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.

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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.

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First day of fall

First Day of Fall

Today ushered in the first day of fall, which in Florida was marked by a continuation of horrible heat and humidity.  Admittedly, one of the things I miss most about living in the Midwest is the change of season from summer to fall.  As a child, my parents took us to see the beautiful fall colors along Lake Superior’s North Shore or down the Mississippi and Lake Pepin.  Each drive is a bit different, but equally beautiful.

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First day of fall at Split Rock Lighthouse

When we’d drive down the Mississippi, we would stop to see Maiden Rock.   This is a famous location along Lake Pepin.  It was on this bluff, where according to Dakotah Sioux legend an Indian maiden Wenonah jumped to her death.  She chose to jump rather than marry a man she didn’t love.

 

A short jaunt from Maiden Rock, is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s girlhood home.  As a young girl,  Wilder’s books about growing up on the Prairie were some of my favorites.  For me, it was a real joy to see where she was born.  It is also where one my favorite books take place.  Little House in the Big Woods, her first in the Little House on Prairie series, took place in Pepin, Wisconsin.

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Sadly, in Florida there’s no fall color aside from the brown leaves on the trees felled by Irma.  The heat and humidity continue to blast like a furnace and my hair hates it.  Oddly, the leaves on our maple tree still change colors randomly throughout the year.  The tree will then randomly drop a leaf or two.  It’s odd, to say the least, to see a leaf change colors in April and not October, but I think I can adjust.

We here in Florida, not so patiently, await the end to the oppressive heat and rainy season.  In the meantime, here’s a wonderful poem by John Keats on Autumn.

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mighty musings

Mighty Musings

Who’s mightier than mighty mouse?  This hockey mom with many mighty musings tonight.     Oh where or where should I begin?  I guess I’ll just tear off the band-aid and get right to my confession.  I have to admit it’s a bit embarrassing and well don’t judge me.

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My twitter bot is addicted to porn. Sorry Mom!  Oh the horror!  There’s definitely a flaw in the bot.  My coding skills are not in any way shape or form mighty.  How did this happen?  I setup my bot to look for tweets and re-tweet them based on several key words.  Apparently, twitter porn spammers are wise to the twitter bot game.   Moreover, hockey mom  is quite popular in the random words these spammers include in their tweets.  Fortunately or should I say unfortunately, I discovered this when a follower of mine re-tweeted some spam porn.  Consequently, I have to check my feed a couple times a day to make sure there’s no porn re-tweets sitting out there.  I have to admit that I never through I’d have to sort through my twitter feed to block any porn I accidentally retweeted.

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On to bigger and better things, no pun intended, the grocery situation in our household is reaching a Defcon 5 situation.  We’ve been to the Publix and Target several times since Irmageddon left.  Unfortunately, the shelves of perishables, the refrigerator cases, and the freezer cases have remained barren.  At this point, I’m getting a bit desperate.  Hopefully, BJ’s is fully stocked tomorrow.  I need to get some groceries for the house before Goalielocks and I head to Tampa.  Otherwise, the hubby, the mayor and Jake will be up a creek and hungry.

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Tonight before I left for my run, we added a new pet to the family.  Goalielocks caught a baby brown basilisk (a.k.a. the Jesus lizard.)  When I first started running in late 2015, I never saw a basilisk.  I would see our regular South Florida convocation of anoles, rock lizards and Geicos, I mean geckos.   As it stands, now when I run I see several basilisks each run of varying sizes.  Irresponsible pet owners who let their pets go in the wild are responsible for yet another invasive species let loose in the S. Florida.  How fortunate am I that I am the benefactor of this irresponsibility with yet another pet in the house?  I am so super fortunate.   Once the boys name said lizard, I’ll share the name with the blogosphere.

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In other news,  tolls have resumed on the Florida Turnpike.  I can’t believe I’m typing this, but thank God they’re back. Traffic on the turnpike has been unbearable since the suspension of tolls.   All the people who cannot drive, don’t take care of their cars, and are blissfully unaware of the minimum speed limit had found their way from I-95  and onto the turnpike.  My commute had been protracted by 15-20 minutes each way as a consequence of the increased traffic.  Alas, the state has turned the tolls back on.   In some small way,  it seems like my world has returned to normalcy.   Traffic still sucks, but at least it sucks less.

