Turn Around and Swim

Life | Lessons | Laughter | Love


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Little League Moment in Buddha Fashion

In one final rally, the boys tried to hold on to their lead to advance to the next round of the 9u baseball playoffs. It was not in their cards. Not this time. Not this year. Not this season.

I went over to the dugout after Noochie’s last “at bat” and saw the tears welled up in his eyes. He was never going to release them but they were there, they were real and yet he wasn’t going to let them be in charge.

He held his head up high and congratulated every member of the other team. He thanked his coaches and teammates and he looked at me in Mogwai glances and then we headed to the car.

The silence overcame us as we drove off and made our way to get his other brother at football. When we arrived, he said to me, “I’m running to the “restroom”. Which for where we were, translated to the top of the football field hill and into the woods.

As time passed it dawned on me he had not yet returned to the car. I looked up the hill and there he was, in Buddha fashion, sitting cross-legged and reflecting.

I knew exactly what he needed from the moment. I knew exactly what he was reflecting on. I knew he would work it out within himself to regroup and move on. I knew he let the tears, finally take charge.

When he returned to the vehicle he was more at peace with himself. The somber look dissipated and he was humbled. I asked him if he was alright and he replied, “I’m better now, it’s hard, I don’t want the season to end and I wanted my final game to be better than the way I performed. But I looked the other way towards my football practice field and I’m ready to transition to that game. I’m not letting myself down because I learned a lot. I’m just ready to be a better version of me next year.”

Ten years old and so wise beyond his years.

We talk a lot about mindfulness. We talk about communicating with each other and unconditionally supporting our little family of four, the boys and I.  They have seen me at both states. Those were I let the moment take control of me and other times when I stayed grounded and mindful. Yet, of all of us, he can practice this trait the best.

Mindfulness.

He is a constant reminder to me of what’s truly important. When to acknowledge it’s sometimes best to head for the hill. When to engage and when to simply just walk away; sometimes not even turning back.

The field dust will always be there behind us and the emptiness that takes over the bases, mound and plate sometimes is a reality. But what really matters is taking what you learned from every base, every hit and strike out, every walk and every run and make the next time around, a better version of you.

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Thank Goodness He Ate the Sour Crouch

Happy New Year! Goals started and failed and re-evaluated and started again and then dropped and left for 2017. It happens. Always. Every year. The one constant. 

Yet for the boys they hold a very literal and special meaning to the idea of a “do over”. This year was all about their academic goals and being their personal best. As mother, I’m all in!

So, because I fear of the Italian Moliok and superstition of not consuming a pig and fermented cabbage on New Years Day would bring gloom and doom to Camp P, I ventured off bright and early on 1-1-2016 to gather up a piggy and some kraut. If I’m gonna do this, ingest this delicacy and force it onto my kids, I’m at least gonna do it in better quality format. 

Whole Foods surely must sell and offer up a cleaner pig? Surely organic sauerkraut would taste better than the Eagles nest pouch of slop. So I decide to leave the boys home alone while I run to the grocer. Ten minutes into the ride and with only freeway cement between them and myself, I freak out. 

  

Source:  yahoo images. 

I rethink my whole leaving 3 boys alone and no amount of pork or sauerkraut can change my luck. But I proceed on after calling them 3 times and forcing them to stay on speaker phone with my parents who I remind you are 35 minutes away by car. Yet, I guess we would know if the $h*ts gonna hit the fan even if we can’t help. 

Anyways, I try to select the best piece of pig $26.99 a pound can buy us and after a stressful attempt to walk away from the garbage, I make my purchase. 

The kids survived their Home Alone event and as far as I know there aren’t any burglars having a fake shotgun tear up their minds. I survive the whole ordeal of coming to terms I have to prepare up a pig for health, wealth, prosperity and whatever else legend says. 

Now I have to get the boys on board. So naturally I add some white wine to…I don’t know maybe tenderize the meat? Umm no, because wine makes everything fine. And then viola! Piggy on some kraut. I tell the boys it’s a must and put the fear of the Italian superstition wrath into their minds. I also explain their goals won’t be met if they don’t at least try a little. Because working hard for success isn’t enough anymore, we have to eat pig flesh and soiled cabbage to succeed in 2016. 

They hold their noses, take a deep Ujjayi breath and bite, chew and swallow. Instant luck for the next 365 days!  

 Source: yahoo images 

So fast forward to February when typically most people, including myself, damn you Starbucks, lose sight of their resolutions. Well not the 3 P’s. Report cards came and the results were as follows:

Peeno – all M’s or E’s with +’s. Or whatever alpha character was assigned to denote above average or excellent or emerging. It’s kindergarten and you know that crazy alpha numeric point system you need a masters degree to figure out. All I need to know is will he be able to read and can I assign him chores?

