Friday, June 26, 2015

First Fragment with a Star

Thank you Traci, from A Star in My Own Universe, for taking over Friday Fragments, a very happy place for us to go weekly to share bits of our lives. We also get to read about the bits of the lives of other friends.  It's always a fun place to go for me, and a great exercise in mental health to express the joys I have been blessed with over the week.

We had the most exquisite rainbow this week in Chicago.  My picture does not come close to the impact I felt as I embraced it.  It was the biggest rainbow I had ever big, that I couldn't capture it all in one shot.  I came upon it a few minutes too late to shoot both ends of it, but the part that I was able to capture speaks for itself.  I found a little chuckle in the fact that it either began, or ended behind our local bowling alley.  I have a friend who has won many accolades in the sport, and I have come to respect all who participate.  It's not a wussy's a skilled sport that must be practiced and performed.  What I love it about bowling is the immediate gratification of accomplishment...for me that would be anything that isn't a gutter ball!  

Thank you for allowing me to share this week.  I look forward to reading and reconnecting with others who visit.

Thank you again Traci, and I wish you the best in this wonderful adventure!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Everything Jenny

Jenny, our friend and partner in crime, cannot be summed up by a mere 26 letters.  However, each week, she throws out the challenge of the Alphabet…one letter at a time…and sits back while we scrunch our noses, scratch our heads and sometimes pen our deepest thoughts, merely for her amusement.  That’s okay.  We love Jenny to pieces and sincerely hope that our finished products bring a smile to her lovely face.  Here are a few “E” words that paint the picture of the Jenny that I so love!

Jenny has such an easygoing nature about her.  Every day is filled with much to be accomplished, but she effortlessly dances through each of them with the grace of Fred and Ginger.   

There are days that can be a little edgy for Jenny, but one would never know it.  She delivers her message with eloquence week after week, and emboldens the craft of writing to the accomplished, as well as, the novice of writers.  

We are empowered by her lessons, and enchanted by her words of support and kindness.  Our lives are enhanced by her lovely phrases as we escape with her to exquisite places of adventure.  I would love to be part of Jenny’s entourage!

Please come out and play with this extraordinary woman who loves life ever-so-fiercely; the educator who fills us with the encouragement to push ourselves to our limits…and then some…until we have exhibited our little piece of literary elegance.  

Evermore, dearest Jenny.

Please stop by Jenny’s house for a visit with her and her ensemble of “E” friends!  Just click here to be entranced by her wonderful world full of letters!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Air-Cooled Leisure!

My DH has been IN LOVE with Volkswagens his entire life!  His first car in high school was a Bug which lasted more than 12 car seats necessitated a different sort of vehicle for our use!  The West Coast is loaded with vintage Volkswagens and in the last 20 years or so, the fever has spilled over into the Midwest! Like any vehicle, if properly maintained and loved, one can hold on to the carefree days of their youth like a favorite blankie.  This isn't to say that vintage is one way of holding on to the past...just that it shows respect for the old qualities and values. 

We recently traveled to Effingham (yes that is the name of the city) to attend the Mid America Funfest for Air-Cooled VWs which is an annual celebration, bringing together hundreds of VW enthusiasts from around the world. The event includes a kickoff Fun Run, expert seminars, headlining entertainment, awards and much more! It is also a place where some bring their vintage VWs to show off, buy, sell or otherwise just hang out and enjoy the camaraderie of other VW lovers!  Please click on Mid America Motorworks to check out more about their organization and more pictures from the Funfest!

We didn't buy, sell or even show off our little baby, as it is currently in the VW hospital recovering from surgery...maybe next year!

Thanks for stopping by today!  Please visit Unknown Mami of Sundays in My City and the colorful  cast of others who share their cities with us all!    

I'm from Chicago, visiting Effingham, Illinois.  Welcome to my City! 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

10th Grade..I Can Still Remember!

