Wednesday, September 28, 2011

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. ~Aesop

I have to hand it to ancient Greek Aesop because he nailed it when he said the above. It’s true!
In my fourth grade class, some kids just don’t “get” math while others zoom through the lesson barely challenged. Math has never been my strength, so I try to be patient and extra encouraging to the children that struggle. It is so easy to get discouraged! When I arrived at work this morning there was a piece of blue paper with a heart balloon colored on it that read (and I quote),
“Thank you for being so nice about me geting stuff rong.”
God bless the little girl who wrote those sweet mispelled words that came straight from her heart! I'll tuck her thoughtful note deep into my ten-year-old-loving memory. Because of her, my day started with a BIG smile and a reminder of the power of kindness, no matter how small.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dance Dilema

After days of deliberation, my son found the gumption to ask that cute girl in Spanish 101 to the Homecoming Dance in October. Seeing that he was happy, I was happy. First question I asked?

“What’s her last name?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. I asked questions, but he knew nothing, other than she was a dancer.  In a nut shell? He saw a cute girl in Spanish class and got the guts to ask her out. Good for him.  I stressed he find out her last name and get her phone number. That’s a start, right?

Two days after asking her, I emailed the band director, as the Regiment Band has a Competition in beautiful Chino Hills on the same day as the Homecoming Dance. His response was that none of the band could attend the dance as they compete at 8 PM that same night.
Reallly? Hmmmm. I didn’t like his answer for many reasons.
1. When were they going to let students know that none of the 127-member band could attend the Homecoming Dance?
2. How was I to know that an “All Day” event meant until 10PM?
3. What are they thinking? For many, the Homecoming Dance is a staple high school experience!

It was then that I realized then my kid’s high school is on steroids, and not just the band, every department is! THIS is why they are ranked #1 in the county, 11th in the state and 104th in the entire country … everything they do demands 150%. That's all good. But when you are a freshman feeling your way through your ninth-grade year, you don’t want to visit Chino Hills when you could be awkwardly pinning a corsage on a girls chest. I think it’s ridiculous and I emailed my viewpoint to the director. I doubt anything will change, as this strong  dedication is what makes them #1!
 Farumph!
Needless to say, he will unask the dancer this week (ouch!) and attend the band competition because it's “the right” thing to do. However, my son said he won't be in the regiment marching band next year. That bums me out on one hand and on the other, I say, "Cheers to that! Clink!"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Balance Tip O' The Week

Whatever doesn't kill you
 really does make you stronger!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Back to Bikini Bottom

You may have heard that a man dressed as SpongeBob SquarePants was detained by police outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood last week. The man was questioned but not arrested in what a Los Angeles Police Department official described as a "brief incident with two females."
The incident was the latest run-in between characters that pose for pictures with tourists and then aggressively demand money, according to police. City rules allow people to tip characters, but prohibit them from demanding payment.

I laugh at the timing of this because I was just in Hollywood and had a photo taken with this SquarePants guy. His costume was filthy and I hesitated to get close to Dirty SpongeBob.  He did not ask for money but did rub his fingers together after the picture was taken. He was totally expecting moola. My friend gave him a dollar and we went on our way to the Hollywood Bowl.
Back to Bikini Bottom for Dirty SpongeBob!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Balance is not a piece of cake

Life is about balance and who isn’t guilty of teetering on the edge of calamity verses keeping nice and steady?  For example, my nephew’s first birthday. It was a Sunday party with gorgeous weather, dear family, friends and beautiful homemade birthday cakes by Aunt Miss Piggy. The small cake for the Birthday Boy highlighted because watching a one-year-old dig into his first cake ranks up there with the wedding-cake-smear battle some brides and grooms partake in. Admit it. It’s fun to watch!

The memorable scene was set. The lone candle sparkled as the pleased baker held her sweet creation. Daddy perched  behind his precious baby as Grandparents watched every move of their tiny grandson. The delightful creation was set carefully in front of Baby Benson, as his Mom pulled the pacifier from his sweet lips. Yes, all observers’ eyes hinged on this precious moment in time.  Out of nowhere, imbalance set in … just when it appeared that everything was picture perfect, the cake flew onto the floor like a game piece from “Don’t Tip the Waiter.”
What a great reminder that when you think everything is stable and going according to plan, then it all splats on the ground! THIS is why it is so important to never lose your sense of humor!

