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The phone rings as I’m dropping my daughter off at a friend’s house for a play date. It’s my best friend since elementary school and in all the unexpectedness of the call I answer on the last ring only to quickly ask her to wait. I keep the play date drop-off momentum going all the while Natalie listens to background noise: “where’s your shoes…remember your manners… listen to her mommy… I love you, see you later”. Finally, I’m kid free with a moment of silence to hear my own thoughts. I can’t wait to have an adult conversation. And then, oh no…. she’s talking through tears. Why is she crying?

Turns out, she was playing soccer. Yeah. Just a regular ol’ game that takes a turn for the worst when her teammate goes down with a yelp and rolls around in pain holding her knee. Aside from the deep and caring realization of how much that sucked for her teammate, you see, Natalie called because also realized how much it sucked for me and also for her, and for all our fellow soccer everywhere.

Twice within the last three years Natalie has had the pleasure of escorting me home like a mobile nursing service after each of my soccer induced ACL surgeries.  It quite frankly might be the most feared of all soccer injuries and when witnessed, feelings of doom and dread follow, undoubtedly. The injury just sucks on many levels.

  • your soccer career is over as you know it
  • you can’t walk
  • you have no idea how you’re going to afford the care and surgery you’ll need to get better
  • you lose the f’ing game you were playing
  • you had no idea the injury was coming, no warning signs at all
  • you don’t deserve this
  • fuck fuck fuck fuck this sucks
  • the pain, just the f’ing pain
  • the embarrassment, how did I let this happen?
  • as you heal, prior to surgery you feel somewhat normal and then no, you end up on the floor crying in pain because you stepped down on the stairs wrong. the pain!
  • you can’t hold your children or put them in their crib because your leg isn’t stable enough. Can’t hold my kids, seriously. F you!
  • you cannot move freely without fear
  • you hate everyone who can walk normally
  • you hate sitting in the waiting room
  • you’re filled with fear, omg, they’re going to do what during surgery, drill through the bone? I have to choose between a cadaver replacement ACL or using my own tendon? What the F!
  • also, when when I say “you” I mean me, so yeah

Now, her tears weren’t all just an empathetic demonstration of her love for her teammate, me and all our fellow soccer players, they were also crazy tears. Crazy tears as in, why the hell do we love soccer so much that we play to the point of bitter and devastating injury? Are we crazy? What is wrong with us?

It’s true. I love soccer more than I ever imagined possible. The rush of imagining just the right move and then executing it in the moment and juking another girl out of her shorts just to get an assist and see your team go one up in the last minutes of the game? Yes please! Then there’s the physical and mental fitness required to stay in the game, pump yourself up to be better than the last time, see yourself improving, moves getting easier that used to be difficult, or making that last run or connecting a tough pass or making one last shot on goal even when you think you’ve got absolutely no gas left in the tank. Uh huh, that! Not to mention the whole team part. You’re sharing an experience of oneness (OK this is getting a bit deep but hang in there with me) with 12 other girls all fighting for the same cause, working their butts off to win. Laughing, crying, ganging up on that one chic on the other team who can’t quite seem to keep her elbows down or her obsessive hacking under control. Word! The camaraderie is unmatched, I’ve just never experienced anything else like it on the same scale or with the same frequency.

So  wrapping up the whole bitter injury spiel here, twice I went from a euphoric, can’t-wipe-this-smile-from-my-face and I-can’t-wait-until-we-do-this-again high to WHAM! Denied. Nope,  you just ripped to shreds this kinda major ligament that you didn’t even know you had but it keeps your leg from bending in all hellish directions. So no, a-buh-bye. UGH, pure hate and anger oozed from the deepest core of my being.

Fast forward to today and its like to clouds have parted and the sun has come out to answer my prayers. I worked hard through physical therapy for the last 8 months and setting aside for a moment the countless early mornings and hardship that comes along with a relentless dedication to a full recovery of being able to play soccer again,  I have a massive amount of gratitude for my body and all its amazingness. Crazy, I never thought I’d say this but all the hate and pain was totally worth it.

So, Natalie,  your seemingly crazed and tumultuous burst of tears and worry are quite sound. We can and do love soccer as purely as we did as 10 year old kids. We love it and all the painful, thrilling, joyful, fulfilling, exciting, and exhausting experiences and feelings that come along with it. All of it. Are we crazy to love soccer so much? Nope and nothing will ever replace it… that is until I recently discovered Zumba! No, who am I kidding? It’s just a solid runner up. You wanna join me for a class sometime? Check out the schedule at the Y, let’s gooooooooooooo!

Above is Tracy, Natalie and fellow teammates in 1990 and again 20 years later still playing strong. The smiles say it all.

