Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Today is a day to reflect upon our blessings, eat 5 million calories, watch football and live with gratitude.  I started my morning at the gym with a little Xtend Barre followed by weights.  Of course, I strategically timed my work out  before Thanksgiving dinner, so I won’t feel to awful about all of the things I’m about to eat.

As I baked the cheesecake last night, I started watching a new show that is wonderful.  My colleague recommended The Durrells of Corfu as it  reminded her of my kids..   This ITV produced show takes place in the mid 1930s in Britain and Corfu, Greece.   It follows the story of a widow and her four children (3 boys and 1 girl), who move to Greece after getting fed up with life in England. As an aside, the show runs on PBS’s Masterpiece Theater in the States.

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I quickly realized why this show reminded my co-worker of my kids. The show’s writers based it on the books written by the youngest Durrell.  The youngest son Jerry, much like my kids, caught and brought home every animal he caught.  Of course, the mom losing her cool on her kids that weren’t listening to her or helping around the house resonated with me as well.  The scenery, the characters and the plot are quite interesting.  My kids and I will definitely continue to watch this show.

Today we’ll be heading to my brother’s for a relaxing Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family.  It’s a far cry from the large gatherings we were accustomed to as kids, but its a nice change of pace.  I remember watching movies at my grandma’s with the family on the holidays.  One year we watched Star Wars Emperor Strikes Back and another year we watched Gremlins.  Speaking of gremlins, I’m pretty sure if I don’t get enough sleep tonight, I may turn into one tomorrow morning.

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To all my friends and family, I am forever grateful that you are in my life.  If there’s anything I’ve learned in 2017, its that life is precious and not promised.  Let’s be thankful today for the beautiful people that have helped shape our lives.  Let’s be grateful for the opportunity to rise and grind another day.  Lastly, today we remember those that are no longer with us.  While they may no longer be with us physically, they’ll always be with us in our hearts.

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Today’s song is the Beatle’s masterpiece “A Day In The Life.”  This song penned by Lennon and McCartney is one of my favorites and is both haunting and beautiful.  Moreover, this song features one of the most famous ending chords.  Interestingly, when Paul McCartney played A Hard Days Night in Miami he and his band ended on this chord.  (I hadn’t picked up on it, but my music expert Jake certainly did.)

 

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Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Happy Thanksgiving eve to the blogosphere.  I spent my night running, at Barre and baking a cheesecake for tomorrow’s festivities.  This of course after I enjoyed a very slow, but productive day at work.   Fortunately, I don’t have to cook tomorrow only bring my cheesecake and an appetizer.

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After my disappointing at last Sunday’s race, I was eager to hit the pavement and log some additional miles.  Sadly, much like last’s Sunday’s race the miles were slow and laborious.   Nonetheless, I logged a little over two miles with the Piggie before heading to pilates for the evening.   I am hoping that my run Friday goes a bit easier than tonight’s run.   The boys are an I are planning to run the Jingle Bell Jog for the 3rd year in a row.   Hopefully, by then my pace has improved and the miles aren’t nearly as laborious as they were tonight.

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Post-run, I headed back home to hang with the boys before they headed to the Panther’s game. While I headed to the pilates studio, Goalielocks and the Mayor headed to the Florida Panther’s game with Uncle Jon.  They were so excited to go that the Mayor had his chores down by 9:00 am.  In fact, he even sent me pictures to prove that he had done it.  When I got home from work last night, none of their daily chores had been done.  Like a tyrant, I told them if they didn’t their chores today, there would be no hockey game tonight.  This proved to be a great motivator for them.

As they enjoyed the free food at the Corona Club at BB&T, I was working my tail off at Burn.  Tonight, my instructor Adam, showed no mercy as we took to the TRX for the first half of class.  TRX is a great way to get strong and get fit without a lot of equipment.  Undoubtedly, I will feel this class tomorrow.   Fortunately, I’m heading back for more punishment tomorrow before our Thanksgiving dinner.

