Wanderlust

Wanderlust is defined as a strong desire to travel explore the world. Growing up I have always wanted to travel the world, but travel is expensive and so are kids. When I was young, we weren’t rich (weren’t poor either) and didn’t travel often.  If we did travel, it was normally within the state.   We took an amazing trip to California when I was thirteen.  This trip remains one of my favorite memories from childhood.  In addition, I was fortunate that my parents sent me on a couple of amazing class trips.  My goal growing up was to travel the world and see the sites.  Our last trip, Norway, fed my soul and reawakened my wanderlust. Moreover, it awakened the wanderlust in my kids.

There’s nothing better than exploring our globe and our heritage with the ones you love. Now that I’m getting older and have more money, I’m starting to see the future I’ve always wanted. A future that included exploring the world with my family and seeing all that this life has to offer. I’ve been so excited that this “future” is starting to become a reality.  Moreover, I relish the opportunity to share these experiences with my family.

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After traveling to Europe in high school, I fell in love with European history, architecture and art. The opportunity to traipse around the continent is a complete dream.   Norway was a complete dream as it combined my love of European history with my own heritage.  Moreover, it was made even better by the presence of my entire family and grandma.  For as long as I live, I will never forget the look of wonderment on my Grandma’s face as she looked up at the mountains and hills on the Kongevegen in Borgund.  You can’t script a moment better than this.

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I cannot wait for my next trip!  The future I have always wanted and worked so hard to get is close at hand.  Words are not adequate to describe how hard I have worked to get from the ground floor to where I am now.  Countless hours and years of dedication to achieve the results I have achieved and make my future possible.   All of my adult life, I have been working towards this future.

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As much as I love travel, I enjoy sharing these experiences with friends and family more.    A belief that travel and exploration is inconsequential and a needless expense has stalled my vision for the future. As the wind was knocked from my sails, a crushing pain has taken hold in my chest. The realization that what is important to me does not matter to the one I love most has been a crushing blow.  Nonetheless, I’ll pick up the pieces and move forward my plans for the future somewhat altered, but still intact.

 

 

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I hope your Christmas was as wonderful as you had hoped.  Ours started early, but thankfully not too early.  The Mayor woke us up shortly before 8:00, which is a lot later than it used to be. Back in the day, the boys would wake us up well before 7:00 am.  My friends and family know how little I enjoy waking up early, so the super early Christmas wake up calls were tough!

Unquestionably, Christmas is much more meaningful as a parent.  Its not that I don’t like getting gifts; its just that giving them is so much better.  In our house, opening gifts happens like a hurricane as the boys tear open their gifts.  This year their Christmas lists were markedly smaller than previous years.  Although they did include some interesting items like: a teacup pig, a puppy, a tegu, a bearded dragon, and a MacBook.  Unfortunately, there was no teacup pig or puppy under the tree this year.

After they opened their gifts, the Hubby and I got to work preparing for brunch.  He made his famous Cholesterol Bake (totally worth every calorie,) while I finished my caramel rolls and started the bacon.   Additionally, we had to get our drink bar ready.  We had plenty of OJ and champagne/asti for mimosas.  Moreover, this year we added a coffee bar, so my bro brought cold brew coffee and we paired it with Bailey’s and/or Ciroc French Vanilla vodka.  To the uninitiated, the coffee (we used Stok) with Bailey’s and vodka is smooth and absolutely sublime.

While I finished cooking the 85 lbs of bacon and rolls, the boys played show and tell with their menagerie.  They were more than happy to share their animals with our guests.  After showing off Lil’ B (our little beardie,) Goalielocks and the Mayor brought down their two chameleons.  Surprisingly, Goalielocks was able to get the normally shy chameleons to eat in front of company.  Of course it’s a bit of a show when the chameleons eat.

Fortunately, all of the food turned out awesome.  Surprisingly, we didn’t end up in a food coma after eating copious amounts of caramel rolls, cholesterol bake and bacon.  Once brunch was done, the boys headed outside to play football.  Unlike Minnesota, which was -5 this morning, we were balmy in the 70s this morning.  For paintball we were in the low 80s, but without too much humidity.

This year we went to paintball a little later with a 1:00 pm start time.  Unlike years past, the paintball place was completely crowded with groups of uninitiated paint  ballers.  We’ve done this for several years on Christmas not to mention the numerous birthday parties the boys have attended.   Nonetheless, I have zero patients for morons who shoot randomly when not on the field or take their masks off on the field.  Darwin would have been proud!

