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Eat the Watermelon and Sing

 

The Month of Lauren had some amazing moments and I thank everyone who thought of me on the big day. I am very lucky! The month also had two notable losses. 

One of them was the untimely demise of a 53-year-old former colleague of mine. He was always very supportive of me, good-natured and funny. I haven’t seen him in four years but it seems like yesterday. “I’m on Team Lauren,” he would say as he greeted me with a big smile and exuded positivity.

The other loss was my guitar teacher’s 82-year-old mom who was in the hospital for quite a few weeks before dying a few days after Mother’s Day.  I had never met her but opted to show support by attending her memorial and get a mental snapshot of the person who had brought this encouraging and witty wordsmith, my guitar teacher, into the world.

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Ride it Out

Weather permitting, I push myself to take long bicycle rides on the weekends. Given our brutal weather in the Midwest, I was pretty elated to be able to ride 40 miles this past Sunday.  There is nothing like a ride offering decompression that lasts for half a day.

From a cardio point of view, I wasn’t fatigued at all. In fact, when I got to my half-way point at 20 miles in, a part of me wanted to bike all the way to Wisconsin.  My brother did that once.

Great Lakes Naval Base - 1/2 Way to 40 or Do I Ride to Wisconsin?

Great Lakes Naval Base – 1/2 Way to 40 or Do I Ride to Wisconsin?

He would pedal on his bike until the sun went down. He didn’t concern himself with how he would get home. However, it did hit him that he could not ride in the dark on a major highway – without a light.

In an age that offered no cell phones, he promptly found a pay phone at McDonald’s and called our father hoping that he would be home. Moments later, our dad said, “Found your brother! Come on, we’re going to Kenosha to pick him up – he rode his bike there this afternoon.” I was so impressed that he had gone 50 miles on a bike at one time!

Some people are baffled as to why I would choose to spend four or five hours of my precious weekend time on a bike. It’s a gift and as long as I can keep pedaling, I will do it. It’s time away to reflect and re-group.  Granted, I have climbed 2,109 stairs of the Willis Tower, twice. But, I digress.

When I turned around, Read the rest of this entry

Symphonic Sounds of Summertime

I grew up on a bustling block in the north shore of Chicago.  The location offered many conveniences such as being within three blocks of all of my schools until I entered high school (but I still walked there, too).  Very few footsteps led me to a plethora of tennis courts, a massive playfield, lagoon and bike path that ended at a floral paradise and I was within blocks of the many offerings of downtown.

However, what I remember most of my childhood on that convenient street was the cocoon of camaraderie, fun, and safety.  One could hear the symphonic sounds of summertime and see a string of smiles!

My brother always had my back, on our block, when we were growing up

My brother always had my back, on our block, when we were growing up

There were tons of kids on that street. We would play “Kick the Can” until the parents would start calling our names to go in, sibling by sibling.  We’d have block parties.  We’d jump in swimming pools made of plastic that were less than a foot deep and thought we had it made.

We could hear the bouncing of a basketball before it took aim and swooshed through the net. The woosh of the wiffle ball as it soared across a yard. Neighbors would just play in one’s yard even if the homeowner wasn’t there.  We could hear the smacking sound of the tennis ball hitting the garages and the groan as another tennis ball made its way into the gutter, resulting from an overeager groundstroke.

Getting Read the rest of this entry

Promotion in Motion Commotion

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to travel back to a childhood-like state of innocence and color some eggs at a friend’s house. Given my lack of blogging over the last couple of weeks, it may not be too surprising that my creativity was clogged.

I’m not an artist so you won’t find any pretty drawings on any eggs that I concoct.  My “artwork” is all about words.  Words that have been trapped for a while. Finally, I stopped over thinking and the words flew out of me.  Thank goodness.

It was a like a free-write session on eggs.  Kind of cool. I think my fellow egg designers were a bit baffled by my artistic expression, but I had a good time and it was almost therapeutic.

Elizabeth Andrew said, “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”

I’ve been investing much of my free time in Read the rest of this entry

We’re Not Idiots…

I received a cartoon from a friend earlier today. It had a bunch of pictures of people being distracted by a smart phone while various activities occurred around them. The quote from Albert Einstein is… Read the rest of this entry

Who Knew That Paper Could Become Scissors?!

This past week, over two days, I sustained seven paper cuts on my hands!  By the end of the second day, I looked like I was in a street fight.  However, I was merely at work. I was getting really irritated, pardon the pun. Can one put a restraining order on paper cuts?!  I could show you riveting photos of my snagged cuticles and the rips and slices on my fingers, but that seems a bit unpleasant.

