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

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and I went to work

    Pulling away from my home, without my kids in the car, felt like the hardest thing I’d ever have to do. An unsettling calm covered the land, muffling out the normal din of our maddening Monday rush. The empty parking lot at 7-11 threw me off my routine so much that I forgot to buy something. At the second 7-11, at the edge of yet another empty lot, I joked with the cashier, “What, did everyone leave town? Is there something I should know about?” He just nodded as we exchanged an uncomfortable smile.  

fwy

    The roads seemed abandoned. I caught so many green lights on my way out of town that I made a mental note to buy a lottery scratcher (I didn’t win anything). I swear a tumbleweed crossed my path, or perhaps simply an illegal plastic bag floated by. I slapped my face to wake up from this crazy dream after I pulled into my parking lot and my access card worked first swipe.  Then, it hit me… it’s a holiday, everyone else was frozen in time (in La-la Land, still tucked in bed), and I was at work.

    WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYNE!

wah

    My screeching disrupted the balance of this Monday so significantly that recovery seemed a distant possibility:  

  • An unexpected fire alarm sounded causing mass evacuation – I suspect the other employees at work today, rather than the students trying to avoid midterms. Did we do an employee count afterwards to see if anyone snuck to their car and drove home? No. (Dang, why didn’t I think of that?)
  • Direct deposits didn’t land in our accounts – because, apparently, even computers vacationed today – but not me.  
  • The sun shone brilliantly trying to lure us outside – ok that hasn’t been so unusual this winter.  

    Every effort to communicate verbally or electronically felt as if we were trying to work with people on the other end of that double black hole that caused the wrinkle in time… yeah, ok, I don’t really get it. But if felt that hard to comprehend!

    Thankfully, time marched on in the linear fashion I’ve grown accustomed to and at 5pm things returned to their normal state as I stepped out my office door…

WORK FIELD TRIP: Ran off to the circus!

Julia Cameron calls this an Artist Date, I prefer Work Field Trip.  

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I’ve already mentioned how the invitation to attend the Premiere Event for Cavalia’s Odysseo in Irvine this weekend already fulfilled my dreams!  This show, and this assignment, took me on a creative journey magically stirring something awake in my soul. When I received another invitation to attend press preview day, I immediately accepted this gift.

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As with many favorite childhood trips, my experience started from the freeway once I spotted the flags atop the tent.  The idea that the largest touring show in the world sat on land where nothing existed a week before astounded me.

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I mingled with other bloggers, press, and VIP guests. Though many were there for an assignment, most bubbled over with passion for horses, music or art.  

2-5-16 blog gear

Hah! My gear vs. their gear – I need an upgrade!

The show itself was more spectacular and high-energy than expected. The beauty of the show overwhelmed me and invigorated all of my senses.  Each act flowed into the next gracefully – even the 18-ton merry-go-round!.

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Even more amazing, we received behind-the-scenes access from Odysseo’s Founder, Normand Latourelle.

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Odysseo’s Creator: Odyssey = Journey with O = “eau” (water) at the end of the journey

He explained that computers traditionally direct musical cues for a show of this caliber. Because this show features live animals with individual temperaments, this show’s cues come from a live director. With the timing of so many seemingly death-defying acts, timing was crucial.

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The live music added a delicate veil of beauty to our experience.

1-25-16 Odysseo stand up excited 1 wk left

Conversations with performers brave enough to leap from their career paths to follow their passion truly inspired me.  One performer studied marine biology before attending circus school, another hoped to earn money while studying for the Bar exam. Some turned their professional riding into performance careers.

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Most people I know dreamed of joining the circus at least once in their lives. The nomadic family lifestyle mixed with the artistic beauty and danger of a circus mystify and entrance us.  

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WTF: Way too fast – can’t wait to see the full-length show!

Normand pointed out what I feel represents the true beauty of the show:  With the many different breeds and cultures represented here, everyone gets along. They believe that peace is best for a beautiful show. It’s been thrilling spending my hours on a “job” submersed in such creativity and such beauty.

 

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Lea Riviere Mixed Media on Canvas

 #OdysseoOC

RED STARBUCKS CUP (inspired by Toby Keith)

red

RED STARBUCKS CUP

Inspired by Toby Keith’s

“Red Solo Cup”

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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[repeat]

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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!

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WRITING CHALLENGE: Ellen Mulholland’s Extra Fun with Words

Through a fortunate chain of events, I stumbled upon a delightful author, Ellen Mulholland, with an amazing website sure to inspire budding writers.  I can’t say that I’ve read her books yet, but will report back when Amazon delivers the books to me this week! *(YAY!)*  Still, part of becoming a writer involves writing and she offers a wonderful section on her website called “Extra Fun with Words!”  This month she held a writing contest with a variety of writing prompts.

While I’m not between the ages of 12 – 18, I have a thing for writing prompts and accepted the challenge for my own practice. Since I am at least twice that age, I allowed myself twice the amount of words too. Below you’ll see the writing prompts I chose (In Purple) and the story that filled in the gaps. I welcome your feedback and for sure, share any additional writing challenge websites that I should try!

