Monday, June 29, 2015

Makes Me Laugh, Part 2

Back to my collection of "Things That Make Me Laugh."
Folks may describe what follows as creepy, disturbing or just plain wrong, and on some level I agree (vaguely). However, I find it strangely hilarious, and so do my kids, which might an indicator of my juvenile sense of humor.  A girlfriend (with kids) turned me on to the free app called Face Juggler that flips faces.  Daniel and I have peed our pants laughing while juggling faces around. Here are some of my favorites:
Dad and Me ... doesn't he look like Willie Nelson?
MOM and DAD ... Willie Nelson again
Teckie and me ... we make a horrible looking lady!
Lucas and Daniel
Lucas and Overboard
Whether you snickered, winced, cringed or giggled at these pictures, it won't alter the great time I had with my kids creating them!
 Oh, and it's so easy to do. 
Try it and tickle (or gross out) your peeps in a silly creative way!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Smooth Jazz on the Beach

Hello Reader! I wrote this post four months ago. It has patiently crouched in my computer, not making a peep, like other neglected posts. Alas, I will put it center stage because it was a day I want to remember for many heartfelt reasons. 
Read for yourself:
Its February and my can is parked in the sand while Daniel tries to catch a wave in Ventura. Today, I decided to listen to different music instead of my "usual."  Who knows why, but ya, smooth jazz seemed interesting. At first "listen" it felt like I was on a cruise ship. With jazz in my ears, I looked up and far out at the Pacific Ocean before me. I remembered cruising in the Caribbean and hearing smooth jazz during dinner and at happy hour on the Lido deck. This smooth jazz sounds different and corny, well, smoooooth-ERRR. I like it.
Smooth jazz in my ears, my mind traveled to last weekend which was out of the ordinary. Months ago my sister, Miss Piggy, asked Lucas and me to speak at her church retreat at Our Lady Of Sorrows in Santa Barbara. The theme was "Hope and Healing" and  my knee jerk reaction was to say "no gracias." But after much  prayer, I was brought back to that time of Lucas's miraculous healing and my transformation through his first two years of life.  I realized that sharing this testimony is the LEAST I could do after ALL God has done for us. So, I put my big girl panties on and started to brainstorm how to use up 45 minutes telling our story.  Admittedly, reflecting back to 1997 did stir up a lot of "stuff" inside and that coupled with Lucas' upcoming graduation from high school a healthy emotional melt down was triggered.. 

Saturday, February 21st, was THE day and we were prepared to share.  I pulled it all together best I could, slide show included.  It was refreshing to recall the changes in me after that painful year of two open-heart surgeries on our baby son. After that year, we made a lot of big life changes based on our experiences with Lucas.

 For example, we moved to a smaller house, I quit my job, I stated attending Community Bible Study and listening to Christian music (which I used to think was dorky when I was in my twenties). I could go on how God rewired my priorities and heart, but you get the idea. Our talk went fabulous and sent a strong message of "Hope and Healing" to our audience. At least that is what Miss Piggy said, I really can't remember much.
As if THAT was not enough for one day, Lucas and his band, Attack the Shark,  was playing a gig at a small venue in town. He and two friends donned ti-dyed  morph suits and performed songs they wrote with the help of drums, electric guitar, tambourine and baritone horn. Oh, to be young and look great in a morph suit! It was a goofy entertaining night and I realized that Lucas got the best of Teckie and me. 
It felt right to share our God story and it felt like pure joy to listen to my kids live music that night. Very special day.
Back on the beach, still lounging in the sand, I am soaking in the smooth jazz floating into my ears while daydreaming about a Caribbean cruise and the Lido deck.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Makes Me Laugh, Part 1

Sharing my "Things That Make Me Laugh" files is overwhelming.
 There are too many to choose from and I understand that a sense of humor varies from one person to the next. 
I will break this up into a couple posts so you can really bathe in smiles. 

These top two are my favorites and still make me chuckle.
 The next are more like word puns. 
I had to THINK when I first read them ... it's a "pun challenge."
I  appreciate the creative mind this next one was fished out of.

These two were just plain cute and silly!

This last one is sad, but true.
 Most are mesmerized by their phone and miss out on "life" around them.
 I am guilty! That is why it's funny.
It hits home and frees me to dance without inhibition.
shake your groove thing, shake your groove thing, yeah, yeah!
No body cares or notices :)
Enjoy this gorgeous Saturday of Summer 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

Grad Days and Morro Bay

Can we ignore that I haven't posted in months and pickup where I left off?
Good :)
Teckie and I returned Wednesday from Morro Bay. The quaint beach community is  located on California's central coast and known for it's 23 million-year-old volcanic plug (huge rock) that is parked on the beach. Our lazy getaway felt like a reward for keeping up my energy and adrenaline the first two weeks of June.
Extra spunk was necessary, as there was alot "shaking down" at our house.

