Monday, June 15, 2015

Little Musician

Leyton loves music.  He always has.  It's something I have always loved, but for me it was always the lyrics and singing along.  I had absolutely no interest in the instruments that went along with playing that music.  Leyton on the other hand loves what it takes to make the music.  When he listens to songs he hears the instruments.  He talks about the guitar playing, he picks out the drum rhythm, he counts along with beats.  We bought him a drum set when he was about 2 years old.  When he would play it, it was never "Animal" style.  It was always a beat of 2 on each drum.

Over the years the interests have changed.  Sometimes it's the drums, sometimes it's guitar, sometimes air guitar and sometimes piano.  For his 5th birthday we got him an electric guitar and he absolutely LOVES playing it.  He also still loves the drums though and his ability to find the beat in a song blows me away.

One of his favorite places to go is the "music store."  The staff is starting to know him there and he gets to go in and try out all sorts of instruments.  Last week they even let him use the real drums.  Typically kids his age are only allowed to practice on the electric drums.  The main reason, he is not crazy on them.  He sits down and he finds beats.  Sure his drum stick sometimes hits the edge of the drum, but on most sessions someone talks about how well he does for a kid his age.

This weekend we went to a farmer's market and the Sacramento Philharmonic was there with instruments for kids to try.  He got to try the stand up base (which he is very drawn to), a violin, a recorder (which he hated) and a trumpet.  When he picked up the trumpet the guy at the booth gave him one instruction on how to blow and just let Leyton do his thing.  He made the sound on the first try and then started adding in his fingers to change the sound coming out.  He wasn't playing anything you'd want to dance to, but he was instantly figuring out on his own and from all the things he watches how to play this instrument.  The guy casually told me, "your kid is a natural.  I'm not sure how old he is, but keep an instrument in his hands.  Rent items and let him play them until he gets old enough for proper lessons, he will find his instrument and he will be good."  It warmed my soul.

Leyton is not the greatest athlete.  He's also only 5.  We let him try things but he is definitely the goof off kid when it comes to sports.  He'd rather play in the net and put the cone on his head than figure out or even pay attention to the rules of the game.  However, he will stand and watch a band play music for hours.  He doesn't bounce around and go crazy dancing and running all over the place.  He stands there and watches.  He pays attention to their moves, he pays attention to their instruments and he comes away with such a glimmer in his eyes it is magical.

If there was ever a time that I wished his Grandma Joan was still around it is now.  She loved him so dearly and she would be so happy to see his love for music and instruments.  I feel like this is the part of her that lives deeply in him and I hope his life continues to be full of musical magic!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Eff Your Beauty Standards

I know my posts are completely random but I've decided really to just post when something is on my mind.  I've talked a lot about my body on this blog and the last blog when I used to blog regularly.  Tons of discussions on where I was with my body, changing my body, losing weight, celebrating my body and then going quiet when the pounds came back on.

Right now there is a movement, created by a woman named Tess Holliday, who just so happens to be the first plus size model signed to a major contract.  Tess is a big girl, she does not deny that.  What she does say though is she is happy, she finds herself beautiful and wants to encourage others to find that beauty in themselves no matter their size or shape.  I admire her for that.  I also find her beautiful.  Then there are the commenters, a rabbit hole that on most issues I wish I would avoid with a 100 foot pole.  Damn people are mean.  They slander her and try to take her down for "promoting obesity."  People who are just completely missing the message.

Here's the deal.  I have been ALL shapes and sizes.  I've been 5'10 and 133lbs.  I've also been 5'10 and over 250lbs.  I have had HUGE boobs, I have had small boobs.  I have been able to shop at normal stores and I have had to struggle to find in style clothing that fit my body.  At any of those moments and any of those sizes I still ALWAYS HATED MY BODY.  I never celebrated it.  There was always something wrong with it.  Let's be honest, 5'10 and 133lbs is waaaay too thin.  However, if you had asked then what I thought of my body I would have told you that my boobs were a terrible shape, that my thighs had cellulite, etc. etc.  Here is what I have ALWAYS been no matter my size....athletic. 

