I Did It!

I Did It!

I did it!  I actually made it to a 5:30 am class this morning at Burn.  This morning’s class was circuit burn led by Duane as Amanda was off today.  Once the class started, I felt pretty good, but it was a hard start for me.  Unfortunately, I still need to modify things for the tendonitis, so I lost some of the workout’s voracity today.  I have to say that’s the most frustrating thing in all of this.  Not only can I not run, but I can’t give my other classes 100%.  Now I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right, it’s a short-term struggle to preserve the long-term.

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Afterwards I felt alive, accomplished and away, which is highly unusual for me at the 6:00 hour.  It was less of a struggle to get the kids out the door and I didn’t need my coffee to feel awake. Well, at least in the morning.  The need for my afternoon coffee came a little bit earlier than usual, but that’s to be expected.  I’m sure I’ll pass out early tonight with such an early wake up call this morning.  Nevertheless, this is definitely a habit I am going to keep.

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Consequently, I did notice that Barre was a bit harder or me tonight after having done a circuit class this morning.  I’m not sure if that’s because I’m mentally tired or because my body had enough at that point.  Clearly, it’s a tbd.  Once I figure it out, you can bet I’ll let you know.  Additionally, much like in the morning class,  I was getting frustrated with my limitations.  I need to get over it quickly as getting my tendons healthy and fully functional is my absolute priority.

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I’m going to try and make to spin tomorrow morning at 5:30 as it would be the perfect way to start my day.   I am logging as many workouts as I can before we leave for the hockey tournament. Unfortunately,  I don’t think it will be feasible to workout given the boys’ schedules although I would love to do so.  I guess I can make my doctor happy by finally giving it a rest. After all, in a couple of weeks I will get back to undulating in my Zumba class four times a week!

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Nonetheless, today was a victory for my 2018 intentions and resolutions.  2018 is all about discipline and living in gratitude.  Speaking of which, I’m super excited about being a buddy at the Night To Shine even sponsored by the Tim Tebow foundation.  This event is all about giving special needs teens and young adults a chance to enjoy their prom.  Additionally, as a buddy we get to serve as a chaperone for the night ensuring they have the time of their life.  What could be better than that?  As an added bonus, we get to dress up for prom.  It’s only been a couple of years (or decades) since I graduated, so it will be fun.

Tonight’s song, in honor of my forthcoming return to Zumba, performed by Celia Cruz is “La Vida Es Un Carnaval.”  Celia Cruz is one of my favorite salsa singers.   She is an absolute music legend.   I hope you enjoy her music as much I as do.

 

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Foggy Friday

It was a foggy Friday as I drove to work this morning.  It was nothing short of miraculous that I saw no accidents during my drive.  Fortunately, by the time I made it to Boca the sun had burnt off most of the fog.  The remainder of my drive was fog free and relatively painless.

Fog forms when there is less than 4 degrees Fahrenheit between the dew point and air temperature.  Given that the temperature was 68 when I left my house this morning, I’d say it was a fairly humid morning.    According this is due to an injection of humidity comes courtesy of winds coming off the Gulf.

Admittedly, I’m not a super fan of humidity, but it does keep your skin moist.  I used to hate how dry and cracked my hands and feet would get during the Minnesota winter.  Here in Florida that’s just not a problem we have!

What a Week

What a Week

What a week!  Our Angel Tree events were an absolutely success!  I cannot get over how amazing it is to witness these precious children receiving their gifts.  Moreover, I beyond excited to grow our partnership with ARC through various volunteer opportunities.  Admittedly, I was proud of the team’s efforts and how they pulled together the drive, but I think we’re all exhausted.

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In the holiday season being able to help others even if it is in meager amounts is a gift.  It’s funny how as we get older Christmas morphs from a holiday about receiving gifts to a holiday about giving gifts.  They’re is truly more joy in giving than receiving. However, I do think its important to give ourselves gifts from time to time.

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For example, the last time I received a raise, I wanted to buy a nice pair of red bottomed shoes.  I think you know the shoes I’m talking about, but instead I bought a membership to the local fitness studio.  First, it was significantly cheaper than the red-bottomed shoes.  Secondly, there’s nothing better than little yoga or barre to get oneself re-centered.  I don’t do many things for myself – I drink my DD and I go to the gym, the rest is for my boys (all four of them.)  Seriously, I haven’t had pedicure since SAHOF (state hockey tournament), which happened in March.

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Of course, the hockey mom life entails acceptance of the fact all of your money, and I do mean all, goes to hockey  My boys, again all four, would have it no other way and truthfully nor would I.  Tonight my boys headed to practice as the Piggie and I headed out for a run. As I embarked on my run, one phrase kept running through my head “I’ll remember this.” There’s no need for a backstory here only the reminder that words can cut like a knife.

Tonight’s song performed by Michael Buble is “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”

 

 

 

Breakfast With Santa

Breakfast With Santa

Today was our annual Breakfast with Santa at work.  I know what you may be thinking.  We’re far too old to be eating with Santa, but you’d be wrong!  Importantly, our annual breakfast is the culmination of our Angel Tree drive. In fact, this year we adopted 363 angels for Christmas!

