Archive | July, 2012

Day 212: buoyed in stormy weather

31 Jul

It’s a rainy day here, but all sunny inside.
My day started out doing yoga with a friend and ended up with us having dinner with family.

Doesn’t get better than that.

Even though it is pouring outside, and we are drenched from a ferry ride in the rain, I am all toasty on the inside.

It’s a recipe for goodness, isn’t it?

  • good exercise
  • good friends
  • good family
  • good food

As we left the ferry, dripping and drenched with raindrops the size of snowballs falling all around, every taxi driver standing under an umbrella in a line of cars tried to coax us into his cab.

“No thanks,” I said with a smile. “We’re walking!”

The old me would never have turn down a cab ride in the rain.
The new me seems pretty fearless these days, at the very least, I have learned it takes more than water to make me melt.

And, I think that’s what being buoyed by good exercise, friends, family and food can do for the head, heart, body and soul.

It’s like building strength from the inside out.
Even in stormy weather. 

Day 211: lovemore monday :: boogie-woogie

30 Jul

As you know, I entered this year determined to be fearless. But, I don’t want more fear or less in my life.  I want more love.  So I made up a new word, lovemore!   That’s why Lovemore Mondays are here.

Today’s Lovemore Monday is a love story about small tasks.

I found this quote today and it made me pause.

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”
~Helen Keller

What a good reminder.
And, I have to remember that everything does add up, even the small stuff.  Every day here at The Promise 365 something little adds up to something noble — even if it is only a slight turn or twist inside of me that nobody else can see.

Take this afternoon for instance… I swam in the ocean.

Let me repeat that.
I. Swam. In. The. Ocean.  (Emphasis for me more than anyone else.) Alas, with a boogie board, but I was still in the ocean, submerged, flipping and flopping and have tons of fun.

It was thrilling and felt, well, fearless (for me!). Maybe a small task, but, really that’s all that counts, right?  Just like Helen said … “it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”

Our pups, on the other hand, took water time as an opportunity to boogie-woogie down the beach without us and land eight houses away.

When I finally caught up to the dogs they looked at me as if I were the crazy one, running down the beach, jumping rock walls, scaling neighbors yards in a single bound with leashes in tow.

Quite a pair these two. Fearless you might say.

One leads the other, and vice versa, into trouble and mayhem, and they both lead us to meet new people and make new friends every time we are out, whether it be walking down the sidewalk or frantically scaling rocky walls lining the beach.

And, that’s why, on this Lovemore Monday…

I. Love. It.

Not a small task. 
But very noble indeed. 

Day 210: fearlessly getting my hands dirty

29 Jul

I just washed the final bit of dirt out from underneath my fingertips.
While a Sunday in July may be known as wedding day for many, it was “weeding” day around here for me.

And, I am so proud of myself.
I didn’t shriek once as I buried my BARE hands in the dirt digging for roots.

Before my lovemore-fearless mantra I wouldn’t think twice about wearing gloves on my hands. Before my lovemore-fearless adventure this year, I would have screamed and scrammed at the first sight of a spider too.

But, not now. At least now I pause before I scream.
I credit the Grand Canyon for my newfound fearlessness.

Sure, not wearing gloves in the garden sounds pretty puny to some.
But, to me, it’s a HUGE accomplishment.

And, today, to top it all off, there were no spider sightings. It’s as if those spiders know something in me has changed. As if they are no longer needed.

To that I say (at least today):
Pack it up eight-legged boys, your work here is done. 


Day 209: better than the iphone 5

28 Jul

What a wonderful day on a wonderful island with some wonderful friends today.

And, their totally amazing, smart, funny and friendly daughters.

These very savvy girls were overjoyed to show me the incredible phone in their summer home with the most advanced technologyYou see, the phone is so cool, it lets you talk with three people at once.

All you have to do is pick up the headset on the first floor of the house, and then someone else picks up the phone on the second floor of the house and — get this — everybody can talk at once to the person calling!

All of us adults were mesmerized by their joy over this new discovery, mostly because they were talking about a good, old-fashioned land line — you know, the kind we grew up with.

