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SUMMER READING ASSIGNMENT (The rest)

After finishing our first month of school, I’m reminiscing about my summer escapes.  I let the kids watch videos longer than they should, to savor a few more words (WTF: Wait ’til finished!)!  Sure, they read books, too, but books feel different when optional vs. requisite!

I’m excited to share this 2nd part of my Summer 2016 reading list. PLUS, one I’m cracking open tonight AND one already Amazon wish-listed – containing unforeseen twists even before creasing the cover. Click on the links to check out the books!

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The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

My reading pattern alternates between (or reading concurrently) heavy and light-hearted stories. I visited local Dave’s Used Bookstore and found another Sparks book! Though a fairly recent film release, my #BookBeforeFilm mantra insisted I read this one before watching the film that same weekend. Sparks also wove the characters’ pets into the story, for a warm-fuzzy touch to this heart-squeezing story.

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A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

(Daughter’s summer reading assignment #1) – I finished this book with my daughter – 4 years after starting it with my son. I wish I’d read this when I was in elementary school because the technology mentioned wasn’t as real then and IT’s power may have been more frightening. Though, on the heels of another internet security breach, the fear feels real. Movie remake coming soon!

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Rumble Fish by S.E. Hinton

(Daughter’s summer reading assignment #2) – Mentioning S.E. Hinton’s name makes me giddy a) Because she is female, b) Successful in her teens, c) And, wrote The Outsiders – THE most amazing story and hunk movie of my teenage years.  I feel like Hinton’s characters speak their truth so well, that you can’t help but empathize and join them in their journey – blow by blow.

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Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks 

I’m always curious to read different genres of my favorite authors to compare story construction. I thought each chapter would begin “Dear Diary, Today we…” Instead, it revealed their adulthood as a result of their childhood – perhaps many of our childhoods, when kids ran free. It was also exciting for me – as a writer – to learn where his life inspired his books (A Walk To Remember) and how he presented those personal stories.


NEXT IN MIND:

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The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

I mentioned starting this book on my Currently – September 2016 list.  Finally I’ll make an honest woman out of me, no kids, red wine, pjs, and grown up book by Jo sounds like the perfect reading environment!

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The Cuckoo’s Calling by Richard Galbraith

I salivate over juicy mysteries! This one starts in immediately with the author!  I’m the last person on the planet to learn that Richard is really Jo (see above)!  This set of 3  (and growing – named after the lead character/investigator), The Cormoran Strike series, are giving people chills and a thirst for blood pumping crime series!  

Here are the other two (don’t have to be read sequentially):

bookrgsilk2     bookrgcareer3

Though I can’t keep the summer reading pace during the school year, I hope to read one new one per “Currently” post. I want to hear what you’ve read in the comments below!

1st part of my list is HERE

What about you? What are you reading next?
Did you already know about Richard Galbraith?
Who is your favorite author?
What book is your guilty pleasure?
Are you a daily, nightly, weekly or sporadic reader?
Do you like when books change covers?

#Readabookday #NicholasSparks #MicahSparks #RomanceNovel #SciFi #Murder #Mystery #BookIsBetter #SummerReading #BookClub #TheCuckoosCalling #RobertGalbraith #JKRowling #MadeleineLEngel #SEHinton #Pseudonym #PenName #AWrinkleInTime #TheChoice #ThreeWeeksWithMyBrother #TheCasualVacancy #CuckoosCalling #Silkworm #CareerOfEvil #CormoranStrike #Detective

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YOU WENT WHERE? CALICO GHOST TOWN (WITH KIDS)

When first planning a road trip to Vegas, I wanted to break up the drive with stops along the way.

Such a charming town with so much to discover!

During our July trip, knowing we were hours ahead of my family, we pulled off the freeway just a few minutes before Calico Ghost town to kill some time!

The landscape plucks you from now and transports you

Now this here used to be a bustling silver mining town of 3,000 people  that mined $13-20 million in silver and $9 million in borate minerals between 1881 and 1907 (silver stopped being profitable in 1897). When the mines dried up, the folks headed for the wilderness.

