Monday, February 23, 2015

Do what you love.

"Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still." 
                                                                                                     -Henry David Thoreau

No bones in this pic. But. Look. At. This. Face.

I found this quote tonight while looking for another quote and cannot get it out of my mind. Anyone who has ever been lucky enough to find what they love to do knows what Thoreau speaks of.  When you love something, really love doing something, it gets under your skin. You go to sleep thinking about how you did it that day, you wake up with an idea about how to do it better. You ponder it while you are doing your nine-to-five grind, and think about it as you absentmindedly burn the toast. 

Whether it's singing or writing, building lego sculptures or photography, it is your bone. You gnaw at it, bury it, dig it back up, sniff it, bury it again, roll around thinking about it, unearth it yet one more time, and gnaw a little more.

I'm lucky. I found my bone. I kid that it is red wine or Netflix, but nope. I obsess over it, worry it like a nervous ninny as I bury it and dig it up daily.

We should all be so lucky, right?

Peace and love and knowing your own bone and finding your bliss, buttercups. XO

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Forty one candles

Last year's milestone birthday was shattering, a wreck that became a complete paradigm shift for me, even though I didn't realize it that awful day.

Amazing how one year later, everything is different.



Getting a birthday wish come true at 12:01 AM, then awaking to homemade chocolate cake with a candle and songs, an entire day with the people I love most in the world, presents that were so thoughtful they took my breath away, and working on something I love. The only thing that would have been better would have been MORE hours.

If you had told me on February 13th, 2014, how ridiculously happy I would be on February 13th, 2015, I would have thought you were off your rocker. But here I am. Here we are.

Forty one candles. That's a whole lotta light, cupcakes. Light to soak in and light to give away. Forty one things to be thankful for. Kismet. Grace. Nate. Morgan. My mama. Cinnamon. Pug sneezes. Lab belly rubs. Lucky humperdink's fierce love. Colorado sunrises. Broken in running shoes. Long trails. Sunny days. Good wine. Basil. This itty bitty happy house. Healing hamstrings. Kumquats. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. Almond milk. Good friends. Second chances. Wisdom. A good pen in my hand. A brand new moleskin notebook to write in. Evernote. University of Denver libraries. Sparks. Skip-bo with my Mema. Left-handed kisses. A few extra dollars in my bank account on the last day of the month. Spring tulips that I pick out for myself. Freedom. Feeling safe enough to turn my lights out. Fresh berries in the fridge. Peaky Blinders on Netflix. Good friends. Paolo Coelho by my bedside lamp. Airline miles to use. Gas in my tank. The ability to breathe freely, without being scared of rustling the sheets.

Forty one wishes. Forty one plans. Travel. Tents. Foreign houseboats and hotels. Two wheels, especially on a cobblestone road. Running on a beach. Riding a roller coaster. Seeing a volcano. Buying fresh fish, straight from a fisherman. Making my own sushi. Forgiving. Growing my own food. Yoga at sunrise. Finishing the book. Kismet on my wrist. Letting the birds fly. Scattering the ashes on a mountaintop. Sleeping under the stars. Better neighbouring. More dinners with friends, and breakfasts and brunches and lunches. Working out with Cinnamon. Doing the Incline without a rest. Having my name at the top of Galaga. More epic boardgames with the monkeys. Being a voice for mamas with no voice. Maybe tiptoe-ing back into the labyrinth and through the doors. Being vulnerable. Being authentic, even if my voice shakes. Loving BIG. More greens. Less chocolate. Better chocolate. More water. Less coffee. More sleep. Less nightmares. Sending thank you notes. Sending the love letters. Less safety and wading in the shallow water. More diving into the deep. Soaking in every second with the monkeys. Loving better. 

Happy Day, cupcakes. And a belated thank you for all of the love- I felt it all.

Peace, love, more hours, and a lotta light, XOXO.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Nick

I found out today, quite by accident, that an old friend passed away. I have been scouring my photos all day, searching for a picture I had of him from several years ago, playing chess with Naters.

I worked in a coffee shop up the street from the monkey's school, right after my divorce. Naters would come to the coffee shop with me at the crack of dawn, and drink hot chocolate while I worked. He was always shy, but slowly got to know all of the regulars who would congregate at the Speedtrap.