Tenth Grade, where I lived, was the beginning of high school.  For me, it was a time to forget all of the stupid things I did in junior high, as well and to look forward to the fresh herd of young boys on which to crush!  I loved all of activities that were offered outside of the classes, especially the dances.  Our winter dance (they really don't have winter in Southern California) was an excuse to "clean up" and wear fancy clothes during the month of December.  This dance was traditionally a "girl-ask-boy" dance, which I loved because it meant that I would not have to sit around waiting for someone to ask me if I wanted to go with them. 

As soon as the dance date was announced, I wasted no time in asking a boy that I had a crush on, and to my amazement, he said "yes."  This boy was very popular, an athlete, and drop-dead gorgeous.  My jaw hit the ground when he accepted.  His name was Greg.  We double-dated with another couple, went to dinner at a fancy beach restaurant, and then danced the night away in my school's gym.  It was a magical night for me, and one of the absolutely perfect experiences of my entire high school career! 

What do you remember about Tenth Grade?  Please stop by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop to share your memories, or to just read some lovely memories of other loyal followers!  Just click here to visit!

Thanks so much for stopping by today!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bubble Run Chicago Style!

Well, this old dog has learned something new!  Bubble Run is a 5k race held all over the country (and probably in other countries, as well) with incredibly happy results!  It's not your typical 5k with professional looking runners decked out in expensive active wear, but more of a "Let's have a party here" event.  Please click here to watch a YouTube video about the event that is for the whole family and supports charities everywhere! 

The only requirements to participate are the following:

Rule 1:  All levels of runners, walkers, twirlers, dancers and strollers are welcome.

Rule 2: Wear white. That way, your appearance at the finish will be even more pronounced.

Rule 3: Enjoy being a kid again. 

At the end of each kilometer, stands a colorful foam bog (a little like the foam bog that washes cars) that showers the runners with colored foam.  Hence, the requirement to wear white... Each foam bog is a difference color, and by the end of the race, voila!  You are a rainbow!  What if you should accidentally “taste" the foam? It doesn't taste as great as it is fun, but not to worry. The foam is 100% safe.

The awesome thing about Bubble Run is that it is not a typical 5k race!  There is nothing competitive about Bubble Run other than seeing who has the most color on them after the race! There’s no timing, no timing clock and no placement awards. Just a great excuse to come out and have fun with your friends, family and kids while doing something healthy! And the event doesn't end at the finish line of the race.  There is more dancing, jamming and free stuff while you get ready for ANOTHER dose of extra foam! You then can strut, or just observe as everyone celebrates.  It's a very happy place to be so why don't you try it?

Yesterday in Joliet, Illinois, Bubble Run was experienced by old and new faces alike.  A good friend of mine, along with many of her friends, kids and friends of kids, took part in this run because it was a great thing to do on a rainy, Saturday morning.  United Way was the charity the Run paired up with, and the rest was pure fun and frivolity!  

Please check out the Bubble Run website and see when your city will be hosting their own day of frenzy-ness and fun!  

Thanks for stopping by today.  Please visit Unknown Mami at Sundays in My City for fun things going on with her global following!  

I'm originally from California and St. Louis, MO, but now I am from Chicago!  Welcome to my city! 

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Lesson from My Mother

I learned many lessons from my mom...really important stuff like rolling up dad's damp handkerchiefs and putting them in the fridge before ironing.  I learned that nothing compares with the smell of sheets dried on a clothesline. When dad was out of town, I could eat anything I wanted for long as I prepared it...Cheerios was my most favorite!  I carried this tradition on with my children, except we had pancakes!  I learned that good friends are just as important as some cases, more important, especially if there were problems with family!

My mother's actions taught me so very much, but her words are the lessons I remember most. The following is a story I wrote about a few of my mother's words.  I previously posted this story, but feel that it should be shared again. 

When I was in high school, my mom and I argued with each other…a lot!  I saw it as the Battle of Hormones….me just getting some and hers…well…just raging!  Eventually, we both settled down and became great friends.  She would listen to me whine for hours and then give me a hug, telling me I would “figure it out.” 

I was a lifelong dieter, always looking for that “perfect” diet that would make me thin and beautiful…and only take 24 hours! I remember sitting across the kitchen table from mom with tears rolling down my cheeks.  I asked her “why can’t I stop eating?” She just looked at me and began to cry.  She didn’t tell me that she was bulimic. With her silence, she saved me from that destructive disease. She did, however, hold me and tell me I would be okay.