 Daniel graduated on June 2nd, and we hosted a family dinner and after the graduation, had his class of 33 students over for a party. 
Dinner before graduation, Daniel requested my enchiladas, OLE!
 The highlight was "decorating" the principal's house with toilet paper at midnight. What an awesome class he was part of!
In this big transition, he has left "the bubble" of a small private Christian school that he's been floating through since pre-school. As sad as it was to see his class sprout in all different directions, I know he is ready for his next big step at Newbury Park High School.
 Very exciting stuff.
Check out the dollar bill lei I learned how to make. It was a very time consuming craft,
folding money back and forth like an accordion and sewing all pieces together,
 but Daniel LOVED it!
But wait.
 Morro Bay... I veered off course on how we landed at the old massive rock. 

 Soooo, Daniel graduated on a Tuesday and the following Monday my mother-in-law (MIL), sister-in-law (SIL) and brother-in-law (BIL) arrived from Arizona for Lucas's graduation.
 It was wonderful having them with us for the week and they were troopers to attend the Westlake High School graduation in intense afternoon heat. It was a well done ceremony and worth every drip of sweat down my back and under-wire bra.  
Grandma Fish and Overboard
That was on Thursday and on Saturday we hosted a celebration with friends and family to acknowledge his accomplishment. Lucas was miffed on what a "big deal" we all  made of high school graduation.
 I explained that almost half of California kids don't graduate from high school. I pointed out he worked hard, that he never gave up, screwed up, became a father or went to rehab. He kept on the straight and narrow (from what I know) and is a GREAT kid who excelled in high school and we are so proud of him. 
After that explanation he understood why all the hoopala around him. It's a huge (think bigger than the Morro Bay rock!) step toward his independence and bright future. We gave him his grad gift early and he loved his new banjo. He is still in the "making music scene" and wants to incorporate the banjo. It is such a cool-pickin-hee-haw sound!
So, on Saturday, the grad party we anticipated for months arrived. It  can only be described as a spectacular night. My SIL, who is an excellent cook, whipped up a ton of chicken enchiladas, made a vat of beans and a yummy Mexican salad for fifty hungry loved ones. She is amazing that way!
My SIL, Queen of the Kitchen :)
 I ordered carnitas, rice and salsa from our favorite Mexican place, Overboard assemble beautiful flower arrangements and led us in a game of Body Bingo ( I can explain what Body Bingo is in another post as you should know!). 
Our five Body Bingo Winners won a gift card to In and Out. That's where Lucas is working
and spends most of his time these days, so it seemed appropriate!
 The night was packed with joy, blessings and so many special people. My  MIL and SIL ran the kitchen during the party. They cleaned everything up and proved the point that "many hands make light work."  
We could not have handled all the details of  borrowed tables, chairs, linens, amazingly creative invitations by Uncle Lui (Visit to check out his work) without the help! 
Thank God that Families Are Forever
Then our Arizona peeps packed it up and headed back to the 105 degree desert heat. We sent them off with left over floral arrangements. It was an exhausting, joy-filled and emotional two weeks. I felt blessed, sad and glad it was over ... and THIS is what brings you, the reader, to Morro Bay.
Teckie and I escaped for a much needed reconnect-relax-rejuvenating retreat. We laughed a lot, listened to live music, ate too much yummy food, explored and I bought a bag of my favorite salt water taffy!
  Why yes, sugar remains a weak link for me. I wish it wasn't. 

 With two graduations in our dust, my summer calendar is now clear until work starts back up mid-August. The most anticipated parts of my Summer 2015 have passed and now it's time to hit the gym, sit on the beach and cart Daniel to water polo practice. Maybe I will tinker on the new banjo? Who knows? 

Truth be told, I haven't unicycled since I brought Blanche into fourth grade the week school ended. The kids LOVED it!  Blanche still fascinates adults and kids, as it is a unique bike that never ceases to bring out interest and big smiles. Afterward, the fourth graders had so many questions and most of the boys wanted to try riding it right there in the school parking lot! 
Um, no go!