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I’ve always been inspired by coincidental happenings. There’s nothing like that small world, that wondrous, that awe evoking “isn’t this amazing?” feeling. You know, those moments in life when you have to pinch yourself and un-boggle your mind from fathoming how, in world full of so many people who make gazillions of choices each day, we come to cross paths in the most amazing ways? And timing, uncanny and impeccable.

aubs

Perfect example – the first of my two most adventurous life events this far – a road trip across the country as a 19 year old. Never having been outside of CA except to see Grandparents in New Mexico, I was seeing the world. Or at least more of it. The week before I had left, I had no plans to go. In fact, had my best friends loser boyfriend not blown us off that Saturday night, I wouldn’t be telling this story nor would we have run into an old friend. And yes, 19 year-olds have old friends. A friend whom in fact would happen to be leaving for a trip across country and was looking for a co-pilot. Timing, again, impeccable.

the_girls

The second was moving to Mexico. I was 20. What?! And not like just over the border, come home and do my laundry on the weekends kind of Mexico. Mexico City, Mexico. El DF. I met the right people, the most warm, welcoming and fun people. The world was my oyster and it always had been, but at this time I was stupefied by how true it was. I felt it to my core. Cruising around a foreign country, with two semesters of Spanish under my belt. Seriously? Everything worked out. Beautifully so and I’m so thankful. Hashtag blessed.

guanajuato

I haven’t felt that way in a long while. That uncanny, yet seemingly scripted string of coincidences that jazz up life in the most fulfilling and joyus ways. Yeah, not really. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I love my life and family and friends who fill it up, but yeah it’s been a while. So instead I mooch. That’s right, vicariously living through the excitements of others around me, especially those close to me and there’s a long list of candidates to mooch from.

I shall now impart onto you, in no particular order, the good vibe mooch list.

A Ramble of Goodness

Here we go: Auntie B’s little first born is almost one. Auntie Ali and Uncle Natey are expecting their first baby girl. Natalie and Kevin just bought their first house and is getting all settled in. Aunty G and Uncle Tuffy welcomed baby #3. Kam and Jamie guys just moved into a bigger place. Jenn Sanders has ventured out and taking off with her massage business. Uncle Lukey is coaching for the number one team in the NBA right now. My brother is full timing in comedy down at the American Comedy company rubbing elbows with some of the greats that we fully laughed our butts off to as kids. Dad is retired and keeping busy tinkering (remodeling) his new house, happy as a clam. Down in Cardiff, Stef rocked out a waitress shift at the longest line for breakfast shack in town, Pipes, and Suz goes boogie boarding with one of the most amazing boards I’ve ever seen, like daily. Good God, Christine is in a roller derby league, people!

Yes, Please!

Amy Poehler new book says “Yes, Please!”  and I say “No, no. Thank you”.  I bought this audiobook so I could listen to a funny woman on those nights when my Dish just didn’t record any good TV. Little did I know that she would make me cry as hard as she made me laugh – maybe its just the hormones. Either way, here’s a good review  or two of the book for the full scoop, however I will make a plug for you to be sure to read the email exchange of apology letters; I sobbed, the birthing plan; I peed my pants laughing, and the part about how to treat your career like a bad boyfriend; I pondered.

The Man Behind “Save the World and Still be Home for Dinner”

Will Marre. Holy-moley this is some powerful shhhhh this man is talking about. It is seriously mind blowing to me. Check out one of his articles here: http://willmarre.com/stage/why-you-may-never-get-a-raise/

I Feed my Inner Nerd Daily

Did you know that at Atlassian, a company that I happen to adore, they offer a 10K referral bonus? That is some serious cash for landing talent. Check out the “Perks of the Trade” section here: https://www.atlassian.com/company/careers

Also on their website, I stumbled upon this little ditty – “Just enough is more”. I dig it.

For the Fashionably Challenged, See Ms. Abernathy

Jennifer Lauren Abernathy and her mobile clothing boutique in her spare time, are you f’n kidding me?! Oh to have the fashion sense and apply it to something fun and new that clearly drives her heart to sing. Shop now: http://jenniferlaurenboutique.com/

Be Good to Your Heart

My aunt. She is not well. She has not been well for a while. She has changed her diet. She has stopped eating junk, soda, in fact sugar of any kind. This makes my heart sing and I’m sure hers has begun to heal as well. I’m so thankful that she is taking better care of herself so that she can be in my life longer. I don’t know what I would have done in my life without her.

ARW

Avery: When will I be grown up?
Me: You grow up a little bit everyday but why do you want to be grown up?
Avery: I want to be a lifeguard.

Avery and I have taken to watching “Kids how to paint videos” on youtube. They are super fun and we can’t wait to actually try some of them out. Here are our three current favorites:

PKW

Patrick is in a very squealy happy phase. Its so darn cure, but there was a time about a month ago I thought he had a breathing problem. Turns out that’s just how he emotes excitement. What a dude buddy. This was shot at the wee hour of the morning after he woke up and had breakfast.

Brain Sync

Kelley Howell. If you haven’t listened to her guided meditations as you fall asleep you’re missing out on the feeling of being wrapped up in a heavenly, angelic, yet lucid dream of pure bliss. I highly recommend her work. Living Prayer is probably my favorite. Check ’em out: http://www.brainsync.com/audio-store/personal-development/guided-meditation.html

Preschool Teachers

I am so thankful for the staff and Avery’s fellow schoolmates and parents over there at St. Andrews preschool. They are loving and kind and care so much for Avery. I’m so grateful for not having to worry about how things are going at school. They’ve created a nurturing atmosphere that fosters her juvenile essence and nourishes her happy little soul. A soul that’s eager to connect with others, have fun and learn. Thank you teachers!