I guess you could say that some things in life are a piece of cake and balance is not one of them!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Free Fix

I want to give a shout out to Fernando! On my ride today, he stopped me to take a photo to share with his kids. My only regret is that I didn’t take a picture of him on his bike to share with my kids. This stranger-photo thing has happened twice and should the paparazzi reappear, I’m whipping out my camera to photograph the person who is photographing Blanche and me. Actually, it gave me a pleasant lift in mile two. Thanks Fernando!

Unfortunately, nine miles into this ride I popped Blanche’s one-and-only tire. El Fin!  My goal was to cruise thirty-three total miles this week, but due to those darn prickles, Old Blanche deflated, and I only squeezed in thirty. Disappointed, my Teckie-Husband picked me up roadside and later I visited the Bike Shop. Sticker shock set in when told it cost twenty-five clams to fix her single-measly tire. That is highway robbery people! Last year it was a mere fifteen clams to replace, and now this! Thanks Obama. Well, I flat refused (no pun intended) to pay up, so I bought the tubing and my Teckie-Husband fixed it free.

This shows that in today’s economy to keep your checkbook balanced, as well as your life, it helps to come up with creative ways to save some ching-ching (especially on tubing!) Ahhh ... that rhymes ;0)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Balance Tip O' the Week

Don't compare you life to others.
You have no idea what their
journey is all about.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Chang the Hunter

There are many creative stories how couples announced their pregnancy, but none have topped this. Debra and Bubba (AKA: Bubra) invited their parents to P.F. Changs. After dining on a tasty Chinese dinner, the customary fortune cookies arrived. The parents cracked their cookies and it was no coincidence the crumpled white paper inside read “P.F. Chang says your luck has improved. Expect a grandchild this year.”
 How is that for all sweet and no sour?
Four generations!

Overboard and her raindance ;0)
 Since that meal, great anticipation and joy have saturated the months like highly-absorbent diapers. Baby Chang (his in utero name) is growing and alas, his Baby shower arrived. This spectacular event was hosted by my mother (AKA: Overboard) good friend, Nancy and Auntie Shannon. Chang’s jungle themed nursery was also the shower theme and it had to have paws and a tail if Overboard was going to live up to her name… and it did!
The table centerpieces were upside down flower pots that we transformed into jungle animals filled with plants. Palapas were a great touch, as were the wooden plates, bright tablecloths and dark wooden chairs. Why of course P.F. Chang’s catered this luncheon and the cake matched the invitations perfectly. Overboard went so far to keep with the jungle idea, she had Mother Nature send rolling thunder and light humid rain so the guests felt like they were in the Amazon jungle!

 Many dear friends and family attended and Debra’s glow (she looks terrific!)  was only outdone by the twinkle in the eyes of the future Grandmas and Great-Grandmas. My favorite part was when Debra opened gifts because contemporary Baby clothes are so darn cute! This Christmas, Baby Chang will don a Santa Suit, which is special because soon-to-be-first-time Grandpa Tom played Santa for many little ones the past two decades! The pressure is on for Baby Chang to carry on this tradition and they are grooming him early, although this year it’s sure to be ho, ho, home for a nap! Chang is due on October 27th and our prayers are for an easy delivery, excellent health and good fortune for all. Oh, we absolutely give thanks that they are naming him Hunter and not Chang!
Great work Ladies, it was a lovely day!
Congratulations to Bubra, dog-brother Chopper and the future grandparents, especially Tom and Joyce.  Cheers to them because they have been adopted-supportive grandparents to many while they patiently waited for their own eggroll to arrive.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Balance Challenge #11; Slow down, List I go crazy!