Townsfolk

Because we arrived early, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the Calico House Restaurant. The views from their back porch hinted at other things to do while in town. Their rockers out front and the friendliness of the staff inside slowed our speed from freeways to tumbleweeds.

Town Center is the front porch of the Calico House restaurant.

With stuffed bellies, we moseyed down the road to the gold panning station!

(L) Gold! (R) Swirling slowly to get silt out and gold to stay!

Turns out this was just one of the many adventures in town.

Next time you’ll find us belly up in the town tavern

Thanks to the generosity of their new owner (the Knott’s family), there was a great deal if you planned to visit a few.


While they offer a train trip and a mine tour, we left those for the next time since we had to get back on the road to Vegas (and because my kids are still a bit apprehensive about ghosts)!


Our three thumb review is 3 thumbs waving in the air trying to find our balance in what we unanimously agree was the best surprise: the Mystery House!

Look at the angle of the door frame, kids are walking upright!

My teen son enjoyed repeatedly challenging an optical illusion that gripped our perception! I was totally floored knowing how much your mind could be tricked into believing and my tween daughter loved the extra puns thrown in to really drive that point home.

Wanna see a man eating chicken?

My teen son hinted that he felt like there wasn’t enough to do for kids his age – but I’ll counter that by saying there was a lot that we saved for next time including perusing the graveyard. Plus, I think camping near a ghost town may make teenage hearts pound!


Oh, here’s how hot the World’s largest Thermometer showed it was during our mid-July 6pm drive home.

WTF: Wow, that’s fiery! It was 119 when we arrived!

Elmer you’re next!

#ThreeThumbReviews #Baker #WorldsTallestThermometer #RoadTrip #LasVegas #Calico #Ghosttown #Silver #Mining #LongCut

SUMMER READING ASSIGNMENT

The last night before school started, both kids crammed to finish summer reading assignments.  Though I don’t get summers off, the reprieve from micro-momagering homework allowed me some personal reading time.  So, here’re my book reports (to check the books out, click on the book photos to be teleported to Amazon):

One With You by Sylvia Day

I bought this at Target while waiting to get tires fixed. I didn’t realize this book closed out the sultry Crossfire series. Briefly, I considered holding off on finishing this book to read the first few novels in the series. Honestly, I won’t… for a really stupid reason.  During all the hot scenes, there were lots of fantastic descriptors for the guy’s joystick but called the gal’s thunderdome her “sex.” Boring and irked me.

fg

Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness by Suzy Favor Hamilton 

One of my book-loving friends loaned me this book. This was a fascinating read braiding worlds I’ve never personally experienced: Olympic training, Bi-Polar Disorder and champion Vegas call girl.  I couldn’t put this book down. I felt like she was spilling her heart out to me over coffee so I couldn’t help but stay put and hear her out.

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A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

Another book-loving friend loaned me this book when they saw my bullet-journal page I’d created tracking Nicholas Sparks’ books and the few I’d yet to read.  Not sure what took me so long to read this – perhaps because I prefer to read books before seeing the movie. To make up for lost time, I read the book and watched the movie the same weekend!  Those weren’t allergies making my eyes puffy! Very touching too, to learn the inspiration behind this story too in a later book by Sparks…

Night by Elie Wiesel

(Son’s summer reading assignment #1) – This book is powerful, yet the length makes you confident that you’ll survive it with your heart and humanity intact.  This was my 2nd time reading it, the first time after seeing Elie on Oprah.  I wanted to re-read the book to be able to discuss it with my son.  It saddened me to learn that Elie Wiesel passed away while his voice was in my head.

I’m amazed to report, there are more books from my summer reading pile!  Check back in a few days to see what else occupied my mind and to learn the inspiration behind A Walk to Remember!

What did you read this summer?
How’d you hear about the book?
Hard copy or Kindle?
Autobiographical or Fiction?
Books or Movies better?
If I ask you to list what descriptors you would have used in One With You, will that create a whole new set of Adult ads on my page?!

