Monday, February 13, 2017

Never A Dull Moment

EV Cain Dance on Friday night.
It’s been quite the week. Let’s see, it started with getting to visit with Cathleen and Rod on Monday, it was too short a visit, but I will take an hour or two over nothing every time.  It is the effort to make the little visits happen that really say, you are important to me, to us, don’t you think so? Tuesday Mason had an audition for a film that will be shooting in the Sacramento area next month. I got the call over the weekend that the role is for a young boy, but they need one who is a little older as the role is very graphic and mature. The casting director wanted to talk with us about it before she scheduled the audition. Well, graphic and mature are mild descriptions of this part. As an actor, I would LOVE a role like this (and Mason feels the same), but as a mom, it would be hard to watch your kid in this role. With all of that said, I was so pleased that Mason would have the opportunity to audition, but with no life experience with this kind of anguish and pain, and no real acting experience to speak of, I didn’t expect anything to come of it beyond the audition. Wrong! He got a call back, the director noting that he loved Mason’s fearlessness and willingness to go all in. Holy cow, Mason listened to me! They sent more direction and a different scene and asked that a I send them a recording. We did and now we wait. The way I see it, it doesn’t matter if he is cast or not, he has something and if not this time, next time. I’m totally surprised and even more pleased for him. 


In his trailer on se
From the audition on Tuesday afternoon, we headed to the bay area where Mason was competing the next day in a kids cooking competition. People always ask me, “Did he win?” My answer is always the same, Mason won by being selected to compete. Being in the company of other great kid cooks, television crews, producers and sometimes, Food Network Stars, to me is a win. Oh, and yes, there is an official winner in cooking competitions, but I’m not telling because this one will be televised and it will hopefully be a fun one to watch. All the kids did amazing things and frankly, they all could have won, they were that good.







At the Twenty One Pilots concert

We got home Thursday and got back to school and work. Friday night I had the honor of chaperoning a dance at Mason’s middle school. That was something! It’s amazing how little some of those kids look and it seems to me we were taking more responsibility when we were in middle school…maybe it’s just my 50 year old eyes seeing things differently and I’m sure my 50 year old memory is not as good as it used to be. In any case, it was fun. Saturday night, Mason and I went to a concert, Twenty One Pilots is Mason’s favorite band and I got him the tickets last summer to give him for his birthday. I didn’t have high expectations for the concert and boy was I wrong! It was a GREAT show, I would even go as far as saying it was epic, one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. 





Sunday Dave came home (from training in Camp Roberts) only to be activated to the potential failure of the emergency spillway of the dam in Oroville, CA. He reported only to be sent home on stand by while we wait for the next round of storms to come through later this week. They evacuated 188,000 people! The good news is, they were able to release enough water quickly enough that it looks like we will be okay. Now we are looking ahead to Valentines Day and then Mason’s winter break from school. We are heading to Truckee to play in the snow and ski. We can’t wait!

Monday, February 6, 2017

You Still Win When You Lose

Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday and what a day it was! Of course, if you saw the game, you know what I’m talking about, but that’s not all I’m talking about. Mason had two spots yesterday morning on Good Day Sacramento where he was to share snacks for the big game, and the second spot was food for a crowd. The difference this time is that Good Day came to our house! Well, that made it easier to do the food, but that also meant cleaning, and being camera-ready to go live at 7 AM. Saturday we spent prepping, food and the house. Dave did the majority of organizing a creative menu and so much of the prep on Saturday. Mason helped, but truth be told, Mason didn’t have a fighting chance this time, Dave got so excited about game day food and being on the news, he totally commandeered the whole project. Mason sous-cheffed and showed up to be the front man when the cameras were rolling and I might add, did a fabulous job on both accounts. As you can see from the spots I’ve linked here, we had a massive amount of amazing food. We took much of it to Pistol Pete’s where we watched the game with our friends, it was a fun time, but after a crazy busy Saturday and a 4:30 wake up on Sunday, we were all pretty tuckered out by the end of the game. Congratulations to the New England Patriots! They were down 28-3 with just 20 minutes left in the game and came back to win in historic overtime. As I watched the game, I said to Dave, “Can you imagine how tough it is to keep playing a big game like this while you are having your butt handed to you?” Yeah. I was rooting for Atlanta because they’ve never won a SP, but I kept thinking, come on New England, don’t give up. Tom Brady proved what a leader he truly is yesterday, he didn’t let his team quit and by pushing them, he took them to the win. The Falcons came so close, but they didn’t appear to be over confident, but they just couldn’t match the experience of Brady and a team the the New England Patriots. I can’t say what’s happening in the Falcon’s camp today, but disappointment has got to be running high. 