Photo borrowed from www.glamour.com

Photo borrowed from http://www.glamour.com

     She never loved winter, but it was different now since the events of the past summer. After feeling guilty for lying to family and friends, and being protective of the reason for it, she and her husband had announced her pregnancy.
     Due to her family history, her regimented summer and fall monitored everything she did or ate. She embraced the journey, carefully logging everything. Her husband provided unwavering support and, together, their confidence and excitement grew with each doctor appointment.
     Reaching the 36-week “full-term” milestone, on the winter solstice, gave her goose bumps. They found themselves in uncharted territory having never dreamed of making it this far. While hospitals urge parents to create one’s “Birth Plan,” she never put it in writing, so as to not jinx things. She rode this wave of energy like a chariot, pre-washing baby clothes, assembling bouncy seats, and decking the halls for waves potential visitors.
     Though their large family holiday celebration kicked off Christmas morning, they cooked a special multi-course feast together for their own Christmas Eve.
     “Babe, it’s our last Christmas as a couple!” She smiled to her husband, while artistically placing rosemary on the roast. “Will you still dream up meals like this after the baby comes?”
     He proudly held up her special celebratory juice spritzer. “Sleep deprivation may force me to buy a cookbook. An easy one with 3 steps or less.”
     “Delicious plan!”
After a relaxing dinner, and cleaning up together, she sent him to start the fire. She slipped into her nightgown, adding a large red satin bow around her tummy. She tried to massage out the stiffness in her back from the active week. Before leaving the bedroom, she mused at her reflection, draped in the nightie that had gone from short to scandalous as the fabric tried to cover her belly.
     Rejoining him in the warm firelight, one motive drove her. “Have you ever wanted something SOOO badly that if you don’t get it you may die?” She sat with her back to him on the couch, moving her hair aside, inviting a massage.
     “Keep talking.” He put the remote down, now that the screen displayed the warmest crackling flames. Gently, he worked on her shoulders.
     “Lower back, Baby, please.” She fanned herself with one hand while rubbing her belly with the other.
     He blew lightly on the back of her neck, to cool her off and heat her up. “What do you want me to do?”
     Her breath quickened and she leaned forward. As she threw her head back. “I need ice cream,” she exclaimed to the gods.
     “But it’s snowing…” As he wrapped his arms around her, a kick from the bottom of her belly punctuated the urgency.
     A low moan escaped from her lips. “Unh, I think the baby wants out!”
     “No fair ganging up on me!”
     “I mean it, we need to go!”
     “Fine! I’ll go!”
     “Us! To the hospital! Now!”
     He jumped off couch, immediately into upright position. “But what’s our plan?!”
     Between patterned breaths, she briefed him, “You get the car, we drive down Magnolia – there’s a 31 Flavors, and we go have this baby!”
     He raced to the bedroom, grabbed his wife some pants, and scooted her down the snowy path to the car. He ran back, grabbing his shoes, wallet and their suitcase, already packed. Nerves tied his feet together, stopping him at the door. Seeing his wife sitting in the car, still tied with the bow, he knew the gift of a calm husband was better than a plan for any new directions.
“Rocky Road!” She exclaimed from the car!
     He took a deep breath, exhaled, and walked out the door.

91 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS – 6 Days to get Custom Santa Letters from the North Pole!

When I told Santa Claus I was fundraising for a cure, he said, “Tell me how I can help!”
Back by popular demand, Santa is writing:

Personalized Santa Letters
Mailed from the North Pole!

Imagine the smile and surprise on your child’s face
(or the big kid in your life or at school, work or next door)
when they receive a personalized letter from Santa!

Santa's writing each letter!

Santa’s writing each letter! WTF: With True Fondness!

Santa will write a personalized letter with their personal details including:
name, hometown, age, accomplishment, present and best friend’s name.

With a $15 donation to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)
($10/each if you get more than 1)

your child will get their very own letter to cherish.
All donations benefit LLS! (please note “Letter – who referred you” in notes section)

I’ll send you an email to fill out to update Santa’s records in order to help Santa write his letter.
LIMITED TIME ONLY: I’m only taking letter orders through the month of September
because after that, the elves must switch gears to double up on toy production.

Your child will be thrilled to get their letter in the mail the first week of December.

Believer Testimonials:

“How’d he know all that about me?”
–BL, Age 10

“I’m putting out extra cookies for Santa this year!”
–LH, Age 9

“Oh Wow!!!”
–AH, Age 8

Please help spread the holiday goodwill by sharing this with your friends and families!
I am fundraising for LLS in honor of my buddy, Tom Scruggs.  

He is currently battling Myeloma.
His wife (my college roommate) is due in about 7 weeks with their 2nd child.

If you aren’t interested in a letter or can’t donate,
ensure your place on the “NICE” list by sharing my post with others.
Or, consider making a donation of any size.  Every $1 counts.

THANK YOU and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

A WORD A WEEK CHALLENGE: CLOUDS

HAIKU, DO YOU TOO?

1/1/13

A festive New Year
Rocking and rolling along
Cruising the deep sea

1/2/13

Old and new crossed paths
Elders and youngsters break bread
in Puerto Rico

1/3/13

Do I want to be
Anywhere else besides the
Sunny fun at sea?