#Readabookday #NicholasSparks #Vegas #Crossfire #Target #BookIsBetter #SummerReading #BookClub #SylviaDay #OneWithYou #ElieWiesel #Night #SuzyFavorHamilton #FastGirl #NicholasSparks #AWalktoRemember #BookReport #TearJerker

HERE’S WHY YOU SHOULD RUN AWAY TO THE CIRCUS

The next time The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus passes through your town, here’s why you absolutely must get up off the couch and see this show! I was fortunate enough to see the World Premiere in Los Angeles. While Feld Entertainment (producers of the show) promised it’d be better than ever, since retiring their trademark elephants, I am here to say they slightly missed their mark. They didn’t just “do better,” they launched their circus into a new dimension light years away! The show is truly Out of this World.  
The Ringling Bros. put on a tremendous show for a hometown price. From the first dramatic moment when the Simet Spacewalkers demonstrated graceful balance and agility while seemingly space walking in zero gravity, I held my breath. Their otherworldly skills drew us in for an unbelievable treat!   Suddenly the planets burst revealing contortionists inside as color, motion and music pulsed through every inch of the room, from floor to ceiling! Suddenly there are no rings, no boundaries, no pre-conceived notions!    To help us travel safely through this new uncharted outer space, we follow the story of Paolo who searches the galaxy in search of performers worthy of joining The Greatest Show on Earth®! However, he has an adversary in the form of an intergalactic circus queen who is keen on building The Greatest Show of any Galaxy!
 Immediately some stars take sides with dramatically different outcomes. Then the race begins to visit the many planets to round up the various stellar circus acts.   Many acts seem comfortably familiar and expected for a circus until you realize the performers blew the top off and flew to a higher level!


Trampoline acrobats and stilt walkers circle the ring… on ice skates; more motorcyclists than should fit together race… inside a small metal spherical cage; clowns juggle rings… while upside down; human pyramids form… while on horseback thundering around the ring.   Finally, their app! So fun, it lets you know what’s coming and entertains during downtime. My favorites are the photo booth and unscrambling games!

Me, fulfilling my life-long dream to be a circus clown! They ran the show!

Ringling Bros is near Los Angeles until August 7 so get tickets now! For a discount, check the events page

KEEPING UP WITH THE KID ACTION: POKÉMON GO WTF!

WTF: Way Too Funtastic!PokeGoLogo

Before night falls, there is a good chance you will cross paths with Pokémon Go, and ponder whether to wander along after it.  I never watched or played Pokémon (gasp!), but became hooked by the funtastic AR (augmented reality) app upon spotting my first Pokémon. Follow me…

*Topics with an asterisk will be discussed in a future post – coming soon! If you have specific questions, leave them in the comments below!

 

WHAT THE…
When app opens you’ll see a cartoon GPS map of where you’re standing, except the app reveals things you’ve never seen before. Whoa!

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WHAT ARE THOSE?

POKÉSTOPS:
LOOK LIKE: A little blue table with a blue cube floating above it. Click on them to see what landmark it features. As you get closer, it opens up to a rotating, blue flat Pokémon ball.
PokeGopost1stops2
WHADDYA DO: Click to open it, then swipe to spin the center part with the picture. When things pop out of the ball, tap them to store in your bag*. These items help you catch or battle Pokémon*.
TIP: When purple, you’ve already collected items-come back later.

GYMS:
LOOK LIKE: Towering helipad with red, yellow or blue* spotlights and a Pokémon on top.
pokegopost1gym
WHADDYA DO
: Until you hit Level 5, nothing*. You can click on these and remember their locations.

FLUTTERING LEAVES:
LOOKS LIKE: Small bunch of green confetti – appears sporadically.
pokegopost1leave
WHADDYA DO: This indicates a Pokémon’s arrival, so safely make your way towards the green leaves.
TIP: On the bottom right of the screen you’ll see 3 Pokémons on a white strip. Tap on that to see several Pokémon with footprints that are nearby. As you walk closer, the number of feet will go down.
pokegopost1mapnear

FLOWER PETALS POURING FROM POKÉSTOPS:
LOOKS LIKE: Pink confetti (Appears for up to 30 min.). PokeGopost1stops
WHADDYA DO: This was a Lure Module activated by another player to lure Pokémon here. Hang out, you’ll catch a bunch! You, too, have a lure module in your bag* to activate a Pokéstop. Other players see it and show up.