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I’m in my first full week of detoxing from my Irmageddon see food eat food diet.  It is patently unpleasant going from eating everything to eating nothing with carbs.  I’m exaggerating of course, but not eating processed food is tough.  The problem with hurricane food is that none of it is healthy.  Nevertheless, I could have rationed my food better.   Clearly, I should have anticipated the supply chain issues with the grocers and stockpiled some of the food I ate.   Instead I ate like a bear preparing for the longest hibernation of its life.  Thank God I live in Florida, there’s no hibernation and it’s always swimsuit season here.    Sweet baby Jesus!

Oh I did some serious damage during Irma.  On a positive note, I’m back to running on the regular.  My girls and I ran another 3.7 miles tonight.  Its still pretty hot here at night.   I wanted to puke like 3 times courtesy of the heat and the fact I’m out of shape.   Last week,  I wanted to puke during the entirety of every run, so I’d say this is an improvement.  Unlike the mad pooper of Colorado, neither my dogs nor I left any surprise packages in any yards, paths or swales.  Your welcome.

Thankfully with laser focus on a healthy diet and back to normal exercise habits, results are following.  Importantly, I need to make sure I stay on task with my diet and my exercise habits lest I  have another Irmageddon type diet emergency on my hands.

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We’re fortunate to have come through Irma unscathed, but others have not been as lucky.  Both Irma and Maria  battered the Caribbean islands severely.  There are several organizations that are providing hurricane relief.   I am including two links where you can provide assistance directly to Puerto Rico and another that will provide relief to all of the islands.  To assist in Puerto Rico’s recovery: United for Puerto Rico  The Miami Foundation is accepting donations to assist in the recovery in the islands including Antigua, Barbuda, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.  Miami Foundation  There are a number of other charities involved in providing hurricane relief.  Before you donate to any charity, please check them out on Charity Navigator.

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Sense of Wonder

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.

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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.

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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!  

boy mom

Boy Mom Life

Being a boy mom is not for the tentative or faint of heart.  Unequivocally, it takes a tough gut, a tough mind, a strong will and the flexibility of a yoga master.   My oldest son was and is a saint.  He was easy going as a baby,  a child and remains easy going as an adult.  He was definitely God’s way of tricking us into having more kids.  Its not that he didn’t have the requisite trips to the urgent care or ER that come with raising kids, but they were in frequent.  If we were at the doctor with Jake, it was because he picked up something at daycare.

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My younger two are strong willed as Jake is easy going.  Oh boy….  The thing about strong-willed children is that they can drive you absolutely mad.  Strong-willed children can absolutely change the world, however, if you don’t try and tame their spirit as is often the case.  It is tempting because it can be maddening.  While Jake spent no time in the urgent care due to accidents or sport injuries, Goalielocks and the Mayor are on a first name basis with the local Urgent Care staff.  You know you’re a hockey mom, when the Urgent Care practitioner knows you, your child and their hockey position.  They even remember to ask how they did at their last tournament.  The urgent care really should have a frequent flier program.   I’m hoping now that the boys are older, our visits to the urgent care center decrease.  Wish me luck on that one!  

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As a child, Goalielocks used to ask us deep philosophical questions while we drove.  These were not easy questions either.  No, Goalielocks wasn’t asking questions about Barnie and Friends.  He was all about the meaning of life as a toddler.  What’s worse is that he would call us out if our answers were inconsistent or changed.     Who expects to be called out on the meaning of life and the origins of the universe by their preschooler?

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Women,  well at least I can speak for myself, tend not think in a linear fashion.  Men tend to think more linearly.  I try to think more globally.   As a young mom, I assumed that my boys thought in a similar fashion.  Oh boy, was I wrong.  I didn’t realize that their thinking was quite singular and linear.  For example, when I told my kids to take a shower, I didn’t realize I would have to specifically tell them to also shampoo their hair and wash their body.  Lesson learned.

