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HOW TO PREPARE FOR A TRIP TRAVELING FULL-CIRCLE

How does one prepare for a full-circle trip when one doesn’t know how much baggage there will be?

I’ve been fortunate enough to be granted the gift of a trip specifically catered to the mixed-Korean – often known as “Hapa” – adoptees (KADs) interested in returning to our birth-country to cement our existence in this foreign country. We’ll spend an amazing 10 days traveling through South Korea with the Hapa Mosaic Tour sponsored by Me & Korea. What a gift to learn first-hand about the culture and our shared and unique histories with other KADs.

As a single mom of two kids, I would never be able to afford this trip, nor have the time to research my past and coordinate everything for such a meaningful trip on my own so I’m incredibly grateful to Me & Korea for sponsoring this mind-bogglingly awesome opportunity. When I first put my desire out into the universe to take this trip last Fall, I never could have imagined that it’d be this soon. I’m a big believer in making our dreams known – it’s the first step to achieving them!

Me & Korea also hosts a full-Korean Mosaic Tour!

After a deposit to commit to this trip-of-a-lifetime, the one expense I needed to take care of – air transportation to Seoul. I figured, for my first trip to my birth country, I must go Korean Air! I love that the flight I booked allows travelers 2 bags so that I may bring a suitcase for my things and an extra for gifts (since they don’t tip in Korea, instead, they give gifts of appreciation) and souvenirs. My sturdy travel companion Lug bag will hold everything I need for my 13 hour direct flights and for the smaller trips where we go overnight to other parts of Korea.

During the flights I’ll spend plenty of time reviewing mental checklists and timelines while hoping that I packed everything I need. Meanwhile I don’t know if I can accurately anticipate the emotional baggage waiting to be unpacked.

CURRENCY ADAPTERS & CONNECTIVITY
Growing up I always felt a nervous vibration under my skin from the combination of being adopted, changing schools often and being an introvert. Too young to call upon words to express such complex emotions, and with no other shared or personal experiences to compare them to, I honestly didn’t believe anyone completely understood me. I just lived despite the feelings not really wrangling the skills to travel through them. Previously, I explained these emotions comparing them to Gwyneth Paltrow’s character living in a parallel existence in the film Sliding Doors knowing that I started life on one path and now existed on a very different one. However, unlike her character, my search focuses not on what I missed, rather figuring out what led up to me switching rails.

In this past year, as I’ve started to connect with other adoptees, and specifically hapa adoptees, that vibration seems so much less noticeable to the point that I don’t even recall exactly how it felt for the previous 40 plus years of my life. I don’t feel like it went away, more like I found other people whose vibrations matched mine. Social media proved its worth to me by taking my sparse landscape of KADs and filling it with 200,000+ others from those in the very first plane of adoptees departing from Korea to the most recent ones. Still, I’m sure that this trip will bring me face-to-face with stories in my head that I’ve dreamed up and those that I could never visualize.

From the USA office of my adoption agency

MAPS & TRAVEL DOCUMENTS
Requesting my adoption paperwork from the Korean and US offices of my adoption agency from almost 5 decades ago felt futile. Surprisingly, it only took them 2 weeks to travel back 47 years to pinpoint and send me photos of my American adoption files. Surprisingly, I moved the pinpoint for the start of my Seoul search 200 miles south as I realized that my birthplace originated closer to Busan – a southern beach town in Korea.

I devoured the information as though I’d discovered a treasure map with hidden paths, mysterious clues and a possible buried treasure. Through tears, I read notes detailing ingrained behaviors, spoken words and eating habits as an infant. It warmed my heart to read the words that someone cared enough to write. I’d never known that I’d stayed with a foster mom with older “siblings!” Before now, I imagined a very sterile vision of my first few months assuming I’d been one of many in a rows of cribs in an orphanage. For the first time, my past reached out to comfort me.

LOST IN TRANSLATION (THOUGH TRANSMITTING LOUD AND CLEAR)
I take everything I read and see in my files with a grain of salt. I don’t read or speak the Korean language. I’ve heard many accounts of adoptees finding a thin lining of distraction in their files – though clarification may be offered when visiting the Korean office of their adoption agency. During peak transnational adoption years, some detail fell away as adoptions were “streamlined” to help get more babies adopted. According to one chart, between the time I was born in 1970 to the time I flew to America in 1971, the number of babies Korea sent away grew from 37 babies/week to 52 babies/week with a peak of 170 babies/week being reached in the mid 1980s before it started to slow down.