PokeGopost1Lurereal

TIP: Catch multiples of Pokémon to help evolve them to stronger Pokémon*.

HOW TO MOVE
Walk, run, or drive (put down phone while moving)! If you walk, you may meet other players! There are game benefits of walking*.

pokegopost1friends

HOW TO AVOID REAL DANGER

  • Look both ways before crossing streets
  • Travel with a pack of friends or parent
  • Don’t go into isolated places or strangers’ homes

pikawarning

SUBSCRIBE SO YOU DON’T MISS THE NEXT STEP:  HOW TO CATCH/MANAGE POKÉMON and WHAT’S IN MY BAG?

Please share if you have a friend trying to get into the game but you don’t have time to stop and explain it to them because you have Pokémon to catch!

#PokemonGo #Nintendo #Niantic Labs #Pokémon #PokémonGoApp #PokemonGoDown

THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH® FLIES OUT OF THIS WORLD!

Logo RBBB 146 Out Of This World_FINAL

This week, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey (RBBB) celebrates their 146th year of wow-ing audiences by launching The Greatest Show on Earth!® to a new dimension: Out of This World! Few long-lasting well-loved brands or shows last through decades, much less generations, because of how quickly tastes change. Yet Ringling Bros. manages to remain a family custom by honoring their traditions, feeling the hearts of their guests and creatively redefining themselves. We’re fortunate to have the world-premiere here in Los Angeles on Thursday July 14 – but check www.ringling.com to find out when they’re rocketing to you!

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Let’s start with the elephant in the room, the elephants have left the circus tent. Animal care was always a priority with Ringling Bros. and they entrusted their elephants with the best professionals in veterinary and elephant care, as well as educated the public on elephant conservation. Still, due to public grumbling over perceived issues with their elephant’s treatment, they retired them from the show. Though the elephants were a traditional part of the show, the numerous remaining traditions will lead Ringling Bros. to new dimensions.

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In Ringling Bros. tradition, they promise to deliver a show with the same awe-inspiring acrobatics, exhilarating equestrians, beautifully big cats, death-defying daredevils and much more to keep your jaw open in amazement!  Some intangible, but definitely noticeable, traditions are the presence of 2nd or 3rd generation performers so the show has the same comfortable feel we’re used to – despite suddenly expanding their acts to all-new playing fields!

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To keep up with today’s hi-tech society, this circus promises a more interactive and immersive story experience and less of a, well, 3-ring circus. Amazing electronic screens and a colorful ice surface grabbing guests’ attention pulling us into the amazing story of good vs. evil told while exploring extraordinary new worlds on distant planets of ice, fire, sand and water.  The audience will witness an aerial “space walk” in zero-gravity, a clown performing his antics on a pole 5 stories up, and Chinese acrobatics – while on ice skates.

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How cool is this, too, that Ringling Bros. launches their new space show only 9 days after spaceship Juno landed on Jupiter?!  Gives me a kizmetingle…  

For a discount code for ordering your tickets, click here!

#RinglingBros

CIRCUS VARGAS: Be Present: It’ll Blow Your Mind!

These days live entertainment and family traditions find themselves competing with, and wondering how to beat, the virtual realities so many people live in. People shape their own ideal lives in social media or step into and succeed in any role in a make-believe dimension – how does one top that? Under the big top, Circus Vargas continues their tradition of impressing crowds daily with unbelievable yet true reality happening live right before their very eyes!  

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Leaving the real world outside behind, the mystical lights drew the kids in…

When you step through the Circus Vargas tent’s grand entrance into the dark interior, you can no longer see the rules and boundaries from daily life. Everything is possible!

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There are acts for everyone in the family! This one is for the ladies – tall, dark and handsome gymnasts!

Ticket takers and snack vendors have fanciful flirty makeup teasing about the magical evening to come. People are not defined by one role!

CV_Vova with cube_credit- Mike Rollerson

Juggling this 2-D figure was amazing but the magic started when he picks up the 3-D cube!

