BEST MOTHER’S (OR OTHER) DAY GIFT

In our house the kids get excited about holidays – especially those involving gifts. We like to put thought into gift giving when we have the luxury of time, and they enjoy planning for me just as much. They start planning what they’re going to give me early on but considering they don’t have an allowance, the school no longer offers their gift fair (where the kids bought the family’s gifts), nor do we have another parent to take them shopping, their options were limited. Additionally, considering how much stuff resides in this apartment with us, the last thing I need are more tchotchkies. Pinterest didn’t exist yet in my universe so what now?!

I wish I still had the article that provided this gem so I could credit the woman. At her suggestion, I purchased a nicer journal and every Mother’s Day and birthday the kids now each design a page in the journal. So far, I’ve received pictures of our house, poems, and love notes with bouquets of flowers. One of the best parts becomes looking back reliving the love of previous years and laughing at what was on someone’s mind. I love seeing how the children’s abilities and interests grow each year as well.

Lauren working on her masterpiece!

The rules are simple – anything goes. It can be handmade or store bought then glued in the page, drawn, assembled as a collage, painted, stickers, glitter, anything! Realizing that children evolve, as do their moods, written words aren’t required but if you include them they can be original thoughts, song lyrics or whatever communicates your sentiment. Being realistic that kids will pass through teenage years, the philosophy “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” stands. I fully expect trends to waver from flowery sweetness to minimalist.

Carson keeps his back to me so I can’t see. Not too secretive but it worked.

Even if you do have another parent in the house to take the kids shopping, I’ve yet to see any gift that will beat the journal. While we started it for the holidays, my goal is to showcase it and make it available for any OTHER day as well so whenever the children feel so inclined, they may savor its pages, relish the memories and add to its richness.

Lauren’s 2011 masterpiece! (I haven’t seen 2012 yet!)

BACK TO THE FUTURE – NOVEL WAY TO CAPTURE HISTORY

The other day my daughter and I drove down the street when this caused me to do a nearly- illegal u-turn in the street.

It’s even cooler in real life!

We admired every detail as my mind started racing thinking of the increments of time covered in these Back to the Future films.  The ability to go back, reliving or rewriting one’s past by being present seemed amazing!  Revisiting parts of one’s life knowing then what you know now allows you to fulfill one of life’s greatest mantras.  Then my mind started debating the time traveling done in the trilogy compared to the time-continuum theory suggesting all time takes place concurrently!  I couldn’t keep up and my mind quickly grew cluttered making me dizzy.

Props from all 3 films – awesome!

Then a gem known as Irina Werning distracted me and I wandered after her for a bit.  She was featured in O Magazine because her photography gives people the opportunity to revisit their past, relive a moment or a memory via photographs.  She recreates a childhood photo for people using them as adults now in the same pose, the same clothes (or lack of clothes), same setting and background.

It gives the subjects an eerie sense of déjà vu, instantly transporting them back to that time and those emotions.  At the same time, it shows the progression but sort of in an eerie “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” manner.  I encourage you to check out her features: Back to the Future and Back to the Future 2.

My favorite captures the boy at the Berlin Wall that is missing from the later picture – talk about progress.

Christoph 1990 & 2011 Berlin Wall (C) Irina Werning

I love the one of the young girls who were dressing up and who turned out more lovely than they probably even imagined at that age.

Sonia y Lauri 1988 & 2011 Bs Aires (C) Irina Werning

The adorable naked babies that are now ridiculous naked adults feels rebelliously and painfully proud!

Flor 1975 & 2010 Buenos Aires (C) Irina Werning

The family shots with siblings or the whole family crack me up!  How fun as serious “grown ups” to be able to re-create sidesplitting family moments?

Devoto 1990 & 2011 Buenos Aires (C) Irina Werning

Of course, now I’m wracking my brain thinking of fun photos of myself and my two sisters to recreate for a fun Mother’s or Father’s day gift!  What photo would you reenact?

IF YOU COULD COMMISSION ANY LIVING WRITER TO WRITE A BOOK…

I’ve been asked where I get ideas for my daily blog. My better posts come from wandering after a train of thought intersecting my day. Some days I rely on prompts.

Keep conversations going and creative juices flowing!

