Tuesday, June 29, 2010


You just tell yourself that this is going to be amazing and just do it. 

Ahh.  So what does it take to be amazing?  Do you have to break a world record?  I don't see me wing walking anytime in the near or distant future - I'm deathly afraid of heights.  I think they need to give world records for simply making it through the day sometimes.  Especially us moms.  I mean, I feel like I've run a marathon before I ever get to work.  I get to occasionally save the day at work, but most of the time just put out fires.  Back home into a whirlwind until the kids finally fall asleep.  Most days I am lucky just to survive the chaos.  And you know what a big fan I am of simply surviving...

Amazing is defined as "to cause great wonder or astonishment."  How do we get to the amazing part?  You know, those times you look back and say "Yep!  That was the best (fill in the blank)."  Wouldn't it be great to have more of those days?  So how do we get from the mundane to the incredible?  Is it possible to plan for these moments or do they just happen spontaneously?  I was told that I couldn't control my fate, but can I at least direct my high points?  
So what type of moments do you consider amazing?  It's probably going to be vastly different for everyone.  I mean, we all see those acts that we collectively think are amazing.  But I'm talking about those that specifically have meaning to you.  Is it making the winning catch in a softball game? Getting that raise you've been working for?  Holding your baby for the first (or hundredth) time?  The wind in your hair as you walk along the beach with a loved one?  

For me, besides the crazy stuff my kids do, these times have been few and far between.  I'm working pretty hard to figure out what amazing means to me.  Right now everything is going to be so different in my life that it will be difficult to tell the difference.  But Ashley says to tell yourself that it's going to be amazing.  So I am.  I don't want to look back at the end of another year and discover that it's Christmas again already and I don't have anything to show for the time I put in.  I'm telling myself that my future is not just going to be safe and good.  It's going to be amazing.  So my wish for you is: find something today to go be amazing at.  Let me know what you do :)

The Climb

OK.  So I was actually writing on another subject.  Came across a few quotes and then heard Miley Cyrus' "The Climb."  Figured someone was really trying to change the subject.  Got the message.  

"I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply ALL my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy."  - Og Mandino (One of my favorite authors!)

"The Beauty of the Mountain is hidden for all those who try to discover it from the top, supposing that, one way or an other, one can reach this place directly. The Beauty of the Mountain reveals only to those who climbed it..." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"The mountains will always be there, the trick is to make sure you are too." - Hervey Voge

"The Climb"

The struggles I'm facing

The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down, but
No I'm not breaking
I may not know it, but
These are the moments that
I'm gonna remember most
I've just gotta keep goin', and
I gotta be strong
Just keep pushing on, but

There's always gonna be another mountain

I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side
It's the climb

Wow!  So not only do I need to climb the mountain, but I have to become the mountain. Or am I the mountain I need to overcome?  Alright, now that's just deep.  

I love the thought about the climb being the journey.  It gives me hope knowing I have an adventure, not a destination.  And it's going to be quite an adventure.  Seeing what I can do with my grain of sand and living up to my full potential.  We're all given the same grain of sand.  We may be worn down by the water more or shaped by the friction, but we all have the same chance to grow.  We just all don't take it. Sometimes we're content to be one of a billion grains that stay on the beach and come and go with the tide.

I've been told the grass isn't always greener.  These are the people that don't understand why I'm doing this.  It's not about stopping at another field.  It's not for the better job or even a better life.  It's for the journey.  I ended up at a destination yet my trip wasn't quite finished yet.  I got off the train a few stops too early.  I have more to learn.  More to experience.  And maybe more to teach others.  Someone suggested the other day that maybe this move wasn't for me but what I was bringing to others.  Curious.  We'll have to see about that one.

So today I'm climbing.  It may be slow.  Probably long.  I'm sure I have many more mountains to conquer.  No, not conquer.  Experience.  Live.  Enjoy.  Looking forward to the other side and breathing in the beauty in the meantime.  Not sure I'll step onto the train again.  I think I'll take the rest of this trip on foot...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Strength is defined as: the state, property, or quality of being strong (lame definition);  the power to resist attack; the power to resist strain or stress; the ability to maintain a moral or intellectual position firmly; or the capacity or potential for effective action.

