Page 42 of 47

No Dr. Pangloss here

I’m an optimist, most of the times, who see the glass as being half full, but this girl is no Dr. Pangloss.   You may remember Dr. Pangloss from Voltaire’s glorious work of satire Candide.  In this novel, Dr. Pangloss clings to a view of unreasonable optimism even when his life experiences constantly contradict his philosophy.


Sadly, Dr. Pangloss  never makes the mental leap that their outlook on life is dead wrong.  Rather he continues to adhere to a ridiculous philosophy that has caused much pain.  Keep in mind this is a man riddled with syphilis, nearly hung and almost dissected, but he never abandoned his dead headed philosophy.


In many ways, Dr. Pangloss was the anti-Voltaire espousing and championing ideals that Voltaire shunned.   As Voltaire so eloquently said, “it is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.”  Pangloss was not willing to drop the chains of his broken ideals.


Admittedly, there is no coincidence in my writing about Voltaire’s Candide.  In many ways, we face similar difficulties as Pangloss.  Sometimes we don’t want to accept reality as reality.  Instead we tend to explain circumstances away, make excuses for people that mistreat us all while hanging on to our beliefs.  As a consequence, we stay in relationships, we stay in jobs, or we stay in friendships that are no longer healthy.


Sometimes, as hard as it may be, we have to accept reality, reset our mindset and move on.  In the immortal words of Ace of Base, “I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes.  I saw the sign.  Life is demanding without understanding. ”  If you are unwilling to pivot when life calls for it, you may find yourself in a Candide like misadventure.  Let me be clear here that what I’m advocating is being realistic and not blindly optimistic.



Who doesn’t love the Dug’s famous line “squirrel” in the movie Up?  I love the movie Up and all of its bittersweet beauty.  Maybe its just me, but some days I feel that my ability to focus is on par with the Dug’s.   For may of us, we where a lot of different hats and have a boatload of differing responsibilities.  Some days it feels like eight arms and 72 extra hours wouldn’t be enough to get everything done.  The overwhelming nature of our 21st century lives certainly leads to many “squirrel” moments.


The trick is to teach ourselves to stay grounded and focused.  By focused, I do not mean laser focused only on our to do lists or the tasks at hand.  Rather, I believe staying focused means remaining true to your priorities.  If family and career are your priorities, you need to ensure that your actions support those priorities.

giphy (33).gif

To stay grounded, as I wrote about Sunday, it is important to pamper yourself and keep yourself mentally and emotionally ready for life.  When you fail to take care of yourself, there is no way you can effectively manage your priorities and responsibilities.


It’s easy to write all of this, but it’s not nearly as easy to live it.   In our society today, we are surrounded by judgement, opinions and other noise.  Everyone and their uncle has an opinion on how one should manage their lives and their priorities.  Ignore them- nobody knows better than you what your priorities are.  Moreover, those same people may try to distract you from your priorities.  You have to learn to ignore the noise.


Each of us make choices for ourselves or are families on the daily.   For us, we made a commitment to our kids’ and their love of hockey.  Many people cannot understand our willingness and devotion to a kids’ sport that eats all of our time and our paychecks.   Nevertheless, these same people do not see the immeasurable benefits that our kids and ourselves gain from the experience.


I’m pretty sure each of us hockey parents question ourselves as we leave at the crack of dawn to drive across the state for hockey games.  This lasts, of course, until we get to the rink.  There’s nothing better than watching your kid play the sport he loves with kids that have become family.   The cherry on top is being able to enjoy the game with your fellow hockey parents, who have also become family.  Thankfully, most hockey parents/families have similar priorities i.e. their families and their careers.  Thus providing an incredible support system that I could not be more thankful for.

It’s a Beautiful Life

“It’s a beautiful life, oh, oh oh, oh.”  Yeah, that’s right.  I just started my blog quoting Ace of Base.  Who does’t like a little 90s pop reference every now and again to get the creative juices flowing.   People probably don’t think of the famous Swedish pop group as a harbinger of deep lyrics.  Nonetheless, they hit the nail on the head with this one.