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Tonight’s song is “Dreams” by the Cranberries.  I loved this song from the moment it hit the airways.  I would have bought the CD if my dad hadn’t beat me to it!

 

 

Today We Waged Hope

Today We Waged Hope

Today we waged hope for better outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients and their families.  After months of anticipation, the Purple Stride 5k was upon us.  It was a tough, heartfelt morning full of love for Debbie and her family that left me in tears a couple times.  Team Deb Force five won an award for raising the most funds as a team for the second year in a row.  Unquestionably, Debbie was the key our success.  Our collective love and the respect we hold for Debbie continues to inspire us to wage hope.  She was a tour de force, who inspired so many of us.  

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While we were highly successful fundraising, my training and preparation for the race was poor.  Sadly, the results showed this as I finished with a time of over 30 minutes.  Excitedly, Jake and The Mayor had awesome showings with the Mayor getting 3rd place in his age group with a time of 28:11.  Albeit Jake didn’t place in the top 3, but still finished with a time of 25:13.  Of course, he was disappointed with his time feeling that he could have done significantly better.  Nonetheless, it was still over a minute faster than his time at the event last year.

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At the start of the race, The Mayor and his teammates, Jake and my co-worker Imani were at the front.  The Mayor and his teammates were super excited and nervous to embark on their run.  They were the cutest.  It was a sea of purple as we lined up at the start.   This was my first run at FAU and this particular course was absolutely beautiful.  Undoubtedly, I wish I had been better prepared for the run, but now I know what I need to do before the next event.

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After the event, my stomach was churning -thanks to chili I ate yesterday, but we waited for our team to finish. As the team members finished as we enjoyed the free food and we waited for the Mayor to get his medal.  A big congratulations to the Mayor and fellow Deb Force Five member HB who placed 3rd and 2nd respectively in the under 13 age group.  I now owe the Mayor $50 as he finished under 30 minutes and he beat me handily! 

Lastly, while the event may be over our work is still unfinished.  There is a long way to go in the war against pancreatic cancer and doubling survival rates by 2020.  In fact,  it isn’t too late to donate to Team Deb Force Five.  If you’d like to donate, please click here. To our Deb Force Five family, thank you for your participation, your donation and your continued love and support of this beautiful family.  

Today’s song is “The Sky is a Neighborhood” by the Foo Fighters.  I was jamming to this song as I finished my third mile today.  It’s a great one!

 

Super Saturday

Super Saturday

Today was definitely a super Saturday as I spent it at the rink with the Mayor and his team.  Fortunately, we were local playing two games down in Coral Springs.  Moreover, the scheduler did a great job as his games were perfectly scheduled.   Consequently, I was able to pick up the race packets for the Purple Stride event after the team lunch.

The Mayor came out on fire this morning in game 1 against the Panthers scoring a beautiful goal on his first shift.   He ended the first period with a goal and an assist.  His team has come together nicely and really plays for each other.  In the second period, his line-mate BK came to visit me in the Sin Bin.  The ref sent him to the box for for interference after he took down the kid that had just leveled the Mayor.  He came into the box and said “there’s no way I was gonna let him get away with hitting the Mayor.”   Honestly, when a kid comes to the box for defending their teammate, I’m never mad.  Sticking up for your teammate is what good teammates do.

That penalty was in the second period, but BK would be back to visit me in the 3rd.  The Mayor took the puck on our blue line and started heading towards the offensive zone when a linebacker of a player boarded him in the neutral zone.  The player really should have been called for a 2 and 10, but whatever….

Fortunately, the Mayor wasn’t hurt.  He skated hard down to the offensive zone, where the same kid had just checked his line-mate BK into the boards.  The Mayor laid this kid out.  I gotta be honest, I was proud of him for sticking up for himself and his teammate.  The hit was a real beauty and would have been perfectly legal if they were bantams.  While the Mayor may be small in stature, he is large in personality, strength and presence on the ice.  Undoubtedly, the player he laid out will remember him.