The kind of phone with a standard issue round dial that you had to TURN and wait for it spin all the way back around before you could dial the next number. One number at a time. Spin. Spin. Spin.

It’s mind-boggling how far technology has come in the past 100 years, let alone the past twenty.

There is a theory about this sort of change — in the book, “When Everything Changes, Change Everything: In a Time of Turmoil, a Pathway to Peace” Neale Donald Walsch points out that society is speeding up so fast that the “window of change” or, the amount of time it takes to have new information that brings upon a new world view, has gone from an entire lifetime in our great-grandparents time, to  30 – 40 years in our grandparents lives, to 15 – 20 years for our parents, to a mere 5 – 8 years in our own lifetime.  (And, it is only speeding up for our children.)

This has never been more apparent to me than today, while trying to explain to two very smart nine and eleven-year old girls what a “busy signal” was on a phone.

“It’s a buzz that happens when you call someone and they are already talking on the phone,” I explained to blank stares.

“You know, if you call someone, and they are already talking on their phone, you would just hear a buzz, buzz, buzz, sound on the line.”

As I vehemently tried to imitate a busy signal with my voice, practically singing “Buzz, Buzz, Buzz,” I realized they had no basis for the concept of being too busy to be reached.  

The entire idea of being disconnected is not in their world view. 

And, how could it be? We live in a world of constantly connected noise, cell phones ringing, computer programs in the palm of our hands more powerful than the Apple computer I learned to type on in fifth grade.

Believe me, nothing makes me feel more old and decrepit than the youthful spirit of two girls looking at me with blank stares indicating they had no idea what on earth I was buzzing about.

And, that made me realize something:
We have so much buzz, we are, in fact, too busy for busy signals.

(Now, when does the iPhone 5 come out again?)

As I watched these girls jump off a bridge, swim in the water and laugh and play without a care on a cloudy-island-summer-day, I also realized something else…

Playing, running, jumping and swimming will always be better than just talking on the phone (any phone!).

And, I hope that will never change. 

Day 208: f*ing friday :: forever friends

27 Jul

Today continues the weekly series, F*ing Fridays, which will coincidentally occur on Friday. In Year One, I mentioned some of my favorite F words back on Day 5, including: Fearless, Fabulous, Fine, Fun, Faith, Freedom, Forgiveness, to name a Few.

Last week I dove into the word Firing

Today’s F*ing Friday is dedicated to the word:
Forever Friends

As in, mom.

Today is a very special woman’s birthday. So is tomorrow.

I suppose we could make the case that every day is a special woman’s birthday, right?  Sure.

But tomorrow is the day I celebrate a very powerful force in my life — my dear Mama Sling.  And, today, is the birthday of her best friend, Jaynane.

Jaynane also happens to be Justin’s mother.
And, a grandmother to two little girls.
She is also a niece.
And, a sister.

What I love most?  
She is like a second mother to me.

There are so many times when I reach for the phone to call my mother.  It doesn’t happen as much as it did, especially right after Mama Sling died, but every now and then I do it.

There are the bad days, when I am broken down, sobbing or fighting back tears, and just want to hear the voice of the woman who loved me most.

There are the days when I am beaming with pride, with good news, the latest developments of my life and times and the swirling sweet success of the moment.  From remembering to pick up the dry cleaning to winning awards.

And, then, there are the most mundane updates to share with someone who would understand the significance behind the mail, the dogs, the weather forecast and what’s for dinner.  Someone who gets the most minor detail of it all — that important stuff we call “life.”

The kind of stuff Mama Sling would giggle at and gobble up, in an only-my-mom-cares-sort-of-way.

Except there is someone else on this earth who gets it too.
Happy Birthday Jaynane. 

Day 207: keep showing up

26 Jul

Creative. Genius.
So often used in the same sentence, yet so elusive.

Today, I replayed the famous Elizabeth Gilbert TED video on just this subject.

And, I have one thing to say to Ms. Elizabeth Gilbert:  I apologize.

I’m sorry for all the terrible things I said about that creative work of genius, “Eat. Pray. Love.” — I was wrong.