To this day, the feelings surrounding these statistics shroud some Koreans in a delicate veil, detailed with bureaucratic formalities and mild mea culpas. I never expected the Korean Consulate General to attend a mixed-Korean event in Los Angeles to issue a formal apology to mixed Koreans and adoptees for sending us away, admitting their errors, offering the improvements and extending their warm, formal invitation to come visit Korea. Personally, I can tell by reading the English-written parts of my file (though I have translators working on a full Korean translation) that perhaps the agency fast-tracked me through the system quickly to parents where one was a doctor so I could receive excellent care for the extensive health issues I had as an infant. For this, I’m grateful.

I am grateful that this tour allows me to retrace my steps!

MY FIRST KOREAN ITINERARY
Though I existed for 8 months before being adopted, the opening scene in my mental reel about my life began at 8 months old. In my mind, someone found, processed and adopted me out within a month. Receiving my Korean adoption files recalibrated that timeline. The paperwork shed light on the landmarks I traveled during my first journey through Korea.

When I had children of my own, I remember looking at them at 8 months old, acknowledging that someone in my past faced an excruciating decision that I couldn’t even bring myself to simmer in for a few minutes. Learning that this actually happened at 2 months old, my mind immediately tried to guess whether this age made it easier or harder. There is no good answer regarding timing or reasons. Second guessing does no good now. I’m grateful for my life, for my unique path and, now, the ability to revisit it.

BEST TIME TO VISIT
Why now? To be honest, the universe knew the right time. Before, I didn’t have the resources or knowledge to navigate such a distant culture and unknown language, nor did I have the money to do a tour that provides such guidance. I felt taking such a large trip would be selfish and, again, the cost prohibitive. I lacked direction! As an abandoned infant, I thought searches for information would be inconclusive.
I needed to get a better grasp of who I am so that my Self isn’t as fluid while on this journey. Every week since learning I’d join this trip presents moments where I’m hurtling towards boundaries that once I cross them, there’s no pulling back. My story and history have the potential of blowing up in the most exhilarating way and it’s important to know that while this does impact me, it (most likely – fingers crossed, knock on wood) shouldn’t change my foundation.

A full list of resources I found helpful coming soon!

TOUR GUIDES
Thanks to computers, I’m fortunate to have KAD mentors – the “Twinsters” film, working a fundraiser for KindredAdoption.org, AKA Dan’s youtube series, reading books, doing DNA tests to learn my other half, joining facebook KAD groups and attending AKA|IKAA events. After finding a welcome place and ongoing dialogues in these groups, I heard enough stories that caused me to ask “What if?”

Meeting adoptees older than me who successfully retraced their steps, I asked “Why not me? Why not now?” Though the process of applying and receiving notice I’d received the grant for this trip took place during a quick window of time, I’ve actually been preparing for this trip for 4 years.

So how does one prepare for this full-circle trip-of-a-lifetime when I still can’t wrap my head around it? After stops in Seoul, I’ll visit the region where it’s estimated I’m from, based on where police found me. Then we get a personal visit where I’ll visit the first location where I stayed before moving to Seoul, others may revisit their childhood home, or meet birth families if they found them. I’ll visit the Korean offices of my adoption agency to see if more information exists. We’ll participate in Korean culture visiting families and learning delicious Korean cultural skills. We’ll visit a Camptown home where many female employees of these camptowns now reside – honestly, these could be many of our birth mothers.

A gift from a friend and fellow #OMagInsider – I take it everywhere to keep copious notes!

Hopefully I’ll return with my children someday soon, but since it took me 48 years to get here to begin with, I want this trip to stand on its own and I want to remember all of the details. I’ll prepare with a fresh journal. I’ll take time every day, sometimes in particular moments and take in every sense – what I hear, smell, taste, see and feel. I’ll take tons of pictures and tons of notes and hope that others do too.

To follow along while I unravel the mystery that is my history, follow my social media!

To help support trips like this or to apply for next year’s trips visit me&korea

What about you:

  • Have you found surprises in your history?
  • Are you adopted?
  • Did you find biological family?
  • Any resources that helped you out?
  • Are you a domestic or international adoptee?
  • Did you adopt?

