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thirty five.

May 6, 2014

ImageI’m not exactly sure what it was about this birthday that has been challenging me. I was apprehensive about it a good six months ago, and even now, almost three weeks in, I’m still not sure I fully accept it. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve hit another half-decade milestone or if I had some subconscious expectation of what my life would look like at this point that has yet to be met.

All I know is it’s been hard.

Physically, although in decent shape, despite having two bad shoulders thanks to two (unrelated) acts of clumsiness, I just feel old. My body aches, I don’t recover from exercise as well, and when I get sick, I am down for the count (thank you, Norovirus for a wonderful hellish week in January). Emotionally, I’m dealing with a lot of grown up things, from family drama to financial woes and work worries. But none of it is unmanageable by any means. I can still rise each day and put a positive outlook on life – even if I’m aided by medication to be able to do so.

I’ve begun to be more intentional in what I eat, who I spend time with, and even what I do in my downtime.

So I continue to be perplexed as to why this birthday is so bothersome for me. Hopefully I can put a finger on it. Maybe you can help me shed some light with your comments.

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#10. Go to Fenway Park

May 2, 2014

Dad and me atop the Green MonsterI am a huge baseball fan. HUGE. It is by far my favorite sport. As with most baseball fans, I hope to visit every baseball stadium in the country at some point. This year, I ticked off a big one.

This particular ball park is one of  my 101 goals because Fenway holds a personal spot in my heart for a few reasons. First, we share a birthday. Granted, Fenway is 67 years older than I, but it’s still cool. Secondly, that’s my dad’s hometown team. He’s always told me stories of being a teenager and getting tickets in the upper deck, since that was all he could afford. Back then, the Sox were so bad that each inning, he was able to sneak a little closer until, by the 8th inning, enough fans had lost all hope and left the park that he could grab seats in the lower deck bleachers and watch the end of the game.

When we went to Boston last month, I was able to arrange a private tour of the park for my dad, thanks to a connection I made through work. I had told my dad that I was trying to arrange it, but when we landed in Boston and I still hadn’t heard anything, we both figured it wasn’t going to happen and made other plans. Fortunately, my contact came through and we dropped everything to be at 4 Yawkey Way right on time.

My dad hadn’t been back to Fenway in decades, so this was a special treat. We were met by our fabulous tour guide, Oscar, who took us around the park, telling us a lot about the history and the team. We had the distinct fortune to be able to be there a week before opening day, so it was exciting to see all the hustle and bustle of the grounds crew getting the field ready as well as rehearsals for the ring ceremony. It was really neat being in a place that holds so much history (of course, that was true for all of Boston).

Sadly, the championship trophy was out on tour still, so we didn’t get to see that in person, but we did get to see a bunch of other awards the club has earned over the last century. It was a wonderful experience to be able to stand atop the Green Monster with my dad. He was beyond excited just to be there. Hopefully the next time we’re there, we can catch a game.

Dad and me atop the Green Monster

blog on…

May 1, 2014
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committing to blogging each day in mayI’ve got to be honest. I really have missed blogging. Writing has turned out to be quite the therapeutic way to process the happenings of my world. But I sort of abandoned this space after the information I shared was used as a means to hurt me and the people that I cared about. I’ve since realized that is the risk you take when posting your most personal feelings on the Internet. The upside to that is that through blogging, I have made some very dear friends, many of whom I have yet to meet IRL. The benefits in this case, far outweigh the negatives.

I started this blog almost 10 years ago when I first moved to Denver. Heck, it was before blogging was even cool. I’ve always been an early adopter like that. At first, it was a place for me to keep life happenings for my family and friends to read up on. Then Facebook came along and it turned into a place that was more of an emotional outlet and support group.

When I decided to start blogging again, I wasn’t sure if I should keep this blog or start a new one. It seems that what this blog once was isn’t what I see it as any longer. After much debate, I chose to heed the advice of my very wise friend, Kim, I decided to keep this blog and let it continue to grow and change with me, as it truly is a reflection of who I am and the journey I have been on in this world.

So as part of living my word of this year, CREATE, I want to write more. I want to create a space that will be my own and will continue to be a very random collection of items that are a reflection of the eclectic life I lead. It starts with getting back in the saddle. If it really takes 30 days to make a habit, this is kicking off what will hopefully become a very fulfilling habit, both for me and for you.

In addition to growing this space, I plan to be more intentional with my content. Naturally, I will always have the random blog posts, but in the end, I want to really use this space to do the things I do well: share knowledge and connect people. As such, I invite you to join in my community by leaving comment love below.