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A more recent, and perfect example of this, occurred during Irmageddon.  For some unknown reason, my hubby had brought in a work light from the garage.  The light was unbalanced as it’s legs hadn’t been fully extended..  Goalielocks accidentally knocked into the light knocking it over sending glass shards everywhere.  My hubby and I did our best to vacuum up all of the glass shards, but we clearly missed some of them.  As I swept and vacuumed this weekend, I found more shards of glass.

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I walked into my bathroom noting droplets of blood across the bathroom floor and into our hallway.  As it happens, Goalielocks stepped on a shard of glass cutting his foot.  He had tended to the cut by removing the class, cleaning the wound and covering it.  I asked that he clean up the blood stains he had left in my bathroom. Goalielocks cleaned up the blood stains in the bathroom.

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I took the picture above last night of a blood stain Goalielocks left the day he sliced his foot.  It is important to know that the stain is in our master bedroom hallway about an inch outside of the master bathroom.  As I was taking the pictured, annoyed that the stain was still there,  I asked Goalielocks why he didn’t clean this stain up.  After all, he had cleaned all of the others.  His answer was simple.  “Mom, you asked me to clean up the stains in the bathroom.  This one isn’t in the bathroom.”   I was incensed at myself and him all at once, myself because I should have known better and him because he should have known better.

I brought this picture out at work today.   As it is truly a perfect example of how people that think differently perceive different situations.   When you know that someone is a linear thinker, like my kids, you know you need to be very specific in your communication. In contrast, with a global thinker you wouldn’t have to be as specific.  If you tell me to clean up the blood stains, I’m going to clean up the blood stains even those outside of the bathroom.  On the other hand, a  linear thinker speaking to a global thinker may want to be very specific in their communication leaving no room for misinterpretation or broadening of scope.  

I love how this interaction with my teen turned into a lesson on interacting with different types of thinkers.  Life has a funny way of teaching us when we least expect it.  At first, I thought it was about a male and female brain, but it is not that simple.  Not all women thinking globally and not all men think linearly.  The important take away is that people think differently and we need to communicate accordingly.

Glorious

There is something glorious about a beautiful sunset.  As I left work tonight, at peace with the past couple of weeks, I gazed upon the beautiful Florida sunset.  Albeit there are a lot of things wrong with Florida, but one thing that is oh so right is the sunsets.  Peppered by a bevy of beautiful white fluffy clouds, the red rays of the sun began to set slowly to the west as thunder and lightning rolled in over the coast to the east.  I mean you have to love Florida.  A thunderstorm out one window and world class glorious sunset out the other.  Since I was driving, I was unable to snap a shot of the sunset.  Consequently, I’ll add a picture of the sunset in Flam, Norway.

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Today was glorious because it was a gift.  I have to borrow this from my cousin Jessica, who started this as a daily reminder at the beginning of 2016.  A simple daily reminder of a profound truth.   Jessica has been a poignant reminder of how each day is a gift as she went through breast cancer treatments over the past year.   Fortunately, we were able to see Jessica and her family this summer in Norway.  My boys were overjoyed to meet her son Kai and spend some quality time with him.  Time with family near and far is a glorious gift that no amount of money can replace.

I had a brilliant conversation with a co-worker today about the Oscar Wilde quote on my Live Inspired tee and what it means.  Our conversation about this beautiful Oscar Wilde quote is how the meaning of this quote morphs with you are your progress through the stages of life.  In some sense, she’s completely right.  What defines a life well lived is dependent on the stage of your life.

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Since our youth, we are preconditioned to acquire stuff.  For example things like:  the big house, the big paycheck, the big title and all the fancy goods.  In the end, however, that is not what matters.  Importantly, what matters is the experiences we share with the people we love.  As much as we’d love to, you can’t bring your Louboutins or all that paper with you when you die.