#2018HapaMosaicTour #meandkorea #325Kamra #KoreanAdoptee #seoulsearch #MindfulMidlife #myhistoryisamystery #halfbutwhole #researchingmystory #Korea #KAD #Hapa #liveyourtruth #sharedexperiences #anthology #connect #personaljourney #lovechicos #omaginsiders #Makesmewander

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YOU WENT WHERE?! THE STAR MOVIE PREMIERE (without kids)

The magic of films, the power of storytelling and the glitter of Hollywood remain a few of the reasons I choose to live near Los Angeles. Films entertain and educate us, they change our perspectives, and expand our views of our world – or what exists beyond. My favorite trend right now revolves around telling historic or well-known stories from a different perspective – whether showcasing a lesser known person who had a significant role in history, telling a side of history that we’re not familiar with, or telling historic stories through fictionally-enhanced side-stories. My new fascination with history lies not with people’s outcomes, but with their journeys.

When invited to the world premiere of Sony Pictures The Star, the twin angels on my shoulders, Oprah and Shonda, eagerly responded: Year of adventure! Year of Yes! Despite working at a film studio for many years, I rarely participated in a project’s release. What a fun opportunity to see a film first and a festive way to ease into the holiday season! Plus this was another amazing destination on my journey this year. With two of my #OMagInsiders blogging pals – Camesha [MamaMotivator] and Rachel [RachelSimmondsFitness] – we set out to support Oprah in her film project, and hopefully thank her in-person for inspiring my Year of Adventure in person.

Approaching the Westwood movie theatre, crowds of fans outlined the streets huddling to catch a glimpse of their favorites from this star-studded cast. The snowy white carpet glistened as elegantly decorated Christmas trees reflected the flash of paparazzi bulbs.

Glimpsing the well-choreographed dance between the celebrities and the press fascinated me – especially the young media with a larger camera and staff than ours.

To our surprise, we effortlessly walked past the will-call line and crowds to the back of the festival set up along the white carpet for the guests and their families! Stocked with comfort finger-foods and carnival games, smiles shone bright from all who lingered in this carved out Winter Wonderland before heading into the screening.

This film exceeded my expectations in so many ways because of the balance in the film. While it’s a familiar story, this film presents the stories of many less-visible characters, little obstacles we hadn’t thought of before and the shock of experiencing it first-hand. While it’s a story of great magnitude, it’s presented in a sweet, simple way that people of all ages can follow with a great balance of good, evil, struggle, humor, skepticism and faith. While it’s a religious story, the amount of religion infused in the story isn’t too much, or too little – it’s just right. I highly recommend this film for families this holiday season. I can’t wait to take my mom, children and my niece!

Seeing The Star film in this huge theatre filled with the magic-makers – who took months, even years to complete this film – escalated my excitement for this project. I always try to sit through credits but in this moment we could applaud the creators as they closed this chapter in their amazing journey! Plus this amazing soundtrack had us dancing in the aisles!

There were a few messages from the film that resonated with me, especially reflecting on my personal journey this year, yet will benefit all ages. Whether your destiny remains unclear to you so far or it shines like a beacon as obvious as the star in the sky, it’s not just reaching the point of achieving your goal that defines you as successful. Equally as valuable are how well you stay your course, face fears or evolve when unexpected things happen or undesirable situations are put in your way. If your faith in your journey and in your goals persevere you rise above the naysayers and reach your goals.

No, we did not congratulate Oprah this time, but I left the afternoon with amazing memories, new life experiences tucked under my belt – shared with my newest best friends, and a new holiday family film tradition (to balance out our tradition of watching Christmas Vacation)!

For more shots of who I met on the white carpet check out my Instagram!

What about you?

  • Have you seen The Star?
  • who was your favorite character?
  • Who is your favorite celebrity voicing a character in this film?
  • What was your favorite holiday song/performer from the film
  • What holiday film do you traditionally watch?
  • What is your favorite holiday tradition?
  • What is your favorite role that Oprah has played?
  • What was your last new experience that you were excited about saying yes to?
  • Are you ready for the holidays?

#thestarmovie #sonypictures #Oprah #OprahWinfrey #TylerPerry #TracyMorgan #Sony #AnimatedFilm #Animation #HolidayFilm #ChristmasMovie #ChristmasMusic #ChristmasCarols #Soundtrack #MerryChristmas #FirstChristmas #Mary #Joseph #Bethlehem #Thestar #film #movie #premiere #makesmewander

HATER REHAB: My hour with Kim Kardashian

I recently gained a new perspective for Kim Kardashian, one of the Key Note Speakers at BlogHer16. Her two mantras were universal and useful.

“Be the best you – do what is within your comfort zone and what makes you feel confident!” 

“More Love, No Hate.” 