Afterwards, we headed to Lefty’s for lunch with the team.  My brother met us for lunch, so the Mayor was totally stoked.  Originally, I hadn’t planned on staying at lunch because I had to pick up the packets.  My bro was able to take the Mayor back to the rink, so I could go to Boca to get the packets.  Meanwhile, the Mayor was super excited to spend some time with his uncle.

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Both J&B and then Rich were able to join us for the second game, which was a much tighter contest.  It was a fun game to watch and the kids worked hard together.  They enjoyed watching him play.  The Mayor use his new stick even if it was a little tall for him.  He was just a little excited about it.   At the end of the day, I love watching the Mayor’s squad play.  They create an atmospheric experience at their games.  Undeniably, there is nothing better than watching these kids come together and start playing for each other.

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Now it’s off to sort shirts and put together the packets for tomorrow’s race.  Undoubtedly,  I’m nervous for the race since my training has been non-existent and I hate sucking.  If you haven’t donated to the team or still want to join (it’s not too late), you can donate at this link or register at tomorrow’s event.

Tonight’s song is “Machinehead” by Bush.

Mount Floyen Friday

Mount Floyen Friday

It is a Mount Floyen Friday, can someone please take me back to Bergen?  I’ve been good this year, so pretty sure they’ll be no coal in my stocking this year. In lieu of coal, feel free to stock my stuffing with tickets back to Bergen.  Although I’m sure the beautiful city and mountain look a little bit different in December than they do in July.

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We took the funicular up to the top of Mt. Floyen first thing one morning, so we could hike and explore the mountain.  Fortunately, Mt. Floyen offers a lot of activities to those travelling with families.  There are number of different trails, a ropes course, a play ground and some other activities.  Moreover, if you’re really ambitious, you can do the day long hike from Mt. Floyen to Mt. Ulricken.  In addition, there is also a cafe, gift shop, a restaurant and bathrooms atop the mountain.

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The hike on Mount Floyen is significantly easier than the hike at Ulricken.  There are several walking trails, appropriate for all fitness levels)  along with rockier hiking trails through the woods.  Additionally, there are no significant drop offs around the trails (at least the trails we explored at Mt. Floyen), which makes it a little more child friendly than Mount Ulricken.  Truly, it is a good hike for all ages and all abilities.

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Fortunately, when the kids tired out from hiking before we did, they had activities they could do while we hiked.  Consequently, when the kids got bored and the grandparents got tired, they headed back towards the funicular where there was a nice playground.  While the kids played on the playground, Jake, myself, my brothers and my sister-in-laws decided to hike into the woods and off the paved path.

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The paths through the woods were incredibly beautiful.  In some places, it reminded me of the Valley of the Living Rocks where the trolls resided in Frozen.  You could easily imagine that trolls, witches and fairies inhabited these magical woods.  There was moss on the trees, delicate mushrooms carpeting the forest floor, little structures and fallen trees.

Unquestionably, it was a magical, beautiful place that was also peaceful and serene.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that once we finished our hike we were able to get a nice, hot latte before heading back down the mountain.  We headed back down the mountain to make our way towards Bergen’s tallest mountain Mt. Ulricken. That morning we hiked off the beaten path and were transported into a magical woods that was reminiscent of Narnia. Needless to say, if you’re in Bergen, make a trip to both Mt. Floyen and Mt. Ulricken a priority.

Tonight’s song comes to us from Nirvana and it is “The Many Who Sold the World.”

Saturday With the Mayor

Saturday with the Mayor

While hubby and Goalielocks headed to Orlando for hockey, I️ spent my Saturday with the Mayor. After a long week of activities at work, I️ needed a low key day. What better way to spend it than with my Mayor.

