NOBODY WALKS IN LA – WE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL!

Before iTunes song previews, when one considered buying an album, we bought 45rpm singles featuring a few songs to help us decide. Side A boasted the desired song, flip Side B carried hidden gems!

Would you even know what to do with this?

Would you even know what to do with this?

Before Competitor sports eventertainment, when one considered running a street race, we relied on friends to lure us to the start. Once leaving the starting crowds, we roamed lost in the cement jungle until we miraculously stumbled across a finish line (or is that just me?). Though finishing was an accomplishment, on the flip side, it was boring with no hidden gems.

Where is the snack bar, I mean aid station?!

Where is the snack bar, I mean aid station?!

In 1997, Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathons (RNR) took solitary sports and made them funtastic times with friends followed by a rockin’ after party! Runners or walkers enjoy different music every mile, enthusiastic cheer squads, and join an audience of thousands of music lovers!

What a rush to be a rock star in a crowd!

What a rush to be a rock star in a crowd of fans!
Image from Competitor.

I understand, considering a half or full marathon may make you sweat. If one never considered the full distance, could a few miles help persuade you?!

Plus these days, you never know who'll be rocking next to you!   Paul McDonald and Nikki Reed ran Vegas!

Plus, you never know who’ll be rocking next to you!
Paul McDonald and Nikki Reed ran Vegas!

Although many of my friends had front row seats to rock the LA ½ marathon, I hadn’t trained and planned to skip it. Though I dig the vibe of the RNR events, it wasn’t enough to make me want to do the smaller version. I’d seen races treating 5Ks like the warm-up band knowing all the cool kids were at the main show.  Then, not wanting to be left out, I jumped in last minute for the mini-marathon (“only” 3.5 miles).

Getting ready to rock! WTF: Wings to fly!

Getting ready to rock! WTF: Wings to fly!

Turns out, for Rock ‘n’ Roll events, showing up earns you rock star treatment! The start, course and rocking bands – all the same gig (until halfers go farther). The shirts swag and medal bling were equally cool!   For this Halloween run, costumes amused us as bands quickened our pace!

Aahs! store now features a whole section of  "running" costumes! Love it!

Aahs! store now features a whole section of
“running” costumes! Love it!

Skeptics argue “Why pay to see live artists when you hear them well enough at home?” I say, “Run alone anytime! RNR events celebrate your efforts racking up miles. Come bond with like-minded fun-seeking people on their best morning run ever!”

Awesome bands along the way and waiting for you at the finish line!

Awesome bands along the way and
waiting for you at the finish line!

This race snippet made me eager for the next street date – San Diego! One day I’ll tour with the band!

The coolest part is that it benefitted the ASPCA!

The coolest part is that it benefitted the ASPCA!
This starts my new medal group – my encore running career!

Come with me – let’s hit the road!

Maybe you haven't really raced if you haven't raced as Elvis!

Maybe you haven’t really raced if you
haven’t raced as Elvis!

LIFE LESSON: CARPE DIEM!

Today’s life lesson comes from a friend that I worked with at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  She was an honored patient and fellow campaign manager who’d been through treatment and has been healthy for over a decade since!  Her name came up in conversation today while I was trying to contribute to others’ lives by donating blood. I sat down at the Be the Match table and they of course were eager to get me to sign up.  I told them I was already in the bone marrow registry from my time at LLS.  Turns out the gal I was chatting with also knew Kristine.

We chatted a bit about how Kristine was also one of the great success stories  in that the treatments for her blood cancer have gotten so much milder in comparison to her treatments endured just over a decade ago. She’s proof that, with dedicated individuals, progress can be made!

So from Kristine, I have borrowed this life lesson:  Life is precious. Life is short. Carpe Diem!

No time like the present – Share a hug!
Photo by HarlanH

This also was meaningful today because we lost our sweet neighbor whom we knew as “Grandma Willow.” Plus I was already planning attending a celebration of life on Saturday for someone my son’s age.  So, life is precious. LIfe is short. Life gets busy, but don’t let it get in the way of those that matter so make sure you make the time to sit with people and listen a while.  Carpe Diem! Share a hug!