We all have a right to define our personal boundaries. We also have a right to our personal reaction when those boundaries are crossed. Sometimes these actions result in a traffic jam of haters.

I’m not just exposing internet trolls here. Everyone’s interacted with at least one other person resulting in our strong reaction to their action: “MFer cut me off!” …or inaction: “Why didn’t they thank me for the date?”

Here’s where it gets all Fox in Socks, while we discuss our actions following our reaction to the other person’s actions.

Reality Check

  • Mind Control – I can’t telekinetically take over their car forcing a safe lane change. Nor will a bird from you make them feel regret. Hateful comments won’t cause Kim to live your definition of life.
  • Assuming, it’s true – You know what they say when someone assumes. We truly have no idea what goes on in others’ lives. Be compassionate with friends, family and strangers – we all carry the burden of our own personal stress and goals. Kim challenges her haters to sit down and talk to her.
  • Don’t Should on Others – This tells more about us than them. Perhaps you’re not feeling like the most confident you, offloading on or trying to control others really won’t improve your mood.
  • What Is My Motivation – Actors question this a lot when considering how to deliver a believable role and speak authentically – as should you when considering your ACTion.
  • Spoon Full of Sugar is BS – Sorry my beloved Mary, P. but sugar coating only makes you feel like you’ve delivered a pretty gift when the recipient can still see the shit through the wrapping.
  • We Have a Right to our Opinion – True, just like we have a right to ignore it.
  • Just don’t Joust – Engaging in battle takes everyone farther from that day’s goals – everyone’s late, flustered, mad and hopefully nothing worse. Kim ignores haters so it’s not their voice she hears, but her own guiding her to be the best her.

 

Hater Rehab:

  • Was your intended response meant to get respect or get even?
  • To make people feel better or worse?
  • If the latter, for either, is respect deserved?

Unless someone is about to chase their Pokémon into a busy intersection, respect their path. It’s not our place to interject or attempt to convert their reaction to one we are satisfied with.

All together now… we all have a right to our opinions, our reactions to other people’s actions (which we can’t control). We only control and take responsibility for our actions. Nobody makes us feel anything we don’t want to.

That crazy driver didn’t make you mad. You chose to get mad in reaction to a near miss. Did you go on the date so you would get thanks and brownie points or did you go on a date to spend more time with someone you have feelings for? Seen too much of Kim lately? Lest you forgot, you’re in control of how much internet and social media enters your home or the teachable moments (as opposed to swift judgement) that can result.

Finally, she shared how she and her husband Kanye have helped bring out the best in each other – which is what loved ones do. As Kim will tell you, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself!

 

 

 

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!

pokegopost1map

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

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!

BUZZFEED STANDARD TEST FOR PARENTS

Earlier, before my kids asked me “What do BuzzFeed employees do all day?” I’d already answered BuzzFeed’s call for participants to retake the SATs as an adult.  As was never the case in school, I immediately raised my hand, squirmed in my seat and made a case to Pick Me! Pick Me!

1) I enjoyed taking the SATs!

2) My kids & I watch at least one BuzzFeed video a day.

3) It would tweak my kids perspective of me!

I’m not looking for Cool Parent Points.  My goal aims to keep the kids in line with Dazzle and Awe (Jazz Hands optional).

DAZZLE:  Sometimes we parents need to reveal our “true selves” to our kids. Not the psycho I become after 10pm if they’re not asleep, but the woman whose interests extend beyond their school, sports and upbringing!  They know I write, but writing is a solitary sport that occurs when they’re asleep or away.

Usually they see me erring to the conservative, strategic, rational side of responsibility. If I lead them outside the box to pursue dreams with a passion, they know I’ve got their back. Also knowing I have outside interests assures them that I won’t eventually throw myself from my empty nest.

AWE: I could barely contain my excitement but stayed strong and looked forward to the big reveal.  It’s so hard to surprise my teen and tween, and they’d never considered that they’d see me from the opposite side of the flat screen! No way, not even possible!

I like my kids to remain a little afraid about my mysterious powers that achieve the impossible AND control their universes.  When I say “If I get late night calls saying you’re causing trouble, I’ll immediately contact my friend the policeman/double agent/paintball hitman to forcibly remove you from your friends so quickly they’ll think you were instantly beamed into another dimension.” I want my kids to believe it could happen!

REWARD: As a single working, blogging parent, this opportunity rewarded me and restored me! Or the galaxy found a creative way to make me get a haircut and maybe try a little blush sometimes. Either way, I’m still glowing and buzzed!