Our Angels come courtesy of ARC Broward, which is an incredible organization that provides people with disabilities and other life challenges the opportunity to fulfill their potential.  Raising children in modern times is incredibly expensive.  Unfortunately, for parents of special needs children, the costs can be exponentially higher, which is where we come in.

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This event started over seven years ago when my CRO and his wife adopted their daughter’s classroom having seen the need first hand.  Thankfully, my CRO shared this opportunity with our military team and we took up the challenge.  Excitedly, this is my second year leading the event with my partner in crime MK.  By comparison to years past, our team is bigger, more diverse and incredible this year.  We made a concerted effort to expand the team outside of our unit, so it would encompass representation from units across the company.

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First, we started off our morning staging the gifts downstairs.  As a result, our employees could get their pictures taken in front of the gifts with Santa.  The sight was beyond impressive with gifts for over 300 people including 20 bikes staged in reception! What struck me as I looked at the gifts, was the amazing generosity of my colleagues.  In that moment, I felt truly blessed and proud.  Blessed and proud to be a part of an organization where community involvement and philanthropy are prized and encouraged.

Importantly, current employee engagement theory has shown that engaged employees happier and more productive.  Since I had the pleasure of taking the pictures with Santa, I got to witness our employees reaction to the event first hand. Without fail, our collective generosity blew away my colleagues.  Time and after time, people made comments about how awesome it is to work with such great people and at a great place.  Undoubtedly, for me, witnessing both their pride and their joy was a profoundly rewarding experience.  As a result, I have no doubt that today’s event was an employee engagement win!

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Afterwards, I headed back up to meetings.  Meanwhile, the team loaded the gifts up for delivery.  I simply cannot wait to go hand out the gifts later this week.  Last year, it was such an amazing, life affirming experience.  Unquestionably, the joy on the children’s face coupled with the gratitude of the teachers and parents is indescribable.  Meanwhile I’m filled with the joy and gratitude for today’s experience.

Tonight’s song performed by  music legends David Bowie and Bing Crosby   is “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth.” 

varnish

Varnish

When I think of varnish, I think of the stains and varnishes that litter my garage.  Fortunately, most are currently closed so the overwhelming odor of varnish isn’t present.  When my Hubby is working the garage with varnish or even outside, the scent is omnipresent and overwhelming.  A good varnish brings out the grains and uniqueness of each piece of wood without covering it up.  The Hubby does an exquisite job picking the right varnish for each project he does.  Consequently, the finished product is amazing.

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Like a fine piece of wood, the more varnish we put on, the more our true nature is highlighted.   I love this quote from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectation, “”No varnish can hide the grain of the wood; and that the more varnish you put on, the more the grain will express itself.”  Meaning the you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.  In the end, one cannot hide their true nature indefinitely.  In the end, one’s true nature always reveals itself.

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Usually one’s true nature reveals itself when someone’s back is against the wall.  Conversely, other’s are full monty out in the open with their true nature.  Ebenezer Scrooge, from Dickens’ great novel A Christmas Carol, was unapologetically mean, inconsiderate, and a  scrooge.  He pulled no punches and operated without pretense.  Of course, in the end Ebenezer Scrooge found his heart and a moral compass, but that’s not always how these things work out. The question is, what would more varnish reveal about you?

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As we edge closer to Christmas, I look forward to watching some of my favorite Christmas movies and specials.  Who doesn’t love watching Rudolph and Frosty this time of year?  Of course, there are several great move versions of A Christmas Carol.  One of my favorite versions is A Muppet Christmas Carol.  Whether or not you have kids, this move is enjoyable and well done.  Plus, the Dickens’ quote provided the perfect opportunity to plug a Muppet’s movie that I’ve loved since childhood.  What could be better?

Lastly, I wrote briefly about a mother’s worst nightmare last night.  Tonight this family is in need of our support during an imaginably difficult time.  If you are able to, please consider helping this family.  Here is the link: Youcaring

Tonight’s song is “Christmas Eve/Sarejevo” performed by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

 

 

Gut punch

Gut Punch

Today was one of those days that was akin to a gut punch.  The kind of day that brings you sorrow, angst, sadness, and grief. As if we haven’t already been here enough in 2017… Ugh.  This year has been tough and the last 24 hours indicative of its toughness. Unfortunately, my SIL lost her mother last night.  This is one of those times its tough to be here because we’re not able, as a family, to be there for her, my bro and their kids.  Right now all of us wish we were there with them.

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Meanwhile, in another corner, a mother’s worst nightmare is playing out in a horrific way and we’re all powerless to help.  If anything today has reinforced, the delicate nature of life and its unpredictability.  Life, our days on this earth, are not promised. We can choose to exist, which most do, or we can choose to live.  We can choose to make a positive difference in the lives of those around us regardless of our circumstances.