WALK A MILE IN HIS SHOES

Whenever I walk through my front door, the first thing I do is kick off my shoes.  How many of us can’t wait to get our shoes off because they feel constricting or uncomfortable? What if the next time you left your front door you had no shoes on?  What if not having shoes restricted your ability to attend school or exposed you to uncomfortable, unhygienic conditions? 

“No matter how convenient it is for us to reach out to people remotely, sometimes the most important task is to show up in person.”  –Blake Mycoskie

Have I ever told you how much of a huge fan I am of this guy?  Do you know who he is? Recognize his name? Maybe you know him if I say the name TOMS – as in shoes.

Comfy and cute with a huge heart! What are you waiting for? Perfect summer shoes! Pix from online shop!

You may have seen many people wearing these comfortable, colorful – even strappy – shoes.  I, myself, am not one of those people who owns hundreds of pairs of shoes, but if I could afford to, I would purchase one pair of shoes TOMS shoes in every shape and color.  Not because I would ever have enough occasions to wear them all, but because TOMS shoes operates with a One for OneTM operating system.  To quote TOMS, “With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need.”

Even his book is One for OneTM – buy the book, he’ll donate books to local underserved neighborhoods!
Pix from his book website. Click here for info…

This is where my entrepreneurial crush flourishes because:
a) Blake witnessed a problem and founded a company to change the world for the better
b) His generous business model shows that it’s not necessarily the company who makes the most money that wins
c) People are paying attention and companies are revamping their philanthropic sides or even blatantly ripping him off. (Seriously Skechers, if you were sincerely concerned, you could have done a TOMS distribution deal or special edition rather than mimic the shoes, the name and logo and trying to pull it off as your unique discovery! Boo Bobs, I really don’t like copycats!)

They don’t just do shoes either!  If you buy their shades this summer, you’ll help underserved communities get the prescription glasses or eye surgeries they need.

Guess what? You can WIN A TRIP to give with TOMS! They hold a weekly drawing to pick people to feel the heart behind the company. Details at check out! Pix from TOMS website.

Oh, NOW he looks familiar, wasn’t he on Amazing Race?!

Season 2 contenders siblings
Blake and Paige!
Pix from CBS website.

PULLED MOM RANK TO SEE DISNEY NATURE CHIMPANZEE

Somewhere along the way, my kids became jaded before their time. When I wanted to see Disney Nature Chimpanzee and my kids refused, while regularly quoting Zombieland or pointing out when real artifacts resembling those in games, something had gone awry.

(C) Disney

From the moment I bawled during the trailer, I knew I’d make my family see this film. I get it, for kids the film smacked of “educational.” When I told the kids and their guest which tickets I bought, protests arose – some more polite than others. Walking through the movie theatre lobby, another friend that asked what he was seeing approached my son. My son’s meek response and the child’s apologetic look confirmed, “Mom was officially uncool!” I pressed on.

The film was visually stunning. Seeing breathtakingly untouched parts of this world committed me to ensure their future. Witnessing the detail of the alive and threatening jungle contrasted with the slow-motion chain reaction igniting raindrops inspired me with views I could not have dreamed up, much less captured. I knew the gist of the story from the trailer, and knew where conflict might occur but the film was shot very tastefully showing real danger and emotion but without the raw, last quiver of nature films.

(C) Disney

I highly recommend this movie! Watching the amazing family structure, behavior, and interaction of the chimpanzees, especially the baby named Oscar, was enlightening! The shots were so close you felt like family. It revealed awesome things about nature, nurturing, family structure, animal hierarchies, and movie making. During the credits they shared the experience of the film-makers. It amazed me how close they were to the family and that when the chimpanzees charged by the camera, both camera operators turned their faces away and backed up slowly – to avoid eye contact that might provoke the chimpanzees. Learn more Chimpanzee survival tips here.