After the birth of my first child, by c-section, hers was the first face I saw when I woke up.  She smiled and told me “He’s perfect!” Then she leaned in a little closer and said softly, “you can do anything!  I smiled at her and then fell back asleep.

These four words were immediately etched upon my heart.  They spoke to me during Tommy’s all-night feedings; and when he discovered that he couldn’t walk on water…in a Jacuzzi; or, when his bike decided to kiss the sidewalk as he rounded the corner. I got used to less sleep.  I found the energy and stamina to hold it all together during the ER visits. I found the words needed to comfort him. I found I could do what had to be done, because of my mom’s words.   

I heard the words again, seconds after the thump and delayed screams of Matt, when he opened up the back of his head on the fireplace after a very creative dismount from the ottoman.  By now, I now had a reserved parking spot at the ER. I watched in horror as they tried to subdue him so they could stitch him up.  He kicked and screamed, and refused to stay still long enough to for them to have any success. They even put him in a pediatric straight jacket; he got out!  He finally passed out from exhaustion, which gave the doctors time to do their thing, and me a few minutes to regroup and focus.  “I can do this” said that little voice inside of me. 

And the time that Edie wandered off from the beach blanket because she saw better snacks somewhere else.  That was the longest 15 minutes of my life!  My first words were, “God, please help me find her!” I put my trust in God, and the hunting party of dad and her brothers as we scoured the sea of blankets and umbrellas.  A force drew me to a large family enjoying their lunch. There she was! They had DONUTS! We didn’t have donuts! I wanted to squeeze the life out of her and scold her for leaving but the words that came from my lips were loving and full of joy at seeing her again.  As we walked away, I thanked God, my mom and her new adopted family.
Kara was so sensitive that she would cry at the change of weather.  One day, out of the blue, she began to sob uncontrollably. I said to myself, “Help me out here, Mom.” My mind flew back to my acting days when I had to sing for a test in voice class.  As I sang “Pretty Little Horses” and gently rocked her, she calmed down…so much…that I had to check her pulse!  When she was 20 and we were 2,000 miles from home, she began sobbing yet again, desperately trying to hold it in.  She told me that she had chest pains and her left arm hurt. Having heart disease in the family, I wasted no time. I found the strength to get her to the nearest ER (where I had to fight for a parking spot). It wasn’t her heart; it wasn’t gastro; it wasn’t her lungs; it wasn’t imaginary!  She was still in pain.  I thought of Shirley MacLaine in “Terms of Endearment” when she was screaming for meds for her daughter…MY DAUGHTER IS IN PAIN! JUST GIVE HER SOMETHING FOR HER PAIN!!!  A firm hand from above covered my mouth and my words were kind, and to the point. I will never forget the look of euphoria on her face when the morphine kicked in.  I thanked God for taking away her pain, and my mom for holding me together. 
The words, “You Can Do Anything” never had deeper meaning than on the day I found my mom unresponsive at home. You see, it was only three months after she had first spoken the words to me.  My life as a mother had just begun. 

“Not now, please God, not now” I sobbed as the tears began to flow. I felt a stirring deep inside of my soul which took control and guided me through the next few days. My mom’s words gave me the courage to be strong for my dad, my brothers and a very long list of friends.  Over the years, her friends reached out to me with motherly advice (probably her doing), and her sister, Alice, became “Grandma” to each of my four children giving them the very best ever “Grandma” memories. 
My mother’s words have helped me achieve goals in my life that I never thought were possible. After a lifetime of being a food addict, I discovered the way out; I found that I had a passion for writing and I delight in how it makes me feel; I learned that I can actually let go of “things and people” and live to tell about it; but most importantly, I found a way to change how I see the world. Now, I laugh, I dance and I hug total strangers!  I reach out to others and pass along these four magical words, “you CAN do anything!” 

Tag…You’re It! 

Thank you for stopping by today.  My post is brought to you by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.  Please click here to visit her page where you will be find writings of some very talented people that will delight you!