It has taken me 39 years to finally have an appreciation and love for my body.  Are there things I'd like to change?  FOR SURE!  I'd be lying to myself if I said that there weren't.  However, I'm not going to beat myself up for it.  I grew tired of crying in my kale and realized that there is so much that I have done and so much that I can do and my weight and size should not determine how I feel about myself.  It tells absolutely nothing about who I am.  For the first time in my life I think I see myself smaller than probably most other people see me.

Yesterday I taught water aerobics and there of course was a young cute lifeguard there.  There are always cute and young lifeguards at public pools.  This boy could not quit watching me.  He watched me teach the class and then he watched me swim laps afterwards.  I don't think he was watching me because he was grossed out by how I looked.  I think he was watching me because he liked what he saw.  I'm not saying this boy was crushing on me, but I think he was possibly surprised that I could swim like I could and he admired that. 

I also brought my son to work with me yesterday and was online and there was a photo of a woman that was overweight.  He started laughing, pointed at her and said...."she's fat!!!"  Now, he is only 5 but I could tell it was in a tone that indicated he was making fun of her. 

I turned to him and point blank asked him: "Leyton, do you think Mommy is fat?"  He replied, "Yes."  I said, "Yes, that is true...I am fat.  I'm fat just like that lady in that picture.  What do you think about that?  Is it bad that I am fat?"  He replied, "No.  I think you are pretty."  We then had a quick discussion about how it's not fun to tease people for how they look.  Some people are fat, some people are skinny and on and on, but every one of those people has feelings.

That is what I hope Tess is able to accomplish with her movement.  We need to teach our kids not to judge.  We need to teach our kids to LOVE THEMSELVES.  We have enough challenges in this world and things to be sad about then to sit around and tear ourselves down for what we may or may not look like.  Life is TOO HARD for that.  Find the beauty in yourself and celebrate that beauty and that strength.  Take pictures of yourself and instead of picking apart all of the bad things....celebrate the stuff that is great.  I did this last year in a boudoir shoot for my husband.  Something that I always thought I would do later when I was whatever it was I thought would be more perfect.  I'm glad I chose to do it at this point in my life because I am able to look at myself and see a woman who has gained and lost hundreds of pounds in her life, who has had surgeries and injuries that left her unable to walk and can now swim miles and chase after her child.  Find that, celebrate it and tell yourself how wonderful you are now.  Not how wonderful you will be when you get to a certain place because trust me, you will get there and find something else to be unhappy about if you don't start with finding your beauty now.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Checking them off and taking names.

I am making SUCH GREAT PROGRESS on my list!  I seriously am pretty damn proud of myself that I made the list but also that I am actually sticking with it.  I feel like most of it will get marked off.  I do have my concerns about a couple items, but for the most part it's going well.  It is making for a crazy busy calendar but I kinda thrive off of that stuff.

So, without further ado, here are the items that are scheduled or completed.
1.  Reread Hamlet - Book is purchased, reading will start on my plane trip to NY.
2. Visit Yosemite - Booked for October!!!!
3.  Skinny Dip - CHECK!  Boobs are amazingly buoyant.
4.  Take a guitar lesson - Start on June 24th for 6 sessions
5.  Go wine tasting in Napa - Trip purchased and needs to be scheduled.
6.  Go to NY with Bill - Happening in July and CAN'T WAIT for this one.  Foo Fighters here we come!
7.  Take a solo trip overnight - Might combine this with wine tasting since sleeping over somewhere seems like a good idea.
8.  Keep a blog/journal for a  year - WIP but doing it.  Not as good as I wanted but I have a handwritten journal that is going better than the blog.
9.  Take Leyton to Modoc - August during fair time.
10.  Put $100 on blackjack hand - January in Vegas.
11.  Bake Christmas Goodies - December and I decided I'm doing it for the firehouse down the street.
12.  Have a Halloween costume party - October
13.  Participate in a fun run - September!  Just signed up for the Wipe Out Run!
14.  Take Leyton to Disneyland - We leave in less than a month!
15.  Swim Donner Lake open water event - August 15th, I sign up on June 1st.
16. Join a book club - Done.  We have only met once but have another meeting in a couple weeks.
17.  Pay it forward at least 5 times - Done and continue doing.
18.  Go ice skating - December with Leyton
19.  Organize a Christmas program at Elder Community - Contact started will happen in December.
20.  Volunteer for Alzheimer's Assoc - Application submitted!
21. One no buy month - Trying again in September
22. Ride in a helicopter - July in New York!  Paid for and booked!!!
23. Vegas for my 40th - January!
24. Take an Improv Class - Done! 
25.  Get a tattoo for my Dad - WIP, get most of it finished today!

