Back to reality

Hugo and I just returned from a fun-filled, super relaxing week at a five-star resort just north of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  After cancelling our pre-planned Hawaii trip due to inclement weather as a result of westward moving Hurricane Erick, Hugo trusted my judgement and we rerouted South.  I found the Westin and, better yet, their cliff-side outcropping of private, deluxe villas called Baja Point, and what an amazing find it was.  So many wonderful things to say about this place and to be quite honest, pictures just don’t do it justice.

20190802_194649

It was our first time back to Mexico in a long time, after a much younger Hugo and KK spent a drunken night in Tijuana many moons ago.  This trip to Mexico was a complete 180° from our prior trip in more ways than one – the resort was absolutely breathtaking, the food was phenomenal and our emphasis was on mindful resting and recuperation of our spirits, as we took a short, six day jaunt away from work and the bustle of Los Angeles.

As my blaring alarm went off at 3:30am sharp this morning, for a brief, fleeting moment I thought, “What is that hideous, annoying noise?”  It was right at that moment that I realized it was time to return to work today.  I dragged my sunburned ass out of bed, into the shower and off to meet my annoying carpool partner Mouse I went (you may remember Mouse from a prior post of two – if not, read up).  I parked my car at our meeting spot, just shy of an hour after waking up, and got into the passenger seat of our shared, work vehicle.  As soon as I opened the car door, the gross smell of Mouse’s cheap cologne wafted out of the car and I remembered just how much I hate carpooling.  More importantly, just how much I dislike carpooling with him.

Maybe it is because I got a new job offer via text from a prior supervisor during our Mexico trip or maybe it was just the rough harshness of returning to work after a week out of country but either way, I wasn’t having it this morning.  To be honest, I inch closer and closer to not wanting to have any of it anymore, day after day.  The job offer entails transferring to a work location that doesn’t require carpooling and gives me a bit more flexibility with my schedule but my only hang-up right now is the risk of leaving a comfortable work environment that I may regret.  Hugo and I will have to discuss it further over the weekend as we marinate on yet another life choice together.

I digress.  Cabo San Lucas, or the small portion of it that I experienced from our luxury resort, was outstanding.  We rested and slept, sometimes in the fluffy King bed and other times on the cabana couches poolside.  We ate, most of the time in the high-end, rooftop restaurant and always a lot.  And we soaked up each other’s company – Hugo enjoying time with me and I with him.  Sometimes with our work schedules we can go up to five days without more than 5 minutes together so trips where we enjoy us are beyond important to our happiness and health as a couple.  Most importantly though, there is no one I would rather travel the world with, experience new and routine things with and rest my head on while taxing down a runway towards a new destination and adventure in this thing called life.

 

A new pursuit

After months of tossing and turning over professional development ideas ranging from entrepreneurial pursuits to working with my mom to countless other pipe dreams, I kept coming back to the idea of real estate.  I have always loved and admired home searches and sales, most notably enjoying the personal process that Hugo and I went through during our own sales and purchases.  After a recent conversation with an elderly neighbor who has had her ranch property on the market without any interest, I chatted again with my close friend Meg about the ideas we have discussed in the past.  Meg had previously offered to take me under her wing as a partner and to teach and mentor me if I chose to get my real estate license and work with her.  While the idea is to pursue it part-time at first, it may possibly morph into a full-time job should things work out. So for now, I have signed up for my online coursework, met with representatives at Keller Williams to sign on with them, and arranged to hit the ground running with Meg once I am licensed and good to go!

I am excited to begin this new chapter, which comes on the heels of finishing my college degree and my promotion last year.  I am also proud of continuing to push myself professionally and to learn another skill.  Life is short and there isn’t any reason not to work as hard as possible for both personal success and the hope that one day, just maybe, I can buy Hugo that big, brand new fishing boat that he deserves ♥

July 13th

It breaks my heart to have the recurring thought that the relationship with my father is actually falling apart.  I don’t want to admit that its the truth but time after time, it proves to be reality.

Here I am, visiting my parents on the east coast, spending nearly ten hours traversing to and from airports, spending hundreds of dollars and traveling thousands of miles, all so I can come temporarily live under the roof of the people who raised me.  As much as I miss them living far apart, there is a reason that I left nearly fifteen years ago.  Part of that reason was the fact that I was growing up and growing out of our small town.  Another part was that I wanted and needed my independence and to decide what direction I would go in life.  And, as I have discovered over the years, the third part of the reason is that I really can’t handle my parents for too long of a time.  After a short couple days of visiting, whether they come to me or I visit them, after day two or three I am ready to return to my sense of normal – Hugo, our lovely, quiet house, the pups and no one else.