And then one day, Nick walked in. Nick was a big bear. No idea how tall Nick was, but he had to have been at least 6'5" or so. A barrel chested big man with a big beard, crazy hair sticking up in every direction, and a booming voice. Nick was a walking example of intimidation, at first glance. When Nick and Tammy walked in that first morning, he walked over to Nate's little corner of the coffeebar. Nate always had a book or two, coloring sheets, and either Mancala or Checkers to amuse himself while I worked. Nick walked right up to him, asked him if he knew how to play chess. I remember Nate being absolutely speechless that this big bear was speaking to him,  and just shaking his head. Nick walked over to a bookshelf, pulled chess pieces down and started to teach Nate chess. I think Nate was so in awe of Nick that he could not even refuse the lesson.

My monkey, before Nick introduced him to chess
Nick continued to teach Nate chess, playing with him several days a week, beating him, letting him win, teaching him strategies. He'd sometimes just play a couple of minutes, if he and Tammy were in a hurry. Other times, he'd play a long game until Nate had to walk to school.  Everyone knew that when Nate needed to walk to school, the coffee and lattes and food had to wait. I would walk him from the coffeeshop across the street and a few feet up, so I could watch him walk into the schoolyard. Over time, Nate and Nick would get so into chess and strategy, that Nick would just walk him across for me, so that Nate could get two or three minutes more of chess. I remember that like yesterday, watching Big Nick and my little bitty Nate walk out of the shop, talking animatedly about the game.

Tammi and Nick bought Nate a chess board for Christmas that year. His very own, solid wood, hand-carved pieces. We still play with that board, six years later. Nate has been given lots of other chess sets, but that is the one that matters. And he learned well from Nick. I manage to beat him every few months, maybe force a stalemate every few weeks.

First chess tourney, Second place in district.
We lost touch with Nick and Tammi as I moved on to a real j-o-b, but I will never forget what a sweet and gentle giant he was with my monkey. Nick taught Nate to be wicked good at chess, but he also taught him that friendship can come from the most unexpected places.

Rest in peace,  Nick Kapusta.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015!!

No resolutions. Nope. Not setting myself up for failure. In fact, to avoid resolutions, I put a spoonful of raw sugar and cream in my caffeine this morning. I also checked my email, looked at FB, and intentionally forgot to start training for a marathon.

NO resolutions. But superstitions? Yeah. Guilty. Eat yo' black-eyed peas!!


Less resolution-ing. More being intentional and authentic. More neighbor-ing (and thanks to jenhatmaker.com for the term neighbor-ing, I think it is my new favorite word :)). More celebrations filled with lovies and chaos. Less 'lose the last ten pounds' and more running because I love the way my lungs and hamstrings burn. Less regretting the past and more looking forward to the future.  Less frantic busy-ness and more being present. More petting dogs and playing chess and laughing. Less counting calories/paleo/cleanses and more putting love into cooking and savoring every bite. And more loving the people I love as much as I can, and letting them know it every chance I get.

Cucumberspinachgingerapplelemon juice, intentional and delish.
So, no resolutions. Just words. Being intentional and authentic. I often quote Dr. Seuss to my monkeys, telling them to "be the you-est you that you can be" and I think that is a great one to remember in 2015.

"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive is who is you-er than you."

Peace and love, authenticity and being the you-est You, cupcakes. XOXO




Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Twenty Five Days

Hello, friends!

Long time, no see! I've missed this place, and all of the blogs that I stalk. Err, follow. I've been away from the intertubes a lot because I have been busy living. Funny how that living thing works.

Anyhoo, the entire month of November sailed by, and we have landed smack dab in December. Normally, I would start to freak out and be trying to make everything perfect-ish. I would be making lists of exactly what gifts to buy for the monkeys, what to do for everyone else, how I could jam more decorations in nooks and crannies, and pretty much being unpleasant in my attempt to make things pleasant.

Not this year. No freaking out. No stressing. And absolutely no unpleasantness. I worked too hard to get rid of all of the unpleasantness in my life to let anything that feels like that come creeping back in with the tinsel.