I've heard a lot lately that I am a strong person.  I'm trying to figure this out.  Just what do they mean by strong?  I am making a lot of changes in my life.  That takes courage.  Or insanity.  Haven't figured out which one yet.  I have been doing a lot of things for myself lately.  You know, crazy things.  Going out with the guys after work once in a while.  Working out.  I actually bought tickets to a musical and went all the way to Louisville with my best friend.  And it was even an overnight trip!  (BTW, if you don't already know me, expect that everything I say is meant to be sarcastic.  I really need that sarcasm font).  And of course there was Bonnaroo.  You already know how wild I got there! :)

So I've heard that I am strong because I am standing up for myself.  OK, I'll take that.  I have also heard it because I am brave enough to go kickboxing and zumba.  I don't see it.  It's a necessity for me.  Also a great stress reliever.  Yeah, I'm not exactly the smallest or most fit person in class.  But I hold my own.  Does it make me strong because I'm able to walk in there and not care what other people think?

My good friend said I was brave to take what I needed in order to get around Bonnaroo.  Like pushing my way forward in line.  Firmly, not rudely.  Or going around everyone and taking the back road to cut our wait in half.  And again just not caring what other people thought about me being twice their age and walking proudly through the crowd.  Again, I don't see it as strength.  I'm just tired of not doing what is good for me or what makes me happy because I am worried what other people think.  I did that for way too long.  Is that strength?

Everyone says that I'll be fine because I am a strong woman.  No, I'll be fine because I have to be.  I have three beautiful children that are counting on me.  My family is counting on me.  A lot of people are watching to see if I fall flat on my face. That may happen.  It's going to be a long fall this time.  But, as usual, I'll pick myself back up.  Because I have to.  Does that make me strong?

I've been told I have tunnel vision.  That once I have made my mind up about something, there is little that will steer me from my path.  This is because it takes me a long time to make a decision.  Once I do, I have already weighed all the pros and cons.  I have taken responsibility for the possibility of the bad happening.  I fight it for a long time.  Especially if it is something for myself because I just don't do that very often.  Once I have decided, I again feel like I have no choice. So I do what has to be done to get to the finish line.  Strength?  Who knows...

I'm trying to figure out how I got from the little girl on the school playground.  The one who sat on the sidewalk at recess for the first few years of school because she was so shy that she couldn't or wouldn't make friends.  The one who hated to call Kmart for her mother because she didn't want to talk to strangers on the phone.  I thank all of the people in my life who helped to build my confidence over the years.  It's hard to see that shy little girl anymore.  She's still in there.  She tries to come out when I am in a new situation and with people I don't know.  Hard to believe, but it's true.   I am able to bury her pretty good now.  Most of the time.  She's liable to pop up more frequently for a while with the move and new job.  But I'll get through it.  Again, strength?  I don't know.  Maybe so.

Maybe the strength is being able to hold the fear at bay.  To take that step out of the boat and onto the crashing waves.  It's going to take a lot of faith this next year.  There is a whole lot of unknown.  Yeah, like pretty much everything except the great friends and family already waiting for me.  So would you call taking the first step a sign of strength?  The first step might be the hardest to take, but I think continuing on the journey is tougher.  And the hardest of all may be knowing when to adjust my course.  We'll see.  Until then, I guess I continue to be strong (confident, brave, courageous, insane).  You pick it.  I'll have to let you know how it goes...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


So.  We went to the drive-in Saturday.  I figured it would be a good stress reliever.  We met up with several of the girls' friends from school.  They all hung out in the back of my truck.  We've known this group since the girls were about two from the day care, so it was really tough realizing we weren't going to see them very often after this. We saw Toy Story 3 first.  I don't want to give away the ending, but lets just say the toys find a home.  So I cried.  It was happy tears.  I mean, I know they're just toys and it's just a movie, but we've grown up with them.  Oh yeah, I'm still talking about the toys, right?