Today a question leaped off the page at me continuing the train of thought for where ideas come from. I immediately had an answer that sparked music and daydreams woven with memories.

Stephen King! In school I obsessively read his books to drown out droning textbooks. His books strayed far from my day-to-day experience and blew the walls off of my imagination leaving me to wander through dark, scary gardens, creepy neighbors’ homes, even the degenerating mind of a rabid dog. I’d never read a book so frightening that I couldn’t finish until The Shining. I was its prisoner. While it panicked me, it hurt more to stop reading it!

I admit that I am not caught up on his works because in the role of fearless head of my family, I can’t be cowering in the corners under covers. Instead, I bought his book On Writing so I could sit a while longer with Mr. King’s genius. I’ve got a few books on writing but his was the first book from an author whose characters I was on first-name basis with. I loved following his train of thought and the realistic perspective he shared.

I would commission him to help me rewrite my horror film screenplay, “Mother’s Day.” I’d been curious about moms like Wanda Holloway who hired a hit man to kill the mother of her daughter’s cheerleading rival hoping the distress would cause the rival to drop from competition. I asked, “How far a mother’s love goes to ensure the success of her child?” Even more, “what if” the opposition came from within their family? I killed off the necessary players but wanted to spend more time with the psychology of the sub-plots.

Sadly, I checked his website, he doesn’t collaborate or even read and comment on manuscripts due to fear (Stephen King afraid?!) of plagiarism lawsuits. So with his books for inspiration and for pacing the story, I’ll give it another go on my own knowing Stephen has my back.

Photo borrowed from http://www.stephenking.com (C) Stephen King

“I get my ideas from everywhere. But what all of my ideas boil down to is seeing maybe one thing, but in a lot of cases it’s seeing two things and having them come together in some new and interesting way, and then adding the question ‘What if?’ ‘What if’ is always the key question.” –Stephen King

BLOGGING PROFESSIONALS: START LOCAL, THINK GLOBAL!

My name is Sarah and I am a blogger! I no longer have to hide my dirty habit!

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

After celebrating my 100th day blogging by attending a blogging seminar I am validated and energized that one can follow many realistic paths to various careers that didn’t exist 5 years ago or even 5 days ago!

One encouraging gem shared was to know your skill set, know what you can do for a company, then convince them you are the person to do it! A whole generation of hiring managers exist that get the willies from the words “online presence.” They pray that you will come along to direct the effort. As Oprah says, Preparation + Opportunity = Success! Once inside, keep telling people what you love to do and customize your job into something that tickles your fancy.

This theme kept coming up. The seminar’s stellar cross-section of blog founders, web content managers and editors agreed that their start came from researching then sharing information in areas they were passionate about. The ultimate expression of their affection was to write about them.

Even if creating your own money-earning blog, they had realistic advice that the job can be flexible, yet under grueling deadlines. Instant feedback becomes a blessing and a curse, but it adds to the view bottom line! Keep chipping away towards your goal. I love their mantra: Start local, Think global! Rather than share specific lessons, look for networking groups or seminars in your area, it’s worth it! Don’t have any? Build a support group and bloggers will come!

I’ve saved the best for last… 

I have been humbled by my blogging journey thus far. The support from my 82 and growing friends joining me as I wander motivates me. Your comments inspire and help me improve – so keep them coming!! I love checking as many of your blogs as possible, and vow to do more as my learning curve flattens out. I’ve passed 4,800 views and even received a few much-appreciated nominations for awards – I vow to catch up on the quizzes this month. I hope to keep improving and expanding the site so we never run out of shared adventures!

THANKS!

WHO IS THE FIRST PERSON YOU CHECK IN WITH EVERY DAY?

I’m behind. For 2 weeks I’ve written posts after they’re due. Technically, I have not missed a day; but will catch up with one day and two posts. Nightly I’ve surfed for inspiration or handled family stuff only to be too exhausted when ideas sparked. Last night I went to bed resigned to wake up and write about the first thing to come to mind. It would be unfiltered and hopefully be something worth discussing. Then, it hit me…

Book after book, Julia Cameron gets me!

Before this blog, I did Morning Pages. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron, heralds the practice of simply writing 3 pages, first thing in the morning, on whatever floats through your mind.

