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The 11th of Lauren

How can it be the 11th of Lauren, already? Birthday month is here!

Flashback: When my parents took me home from the hospital. They brought a fire truck, balloon, and a  baby.  That is the order of preference that my brother welcomed the gifts…

Despite early hesitation, my brother became one of my biggest fans.

Despite early hesitation about his little sister arriving on the scene, my brother  has become one of my biggest fans. I constantly make him laugh. I’m glad I can help, Bro.

Imagine having a month dedicated just to you. Our expectations are way too low. This one day nonsense for your birthday isn’t enough. Each year we have more things we want to do and run out of time. So it only makes sense that this homage to ourselves get expanded. In my case, the month formerly known as May is Lauren. Today is Lauren the 11th.

How does one partake in the Celebration of the Month of Lauren? Here are some easy ways to be successful that are inexpensive on the pocket-book but rich in thought:

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Life lessons at the gym and at work

I‘ve got a lot on my mind right now and it’s not whether to blow dry my hair straight today or let my locks return to their natural bouncy condition.

Years ago, a seasoned vet at my office said good morning to me and I didn’t return the greeting in the preferred manner. I just kind of nodded my head giving a greeting in non-verbal manner. He was beside himself that I didn’t say the phrase, “good morning” in return.

Well, here’s the reality, I did say good morning – in my own way. I wasn’t going to flagrantly lie to him and tell him my morning wasn’t good, if it wasn’t. Furthermore, it would be like telling the car salesman who asks, “How are you”? He or she is not really expecting a genuine answer. Okay, obviously there is more interest in my colleague asking me versus someone trying to make a commission off of me, but I digress. 

How do I know if I am having a good morning, really? The morning has just begun. Are you wishing me a good morning or are you asking me if it is a good morning? Years would pass and my lesson hadn’t been learned yet.  I would just nod and get reprimanded EVERY TIME. Every time he would say. “If the morning isn’t good yet, maybe if you say it is – it will be.” 

Finally, I ran into a manager at my local heath club. Every time he saw me, his enthusiasm brimmed through the question, “How are you today?” At first I just (you guessed it) did the nod. He just shook his head with his supremely muscular arms folded and a contagious smile. He knew he had a convert on his hands. Overtime, I started to smile and eventually one day I yelled, “Fantastic” before he even asked the question and he raised his fists in the air as if to say, “The Shrew has been Tamed!”  

Nowadays that former colleague of mine would probably step back in awe because “fantastic” booms from my mouth to anyone who says good morning to me. It puts me in a good place for the rest of the day and if I say it enough, it does seem to become real.  It’s kind of like that rush one gets from having avocado or working out and I feel kind of giddy. 

By the way, things really are f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c. I have my inner circle of real, quality friends.  The ones who call me out on my bad behavior, protect me when needed (perhaps with white lies which I call second kid syndrome but I digress again), encourage me to do and be better and laugh at my somewhat errant wordplay. We

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Oopsie – Better Curb That Egregiousness

This past weekend, while on a promotional surge for a volunteer project that had me floating in social media euphoria, I was suddenly sidelined.  

I had to reinstate a suspended social media account.  Mortifying, yet not surprising given how people have responded to my eagerness lately.  I felt like I was in a social media pokey. My research assured me that other perplexed and perky quipsters had been squashed, too.  Many users have no clue what they did wrong but get suspended, while the spamsters get a free pass.  I read that one account took over 10 days to get restored.

A few years ago, I worked on another reunion project and Facebook said to the effect, SLOW DOWN, SISTER – YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE DOWN OUR SERVER WITH YOUR POSITIVE ENERGY AND ENTHUSIASM! Everything ended up working out beautifully and to this day, Facebook is the reunion saviour as far as I am concerned.

This other social media platform is much more intense with their hand slapping.  Enthusiastic Rule Breaker – that’s the new me of 2013!

“Nothing great was achieved without enthusiasm” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Per their rules: enthusiasm equals “egregious”.

I must say, I was shocked! I know, curb the puns.

Redemption option: Click through to a link and confirm that I will “alter my behavior”/talk about the cup of soup I had for lunch and then type in that code that has cryptic looking letters to prove I am not a computer.  