 One day at a time--this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.” 
Do you find yourself doing one thing while thinking about another? Like when I was riding down that hill too fast and fell off Blanche crashing into the street. Right before the fall, my brain was reeling with seven other thoughts when I should’ve focused on dismounting my single wheeler and keeping my can off the pavement. Now my (current) problem?  I left my wallet at the check stand in Vons. Driving back to retrieve it , I angrily told myself, “Slow down!”
My two days off work are jammed (It’s uber-chore consolidation).   Determined to maximize time, I start my list a day ahead and then watch it grow and grow like when I was eight and would drip water through a straw on the  accordion-like wrapper to watch it expand bigger (BTW, a fun trick every kid should learn).

 At Vons, I was grabbing milk, while reading down the grocery list I’d created inside my master list. You see,  food items are in a sub-list of my main list. Can you understand the organizational system that keeps me completely dependent on that damn list? Selecting chicken I was absorbed with what I planned to accomplish next;  buying a birthday gift,  making an ice-cream cake,  scheduling flu shots, buying a binder for my kid, vacuuming the dust bunny invasion and squeezing in a trip to the fabric store because I want to create a Unicyclerose shirt for the half-marathon (I know, I know. Corny, but you only live once people!) And blah, blah, blah, blah …. I feel like I’m chasing after the wind! Because of this chaos, I forgot my wallet in Vons, and put the fresh cabbage in my deep freezer then bought the wrong size binder!
I admit I am out of balance on my days off. My challenge is to slooow down. Join me? Let’s try to live in the present because history proves that when focused on the future  (instead of The Now) mistakes happen.  So I must slow down, List I go crazy!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Balance Tip O’ the Week

Just be yourself.
Then no one can tell you you’re doing it wrong.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dan's Dove

The day a boy becomes a man, is the day he shoots his first buck." Author, Cheyenne Aker
God sprinkled an extra dose of “male-adventure dust” on eleven-year-old Daniel. He is enamored with guns, war history, modern warfare and all things aircraft and aerospace related. His favorite shows? Why the History and Military Channel of course! Growing up with two sisters, this is all new to me as we were the Barbie, let’s-play-office, create-a- talent-show or bake something types. This Sunday Daniel, my father and Uncle Dave were shooting cans and practicing aim in the backyard. After raising three daughters it appears that nothing delights my dad like having three grandsons and three sons-in-law, including Daniel who reeks of masculinity. My dad’s love and joy for these surrounding males is only rivaled by a straight flush in three-card poker at the Chumash Casino (I’m kidding).

Before I go on you must note that Dove Season started on September 1. I know this because my father went dove hunting on opening day every year when I was a little girl.Well, pity the poor dove that landed 40 feet away to drink from the Jacuzzi, or take a bath, or do whatever those darling grey birds do around water. My gung ho father challenged Daniel to shoot the dove, knowing that he could never ever hit it that far away. Unfortunately, for the dove, he was wrong! Testosterone filled excitement ensued along with a detailed explanation on how to clean dove. Gross.

Now, I don’t think it can be said that Daniel became a man after shooting his first dove. It seems that one must hunt something big like a buck, elk, or bear to earn that status. However, the first time a boy “hunts” and is successful (aluminum cans not included) I’d like to think he has earned a great story to share with his buddies, and maybe a little chest hair too.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Go Speed Racer!

Let’s make one thing clear people:  I. Don't. Run. I wish it were my thing like so many, but it’s not. The mere thought of a lengthy run makes my boobs sore and ankles pained. It’s true that short legs and Track Stars don’t mix (Think: drinking and driving).

However, my Labor Day began with a run-ride.

Funny enough, my husband is a fast runner (opposites attract, right?) and my stunted legs could never keep up with his lengthy quick ones. In the past, we have compromised with power walks … until today.

He was reading me his to-do list over coffee and “Go for a run” was amongst his inventory. I asked if he wanted to take “Our Walk,” but he preferred to run today. Bummer. Then a light bulb went off in my ever-spinning head. I suggested Blanche and I go with him! He said yes. A minor problem is that I unicycle a ten-minute mile and he runs an eight-minute mile.  I felt like part of the cartoon Speed Racer fromt the 1970's trying to keep up!