I️ started my day at Burn with the Circuit Burn class with Amanda and a traditional yoga class with Kelly. I️ was bummed aerial was cancelled today, but it’s always good to hit my mat. Not surprisingly, the combination of circuit training and yoga is a great pairing that works your entire body in a variety of ways.

I had to run to Dick’s today to exchange my shoes.  I had purchased a new pair of running shoes a couple of weeks ago.  Since I had been experiencing some shin pain followed by a cold, I didn’t open the box until this week.  Apparently, a size 7 in the UK is not equitable to a size 7 in the US.  Whoops! You can imagine my surprise as I went to lace up my new kicks and they were way too big.  Lesson learned! 

Thankfully, Dick’s had the Kayano 24’s in stock in my actual size.  I should also say they make exchanging or returning items very easy.  I really enjoy shopping there.  Admittedly, I’m completely addicted to Carrie Underwood’s line of active wear, but I digress.   Finally, after finishing my errands with the Mayor, I️ logged a 2.5 mile run. Undoubtedly the Purple Stride event is going to kick my butt next week. I️ am so not ready for it! Nonetheless, I️’ll be logging miles all week in preparation for next Sunday.

Presently, I’m relaxing at Sports Clips while the Mayor enjoys a shampoo, cut and massage. It’s good to be the Mayor! Thankfully, mom isn’t a neophyte when it comes to boys’ haircuts, so he didn’t get too closely shaven. A nice number 3 in back and a cut on top has him looking quite dapper!

Tonight’s song comes courtesy of REM.  Lil’ D and Chuckles inspired tonight’s song “Shiny Happy People.”

Friday Afternoon Bowling

Friday Afternoon Bowling

Today I spent my Friday afternoon bowling at a team building event for one of our business partners.  On the heels of yesterday’s BBQ for our team, bowling and building relationships with our business partners was awesome.  Truly,  I spent a good part of my week building relationships and on employee engagement.  Is there anything better?

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Unequivocally, one of the things I love about my job is the people I work with.  Some are on my team, but many work across the organization in the departments we work with daily.  Silos are the greatest danger to any organization.  Make it your mission to remove silos from our place of employment.  Make it your mission to make positive relationships with the people that support your department, but may work outside of it.

 

That’s all I have for career/work advice tonight.  Let’s talk about the bowling.  I’m awful.   Truly I don’t have enough fingers on my hand to count the gutter balls I threw today.  Consequently, during our second game I switched to bowling from my left hand.  The first ball I threw left handed resulted in (gulp) a gutter ball.  I promptly followed it up with a right handed spare.   Thereafter, I alternated between the hands in resulted in a score that was double my second game.

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In fact, in game two I even led for a moment.  Albeit a brief moment.  For that brief moment between the 2nd and 3rd frame of game 2, I was in the lead.  Since this never happens, I simply had to take a picture of my amazing accomplishment.  Unfortunately, I followed it up with some more gutter balls before netting another spare and two strikes.  You can only imagine the awesomeness of my post-strike strut.

My AD and I had joined the white team.  There were five teams and we rocked it.  As sure as I was that I would torpedo the team, we killed it.  We had a blast!  It was such a great opportunity to meet new  people, connect with those we know and build positive relationships.  While I will never become a professional bowler (cue the small violin here,) I look forward to my next bowling trip my colleagues.  Special thanks to our friends TE and NM for the invite.

Tonight’s song “Smooth” by Santana ft. Rob Thomas.

serving others

Serving Others

Today was all about serving others – literally.  As a thank you to our staff and business partners, we threw a BBQ for our entire South Florida team.   While this wasn’t our first rodeo, it was our third, our last two BBQs have been for a team of 40-50.  Comparatively, today’s BBQ was for a paltry 450 people! For the majority of the team, leadership included, this was their first offsite BBQ.

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Our day started early with a trip to Sam’s to pick up the food we had pre-ordered.  While MK and I got the food, the rest of our crew headed to the park to start the grills.  In order to serve by noon, we started grilling at 10.  Our chefs, as always, were fantastic. When I finally got a chance to eat a burger, it was incredible.  By the time our teams showed up to eat, we were more than ready to go.