My three ended up crashing within ten minutes of the beginning of the Prince of Persia.  So I decide to finish it.  Bad idea.  Sappy love story?  What was I thinking?  I mean, Jake Gyllenhaal is hot, but maybe a romance probably isn't the best thing for me to be watching right now.  I mean, most people won't see a 39-yr-old with three kids as their princess.   The problem is - I'm an incurable romantic.  I still believe in true love even though I don't get to see it up close and personal very often.  I still want the fairy tale.  I know this is unrealistic, but I've always been told “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars” (Brian Littrell).  So, as with almost everything I do, I'm still shooting for the moon on this one.  And to make matters worse, on Sunday I rented Leap Year and Dear John.  Oh, boy!  I'm in trouble now.  Isn't there a new Jason movie out or something?  How did I end up with two more tear-jerking chick flicks?

On a lighter note, we rented the original "Karate Kid" for the children to watch.  At first they didn't want to watch an "old" movie, but they came out kicking and doing the crane with bandannas tied to their head begging to take karate lessons when we get to Cleveland.  So karate it is.  I'm not sure the world is ready for this.

Today was a pretty big day for me.  I put in my official resignation at work.  July 23rd.  You know, the job I've worked for the past seventeen years?  That one.  It was kind of a bittersweet moment.  I'm excited for the future, but I'm really going to miss a lot of people.  We've grown up together.  I've seen marriages and the birth of their children (some of which are about to go to college!).  We've seen a lot of people move on and even lost a few great friends.  I will dearly miss you guys.  It was a moment that three months ago I never would have believed would happen.  Oh, and no, I don't have a job yet.  HUGE leap of faith! Pray for me!

So, five weeks left. Maybe six if I don't get the new job right away.  It's going to be crazy.  I wonder if my Fairy Godmother will come wave her wand and sort the seventeen years worth of stuff I've accumulated?  Probably not.  But if she does I'll let you know.  Until then, I guess I had better get off the computer and start sorting.  Or I'm going to need a bigger U-Haul! 

Saturday, June 19, 2010


OK.  So a not quite 40-year-old mother of three and her sidekick Kristina decide that they want to go to Bonnaroo this year.  What is Bonnaroo you ask?  For those of you that don't know, Bonnaroo is a 4-day explosion of craziness that invades the little town of Manchester every year for the past 9 years.  It's on a 700-acre farm just miles from my house.  So for the past decade, I have put up with the traffic and the weird crazy college kids walking naked in Wal-Mart.  I thought they were nuts.  Since this is my last summer in Manchester, I decided to see what it was all about.  There were some great bands headlining, so I decided to give it a chance.  We got to work the Chamber of Commerce booth for 7 hours and in exchange got a $250 wristband for the whole weekend.

Day 1:  We both have to work our regular jobs on Thursday, but NeedtoBreathe was playing at 8:45 and Kristina really wanted to see them.  So home to change and off to the chaos.  After dodging a few really long lines of traffic (keep in mind - 80,000 people coming to a town with a population of 17,000), we make it in the gate in about 20 minutes.  The truck gets searched (I guess soccer mom and her sidekick don't look dangerous because they only opened the doors and glanced inside).

Off to day parking and a long walk through the car camping area.  Things are starting to get interesting now.  First of all, the campgrounds are filled with tents decorated with various signs of peace, love, and rock-n-roll.  College kids who think this is Woodstock again.  Everyone is either dressed for the beach or sporting dreadlocks and cargo shorts.  We pass a school bus with a blow-up doll on top.  Another campsite with a pirate skeleton.  Various whiffs of not-so-legal substances and lots and lots of beer.

We pass a line of port-a-potties (an ominous look into our future to come) and food vendors and then we finally make it to the gate.  Another cursory search of our backpacks (no hemp necklaces on us, so no body cavity search) and we are finally in.  We're near the Ferris wheel, so we should be able to find our way back if we need to make a quick exit.  We check our map because we're tourists and have never done this before.  NeedtoBreathe is at the first tent we come to.  Yeah!  We stock up on water and other various drinks and head over to the stage.  We wriggle our way into the crowd and get an awesome view of the band.  They were great!  I definitely need to check them out and add them to my playlist!

 It's time for a bathroom break.  Now I've been camping a million times so outdoor bathrooms are nothing new to me.  What I didn't think about was that there are about 100 port-a-potties for 80,000 people.  That's about 800 people per toilet.  Add lots of water, beer and other unmentionables and it adds up to a really gross proposition.  Kristina has brought a pack of wipes so off we go.  Thank God there is Purell in there.  And this is only day one.  We have 3 more days to go.