It makes me sad to feel as distant as I do from my father.  And most of it has to do with him, despite the fact that I usually blame myself and feel as if I have done something wrong.  I know, deep down, that I haven’t and I shouldn’t feel badly for having moved cross-country.  Regardless of the shadow of blame he casts on me, as if I have done wrong or performed poorly in life, I know I have done well.  Thankfully, my mom, who I am as close as ever to, reassures me of such and Hugo eternally supports me in what I do.

It has been a strange reality coming to terms with being disconnected from my dad.  The relationship we used to have, when I was much younger, has slowly faded away over the years.  That fade, coupled with his distant personality and real lack of interest in what I do, who I have become and the life we are living on the West coast, makes for the great divide I am experiencing.

Sometimes I don’t know if he feels it like I do.  I do know that he has always wanted me to move back to my hometown so I could buy the lot of land adjacent to his and build a home there.  Well, that’s not happening Dad so get used to it.  I feel harsh saying it but rather than focus on the fact that I am not moving back home, I just wish he would support my life as it is.  Maybe show an ounce of interest in where I live, what I do and who I have become.  That ounce would go a long way.

 

 

 

Sad and pathetic

Every time there is an active shooter incident in our modern world, we all take a moment to reflect on the tragedy and the somber reality that this is life as we know it now.  You can’t go anywhere without the possibility of being a violent crime victim anymore and while some may argue that since the introduction of gun powder into our world there has been the threat of gun violence, I do feel that it has increased over the years.  Whether that is due to the media sensationalizing it or the fact that we share more by way of the internet, social media, and 24-hour news outlets, it seems like no public setting is safe or truly secure anymore.

What a sad and pathetic thought that you can’t attend a garlic festival in a small, northern California town on a beautiful summer Sunday afternoon.  The world we live in does not allow for even that seemingly docile and lovely of a place to be free from burden and sorrow now.  Not sure if there are any answers or solutions to this phenomenon known as mass shootings.  Some side with the need for increased gun laws and others speak of mental illness but regardless of what is causing it or who or what weapon is to blame, it happens all too frequently.  Enough of the “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims” – it doesn’t do anything and is a load of bullshit for the real people affected.  Your thoughts and prayers won’t bring back their loved ones and it certainly won’t heal the wounds that the maimed will be recovering from.

A beautiful day

Yesterday was an outstanding Saturday in my life.  I smiled for 90% of my waking hours, high-fived hundreds of lovely people, ran into a variety of old coworkers and new friends, and even cried with overwhelming happiness on several occasions.

What initially started out as a day where I felt as if I was being forced to volunteer and wouldn’t have very much fun, pleasantly transformed into easily one of the most rewarding and beautiful experiences of my entire life.  Several weeks ago, an upper executive at my place of work asked for a volunteer to spearhead the coordination of the upcoming Special Olympics portion of the Law Enforcement Torch Run in our area of Los Angeles.  In addition, whomever volunteered for this assignment would also be involved with the actual Special Olympics event in Long Beach this weekend.  Being new to my unit and the type of person who likes to help out when someone asks, I stepped up and said that I would take the handle on this side project.  What I first assumed was a side project quickly turned into a semi-main project for the next couple of weeks, as I unfolded the details of what would really be needed to make this large ceremony, charitable run, and multi-organization event possible.  After pulling together all of the moving parts that made Thursday’s speaking engagement, ceremony, media event and subsequent run a success, I breathed a sigh of relief that it was over and I could go back to just handling my primary job.  I took pride in the event running smoothly and my organization receiving a plethora of compliments on the execution of it.  Long story short, Thursday was over and my required presence at Saturday’s Special Olympics was all that was left on my to-do list.

After sleeping in until 5am (truly feels like sleeping in when you wake up at 3:30am every day), I showered and dressed, prepped the pups for my departure, and embarked on my sixty-seven mile drive to Long Beach.  Upon arrival, I met my hardworking female coworkers and we walked towards the event entrance.  As we approached the group meeting area, I began to notice the large volume of volunteers, young and old, who too had woken up and gotten ready for a day of giving back.  And that is just about when I started to feel the compassion, empathy, sense of community, and love that began to boil up around me.  By the end of the day, these feelings swallowed me whole.

There was a short speech by several leaders in our various participating agencies, as well as a couple words from Special Olympians, before we all posed for pictures.  Then it was time for the opening ceremony – I had been hearing about this portion of the program for weeks, as it was the most dynamic portion of the planning and logistical aspect of the event.  Over a hundred uniformed personnel lined the inner and outer lanes of the outdoor track as upbeat music played on the portable speakers and the Special Olympians lined up just outside.  The energy was building and I was beginning to feel a true sense of unity and love, as I stood shoulder to shoulder with strangers.

