WHAT TO DO IF YOU DIDN’T WIN THE POWERBALL

tick

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)!
win

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!

RED STARBUCKS CUP (inspired by Toby Keith)

red

RED STARBUCKS CUP

Inspired by Toby Keith’s

“Red Solo Cup”

.

Now Red Starbucks cup is the best receptacle

To fuel me through work-days, ball games and festivals

And their coffee is strong but some say they lack testicles

To Decorate Merry Christmas

.

Hey Red Starbucks cup is trash, inexpensive

In all my years, ain’t seen folks so offended

And unlike most gripes it’s something NOT printed

Folks seein’ red ‘bout missing holidays

.

CHORUS:

Red Starbucks cup, I fill you up

Order a grande, why not a venti?!

I love you Red Starbucks cup, I lift you up

Why’re they so whiney? Had too much caffeine!

.

Now I’m cracking up how you’re taking a stand

But I don’t relate, these’re First world problems, man

Cause you’re pouring your passion into the wrong plan

Am I wrong, it’s just a cup

.

But the “Merry Christmas” name campaign ain’t that hard-hittin’

All’s lost anyway when barista fouls the name written

On you with a Sharpie when they get real busy

Take a sip, steamed milk hit… relax

.

Chorus

.

Now I’ve seen you in white and I’ve seen you in green

But only you, Red, will do for this coffee queen

Cause you are the palette on which I scribble scenes

To bring the real warmth of the holiday

.

Red Starbucks cup, your season won’t last, it’s

More than a color, you’re contents – fantastic!

And believe me that I’m not the least bit sarcastic

When I look at you and pray:

“Red Starbucks cup, you’re not just Winter (No, no, God no)

Stay all year, yea (Year-long)

Thank you for bringing me cheer”

.

Chorus

.

[repeat]

.

I couldn’t help it, I had this rolling around in my head since the issue started simmering in the press.  Now it’s hit a boiling point with politicians chiming in and competitors taking the chance to do it better.  Without pointing out the obvious – if this is ruining your hoilday, the cup ain’t the problem.  Ellen said it best with a hand-crafted dose of holiday humor.

For real holiday cheer, buy someone who’s not expecting it a warm Starbucks drink and see how THAT makes you feel! Warmer than a Quad Latte in winter!

random

SHIT HAPPENS FOR A REASON

SH1

My kids used to carpool with friends that greeted them, “Hey, how’s your poop?” This wasn’t slang for “What great shit’s going on?” – they wanted to know about their business.  Things that make us go …hmmm, not that we don’t have potty mouths sometimes ourselves, but the question crossed personal boundaries we hadn’t considered, much less with our closest friends. 

Last month, after catching up with said closest friends at various intimate events, we returned home to find out shit rolls downstairs.  Our personal boundaries had been flooded by the eau de toilette of our above neighbors the whole weekend we were gone.

Yah, we wiiged out!

WTF: Wiig the Frack out!

We left that night, returning only to complete our insurance agent’s daily to-do list preparing for extensive restoration.

Why do a job half-assed? 8 days later, after spending all weekend dragging books and other heavy mementos to my garage to help make the restoration crew’s shitty job a little better and to eliminate risk of loss or damage, the laundry room overflowed soaking everything in my garage. Bravo – job well done.

SH2

From the first whiff, I had to focus on Ps: I searched for the Positive and Purpose and stayed focused on the Present (or risk seriously losing my shit):  

  • We’d wanted to thin out the garage anyway
  • It happened when school was out
  • Now we have an extended vacation with an ocean view…


After the third flood – tears pouring from my eyes upon my late arrival to work – thanks to the 30 min. additional morning commute – I was forced to find my paddle and set a direct course up shit creek to get past this. This shit was out of hand, but I could still control certain aspects.

Finding the silver lining, the gold at the end of the rainbow...

Finding the gold at the end of the rainbow…

Ironically it took this pain in the ass, (and small threats to my kids “You don’t Mommy to cry again, do you?”), to reassess and test my realm of control.

  • I haven’t been late to work since, flushing a long record of pushing the boundaries with my arrival time.
  • We told the landlords we wanted to wash our hands of our lease (early) before having a permanent home to move to

Reward: Tonight we rented a new upstairs apartment.

SH3

PRICELESS COLLECTION!

