Tag Archives: Discover

I Was Grateful For The Whale … and For Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia

31 May

I walked in feeling like Jim Carrey in that movie Yes, Man.

Completely out there, saying yes to new adventures that I’d normally pass on just to hang out at home, relax, and catch up on my Netflix binge-worthy shows.

I like the comfort of hanging out at home.

But in an effort to keep my word, and continue creating my own momentum, ignite opportunities, and make life more interesting, this month’s new adventure involved the artistic side. The one I don’t tap into: Drawing and coloring.

I saw the workshop posted and channeled my inner Jim Carrey Yes Man and “yessed” myself into the class.

I rolled into the creative space and there they were the Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, Sophia and the rest of their crew … The Golden Girls.

This Adult Art Workshop wasn’t at all what I expected. In truth I didn’t know what to expect as I’d never taken an art class before. But I didn’t think I’d be hanging out with AARP members for an afternoon. See, I know some of those folks from my complex and neighborhood, and some of them aren’t very friendly. They get upset over the weather or wind chimes. They get burned out when you’re cheering for your team during the playoffs. They get antsy when the postman isn’t punctual. They give you the stink eye when you tell them to pick up their dog poop. They’re living their life and they’re not about to hear any sass.

So when I walked in, I thought it was going to be a complaining session and I would regret it sitting down.

However it proved to be a pretty interesting motley crew of stories about grandkids, sons, daughters, ex-husbands, cruise ship travel and Uber rides. I knew about Barbara’s kids not calling enough, about Sarah’s kids calling too much, about ex-husband Bob liking fried liver once a week for dinner, about grandkids being jackasses, about love escapades on cruise ships that would steam up any romance novel, and of Uber rides to the cardiologist office.

I’ve never been to a beauty salon or barber shop, but I imagine these ladies would be rocking that scene, like Steel Magnolias.

I mean they did not care who heard their business. They were having their Ya-Ya Sisterhood moment regardless of who else was in the room. It was pretty freeing. I went there expecting colored pencils, art, and that’s it. But it was surprisingly relaxing and calming to be hanging with these women and hear their stories while I colored my whale.

I didn’t say much the entire session, just chose my colors, nodded, smiled and kept listening. I liked the calmness of being surrounded by women who didn’t care what people thought. They were living their life, creating art, telling stories, and having a good time doing it. They didn’t look like they needed resolutions or to be on a Yes Man quest. That was how they rolled, regardless.

And I liked that vibe.

I walked out of there grateful I had shown up and appreciative of the reminders, the lessons, their presence and way of being taught me. I was grateful for my whale.

I think that sort of strength and comfort comes with age. Maybe from saying Yes to a lot of new experiences along the way, maybe when they were younger 🙂

Buen Camino My Friends!

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He’s My Driving Force, Even When I Run Out of Gas

17 Apr

Every year I feel like I can’t do it, but then I remember my purpose, and it gives me strength to keep going. I find that as I get older, purpose becomes the driving force that sustains me through challenges. The stronger the purpose pulls at my heart the greater the force that drives me.

Success, wins, or goals feel empty if the purpose lacks substance.

I find that obstacle races and running breathe fresh air into my life and help return me back to center. Peace is my driving force, but this one race, every year, this one is for something bigger than myself.

The 63 stories, 1,393 steps I climbed at the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb was for my Dad, for what he represents to me, to my life, and to my kids. He was my purpose.

The thoughts of him holding my hand and walking with me out in the patio in our bell-bottoms when I was little, gave me strength to keep taking those steps. The thought of him giving me rides to school at 7 a.m. after he had finished his night shift, kept me going. The thought of seeing him clap for me as the basketball swooshed through the net at one of my games pushed me further. The thought of him being there for me even though he had his own dreams, and troubles, gave me strength to move forward when my body felt like breaking down. The thought of us being friends when I was older helped me reach the top when all my muscles just wanted me to stop. The thought of holding his hand in the hospital room and being the last one to talk to him, to see him alive, that made me teary-eyed as I caught my breath, kissed my fingertips and pointed to the sky. He was there when I reached the finish line.