Not too shabby for being less than 4 months in!  Now, here are the items that are still up in the air.
1.  Fire a handgun.
2. Take a hip hop dance class.
3. Write a letter to 5 people that have influenced me.
4.  Cook a 5 course meal for friends.
5.  Knit 10 items.
6.  Organize Leyton's crafts.
7. Visit Humboldt.
8.  Go dancing with girlfriends.
9.  Go whitewater rafting.
10.  Get SUP certified.
11.  Write Bill a love letter.
12.  Put my Grandpa's recipes in a cookbook.
13.  Take Leyton to a live concert.
14.  Sit by a campfire on the beach.
15.  Read at stand up poetry event.

Now the good thing about what is left is most of them are pretty easy.  I left a lot of generic to do items on the list that I knew I could finish quickly and didn't require money or scheduling....just doing them.  There are a few I have concerns about though.  One is the white water rafting.  This has been a shitty rainy season and there's not much water right now.  I need to do some research and find a good place to do this.  The second is getting SUP certified.  This is dependent on if the guys who run the SUP group do certification courses this year.  That's it though!  Only two items!!!

All I can say is I highly encourage people to do this.  I love the whole bucket list idea but that seems so broad.  I needed items and a time frame in which to do them.  I think I will do something like this each year even if it's only 5 items and then I'll do another big one before I hit 50!

Yes, I might be naked in that photo.  Here's to skinny dipping and buoyant boobs!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


I know, I's been a while.  Getting back into the blogging routine is turning out to be one of the hardest things on my list.  The crazy part is a I LOVE writing....I just don't make the time for it like I used to.  However, I do have a big update for one of the items on my list.

I am now three weeks deep into my improv class!  This was definitely an item on my list that scared the shit out of me.  I have no fear of public speaking and am outgoing and am at times funny, but to have something where I felt the pressure to actually do all those things simultaniously??  Frightening.  I also felt like it was going to be hard to find a place that taught improv, but luckily that turned out to be the easiest portion.

The Sacramento Comedy Spot is located in downtown Sacramento in the Marrs building and they hold regular improv and comedy classes.  They also happened to be running a deal on Living Social at the time I signed up so it was a win win.  I wanted to put in a little time before I started talking about it on here and feel like three weeks in I know a bit more about it then I did when I walked in.  Here are the good things:

1.  It's hilarious.  Last night I didn't feel like going AT ALL but I am determined not to miss a class.  After 30 minutes I was so happy to be there.  It completely transforms my mood just walking in the door.  "Balloon Animal Brian" our instructor is the best.  He has the most comfortable quirky personality and his patience blows me away.
2.  Improv is nothing like I thought it was going to be.  To me it was "Who's Line Is It Anyway."  The fact that it is not structured like that actually puts me at ease because I feel like I'm not ready for that kind of improv (and maybe never will be.)  There is a whole structure to improv, a way in which to do things.  I'm still learning this but I find it fascinating.
3.  No matter how good someone is, everyone fucks up.  There are just times that it doesn't work and that's OK.  I think it is what makes improv improv.  If it just worked all the time it would feel staged.  The other good part about this is I feel like when you do kill it you KILL IT.  When shit comes together and works it can be epic.  Now, I'm not even on stage doing scenes yet, but just knowing that it is OK if I don't do well is a comfort.

