Monday, April 30, 2018

He's Driving!

"Success does not come to those who merely have great ideas. Success comes to those who have great ideas and who follow through on them. Your carefully crafted plans bring value only when you put them into action. The best of intentions are useful only when combined with doing the work needed to get you where you want to go." Kathy Partak

Mason is full of good ideas, some he's even excited about and will take action like the school kitchen project back in 2015, and preparing to compete on Chopped Junior. I hope he makes the connection that when he takes the action and does the work, the rewards come. 

Dave and I work really hard to be able to travel and vacation, we do the work, make the plans and pay as we go so hopefully the only money we need when it's time to go is for food and fun. This discussion came up because guess who got his first driving lesson? Yep! Mason is learning to drive and what will he need next year when he gets his license? Laughing! Of course, it's a car, but before he gets a car, he needs to keep his grades up and continue to show us that he can be responsible and make good choices. 

A personal note to my son, "Mason, stay the course. Do the work and keep your eye on the prize, not the fun that is happening at the moment. You will have so much more fun when you achieve your goals, so certainly enjoy life, but don't get so sidetracked, that you stop moving forward."

Monday, April 23, 2018

Verbal Shock & Awe

This morning while I was waking up and listening to the radio, the story was that Shania Twain was asked who she voted for in the presidential election. Unlike so many people, she simply answered, that she can't vote as she's not American, but she would have voted for President Trump. Of course, you know this lead to a barrage of hateful social media posts to and about her. The radio personality was noting that as a country we have become too sensitive, and need to worry less about who feels what and learn to agree to disagree. This took me on a mental adventure of thoughts ranging from, is it that we are too sensitive? or is it something more? 

Through the generations, our world is continually changing, advancing and in an effort to make things easier, we have instead complicated them. The internet and social media platforms have made this world very small, smaller than it's ever been. The general public seems less concerned about etiquette and good manners and more concerned with tossing their two-cents in the many global conversations happening all at once. A sense of self-importance has replaced caring about the impact of our words on others, it just seems that people don't care who they hurt, they only care that they were able to speak out and say their piece. And to what end? As a younger woman, I was one to say things that would make others blush or take notice, call it verbal shock & awe. I saw this as things simply being what they are and why should we be afraid or ashamed to talk about them. I still believe that, and today as an older (and I hope wiser) woman, there is a time and place to discuss certain things. Again, good manners, using a little forethought and taking responsibility for the energy I bring to the room and how that energy will impact the people I'm with.

Mason and I were discussing this on the way to school and he asked me how he would know when the right time and place are to speak up. I'm so glad he asked!! And therein lies the answer - has someone asked for your opinion? If they have not and you feel you have something constructive to offer, ask yourself, why do I want to chime in with this information? Will it help make things better or do I just want to say it to make myself feel something? If it will make the person I am communicating with feel bad or there is nothing they can do about this situation right now, maybe it is better to discuss it at a later date when they can take some kind of action moving forward.  Is this best handled privately and not on the public stage? And the answer to that last question will almost always be, "Yes!"

Ultimately, careful conversations and thoughtful communication are always going to be the best course of action. One of my dearest friends reminds me not to presume others want to hear what I think or feel about their lives - and she's so very right! Even in our most intimate relationships, we do not know all of the bits and pieces that make up who and how people are, what has influenced their decisions or more simply stated, we have not walked even two steps in their shoes. If we are asked to share our insight, what a compliment that is! And with that message that someone else thinks enough of you to want your opinion or advice, well then isn't that something special? I think so!

Monday, April 16, 2018

It's Been 22 Years

Disclaimer; This is my version of how we met, written in 2005. Dave has also written one, it's 1/4 the length of mine (go figure!) and not exactly the same recall. #YouSayTomato

It was just another day at work in April 1996. I had only been in the bay area for 6 months and most of that time I was working very long hours on a new job. I had reached a point that I was ready to start getting to know people and making friends. I was listening to the radio when JD the afternoon DJ made the announcement that he had a man on the phone who was looking for a date for the upcoming Vince Gill concert. “I have Dave, he is dateless, he is desperate.” He said that if there was a woman who was available and wanted to go to the concert, to call in. I didn’t hesitate and called the radio station. When JD answered the phone he asked me my name I thought “this should be fun…” The next thing I knew, JD had Dave and I on the phone doing an interview, “So, what do you think?….and what about you?  Do you want to go to the concert?” He even went as far as to ask what do you look like, and who do people say you look like… was really fun. We swapped numbers off the air and Dave called me. After talking for just a few minutes I got the strong sense that he was looking for a relationship and I knew I was still just breaking up with a man in LA. I made my feelings known and Dave was great, he said he didn’t have any expectations and just thought we should go to the concert and have fun. 

