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Showing posts from 2017

October 15, 1017: My Own Magical Mystery Bus Tour

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After recent colorful postings on Facebook celebrating my 50th birthday, I fielded questions on the theme behind my gal pal celebration...

"Were you going to a Pink concert?"

"Why the peace movement?"

"Now that looked like fun. When is the next time and can I join??"

My 50th surprise celebration was 60's themed after my 1967 year of birth. And I got my very own Magical Mystery Bus Tour. I have always been the driver, but this was my first as the passenger.

Anyone in my family is well versed on these tours. Since my sons were little, I would load them in the car and simply say we were going on a Magical Mystery Bus Tour. Instead of debating what we were going to do, the conversation would instead be filled with enthusiastic guesses with my giving clues on our mystery destinations.

Today these outings would be known to most as 'forced family fun'. But no one in my home knew the better. Input from the kids was not allowed and they hadn't a c…

September 10, 2017: Halfway There?

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I vividly remember being asked as a child to describe what I hoped to have accomplished by age fifty. This thought was inconceivable to my young mind.

"Fifty? That's ancient!" or something close to that was my roadblock to answering this question. So I answered with the stereotypical; married with children and grandchildren, living in a comfy home and....knitting by the fire??

But here I am almost to this milestone. The big one. So what are my thoughts now with my more mature forty-nine-year-old mind?

"I made it!!!!! YES!"

Yep, I'm thrilled. I can truly say that I have never dreaded a birthday or wished to be young again. Every wrinkle is earned and with every new ache, a reminder to enjoy the good health I have today. Reversal is not an option.

A wise person once told me that getting older was much better than the alternative. I have always held this thought close to heart. Every day really is a blessing.

This birthday will be celebrated taking in the bea…

August 16, 2017: Baby

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Well, it's happened. Baby is a senior. Months from graduation. Our last hoorah.

My feeling is similar to the day I went to kindergarten round-up for him. As I sat in the crowd of parents, I couldn't believe my youngest was actually going to start school. He was just out of diapers. This couldn't be. Having a panic attack, overstressed with 3 young kids while juggling a demanding career, I was sure I had made a mistake. So I did what any good accountant would do.

I recounted the years on my fingers.

2000....2001...2002...2003...2004...

Yep. Despite my temporary confusion, Baby Grant really was old enough to go to kindergarten. And so it began.

I have cried my way through many last-parenting moments starting with our drive home from the hospital following Grant's birth. With each flutter and kick with Baby #3, I enjoyed every minute of my last pregnancy. His birth was the planned last. Knowing it was the beginning of many lasts, I vowed to cherish the moments with my fa…

July 11, 2017: And They Lived Happily Ever After...

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A picture is worth a thousand words. But let's start with six...

"And they lived happily ever after..."

I bought this little sign more than seven years ago. It caught my eye at Target while shopping for milk and kitty litter on a weekday school night. The boys were in varying grades in school and I was single-handedly running my daily household.

Recently divorced, I was also dating a man from Denver. Garrett. Our relationship felt like forever, but the 550 miles between our homes was a stark reminder that our long-distance relationship was more like a fairytale than reality. We were reminded of this frequently by the people who knew us best.

"Guard your heart. Long distance relationships rarely work out."

"You are both good people, so be realistic in where this is going."

But the funny thing about love is that no matter how practical-minded or mature your mindset, your heart guides you to places that are scary to others, but quite comfortable for you…

June 4, 2017: Brothers

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I am sitting on the back deck of a Chicago flat in Wrigleyville (while listening to Van Halen's Panama blaring from Ben's phone). The boys, now ripe ages of 24, 21, and 17, are celebrating a big Cubs win as the boys share their stories with each other after a weekend of brotherhood.

I quietly smile and type away at my computer. I am purely background music to the buzz of their conversation.

Ben asks me what it was like in the 80's when I was their age (his phone is now playing Kansas' Carry on my Wayward Son). Curiosity runs rampant as they ask what is it was like to be a 20 year old in 1987.

"What was Dad like in college?"

"What did you do at parties? Did they play good music?"

An entire conversation continues on a like vs a dislike for rap music ('trap music' per Ben). Grant and Ben exchange notes on their high school days. Zach's comments clearly reflect how much times have changed within the seven years age difference between him an…

May 14, 2017: Givers and Takers

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A wise man once told me, "The world is full of takers. Our job as parents to fill the world with givers."

This has always stuck with me. In the age of helicopter parents, sometimes it is too easy to lose sight of this simple goal. As parents, our job is to equip our children to be good people who are productive members of our community.  Instead, we get caught up in our kids making the best select teams and getting accepted to the most prestigious universities. It is all about their personal achievement and receiving a participation ribbon.

The unfortunate result is a selfish child. One who knows how to work an A and earned entry into all AP classes, but without a hint of empathy on how to spend time with an aging neighbor in early stages of dementia. A child with no sense of knowing how to drop everything and make someone else feel important.

A giver.