Life is perfectly imperfect, but it is beautiful.  Even when life gives us lemon, and I think we all know I’ve been drinking a lot of lemonade this year, life is beautiful.  This year has been a roller coaster of loss, joy, pride, sadness and change.   There were times this year I didn’t think that there was beauty to be found, but there it was a cardinal at my window.   Life’s beauty can surprise you in the most amazing ways and the most difficult times.


As the Sagan quote points out, while we are on this planet each of us is given the chance to take several trips around our local star.  What we make out of that trip is up to us as individuals.  When you start to think of life as a finite opportunity, your perspective shifts dramatically.  Oftentimes, we see ourselves as indestructible until we are faced with our own mortality.


Our beautiful life took a big turn last spring.  With Jake graduating high school and plunging into adulthood, our world shifted dramatically.  It’s kind of odd transitioning from managing three kids to only managing two.  Moreover, I have to remind myself of our new reality.  After all, we need to treat him as an adult  now.  In addition, to the new adult in the household, we graduated elementary after having started it in 2004.  150529155417-facebook-gif-4-custom-1

There are definitely perks to this new arrangement in our world.  When he texted me tonight to ask me to close that garage door since his dad’s thing didn’t work.  I could respond with “that’s what she said” without feeling like a bad parent.  His response?  It was epic.  Please see the Michael Scott gif he sent me below.  I freaking love this kid!


Sometimes what holds us back, is our fear of the unknown.  It prevents us from pursuing our dreams , doing the things we love and sometimes accepting reality.  Its time to stop being afraid of the unknown, grab the bull by the horn and live your life.  For you it may mean pursuing a new opportunity, for others it may mean accepting life’s new realities.  And yet for others, (right CS) it may mean selling all their things and becoming a goat farmer in Norway.  I’m mean did you see the Aurora Borealis gifs?  How could you not want to live there?  At the end of the day, you will either define your trip around the sun or it will define you.

Pamper Yourself

Do as  I say and not as I do.  When it comes time to pamper yourself, don’t skip out.  I’m not saying you need to go get an uber expensive spa package every weekend.  What I am suggesting is carving out time to take care of you.  It could be as simple a a nice soak in a bubble or Epsom bath while you read quietly away from the craziness of everyday life.

Pampering yourself isn’t about being over indulgent, but taking time to keep yourself centered, relaxed and healthy.  I love getting massage and so does my body.  After teaching several Zumba classes and running tons of miles, my body is beat.  Fortunately, I have a membership to Massage Envy where I can treat myself to a nice massage.  The massage helps keeps my muscles healthy in addition to helping me relax.


There’s only one problem with the Massage Envy setup.  You need to be able to carve out time for the monthly appointment.  Thanks to a hectic travel hockey schedule, I can go weekly for the next year due to all the massages I’ve accumulated.  The point is I need to make myself a  priority and make sure I’m taking care of myself.

Treating yourself can take a number of different iterations.  It could be as simple as taking the time for 1 5-20 minute walk during your work day to clear your head.  Or you could sign up for a yoga class at a local studio to help you get your zen on.  If you’re like me, and you like clothes, a nice trip to the malls with friends and sans kids can do a mind and body good.

Perhaps this weekend I’ll take some of my own advice.  Thankfully, the Mayor’s games are local, which will afford me some extra time.   I may even be able to squeeze in a hair cut, a massage, and a pedicure.   I’m long overdue for all three and they sound so heavenly.    In the meantime, take time this week to pamper yourself.   Take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally, which does in fact include pampering yourself from time to time.

Saturday Night in Tampa

After a long week at work, is there anywhere better to be on a Saturday night than suburban Tampa?  Thankfully, the drive is not too long and does not entail driving on a scary two lane road.  Can you sense the sarcasm?  Nonetheless, us crazy hockey parents journeyed westward early this morning for two games in Tampa.


