mas,” but wondering whether Duran really said it. We would have had an all-out-father-daughter discussion over some ice cream on that one.

I imagine him liking Hands of Stone for the same reason he would have really liked The Fighter. He enjoyed true stories about the human condition, the come-back kids worth rooting for.

With boxing it wasn’t so much the punching, although you couldn’t miss the combinations in each round, but it was the stories behind each boxer he enjoyed, it was the story of the fight. He was a fan of the sport, watching HBO cards whenever the big dudes took the ring. But what he really enjoyed watching were the weekly matches on USA Network’s Tuesday Night Fights.

I remember, every Tuesday night, coffee cup in hand and pillows fluffed up in the right position on the floor, because for some reason he enjoyed propping up all the pillows against the bottom of the couch and lying on the floor facing the television. He didn’t enjoy the sideways angle in which the couches were situated. So he made his own comfy space, a make-shift Lazy-Boy, although with all the excitement of the fight he’d put the coffee cup down and stand up in the middle of each round, bobbing and weaving with the boxers. And then smiling and saying … Phewwww!  That was a good round ….

So I tried to recapture some of that for myself yesterday. I tried to catch some of my Dad.

Celebrating someone who has passed on is tough, they’re physically gone and you don’t hear their laughter anymore, but you hold onto to their stories the best you can and focus on the good things they left you with, like their heart,  spirit, Tuesday Night boxing stories, and late-night-cup-of-coffee memories.

Happy Father’s Day …

 

1A

 

 

 

 

The Kiddie Pool Will Educate You … Properly

12 Jun

No matter how badass you think you are a kiddie pool will humble you … Immediately.

Don’t be lazy.

Bend at the knees, not the waist.

They have a warning label about drowning and diving into it, but nothing at all warning perfectly healthy 40-something year olds who run in Spartan races and triathlons about the dangers of kiddie pools. I mean drowning yeah … That’s serious and should be addressed. But this is important too.

This 20-dollar piece of aquatic plastic from the Do-It-Center sidelined me instantly, and it did not matter that I handled myself with ease in a Muay Thai Boxing gym. This kiddie pool had my number.

There was about two inches of water in the pool and I thought I’d move it over to the side of the patio, just to give it more sun, so my kids would feel the warmth of the rays as they splashed around, you know because I’m an awesome mom who thinks of these things. I thought I’ll move it over before I fill it up completely because it will be too heavy to do so once it’s full. Let me just do it now, while its nearly empty.

But as I learned the hard way once the pool is down … It’s down.

Doesn’t matter what you can bench press or how many push-ups you can do. The kiddie pool will educate you properly.

Kiddie Pool: 1   The Guat:  0.

Apparently once there is water in it, you really shouldn’t move it at all and if you try, don’t even think of just bending over and sliding it down. Don’t. Even. Think about it.

The floor and I have gotten re-acquainted with one another. I learned crawling is a good way to travel, it’s not just for toddlers. And the yoga mat, a Costco-sized bottle of Advil, ice packs, and heat have been my best friends since last Monday.

Seven days.

I was concerned when my investigative results online came up with bulging disc, cervical radiculopathy, and osteoporosis.

It wasn’t either of them, but I’m still out for the count. I stopped using my son’s hockey stick as a cane two days ago, so I suppose that’s an improvement. Plus I had the luxury of getting into a jacuzzi so that voodoo magic helped me out. But I’m still not at %100. Sneezing and coughing prove to be painful reminders of kiddie pools being the boss of me.

I still have a hitch in my get-along. I don’t think I can even do a proper jumping jack. But I can peddle a stationary bike for five minutes without muscle spasms so that’s something.

I knew my back was essential to daily life but not THIS important. I need it for everything. From carring a box of CapriSun juices to parallel parking to waiting in line at the AAA Office to putting on socks, I neeeeeeed my back. It’s up there with breathing.

So now as I’m in recovery mode, and researching chiropractors and acupuncturists, I reflect upon the importance of downward dog, upward dog and any other stretching mechanism that strengthens the back …

Because kiddie pools are no joke for healthy 40-something year olds. They’ll let you know who’s boss. So when you see the warning label, beware of the pool people … Beware.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiration Hiding In The Daily Mail

31 May

It was in a medium-sized manila envelope and I had no idea what it was …

Since I don’t have any magazine subscriptions walking to the mailbox isn’t really all that exciting for me. I mean I get a kick if I find a card in there for birthdays and Christmas, but other than that I hardly get anything in the mail worth celebrating.

