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?

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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!

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.  

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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

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

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WHO MOVED MY HOVERCHEESE?

Challenges, any changes, energize me.  Call me Grace (under fire), I’m a sucker for deadlines – they’re part of my creative process. When sudden reorgs at work occur, I hunker down and work through tumultuous times. When baseball adds another 2 teams’ practices in one week, I rolled with it. Strengthsfinder 2.0 says I’m a problem solver – I live for solving the family’s carpool problems.  Nothing throws me, until I’m faced with myself.

When first semester of grad school started I spent my first 48 hours fighting non-stop with technology but triumphantly gained a working knowledge for my class.  I beat technology. When first semester ended, I spent my first 48 hours reading books to escape the textbooks. I beat the class!

But then nothing…  Don’t get me wrong, my break rocked! We enjoyed the first holiday with 3 excited cousins (last year only 2 were old enough to anticipate traditions), cruised the Caribbean, caught some movies… But when given the chance, I didn’t do that “thing I would do even if I didn’t get paid”… I didn’t write. (Thank you if you noticed, I appreciate your support)!

I planned to blog, write a book, poetry – even haiku.

IOHaikU: Here, I brought you a gift!

IOHaikU: Here, I brought you a gift!

When I stepped away from my laptop on the last day of class, I turned my back on it.  I didn’t want to touch it, look at it, nothing!  Knowing this, I bought myself a composition book for writing, but, did nothing. I lost the opportunity.

Believe it or not, 6-7 weeks into the break, I craved returning to the rhythm of the master’s program.  I missed my classmates, the weekly feeling of achievement; I anticipated an easier first 48 hours this time, and relished in the slight confidence of being a return Grad Student! The topics this semester thrilled me as I love the problem solving, creative work, and had some experience with strategic corporate and marketing communications. I looked forward to drawing on personal experience.

But, things changed. The blend of students was new, the rhythm of the class feels like a remix, and even the material seems opposite from my true-life experiences.  This time, I recognize the fight-or-flight reaction and am rolling with it. I’m acclimating to the new semester with excessive amount of calendaring, spreadsheets and post-it notes, as well as commiserating with other students.  It’s a change in perspective to see that change doesn’t thrill me, but it will only bring about positive changes in me.

2-10 change

And now, for today’s show-n-tell, I brought Hovercheese!! Can you please check my homework?!

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!

GEMS I STUMBLED UPON – O YOU!

Since none of my high school girlfriends, nor I, had the opportunity to fly to Chicago to see Oprah’s show before it ended, today my friends (that I’ve known for almost 25 years!) and I attended the next best thing!  Oprah’s O You 2012 in Los Angeles!  I learned many gems and will share them in weeks to come!

O what a great group of women!

There were so many activities throughout the day, but our largest challenge was “You … in six words”
Mine life story in 6 words is: Make lasting impression, love all equally!

What’s yours?

Can you write your history in 6 words or less?
Click on photo for some great ones – Including Oprah’s!
Artwork (C) Harpo

All the experts (including Oprah) got on stage:  Her best friend, Gail, Suze, Dr. Phil, Peter, Dr. Laura B., Martha, Adam, Iyanla!  You too can win a set of Oprah’s amazing Swag Bag (Click on this link!).

I know they’re tiny, but they’re all there!
Lingering idea: It’s ok for women to put themselves 1st!

What a great way to celebrate women!   What a great way to celebrate my 1/2 way point with my first grad school class!

Where the magic happened! WTF: We’re thrilled, fantastic!

#OYou2012

GEMS I STUMBLED UPON TODAY

“A river cuts through rock not because of its strength but because of its persistence!” –Jim Watkins

“Obstacles are those frightening things that become visible when we take our eyes off our goals.” –Henry Ford

Grand Canyon: Obstacles, what obstacles?
Think of the possibilities!
Photo by YoTuT

(thanks Karina Saenz-Gutierrez for dropping these two gems in my pathway today!)

INTELLIGENCE DOUBLE AGENT

You may have noticed, I’ve been on the lam in recent months, not regularly reporting my wanderings.  A clandestine operation, simply referred to as trojaN horsE, occupies my time with my first assignment requiring 100% secrecy and dedication.  Now, I find myself living the life of an intelligence double agent. The success of this operation finds me balancing demands of both worlds.

Alter egos – WTF: I Watched The Fightscenes!
My favorite show ever Alias (C) Disney

This remains a delicate operation as I continue to cement my position in my known career, while offering myself as a walk-in with the competing underground agency.  No one, not even those working side-by-side with me are aware of my covert mission. I’m not sure how they’d feel knowing I am engaged in a complex dance of seduction with the other agency.

The initial message came to me one night, an innocuous yet intriguing pop-up cipher delivering no more instruction than “Click here…” On the receiving end of that hotline was an eager case officer eager to recruit me to the path of higher knowledge, exposure to intellectual missions, and, ultimately, more responsibility for my own path.

Computer Lab or Spy War Room?

We infiltrated the system quickly for a successful outcome. The case officer, my handler, managed my paperwork and requested special clearance from the Chief of Station to avoid additional testing.  My legend required some authentication while my bona fides hoped to present me as the ideal candidate.

I, too, have so many questions…
(Where was this blog when I used to watch it… letstalkalias.blogspot.com)

Opportunity and preparation crossed paths and I gained admission to the program. My daytime cover puts me face-to-face with the high-caliber professionals grooming intelligence and intellectual paths of others but at night, I glean information from the same sorts of people on master-level missions exclusive to me.

Even now, only those readers closest to me know my true identity for I don’t want a dangle reputation to jeopardize my current assignment.  For the next 18 grueling months, my attention will be focused on gathering intelligence and deciphering communications.  I will do my best to report back to you my wanderings, although I hate to admit that it will be fewer and farther between as my operations become more demanding.   I will not cut communications completely unless it becomes unsafe to have above ground dealings.

Until next time…

fighT oN!

Best spy couple: Sydney and Vaughn!
Yay fanpop.com for keeping our shows alive!

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