Thursday, February 25, 2010

Passion and purpose

This post was written by my friend and jewelry designer, Cari Taylor on her blog The Craft Between. She gave me permission to repost it here.

Last Friday I attended a day-long "Conference for Women" workshop that mainly dealt with assertiveness and self-esteem training for women, but there was one topic that really held my attention: the one about passion and purpose. I've struggled with this concept all my life; last year when I was asked by (then) Scoutie Girl blogger/creator Jan to write a post about passion, it was really the first time I was able to put it into words. Here's what I said then:

"Passion is the biggest gift of my life. I spent years trying to find that ‘IT’ thing–the thing that people around me seemed to have that made them get-up the morning, lose themselves in, and could talk about for hours. I tried crochet, woodworking, graphic design, ceramics–nothing stuck. I had this artist stuck inside of me without an outlet to create. Very frustrating.

And just as I was about to give up and resign myself to a boring 8-5 life with no pizzazz–passion found me. As soon as I stopped looking for it, there it was, disguised as a pair of cheap pliers and a roll of 20 gauge craft wire I picked up on a whim. In those first few weeks experimenting with my new hobby, the fog just suddenly lifted. I had so many jewelry design ideas, I couldn’t sketch them out fast enough. I knew in that moment that what I was feeling was passion.

That elusive, enviable, abstract thing, was finally within me. It sounds very dramatic, but passion hit me on the head and brought me to life and continues to be such a surprising force.

Passion gives me purpose and unbelievable energy. Passion has brought me a sense of self-reliance I didn’t have before, a sense of ownership and confidence that I can take anywhere I go. It gives me the strength to work a full-time day job on top of building a business, and gets me through any bad day.

Handcrafted and passion are inseparable. The spirit of independence and creation is alive in every product an artist makes, every detail.

Whether it’s bags, clothing, jewelry, drawings, photographs, textiles–that essence of passion is ingrained within and comes straight from the artist to you. That’s such a big part of it; feeling the passion is one thing, but creating something and sharing it with the world and the people who appreciate it completes the circle."

Is all that still true? Big Yes. The only difference is my 'day job' is much more satisfying now that I've changed departments--which only serves to help me be more creative off hours. Bottom line: life is too short to not be living your passion. Go find it....ASAP.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Rockin' Tenacious Brother's Pub

Big show for Riveter tonight. We're playing all night long at Tenacious Brother's Pub in glorious downtown Grand Junction.

I love downtown and I love Tenacious Bros. It's such a fun vibe and they have Stella Artois on tap WITH the fancy glasses. Oh glory be.

Tonight we're playing a whole host of Riveterized awesomeness including two new kick-ass covers and by popular demand, we're bringing back an oldie but a goodie.

Over the past months, we've been weeding out some of our mid-tempo and ballad-y songs, in favor of the more in-your-face rockin' ones that really say "Riveter." Because we're not really happy unless we're swearing and playing as fast as we can.

Long live rock 'n' roll.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

'I have new boots' — sing it with me

Yes, I know this is a mommy blog, but I am also a woman who loves cool shoes — or in this case, boots (but just so you know, Margaret is doing great and I'm sure I'll have something to write about her soon enough).

As I mentioned earlier this week, I ordered myself a lovely pair of Valentine boots from John Fluevog. They arrived yesterday.

Even though I bought them with the intention of wearing them when my band plays and around for fun, I'm breaking them in today here at work. Everywhere I go, I'm singing in my head (to no particular tune), "I have new boots. I have new boots."

Yes, I am 12.

And I have new boots. Look how cute and retro they are:

Back in the day, combat boots/Dr. Marten boots were all the rage. These definitely give a nod in that direction, but they have style points amundo (Gah, I just made a Fonzie reference — help me).

And they aren't just ubercool, they are comfortable, too. They are made of fine leather with supportive insoles. And the outer soles are works of art ... heavenly art:

See? They have Fluevogs wonderful, original Angelic sole that is comfortable and durable. Do you see the angels inscribed into the tread? How cute is that?

Plus if you read the disclaimer, it says:

"Resists: Alkalai, water, acid, fatigue, satan."

My soles repel satan, so they are good for my soul, too.

Can your shoes do that? I didn't think so.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Say it ain't so

I've been told on more than one occasion that my skin color is "very, very white" and it's true. I'm about as fair as one can get without being albino (not that there's anything wrong with that).

I'd like to have a little more skin color. I've always envied my stepson's gorgeous olive-toned skin. But I'm fair to the fairest degree.

I don't really tan and I burn very easily. Oh and I've had skin cancer ... on my face.

So I wear sunscreen on my face everyday (really, everyday). I don't try to tan — on the contrary, I try to not get sun for the most part. And now with my giant back tattoo, I'll be even more diligent about keeping the sun's harmful rays off my delicate skin.

I know I'm not the only one who fears the damage prolonged exposure to sun. I also know that many still prize a tan.

This, of course, has led to the rise in fake tanning.

And you know what? Fake tans look ... uh, fake. And I'm not the only one who thinks so. Check this out, it's the blog "Pale Is The New Tan."