Encompassing the quaint one-ring circus stage, one can see hints of a stronger structure soaring into the upper points of the tent. There are no limits to Circus Vargas’ imagination!

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This show reaches new heights as your imagination soars with each new act!       WTF: Wow, They’re Flying!

The touring company is made up of the original Vargas family relatives, close friends, or long-time Circus Vargas family. Through the strength of their bond, you receive a thrilling and efficient show that keeps surprising you, act after act. At Circus Vargas, family comes first!

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A picture is impressive, to watch this unfold in reality is mind-boggling!

The show opens with a family-first reminder that when you unplug from your iDevices, you plug into the people and world around you. They warmed us up with mind-boggling contortionists! High-energy acrobats took the experience over the top with one press of a button, sending an electric pulse through the audience as their suits lit up! The show proves you can do whatever you set your mind on!

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Whether it’s hulahoops, motorcycling, or other daredevil acts, turning the lights off increases the danger and electricity!

The entertaining, well-choreographed show moved quickly through it’s breath-taking, sometimes dangerous, but always exhilarating acts, with a fantastic duo providing comedy and musical relief between acts.  Be present, it’ll blow your mind!

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Seeing two motorcycles travel the inner globe is exhilarating, but your senses will race when the lights go out!

Finally, Circus Vargas has heart! At every stop, they contribute to local charities. At our performance, Olive Crest was given the  time to share their mission with the audience and that opportunity is priceless – for real.

Circus Vargas Opens TOMORROW in Woodland Hills,, CA. To see when Circus Vargas’ big top will come to your town, check frequently at www.circusvargas.com

MIDLIFE MOTHER’S DAY REMIX

Am I the only one who was glad to not be harshly yanked from my dream of driving down a scenic cliff side road in a vintage convertible with sun on my face, breeze in my hair only to find cinnamon toast showering her sheets as the kids get ready to rumble?

wake up

Even as  youngsters, holidays never started at the crack of dawn. For my now tween and teen – Rewritten Mother’s Day rituals (as they dawned on me today):

Sleep in or entertain yourselves until the clock passes 10am – This morning I am loving watching them sleep, listening to their snoring like I used to when they were babies in their cribs. Advanced kid move: If you wake up early, silently read in bed or make a list of 10 things you love to do with Mom.

The little (free) things matter most – While I love any great adventure that the kids dream up, please know that one sibling-bicker-free day, not having to repeat myself/find it for you or the gift of a longer-than-fleeting smile while your games reload makes me feel rich! Advanced kid move: Good long hugs earn you almost anything.

Leave no trace – As the amazing day you planned draws to an end, put the house back into better shape than when you found it without Mom lifting a finger. Cinnamon toast in bed – you strip the sheets and wash them. After the celebrations make time pass too quickly – go work on your homework without being told so her glow doesn’t turn to glowering. Advanced kid move: Set up the next day in advance so Mom eases her way into Monday, too – backpacks and sports gear packed, clothes out, lunches made (bonus points if you make Mom’s lunch), coffee machine locked and loaded.

cleanAll Mom’s deserve days of appreciation for their relentless dedication! For me, laying in bed since I woke up 3 hours ago, blogging from bed, looking forward to watching a mom rom com and take a walk together will be the best Mom’s Day yet.

Photo by SprayedOut.com

Here’s to you (& single Dads who mother too) and those many who support you all in being the best mom’s ever! Thanks to my kids whom I love more than words and who truly amaze me every day!

PARENT MUSIC FESTIVAL TRAINING PROGRAM – Part 3 of 3

Last session before your music festival event! You’ve trained for loud levels and longevity! You’ve prepped for festival fun.

Couch to Music Festival: Parents Training Guide

Again, while this applies to Wango Tango, the program easily adapts to Coachella, Stagecoach, or other festivals.