In the big life picture I have struggled to keep centered and balanced whether on or off my single wheelie. There's ALOT going on in my head and heart these days. 
Sidenote: Growing up my parents told me "You think too much!"  and said I was "over-emotional"  so perhaps not much has changed.  I still think too much ... I believe that is called OCD?
 LOL :)

Baby Eva - I can't get enough of this one!
I would love to blog more as I definitely have the extra time, stories and topics to share. Plus, my collection of "things that make me laugh" has only grown the last few months!  Perhaps I will share it all here?
 I love that thought, but for now, I am writing from Hollywood  where I'm babysitting my beautiful precious niece. So, the story stops here.
Peace and keep the Balance!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Best Gift Ever

Many posts have been written and not published. Does it take everyone a long time to fine tune their writing? This post just can't sit and collect dust because I print my blog into a book and it's imperative that I announce the arrival of my niece, Eva Marie. least for posterity's sake :)
She arrived last Thursday, but I didn't get to formally meet this angel until yesterday. I held all 7.4 pounds of her and she felt so light and tiny.  Especially after I'd been luggin 15 pounds of wiener-dog-like-bricks around our place. She was like holding a fluffy pink cream puff that emitted new-baby-smell. Soooo different than her four-year-old-non-stop brother, Benson, and The Wiener Sisters!
Her Italian is showing "Whats a-matta-you?"
Eva Marie is perfect, sweet and beautiful, but most importantly healthy!
 Yes, healthy! 
We sat around Cutie-pie's house for eight hours, playing the game "It's my turn to hold the Baby." Adding a baby girl to our family is an answer to prayer and a natural high. Win-win!
Cream Puff laying on my chest
She really is more like a gift, yes a gift! 
 My birthday is today and all I can think about is holding her again.
 Best gift ever!
Overlooking the Pacific Coast Highway - gorgeous weather!
Enough baby talk (for now). Friday was a school holiday so we took a long hike. My shins are still sore! Perhaps, I will remember to stretch next time? Duh!

Saturday was Daniel's final CYBA game. It's so exciting that his team will be playing for first place in a championship game this Saturday. At the same time, its a disappointment that he will not be there, as he leaves for his 8th Grade Washington, DC trip on Friday. Oh, the life of a fourteen year old! I think I will  attend and cheer those Wild Cats on!
In the six years playing in this league, his team has never placed first. I don't want to miss it, or miss (hopefully) collecting a big-momma trophy for him!
Dad and Me at my birthday party :)
 Saturday night we celebrated my 47th birthday early. It's a blessing to grow older and remain healthy, don't get me wrong ... but 47 sounds so old! Inside my heart and mind, I feel more like 30. Fifty is a-knockin in just three short years! Time zings on by and I do my best to remember that everyday together is a gift. Just like Eva Marie. A gift. 
Making my yearly wish
It's always fun to gather with  friends and family, play games and eat cake. A birthday is just an excuse to connect! I wonder what this new year of Unicycle Rose will bring? Besides a niece, of course....
Special thanks to Cutie-Pie and Dave, and a shout-out to God who masterminded procreation in us. Their finest work is the miraculous creation of my one-and-only-niece.
Best gift ever! 
Happy Birthday to me :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Amazing California Winters

Last week I picked up Daniel from school and we headed straight up the coast. Arriving at his favorite surf spot, my car thermometer registered 84 degrees outside. Yes, 84!
It was gorgeous out and so clear you could almost touch the Channel Islands that were miles from shore. I settled into my sandy spot while Daniel headed out to ride the waves. I shlumped, realizing I left my phone in the car and debated climbing the rocks back up to the street, walk down the road and retrieve it. I decided not to. Instead, I soaked up my surroundings.
 Standing at the shore I met a woman with two small children from Canada. She arrived in Southern California on Christmas Eve and was staying here to escape the freezing Canadian winter. She mentioned it was negative thirty degrees in her hometown! 
Tanned, wearing her board shorts, baby slung on her hips, she sighed and said "California has amazing winters."  
Why ... yes we do! 
Perhaps I don't always appreciate that. I miss me some chilly weather that requires heavy coats, umbrellas and mittens. While the northeastern half of the USA is frozen solid, with record breaking snowfall, out  west it felt like July. 
As I snapped photos of Daniel catching long wave rides on "The Pickle" (his green surfboard) I looked around at the beach life around me while remembering the images on the nightly news with cities covered in white with closed subways, snow days for schools and bundled up folks shoveling snow in frigid cold.  Lately, every night I watch the news, I am thankful I don't live with snowstorms ... especially one after another, after another. I stepped forward and wet my feet in what I considered the "freezing" Pacific Ocean. 
I looked around as I thought about this blessed California winter. 
The little kids on the beach were not in snowsuits, but wet suits as they jumped in the waves swinging around ropes of seaweed. There weren't husky dogs prodding away in the snow, or birds gliding though the cold air. 
No, this California winter day hosted seagulls poking around on the shore and a  labradoodle down the beach digging in wet sand.The little ones to my left were not building snow men, but sand castles and there weren't any snow boots, only bare feet dancing on the sand. 
All the while, out in the ocean, Daniel surfed "sledding" down the waves under warm sunny skies.
Appreciating the life around me, I sighed and agreed with the Canadian lady I'd met earlier, 
"Yes, California has amazing winters."