In addition to being beat up, my week was full of meetings.  So, I was relieved to be able to sneak in a visit to my favorite retreat, Read the rest of this entry

My Punny Valentine

Growing up with my brother, I was always giddy and full of gratitude.  He loved to trick me into thinking he was being thoughtful as proven when he gave me a big card one Valentine’s Day addressed to “Sister”.   It was a blank card that he wanted me to return to him so he could give to someone else.  Read the rest of this entry

Houston, We Have a Problem

I found out Whitney Houston died because a Facebook friend announced it in his status. I found out that Michael Jackson died the same way and had the same reaction. “What?!”  With Whitney, I saw a sentiment on Facebook and Twitter – all saying the same thing – WHAT A WASTE. 

I was very sad  that she died yesterday. She was only 48 and had so much talent that was ruined due to the abuse she put on her body. I was mostly disappointed that she lost her voice, which contributed to her losing her life. 

I can easily remember listening to her when she first broke out in the business, back in the 80s.  She exuded innocence and had this amazing voice, full of soul and beautiful high notes. I wasn’t a big fan of the dance songs but the lyrics of her slow songs were so wonderful and she told each story so well when she sang them. 

It’s unfortunate when people lose their way.  It’s a gift when people bounce back into balance.  However with celebrities, these days, it seems so rare that it actually happens.  Look at Demi Moore, what is happening with her now?! Will Dr. Deepak Chopra be able to help her?

The pressure of fame and losing the gifts one once had must be excruciating.  After she hit her prime, she went down a tainted path.  Despite that, she was an amazing singer and that is how I will remember Whitney Houston and thank her for sharing her voice that was taken way too soon.

That Time I Met Nick Carter and the Backstreet Boys

Earlier this week, Nick Carter known as a “Backstreet Boy”, lost his 25-year-old sister.  The first headline I read was written a bit awkwardly and I thought that Nick had died.  I was stunned as I met him in the summer of 2008. When I realized it was his sister who died and not Nick, I was still shocked to hear of this tragedy and my condolences go out to his family.

In August of 2008, my dad asked me to go with him to Ravinia, a beautiful venue located in a north shore suburb of  Chicago that offers concerts during the summer. When he told me that we would be seeing Backstreet Boys, I was surprised that my dad wanted to go. My dad had connections,  so we got backstage passes to meet them before the show.

This pass has been on my bag since I met BSB on 8/24/08.

By the time BSB had made their mark in music, I was out of college but it was still very exciting to watch the chaos of the excited girls who were out of their minds with delight to be around BSB. I had never seen so many people at Ravinia before.  Weeping girls. All of these girls were very envious of me as I sauntered my way backstage.  Read the rest of this entry

2011 Greatest Hits

Here we are on day 2 of 2012.  Here are  some positive takeaways from 2011, in no particular order:

  • My dad earned two different professor of the year awards!
  • My great-uncle turned 98!
  • I rode 56 miles on my bicycle on 9/11…for fun! 
  • I spent lots of quality time in the gym. Thankfully, it is only a few blocks away.
  • I planned and executed a successful and very enjoyable high school reunion…with my two co-pilots.
  • I re-connected with much-missed chums from grade school!  From high school, too!
  • I am employed. 
  • I totally missed the 11-11-11 connection with “This is Spinal Tap.”  I was already fascinated with 11-1-11!  Today is 1-2-12, where is the ticker tape parade for that? 😉 
  • I had a makeover. Under duress, a friend from work dragged me to the makeup chair at lunch.  Okay, the eyeliner is pretty awesome and who knew you could do that cool thing with brows.
  • My blog debuted in March and finally took off and won an award! 
  • While looking for stamps in a drawer, I found an old traveler’s cheque worth $100 and a stash of gift cards that I had forgotten about!
  • I bought a Nook, thanks to that traveler’s cheque, and have already borrowed some books from the library on it. 
  • Facebook: you pick me up and put me back down!

What Do Kids Think, Anyway? 

  • My nephew and I were sitting at the table in the kitchen. I was a bit distracted. He looked at me and asked, “What’s on your mind?” I was impressed with his depth but didn’t answer.  He attempted again, “Why are you being so quiet?” Embarrassed, I laughed and he finished with, “What is wrong?”  I can only imagine what thoughts will emerge when he turns four!  How wonderful if all adults were that perceptive!
  • I saw my six-year-old niece and was about to give her a big hug. She ordered, “Don’t tickle me.”  I walked away and said, “Okay”.  She ran up to me and said, “No, when I say don’t tickle me; that means I want you to tickle me.” 

2011 had some great moments, no doubt.  

However, in the bigger picture, it was a test for everyone.  

2012 HAS to be better for ALL of us. 

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

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