  • ATTIRE: Most music festivals take place outdoors during the spring or summer. Some experience significant temperature changes from day to evening – the more you dance, the less you’ll notice.
    • WHAT’S HOT: Crazy Loosey
      • Loose flowing clothes – Slightly stretchy, cut-outs. Clothes that won’t interrupt your groove but breeze blows through – all while fiercely flattering.
  • Accessorize – Hats or glasses required! Red sunburned faces or eyes aren’t cool – ever. Keep hats streamlined to not hinder people’s views.
  • Cute compression socks – Crazy socks are in! Concert-goers will applaud as your wild socks with cute boogie shoes outdance them
  • Comfy shoes – if you can find something in a boot or chunky heel, you’ll be above the crowd for best viewing!

WHAT’S NOT: Mom or dad jeans

mom jeans

WTF Wango Tango Fangirls may change their minds about Mom Jeans – totally CUTE!

  • FUELING: Eat to stay strong for your music marathon:
    • HYDRATION vs RAGING – While there are tons of fun drinks in the festival, try to drink to hydrate:
      • Alternate – Every other drink alternate between water and soda or alcohol
      • Combine – Gatorade Margaritas, they’re real!
    • ALL-DAY FUELING – Eat a protein-filled breakfast with light carbs, preferably whole fiber. Consider bringing snacks to ensure your energy lasts all night long! The festival contains quick pick-me-up options but watch out for the crash!

Food

  • MEDALS OF COMPLETION:
    • ROCK-N-ROLL VOICE: Even with voice training, you’re apt to get some sexy, smoky voice. Time to re-do your phone voicemail!
    • EVENT JERSEY: Not only do you and fellow jersey-wearers share an instant bond, it’s a badge of pride that you went the distance!
    • ASSUAGED STRESS/MIDLIFE SYMPTOMS: With great tunes, views, and artists you’re bound to recapture your youthful spirit and strengthen family/friendship bonds! Clapping and dancing blows away stress leaving you more centered. Adrenaline highs boost productivity

Stay loose and have crazy fun! Let me know if this plan gets you into the groove to go all night or makes you look forward to your event with renewed vigor!

Let me know if I forgot anything and what music festivals you will hit!

PARENT MUSIC FESTIVAL TRAINING PROGRAM – Part 2 of 3

First, we kicked off and ramped up music festival endurance training. Now, focus shifts to comfort during and after the event!  While this applies to Wango Tango, one can easily adapt the program to Coachella or Stagecoach or longer events.

Couch to Music Festival: Parents Training Guide (con’t)

  • VOICE CONDITIONING: Being an “adoring fan” may be tougher than a performer. They sing for a few minutes up to an hour while you consistently cheer for nearly 5 hours – without training.
    • USE YOUR GUT – Learn to push your voice from your core, through your diaphragm and control it escaping from your throat – Look
    • BUFFER – Practice while in your car, on the freeway – not even shower walls  provide enough buffer for those nearby.
Image titled Scream Sing without Damaging Your Voice Step 7

WTF: Wango Tango Fangirl checked out wikihow to Scream Sing without hurting her voice!

 

  • AVOID INJURIES: Avoid training too hard to prevent injuries. Here are the most commonly occurring:
    • 2 LEFT FEET – While you may not know how to Hit the Quan, just stay loose and move any parts of your body as you feel fit!
    • BLEEDING EARS – Increase car radio volume a little each day. Smart people, not old, buffer with foam earplugs.
    • GENERATION GAP – Wider than thigh gaps, navigating this seems trickier. Though every trend comes back around, the new generation still shocks us.  To infiltrate the crowd unnoticed, buy a few accessories at local teen stores. If you blend, youngsters are more likely to behave naturally. You may learn more social and behavioral cues for the next time you try to communicate with them.

  • KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Be prepared!
    • MUSIC – My daughter think I’ve invented this cool car radio game called Name That Tune where I quickly turn the radio on then off and they blurt out the title and artist of radio songs. While it’s fun for them, my music muscle memory kicks in from back in the days when I could remember any song lyrics but not algebraic equations.
    • FLASHCARDS – Music festivals, especially in Los Angeles, attract celebrities. So another game rises from the pages of tabloid/fashion magazines where my daughter and I verbalize what the star “must be” saying with their photoshoot poses. This will prevent me from calling a cast by the wrong TV show next time we cross paths.

How many can you name?

Coming tomorrow: Attire, Fueling, Medals of completion.

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