In the last 50 years 80% of the chimpanzee population vanished. A percentage of ticket sales from this opening weekend go to the Jane Goodall Institute! Go, today, and share your impression of this movie.

Oh, the kids reviews ranged from “I admit, it was pretty good” to “I want to see it again!” See, listen to your mother!

(C) Disney

…AND NOW BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAM…

People finally won the $640 million lottery! Now we can leave La-La-Lotteryland and get back to “real life.”  I don’t feel disappointed that I didn’t win as the odds foretold this result.  I’m excited to see who did win, and hear great stories of changed lives and paying it forward.

To ground my kids as quickly as possible, I’m redirecting our focus to FUNdraising as a reminder that just because the cash bubble broke and we splurged buying tickets, let’s refocus on efforts where our money brings a better return – FUNdraising!

By putting the FUN in FUNdraising the effort stands strong despite the economy. When people get something good while doing good, it brings joy twofold.  We held a Melt Down boasting hot food trucks and bands for great Friday fun!

Side Effects burned up the stage for our Melt Down!

Karaoke events feed a musical frenzy as guests pay to request songs or singers whom, if they don’t want to sing, must out-donate the first person.

Capitalizing on things people must do, like recycling, brings joy to people’s chores and raises awareness.  Clean the garage, host charity garage sale – no haggling! Put a bin out for neighbors to leave recyclables. For greater success, pick up from their homes!  Host a car wash! I held milk/cookie stands in my yard (donated from grocery stores) and cars drove by dumping change from their cup-holder because they saw me there.

For $5 people could eat all the cookes and milk they wanted and hang out, read books, play games or just chit chat!

To fundraise without no events – INCENTIVIZE!  CupcakesbyJoyce.com sweetened the deal for my MS Walk (big button –>). For each $5 donated people get entered to win a dozen delicious cupcakes. Because cupcakes don’t mail well, if you live outside 100 miles of LA/OC/SD then cupcakes will feed Team Hope – the large group I’m walking with.  When local companies donate prizes, they get tax-deductable publicity while you raise money. HOT items – gas or coffee cards!

If you had successful or unique fundraisers, please share your ideas in comments!  Want fundraising feedback? Post ideas, I’ll share my thoughts. I live in that brain often, it comes naturally.  Your biggest goal – start the conversation. Once people know what you’re doing, they appreciate your efforts and give. One never knows until one asks and the worst people say is “No.”

37. IF YOU JUST WON A MILLION DOLLARS, WOULD YOU QUIT YOUR DAY JOB?

The cashier swore these tickets would win!

Winning a million dollars isn’t truly a million dollars. First, calculate cash up front brings it down to $500,000, then paying 50% taxes reduces it to $250,000 – no, I wouldn’t quit my job.

What I would do – all or some of these until I’ve spent $250,000:

1)    Invest half

2)    Put a down payment on a house

3)    Rescue a dog or two

4)    Buy Disneyland annual passes

5)    Ride the Pacific Surfliner from San Diego to the northern-most part

6)    Disney cruise to Bahamas

With investing half, and not touching it, the money could grow quickly into college funds for my kids.  It would afford me more flexibility in where I’d work since I currently follow a 7-year plan to work at one of two private universities in my area to earn my children free tuition.  It’d afford me to take regular summer vacations, big or small, to build family memories.  What does your “Win a million list” have on it?

Money doesn’t make the world go around… experiences do.

For a character comparison, let’s ponder winning the lottery that I actually bought a ticket for.  I limit myself from becoming a problem gambler by only playing the large lottery drawings for $100 million and above – as if winning 7 million ISN’T worth its weight in gold.  I know my odds fall from “Not even” to “Never in a million years!” with this strategy.  If I won the $241 million Mega Lottery – cash up front brings it down to $120.5, then 50% for taxes reduces it again to $60.25 million. Yes, I would give sufficient notice to quit my job.

Then I would:

1)    Invest half

2)    Donate to charities

3)    Pay cash for a house

4)    Rescue a dog or two but not until we returned from…

5)    2 Semesters at Sea – before my kids go to college. Anyone may book the 100-day around-the-world cruises. Two hemispheres means two semesters. Add in the cost of flying their dad to come spend weekends with them at ports around the world.