With two children being promoted to new schools (one starting Middle School, one moving to High School) I spent the whole last semester lamenting how quickly years pass. My teenage son fans those fears stating “I’ll only be living with you for 4 more years!” He’ll already be eligible for a learner’s permit two months into his freshman year! Just. Not. Ready. Breathe! THEN my baby left the Elementary School that anchored us into our new normal when I got a divorce. Time marches on!

You ever notice just how much crap you accumulate in that time? Or is it just me? Before, during, after and in between moving I go through stuff streamlining and purging so my family will stop watching Hoarders waiting for me to star in an episode. While my collection of books extends past their bookshelves, overall I am not a huge collector because a) I get distracted easily and b) the minute I miss one, I stop since I won’t have a perfect set, plus I waver on getting 1 or 2 of everything (only to wind up at zero) so if they become valuable, neither child will feel slighted (the thrifty side of OCD).

So color me crazy, but I return with renewed energy to collecting rituals, adventures, or favorites that we can do together. “Experts agree” that we should collect experiences, not things!  The most logical argument pointed out that iThings are exciting at first until the next version comes out or you see your neighbor with the latest innovation. Then you are less excited til you get the next “best” thing. Experiences, on the other hand, grow fonder in our minds the more time passes. With time, the small issues (such as a snoring roommate you hope to leave in international waters) dissipate leaving you either able to laugh about mishaps or forgetting it overall since you were in an exotic locale when it happened.

The clock is ticking! When the kids leave I can only hope they have bags overflowing with amazing childhood adventures and the desire to return home for new ones.

Fortunately for me, social media keeps better records than my travel diaries did.

Vegas Road Trip!

Read about the whole Vegas trip here!

…and then the time we went back with young cousins and wise grandparents here!

So what are you waiting for? Hurry up, read, make your bucket list and get packing!!

PJ WILDERNESS – MY DESTINATION: SEOUL SEARCHING

The way I manage to end almost any “debate” with my ever-increasingly cynical and tall teen-age son is by reminding him that I’m the fairest Mom in the world and would never ask him to do something I hadn’t done before. (Yes, even the litter box).  So, in that same spirit, I’ll share my Destination brainstorming...

Committing Myself
I recently had the opportunity to take a temporary detour from my life, although with limited mobility.  I regularly indulged in many things I’d love do to if I had more time in the day.  Recognizing how fulfilling they were to me, now that I’m at the eve of returning to my life, I’m panicking about how to keep going: Reading, Writing (a book, if I was not afraid), Immobility (Meditation), and movement – walking or swimming.

Additionally, I’m entertaining a mindful midlife, without heightened crisis, and there are some things that no matter how hard I try to look past them, they stand in my way.  I need to have this still time to let them come forth, be heard, find resolution, then stand aside and allow me to really move past them.

Lastly, I’m looking to get in touch with my Korean culture of origin. If money was no object, I’d be on a plane immediately, but for now I’m building a reasonable plan. Hope I didn’t overbook myself for this journey!

SeoulTalking to Myself
WHO: Most will be solitary because I need to dig deep below my surface, my persona and myself.  However, I love support groups to a) help me realize I’m not crazy and b) to help hold me accountable.  I will definitely reach out to Korean adoptee networking groups or non-profits – including the agency I was adopted through. My kids will be along for some of the journey too so they can learn to be in touch with themselves by watching and learning.

WHAT:  To get more in touch with me, I want to keep writing – working on building up the blog so eventually I can write full-time both to keep me sane and earning a living would be amazing. I need to stay in touch with my creative side and perhaps use this journey as a story line somehow.  To get more in touch with my ethnicity, I’ll visit Cultural Centers, museums, restaurants, networking through the non-profit.

I already visited the Korean Cultural Center (Los Angeles)

I already visited the Korean Cultural Center (Los Angeles)

WHERE:  Here in Los Angeles to start.

WHEN:  I aim to visit Korean cultural centers/exhibits 3-4 times/year, but stay in touch with myself more regularly to make sure I’m on the path I want – rather than just blindly barreling towards an end goal.

At KCCLA, I learned the bedroom origins of a chest my parents bought me!

At KCCLA, I learned the bedroom origins of a chest my folks got me!