Noochie – straight A’s oh except for Religion at a B+. So close little fella. He has since spent every night in 3rd Quarter having a one on one with the big guy up above. 

Nickelbass – WTF?!? All A’s and B’s. My boy who worked so hard and all the pork and cabbage in the world could not make him perform how he did. This kid worked so incredibly hard and busted his a$$ to achieve the marks he did! Amen to that!

So upon further review and 3 sets of eyes waiting for my reaction to their report cards, I literally jump for joy. I go into the whole Vince Lombardi of what it takes to succeed speech,  how incredibly proud I am and always go the extra mile because it’s never crowded talk. They are delighted. I am delighted. And then Peeno chimes in.”Well you know mommy, thank goodness you forced us to eat that sour crouch, because now we became smart!”

Eh! However they want to relate my fear of superstition to, well then, God Bless. They became smart and we don’t have to eat pork and kraut until 2017! And when in doubt my friends, eat the sour crouch! 


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Weekly Photo Challenge: UP

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Spring. The universal time when the layers come together. Building one upon the other. Where the rooted tree stretches up, reaching for the sky. It stands firm. It is rooted deep into the depths of the earth. Strong but bending to accommodate change. It takes in the light of the mid day’s sky and the buds begin to open…up, and we too awaken.


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Let Running Reign

20130416-110836.jpg “We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves…The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.” -Sir Roger Bannister, first runner to run a sub-4 minute mile

For a runner, running is freedom.  Running is facing your fears, your “I cannots” and going the extra mile.  When your feet hit the pavement, it creates a symphony.  A collection of notes you create.  You set the tempo, the softness and the beat as you go along with Mother Nature’s rhythm.

Some days we conquer and others days we take it slow, erring on the side of caution. Then there are those days we have no fear.  We plow through. Sometimes we arrive sooner and other times later. But we arrive.  We are present.

We gain acceptance of the challenges, conquer our fears of the unknown and relish in the beauty and adventure. When we finish, we are humbled.  We are strong.  We overcame.  We defeated our negative thoughts.  We made it happen.

Whether we are crossing a finishing line, laying down to rest or slowing down to avoid injury, we conquered.  We let running reign and so to will freedom.


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It’s Nice Not Needing To Be Somewhere, Said The Little Old Lady Who Could

Full moon. Mercury in retro something. It’s all wacked up lately. Everyones crazy. My kids won’t sleep. Things keep breaking and somebody let the dogs out.

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Geesh. Can someone please tell me when it is okay to poke my head out again. I’m afraid I might get blasted with eggs or meteorites. I am not one to believe in all that full moon, mercury in retrograde astronomy hype but I’m telling you, the crazies are out. Plus I am falling off task. I must have an undetected by the human eye rip in my mommy cape because things are just not lining up.

It was foggy as all swamps yesterday and I wasn’t sure if it was Bigfoot or my children’s school bus coming down the street. I could hear the rumble of either beast but it wasn’t until I saw it pulling away from my neighbor’s house, that I realized it was the bus and my kids were not on it.

So I had to hurry now and get all kids to school. It can’t ever be easy where I live in never, ever land. Of course they have to attend three different schools too. By the time I actually arrived at work, I was so confused as to where I had been, that I might have rather been abducted by Bigfoot. At least I would have been able to trace my steps.

So to finish up the full moon mercury rising craze, I accidentally washed a Huggies pull up with a load of laundry last night. Did I ever mention how me and beady things do not get along? If you have ever changed a highly saturated, urine logged diaper you know what I am talking about. The beady explosives are insanely hard to clean up. Even when using an entire box of Huggies Wipes and dry and wet paper towels. Those things will linger on the skin of a child for days.

So just imagine what they do to a load of laundry. Nice. I called it quits after the fourth wash last night. Then I retired. I expected to get 5-6, not years in prison, but hours of sleep. Well Mercury and the full moon met or something and little peanuts woke up at 1:00a.m., 3:00a.m. and then my pooch at 4:30a.m. I hope I shed all the beads, crazies and fog with the next moon cycle.

You have to be able to appreciate these things. How many people can say it was a full moon last night and appreciate it? –Sandy Miller

I met a friend for lunch today. Something which does not happen often. Luckily her little girl is the lead chipmunk in a play and because I live in a home with no pink, purple or fuscia, I had a brown long-sleeved shirt for her to borrow. She gets to transform her daughter into a chipmunk and I get some company for lunch. It’s a win-win for all!