For the next three hours, my team and I served our employees burgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers.  It was an amazing opportunity for us to interact with our teams and build new relationships on our expanded team.  We spent the entirety of our day preparing for the BBQ, executing and cleaning up the park.  Unquestionably, it is hard for us to be away from the laptops for extended periods of time, but it is worth it to serve our teams.

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Some leaders fall into the trap of getting caught up in titles and even self -importance.  True leadership, however, is about serving those that report to you.  I privileged to be part of a team that espouses the servant leadership philosophy.  After I left the insurance industry years ago, I never wanted to be in a leadership position again.  Surprisingly, here I am in a leadership position again.  What drew me back into the leadership role was the commitment to servant leadership.

Today was an exhausting, but rewarding day.  The opportunity to meet and celebrate the people that make an organization successful was amazing.  I look forward to our next event celebrating the team’s success and our employees.  In the interim, I remain grateful for the opportunity to serve my team as a servant leader.

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Lastly, I’ve been handling my iPhone X gingerly, so as to not drop it.  I’m acclimated slowly to the major changes on the phone.  Truly, the facial recognition piece is amazing. Once I’ve gotten accustom to it, I will post my review here.  

Tonight’s song: “Mr. Jones”  I’m totally on a 90s music kick this week.  Can you tell?  What’s your favorite 90s tune?

Dancin' in the Rain

Dancin’ in the Rain

Is there anything more cathartic than dancin’ in the rain? I tend to think not.  In all actuality, now that I live in a place where the rain is warm, I don’t even mind dancing in the real rain.  There’s no mystery to why I teach Zumba several week nights.  First, it helps cover the boys expensive hockey habit.  Secondly, and most importantly, it is my sanity keeper.  Even when I’ve had the worst day at work, I leave my Zumba class refreshed, happy and ready to take on the world.

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Dance has magical properties that lifts burdens from our shoulders.  I see it in my Zumba students and myself.  At the start of class, we all look a little more serious and stressed than we do at the end.  To be clear it isn’t only dance that achieves this, however, dancing in my mind is a lot more fun running.  Whatever gets you moving and gets your endorphins pumping will put you in a good space.

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So if you’re having a rough day and thinking about skipping your workout, don’t do it.  Get up and give yourself the gift of dance, running, weights, barre, hockey or whatever your workout of choice may be.  I know its super tempting to sit and binge watch Stranger Things 2, but put it off for at least a 1/2 and get moving.

“Dancin’ in the rain
Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah
Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah
I’m happy again!
I’m singin’ and dancin’ in the rain”

 
Purple Haiku

Purple Haiku

In honor of Pancreatic Cancer month, I wrote a Purple Haiku.  I am by no means a poet, so please be kind.   Cancer is an insidious beast.  Nine years ago today, cancer took my grandfather from us.  My Grandfather lived a good life, but he wast was still taken far too soon.  Like Debbie, my grandfather’s cancer impacted his digestive system (colon) and had metastasized to the liver.

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I go Purple, including purple streaks in my hair, because raising awareness for pancreatic cancer can and will save lives.  Moreover, I advocate for meaningful research like the work the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network does because this is how we will find a cure.  Importantly, the goal of PANCAN is to double the survival rates of pancreatic cancer patients by 2020.  I am proud to support this cause for Debbie, for her family and for all of us.

By the way, if you’re wondering how you can join or support Team Deb Force Five, you can do so by clicking here.  So without more delay, here is my first attempt at a Haiku since high school.

Wage Hope

Now that you are gone
Our hearts are empty and broke
Grieving we wage hope

Purple stride is here
training has made us faint
yet we won’t give up
 
We run in purple
your spirit energizes us
record time is ours
 
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Finally, the song for tonight is “Believer” by Imagine Dragons.

Faint.