FACTS ABOUT BUZZFEED YOU MAY OR MAY NOT ALREADY KNOW:

  1. 300 employees work just in BuzzFeed studios – where they create memorable videos
  2. It can take 5 rounds of interviews to get a job there – but to preserve their unique environment, it’s a necessity.
  3. The bar that you see in videos at their office isn’t a real functioning bar. WTF?! What, that’s fake?
  4. Buzzfeed’s mascot is the Corgi
  5. So what are BuzzFeed employees doing:  For a 3:13 minute video, the shoot took about 90 min (x3 pairs). Then the employees spend the rest of the next 7 business days editing!
  6. They shot the video with 2 Canon DSLRs
  7. Instead of a clapboard, they really clap to start a scene

 

#BUZZFEED #BUZZFEEDLIFE #BUZZFEEDPARENTS

DAILY PROMPT: SENTIMENTAL – Ridiculous Redirection

 

Photo courtesy of Sprayedout.com

 
My divorce happened before the Conscious Uncoupling trend. While it didn’t fall under the category of most congenial divorces, it certainly didn’t qualify as one of the worst. Ridiculous Redirection better described my conscious dissolution – detailing my disdain for the situation, the people involved and my attempts to maintain a sense of humor and forge a fresh, clear perspective for making life-changing decisions. This, immediately after losing my mind and being steamrolled by emotions beyond the range of what I’d previously considered possible on the Richter scale. 

Initially, my tribe of devoted supporters rallied, listened, commiserated, reveled in the ridiculous along with me. Though they provided a much-needed crutch I leaned on often while learning to stand again, it suddenly dawned on me that I’d mounted the carousel horse to crazy town. So I leaped for the brass ring while the carousel groaned on.   I bruised my heart a bit more but felt immediately lighter with ridiculousness in pieces at my feet.  I ran to catch up to my kids’ and my new life, that already held a strong head-start.  

Photo courtesy of sprayedout.com

When I stopped to catch my breath I immediately felt that I needed to slow down and be present to properly navigate the future and remember the high-fives along the way. 

Does rehashing Sentimental steps of my ridiculous redirection mean I’m stuck in a bitter dead end without a clear path towards my future? I feel that I finally received the streetmap (OK, GPS) showing me I got through Despair, to the border of Desperation, constantly weaving in and out of Unsettled, and that confirms I am passing through Hope finally on the road towards Inner Peace which still just barely seems visible in a distant  horizon (Looks like Oz!)

To me, simmering in the sentiment is necessary on occasion to remind me of growth, evolution, resilience, adaptation, and invention. I now realize that my resentment came more from the unexpected, though maybe not completely unforeseen, changes to my 25-year plan than the things my wasband (was-my-husband) and I did before, during and after that point. 

Photo courtesy of Sprayedout.com

We three continue forward now watching Ridiculous transition into Reality – a reality that we are present for every day. 

SET SAIL FOR THE LA BOAT SHOW!

Close your eyes, imagine yourself at the helm, captaining your ship. Wind blowing your hair, sun warming your face with the course set for the horizon!  For once, I’m not speaking hypothetically, I’m talking about real boats!  What’d your boat look like? A sailboat, a motorboat? A yacht with champagne?

Boating whisks us away, instantly freeing us from our land-dwelling ways, promising adventure, relaxation, nature, and romance. This form of travel rebuffs the usual constraint of staying within the lines and muffles the visual and auditory clutter of our neighborhoods.  The tension melts away with each wave. Realizing how small we are resting on the water’s surface resets our center.

boat2

I’m blessed with a marina view from my office. Every now and then we’ll see the tall masts of some super-huge luxury vessel, wonder who owns it and wish we could see it up close.

2[1]

Now is our chance!  The west coast’s premier boating event, the 2016 Progressive Insurance Los Angeles Boat Show cruises to town in a few weeks!  Whether you are looking to upgrade or just get your feet wet, it will offer hundreds of boats for sale: entry-level family cruisers, pontoons, wakesport boats, personal watercraft, inflatables, sailboats, catamarans, cruisers, to million-dollar yachts!  Plus, GEAR – it’s all about the gear!

147[1]

I’m so excited that Progressive offered me tickets to the show. I LOVE shows like this so I can submerse myself in all things nautical!