Of course, we have to talk a bit about the bad things.  Thankfully there is just one....some of the people in class.  We've gone through this our whole lives, but being almost 40 you kind of forget what it is like to be in class and are reminded there are always those people that just won't shut the fuck up.  Those people that just don't get it.  Everyone is very nice, but man oh man there are times I want to knock someone aside the head.  There is one person in class who I literally can rarely understand what comes out of their mouth.  To me it just sounds like a gobbling turkey and most of the time I feel like a gobbling turkey would actually make more sense.  This is where I am blown away by Brian's patience.  This guy has to see some VERY INTERESTING characters and I'm not sure how he does it, although I can see where it does probably help him in his own comedy.

Needless to say, I love it so far.  It scares me, which I kind of love.  I'm not sure if I will do more beyond this session, but I'm so glad I put this item on my list and that I'm getting it accomplished.  I think everyone could benefit from taking an improv class!  If you are in the Sacramento area check out The Sacramento Comedy Spot.  If participating isn't your thing they have a TON of great show and you should go out and support them.  Being in Sacramento my whole life I am amazed at how wonderful this city has become and how much opportunity there is right outside our door.

Monday, March 2, 2015

My friend Alex.....

This weekend was a pretty great time for me.  Back in 2007 I heard a song that became one of my all time favorites.  I can still listen to it and get that little feeling inside.  It came on Pandora one day and I immediately had to find it and buy it.  That song is called "I Will Keep The Bad Things From You" by The Damnwells.  You can check it out yourself here:

Years later through a random chain of events the lead singer, Alex Dezen released an album for the Getty Owl Foundation and I got a chance to meet him.  Since then I have seen him in concert a couple times including last year in New York.

Recently Alex posted online that he wanted to do some house concerts and would any West Coast people be interested.  I think I responded in 10 seconds and a couple weeks later Alex and his girlfriend Amber were staying at my house.

The performance, amazing.  It was a night that will go down for me as one of the best memories of my life.  I spent time with friends listening to someone that I greatly admire as a musician and also genuinely like as a person.  It doesn't end there though.  Later that evening, when I went to pick Leyton up and bring him home, he discovered that Alex had a guitar and wanted him to play for him.  When we got home Alex was on board to play Leyton a couple songs and even jumped on the offer to play them while sitting on Peanut's lap.  Leyton was enthralled.  So much so that between a song us crazy adults got the idea that we were going to talk about something and Leyton chimed in with "Can you just play another song already!"

The next day, after Alex and Amber had headed off on their next adventure, Leyton and I were driving in the car.  We frequently put on Spotify and listen to our favorite songs shuffle.  One of the songs that Alex sang, The Great Unknown, came on.  Leyton's eyes got huge and the conversation went like this:

Leyton: Mommy, this is Alex!  How did my song get on the radio?
Me: well bud, Alex is a musician.  He has albums and plays concerts for people.
Leyton: Whooooaaaaa!  Can you put his songs on my playlist?

It was such an incredible moment where I really got to see how special this single moment became for him.  A memory for him that will also last a lifetime.  He listened to that song at least 10 times yesterday and if anyone was in ear shot of it he would say to them, "This is my friend Alex!  He sang this song for me last night!"

Thanks again Alex, you are by far Leyton's new best friend.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Paying it Forward

Today I completed paying it forward 5 times.  Guess I should have picked a higher number, but here's the's pretty easy for me to do.  Paying it forward can be done in soo many ways.  Sometimes it's enough to just make someone smile, other times you can pay it forward and literally change someone's life.  Paying it forward doesn't even have to have anything to do with paying.  I try to do whatever feels right at the time.