I mean there was that time I wrote a letter to the Hawaiian Chocolate company just on a whim to talk to them about their chocolate and a few weeks later I got a sampler box in the mail.

Dude! Just like that. Customer service at its best!

But now I just get bills, rejection letters, and customer service at its worst.

You know, my most recent bill from Sprint didn’t really have all these great emotions bubbling to the surface. You see I had just gotten a bill from Sprint for $238 … a bill that was supposed to be $110. So after a livid conversation with Andrea G. over at customer service where there was nothing that could be done about the promises I received from my last interaction with a Sprint customer service representative I’d given up on the positives of mail entirely … until a couple of days ago.

I unloaded the large amounts of junk mail and bills onto the kitchen table and found that manila envelope from an unfamiliar P.O. Box. Had no idea what it was, seeing how I hadn’t recently ordered anything the contents were unknown.

So when I opened it and found the newest Zac Brown Band CD staring at me, I found a moment of gratitude right there. I had purchased tickets to their concert a while back and apparently missed the email stating that their newest CD would be mailed to me, just for buying tickets to the concert.

I remember that happening last time, but for some reason it escaped me this time around. So among the bills of adulthood I found this awesome surprise.

 

 

Inspiration in a medium-sized manila envelope. All their songs hit my heart strings and make me feel something and it was a great gift just at the at the right moment.

“Don’t give up … hold on a little longer.”

That’s my favorite line from this song … a dreamer’s song. It’s really one of my mottos. So if you’re having a rough week, trying to bounce back, catching the wave after you’ve wiped out, take a listen to Roots by Zac Brown. It’s a dreamer’s song that keeps you chasing what you wake up every morning hoping for …

The purpose continues.

Buen Camino my friends.

The Process And The Hanna Barbera Journey

24 May

It took me back to Saturday morning cartoons. Just like our annual cardboard boat race, this little adventure took me back to the 80s where I dreamed of being one of the Hanna Barbera cartoons and building my own hot rod to race to the finish line.

We were pretty jazzed up to learn that my son’s Boy Scout pack would be hosting the annual Pinewood Derby. We marked the calendar, bought our kit and the kids laid out their Crayola Crayons Blueprint, LEGO drivers included of course.

We made visits to the Do-It-Yourself Center and Michael’s Craft Store to buy all the goods for this epic project. Every day leading up to the big race we worked on the cars … sanding them, cleaning them, painting them multiple times, adding decals and then our final touches. I made sure not to get too crazy though, I didn’t want to turn into Momzilla and take over the project. I wanted to make sure my kids did most of the work.

But you know, the day of the actual race itself didn’t live up to the hype I imagined in my Hanna Barbara mind. After waiting for all the heats and divisions to run through their rounds the enthusiasm dwindled off.

Perhaps because it was a three-lane course instead of five-lanes, maybe there were so many divisions that it became just a repetitive exercise and not a Pinewood Derby Showdown, or maybe it was the return of the stink-eye uptight assistant den leader from region pack meetings, his presence fuels voluntary and involuntary eye-rolls from the masses.

Whatever that wonky feeling was it lingered for a bit. I mean when it was my kids’ turn I was super excited and happy and enjoyed their rounds leading up the final division race. I was happy that my son had tied for fifth place in our rookie year of this event.

But I wasn’t really jazzed up about the other participants. I didn’t really have a vested interest. There seemed to be a pattern evolving, in regards to the type of designs winning each race. I mean once I saw a couple of their races the magic was lost  … until the Outlaw Division started.

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There it was … a rules-out-the-window race, where creativity, imagination, and design were combined. It was about the fastest car but also about inventiveness, the personality of each car and then how it would perform. Those races seemed to be a little more exciting. I enjoyed my daughter coming in first place in the outlaw class and seeing her smile as her car crossed the finish line first. But through this entire experience, from blueprints to paint jobs, I was reminded of a great lesson.

It’s all about the process.

Enjoying the anticipation of it all, sharing our excitement of what was to come, talking, hanging out while we sanded and painted, and most of importantly remembering not to freak out if the paint job wasn’t spot on. They might not remember what place they finished that day, but they will remember that we built it as a family. They’ll remember how that felt. So, for future projects, I’ve got to remember that.

Process … It’s all about the process in the Hannah Barbara journey, or with anything really.