In the words of a favorite columnist of mine, John Rosemand, on the goal of parenting:

"The most important thing about child…

May 8, 2017: Priorities

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A friend recently posted a quote that has stuck with me.

"The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities." - Stephen Covey

Too often, I have let my schedule run my life. Not always, but more in my past than I'd like to admit. And I am not in the minority with this offense. It is more common for people to let their days run them, rather than them running their days.

Priorities.

This last month has been a win for me in the priority management category. There were many great times with my husband, kids, parents, friends. This feat did require planes and a lot of careful planning, but a success.

Zach has turned the page to 24, Ben safely past the age of 21, and Grant a golden 17. Although my three sons live in three cities, we found a way to uniquely celebrate each April birthday. My husband finished his teaching stint for the semester in Montana. My trips to visit him were nothing short of feeling like a couple of newlyweds discove…

April 8, 2017: Girl on the Train

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A favorite picture of my sons.

Three brothers sitting on a train. A subway in Chicago to be exact. The year was 2014 with Ben ending his high school years. Grant was finishing 8th grade. Zach was preparing to move to Colorado to begin gunsmithing school.

They were oblivious to my picture taking.

From Ben's school jacket and untied shoe to Zach casually leaning on his youngest brother's shoulder with Grant's ever-prominent coif of hair, I find myself going back to this picture. A snapshot in time.

Yesterday Garrett and I took the train from the Rockie's game. As I sat in my seat next to my husband, I stared ahead at a space similar to the one that occupied my sons those years ago. I could visualize the picture of the boys in my mind's eye. Three years has passed. A lot has happened in the last three years.

As my mind wandered, Garrett chatted with me about some of his recent conversations. Strangers filled the spaces around us, coming on and off the train with each…

March 31, 2017: Losing My Way

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Today my husband is closing out his ski season; looking to get the last breaths out of winter as seasons officially transition. So different from years past, I have only skied once this year. Today I am in Nebraska. Garrett is in Jackson Hole. Not my year for fun in the white fluff. At least not mountain style.

My Colorado ski trips started long before meeting my Colorado husband. With three young sons, a decision was made in 2006 to try a family ski trip. I randomly chose Copper Mountain in Colorado and booked a week around President's Day weekend. Complete novices to this sport, we took our first road trip to the Rocky Mountains.

It was an adventure starting with ski schools and learning the basics. None of us had touched a ski or board before. We were taught the differences between blue, green, and black runs. On our third day, we were all out of 'school' and ready to tackle the slopes together. Thinking we knew what we were doing, the five of us (led by two parents who s…

March 4, 2017: Sandy's Work Life: Chapter 3

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Time flies when you're having fun.
And when you're a little busy.

This morning Garrett asked me when I last wrote a blog.

"It's been a while" was my answer. Upon further review, it's almost been over a month.

I've had no reason for the delay, other than the combination of being busy and knowing the content of which I wanted to write warranted more time and thought than my more typical whimsical stories told. Although I have had an arsenal of stories that I have wanted to write about over the last month, I knew that this one needed to top my list.

A common question asked of me is in regards to my work life is "Sandy, what exactly are you doing these days?"

This is a valid question since I have been very open in sharing my work journey over the years through my blog. And I've had a career that has gone from very conventional to unconventional. It's much easier to say "I work for XYZ Company and my job title is Chief Do-Something-Spec…

January 24, 2017: Throw Away the List

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My mom has taught me many great lessons. One that has come up continuously while going through the motions of the daily hamster wheel is to #1) Throw away the list. And then next in quick order, #2) Completely forget about the list.

A real-life lesson from my mom happened about twelve years ago. It revolved around a trip with me out of town and my mom babysitting the boys. Back when the boys were young, it was common for Mom and Dad to fly to Omaha and tend to the house while we were away.

Forever tied to a calendar, I would carefully map out the boys' schedules prior to our departure. Although I don't remember the exact calendar listings during that particular trip, likely it involved baseball practice, piano, and art lessons, to name a few. I might even have penciled in play dates to ensure there were no open spaces on the calendar <gasp>.

After mapping out my detailed instructions and leaving the boys in the caring and responsible arms of my mom, I flew the coup. Sur…

January 1, 2017: Just Another Day...

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Recently I was enjoying a holiday party with my investment group. I love these ladies and our monthly meetings together. Our December meeting is the only one set aside for conversations not revolving around stock decisions. Some light-hearted company, while catching up on each other's lives.

"Sandy, you have had an interesting year," noted one of my stock-picking comrades.

My knee-jerk answer was a self-reflection that has crossed my mind many times recently.

"I know. I don't get it. I'm actually a very boring person."

There have definitely been Forrest Gump-like encounters in my many ordinary days. As I view nothing in life as a coincidence, the well-planned orchestra of events around me can only be played if I act upon them. Some are good. Some are bad. But all have a purpose. It's up to me to open my mind and heart to both embrace them and then reflect on them.

Over the years this has been obvious when my path crosses with people of perceived hi…