It was three and a half years ago that I finished that book, while sitting on the berber carpeted floor of the Denver airport, stuck with 400 of my closest friends in a snow storm that packed us all in like sardines with nowhere else to go but the sticky, dirty floor.

I hijacked an electrical outlet on the upper level near the food court in order to keep my computer plugged in all night so I could finish the “book” which I was listening to on CD.

All my friends were telling me to read this book. 

Strangers were bringing it up in conversation. Eat. Pray. Love. Eat. Pray. Love. EAT! PRAY! LOVE!  So, I bought a CD version to listen to on the plane.

As I sat on the floor with headphones plugged into my ears, listening to Elizabeth’s international tale of divorce, eating, and soul searching around the globe, I thought, “This woman is ridiculous!”

Actually, I thought the story was totally blown out of proportion, making normal life look like high drama heresy. So she got a divorce, ate too much pasta and prayed a lot? Fooey.   

In reality, my reaction was just a reflection of my own sorry state: still in the throws of a contentious divorce, restraining order in hand, tied up in expensive court appearances where the other party was a consistent no-show, and a job lay-off within five months of each other.

To top it all off, the book found me flying home to see my family for the holidays crushed and crinkled, no ring on my finger, no job, no home. (Which, if for nothing else, makes for interesting Christmas dinner conversation.)

Now, looking back, I realize, it was not Elizabeth who was ridiculous — it was me.

I was not able to see her creative genius through the lens of my own crumpled life, and the FEAR I was living in and under. Which, it seems, is always the case — we only know what we know, we only see what we see.

Today while re-watching this TED video, Elizabeth’s words stuck like glue to my heart when she said, “keep showing up.

Not very creative, but GENIUS indeed.
Because isn’t that kind of consistency the secret sauce?

Keep. Showing. Up.

If I haven’t said it before, let me say it now.
Thank you, Elizabeth.
(Click here to view the video)

Day 206: chicago report: bathroom humor and ads

25 Jul

Chicago Report: 
I have clearly been living on an island to miss this tidbit of bathroom humor.

Not only were there ads in the women’s bathroom in Chicago’s airport, they were directly on the mirror in front of the sinks.

So, of course, I had to take a photo.

As I stood before the ads, washing my hands, seeing the messages scroll before my eyes, I couldn’t help but ask: “Is our world truly turing into Minority Report?”

Are we already living in “the future?”

A future where advertising is electronically delivered to every moment of our life, through my computer, iPhone, iPad and now the iBathroom MIRROR?

I remember when the bathroom mirror was once reserved for only the most intimate of messages — in the form of lipstick, possibly a kiss or a little reminder scribbled in thick ruby red.  Now, it’s a billboard blazoned with bribery for those responsible souls who remember to wash their hands after using the potty.

I’m a marketer, by training, so this isn’t a surprise to me.
It’s more of a shock.

In my effort to find the love and some silver lining here — it occurred to me that this could be good — like, in a moment of international crisis, information could be spewed throughout the land (and bathroom stalls thank goodness!) everywhere.

“C’mon people, really?” I had to ask as I stood there dumbfounded.

Then I turned around and saw a line of women waiting their turn to use the bathroom stalls, who couldn’t get past me while I stood taking up more than my allotted space with iPhone in hand, photographing the bathroom mirrors.

I just had to capture it.
Which I suppose only means one thing:  joke’s on me.

Day 205: the world’s hottest pepper and our healthcare crisis

24 Jul

I’m a pepper.

At least my tongue feels like one — the hottest pepper in the entire universe which I just swallowed at dinner.

I think it was a habanero chili pepper and somebody slipped it onto my plate while I wasn’t looking.

It was hidden in my fish taco and went directly into my taste buds.

My tongue throbbed with pain as I soaked it, gulping down ice water as fast as my straw would allow.

Which only made it worse.

I dipped my fork in ketchup and salved it all over the tip of my burning tongue.

As my eyes started to tear the only option left was a dollop of sour cream sitting on my plate.

I. Hate. Sour. Cream.
But, I swallowed it anyway in my one fearless act of the day.

It didn’t help.

So I ordered a bowl of ice cream just to coat my tongue in something. Anything to take the burn away.