Wake up your creative self. It’s backwards from meditation I’ve tried in that rather than emptying your mind to remain centered, you follow anything wandering by. Isn’t the blog free-flowing? In editing and trying to make a “blogworthy” point, creative flow gets funneled and detoured. Pages open the dam so ideas flood through the gaps in one’s week! The book is only the introduction to living with your creative self.

Check in with the person who matters the most – You! The first thing I do in the morning is roll into my kids’ room relaying our daily plans by adapting that annoying chorus from Rebecca Black’s “Friday”. As the family leader, I need to check in with myself first. Pages allow me to purge my mind onto paper so I focus on what needs to be done that day without losing ideas.

Rewards off the beaten path After surviving crazy last week, that rolled right into this one, followed by another non-stop weekend, I couldn’t see past our plans. When I rerouted while searching for my Artist’s Way books, I found my long-lost Writer’s Idea Book! It wasn’t really lost, more buried in my bookshelf! Evenings trolling for blog topics will no longer be such a futile search!

What a treasure to find when I didn’t have my blinders on!

In one brief morning, Morning Pages brought me out of the brambles and back to the path. I’m relieved by the realization that I can’t ignore that part of me. I can’t blog and do Pages but commit to starting my day with morning bullet points!

IT’S YOUR DAY!

Did you know that March 26th was Make Up Your Own Holiday Day?! Hallmark didn’t warn me! What a spectacular opportunity to name and define a best day ever!

My daughter immediately wanted to do “Free Day!” Perhaps this is her way of saying that she really needs an allowance. The first thing she’d stock up on are free Pokemon cards. She also wanted to celebrate with the wind blowing through her hair, riding her bike – for free!

My son wants 24 hours of Girl Scout cookies! He’d fuel his morning with a wholesome burst of peanut butter Tagalongs, add roughage with coconut-filled Samoas and finish with simply minty Thin Mints. For dairy, a serving of ice cream sprinkled with fresh cookies on top! I’d implement March 27th as Vegetable Day to counteract the sugar.

My holiday focuses on all children –a day to pay close attention to what they say, their challenges, what they want – not just from the toy section. One interaction might change a child’s life. Take them to college sporting events to build larger dreams! Take kids to Disneyland to show what’s possible with imagination! Introduce them to the arts in local museums, even coffee shops. Make them feel like they matter thereby administering large boosts to self-esteem. Don’t have a kid, get one – your family or friends would love your offer to babysit and you get an excuse to recapture childhood excitement!

My informal survey yielded inspiring responses to follow our fancy! Relish our mochas! Eat rainbow sherbet slowly focusing on the joy it brings us, not just the sweet-tooth satisfaction! Celebrate individual victories – especially milestones! There’s only one “First time” before it threatens to become ordinary. Celebrate each morning you wake up to make a difference in the world! Most important – celebrate YOU! It’s not selfish to treat yourself or spend the day alone getting in touch with your wants and needs and figuring out how to get back on track if you’ve strayed.

We say we’ll do this regularly, but the grind gets in the way. At least once a month pencil in Make Up Your Own Holiday and celebrate! It’s a fun excuse for some unadulterated fun!

Make a wish and share it with the world! Love it!
I’m considering equally as romantic options to balloons though…

RICH COFFEE – a FUNTASY STORY

She opened her eyes, simmering in the silence of her dark apartment.  Kicking the blankets off her ankles, the cool morning seeped into her bloodstream. The clock’s ticking jogged her memory of the calendar she must keep. As the fog lifted, the sound of water caused her to bolt up! She turned a bionic ear, afraid to cross the border of pillows to see what lied in wait for her!  Living in the only ground floor apartment meant anybody else’s plumbing issues become hers since, as is just her luck, it rolls downhill.  As her brain surged to squeeze the Comaquil oiled cogs, she recognized the rainstorm she’d been expecting.

After traversing the pillow mountain, she walked down the hallway, honed in on Mr. Coffee.  The floor creaked announcing her reentry to the land of the living, alerting her cats. Her grouchy old cat sat by the wall heater scolding,
“Turn on the heat!” He thanklessly curled into a ball when the heater clanked into action.
Her younger cat danced about with his huge inquisitive eyes and question mark tail,
“I don’t know what this means, but we’re surrounded! By WATER!!”  She rubbed his ears and he retreated to his bed protected in the deepest basement of his play structure. He covered his eyes with his tail and catnapped.