The End

I guess I’m looking forward to the next most exciting and adventurous string of undeniably, uncanny coincidences where I can look back and say – that was awesome. It could be happening right now and I just don’t know it. In fact I’m sure it is. Fine, but I will continue to live vicariously through my peeps and float on all their good vibes. I’m sure it won’t be long before I have another awesome adventure to share with the world and return the favor of inspiration to those who cross my path. Until then, I curtsy to all ya’ll out there living you dreams, expressing their truest essence and voice without wavering. Its a pleasure to witness.

There you have it. Thanks for reading. Much love.

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So as it turns out, I like people. Yup, I even like them in my house, laughing, eating… conversating, the whole nine yards. I kid, I kid. But really, there was a time when my oldest was a baby that I was fairly isolated from people and I realized that I really do like people. Being on maternity leave now with my son, I again craved some additional adult-non-mommy time. Hence, the Favorite Things party. I had seen this on Pinterest and tucked it away in my head as an idea that I’d like to do someday and then…. that day arrived and it was a blast.

I read up on other blogs about how to host a Favorite Things party and I’m pretty thankful as it went really smoothly and everyone had a great time and couldn’t wait to do it again. We might just make it a regular event, it was so fun. It was like Christmas, but better.

Invites

I was inspired by the Evite invitation design that I emailed out for the party – Yellow! Here’s the note I included:

Come by and eat, drink, laugh and have a good time. Wondering what a favorite things party is? All ya gotta do is think of ONE favorite thing of yours that is in the $10-$15 price range. Buy three of them, wrap them individually and bring them with you. It’s that simple and you’ll get to go home with three new favorite things.

evite

Gift Bags

For guests to take home their loot. If you’re interested in the docs I used to make the tags, here ya go Favorite Things Label

 

giftbags

giftbags2

Food, Flowers and Wine

And lots of it! I also had some scrumptious artisan pizza brought in from Pandora’s pizza – gluten free friendly and very tasty!

food

wine

I also had a set of Table Topics (above) to stir up conversation especially because I had read the they made the Oprah’s Favorite Things list… but we never ended up needing them. Also in this picture are some chalkboard wine glasses. I searched all over the internet for them and found the best deal at Pier One. They are also on my favorites list. It makes it so easy for people to find their glass.

orangewaterandcellphoneholder

And lots of favorite things – well, this picture was taken early and I never got around to taking a picture of the table loaded with our favorite things. Whoops, I guess just another reason to throw another one. The picture above shows the favorite thing gift that I gave – a cell phone charger station. A nice little pocket to keep my phone and cord all neat and tidy. Get your own cell phone charger station here on Etsy.

gifts

Giving Our Gifts

I went with 3 things in the $10-$15 range which seemed to be a great fit for our crowd. Ahead of time I printed up names of all the guests (here is the doc I used to make the name labels: Name Label), sorted them out into four piles with each persons name in each of the piles. Well, then I actually mixed up three of the four piles into one pile. Then I pulled three unique names from the big pile and grouped them with one of the names from the small pile making sure that there were no duplicates of names. I folded the name from the small pile as this would be the name of the person who would give their gifts. The three other names would be the recipients. I repeated this until all of the names were grouped and I put the groups into their own small envelope. I then put one envelope in each of the gift bags.

When it was time to start the game, I handed a gift bag to each guest. Then we went around the room and each person would pull out their envelope and give the three unfolded names to the person whose name was folded. After a couple of people went through the motions everyone got the hang of it. This was the tip I most appreciate as we didn’t have to sort through duplicates during game time, I handled that before we got started. One caution however, this works best if all of your guests who you make names for all make it to the party.

Buy Four!

It was funny how many people commented that they had wished they had bought an extra one for themselves. It was our favorite thing after all. So if you’re going to throw this party, I highly recommend that you mention that your guests not forget to treat themselves to their favorite thing as well. Some of the gifts were:

  • hair detangler
  • necklaces
  • bracelets
  • homemade organic jam
  • local artist stationary set
  • cookie sheet
  • handmade soaps
  • lip gloss
  • cell phone charging station
  • sweet treats, music gift cards and handmade stationary

Looking at this list of items, it seems way more drab than the gifts actually were. I think it’s because one of the best part about the gifts was hearing why each person loved them so much and sharing in their excitement to hand them out. Plus we learned about some local shopping gems that were in our own backyard.

A Little Thank You

I found these thank you bags at Michael’s and grabbed’em up. Then I picked up these neat paper soaps and tissues at Pier One and added in some Altoids as a little thank you favor for everyone.

thank you

thank you 2

Enjoy!

This is a must do party. Everyone will love it and you’ll be so glad you hosted, even your kiddos who are great at crashing parties and soaking up some love.

auntienatalieandpkw

thegrammiesandarw

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