As we went to go pay and rush back to our offices, the computerized cash register had to reboot. Mercury must have really pissed off Mars who then ran to the moon who threw a lassle around Uranus because the little annoyances just will not stop.

Until the little old lady who could, said, to me of all people, “She didn’t mind. She had nowhere to be. It’s nice to not need to be somewhere.” She didn’t mind that the computer was frozen and then had to reboot. She didn’t mind it was pouring rain and the cafe coffee was bitter. She was just present and content. Content to just be.

I loved her for this moment. She was in line next to me to remind me that sometimes, we have to just let it go. Perhaps the harder we resist change and fight the astronomical Gods, the worse off we are.

So many people recount that they are alive today because on September 11, 2001, they woke up late, missed their train, stayed home with their sick child or stopped to help a bystander. We can easily get wrapped up in all our daily B.S. that we forget, that every moment we are moving forward. Even when we think we are treading or taking two steps back, we are actually moving forward.

So my love goes out to the adorable little old lady today at the cafe who could. Who could appreciate the minor annoyance of a slight delay and was just glad for the moment. I thank her for sharing that moment with me. I needed her today. Somebody really was listening when I looked up into the full moon sky last night and wished I may, wished I might…

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I’m a Little Cupcake Short and Sweet

My Creation...Make It Come Alive!

My Creation…Make It Come Alive!

I go against the grain. That’s just what I do. I don’t know any other way to roll. So as this blog has always recommended, when life hands you lemons, of course you can throw them at people but you can also use them. And I do that too. Why waste a perfectly good lemon on someone’s head? Lately, I have been using my lemons to make detox water upon rising but a lemon is a lemon is a lemon. So do what you like. Anyways, you get the idea.

So, when life hands me obstacles like lemons and such, I blog and bake. That’s how Swimgirl and this little blog was born almost a year ago. I had some real sour, expired lemons in my fruit preserving drawer. I wanted to make like a bear and go into hibernation but I refused to abandon the journey. No obstacle, whether small or big was going to stop my chi from flowing. Even though I felt like I was sinking and the May Day! signal was not being picked up, I was still afloat. I started treading. Then eventually I was able to turn around and swim.

So here we are, almost a year later, giggling, swimming, inspiring and blogging. Oh and baking too! I tend to be an emotional eater. I eat when I get bogged down by life’s happenings. So instead of eating my way through the anguish, I bake instead. Then I recruit my three little sons to consume the delectable treats. I feel good and a lick of the batter is enough of an euphoria to take off the life preservers and just swim. So, as life happens and this month got more in-depth, I needed to signal out for an SOS.

Heaven from Earth

Heaven from Earth

First I looked up to heaven from earth. I think I received a few answers because to see this magnificence in the dead of winter, was enough to stoke my inner being and revive my attitude. It’s a gaze into the bigger picture. It’s an awakening by realizing there is so much more than what’s being held within each of us.

It’s the breathe, the new dawn, the glimpse that life will always be the journey, not the final destination. It’s knowing someone somewhere, is looking up at the same sky and in the universe our paths are crossing even if our journey is completely different. We are all one in the same, connected yet separate.

Next a fine espresso drink grounds me as I take joy in heaven in a cup. The bold taste of the espresso coupled with subtle hints of vanilla soymilk foam and a touch of dark chocolate just absorbs the cares of the day. It’s my drink. It’s my restoration smoothie. Holding the cup between my palms connects me with the art involved in creating this beverage.

Some wonder why some spend so much money on a coffee. This my friends is no ordinary coffee. It tells a story. From the seed in which it is made. The seed so intricately planted and cultivated that is harvested by a farmer in a developing country. The Fair Trade practice to empower the farmer and help sustain our planet. Then it is packaged and shipped. When it is ground by my Barista, he or she takes the time to make the perfect espresso, adding the exact amount of ingredients at the right temperature to pass onto me the seed that started it all. My heaven in a cup.

Heaven In a Cup

Heaven In a Cup

So we have heaven from earth, heaven in a cup and heaven on earth via my latest creation. The Grande Mocha Whip Cupcake. I wanted to recreate heaven on earth since life has been handing me lots of yellow produce lately. I wanted to stop, think and listen rather than overeat. I wanted to take a step back and create. Thus, the little cupcake short and sweet was born. It took almost a week to create this lovely piece of joy. Just like when we set out to blog we navigate and create our sites. With trial and error we pick our theme, choose our Gravatar, establish our color scheme and organize our widgets. Then we begin. We tap key after key and before we know it we are blogging. Just like that.