I haven’t had ice cream in so long, not the real dairy-full kind, that I can’t even remember my last bout with the creamy stuff.

But, tonight, I downed the entire heaping bowl of chocolate ice cream in practically one bite, dabbing the cold stuff all over my tongue and around the sides and tips of my taste buds.

It seemed to work.
The ice cream finally started to coat and numb my tongue.

Now, after taking a bath, I am propped up in bed, with a numb tongue, bloated, burping and belching myself to sleep with a belly ache.

It occurs to me, that THIS is exactly what is wrong with our health care system.  

You could give me a pill for my stomach ache and numb tongue, but really, neither are the cause of my problems.

Sugar coating it is, of course, not the cure.
Getting down to root, and understanding the “pepper” of it all, is our only hope.

That alone, would be a fearless act if you ask me. 

Day 204: lovemore monday :: for the birds

23 Jul

As you know, I entered this year determined to be fearless. But, I don’t want more fear or less in my life.  I want more love.  So I made up a new word, lovemore!   That’s why Lovemore Mondays are here.

Today’s Lovemore Monday is a love story for the birds.

Today, while walking through the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago, after our Women on Fire Tea, I stopped in my roller-suitcase tracks and looked up at this beautiful fountain.

It seemed so regal, this bird ascending to the skylight above.

Art. Beauty.
Take my breath away breath of fresh air.

It made me wonder — how often do I blindly walk by these installations of art, these public nods to beauty, these aspirational moments to pause?

As I looked closer I noticed it wasn’t just one bird, but multiple birds — each standing on another’s back.

Then, the concierge pointed out the birds were also in the bas relief wrapping all the way around the room high up above.

It occurred to me — maybe the birds weren’t standing on each other’s back…
Maybe they were lifting each another up.

And, isn’t that always the case when it comes to the wind beneath our wings?

We never really fly alone do we?

And, that’s why, on this Lovemore Monday…
I. Love. It. 

Day 203: topless and barefoot in chicago

22 Jul

I was topless and barefoot today in Chicago.

The last time I found myself topless and barefoot I was caught — by a troop of Boy Scouts.

It was summertime.
It was hot.

My teenage friends and I hiked down into the canyon of our Idaho hometown to Dierkes Lake.

It was THE place to go in the summer to cool off, get a tan, jump of tall, rocky cliffs into the water below and, of course, being fourteen-year old girls — meet cute boys.

We hiked back behind a cliff of rocks and laid out our towels, prepared our magazines to read and sprayed down our bodies — not with sunscreen — but, with a coconut glaze of dark sunTAN lotion.

We proceeded to take off our bikini tops.  

Our rationale: who wants to show up to junior high with those nasty white tan lines all over your shoulders and back?

Just as we entered a sunny, coconut coma we heard a rustle in the sagebrush behind us.

Now, in the desert a rustle like this can mean a few things, including grasshoppers (best-case scenario) all the way up to rattlesnakes (not the best-case scenario).

We jolted straight up, prepared to run from a surprise insect attack. We were not prepared to deal with the troop of prepubescent Boy Scouts on a hike to find frogs and snakes and, well, something they didn’t bargain for … three half-naked teenage girls.

We were caught topless and barefoot.
With nothing left to do except turn over and stifle our giggles as we hid our bare chests into the beach blankets below.

I thought of this moment today during my manicure in Chicago.

I always pick a light, pretty pink for my fingers. I’ve tried red, I’ve played around with other more daring colors too. But, I always come back to my favorite light pink called “Get Me To The Taj On Time’ — except, today, the spa didn’t have my color.

So, I grabbed another light pink off the shelf in a fearless attempt to change it up.

As I watched the little paintbrush line my fingertips with pretty, pretty pink, the nail technician said, “this is one of my favorite colors!”

“Oh, really,” I asked. “What is the name of it?”

Topless and Barefoot.

Just those words — topless and barefoot — took me right back to being a teenager caught with her top down at Dierkes Lake.

It was mortifying.
And embarrassing.

And, there must be some Boy Scout somewhere who still remembers the pretty, pretty pink color of that topless and barefoot day.

To you I say — Always. Be. Prepared.  

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