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It reminded me of how truly lucky I was to have Debbie in my life.  I truly believe that God brings people into our lives for a reason, although I cannot yet understand why he tears them away from us.  Debbie taught me, and I think others would agree, a lot about what it means to live a life well lived.  Whenever I have a rough day, I think about her and want to slap myself silly.  I think about how graceful, how kind, how happy and how much she was throughout her battle.  She traveled the globe and the country with her family making beautiful memories.  Even on her worst day, you wouldn’t have know it.  She is and will forever be my hero.

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Another glorious conversation I had confirmed convictions I have long held about someone.  At this point in our lives, there are many experiences that we bring to the collective table.    Sometimes in understanding  those experiences, we can better understand our people and their concerns.  I’m lucky that I can speak honestly and candidly at work without fear.  This person is exactly who I thought he was and one the main reasons I cherish my current career.  Leadership is about making the world a better place.

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Sunday funday

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.

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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.

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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.

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simple Saturday

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….

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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….. 

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James Joyce

The Genius of James Joyce

When life is perfectly imperfect, literature like the genius of James Joyce provides the perfect remedy and wisdom for the moment.  Life will always throw curve balls at us no matter how much we plan or how hard we work.  We will fall, we will make mistakes, but we must pick ourselves up and recreate life out of life.

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It certainly isn’t easy.  How can one expect someone, who is continuously marginalized to stay in their current role?  I love the quote from Joyce above about people trampling flowers to go embrace a cactus.  Too often people are enticed by the cactus or the sheep in wolf’s clothing over the flower.  It doesn’t make sense, but there is something in human nature that draws us to people who may hurt or disloyal to us versus those that our loyal.  Failing to recognize the people that have made an organization effective, while recognizing others is a death nail to a team.  Unfortunately, this could leave to the demise of an organization.

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At the end of the day, words are meaningless.  It is actions that speak volumes.  People have made numerous promises to me over my career, but promises mean nothing without action.   Once, after six years, someone made good on the promise they had made.   When giving me the good news, however, they lied.   They flat out lied.  Again words are meaningless.   When I speak to my employees about their futures,  I’m honest in my timelines and in setting expectations.  It isn’t always what they want to hear, but at least they know my word is good.

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Falling is optional, but rising back up is not.  So rise we must!  We have an obligation to ourselves to give our best each and everyday regardless of our circumstances.  If you’re in a situation where your continuously marginalized, then it is time to move on.

 

Fabulous Friday

Fabulous Friday

TGIF!  Today is fabulous Friday!  This week has felt incredibly long despite being a short week due to the hurricane.  Irmageddon put a lot of strain on all of us with the planning and preparing we had to do for our families and for work.  Perhaps this is why we all felt so utterly exhausted today.

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I’ve been quite productive this week even though it  has been a short an painful week.  Each and every day we have a choice how we respond to our circumstances..  I choose to say F*#C you to those who seek to marginalize others.  As beaten up as I felt physically, the choice has become clear.  Leaders have an obligation, through good and especially through bad, to find the light at the end of the tunnel.  Leaders have the obligation to be both the beacon of hope and the agent of change.  Bound together by a common passion and drive to be the best we can, the group of leaders I have surrounded myself with is amazing.  We will change the world for the better, so you best be ready.

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The downside in all of this productivity is that I completely missed lunch.  A complete and total travesty since I had actually remembered to pack my yummy, vegan protein shake.  No, its not an oxymoron. Its actually quite flavorful, low calorie and does not contain soy or other allergens.  I love my Zumba Shake Shake Shake (Lorbach10 is my affiliate code if you’re interested.)  By the time I realized I had missed lunch, it was 5:00 pm.  I headed home and grabbed some provolone cheese to fuel my run.

 

FullSizeR (11)Piggie and I ran 3 miles, which felt fantastic.  Nothing clears your head better than a nice run with your bestie.  The sky was amazing tonight with nary a cloud in the sky and a big, full setting sun.  Florida’s skies are thing of beauty.   Its been a rough week getting back into running outdoors.  The heat makes it tough to run, but it feels remarkable to be back on the trail outside.  There’s nothing better than running with my puppys’, to remove the stress of the work day.  Since I had such an amazing lunch, I’m treating myself to some Sushi Yama tonight.  Talk about flavorful!