The drive from the Palm Beaches to Wesley Chapel took a little over four hours this morning.   We were fortunate to hit pretty good traffic and minimal weather.  As luck would have it, the monsoon came during my shift.  I was driving John’s (my brother from another mother) Volvo when he got some much deserved and needed sleep.  I only had to wake him up once to see if the windshield wipers could wipe a little faster.  They could not, but alas we survived.

200 (2)

Neither game nearly as well as we had hoped, but that’s okay.   Winning feels awesome and lord knows I hate to lose.  However, we learn more from losing and our failures than we can ever learn from winning.  The tenacity, the team work, the grit, the perseverance we learn from our losses it is what equips us to ultimately win big. The choice is clear.  Either we choose to self-destruct due in the failure, or we choose to  lick our wounds and get back on the proverbial ice and kick ass.  Which one will you choose?

Undoubtedly, the major benefit of travel hockey (for me) is the time I get to spend with my family and extended family.  The outcome, while not completely irrelevant, does not outweigh the enjoyment I get from the quality time I get with my kids.  As the Mastercard commercial says, this time with my family is priceless.


Thankfully, we opted to stay overnight.  If we had headed home post-game, we would not have gotten home til after 1:00 am in the morning.  As horrible as the drive is during the day, the drive at night is a million times worse.  Goalielocks and I enjoyed a fantastic steak with some of our hockey family after the game.  I even got some birthday ice cream and a saddle ride for our dear friend Dam Hart, which was hilarious.

I took some photos from the penalty box this evening of the team and Goalielocks during warm ups.   They’re quite the crew.  Most of these boys are now in high school and we started this journey in early elementary.   I cannot even fathom where time has go.  In addition to the photos of  team, I thought you’d enjoy these video reenactments of me while Goalielocks between the pipes.

giphy (30)


My favorite picture from today is the one I took of Goalielocks doing a full split at center ice.  As a yogi, I’ve been working on my flexibility for years.  Since I teach Zumba and am a runner, my legs and hips are super tight.  There’s just not a lot of flexibility there at all.  In contrast,  Goalielocks is nimble like Gumby.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit jealous.  I’ll leave it to you.  Who do it better?  Goalielocks or this hockey awesome mom?

FullSizeR (13).jpg


This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Sense of Wonder

As we get older, we lose our sense of wonder as we get caught up in the craziness of life.   We become slaves to the daily grind.  Instead of enjoying life, we just go exist.   We have allowed our lives to become a Bill Murray movie in many respects.  Many of us our living Ground Hogs day and for no good reason.  Although it seems silly, why is it that we let life get in the way of enjoying life?  How is that as we get older, we stop appreciating the beautiful sky, the flowers, each other, etc.?  How do we reclaim our sense of wonder?  It’s time for us to reclaim the wonder.


Have you ever watched a child explore a new park or a new place?  The curiosity and look of amazement never leaves them.  Children bound with excitement as they explore new spaces.  A child can find a crumb size piece of something new and be fascinated for hours.  Its an amazing thing to watch and see.  I loved watching my children explore their world.  It is a magical thing to watch.  Sadly, we seem to lose it as we get older.


One of my most cherished memories from our trip to Norway this summer was sharing it with my Grandma.  My Grandma is one, who has never lost her sense of wonderment.   At 87 years old, she is quite unique.  She walks several miles daily even in Minnesota’s crazy winters.  In fact, we had to send Jake after her a couple of times.   The first time,  when she started climbing on the rocks in Romskog. Also  when she was climbing near some rushing rivers.   Consequently, once Grandma finished climbing the rocks, she told me about a park in Northern Minnesota where I had to bring the boys.  She loves to go their a climb the rocks.  Simply put, she is a rock star.

Unequivocally, one of my favorite pictures from Norway is of my Grandma standing at the base of a path at the Borgund Stave Church.  This path leads to the Sverristegen and Vindhellavegen portion of the Kongsvegen.  As she stood at the base, there were sheep off to her left in the pasture, the stave church behind her, and tree filled hills to her right and ahead of her.  At 87 years, she looked at the scenery with a childlike wonderment.  She looked at it as if it was the first time she had seen anything like it.  It was a moment of pure magic.