Just like my cupcake was created. Ingredient by ingredient an espresso drink recreated in a cupcake. Rich espresso infused with dark chocolate and vanilla. In the drink version, my favorite part is when the cup runneth dry. Instead of approaching it as my cup is empty, I am full of joy instead. The sweet chocolate syrup at the bottom with white foam. That’s the best part. This was the hardest to replicate. Finally, after good old trial and error, I found the magic ingredient. An Oreo cookie was lined in the muffin tin to recreate the best part of the drink. Yet, the frosting top does not disappoint either as the first layer captures the espresso froth while the next layer captures the vanilla soymilk foam. The hints of espresso and dark, rich chocolate will tempt your soul…wanting more! But why stop there? Why just create and not share?

Filled with life, lessons, laughter and love...it's a blogcake theme!

Filled with life, lessons, laughter and love…it’s a blogcake theme!

So despite the what ifs, and little voices that tell me I would never win, I entered heaven on earth into a cupcake contest. So for the next 14 days my cupcake will be judged by all of you and the world-wide web. It may be hard for the non coffee or chocolate lover to indulge in such a treat but if you are reading between the lines, you can see the bigger picture here.

You can see this is about creating when life hands us lemons. It’s about doing something you probably don’t stand a chance in succeeding in. It’s starting that really matters. It’s trying when your little engine says you can’t. It’s indulging in life rather than the goodies that make us think they enable us. It’s having self-control when you want to blow. It’s art, it’s your passion, it’s sharing when perhaps you think no one is listening. Because somewhere, up or out there, you will touch someone. You will be the seed that starts it all.

If you want to follow me on this journey through this thing called life, take some time to do a random act of kindness today. Stop by my cupcake page and indulge yourself for a bit. If you like what you see or have been inspired by this read, please vote right here by clicking on My Little Cupcake Short and Sweet! You can also click the cupcake Crown Icon to the right of this post. You can vote everyday until February 13, 2013 at 11:59 EST. Its more than winning to me. It’s sharing, it’s taking a risk, it’s enjoying the adventure even if the lemons are sour and expired. Now get out there and be all you strive to be. You are the only one holding yourself back.


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Itchy, Itchy Critter Head

Every four weeks for an hour and forty-five minutes I get a mommy break. I get to sip coffee, read Gossip magazines, wear a cape, look frazzled and have chemicals eating away at my scalp. The salon I go to when I need to wash my grays away also gives you a hand, arm and scalp massage. In the one and three quarter hours I am there, I relax, rejuvenate and get made all pretty. As a mom of three boys under the age of nine, sometimes this is how you have to get a break in. For some it is a shopping trip alone to the grocery store. You know when buying jar pasta sauce, tuna in a can and peanut butter takes four hours. Yet for you, wandering the aisles meditating to Kraft, Smuckers and Revlon is all it takes to stoke your inner being. I get it, I just prefer to sit and meditate while burning my scalp.

So you can all appreciate by reading my posts and following my blog how wild and crazy Me 4.0 can be at times. If you just ventured here via a Google search gone wrong or a 6.9 second blip across the WordPress topic screen, then stop right here. Read this first, Life In My Fast Lane. So, as you know or can see, if I can get 1.75 hours of chillaxin time humming to the tune of a hairdryer and lots of ladies yapping about nonsense, that to me is the equivalent as consuming a bottle of wine. Plus I do not have a two-day hangover afterwards either. Not that, that ever happens. Like ever. But you get the idea.

So a few days ago was mommy’s big night out. I found a parking spot that did not require a meter donation and ventured into my oasis spot. I chatted with my stylist a bit while she slapped the sticky brown chemicals on my head and then she set the timer of bliss. Now for the next forty-five minutes I can indulge in smut, sip a warm beverage and sit. Just sit. Bethenny Frankel‘s divorce was way too predictable and the fact that a princess is going to be a mama doesn’t really interest me. I’m happy and all for the Royal family and the soon to be little squirt but really, enough is enough. So, I open up my Whole Living Magazine and get caught up on the mind, body and soul connection. I mean it was only the August 2012 Edition. How do you say speed reader? I really should be on June 2013’s edition so I can get a head start on my Independence Day planning. I mean fireworks are nothing if you don’t have chia seed fruit pops in red, white and blue. That is the latest copy I received, right? Really, why do magazines do that?

Picture Courtesy of Google Images

Picture Courtesy of Google Images

Never mind. That is not important. What is important is the fact the very loud woman in the swivel chair next to me, caused me much anguish. You see somewhere between reading the ingredients for a Tahini-Mango smoothie to getting down with Deepak Chopra, I had a self-induced anxiety attack. After the ninth foil went into her bleach blonde hair, she proceeded to ask her stylist, “Did you happen to see any bugs?” Suddenly it was as if the power went out because the whole salon/spa became silent with the exception of someone’s eyebrow that just got waxed off. Did you say bugs lady?