6)    I’d love to randomly reward kindness and goodness that I witness in strangers

7)    Set up more scholarships locally for kids to play sports

What about you?
What would you do with $241 million dollars?
If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your day job?
If you answer, drop your links in the comments!
This question came from Marc & Angel’s 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind

TRADITIONALLY SPEAKING

How many favorite family traditions can you think of from the last third of the year? Then, turn the corner into the new year and the barren first months leave us in withdrawals. This year I’m eager to define a fun tradition for my family to implement this spring, in addition to our shamrock shake indulgence or any religious holidays.

Carlsbad rununculus = spring!

Living in Southern California finds us smack-dab in the middle of a huge, often impersonal, population where hardly anybody – not even most neighbors – interact. Rather than go away on vacation, I want to stay local and find something that this region finds significant. Something to bring this diverse town together through an event that people do, not just observe. Visiting a museum, or taking a historic tour of downtown might be options. Knowing the scurrying pace of people in a big city, I don’t want the tradition to take up more than a day.

California Gold!

Spring creates a mental picture of beautiful and plentiful flowers, sunshine, beautification and rebirth. Perhaps replanting things for an elderly neighbor, or cleaning up the parks or beaches. Perhaps repainting senior centers or scout houses. I hope this tradition could provide a celebration to kick off the active, healthy outdoor season.

I feel the sunshine from these daffodils!

I want something that draws in my children to teach them the importance of traditions, plus the lessons in the activity themselves all while having boatloads of fun and creating fond memories. I want the journey to carry more significance than where we end up and for the flavor to last longer than the mint shake lingers on our tongues.

Tulips – all the colors of spring!

Because of this, I tend towards philanthropic endeavors to remind us of the humanity in people and the good in ourselves from giving back and supporting others. Charities come in many forms and don’t underestimate baby steps – small gestures impact the world as much as large ones.

I could lay under the tree and dream all day!

I think the springtime is a great time to give back to your community or get a local group to support far away causes. In the spring, focus on bonding with friends and neighbors that you will see more of throughout the upcoming summer months.

Once a year traditional indulgence! Yum!

What about you? Have any favorite Spring traditions?

TO FIND OUT WHAT TRADITION I START:  “LIKE” Makes Me Wander’s Facebook page!    The answer and pictures of the kids and I will be posted in the next week or so. To submit pictures to be put on the Facebook page of you and family/friends carrying out your own traditions, please email them to makesmewander@gmail.com!

LIFE: CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE STORY

Loved these!

Reading Choose Your Own Adventure books, did you choose first then live or die with that choice? Or, did you research then decide which way to turn? I’ve always lived with “what ifs.”  Some people assume that means I live a life of regrets. Truthfully, I live a life full of adventures with an over-active imagination. When I’ve nearly missed being hit by crazy drivers, cold chills ran up my spine, I counted my blessings as I pull away, then the “what if” scenario plays fast and furiously in my head.  I immediately extinguish that train of thought because I believe that whatever you put out into the universe gets reciprocated. Since my imagination pictures the worst, I don’t want to see that live. I heard another author saying that her brain operates the same way, so I don’t feel as mental anymore.

I’m talking more about those pivotal moments in one’s life – some affected by you, others not – that change your trajectory.  Remember that movie Sliding Doors – or was I the only person who saw it? That movie offered the unique perspective of seeing both possibilities in her life all based on whether or not she caught the train before it left and her boyfriend before he came.  In my life, I know a bouquet of significant moments come from my adoption.  In my parents’ lives, when my mother fled Europe as a child leaving her history to be smuggled out or when my dad left med school, dove into the music industry, dried off and returned to medicine.

There are smaller moments in day-to-day life – spending the last 2 days pinning things online avoiding writing; running up stairs at work today; eating a Cupcake’s by Joyce sweets tonight,and spending a Single Sistah’s (with kids) Valentine’s Day soon.