For as long as  I live, that picture will be etched in my mind.  After she had a moment to soak it in, Grandma T hiked up the Sverristegen with the kids, myself, my brothers and their wives.  The hike wasn’t easy either.  The trail was uphill with rocks interspersed between the grass and sheep bombs.  My Grandma was a freaking rock star on that hike.

While our everyday landscape may not be as dramatic as the backdrop of the Borgund Stave church and the Sverristegen,  we can choose to find the wonder in our daily life. Beauty abounds on this planet and in our lives, it comes in the form of nature and the beautiful  people in our lives, recognize it, savor it and enjoy it.  Make life count!  

Sunday Funday

Sunday funday my ass….  Unless your idea of fun is household chores and laundry.  If it is, my Sunday was the epitome of Sunday funday.  Nevertheless, I got a lot accomplished and we’re well set up for the week.   The floors have been mopped and all of our laundry is done and put away.  Thanks to Irma and a delayed start to hockey season this is quite the accomplishment for mid-September in our house.

While yesterday was a rest day, today Athena and I were back on the trail running again.  Thankfully, the brush and fallen trees  have been removed from our running trials.  For the first time in months, we were able to run our favorite route.  We ran just over 3.5 miles.  I wish my time was as hot as the heat, but my time sucked and clearly I’m off my game.  The Piggie and I had a great time running the trail despite the heat and my poor time.  There’s nothing better than running outside while listening to great music with my Athena.  It soothes the soul and clears the head.


Today’s writing prompt is the word sting, so here’s what  I came up with on my run:

  1. Jellyfish – they’re no bueno.  Who wants someone peeing on them to make the stinging sensation to go away?  Not this girl!
  2. Stinging nettle – Goalielocks learned this lesson while feeding the sheep in Flam.  Just say no to stinging nettle.
  3. Sweat in your eyes – Yes, it equates to hard work, but sweat getting in your eyes as your run definitely stings.
  4. Bees and wasps:  I am fortunate that none of us are allergic, but this can be a major problem for those with allergies to bee stings.  In South Florida, Africanized honey bees can present a real danger.
  5. Fire Ants:  These insidious little beasts sting and it feels like their sting is the size of an elephant.  The sting of the red ant is horribly painful.  Unfortunately, I’m speaking from personal experience on this one.
  6. Hurricane Jose, Tropical Storm Lee and now Hurricane Maria: from all of us in the Atlantic Basin – F#$K You!
  7. Betrayal: Stings worse than fire ants, bees, and jellyfish together.
  8. Misogyny, racism or any other kind of discrimination:  A sting worse than a bullet ant and a tarantula hawk wasp sting combined.  Yeah, it’s that bad.

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There is good news about things that sting.  You can squash them, exterminate them or wipe them away or leave them  on the beach to dry out.  They’re not big bad monsters that you cannot defeat.  Lastly,  you can treat your sting, should you experience one, with benadryl cream,  hydro-cortisone cream, ibuprofen, benadryl, an epi-pen for severe allergies and vodka and/or tequila for number 6 and 7 respectively.

source (3)

Simple Saturday

Today was a nice, simple Saturday.   I was beyond exhausted after the craziness of Irma and work.   I ran a little over three miles last night, which marked the 5th straight day of running for the Piggie and I.  We haven’t ran outside since before our Norway trip, so it’s been a bit taxing for me as we recreate our running habit.  Like many in S. Florida, I’ve been fighting off a cold/sinus bug since the storm.  Consequently, I slept like a baby until almost 11:00 am and it felt amazeballs.  My sinuses, however, do not feel amazeballs.  giphy (19)giphy (20)

I had the distinct honor and privilege of grocery shopping once I finally got out of bed.  I’m not even being sarcastic here.  I got to have a normal, sort of, Target run today.  This trip wasn’t an emergency hurricane sustenance run, but a get our normal Target stuff run.  Except it wasn’t our normal Target run because they still haven’t been able to restock their perishables fully.  I got as much as I could at Target, and more (thanks Target), but have to make a trip to Publix and BJ’s to get  our perishables.