We don't have any other bands on our agenda (hey - we're engineers - we plan everything!) so we decide to scope out the rest of the site.  We check out The Temper Trap and Mayer Hawthorne & The County.  Both bands were great.  We find our beer tent that we're working on Saturday.  Check out one of the food vendors.  Pricey but the servings are generous.  Perfect for someone with the munchies and there were a lot of those there.  We pass the Mushroom a.k.a. the hepatitis fountain.  It's a great concept for a hot night.  A big giant fountain where you can rinse off the dust and other unmentionables.  What they don't tell you is the reclaim and recycle the water.  Without filtration.  Ugh!  Hope they kept that in mind when they got a mouthful of the brown water!  We passed on this awesome opportunity to cool down :)

On the way back we stop by the Silent Disco. We grab a pair of headphones and go on in.  Keep in mind that those watching can't hear a thing.  I'm told this is rolling music.  Remember - I'm soccer mom.  I have to be educated on these kinds of things.  I thought it was just really cool Bollywood music.  Shows what I know.  We step around the people passed out on blankets or just in the grass.  At this point I don't understand how anyone can just sleep with all of the noise and people walking over them.  Alright - I'm not naive - I know most of them have a few illegal substances in their bloodstream, but laying right out in the middle of everything?  (Remember this later in the post). We head back home for a hot shower and clean toilet seat.  Never underestimate these.  Ever.  Trust me!

Day 2 - I have to work Friday until 4 and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band starts at 5:30.  We hightail it to day parking and trek back to the gate.  It seems longer today.  Maybe that's because it's still 95 degrees.  We get to hear a bit of them but it's a lot more crowded today.  We head over to OK Go.  You'll have to check out their "Here It Goes Again" video on YouTube.  It's great.  They play this song just as we get there.  Without the treadmills though. Another cool band.  I glance over and realize the girl next to me is not wearing a bikini top as I thought.   She's not wearing anything on top.  Oh yeah - I'm at Bonnaroo.  I forget that just about anything goes.  More power to her.  Perhaps if mine were 20-yr-old perky ones and not soon-to-be-40 ones I might be doing the same thing.

We head over to the main stage.  Tenacious D is playing and we want to get a good spot.  Bathroom break again.  I'm beginning to dread these.  A necessary evil though with all the water we're drinking.  Jack Black is great!  Not just funny but really talented.  And truly understands what a woman wants (for those of you familiar with their songs, you know what I'm talking about).    Kings of Leon are next.  We move up closer for them.  They were incredible!  Kristina wants to see the Black Keys, so we proceed to walk back over to the other side of the farm.  We have a few minutes before they start so we crash on the blanket.  Remember yesterday when I couldn't believe someone could sleep here?  Well, here we are after 5 hours yesterday and 7 hours already today.  I am beat!  We sleep for about 30 minutes before we realize The Black Keys are already playing.  It's a concert.  And really loud.  And we were sleeping!  We stayed for Kid Cudi but decided to call it a night before B.O.B. came out.  It's 3:30 a.m. when we get to my house.  Everything into the wash.  I'm starting to reek of hay and smoke.

Day 3 is an early one.  Imelda May is playing at 12:15.  She's an awesome jazz singer that used to be with Blue Harlem.  Long lines today, so we are hiking quickly over to her tent.  We missed a little bit, but caught most of the show.    The tent is small and there is only about 40 people in it.  A great venue to see Imelda.  Even the band is melting now though.  The tent does little to keep us cool in the close to 100 degree weather.  After she finishes her set, I buy a CD and head behind the tent for autographs.  They band is there so I go up to the guitar player.  He's nonchalantly smoking a joint and completely unfazed by the fact I've come up to them.  They are more than happy to sign my CD and even seemed surprised that I wanted their autographs too.  I head back in the tent to get Imelda's.  She's great!  Bless her heart - she takes pictures with everyone even though we are all dripping with sweat by now. I can't believe I actually got to meet her!