And then, one by one, Special Olympics athletes of all ages, races, sizes and varying disability level entered the track – some walked, others skipped and a select few had to be pushed in their wheelchairs.  Some parents escorted their child, regardless of their age, because they needed a hand making the long trek through our welcoming gauntlet.  As everyone in the stands and across the track cheered and shouted for the athletes, the energy was high for all those who were moments from competing that day.  We slapped hands with anyone who wanted a high-five and applauded the bravery and fearlessness that every single one of them embraced.

About halfway through the opening ceremony, a middle-aged African-American man, with light facial hair, thick glasses and a crisp basketball jersey walked past me, as he too entered the track for the event.  Just as he past me and our hands slapped mid-air, I yelled, “Hey, I know you!”  We locked eyes and he exclaimed, “Yeah!”  For a quick second I couldn’t quite remember where I knew him from but then my memory flooded back into focus – his name was Colbert and he was a Special Olympian, with whom I had worked a charity event with about eight years ago.  During that event I spent several hours working side by side with Colbert, as we waited tables at a local restaurant, all while promoting the Special Olympics and attempting to raise money from the evening’s patrons.  Seeing him again made me so happy because he has a beautiful soul and strong, resilient energy, despite his circumstances in life.  I reconnected with him after the ceremony and later watched him play an incredibly skilled basketball game before lunch.

I am not exactly sure what it was about that moment, where I was a part of the ceremony and saw Colbert again, that brought me to tears.  A part of me felt so sad seeing this large group of disabled children and adults, who have to fight through life just to survive.  Some of them aren’t able to care for themselves without assistance and others will never experience some of the small portions of life that far too many of us take for granted.  From driving or cooking a meal for yourself, to getting married, living independently and having children, some of the men and women who walked past me that day may never get the chance to do one or all of those things.  But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to or that they don’t try their hardest.

Maybe my tears were a result of watching the large groups of parents, volunteers and coaches who selflessly dedicate their lives to helping, teaching and supporting some of the most vulnerable members of our society.  The stress, money and commitment that comes with that significant job is definitely underappreciated yet on this past Saturday, for a brief moment, I could see them sharing in the happiness and success of just being there.  For some of the supervising adults, and most likely all of the participants, this weekend may have been the highlight of their year, or possibly their lives.

While I don’t intentionally have experiences where I want to learn something from them, when I do feel transformed by a particular event in my life, I really try to soak up all of the lessons that lie right below the surface.  I implore anyone who has never volunteered for a charitable cause, particularly with groups of people with special needs, to get up and do so.  Maybe you won’t be impacted as strongly as I have been but your response may surprise you.  At the very least, you will bring a smile to someone else’s life and it will give you a greater appreciation for humanity as a whole.

Don’t live as if you have the time

I can’t believe I am about to say this…but…I might have actually taken a very deep learning point away from a cheesy reality show yesterday afternoon.  While watching one of the many Real Housewives sagas, I observed an older couple visiting a cemetery monument store, where they picked out the headstone for the woman’s recently deceased parents.  Both parents died within the prior seven months and during the headstone selection process, the woman talked about hoping she would have another twenty years with her own husband.

I sat and processed the moment.  I reflected on my own life.  Most people are living as if they have unlimited time left on this earth.  Time to be with the ones they love, which usually results in taking people for granted.  A lot of people (myself most definitely included) put off major changes they want to make because we feel as if we can tackle certain issues tomorrow, or the next day, or the next year.  I don’t think I am alone in that but the mere fact that I acknowledge it allows for improvement.  Also, days drift along and we are all sometimes guilty of wanting time to rush by, in order to get closer to a vacation or a promotion.  Sitting here writing, I realize how precious time is.  My most recent reminder came from my neighbor Mark’s cancer battle.  Although he was initially told he wouldn’t live past Christmas of 2018, he is still above ground and fighting.  He is self-admittedly living day by day and I truly believe there is a lot to be learned from that style of appreciation for our loved ones, our experiences and our beautiful planet.

As the woman on the RHOP (Potomac series, the true Real Housewives fans get it) said about her own relationship, I too have the same recurring thought from time to time about having my spouse around for the remainder of my life.  Hugo is the most wonderful person I know and love and I sincerely hope that we have at least fifty years or more left together on this crazy planet.  I can’t imagine what life would be like without him so he better be there to keep me centered ♥

A day

Wake up.

Quick, turn the blaring alarm off before he stirs.

Rush to shower, dress, do chores, time is ticking before you are late, but you’re early for another day of the same.

You watch the clock and wait until the hours tick by and the day is done

Just because it’s work because if it was good or filled with love, you wouldn’t want it to end.

When it’s all over though, you will have watched all of these days drift away all because you needed to work for a purpose, or what you thought was important or worth it.

You only work to afford all the things that you think that you need but do we really need any or half or a quarter of what it all is?

Could we downsize and minimize and compromise and possibly help one another a little bit more in this world so we all didn’t have to…

Wake up.