I was loving my newly found freedom to be out and about..   After being caged up for the weekend, which felt like years, it was awesome to be out and about.   I made a Kohl’s run.  I had to pick up some new sheets for our bed.  There is nothing more tedious or boring than shopping for sheets.  In addition, to the boring sheets I had to buy I had to pick up some casual shoes with better support for my foot.  Who knows what I did to it, but it hurt like a mother pucker this morning. I obviously had to buy a pair in both black and brown.  A girl has to have options.  Nevertheless, it should be an interesting run tomorrow….


Dinner tonight came courtesy of Goalielocks, who found a recipe for cheeseburgers made from chuck roast online.  Goalielocks cut up the chuck roast, grounded it up and formed the patties.  I have to say I was impressed with his ingenuity and his drive to make these tasty and flavorful burgers.  Moreover, I’m happy to see another one of my boy’s cooking independently – their wives will thank me later.   As for the burger, it was delicious.  Goalielocks really impressed me with his culinary skills, however, it looks like a burger bomb went off in my kitchen.  Baby steps….. 


Finding the Rainbow In the Storm

Irma was without a doubt a miserable experience for most of us, but even with Irma it is possible to find the rainbow in the storm.  Major events like this have a tendency to bring the good out in people  Yeah, there were looters in Lauderdale and Miami, but those were isolated incidents and widely condemned.  In fact, part of our hurricane preparation included the possibility that looters could show up at our door.  They haven’t, but had they shown up we were more than ready to neutralize the threat.  This post isn’t about the looters though; its about the finding the rainbow in the storm.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here are some of the rainbows I found this weekend:

    1. I got to spend a lot of quality time with my family.  Some of this time included no internet, cell or cable service, so we had to talk to each other.
    2. We have awesome neighbors on our cul-de-sac.  Whenever one of these ugly storms rear their ugly head, our neighborhood man crew mobilizes to shutter all the houses and get the circle storm ready.   For that moment in time, they’re our super heroes.   Additionally, the post prep beers and drinks are definitely a plus.
    3. With Hurricane Matthew missing us, this was really our first storm in our house.  I have to say that I felt safe and secure in these walls even as the winds howled fiercely outside.
    4. We never lost power during the storm.  We did, however, lose power twice this afternoon.  This sudden loss of power on a sunny afternoon prompted me to take my run outside, which was another plus.  I have complete and total sympathy for those that lost power as it is tortuously hot in South Florida today.
    5. I was able to binge watch (uninterrupted) the entire first season of the BBC’s Victoria with Jenna Coleman.
    6. When out preparing for the storm, people were kind and people were helpful.  For a moment, I thought I had been caught up in Irma’s tornado and deposited back in Minnesota.  Alas, I was in South Florida and people were truly being kind and considerate.
    7. Not only were people being kind and considerate, but people were being smart about the storm and preparing accordingly.  We’ve been through several storms down here.  We witnessed with Hurricane Wilma the utter devastation that accompanies a strong storm and ill prepared people.  The aftermath was awful.  This wasn’t going to be the story with Irma.   People were preparing for the worst case scenario while hoping for the best.
    8. When we were finally able to escape the cave today, we had  some fun exploring the neighborhood.  Our poor dogs have been miserable the past couple days as they’ve been cooped up inside.   Athena was living the high life as we walked the neighborhood as she shot footage from the Mayor’s GoPro.

  1. Now that the storm is over and the recovery begin, the same team that helped get you ready for the storm helps you recover from the storm.  Our dad crew was out early this morning removing as much brush and landscaping debris from the driveways and yards they could.  The Hubby left for my bro’s house just south of us to help him remove the large oak from his roof.  He’ll be back tomorrow.
  2. It’s okay to have caramel rolls and mimosa brunch more than once a year and a hurricane party is the perfect excuse.  Of course, there is a downside to all of the hurricane treats. It should be corporate policy to allow leggings and/or yoga pants for at least a week post hurricane.IMG_9931.jpg