We ran-rode four miles and they were exhausting as I worked extra hard to peddle near my high-speed husband.  It was definitely a fun-sweaty-balance challenge to not fall behind him or plunge on my face. You could say that he put the labor in my Labor Day!
Cheers to Labor Day and trying new things! Clink!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Encouragement is, like, totally awesome! Fer Sure!

Revisiting the difficult  twelve-mile course after my unicycle crash took courage, but it was something  I had to do. Facing the fear of falling and how onlookers make me nervous is something I yearn to overcome. So yesterday, I hopped on Blanche and said some prayers while listening to my new iPod playlist. It always starts with inspirational songs and this is when I thank God for my  working legs, sight, health and family, among other things (that list is endless). It is my single-wheelie devotion to God and it’s critical prayer time before Oingo Boingo, the Beastie Boys, Black-eyed Peas and the B-52’s fill my ears.

I am considering training wheels
and possibly the clown suit.

Can you tell I need fast song for the long rides? I find a lot of that in 80’s music. In fact, tonight I am going to the Hollywood Bowl for a concert titled “Totally '80s: The Human League, B-52's, The Fixx & Berlin.” Channeling my inner Valley Girl for this totally tubular, rad concert should be, like, easy cuz I’m spazzing at my plan to have a totally-awesome-bitchen- good time … to the max. Like, can you relate?
Ah, hem.

Along yesterday's ride, God provided exactly what I needed to get through. Of course twice I heard the “You are missing a wheel” comment (If I only had a dollar for every time I heard this, I’d be rich!). I also got a “That’s Awesome,” “Wow!” , “How do you do that?” plus big smiles on kid’s faces and many thumbs up from drivers and gardeners.  Being encouraged feels good and it could not have come at a better time. Especially when I had to take a potty break and turned into the Vons parking lot. To my left I saw a woman with a camera. Why yes, of course I got nervous, loss footing and hopped off. She walked up and said she had seen me around and asked if she could take a photo of Blanche and me. I laughed.
My point? I received encouragement from total strangers and God sent in extra back up when I needed it most. This inspires me to encourage others! Worn ragged after two hours of unicycling I am happy to report there were no major falls. Today my legs are sore and I discovered my new playlist needs some tweaking, but otherwise it was a success! Like, totally, fer sure.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Riding a Unicycle is never boring!

The half-marathon is only thirty-nine days away so my goal this week was to ride Blanche twelve miles. Twice.

Tuesday I attempted this distance and chose a flat track.  I had been avoiding my “other” route with hills, crosswalks, many cars, freeway, and people. Why?  Three weeks ago, I was finishing a seven-mile ride and (admittedly) my legs were tired. That very day I started to challenge myself to dismount backwards (BTW: this is the “right” way in the unicycle world). Cruising over the bridge of a major bustling highway, I was rolling quickly on the down side. Remembering that dismount challenge, I approached the huge four-way intersection. The lane to  my left had drivers turning right onto the freeway. There was a red light at the crossing so I would have to dismount … um, backwards, with very tired legs and many eyes from car windows on me. My mind could not coordinate the backwards dismount, speed, exhaustion and insecure tension.  I approached the curb and instead of swiftly hopping off backwards, I was thrown off Blanche forward into the street, landing hard on my elbow, hand and ego! And here, my friends, lies the argument for wearing wrist and elbow guards when riding a unicycle! I shook the rubble off in front of a stopped car.  Two different people rolled down their car windows and yelled, “Do you need help?”
Yes, it looked that bad.

Did I mention that time moved in slow motion as I slithered back into the street to retrieve my water bottle? Then I stood curbside, staring into the longest damn red light EVER, while ignoring the mega-bruised lump on my elbow and hand.  What a humbling experience. In another post I’ll share the success story of making it twelve miles through that “other” route without the clumsy fall. This time I had my picture taken with Blanche by a stranger in the Vons parking lot while stopping to use the bathroom. 

Upon review of my longer rides I must get over the tension of onlookers, it brings me down … literally!