Tasting the coffee already, she blindly opened the fridge reaching for the coffee can and filters that sit side by side. The empty spot shocked her awake!
“Just my luck!” she cursed as her cold haze parted enough to recall the supermarket decision to buy green tea instead for her cold.  She stomped back to the hallway to retrieve a jacket to dress up her sicky uniform of sweats. In the reflection of a framed picture on her wall, the outline of a person with matted caveman hair walking up behind her scared her until self-recognition scared her more.  Gathering her hair into a black elastic band, she grabbed the keys, flip-flops and headed into the rain.

Thankful for others staying indoors, she made a beeline for the 7-11 counting down the seconds until her hands wrapped around a warm coffee.  From her perspective at the last red light standing between her and caffeine, she grimaced at the full parking lot. She scanned the street next to it for a spot, with no luck, noticing a collection of news vans. Making a mental note to check the headlines online, she silently hoped for nothing too crazy as this area suffered from a few uncharacteristically bad headlines recently. Her light and her luck changed and a spot right in front opened up!

She scanned the store from her car, planning her route to get in and out without encountering anyone she knew. The owner, now a friend thanks to her frequent visits, would forgive her appearance. The coast looked clear and as she entered without seeing a soul!  She pulled up to Coffee Paradise Island, rashly throwing any flavored creams and sweeteners into her cup. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the never-seen passageway to the inner workings of the store open and for a split second considered abandoning her coffee and fleeing if foul play were the cause of the empty store.  Vowing to boycott headline news, she continued without deliberating what combination of coffee to fill her cup to the rim.

She walked to the register, glad to see a second-in-rank smiling cashier waiting for her.  The owner then emerged from the back room tailed by the media. She whispered to the Vice Cashier,
“Everything ok?”
“We were notified that a winning ticket came from this store.”
“No way!  How exciting for you!”
“Did you buy one?”
“Yeah, but…”
“You should check it!”
“That’d be my luck to share my news with the world looking like this!”

He persisted so she retrieved the $1 ticket and stuck it under the scanner. The press and the owner, hearing the machine’s beep, stopped talking and leaned in eagerly. While waiting for the verdict, she grabbed a pen from the counter and signed the back of the ticket in case hell broke loose.
“Sorry, not a winner” flashed on-screen and everyone exhaled.
“It’s fun to dream!” she smiled and paid for her coffee.
“There’s always the Mega Lottery… it’s up to $241 million!”
“Alright, $1 quick pick please!”
“Good luck!”

NOTE: Since I didn’t make my 365 words Friday night, this made up for that plus interest – 730 words this morning!   Just a fun story as a result of too much cold medicine and not enough caffeine.

KEEP YOUR NUMBERS TO YOURSELF

Numbers and I remain cordial. By accident, or my ethnicity, I usually score well on math tests. However, the more I think about numbers, the faster my head spins.

I started this blog for the daily discipline to write and to live the joy discovered by breathing life into creative tidbits that I wander across, then releasing them.

Numbers taunt me. From the first day, when the numbers passed a level high enough to show more than just my family read the blog, my mind created challenges. 1) Get 10 new readers a day/3 followers a week; 2) How fast will I get to 100, 1,000; 3) Does social media affect the outcome? My body viscerally reacts to numbers and as they grow, so, too, does my excitement! Add the touching, personal comments left by readers and I cannot stop! These people wandering with me keep me from being the nutball laughing alone at her own jokes.

Numbers milestones. I give myself a “Woot woot!” anytime my numbers feel great – when I’d hit a high score, then passed 100 readers and hoped to do it again that week. These numbers tickled me pink… UNTIL – I watched the first iCarly episode and on her fictional TV show their webcast got 27,000 hits their first day! I joked about it, but inside my self rattled a bit. The same week, I got a link to a video for Walk Off the Earth’s Gotye cover song that increases by 100,000 views per hour and is now over 65 MILLION views!