It's hot. Really hot.  We stop to eat and then hang out at the mist tent.  I hope that's mud we are standing in.  At this point, it's up for debate.  We head over to Norah Jones.  We chill (in the hot sun and it's 100 degrees now) until she comes out.  We stand right behind the VIP area which is essentially empty, so we have a great view.  We listen to about half of her set, but give up because it is just too hot.  Our beer booth is right in front of her stage and we end up going to work early. The workers are glad to get off early and we finally get out of the hot sun.  We get all the water and cokes we want and our hands are digging the beverages out of ice water.  Norah finishes up and it gets busy in the booth as people are leaving for the next venue and filing in to listen to the net band here.  The Avett Brothers and Weezer both play as we are working.  They were awesome.  We got to meet a ton of great people, stayed cool and got to listen to the bands we would have gone to see anyways.

Here are a few pics I managed to get while we were working, but I missed the guy with the Union Jack thong.  I'm sure this is burned into Ryan's mind whether he likes it or not.  I didn't notice the thong at first because I was checking out his body paint.  Then he dropped his sunglasses and had to bend down.  I don't know how Ryan kept a straight face but the rest of us were rolling on the floor.  I hope this sight was erased for him by the three not so clothed girls that walked by a few minutes later. 

We get off a little early which is a good thing because my feet are killing me by know.  Keep in mind I've had no beer and I don't do drugs.  So I'm working off of Tylenol and adrenaline.  We're soaked, but it's still a million degrees out.  We get off in time to see part of Stevie Wonder.  Well - hear him.  Everyone is at the main stage, so we are all the way in the back.  My mom said it's OK since Stevie couldn't see us either (groan!).  After we move up closer and camp out until Jay-Z comes on.  Another long nap.  Jay-Z put on a great performance.  I honestly didn't know most of his songs, but the backdrop was really cool and he really put on a non-stop show.  Next Kristina wants to see GWAR.  I'm up for it.  We're here and I'm not looking forward to the hike back to the truck.  We crash again only to wake to the guys next to us hollering how the hell can we sleep through this band?  So I didn't know who or what GWAR was.  I do now.  Not much surprises me at this point, but they came close.  We get home about 5 this time.  I think I'm going to have to bleach these clothes.

Day 4 - Sunday.  Is it really the last day already?  I end up oversleeping and I missed Ingrid Michaelson.  And Blues Traveller.  We had to wait in a looong line to get get tickets for Bo Burnham.  It was worth it though since the Comedy Tent was air conditioned!  We caught a little of the Dropkick Murphys and Ween on the way to get a spot for the Zac Brown Band.  What a show!  I'm always up for a little Chicken Fried!  Dave Matthews is on next so we decide to take it easy and not lose our spot.  Dinner and bathroom break (along with a lifetime supply of Purell).  We were both really disappointed in the Dave Matthews Band.  His band is awesome.  But Dave was stoned, didn't play anything we knew except a Lynyrd Skynyrd song and seemed really self-indulgent.  I guess when you are that famous and played Bonnaroo a bunch of times you can do what you want.  But disappointing anyways.

So the insanity is over.  I have a ton of great memories and strange pictures from this weekend.  Thanks to my partner-in-crime Kristina for going with me and putting up with me all weekend.  I would have never done it without her.  My shoes are still covered in mud and hay (and God knows what else) and I really don't think I'm going to get this smell out of my clothes ever.  I think I'll just have to pass if I see another port-a-potty!  Would I do it again?  Hell yeah!  I'm sunburned and worn out, but it was an experience I won't forget.  Next year is the 10th anniversary.  I can't wait to see the lineup.  I won't be living here, but I may have to schedule a few days vacation for the second week of June 2011.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Adventures

So, just to let everyone know, contrary to popular belief - I'm not delusional.  I'm making changes.  Pretty drastic ones.  The last two months have been very different for me.  I'm doing some things I never thought I would do.  Getting a divorce.  Leaving my job of 17 years.  Moving away from dear friends that my kids and I have grown up with.  Not everyone understands.  The ones that matter do.  They know who I am and my reasons for moving on.
I don't know what life has in store for me.  I just know it's time.  Time to go back home. Time for a new career.  Time to live up to the potential that I know I have been given.  So on to the unknown...