He’s my driving force, even when I run out of gas.

It was tough this year. I say that a lot, but my aching knees definitely think that this year, the seventh year, was testing the limits. I mean before I even start, I always imagine the previous year and how difficult it was for me to reach the top, and I think it can’t be more difficult than that, but then I start the race and it is … it is more difficult, because I feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel every single year of my life in those bones and muscles of mine when I climb. It hit me when I saw the 20th floor sign, and I tried my best not to look at the signs as I ran up the claustrophobic stairwells, but sometimes there was no where else to look, but up.

My calves were burning, my legs felt weak and my chest heavy as I tried to breathe.

And then I grew even more exhausted because it was only 20. I had 43 more floors to go. And so I went, passing people sitting on steps, clinging onto the walls, and holding onto to handrails just trying to regulate their breath, trying just to make it. Getting to the halfway mark made me feel better I thought I was almost there, but my legs disagreed with me in the most volatile voice.

But I dug deep because it was for the one man that’d seen all my flaws and shine and loved me through it all the best way he could. I dug deep because so many friends, old and new, read his story and donated to the cause to help someone else’s Dad, someone else’s mom, brother, sister, son, or daughter. They made a difference in the lives of someone searching for a cure, someone trying to raise awareness, someone trying to breathe a better breath.

I made it to the stop and took a moment to hold onto that feeling, a moment to remember my purpose as I looked out at the city.

He was worth it. Every step. Every ice pack. Every rock of lavender Epsom salt that my muscles needed. Every bit of that Ben-Gay. It was Gatorade-Worthy.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

I Found My Peace Among the Kitchen-Aid Mixer and Melted Chocolate … Happy 70th Birthday Dad

31 Jan

70 is a big birthday. It’s a time to reflect on your life, think about vacation plans, hobbies, or things you have yet to try, dreams you have yet make real. At least that’s what I imagine it to be … a big cake, surrounded by family and friends, some chaos of course, but making an awesome wish and blowing out the candles anyway.

This, of course, did not happen.

I spent the early morning running at the park as the sun peaked out for its daily appearance. I took some time to pause for a moment and wonder what he would have been up to or what conversations we would have had that day if he was still here. I imagine I would have woken him up to take a morning walk and then possibly taken him out to breakfast.

Nothing flashy, but just time well spent hearing stories I had yet to hear.

My Dad would have turned 70 years old yesterday and as it happens every year his presence is missed even more on this particular day. Father’s Day and Thanksgiving are big ones of course, but his birthday celebrates the day he was brought into this world and the day his journey, and ultimately mine, began.

Birthdays are times for celebration and remembering the best parts of the life cut short, but I couldn’t help feel that nagging twinge of pain, the kind that never goes away when you lose a parent, or loved one. The thing is you’re not supposed to be in mourning, you’re just not. But there is a moment of sadness that grips my heart because he’s not sharing the same sunshine.

And I tried not to let it hold onto me too long, because the sadness can linger all day or all week. You miss them. You just do and you’re always going to miss them because their presence was more powerful than the butterfly effect. It directly impacted your future and your kids’ future.

It wasn’t until I was alone in the kitchen mixing up Julia Child’s chocolate almond cake with hot cocoa almond frosting that a calmness settled in. I knew he wasn’t going to be there to enjoy a hearty slice or two with his cup of coffee. I knew there would be no stories and laughter at the table.

Then why do you celebrate someone who’s not there?

I celebrate because I remember when they were here and it mattered. His imprint and voice still effects how I live my life, and how I dream my dreams. I celebrate even though I’m sad. And even though I couldn’t hear his laughter that day and see him blow out his candles I knew my kids would.  I knew they would have a couple of slices and that there would be new stories at family dinner.

