Young executive

I’m brushing my teeth, getting ready for work one morning, and in marches my youngest daughter with her pink, canvas-covered binder. She plants herself on the floor and announces “you have papers to sign, mom.”

Oh, I do, do I?

pinkbinderMy young CEO riffled though her papers, pulling out the ones she required and set them aside. Once she collected what she was looking for, she held them and a pen out to me. Okay, I guess the place to do this is here, and the time is now. I sit down on the floor and, using the toilet seat cover as a desk, diligently fill out and sign the required paperwork.

“Thanks, mom,” she says as I hand her the signed documents. She files the papers using a system I’ve seen all my kids use as some point: stuff the papers wherever they’ll fit. My pint-sized executive marches out the door, and I can’t help but think that her binder looks very much like a brief case. Wow, first thing in the morning, I’ve been issued orders from a very determined young lady.

I’m most curious where her executive orders may one day take her.

Teen town

Today, my son became a teenager. My cherub toddler who once pushed toy trucks around is now taller and I am and already in 8th grade. Time files, doesn’t it?Trevor


A few of his friends got him hooked on yoyos. He searches for tricks to learn, and then practices those tricks until they are polished. There’s a rhythm to these yoyo tricks that is almost hypnotic.

Skateboarding is another activity he’s into. Longboards are his thing, and I get a kick out of watching him glide down the street.

Pay it forward

I ran a teeny bit late this morning. My oldest daughter wanted to talk, and I wanted to listen. She followed me out to the driveway and while we chatted, I corralled the empty water bottles littered on the floor of my car (how’d they get there?) into a paper bag. My plan was to give them to my co-worker who takes the recyclables she collects to her local Human Society.

My daughter and I finish our conversation, so I climbed into my car and zoomed off. Even though I’m twice as behind as I was before, I can’t escape the bewitching sirens call luring me to Starbucks. Besides, it’s only a few blocks away, directly on my path to work. I don’t require much mental arm twisting before I cave.

If I time it right, I seldom wait in the drive through line. I didn’t time it right, so I pulled in behind the car in front of me, and prepared to wait for my turn to order. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice a couple. Both were wearing purple shirts (my favorite color) and the gentleman was carrying a garbage bag. I made an assumption and called out to them.

“Hey, are you collecting bottles and cans?” They replied in the affirmative, and I reached over to the neatly corralled bag of plastic bottles, and then passed it through my car door. Wow. That felt good. It seemed like my running late, spending a few minutes chatting with my daughter, and tidying up my car, had some sort of a cosmic purpose.

The line moved quickly, and before I knew it I was at the drive-thru window chatting with my favorite Baristias. (They are so nice to me, there. They remember my name, what I order, exclaim over my nail designs. These aren’t ordinary Starbucks staff, these people have super powers!)

“The car ahead of you paid for your drink.” My SuperStarbucks barista announces. My bemused expression quickly turned to one of great pleasure. Someone gave me a gift! Wow! That felt good.

On my way to work, late yet not stressed about it, I pondered on that cosmic connection. I wonder if my latte gift was an acknowledgement from the Universe for spending time with my daughter and sharing my recyclables. It sure seems that way to me.

Other coffee themed posts:

10 things I know to be true

Last night, my oldest daughter insisted that I watch a TED talk. As I’m usually the one who insists that she watch this kind of thing with me, I thought who is this person and whatOneWing have they done with my daughter? Turns out that she watched this particular talk in her English class. A teacher lit a fire under her, and I saw in my daughter the same passion the speaker of this TED talk embodies. My daughter was so moved by this talk, by the class project to make and share the list featured within, that she gave me a homework assignment.

“Mom, you should share this TED talk at your work and have them share their lists.” Her enthusiasm radiated from her in waves. “It will give your friends at work an opportunity to connect with each other, and you’ll learn something about them.”

I try and parent by example. I say that doing your homework is important, and now I have an opportunity to show how important homework is. If you have the time and inclination, I invite you to join me in watching this 18 minute TED talk, and then sharing your list.

My list of 10 things I know to be true:

  1. Soren Kierkegaard said that “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Knowing how true this is for me, gets me through life’s rough spots.
  2. “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.” ~ Bob Marley Ain’t that the truth!
  3. I share my stories, add my experiences to the collective narrative via blogging and participating in forums, because I know that someone, somewhere needs to hear what I have to say.
  4. Parenting is the hardest and my most rewarding life experience.
  5. There are multiple sides to every story. Question information and research the source. Find out who benefits from studies, reports, news, and ads. Be media savvy.
  6. Take time to nurture yourself. Treat yourself how you want others to treat you.
  7. I may be challenged with learning disabilities, but I’m not stupid – nor is anyone else who learns differently than standard or popular methods used to teach.
  8. Sensory memories are powerful, spend time creating them. Listening to music, eating foods, smelling fragrances from long ago, will catapult me to that time, and fill my mind with related images.
  9. People who advocate healthy lifestyles are right. All sorts of funky things will happen to us when we don’t take care of ourselves.
  10. I can’t help everyone, but I can support others to help themselves.