Straightaway, after getting our guns, we headed to the far fields away from the crowds.  We had the far fields to ourselves for over an hour before a couple of the inexperienced and not so bright groups came on over.  Despite the ineptitude of the people around us, we managed to have a good time.

Our group was pretty small, so we stuck to the smaller fields.  We split up the teams a number of different ways to make interesting throughout the day.   The adults took it to the kids several times, but don’t worry they got us back.  Both the Mayor and Goalielocks have their own guns, which are far more powerful than the rental guns.  Both took me out several times from afar.  I didn’t even have a chance since my gun couldn’t shoot that far.

In one round, Jake, Brandi and I played against my brother and my two younger kids.  My brother came running across the field, thinking there was cover (there wasn’t) and all three of us shot him simultaneously.  Whoops!  Thank goodness my brother is a good sport!

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Between rounds, we Face-timed my parents from Paintball and was able to speak to everyone there, which was awesome.  I definitely miss seeing my family and extended family this time of year.  I have many cherished memories that  I have from holidays spent with my grandparents and extended family.  My hope for my boys is they cherish the traditions we’ve started that put a premium on time spent together having fun.

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Post-paintball we headed home and ordered some friend rice and chicken teriyaki.   Tonight we’re going to watch a movie on NetFlix and relax.  Unfortunately, tomorrow is Tuesday and not a holiday meaning most of us will be back at work.  Can you hear the collective boo?  I’ll leave you tonight with my favorite Christmas song.  This song performed by Mariah Carey is “All I Want For Christmas is You.”

Living Life as a Paragon of Perfection (Not!)

In a world dominated by social media and social media influencers, the use of filters and the crafting of a careful social media presence exists far from the glare of the Hollywood lights.  We use Instagram to perpetuate an image of our lives that we want the world to accept regardless if it is accurate or not.  It has a created a society that looks towards almost unattainable and unsustainable happiness based on the false pretense of everyday life the social media has created.

Think about it.  When you select your Insta or Facebook profile picture, you’re going to pick the most flattering picture.  You may even select one with one of those ridiculous and fun Snapchat filters.  We certainly don’t select a picture where we look horrible that’s for damn sure.   The picture where we’ve clearly drank too much and are making the most ridiculous face that are friend tagged us in on Facebook?  We instantaneously remove the tag.

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The thing is we can’t pretend like this didn’t exist before the socials did.  It’s not like people picked their crappiest photos and worst moments to highlight on their Christmas cards.  Just like the photos we post to our profiles now, the photos selected and the moments shared always crafted a good picture.   Was it always accurate? Probably not.

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The problem with socials is that they exacerbate the perception that many of our friends are living lives that are the total paragon of perfection.   Meanwhile, their life may be a complete disaster or completely normal.   As I looked through pictures from graduation last month, I found myself laughing at the outtakes.  We had some great pictures, but there were some completely disastrous photos, which are pretty accurate of how life sometimes feels in a house of all boys.

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For today’s blog post, I’ve interspersed some of my favorite photos of the boys and the numerous outtakes.  You’ll notice one Christmas (2007) the Mayor decided he didn’t want to cooperate at all.  At the end of the day, social media can be a great tool to keep in touch with family and friends across the globe, but we can balance putting our best foot forward with the creation of a completing fake and narcissistic social media persona.

 

Stormy morning

I woke up this morning to rolling thunder as my alarm went off.  There’s nothing like lying in bed enjoying the sounds of the rain and thunder and relaxing.  Unfortunately, on a Wednesday morning this beautiful combination of rest and relaxation is not possible as my office beckons.  Instead, rolling thunder with my alarms on a Wednesday commute means a protracted commute.

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I rushed out of bed to get ready knowing that the commute would be hellacious and that I needed to stop and get gas before getting on the turnpike.  As I left my neighborhood, my tire pressure came one.  The only thing worse than pumping gas in a South Florida thunderstorm is putting air in a tire during a South Florida thunderstorm.  Unfortunately, it appears that I have a puncture in my right rear tire.  Thank goodness for my knight in shining armor, who met me at the gas station and fixed my tire.

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The rest of my commute was slow, scary and laden in rain. While the puncture in my tire could have been a poor omen for the rest of my day, it was not.  Building positive relationships and analyzing the business is always invigorating.  Plus, any work day that ends with a dinner at Blue Moon Seafood Company is a winner.  Sometimes even a day with the roughest start can end up being one of our brightest day.

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