 All of my experience of dealing with beyond messy handwriting and being a puzzle solving aficionado should equate to tackling this task with relative ease! I was mistaken, I kept failing!

The simple things become difficult when we are stressed out. Right?

It's really quite simple, just follow the prompts!

It’s really quite simple to prove your humanity, just follow the prompts!

I tried listening to the distorted audio and it sounded like it was recorded on a busy highway and various vehicles were crushing the letters and random numbers that were blurted throughout.  Seriously, is that option just to further tease us?

I went back to the Will She Get Sprung from the Social Media Pokey? Will She Prove She’s Human?

If I Fall For You, I’ll Never Recover

Dear Voracious  Fan Base of me, myself, and I:

Apologies for the delay in correspondence, I have been pre-occupied but today’s daily prompt inspired me because I only have to mention the third line of the last song I heard and make it the post title and then rant for 15 minutes.

THAT, I can do!  So, thanks to Maroon 5 for invading my brain with “Love Somebody”, but I digress.

During the last couple of weeks, I have seen posts on Facebook of adorable children with a sign reading, “First Day of (please fill in the blank).  It’s back to school already, hard to believe.

Back in the day before technology spoiled us, we didn’t have 10,000 photos of us by the age we were two. Not even for the first child!  We had that old-fashioned camera where one had to put film in it, shoot the entire roll,  and then transport the film to the drug store and wait a few days to have them developed and it was pretty expensive!

The anticipation was awesome and having any redeemable photos became treasures representing a snippet of a precious moment in time.

Our expectations were very low. In fact, if one got a good shot, it was a major surprise. One would have pinky prints on the picture or unexpected views of feet or bodies without heads.

Not to get “ahead of ourselves” but this was a typical photo on a roll of film at a family gathering. Is that my uncle, is that my dad? Will we ever know?

They could be blurry or they could be full of shadows with a fabulous background.

Check out the fabulous background of a family vacation – scenic shadow takes over. Wait, who is in that picture, anyway?!

One would shoot the photo and have no clue if the photo was any good and perhaps a couple of years later, the roll of film would get developed and one would be treated to a fabulous flashback of a lifetime milestone that got lost in a drawer somewhere.

Technology has made it a no-brainer to capture events such as the first day of school.  No more waiting until the roll is finished to have the satisfaction of knowing if a photograph turned out. Back then, photos would be taken and developed – whether you were ready or not! It was kind of charming! Think of all of the photos we threw away because they were of poor quality!

You are NOT taking a photo!

So, while everyone was all giddy over the shots of their kids back to school, I dug into the photo albums I absconded from my childhood bedroom at my house and found

surely, there is something riveting when you click this, right?

Tennis is My Racket, Love is My Game

I started playing tennis when I was four-years-old. I was obsessed.  My dad was grooming me to turn pro. That was the thing to do back then.

For years, my parents (both of them!) chauffeured me to my various tennis lessons and tournament venues.  I twirled my racket, constantly, even when I wasn’t holding one.

I was a little smitten with a guy named John “What do you mean that ball was out? It was on the line. Are you kidding me?!” McEnroe and was completely enthralled as I watched all the tournaments on TV – analyzing their strokes and admiring their fitness levels. To me, McEnroe was spirited but others might challenge my “spin” on his behavior.  I used to have a t-shirt that read “Tennis is my racket, love is my game.”

I was fortunate that I grew up a couple of a blocks from a huge tennis complex. All of the tennis courts were packed!  People would crowd around and fight over who gets court times and the people would hover over the court as they waited for their start time to kick in.  It was crazy!

One day I was at a tennis lesson after school. I was playing doubles with three other people and took a very lazy forehand with a furious and intense  follow-through (to make up for the wimpy wind up) that caused the graphite face of the racket to smack the front of my mouth.

I laughed. In fact, I could say “it cracked me up” but that would be really bad.  I heard the crack of my two front teeth and promptly put my hand under my mouth to catch them. The other three players gasped and uttered such thoughts as: Read the rest of this entry

The Success Connection

This morning I was challenged to look at all of my posts and hone in on the top five to determine a common pattern that enables me to connect with my readers.

Understand, I don’t consider a post successful based on the number of views it receives or the number of  “likes” or comments.  I base it purely on whether people acknowledge that I wrote it and it reached them in someway. I’ll never forget one reader who said she felt like she was right there as I told the story. Moments like those keep me writing.