I met Dave at the Game Gallery where he worked and I will never forget the moment I walked through the door. Dave was walking toward me, full western look with this long hair with these beautiful blonde ringlet curls under a western hat. The look on his face the first time he saw me was priceless. There was not a doubt in my find that he found me attractive and was smitten. I tease him today that he loved me the moment he laid his eyes on me, but he denies it. We went to the concert together and had such an easy time talking, but I still had concerns that he had expectations. I remember talking about meeting on the radio and Dave saying he thought JD was going to arrange a dating game scenario. I had to laugh and said, “Well, it looks like you didn’t get to pick, you just got me.” He went on to tell me the questions he had arranged to ask the women he never got to interview. We only got through 2 of the 3 questions but they told me so much about him. The first question was “I am learning to country dance if you were to teach me, what dance would you teach me and why?” I think I answered him that I would teach him to cha-cha. I answered that way because I think the country couples dances are so romantic and the cha-cha is so pretty to watch. The next question was “What song would you say describes you or how you feel right now?” I was stumped, feeling on the spot, my mind went blank. Dave piped in that his song was Someone Else’s Star by Bryan White. We got to the concert and had a good time. Afterward, he took me back to my car and I offered my hand, for shaking. I awkwardly brought up the point about me not being in a place to start a relationship but I would love to be friends. He was a total gentleman, smiled and told me to drive home safely.

The next day at work a deliveryman arrived with a huge bouquet of flowers. I told him that he must be mistaken, the flowers were so big I thought they belonged in the lobby of the hi-rise I worked in. He said, are you Kathleen Patrick? I said yes and he told me they were for me. I saw the card and they were from Dave. I was livid mad!! I couldn’t contain my emotion and the people in my office were in shock. Here I was holding flowers so big you couldn’t even see me, but you could hear that I was not happy. When I finally was able to express myself I said, “Now I have to have this talk with him all over again! Didn’t he hear me say just friends?” I immediately called and thanked him for the flowers but before he could even respond, I started right in on him, “I thought you understood that I just want to be friends, I thought you got that I am not looking for a relationship…blah, blah, blah”  Poor Dave, I don’t even know why it is that we are the great friends that we are except to say that we have always been true to ourselves and each other. We have never had to pretend to be anyone we are not.

The next time Dave called he invited me to go to a George Strait concert. I said no and again, he got real and said, “Come on Kathy, I know where you stand and how you feel, let’s just go, it will be fun.” I agreed to go only if he would let me buy my own ticket and while he agreed, he would not take my money. While we were at the concert, he introduced me to a friend of his, Barry. Oh no!!  Sparks flew between the two of us and needless to say, this created some tension.  Barry and I ended up talking on the phone and where I didn’t make time to meet Dave and go dancing, I was now meeting Barry for a drink and a dance. As fate would have it, Dave was there as well and was not happy and frankly, his feelings were hurt. The next day Dave called me at work and let me know that I had hurt his feelings. I sat down and wrote Dave a very sincere letter letting him know that the time was not right for us.The thing with Barry was simply that, a thing. I didn’t’ see a future with Barry but I saw him in my life forever. With that fax  (Yes! I faxed him the letter!) our friendship and our life began.

So here we are, Flower and me. Oh, yeah, I call Dave Flower. I know, it is a bit unconventional but it wasn’t picked, it was just was meant to be. You see, when Dave sent me the flowers and I became so angry, that made quite an impact on my family and friends. They thought I was crazy because I was probably the only woman in this lifetime to get angry with a man for giving her flowers, this became a defining moment in my life. My friends didn’t know any of the new people in my life so I always had to explain who I was doing things with. Since Dave and I were dancing and talking often I started to refer to him as “Dave, you know, Dave, the guy who sent me the flowers.” This went to just Flower Dave and then simply to Flower. Initially, this was not something Dave knew about and I didn’t really intend for him to know and how could I know it would stick? The next thing I knew, Flower came to the Grand Poobah and while I was attempting to set him up with my best friend Jules (because I thought they would be great together!) she blurted out, “Oh! You’re Flower Dave!”  So now he knew that his nickname was Flower, and he was not interested in Julie, nor was she interested in him. We all know how this worked out, as it was supposed to be. That was 22 years ago and we've been blissfully married for almost 17 of those years.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Kid Entrepreneurs Making a Difference

Many of you know that Mason has started an Entrepreneur Club at his school. There are kids in grades 6-8 in the club and it's been super fun hearing their ideas and watching them take action to make their own money. Mason was asked to put something together for the Kids Expo so we put together a panel of young entrepreneurs for a Q&A on Saturday at the expo. TJ who is the young founder of the expo, Layla and Mya who have a business called Suga-Babes body products and of course, Mason with Mason Made Products.

They did the media rounds leading up to the big day with Morning Blend with Mark S. Allen on ABC News 10 on Friday, and then Saturday morning they appeared on Good Day Sacramento. These kids are AMAZING!! Really, they are learning and growing at such a rapid pace, speaking more articulately and presenting themselves as polished and professional with each new appearance. The day of the expo, they answered questions and were spot on with the correct information and advice. I am so proud to be on this journey with Mason and I love seeing other kids making these impressive strides as well.

Listening to the news and hearing all the negative news, it's easy to think that this world is going to hell in a handbasket, but I'm here to tell you, we are raising young people who will make this world a better place, heck, not will, they are making this world a better place right now.

While Mason was making the media rounds I was hearing people say, "Mason is so well spoken. He really has a gift for speaking and being on camera. He's a natural." I agree with most of that, the part about being a natural reminds me of how often people will note that someone is an overnight success, someone who has been playing or performing for years! Mason is a "natural" who has been practicing being on camera since he's been 8 years old. He's 14 now, so that's six years and over 130 videos on Youtube that make him naturally experienced! LOL! I have been feeling more and more proud of Mason and I see him finding wild success in his life.