Number nonsense. I remembered advice I picked up somewhere: Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, only worry about yourself and doing YOUR best! This phrase gets repeated to my son when he worries about letting his team down, or when my daughter tattles, “He didn’t do what you asked.” I remembered that I’m new to this blogosphere. I will learn, it may take time. The fact that anyone wanders through and that my numbers doubled in my second (shorter) month feels great right now.

Make personal goals, meet and celebrate them! Then, don’t forget to make a few new ones. What’s your next blogging goal – numbers or not?

LEAPING INTO THE UNKNOWN!

I boldly committed to writing 365 words a day for 365 days, and leapt onto the page, typing enthusiastically until the screeching realization about 10 days into it, that 2012 actually has 366 days! Dang it!

I could write 366 words for 366 days, or write 366 words every 4th posting. Perhaps I should blaze through the first 365 days of the year and take New Year’s Eve off. Then it dawned on me that Leap Year threw me for a loop, so for Leap Year, I would leap into something new!

Grab my hand and let’s leap!

I cruised through the blogosphere enjoying the scenery and feeling for some inspiration and found it on Smile, kiddo. The blog introduced this 101 in 1001 project, shared their list and experiences. In a nutshell, the goal stands to complete 101 goals in 1001 days. Smile, kiddo referred to Day Zero Project for a pile of ideas and suggestions for one’s lists. The fact that it was called Day Zero meant that really, I could still call it 365 days of 365 words since a zero doesn’t count.  I’m a little OCD like that.  Even if you don’t do a list, it’s a fun site to browse to see what occupies other people’s wish lists.

It took longer than expected, but I finally compiled my list of 101 things:

I’ve always wanted to do but never made time for
I loved as a child and couldn’t wait to share with my own children
That made me sweat a little because they test my usual comfort zone
To allow me some time for introspection and growth
To allow me to connect with others That are completely random and wacky
That I’m leaving up to YOU! Leave a comment on the list page to suggest what you’d have me do and when we get a bunch, I’ll do a random drawing to pick out the activity!

I will indicate on the list as things are completed, or link to the blog posting about my experience.  I hope some of you will come along and consider making your own lists as well, and wander off with me for some exciting adventures!

BLOGGING: THE MOST WELCOME TIMESUCK

Blogging rides up on my butt every night threatening to run me over and derail me. Recently back working again, I haven’t retained the mental space to prepare a prominent idea cultivated while wandered during the day – and I don’t want to blog about my work as I’d love for it to transform into a permanent opportunity. Not to mention that I’m not truly wandering if I already mapped out my route beforehand. Blogging steals large chunks of my day, but leave me feeling more fulfilled, productive, and centered, despite the chaos it creates in the rest of my universe.

HERE ARE THINGS REMOVED FROM MY DAY NOW THAT I BLOG:

If only I had a dog to lick plates clean…

1) DISHES – Oh stop, I do them, just not at night like I used to. I admit to using paper plates and plastic utensils occasionally for a special dish-free treat!

The pile used to be flat and wrinkle-free.

2) LAUNDRY – I wash it, dry it, lay it out so it won’t wrinkle, (because if I ain’t a-folding, I’m definitely not ironing). I used to fold while watching DVD’s guilt-free but…

I refused to send it back unwatched…

3) DVDs – I’ve  gone from a super efficient Netflix user watching 2 discs a week to holding onto my motivational DVD for the last 6 weeks so far only half-watched.

Except this one that makes a great coaster.

4) READING – My books haven’t moved from the spot where I brought them home.

5) SLEEP – Because I start my blog so late, I don’t get done til the wee hours – fortunately I do well with small sleep and venti coffees!

6) SURFING – This former title-winnning Timesuck of social media and pinning pretty pictures now falls into a new category titled “research.”

HERE ARE THINGS TO RESTORE TO MY DAY NOW THAT I BLOG:

1) BREAKS – Using stop light breaks, or coffee breaks to sit still with myself leaves my office behind and myself more open to noticing things that could be potential topics.

More fun than rubberbands everywhere you turn.            Where are my googley eyes?

2) CREATIVITY – Finding fun new ways to do something help keep that side of my brain open and active.

3) MOVEMENT – Creative juices just flow faster when the blood pumps as you breathe deeply.

4) MUSIC – Certain groups do it for me where I listen to their stuff and ideas pour from my head.

I WELCOME SUGGESTIONS!

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