This show lasts four days (February 25-28), in two locations: The Los Angeles Convention Center and Burton W. Chace Park in Marina del Rey! The Marina will be a sailor’s delight with on-water lessons, sailing seminars and simulators!   There will be tons of Boat Smart activities and a high-energy kids zone where kids build their own sailing fantasy! Personally, I can’t wait to check out the Float-In Theatre!

43[1]

Buy tickets now: $15 for adults; Youth 15 and younger, with an adult, and active military are FREE. Save time, purchase tickets in advance at losangelesboatshow.com (Day-of-event tix sold at the box office).

Congratulations to our winner Christina Faulkner! She receives 4 tickets good for any day of the show, good for both show locations. Hope you enjoy your boating adventure! Thank you for wandering by! 

Check back every day (until the show starts) to see new boating songs you’ll be humming!
SAILING Christopher Cross
IF I HAD A BOAT Lyle Lovett

IMG_8546

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR RAFFLE WINNER:  Christina Faulkner!

COMMUNITY GATHERING: Going to Hell in a Handbasket

For some reason, a church group, who shall not be named, ruined their California vacation saving our high school from Hell. While claiming to be Christians, they are known for not living by the Golden Rule “Do unto others…” nor the Mommy Rule “If you can’t say anything nice…”

kind

I support Freedom of Speech but don’t agree with the church’s bully tactic spreading hurtful negativity to students still making up their minds about their place in this world. The community immediately rallied to support our students. I haven’t protested anything before, but felt strongly about protecting my town.

I’ve never really felt like I belonged to any community before – more like a long-term visitor. I moved around a lot throughout my life and had never lived anywhere longer than 5 years.  When I first moved here I felt like I was fleeing one life and throwing myself into another. Next thing you know, 10 years have passed and I’m settling in.

I shy away from confrontations, religion, and politics. I also didn’t want to greet the group with hate. My rational brain tried to follow and understand the church’s love logic though they’re pretty tight-lipped. They don’t talk as much as they hold signs. Nasty signs. I was nervous for my reaction.

Hundreds of school students and parents assembled with supporters from neighboring towns.  I was immediately swept up and woven into the colorful, compassionate community tapestry. Love tied us together.

easy

When the 5 or 6 members of the church group appeared, I was shocked to see how young two of the members were. These kids should’ve been in school, yet here they stood facing down hundreds of people.  I wondered if they were as nervous about us as I’d been about them.

Love drowned out hate. The church group’s chants were muted by our voices singing “Love Is Love!” Their disgusting signs covered by our messages of love. Within 30 min. they were gone. While their elders may have taken us in stride, I can’t help but wonder if the younger members recognized the difference between their community and its definition of love and true loving, supportive community!

Our students learned that love wins!

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I purposefully left out the Church’s name and demonstration photos so they don’t get more publicity. The message was more powerful than their presence in this piece.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU DIDN’T WIN THE POWERBALL

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With last night’s record-breaking $1.6 billion dollar powerball, how many of us spent $2 adding wind to our sails, wishing for the windfall and the endless possibilities of an open horizon?  Experts came forth publishing pounds of advice for what to do if you win. What about those of us who now realize that the winds did change directions and now we must responsibly navigate this drastic return to reality.

  • Protect that ticket and take your time– Don’t shred that ticket yet. In California alone, over 3.5 million people won something in the drawing.  Don’t rush – the longer you take to check your numbers, the longer you can believe you won a big prize! But hey, if you spent $2 and win $4, you doubled your money. Call it gravy if it’s small, if it’s large then sock it away (see #3)!
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There’s Hope! WTF: Wow, the FUNDS!

  • Don’t quit your job just yet – (Hopefully you didn’t already do it last night). Here’s where you count your blessings. You have a job, a steady income. You have co-workers to commiserate around the watercooler with about how you always visit THAT winning store except this time. Your career goals from before that Powerball dream rolled in are still intact, so find that magic – or dream better dreams!
  • Hire professionals – Most millionaires are such because they don’t spend like they are one.  In other words, consult professionals, bring your Powerball dreams of a new car, or Tahiti vacation to them and they’ll overhaul your income/expenses so to get you on a plane sooner than you ever thought.
  • Change your address and go unlisted – In order to reach those dreams, cut out distractions: Political mailers, advertisements and incentives to tempt you away from your financial goals.  Turn off the phone and check out regularly for a bit to center and be mindful of your surroundings and your path.  

So although the immediate results varied, the advice and end result could still be the same.  Plus, people always appreciate experiences more when they worked to finance them (parents take note) so you are probably better off in the end.  

That being said, I’m curious about where everyone wound up.  Share your stories!

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