Adventure Time Kitty: Homeward Bound

I march to the ticket counter with my bags in tow, slightly conflicted. I had enjoyed my week in Montréal, and I secretly wished I could vacation there for another week, or maybe a month – heck, I fantasized about moving there. Yet my heart, rather those who fill my heart with great joy, are waiting for me in San Diego. Yes, my son and two daughters were eager for my return. How do I know? Simple: The increased number of texts and phone calls. Oh, and the following phrase typed or recited with each call or text: “When are you coming home?”

Images of their faces and remembrance of fun times we’ve had together danced through my head as I placed my bag, heavy with souvenirs for my family, on the scale where it is weighed, tagged, and then disappeared. I don’t give it a second thought. I have faith that it will be at the correct airport at the correct time.

I go through the motions every traveler must when flying. Shortly before boarding the plane, the announcement that we must forfeit our carry-on bags, as the flight was overbooked, squawked over the loudspeakers. Whatever, I think as I let the attendant tag my bag and whisk it behind the counter. I still have my shoulder bag with all the necessary accoutrements for air travel:

  • 20140823_114211Apple
  • Ear buds
  • Hazelnut butter sammy on sprouted grain bread (seriously yummy!)
  • iPad
  • Knitting (which I totally ignored because I made a stupid mistake and I don’t know how to fix it. Humph!)
  • Smart phone
  • Trail mix
  • Water

You know, the essentials.

I board the plane and settle into my seat. The first segment, from Montréal to Toronto, was short, however, the flight was about 10 minutes late landing. No big deal, flights are frequently late. The customs gig was a bit confusing. My bag checked at the gate was on the conveyor belt, but my bag checked at the ticket counter wasn’t. It took me a while to realize that the ticket-checked bag would be waiting for me upstairs, in US customs. Well, that’s different, as before my bag was waiting for me to take it to Canadian customs. No worries. I followed the signs to asile 7. I found customs and waited there for my name to appear on the marquee. It never showed up. I stuff down my panic, as it was moments away from the time to begin boarding my San Diego flight.

I explained my plight to a staff member, who directed me to the ticket counter. Adam, the guy at the ticket counter, did everything he possibly could aside from flagging down the plane I was supposed to be on and carrying me on board. Alas, I missed my flight. There were several moments there when I entertained the idea of bursting into tears. A good cry is cleansing, n’est pas? I didn’t, yay, me! Adam worked his magic, to include hunting down my bag, arranging for a complementary hotel room, and making sure I understood all the special instructions he gave me.

I thanked Adam for delaying his dinner break, and for making sure to at least book me on a flight that got me to the West coast – specifically, San Francisco. Yes, it arrived at around midnight and yes, I couldn’t catch a flight to first LA and then to San Diego until after 6 am the next morning, yet just knowing that I was traveling in the direction toward my ultimate destination made me feel better. The fact that this flight, too, was over booked, and that they ran out of meals before getting to me, didn’t faze me. After all, I had brought sustenance with me. I was good to go.

I made it to San Francisco, where the airline couldn’t locate my bag, find a hotel in which I could spend the night, or locate the flight Adam had booked me on (it was cancelled, go figure). However, they did give me a $15 meal voucher. I know, I know, I might have pitched a fit, but how could I, when several of the airline personnel worked diligently to solve all my travel problems? Plus, they were nice, and laughed at my silly jokes.

While there are several eating establishments to choose from, they were all closed. Except for Subway, my least favorite, yet only choice. Truth be told, food at an airport Subways in the middle of the night when you’re pretty darn hungry is this side of outstanding. After eating, I found a place to curl up on the floor and catch a few zzz’s. There are two important things to know about sleeping on the floor at an airport: It’s cold and hard. Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure that I napped, because when I awoke, it was closer to check-in time.

After boarding the plane to LA and situating myself in my chair, I promptly fell asleep. I awoke upon touch down, no matter how skilled the pilot, there’s that jarring thud when the wheels hit the pavement, and asked my fellow passenger if I had snored. He claimed that I didn’t, bless him. I had visions of myself sawing wood, and drooling out of the corner of my mouth. Glad to know that didn’t happen.

I was happy to be in an airport where the eating establishments were open. I had enough time to score a latte and something that passed for breakfast before boarding the plane to my final destination. Prop plains are small, but the personality of our flight attendant was enormous. She was a riot and I had a good time bantering with her.

I saw my hubby and my youngest daughter (she’s so cute!) waiting for me at the baggage carousel. I swept my daughter into a ginormous hug and smothered her with kisses. She was a good sport about letting me maul her for a whole 22 seconds before pushing me away. Okay, okay, I’ll behave. (At least she held my hand.) The good news is that I arrived in one piece with my sanity (mostly) intact. The bad news is, my bag didn’t. We made a lost bag claim, and then my entourage took me home.