Watching Mason train for and compete in cooking competitions, I see these same kinds of situations, okay, not the same as the Super Bowl, but significant to Mason and when Mason doesn’t win, he’s not happy. If I could bring the Falcon’s together today, I would tell them what I tell Mason - you won when you got to the game. It the big picture, you were better this year than you were last year so you know you can do it. Will you let this loss make you better or will it make you bitter? This is your choice, and it is a choice. The Falcons lost to a team who has played in more Super Bowls and won more championships, and if you’re going to be beat, be beat by the best. There is a lot to be proud of when you lose, and if you find the lesson’s in the loss, you didn’t really lose - look up, look ahead, and be better. 


With all of this said, Mason is heading into another big competition this week. I can’t share the details yet, but I’ll be sure you all are the first to know when I can. Mason has been studying and practicing and he has what it takes to win. Will the stars line up for him? We’ll see! Happy Monday and I want to leave you with a quote from my hubby this weekend as he was watching Mason practice cooking, “Instructions are for people who lack creativity.” I would have said, “Recipes are for people who lack creativity” as Mason rarely uses one, but either way, Mason is crazy creative and I hope he never loses that electric color of his. 




Monday, January 30, 2017

What is Your Intention When You Talk?

So here's the deal, a few nights ago Dave, Mason and I were on our way back to Auburn from Rachel's birthday dinner. We were singing along to the music and laughing at really silly stuff. I started to tell a story and referenced BoBa the Hut - Dave and Mason roared! It's Jabba the Hutt they corrected me and Mason taking it a step further to say boba are those little round things that pop in your mouth. That lead to jokes about being round and then fat jokes. If you know me and know us, you know we make jokes like this all the time…through the laughter and many one-liners, I told Mason he was just fat for his height - we all roared again. In our moment of "you had to be there" hysteria, we were just so tickled with the wording we laughed some more repeating - You're just fat for your height. I did go on to remind Mason that he's the only one in the car with a fighting chance, as he's still growing and will likely lose his pudge in no time. His dad and I, not so much. SO, my post on Facebook was that I called Mason fat for his height, tequila may have been on board, but we were still laughing about it. 

If you KNOW me, really know me (and I know not all of you social media friends do), you would know that I've struggled with bulimia since I was 13. Mason and I have talked about this (and sex, and drugs, and death) more in depth than most people would be comfortable with. Last night was all in good spirits and fun. It's hard to know when one can joke about this and when it will be harmful but we've found safe space. It's real life, we come from a fat family and we need to deal with it - with love as much as we can. 

I deleted the thread on Facebook because though several of my friends laughed, and joked along with us, several did not.There was one friend who wanted me to know that her ex-husband had really hurt their middle son with fat jokes and that comment opened the door for another “friend” to really hammer me as to why my post and comments to Mason were “SO NOT COOL!” Do you people know me? Clearly not. So many people don't know the inner workings of our family and I get that, but that makes me think, I either need to make my space on social media for you all, or I need to make it for me. I don't want to have to explain something fun that I wanted to document on my page to some who feel I may not know better. I also understand that one just meant to bring to my attention the danger of the subject, but in fact it took the joy out of it by putting it on my wall instead of in a private message. Once she chimed in on that vein of danger and hurt, another comment came that was even more scolding. I think you all can see how that goes. With all of this said, our entire world needs to lighten up, including those of us who take everything about our bodies so seriously. There are people right now struggling to stay alive and then there are people like us who are worried about a few extra pounds? That's what I would talk to Mason about. I would explain to him while some are fighting for their lives, we can make a joke about a few extra pounds, and as a preteen he's more well-adjusted than many, not unsusceptible to those dangers, but I think I'm incredibly plugged in. ❤ If you know me, you know that I would never say something that I know would hurt anyone, let alone Mason.

I would just ask that all of us ask ourselves, "What is the reason I feel I need to say this? Is it for me? Will it help? Does this situation need my help? Should I send a private message?" You may not believe it, but IF you know me, if you really are my friend in the true sense of the word, you would know that I ask myself these questions darn near every time I think to open my mouth. Let’s just all try a little harder to be mindful and kind, I mean really, what could it hurt?
 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Let There Be Light

I don’t know about you, but I was hopeful that after the presidential election, all of the negativity would simmer down and people would get back to the business of their lives. It seems that’s not the case, people are even more inclined to post any kind of media that supports their position and viewpoint. As I try to get away from the natter it occurred to me that our world has dramatically changed. 