Dad & daughter vacation

March 28, 2014

Since Alissa and her dad headed out to California for spring break, I decided it might be fun for my dad and me to take our own vacation.

My dad has been fighting a hard battle with bipolar, and the past few years have been particularly rough for both him and my mom. When I suggested that we take a trip together, he was eager, but couldn’t decide where we might go. Priceline.com helped us figure that out real quick when I saw tickets to Boston were a screaming deal.

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My parents grew up in Boston, but after moving out west almost 40 years ago, they don’t get back to visit much. In fact, I’m sure they’ve only been back to visit three or four times, almost all of those being for a family funeral.

Even so, my dad gets homesick quite a bit, especially in the fall when the leaves begin to change. Knowing that, and the fact that I’ve always wanted to see where my parents grew up, it just made sense.

It is my hope that while we are on this trip, my dad and I can grow closer and I can learn more about our family and where we hail from. I am also hoping that being here will open him to to discussing some of the demons of his past that contribute to the negative aspects of his condition.

My dad had a hard life – from his mother, who had many of the same mental issues he suffers from, to a father who was barely scraping by to make ends meet and raise two kids, mostly on his own. That’s about all my dad has ever shared with us, but where he came from has a lot to do with who he is now – the hard working man who will do anything for his family.

I am looking forward to the next several days with my dad. It should be a lot of fun.

March 15, 2014
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Just when the caterpillar thought life was over, it became a butterfly.

These past few years have been a challenge, no doubt about it. I have certainly had plenty to write about more often than not, but this place had been abandoned for so long that it didn’t make any sense to put those thoughts down here. After a long time of self-reflection and some encouragement from friends, I’ve decided to breathe new life into this blog.

Just in reviewing the last dozen or so posts I’d written, I’ve seen how tremendously my life has changed. While my path has certainly changed (for the better) since then, I don’t see regret or sadness over the dreams that haven’t yet come to fruition. They may be yet to come, or never to be, but for the first time in my life, I feel content with the way my life is now. I still have many goals and aspirations, but I can say I certainly feel like I’m in a much different place now than I was previously.

While this blog has always been a place for me to air the happenings in my life, I’m hoping that it will become a place for me to voice a variety of things – from my latest obsessions (ahem, Julep Maven) to the books I’m reading and just my overall outlook on life. I hope that you’ll all join me in this new adventure. And if you need to get caught up, well, check the archives.

The Undomestic Goddess

March 8, 2014

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Dear Sophie Kinsella, I heart you. I first discovered you by randomly picking up Confessions of a Shopaholic in an airport. I loved that book because I could totally relate to Rebecca, but as it turns out, you have a way with characters that most writers would even dream of.

The entire time I spent reading The Undomestic Goddess, I could actually empathize with Samantha, even though I have no idea how one would get along as an adult not knowing how to cook or clean. By the middle of the book, I was so in love with each and every character that I hoped all would work out. Kinsella is so wonderful with the vivid words she uses to write with that you can actually envision yourself in the midst of the scene. In fact, I envision Linda Cardinelli’s character in Legally Blonde when I envision Melissa.

This is a light-hearted weekend/beach/vacation read that you’ll love. I really do hope that Kinsella writes a sequel because (spoiler alert) I do hope to see what transpires between Samantha and Nathaniel.

The 100 Good Deeds Bracelet

March 1, 2014

1902079_216749588522696_640493351_nI’m going to be brutally honest here: when my mom texted me right before Christmas and asked me to visit the 100 Good Deeds site and tell me which bracelet I liked best, I was kinda like, “Oh great. My mom is getting me a bracelet for Christmas.” I wasn’t all that thrilled about it.

Then Christmas morning came, and I had forgotten all about it. I opened up this item from my stocking and my mom shared with me that this was what her company has been working on for the past year. As I opened the package and read the story behind it, I was intrigued. But when I looked down at the label inside the package that told me who made it, my heart warmed. Turns out, I’m helping Emily to provide a livelihood for her family, and in turn, Emily is helping me to pay it forward.

While I’ve always been one that believes in helping out our fellow man, the mission of this bracelet has taken a more profound effect on me than I ever could have imagined. I wear my bracelet daily, taking it off only to shower. Every time I look down, I am reminded that it’s the small things – opening a door for someone, picking up litter, paying someone’s bus fare – that make our world a better place and inspire others to do good in the world. I strongly encourage you to invest in one of these bracelets. That can be your first good deed.