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Nonetheless, today left me wanting to do nothing, but gorge on Neuhaus chocolate tonight.  I’m proud to say that instead I went to aerial yoga.  This was definitely the healthier way to work through today’s sadness and grief.  Tonight’s class was a bit difficult as I hurt my hip some how, so I had to be careful with my left side.  Incidentally, the inversions are getting much easier with each class.  Additionally, my alignment in handstand/headstand is much better in my mat classes now.  Aerial yoga is definitely improving my practice.

Tonight’s song is “How Great Thou Art” performed by The Pentatonix.

giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday

As we wind down a glorious Cyber Monday, may we give our full attention to Giving Tuesday.  Tomorrow is all about paying it forward and supporting causes that are near and dear to our hearts.  November, for me, is all about building awareness and funds for Pancreatic Cancer Research. When I run, however, I use charity miles, so for every mile I log a donation is made to the ALS Foundation.   Undoubtedly, it is a wonderful way to tie my training and important causes together.

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This month our Purple Stride Team, Deb Force Five, raised almost $10,000 for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.  A lot of this important came from the tight knit hockey family, which has rallied around Debbie and her family since diagnosis.   The support of the hockey community continued last weekend, which was great to see.  Debbie would have been proud.

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In addition to the Purple Stride event, the Mayor’s team also collected food to donate to families in need this Thanksgiving.  For my kids’ it is almost incomprehensible that their are children in their community without a bite to eat.  I’m so happy the Mayor had an opportunity to participate in this initiative.  A big thanks to VM, SF and JF for organizing it for our team!

Speaking of bites, I’m gonna make bake some cookies tonight.  I wanted to bake them for the boys’ lunches yesterday, but ran out of time.  While they bake, perhaps I’ll finish the copious amounts of laundry that went undone this weekend or perhaps not….

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In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, here’s the link to Team Deb Force Five.  While the race and competition is over, the need for funds is not.  Consequently, you can donate here: Team Deb Force Five.

Tonight’s song is “Buddy Holly” by Weezer.  This video was one of my favorites when it debuted in the mid 90s.

hockey culture

Hockey Culture

One of my favorite aspects of hockey culture is the commitment of older players to encouraging and mentor the younger players.  It manifest in a number of ways.  When Marty St. Louis played for the Lightning, his son played travel hockey here in Florida.  There were a number of tournaments we attended that when he was there, he’d offer his encouragement to our boys.  As loud as these hockey players are the minute an NHLer walks in the room, you could hear crickets.

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You may recall from my blog a couple weeks ago that Goalielocks had skate courtesy of a professional rehabbing here in Florida.  Well, today was our boys turn.  Goalielocks’ team was offered the opportunity to volunteer at the Panthers’ Learn to Skate program that is being hosted at our rink.  Goalielocks equipment was still in the truck, so he helped them set up.  Meanwhile, the Mayor was more than happy to go out on the ice and help.

Dressed in their black tracksuits, the Mayor, his friend Justin and a handful of Goalielocks’ teammates took to the ice for learn to play.  We watched from the glass fondly recalling how they were all that little once.  By comparison to the learn to play kids, even my Mayor looked gargantuan.  Our bantams looked like giants next to these little players.

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Unquestionably, these boys are tough on the ice. Most of them visit me in the box at least once a game (my Mayor included.) Nonetheless today on the ice, they were gentle giants.  It was awesome watching them help the up and coming hockey players throughout the hour.  As tough as they can be, they were patient, caring coaches.  For my boys, it was a rewarding experience.  As we left the rink, they were excited to return next week to help coach.

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Post learn to play, I got my second coffee of the day from Dunkin’ before heading to the pet store.  Our first stop was a Tanks A Lot, which sells aquarium and a wide array of marine life.  For my boys, it was like a candy shop.  This store had everything from sea horses (I want one) to two different shark species.  Unquestionably, my boys wanted to take home both of the sharks.  Unfortunately, we don’t have an aquarium large enough to house the sharks.

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After our trips to the pet store, we headed home for Goalielocks to setup his new aquarium.  He got several small fish to cycle the thank.  Meanwhile, I was hoping to run, but the weather and my hamstrings were not cooperating.   Instead I chose to cuddle on the couch with the Mayor and watch the Office.  It was a solid choice.  Nonetheless, it also means I’ll have to run more miles tomorrow.

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Lastly, we’re seven days out from the Broward Palm Beach Purple Stride and still $3,500 away from our fundraising goal.  While it looks doubtful that I’ll be logging a PR at this race, due to poor preparations, I do not want to fall short of my fundraising goal.  If you’re in S. Florida, join us at the event.  If you’re not local to S. Florida, please consider donating to Team Deb Force Five.  You can join the team or donate to the team via this link:  Team Deb Force Five.

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Tonight’s song is a flashback to the 80’s.  It’s also one of my kids’ favorite song after it was featured on Family Guy.  Enjoy Toto’s “Africa.”

 

 

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?