WHY:  What started me on a more active journey was reading: Seeds from a Silent Tree: An Anthology By Korean Adoptees.  It’s a collection of writing from adoptees that, for the first time, revealed my shared history with others.  I’m not searching for lost family, but a common history.  I’d love to help others by supporting non-profits geared to assist with searches and adoptions. I want to pay the opportunity forward to other adoptees. It’s important to me to learn about Korean life from Koreans, not just the American impression of Koreans. I have supportive Korean friends, but currently prefer anonymously learning as I go.

Korean porous pots used to make Soy Sauce and Kimchi. I will use them for decoration.

Korean porous pots used to make soy sauce and Kimchi. I will use them for decoration.

My son asked me, “Why now (that I’m old)?” I answered that any time is a great time to learn more about ourselves and our history. Also, I hope to pass along the tradition of being still to my children so they learn to check in with themselves to honor their path in life. Whether it’s a tool to assist them with fighting peer-pressure and bullies, or to help them find a career in an area they’re passionate about, sometimes they have to learn to be still and by themselves. We all do.

Korean Artist: Young-Il Ahn Umbrellas

Korean Artist: Young-Il Ahn
Umbrellas

What’s next in this journey along the PJ Wilderness?

PJ WILDERNESS: 1ST STEP – DESTINATION

The first step in our journey through the PJ Wilderness is to focus on Destination. Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, and Bill Bryson had specific travel goals that involved stretching their boundaries and required them to remain present for the journey.

Getting back to nature helps us find a different perspective.

Find a few moments to yourself…

Commit yourself:
Take a few moments from your daily grind – go to a cafe, head outdoors or lock yourself in a bathroom – whatever it takes!  Close your eyes, three deep breaths and ask yourself “What would I do, and where, if I had 26 hours in the day?” “…if money was no object?” For deeper introspection, ask “What would I do if I was not afraid?”  Repeat this until you have a list of ideas to occupy your daydreams. Don’t know where to start? Start here!  Ideas still escaping you? Consider Michael Crichton’s method of planning any adventure and figuring out your reasons or lesson later.

Consider getting a team to help you Brainstorm! You may get new perspective! Ultimately you finalize the list!

DISTRACTION: Should you involve friends or family in your brainstorming?!

Talk to yourself:
Who: Who is in on this with you? (books read, joining writer’s groups or gyms, BFFs, babysitters, going it solo)
What: Your goals (in as general or specific terms as you’re comfortable with)
Example: Goal – Read 20 books/year; 1 book/month; 1 page/day. No matter how you define it, it’s all reading and you’re doing it!
When: A good friend called me out saying “If it’s important to you, you will find time for it!” So moving YOU higher on your list of priorities and obligations, where can you steal time? Hour a week; 10 min./day; Every other weekend? Each goal will vary.
Where: Do you need to go somewhere specific or can you do it at home, or by walking out the door? Sometimes setting up a boundary by popping headphones in creates the mental boundary you need (and that others see reminding them to wait to bug you… unless they’re bleeding).
Why: Get a good mindset for why this is a priority for you.  Think beyond the obvious answers!
Example: Goal – Get outdoors daily for 15 minutes minimum. Why? Get creative juices flowing; 1 mile/day keeps the doctor away; Unplugged fun time with kids; See neighbors or cute puppy with even cuter owner!

To help me focus, I’ll work through some ideas here on the blog.  If you are already coming up with your list consider sharing one here with your “Why?”

NEXT STEP:  Asking for time off

Here’s the link to my personal PJ Wilderness Step 1. Feel free to link to yours in the comments.

WANDERING THE PJ WILDERNESS

I, like many, worked to keep up with Cheryl Strayed on the Wild Pacific Crest Trail. I fell in love with three countries, traveling with Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat Pray Love. I was exhilarated reading of Michael Crichton‘s distant Travels that forged his career change. I stumbled upon the Appalachian Trail following Bill Bryson on A Walk in the Woods. After hungrily devouring each book, I’d sit back, relax my eyes and simmer in the beauty of their journey. Feeling refreshed, I’d inhale deeply, stretch out my hands bemoaning “What do these people do for work that they can afford to take off and wander?!”

Most of us don’t have 100 vacation days or money banked to afford 100-day detours from our lives! Our days overflow with work, shuttling kids to activities or building iron-clad networks. We cram in exercise to improve our quality of life and if we don’t run ’til we drop, our downtime consists of a DVR’d bedtime story, getting a high score or cuddling our kindle.