Sooooo, instead of getting all of the gimmes that go along with the season, the monkeys and I are trying something different. We are spending twenty-five days giving. Twenty-five days of random acts of kindness. A random act might be paying it forward for a coffee at the coffee shop or making cupcakes for an Advent Festival or leaving a gift on a neighbor's porch. We have definitely been blessed in so many ways, and we are concentrating on trying to give that back instead of making a long list of 'wants'.

It's like Flat Stanley. With Teeth.
Oh, and this happened. No explanations, except I think this fifty dollar Crocodile head, bought on the side of a Louisiana highway, may be the weirdest and coolest thing I have ever laid eyes. That being said, one of the random acts of kindness may be gifting him to someone else...


Peace and love and kindness and crocodiles, cupcakes. XOXO


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

True Achievement, Part Two...

My favorite face in the universe. Shhh. Don't tell her. 

I bragged on the boy monkey yesterday, and alluded to bragging on the girl monkey, but not enough.

She rocks. She has been through hell, twice for good measure, and she is still standing. She's also one of the funniest and wisest people I have ever known. She is wiser than any adult I know, and I would probably have been a helluva lot better off if I had started listening to her advice a couple of years ago. Her one-liners can make my jaw drop, and I am pretty sure she could be famous for her stream of consciousness speeches if she was the type to put 'em on youtube. She can be at the doctor getting a gallon of blood drawn, and she gets the nurse to open up and talk about herself. She knows the grocery store cashier and what he sells at his Etsy store. She searches out the new or lonely kid and lifts them up.

Today was epic amounts of suckage, to the point that it got funny around lunchtime. Two dogs ran away, I found a black widow THIS close to my head on the ceiling, my phone died a majestic and sudden death, and all three dogs required a vet appointment. Before ten this morning. And this is just the stuff I can share on the World Wide Web, because I am learning boundaries...

When I left after work to deal with some of the above trauma, I think she saw the copious amounts of suckage that was my Tuesday. My monkey cleaned her room, cleaned the kitchen, made gluten free cookies, went to our local bbq place and bought me dinner, and dealt with the various mammals. She then helped me program my new iPhone because I have never owned one.

My first iPhone photo. He looks guilty and expensive, yes?


Just had to note that I am raising two awesome and amazing people. I am putting people out there who make the world a better place, and definitely a sweeter place. I think they have absorbed my mantra and effort to be the light.

Peace and love and cookies and grace. XOXO

True Achievement

Even when you have a good kid, an unexpected email from a teacher can tie your stomach up in knots. I received an email this afternoon with the monkey's name as the subject.

I know he is a good kid. He is in sixth grade, doing eighth grade algebra only because I refuse to have him doing ninth grade algebra this fall, breaking records on his state test scores, getting second in his age group in 5ks, but when I saw his name on an email, I instantly starting thinking about how to properly word an apology.

Nope. She dropped a beaker in science class and it shattered. She said every other kid yelled or said "What was that?!" or the equivalent. Again, I was still in apology mode, thinking the kid must have yelled out "WTF" or "Damnations" or anything else that he might have heard from his sister or me.

Instead, she wanted me to know that he was the only kid to come over and ask if she was okay.  She wanted me to know that I am raising a good kid. I know that I have amazing monkeys, but so good to know that other people recognize this.

There is so much emphasis on achievement and accomplishments in our world. I know, because I can easily fall into it. Nothing makes me happier than when I pass someone while running, even if my lungs threaten to stage a mutiny with the effort. The weekly email that lets me know how I am performing at work compared to my peers, it sets my mood for the week.

Honestly, though, there are lots of douchebags that are high-achieving. I know kids who outperform everyone around them, who are wickedly unpleasant to be around. I know adults who are hyper-overachievers who are straight up Mean Girls, male and female. But, good people, really good people with warm hearts and well-developed empathy, they are a rare gift.



I have two smart and talented kids. They are wickedly funny, to the point that I sometimes think that we could be our own sitcom. Today was a really important reminder that I am also raising good people. I think this is more important than raising Valedictorians or overachievers. Those titles are awesome, but I love having the kids who check on their teachers and who make every person that they come into contact with feel better for it. That is the highest achievement and accolade I can ever wish for my monkeys.

Peace and love and warm hearts and the occasional "Damnation", buttercups. XOXO