Why yes, I think I will…

The great thing about life‘s adventures is that when the adventure ends, victoriously or fiery, one may just pick up and start at page 1 again. Sometimes memory serves you well to avoid the same fate, sometimes you’ll get stuck in the same adventure. If you choose poorly, don’t beat yourself up, move on to the next adventure!  Please share one of your pivotal moments!

WTF VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT

Candlelight makes everyone look perfect…

You are dressed to the nines, your lover looks delicious, dazzling eyes, skin warm in the glow of candlelight and starry night. They reach for your hand, pull it close to their heart, your heart skips a beat as you look into their eyes and try not to get carried away in butterflies.  You soak in every word of their pledge of love and affection for you, how they enjoy every minute with you and when you’re apart thinking of you makes their heart smile.  You’re perfect for them and complement each other better than ever hoped. They pull out a very personally wrapped present and slowly push it towards you. Your heart flutters with anticipation for this gift that they carefully picked out just for you. You shake the box gently as they pull you closer in an embrace. They are kissing your ear as you slowly untie the ribbon. The velvet kisses move down your neck as you remove the lid exposing a small envelope inside. They slowly push aside your collar, nuzzling your shoulder with their lips as you gently slide out a gift certificate for PLASTIC SURGERY?! You smash the box on their head, take the certificate and run.

Just want to change a little something…

I’m not above plastic surgery, I say do what makes you feel as awesome as you deserve, but receiving this gift from a loved one feels an awful lot like “I love you, BUT…”  Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t that feel a tad superficial (although this is So Cal)?!  To give them the benefit of the doubt – perhaps they meant that you should do the work for “yourself” to make you feel better and then surprise your loved ones with newly enhanced parts.

Well OK, then…

To me, this gift ranks with those gifts one knows to never get a loved one like a vacuum, tools, or aprons – although I’d LOVE one of these.

I’d cook all day looking this cute!

Back to the story… you get a rush of endorphins running away, free with possibilities. The gift certificate does good bringing lots of love and money raised for the silent auction you donate it too. Hell, use it yourself, if you want – but only for yourself, not for anyone else!

MUSIC SOOTHES THE SAVAGE BEAST

I’m an all or nothing gal. I used to think it was a Gemini thing, then an oldest child thing, an Asian thing, supermom thing, now I know it’s a stubborn thing that needs to be obliterated – all or nothing! I feel the compulsion to cram as much as possible into the day.

When it’s too slow, I swear time moves backwards.

My single-mom exercise plan, training for marathons, crammed in as many miles in one day as my sister did in a week. Training with philanthropic teams meant I socialized, gave back and trained at once – sucker for synergy every time! After training for a half-ironman triathlon, I haven’t resumed training regularly again simply because I know I should, would love to, or go mental without it. I prefer jobs where I’m grand central station in a busy work environment to slow, quiet days. Fueled by Stellarbucks, I run as hard as I can til all that’s left to give is nothing. My rationale rationalizes that I’m cramming two parents into one so if I’m taking time away from family, then whatever I’m doing better be big or it wasn’t worth it.

Of course, this mentality commandeered my blogging too. It wasn’t enough to write 365 words a day, I started a blogging periodical collection, spent free time ignoring my book club, instead reading other blogs learning more complicated tricks to drive traffic to my blog, as well as juicy tips of the trade. Tonight I focused on one simple tip to assist me with writing – MUSIC!

Some musicians are more distracting than others…

My system to write at night, about a situation I wandered through that day, got somewhat sluggish. The spigot I tapped to let the creative juices flow got dammed by all the workday newness to absorb. For a while I would surf the social media and pinning boards searching for inspiration, but truly avoiding the fact that I still needed a topic. Tonight, I’m up against my midnight deadline yet again, but listening to music reminded me of how moved I am by it which yielded 3-4 nuggets to polish when significant. It got me to slow down enough to relive memories, listen to lyrics, and not do anything besides sway and occasionally snap my fingers.

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