I feel somewhat accomplished surviving such days, having eradicated a respectable chunk of my to-do list. Ultimately, the kids were loved, fed and progressed one more step towards their next grade. Still, this isn’t what I personally envisioned when planning to conquer or contribute to my world.

Once we’re out of school it’s hard to measure what, if any, progress we’re making! (I know this after 2 years of grad school to prove that I was still progressing towards something). Yeah, I am a tough sell (hard-headed according to my family). I don’t heed advice and carry on. I only value advice once it’s tried and true and I’ve experienced the miracle of its ways.

So with the books planting a yearning for an open horizon of possibilities, I’ve taken the first step into the PJ Wilderness. PJ stands for both the Personal Journey and for the chosen attire. If you tag along, we will traverse the rocky terrain of Personal Journeys using the tips from these books from the comfort of our own surroundings.

While our paths will be individual, It will be a shared adventure.

Ready?! Let’s head out!

NEXT STEP:
Choosing a destination

2015/01/img_4835.jpg

10,000 QUESTIONS ABOUT 10,000 STEPS

10,000 ways to leave your lovin’ lard ass – or something like that.  At work, we’re doing a 10,000 steps per day challenge. While losing weight could be a side-effect, the goal is simply to get our bums up out of chairs, take some time to quiet our minds and get those creative juices flowing!

My OCD tendencies' best friend!

My OCD tendencies’ best friend!
WTF – Walk to Fitness!

The weekend before the challenge started, I practiced for perspective of just how many steps 10,000 is.  We were walking (2,500 steps) through downtown to pick up my race packet for the 3.5 mile mini marathon (approximately 4,600 steps) and found ourselves sitting down for lunch at the Original Pantry Restaurant.  When my pedometer leaped off of my purse in protest I saw it as a warning that clearly there is no way 10K steps would walk off what we ate there.

Thanks for the photo AlbanyKid, we should meet for breakfast! Mine were too blurry as I ate too fast.

Thanks for the photo AlbanyKid, we should meet for breakfast! Mine were too blurry as I ate too fast.

My patron saint of wellness sent me 2 more pedometers on Monday and I was back on track without a-breakin’ my stride.  It’s 550 steps from my car to my office; 160 steps to the coffee shop; 60 steps across the middle of our floor end to end.

Well guess what, they’re right! The creative barriers become much looser and I have questions flooding my head like an inquisitive 3-year old.

Because I said so...

Because I said so…

Now there are some things that are troubling my one track, 10,000 step mind:

1) In the order of the universe, is it better to walk farther (more steps) to ride the elevator up or is it better to walk a shorter distance to walk up the stairs (but less steps overall)? See my conundrum?!

2) Isn’t choosing salad over paninis worth an instant 1000 steps?

3) Why aren’t stairs worth 2 steps each automatically?

Check it out, we have a name! Workshifters!

Check it out, we have a name! Workshifters!

Here are some additional steps that I am having trouble reconciling:

Steps racked up during a cake-walk

Back and forth to the all-you-can-eat buffet in Vegas

Chasing down the ice cream man

OK, this kid is helping me reconsider

OK, this kid is helping me reconsider

Scurrying down the hall to the free leftover lunch at work

Steps getting up and going to the loo – we’re going to do that anyway, no extra walk effort

Racing after people to kiss their ass – have some dignity!

Who you callin' an...

Who you callin’ an…

Now that I managed to make it more complicated, please join/help me?

 

VIRGIN HANDBOOK

His radiant smile attracts one’s gaze as the wind flutters through his hair. His British accent draws one in rendering people far less willing to resist. His irresistible confidence, magnetic energy and passion for everything he touches keeps us unable to avert our gaze! In a minute, I would turn myself completely over to him. I want to live inside his mind and see things through his eyes.  Richard Branson fearlessly leads the Virgin Empire with 400 company conquests worldwide. His experience and philosophy makes people yearn to be Virgin.

From Richard’s mouth to your heart, here’s how he stays on top:

BreakRecords

1.    Don’t be afraid to try anything at least once
Live life to its fullest – do what is fun! Test the boundaries so long as you won’t be embarrassed or imprisoned. Forge new paths where previously none existed! Don’t be afraid to take to the air!  Set your eyes on the most apparently impossible challenges then you’ll be forced

Here is how Branson waterskiis

Here is how Branson water skiis

2.    Let others watch: Restricting someone excites them more!
When people tell you something isn’t possible, become more enthusiastic and determined to show them they’re wrong.  Don’t let failure dissuade you: Identify the flaw, find a solution, and try again… and again.