My Dad on his adventure

Not many people in my inner circle know how this pulls at me in different directions. I don’t speak much about my dad’s birthday with others when they ask, hey what are you doing today?

I don’t mention the cake, or balloons, or dinner of his favorite treats. I tell the kids, of course, but I keep it pretty hush-hush which is weird because I write about him and his birthday a lot. Don’t know if that happens to other people, but writing about it feels better than talking about it. At least to adults anyway. The kids just … they just seem to get it. They get that birthdays are important. It’s simple for them. Frosting is required when things are important.

And so …

I found my peace among the Kitchen-Aid Mixer, melted chocolate, butter, flour, the egg whites, and sugar. I remembered some of the stories of him playing soccer when he was 10, or of his dream of taking his mother back to Spain, I remember his affinity for corn-beef sandwiches on rye bread with a pickle for lunch, or his cup of coffee before bedtime, or his random call just to say hello. I remembered some of the stories yesterday and thought about him as the breeze blew and I felt the wind on my face as the sun shined.

I thought maybe that was his way of blowing out the candle, while we sang Happy Birthday.

But it could have been just the wind, like my kids said. And I needed to hurry up because the candle wax was dripping and it couldn’t melt on the cake … you know … because frosting is important.

 

Buen Camino my friends.

 

On My 1000th Post I’m Keeping All of It … Because I’m Looking for The Power of Failure

1 Jan

What is it that finds you this year?

Last year inspiration struck after watching a Seinfeld episode. Kramer came crashing into Jerry’s apartment as always and he had his everyday balloons, not his New Year’s Eve balloons but his everyday balloons and I wanted that for myself.

And so in 2017 I went out to find them. And I did. My resolutions, my quest, my mission, my goals, my bucket list items, my journeys … Whatever I called it, I found it. And being the mother of two Nickelodeon-aged kids who go on adventures and try my patience on a weekly basis … It was hard. But I did it. I found the sparkle in the everyday shenanigans and they were there to help me. A lot of things managed to push the scales in my favor.

Podcasts became the X factor for me last year.  I found all these good nooks and crannies on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday Conversations, The Tim Ferriss Show, The Robcast, This American Life, TED Talks Daily, and StoryCorps. These story whispers traveled through time and space to get to me and give me something I needed, just like reading books, articles, or WordPress blog posts or watching movies or shows on Netflix or Amazon reminded me of a lesson learned when I needed reminding.

Running  in The Great Outdoors was also a piece of the puzzle that helped me get it together. The magic of the path hidden among the trees and hills was the daily therapy to help me find my center.

And the thing is … I’m still going to need the same things this year.

I may find something new, but I’ve learned that this system works for me. It helps find the everyday balloons, pockets of happiness, silver linings playbook mentality necessary to thrive.

So I’m keeping all of it.

Yup.

I need it in 2018 as well because I realized what works for me when I’m trying to find the funny. And this is my formula, so I’m keeping it. All of it. Probably adding a few things as the months go by though, because this year I’m looking to find  the Power of Failure. It seems like a downer, but it’s a glass-half-full mentality. I know that with writing and parenthood, failure is going to happen. It’s part of the process, I’ve got to take my underdog mentality and find what the power of it is this year. In the midst of the heartache, tears, frustration, and gallons, upon gallons of Rocky Road ice cream, I’m gonna try to find the power of failure this year. Because most of the time I just think it just sucks. I get back up again and I’m ready for Round II, III, and IV but I still think failure sucks.

I’m gonna try to spin it around and see if it adds to the good-time-noodle-salad moments of life. That’s the the quest this year. It’s not going to involve comparing my failures with others, or seeing how further ahead others are on their life journey, but to see if the power of failure can help me in mine. I’m gonna wait and see …

Hamilton

I’m gonna wait for it.

So on my 1000th post of WordPress on this mini milestone of a moment, I’m gonna mark it with my quest to finding the Power of Failure this year.

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!