1/4/13

An exclusive spot
We are fortunate to find
A shared memory

1/5/13

We return to land
In time to leave Earth behind
On a Rocket Ship

1/6/13

My favorite view
The oval plane window yields
Thick clouds! Play with me!

1/7/13

Vacation to work
24 hours or less
Monday was berzerk!

There you go, I’m caught up! Haiku a day for 365 days!
Feeling inspired or just plain think you can bring haiku more poetic justice?  Share your haikus below!

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THE END IS NEAR, WHAT SHOULD I DO FIRST?

There has been a big countdown going on in recent past and it’s finally coming to fruition.  I’m not talking about:

Baby New Year 2013!
Thanks rochelle, just rochelle for the photo!

Nor am I pushing the 12/21/12 end of the Mayan Calendar

Beautiful and mystical Mayan Calendar
Thanks insert screen name here for the photo

I’m realizing just how unprepared I am for a zombie apocalypse and am now slightly concerned about my goal to have a plan for when it occurs.

Hopefully I won’t lose my head and will stay calm!
Thanks Visceral e Insolúvel for the graphic!

The end of my first semester as a graduate student is going to be over in 1 week!

Sound the reveille!

I’m trying to get it all done and wrapped up but at the same time am SUPER excited to have a bit more free time for the time being until next semester!

I already know where my journey will begin…

I’ll be wandering first through District 12!

Help me decide where to wander next!  I have 4 weeks to pack in as much living and relaxing as possible!  WTF? When’s the Finish? Next Tuesday officially, next Thursday after our one dangling live web session.

Reflection of the end
Thanks tind for the photo.

I’ll definitely refer to my 101 in 1001 and Naturally, Kids lists for fun adventures, but tell me what you recommend.  What great thing have you done since September that you just know I ought to try?!

I’ll tell you one thing, I look forward to wandering some with you and catching up a bit!

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: CALVIN AND HOBBES

OK, who didn’t just love the combined wit, perspective, adventure and love of the most adorable  boy and his ever faithful tiger?  I loved Calvin and Hobbes, my son now loves them, and soon – if I can pry my comic books from his hands – my daughter will love them.

Well in this town, when you have a passion for something, you make a film to pay tribute.  A friend’s husband is directing a film called dear mr. watterson and I can’t wait to see it because of the topic and because of the sentiment behind it.  I tend to prefer movies where I know the “back story.”  For me it makes it a 4-D film experience to know what went in to making it.

Check out their page, learn about the creators of the film!

Thankfully the comic strip has many adoring fans so the film is funded and under way. Heeding Calvin’s words: “As far as I’m concerned, if something is so complicated that you can’t explain it in 10 seconds, then it’s probably not worth knowing anyway;” I’ll simply ask you to wander along with me, check out the film website and eagerly await the film!

In the website’s words:
“This film is not a quest to find Bill Watterson, or to invade his privacy. It is an exploration to discover why his ‘simple’ comic strip made such an impact on so many readers in the 80s and 90s, and why it still means so much to us today.”

 

 

 

 

WHEN THE KIDS ARE AWAY, MAMA’S GONNA PLAY!

When I was a kid, what was the first thing I did when I heard my parents would be out of town? Mom, if you’re reading this, the answer is Picked up my room, Asked for extra credit homework assignments, Rested, Told my friends no parties when my parents were gone, Missed You! I’ve heard of an unspoken rule that you wait 15 years until you tell your parents the truth about things you’ve done.  I personally enjoy my position as the eldest that means, for the most part, my siblings don’t have much dirt on me because they were too young to be tattle-tales when I was a teenager having fun.  I relish in my “shining example” role so in most cases, I’ll never admit to anything.  (I guess we’ll see if my parents read the blog!).

Just in case me, all alone, nobody else here, really mom!

Perhaps this next statement will be more telling as to what I truthfully did back then, because I still do it now!  My kids will be out of town next week so with evenings all to myself, I am planning ways to have fun:

GET CAUGHT UP! Life has been so crazy lately that I need to get caught up with paperwork, housework, friends, blogging, etc.  I will dedicate 1 evening to do what I have to do before doing what I want to do – catch up with friends!  See kids, I lead by example!

Just a fun idea to make me want to go through paperwork and turn it into something new and exciting! What pile of paper drives you the most crazy?

SEE A MOVIE! Whether it’s at home or at the movie theatre, it’s a great excuse to not cook, just eat popcorn for dinner like I did in college and be entertained!

What are the hottest flicks in theatres/rental right now?

READ A BOOK AT THE BEACH!  This is my new favorite to take a book to the beach and not leave til I’ve damn well finished it!  Next time I’ll be sure of more accurate coverage with sunscreen.

What book shall I read next?

BE CRAFTY! Pinterest is my new favorite toy!  I’m going to make 1 meal completely from pinterest recipes and do 1 craft project inspired by something I saw on there.  Give me a link to propose your favorite ideas in the comments below and don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest!  (Button to the right!)

Such a fun and simple idea – wait, don’t have a sewing machine. What’s a fun and simple one you recommend?

Well, tell me what you would do!

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