The most attractive point - an open mind!

3.    It’s what’s inside that matters
Trust your gut.  Consider your customer’s first time – planning how to make a good first impression and keep them coming back for more could be far better than complicated, impersonal analysis.

Don't be afraid to redefine what's possible!

WTF: Wave to Fishies
Don’t be afraid to redefine what’s doable!

4.    Know who’s at your backside
Businesses are like busses, there’s always another one coming. Take the competition seriously (but not yourself).  If someone isn’t sure how to do it – or not doing it well – take control, make him or her over as your new pet project

ValueofRisk

5.    Don’t pay money for love
Follow your passion in a way that serves the world and you. If it’s just about the money, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. Don’t separate work and play – it’s all living. Don’t do anything with the feeling that one must do it – enjoy every minute!

As a child, someone labeled Branson as a future prisoner or millionaire. Branson blew past both predictions and never looked back.

“Screw it, let’s do it!”

Bucket List: Go to Necker Island!  Bonus: When Richard is hanging out!

Bucket List: Go to Necker Island!
Bonus: When Richard is hanging out!

NATURALLY, KIDS: HUNT FOR FOSSILS AND BONES

Our neighbors always inspire us with their outdoor adventures. Where I overflow with curiosity, I lack in outdoor survival skills. Thankfully when we set out on this adventure, our neighbors gave us a few tips – wear tennies and watch the tide.

For years, I’ve wanted to explore a sea cave on the sea edge of the Terranea resort in Palos Verdes, CA. Ever since seeing Disney’s Pete’s Dragon.  I instinctually knew that Elliott retired to California.

This summer, our neighbors came home with this…

Big Boned

…proof that large creatures, dragons even, live off our coasts.

After guilt tactics that Mommy always does what the kids want to do and now it’s my turn, promises of adventure, and one of possibly the best pretzels ever at Nelson’s, my kids finally agreed to help me hunt for Elliott.

Arriving at the trailhead, their pace quickened.

Suddenly the jaded teenager leads the pack

Suddenly the jaded teenager leads the pack

The seawalls growing higher around us opened revealing a little cove.

Immediately the kids were submerged in the beauty of nature and the magic of the adventure.

Lauren, my rock collector, hunted for a treasured memento.

Please Mom, may I keep it?

Please Mom, may I keep it?

We opted to look for smaller ones.

What treasures the cove held

What treasures the cove held

Carson found one with a chain link fence in it. Knowing it came from the top of the cliffs chilled us. Lauren found unique rock formations.

Aliens or humans

Aliens or humans

The kids skipped a few.

Skip it

WTF: With True Force – skipping rocks!

The day surpassed Carson’s relaxation goal.

Recalibrating from hectic  Middle School days

Recalibrating from hectic Middle School days

The cave called us up the cliffs.

Wait for me!

Wait for me!

We stood at the open mouth.

Bom bombom bombombom bombombom... We love you too

Bom bombom bombombom bombombom…
We love you too

The tide warned us to stay out – but, Carson leaped in.

A squishy shoe for the hike back is worth this view!

A squishy shoe for the hike back is worth this view!

The tide pushed him into the cave!

Mom, it's open way up in back...

Mom, it’s open way up in back…

We gals vowed to return another time when the tide retreats.

Lauren secretly hoped he was moving in

Lauren secretly hoped he was moving in

After catching their breath in a cave and promising to not resist as hard next time I get a hair-brained idea,

We'll never doubt you again! Mark their words...

We’ll never doubt you again!
Mark their words…

we hiked back to civilization in search of cool refreshments.

Manhattan Beach Creamery:  They custom make magic there!

Manhattan Beach Creamery:
They custom make magic there!

 

With a name like that, curiosity wins, although the kids opted for standard options. While they weren’t thrilled with the flavor, it was all part satisfying our appetite for adventure!

Never met a flavor I didn't like... 'til now.

Never met a flavor I didn’t like…
’til now.

We will return to the cave and explore deeper with head lamps!  Plus we want to wander down another trail to take us closer to the bone yard.

Now, the kids can’t wait to see where we explore next.

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