It took a couple of days, but my bag did arrive, and I was able to (finally) bestow upon my family members their gifts from abroad.

Next time I go somewhere, I’m going to present proper offerings to the gods of travel. You know, just to hedge my bets.

Adventure Time Kitty: Thursday in Montréal

Previous: Wednesday in Montréal

Thursday came too fast. I wanted the week to crawl by; alas, time marched on without a nod toward my wishes. It was definitely a morning for coffee at Second Cup, my new favorite coffee place. I struck up a conversation with a fellow coffee aficionado, and we spent the morning chatting and laughing. I learned that he reads Tarot cards, and that he just so happened to have his deck with him. Hey, opportunity knocked, so I accepted his invitation for a reading.

I know that there are all sorts of taboos surrounding Tarot cards. But really, it’s just an interesting way to examine where you are in a particular point in time. After I shuffled the subset of major arcana cards, he spread them out and had me select seven and place them in a particular order. We ended up with the following layout:


G: The Lover

E: Emperor, F: Chariot

B: Judgement, D: The Devil, C: Temperance

A: Justice


Order: Card Position Description
A: Justice How people see you Someone who takes care of business, who can run things, sometimes too harshly (the sword).
B: Judgement One of your qualities The capacity to judge in the right way, without wickedness but without indulgence
C: Temperance One of your defects
Giving too much energy to take care of people, trying to be the mom of everyone
D: The Devil The Happy Medium (the advantages you can take from both B and C) Knowing when it is time for you to become “selfish” (to take care of yourself by allowing you earthly pleasures)
E: Emperor & F: Chariot The Straight and Narrow (where D might lead you) Domination, conquest, coming back home with confidence and strength
G: The Lover Your Secret Weapon (your emotional center of gravity) Love! Embracing people in true and honest caring

The one thing that struck me about the Devil and the Lover cards, is that they look as if they have minions. When I think of minions, I think minionof the movie Despicable Me. Heck, yeah, I totally dig those little dudes! They’re so cute.

I think that the spread was informative, and the reader’s interpretation was insightful and interesting. I can’t help but want to sum it all up and glean a greater meaning, but that’s just wasn’t in the cards (that was punny). Instead, I took a look at how others see me, and as long I as come across as fair and non-judgmental, then I am satisfied that I’m where I need to be at this point in my life.

My new, Tarot reading, coffee drinking buddy and I parted ways with a promise to keep in touch. Want to know something cool? We truly are keeping in touch. We’ve tossed several emails back and forth between us. It’s nice when you make a new friend during vacation, and they become an integrated part of your real life.

Despite my two soy lattes, my stomach was in great need of sustenance. I could have made breakfast, but I chose to hustle everyone out of bed and out into the general direction of food and shopping. Indeed, shopping day was upon us! I needed gifts to bring back to my munchkins and my hubby.

There’s this trick I learned when I visited Hawaii many years ago. My island host taught me to shop for souvenirs at Longs drug store, because the prices were 1/3 less maplesyrupthan the tourist stops. There isn’t a Longs in Montreal, (aren’t the out of business?) but there were drug stores of similar caliber, which did indeed carry things like Maple Syrup.  Just for the fun of it, I did a price check at a nearby pharmacy, and compared that price to the local market, a touristy place, and the airport. You can guess that the airport was astronomical. Roughly, it was 6$ at the pharmacy, 8-9$ at the store and the tourist place, and 16$ at the airport — for the same size bottle! Looks like the trick my island host taught me for buying souvenirs works in other parts of the world, too. After the Price Is Right experiment, we walked a few blocks to Cacao 70. Oh, yet another place where the 20140821_135614hot chocolate is decedent. I loved the look and feel of the place. I ordered a fruit, yogurt, and granola bowl.

I was expecting something appetizing, yet I was served a mast20140821_141251erpiece.

They drizzled chocolate on top! Seriously yummy. From the tart yogurt mixed with sweet honey, to the fresh sweet-tart berries and just ripe bananas, to the crunch of the granola, each bite evoked a new taste and texture sensation.

After enjoying a healthy and satisfying breakfast, it was off to the mall. Yup, I wanted to go malling – I had gifts for kids to buy. There’s no way I could go home empty handed.

I had such fun in the t-shirt shop. The owner, a sweet man of Asian descent, helped me find the styles I liked in the sizes I needed. He had a great laugh and made sure I was well taken care of.

I don’t know exactly why, but I was jonesing to look around in Canadian Tire. So we did. It’s kinda, maybe, sorta like Sears, but not exactly. There’s only so much shopping one can do before [this] one gets shopped out. Time to head back home and do that packing thing.

In no time, I was packed and ready for tomorrow’s trip back to San Diego. If it were’t for the magnetic pull of my family, I could easily have stayed in vacation bliss for a decade. Maybe longer.

NextHomeward Bound