Yes, oh yes, she did. She has lice. That is in, the present, right now, currently is with bugs. This is how you lay it down lady? This is how you break the news to your stylist? Because oh cancelling the appointment until you were bug free wouldn’t have been the wiser choice. Instead, this selfish little lady getting her hair all done up, relaxing to no avail with a bug infested head while I am squirming in my chair was the better option, right? But get this. The stylist keeps foiling and color applying. I would have put a bag over her head and escorted her out with some Aveda Comforting Tea.

Now there must be some sort of “never let the client see you sweat” protocol at the salon because I know the stylist was dying. I just do not get why she kept on going. Find a way to get off that head. Instead she brings a senior stylist over to talk product and bug zapper companies that can treat her head and home. That’s right, because white bugs can jump. In fact, they can jump very far. Possibly like right over to where my head, coat and purse were. They also like warm, clean, dim-lit spaces. Yes, well don’t we all after the age of 35? Now please get your head out of here.

I could see this wasn’t happening. I can appreciate the stylist’s professionalism. Even as the sweat beads ran down her forehead and she was basically in plank position applying the color she was all smiles and uh-huhs. Then she finished up and bolted. Great. What about me? That’s right, little miss I do everything for everyone just got selfish. What about me? I don’t want any bugs!

So, I took action. I got up and refilled my Aveda Comforting Tea multiple times, browsed the retail rack and scheduled 18 future appointments with the receptionist. As I watched from afar as she sat there sipping her coffee, getting fifty shades lighter and flipping through the Cosmo pages I couldn’t help but want to throw a bottle of Volumizer at her to go with her already inflated selfish little head. My timer was ticking away and I was loosing my precious mommy night out time to bug girl. Then she had the nerve along with the rest of the salon to look at me as to why I was wandering around aimlessly with my little black cape. So I sit back down. Then I starting thinking about all my friends and family who had lice and what they had to go through. It is unfortunate and I truly wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. But if you know you have an issue, don’t spread it. So I refill my tea for the tenth time and use the restroom for the sixth time.

Upon passing the shampoo bowl, I wanted to vomit thinking about how many bugs went swimming or will go swimming in there soon. I had to do something big. I only had fourteen minutes left on the ticker and then my mommy night out time would soon be up. No more sitting, sipping and browsing. It will be all over soon. If they weren’t going to move her, then I was going to move. So I venture out into the reception area. The staff at this point probably thought I was bloated with gas problems or going through some kind of substance withdrawal with all my movement, fidgeting and trips to the restroom. Plus I looked like Wonder Woman gone wrong.

It's mommy's turn and besides...I'm hot!(picture courtesy of Google Images)

It’s mommy’s turn and besides…I’m hot!
(picture courtesy of Google Images)

Ladies you know what I mean when you get your hair-colored but seriously I look like Medusa in a cape. Scary stuff. Funny as they wouldn’t put an end to bug girl but they asked if I wouldn’t mind going back into the style chair because they prefer no color get on the reception sofa. Oh but lice infesting the joint was A-Okay.

I knew I had to think big and act swiftly. So I gently loosen my smock cape just enough that it would “accidentally” drag on the floor and I refill my tea. Again. As I was proceeding back to the adjustable-height, swivel chair, I “accidentally” tripped over my smock cape and my tea went flying onto my chair, the floor and my station mirror. For all of you that frequent salons, then you know where there’s hair product there’s wire. My intentions were not to cause an electrical shortage. But those sparks registered on the magnitude of a bug zapper hanging from a tree in the night of summer. Several stylists ran over and asked if I was okay and not to worry about it. Then the magic words, “Why don’t you have a seat over here?” Finally. Now with four minutes left to shampoo bowl time, a self-induced anxiety attack and a detox cleanse in motion courtesy of the eight gallons of Aveda Comforting Tea I consumed, this mama is back in business. I refuse to ever be a victim. Ever!

Three days and counting I am still bug free and I am devising a future plan in the event the salon is too tight on customer service to decline a bug head. I really don’t blame them. I shame and blame critter head.

May you all begin your weekend with an itch free head. I’m still scratching mine in awe. Please do not get me wrong. I am not being insensitive or judgemental of the fact that this lady had lice. I could only imagine what she has been going through. The issue here is that she failed to disclose or be sensitive to the salon patrons and for goodness sake her stylist.

So, what would you do? Would you voice your concern or put yourself into cardiac arrest? Is it fair to others to come to a salon when you have lice without consulting with them before services begin? What crazy thing have you done to get out of a bad situation?