5. SEO part 1. If you look up donkey beer like many people do, you’ll be treated to this playful post about my experience with a dunk tank.  Nobody liked the post, perse, but it’s popular because people like donkey beer.

4. Facebook. Relatability. Real Life. Anyone with glasses can relate to the ongoing task of trying to get one’s glasses uncrooked.  People also like looking at a 4 year old girl with glasses. It’s a sentimental favorite of mine, for sure, because I KNOW people laugh when they see this post and I’m laughing with them.

3. The nostalgia angle. Read the rest of this entry

The Month of Mojito

Recently I was asked who would have the stimulating task and privilege of writing my biography.  The obvious choice is my Emmy-award winning brother.  His thoughtful and careful rendition would bring the audience to tears and laughter, simultaneously. He would make the somewhat banal parts transform into remarkably riveting moments in time and an upheaval of admiration would rapidly spread across the Rein Rant N Rave Nation.

This  extraordinary undertaking would require time and local talent to complete the project by the requested deadline. The disarming DNA-connected duo of my two lifelong friends,  Read the rest of this entry

Not The Typical Girl Next Door

When I moved into my place years ago, my neighbor slipped a note under my door, kindly asking that I not engage in any activity that involved my oven.  Cooking, in her mind, was a crime and any odors that were emitted from using the oven would not be tolerated.

I thought that was ridiculous and pretty amusing given that I hadn’t used the oven. I told her that, so I became an acceptable neighbor in her book. Well, I told her that I hadn’t used the oven, not the ridiculous part.

She continued to spout the evils of cooking  to my entire wing.  She went off on a neighbor for baking cookies, stating that they were odoriferous.

My cookie-baking neighbor, by the way, gave me a wonderful batch of holiday cookies the first year I moved in and it brought me right back to holiday time with my grandma.  So, the opportunity to whiff the baking of cookies me put me in a warm and happy place.

But, I digress.

Then, she tackled the neighbor across the way, suggesting that people refrain from cooking during the holidays. I laughed and assured her that, “You can’t cancel Christmas.” She was ticked!  

To her, “responsible cooking” meant not using an oven and eating salad. That’s it.  

So, not only was cooking not permitted, I had to walk around like a ballerina, doing an occasional silent pirouette,  and was permitted to use the bathroom only at certain times. Okay, not really, but it seemed like that. 

One night I was moving some furniture around and forgot where I placed things when it was bedtime. So, I accidentally knocked over a container full of hair clips resulting in a huge noise.  

I said to myself, “UH OH! Here comes a serving of  terror.”

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When Rejection Turns to Affection

Last month, I was inspired to make good on creating a photo wall that has eluded me for well over a decade.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t usually procrastinate and am usually considered the proactive planner.  However, it took me that long to get all of my participants in order to see which ones would populate the wall. My brother named this space the “Museum of Lauren.”

During this creative process, I decided to rearrange my framed art that was sporadically hidden in various places throughout my place or due to poor placement, they were camouflaged on any given wall.

I unveiled a gem that was prominently placed in my kitchen, that has since been moved (by special messenger – me) to the “Museum”.

Some of the best bonds are those that are unexpected and draw you in like a big magnet.

Some of the best bonds are those that are unexpected and draw you in like a big magnet.

Why am I drawn to a painting of myself and a dog, you ask?   Read the rest of this entry

Dr. Dad

Seconds after birth, I was introduced to an older man with dark hair, blue eyes, lamb chop sideburns, and he talked with his hands. He would become the only person on earth who could get away with calling me Laurie instead of Lauren.

When I was a pre-teen, he and my mom would play tennis every Sunday afternoon and I would tag along. They had compatible games so it was fun to watch them interact on the court. For the last part of their session, he would always let me rally with them. In the summers, he had me ride 12  miles, round trip, to and from tennis camp so I could play tennis for three hours. All of this was critical in my development as a tennis player and ensured that I made the competitive tennis team in high school. My brother never had that bonding opportunity and I always appreciated that.

He would play handball in front of the house with me and my older brother and never tire. He would challenge our minds with all sorts of trivia questions that make us popular Read the rest of this entry

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