Looking back two generations, our grandparents went to work, happy to be employed. They didn’t judge the job based on the personality of the owner, in fact, they may or may not have even known the owner personally. Even if the owner was a poor example of an upstanding citizen, that did not affect their willingness to show up, do a good job, and collect their paycheck. In today’s world where the Internet gives every one a platform to voice their opinions, we know more about people’s every whim of an opinion. Back to those earlier generations, they used good sense to not talk about sex, politics, and religion with company or co-workers. In fact, I recall a conversation with a friend who was touting who he hated and why. Big sigh. The idea that people live with hating others seems like such a waste of energy that could be used to create something good. But that’s another subject for another post. My comment was, “How would you feel about your heroes if you could hear them discussing how they really feel about these sensitive subjects?” Maybe we could see people for who we know them to be, work with them to earn our living, and not need to know every little nook and cranny of their every thought and feeling. Less is more, the older I get the more I realize I don’t want every conversation to be a debate and I don’t need to participate in every conversation. This is a far cry from the young woman I was 25 years ago, heck, even 7 or 8 years ago.


As I wrap my head around this idea, I wonder if the idea that every single opinion must be heard, must be discussed, and is important, is contributing to the elitist attitudes of the millennials and younger. Just because someone has an opinion that you disagree with, is it necessary to hate them? To boycott anything they touch or work on? First of all, if you disagree so strongly, why move forward giving them the power to influence your decisions and how you feel, more importantly, how you are making those around you feel. And the name calling! I’m reaching a point that adults who feel the need to use vulgar expletives about people who voice opinions they disagree with (and they don't even know personally), well it tells me so much more about said name-caller than anything at all about the other person. Have we really reached a point of hysteria that mature, highly educated adults have regressed to middle school name calling? Where did the ability to just smile and nod while you walk away go? I’m wanting a smaller sphere, quality is becoming so much more important to me than quantity. Don’t get me wrong, I am not looking just for people who are like me, I love a good debate, but let’s debate with respect. Let’s share our viewpoints with the hope we can find understanding, not just to be right. Seek to understand and then to be understood. If we can’t agree, let’s agree to disagree and continue to see the good in each other

Monday, January 16, 2017

It's Not Just the Young'uns

We’ve heard it a million times, “Put your phone away while at the table.” I’ve been accused many times of not being present with real people in the room because I am looking at my phone screen. It’s true, I’m guilty. It may be that I’m poking around Facebook, or I could be replying to a work email, or it’s possible I’m making a note about something one of those live people said so I can remember it later. 

The other conversation I hear and have agreed with is that young people are not learning the same kind of communication skills that we learned prior to the internet and smart phones (email, texting, and emojis). I’ve heard young people say, “I don’t want to talk to them, just let me send a text.” The studies that are starting to show up in communications curriculum is that young people are not learning to read people, body language, facial expressions, and even the tones of voice that can tell us so much about what is really being communicated. I’m not going to go too deep here (even though this subject fascinates me!), but I want to share with you an interesting observation. Look at this image, I took this photo just today and if a photo has ever been worth a thousand words, this one is. Dave’s dad is staying with us for a time and in the two weeks he’s been here, he is on his phone as much as Mason is or I am, maybe more because his schedule is not as full as ours are. Dad is 85, far from the youth we label as “screen obsessed,” yet here he is, sitting in the living room with Mason and the two of them could be sitting there completely alone, oblivious of each other. This post is not a judgement or dig on anyone, simply my noticing that it’s not just our young people who are spellbound by technology, it’s everyone who is using it.

Not too long ago there was a term being used, FOMO, it stands for Fear Of Missing Out. People are constantly on their phones because they are afraid they are missing something, or maybe more accurately, not being included in something, I think those are different things and social media has us so eager to be acknowledged and liked that even the acknowledgements and likes aren’t enough. Think about it, I’ve been called out for simply liking a post and not commenting on it. It goes something like this, “I comment on all your posts, but you never comment on mine. All you ever do is like it.” Well, what if I don’t have anything to say about your post? Should I say something just to show up? Hmmm, well that in my mind is talking just to talk - not like I’ve ever been accused of that before! (sarcasm implied) As I get older and work to hone my communication skills, I’m being told that I should communicate all over every post just so you feel like I’m there with you. Ugh! No thank you. 

I also don’t feel like I need to be plugged in every minute of every day, contrary to what many believe. On my birthday, I met Jen for coffee and then we headed over to the farmers market. While we were chatting with one of the vendors, Jen asked why I was texting her. What? I wasn’t texting her, I didn’t even have my phone out. She looked and saw that the text was from my phone but it was Dave asking if I was going through withdrawals. I put two and two together that I had left my phone at home and Dave assumed that I must be terribly distraught without it. The fact is, I didn’t even know I didn’t have it with me. Jen and I had been out for over two hours, having awesome conversations and enjoying our time together, I never even thought about my phone. Yes, I was present, in the moment with my real, live friend. 