I had to go to the mall today to have a watch sized.  While I was there a woman in an electric wheelchair was in the line in front of me.  After she paid she just hung out at the register area for a while and no one seemed to say a word to her.  I finally asked if she needed something.  She asked if I could put her shopping bag in the bag attached to the back of her wheel chair.  Simple enough.

On my way out I went into Nordstrom to check out the sale shoe rack.  I ran into the lady again.  She jokingly asked if I was following her and then we started to chat about shoes in general.  Wearing flats, how much heels hurt and especially for her how expensive shoes are now compared to when she was my age.  We were chatting so much the lady that worked there thought we were together.  I happened upon some Halogen shoes that were marked down to $24 and I knew she liked them.  All the other Halogens were over $50 and she mentioned how much I scored on finding the one really marked down pair.

At that point we parted ways and I sat waiting for the sales attendant to bring the match to the shoe.  Once I had both shoes I tried them on, they were perfect.  I kept thinking though about this lady as I watched her not find another pair she liked.  So, I walked over to her and handed the box to her and told her I thought she should have them.  You know what?  It made her day.  I didn't have to buy her anything, but in some small way I gave her a gift.  It felt so good and see, that's the thing about paying it forward.  It makes the day of everyone involved.

Try it sometime, you just might find that it becomes a regular occurrence for you too.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Time for an update!

Getting back into blogging has been hard.  The one problem is, part of my 40 list was to write/journal during the year.  So I have come up with an alternative option.  The blog I will write on when I have something to say or some update to give.  I don't want to do it if it feels forced.  Each week though I am keeping a little journal for Leyton.  I found this book at a store a little over a month ago.

I have been writing in it every Saturday.  My goal is to do this until he moves out of the house.  The nice part is they are just short little paragraphs to sum up the day and so far it is fun and feels easy enough.

That said I thought it was time for a list update!  You can see my updates in blue.  When I finish I will highlight in red.

1. Fire a gun. Handgun style in a shooting range.
2. Take a hip hop dance class.
3.  Reread Hamlet. - Purchased on Kindle. 4.  Visit Yosemite.
5. Skinny dip. - Planned for Palm Springs!6. Take a guitar lesson. - Have guitar, lesson book and online course.  Now just need to schedule time to practice.7.  Write a letter to five people that have influenced me.
8.  Go wine tasting in Napa.
9.  Cook a 5 course meal for friends.
10.  Take an improv class. - Eight week course starts on March 24th.11.  Knit 10 items.
12.  Go to New York with Bill. - Scheduled in July13.  Take a solo overnight trip.
14.  Keep a blog for the year. - working on it.15.  Take Leyton to Modoc County. - planned for August during fair time.16.  Put $100 on one hand of blackjack.  - planned for Vegas birthday.17.  Bake Christmas goodies.
18.  Organize Leyton's crafts.
19.  Get a tattoo for my Dad. - first session complete, next session March 3rd.20.  Have a Halloween costume party.
21.  Participate in a fun run.
22.  Take Leyton to Disneyland. - scheduled in June.23.  Swim the Donner Lake open water event.
24.  Visit Humboldt.
25.  Go dancing with girlfriends.
26.  Join a book club. - First meeting is tomorrow night!27.  Go whitewater rafting.
28.  Get SUP certified.
29.  Write Bill a love letter.
30.  Pay it forward at least 5 times. - I have completed 4.  I know I will hit more than 4 on this one.  I will write more on this when 5 complete.31.  Put my Grandpa's recipes in a cookbook.
32.  Take Leyton to a live concert.
33.  Go ice skating.
34.  Organize a Christmas program at elder community.
35.  Volunteer for Alzheimer's Association. - Application filled out, will submit this week.36.  Sit by campfire on the beach.
37.  Read at a stand up poetry event.
38. One no buy month. - Tried in February and failed, will try again another month.39.  Ride in a helicopter. - Passes purchased while in New York in July!40. Celebrate my 40th in Vegas with friends!!!

I figure 15 out of 40 are at least started which isn't bad at all!  My plan is by April to have 5 more started and at least 5 finished!