I’m going to just leave this whole subject with this final thought, it’s about balance. It will not likely be equal all the time, but if you are finding time to be physically with people, in addition to the time you find to be virtually with people, it’s all going to work out. People will not always remember what you say, but they will always remember how you make them feel. If they feel like you would rather have your face in your phone than smiling at them while you’re together, well, how would that make you feel? Hmmm, always seems to come back to the golden rule, and from my perspective, that’s a real fine place to start.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Do You Still Feel the Excitement of the New Year?

We are almost half way through January and what do you think? Just another day or are you still rocking the “Fresh Start” vibe that comes with a new year? I’m somewhere in the middle. I think the fresh, new vibe is waning but I still see so much possibility ahead for this year. 

We are told when we are young how fast time flies as we age, boy is that the truth! Last time I checked, Mason was a sweet little boy, playing with trucks and wanting to lick the spoon when I bake a cake. Okay, he wanted to bake the cake, but it was still in a sweet, little boy way. Now he’s more like a man than a boy! I sometimes stop cold in my tracks as I’m looking at this person who is nearly an adult and see, that’s Mason! He still does not have the manly hair that some of his friends are getting, but he speaks so eloquently, and just presents himself in such a way that is not the little boy that I used to know. I’m glad to say he still wants to cuddle with me and he even kissed me good-bye in the office at his school and told me he loved me - out loud as he walked away. People tell me that will stop, but maybe I will get lucky, you all know I tend to be luckier than most. 

So something fun coming this week, the project we did for Johnsonville Sausage in Wisconsin in December will be airing on their website this week, it’s called The Sausage Dome. Here is the trailer, it’s in true Johnsonville form; campy, silly, and fun. Episode one will air later this week (1/12), and Mason’s in episode two that will air on Thursday 1/19. I’ll be posting it on his social media accounts and if I have time, I will send out an email blast. Otherwise, you will see it in next week’s Monday Motivator.




I guess that’s all for now, I will be working this week on my list of things to do to try to get some of my projects under way. I want to start marketing regularly to veterans about using their VA loans to buy a house and get my pipeline back to full. I also think I have the cookbook project idea worked out. I will be mapping out that plan as well. What are your projects and plans for 2017? Do tell and Happy New Year!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Welcome 2017!

Happy New Year! Dave and I rang in the new year at our favorite local bar, Pistol Pete’s. It’s perfect because the people who work there are also our friends. We got there, all dolled up, about 9:30 and we didn’t have seats. We waited and I noted there was a woman with another woman, clearing in her 80s who I told Dave would not be staying long. Boy was my stereotyping wrong! It turns out June (87) and her daughter Julie were there to party, and party is what they did! We ended up talking and sharing fun party hats and June shared that she does not feel her age. She told me to keep living life all the way and enjoy the music no matter what kind it is. Dave and I left the bar after midnight and June was still going strong! I want to be June when I grow up.

For the new year I see lots of success on our horizon. All three of us have great things coming our way. I can’t all the way map it out verbally just yet, but Mason has a number of projects in the works, some in the can and we are waiting for air dates, and some not filmed yet. Dave will finish his bachelors degree, and I have the cookbook and my Intentional Winning In Life book I want to finish. I had Mason laughing yesterday when I told him the cookbook needs to be named, “The Mason Made by Mason’s Mom Cookbook” because in reality, that is what it is…it’s mostly my recipes that he likes to make. Well, okay, there are some that are his creations, too. What do you think, would you buy it? I'm thinking it would be better to create it in a web format and that way people could buy downloads, just the recipes they want. Still working out all the details but I really want to make it happen in 2017.

So now we are into the new year, Dave's dad is staying with us for a spell and I'm excited that Mason will get to know one of his grandparents on a more personal level. We tried to get Dave's mom to move to Auburn when Mason was littler, we invited her noting that we did not need childcare, we just thought with her other grandchild almost grown, it would be a good opportunity for her to know Mason more intimately, too. She didn't want to make the move and I get that, but I still wished that Mason had a grandparent in his life more than just phone calls, letters, and infrequent visits. This will be good for all of us. What is happening for you with the start of the new year? Do you make resolutions or set goals? I do, but I also work on continuing the goals we have in motion and set new ones as needed. Happy New Year friends, let's make this one better than the last and a great springboard for the next one.