All I have to say is: Are you frickin' kidding me? 'the hell is wrong with these people? Do they really think this looks good?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

If the shoe fits

Yesterday I bought a new pair of shoes. Yay! ... What?

OK, that's probably the least shocking news I could share. Any one who knows me, knows I like shoes.

I can scour a shoe-sale rack like no one's business in search of the cheapest and most-cool discount shoes I can find. But these days, I'm much more particular in what I'll bring home.

See, now that I'm 40 (OK, I'm not quite 40 yet, but I'm calling myself 40 because I don't like surprises and I'm fearful that I won't like 40 when it does actually happen to me, so I'm getting used to it ahead of time), I've grown tired of fake shoes. Pleather, faux leather, fleather (as I like to call it) is inexpensive and can make very cute shoes (I'm wearing a pair of fleather boots right now, because I am nothing if I'm not a complete and utter oxymoron), but I'm not buying them anymore. I'm saving my pennies and buying high-quality shoes made to last.

This is why I just had to buy these Fluevog boots last week.

No, these aren't shoes the I bought yesterday. I'm getting to that story, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to mention the new Fluevog boots I'm bought myself to go with the super-cute dress Bill got me for Valentine's Day (can't have a new dress without the appropriate footwear, now can we?).

Yes, I do have a shoe compulsion and that brings me back around to the pair of shoes I bought yesterday.

These shoes are vastly different from any pair of shoes I've purchased for myself in more than 10 years.

They are ... gosh, this is hard to say ... workout shoes. There I said it.

For the last 8 years or so, when I've gone to the gym or some other sort of formal exercise event, I've been wearing a pair of hand-me-down Reeboks from my mom. She didn't like them (I think she said they squeaked), so I took them. They fit well enough ... for the most part.

See, I have no problem forking out my precious money for some expensive, funky boots to wear when my band plays, but I've had a super hard time plunking down the cash for a good, functional athletic shoe that will save my back, feet, hips, etc, from stress and possible injury.

Yeah, it makes no sense to be either. So what made me finally break down and buy some sensible shoes?

Well, it was my toes. They were on the verge of revolt if I didn't do something about my footwear.

We've been going to the gym pretty regularly for several weeks now and if I'd spent any amount of time doing cardio activity, my toes would fall asleep.

I can't say for sure, but it seems to me that that is a bad thing.

We walked around the mall over the weekend hoping to find a good deal, but I was afraid I'd just end up with another pair of shoes that would send my piggies into a coma. So I didn't buy anything. Instead Monday, Mar, Bill and I went to Brown's Shoe Fit on Main Street.

What an experience!

Margaret needed new running shoes, too. Girls on the Run starts this week and the kid need something other than her knee-high Chuck Taylor's to run in.

The extrordinarily helpful and knowledgable saleman measured our feet (Mar now wears a woman's 6-1/2 ... holy cow!) and brought us several pairs to try on. With each pair that we tried, the saleman would feel our feet in the shoe and offer advice on the fit. In no time at all, we both had good shoes that fit well and both pairs were on sale!

So I got myself a good pair of workout shoes and you know what? They aren't even cute, but boy do they feel good.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Adversity schmadversity

Just like every family, mine is faced with challenges — big and little — every day.

And you know what? For the most part, we’ve been kicking some challenge booty. And I like it.

I mentioned recently that my mom has been improving and battling back against her cancer. Each day she’s getting stronger. And now she’s even driving.

Driving! Driving herself in her own car, her brand-new car that I was certain she’d never drive again.

So, suck it, cancer.

My husband is on his path to becoming a non-smoker (again), thanks to the miracle drug Chantix and his own perseverance and determination to become a healthier person.

Bill has been an on-again/off-again smoker for years. He likes smoking. He likes hanging out with his smoking friends and smoking. So it has been hard for him to quit.

He knew he needed to quit and wanted to quit, but could never do it cold turkey or even with the patch or gum.

But this Chantix is a different story.

Of course, it doesn’t work for everyone and it does mess with your brain chemistry so if you have to be careful with it. But it does work in a most profound way.

Bill hasn’t had a cigarette in almost two weeks and doesn’t even want one. He doesn’t even want to be around smokers. He came home from a friend’s house recently where there was much smoking and he was disgusted by the smell on his clothes and hair.

A good sign indeed. So suck it, cigarettes.

And then there’s Margaret. She demonstrated her strength of character yesterday in spades.

The three of us decided the snow was too delicious to pass up and starting gathering our gear for a day on the slopes.

Bill (as usual) couldn’t find half his stuff. He thought (as usual) that I’d moved it. Being that I was suffering from my monthly lady malady, I freaked out and spent a fair amount of time stomping around and yelling (oh, I’m such a delight — but really, I’m a hormonal being. I know we’re not supposed to admit such things as it threatens women’s fight for equality, but it’s true. I could go on about this, but I’ll refrain ... for now). Mar kept her disposition sunny and tried to smooth things over.

I got over my bad self and we headed up to the slopes — powder days are too few to let stupid hormones mess it up, even if I didn’t even touch Bill’s gloves.

We arrived at Powderhorn, jumped on the bunny slope lift and headed up the hill.

Just as we were nearing the top, the life ground to a halt. There we sat for 30 minutes getting soaked by the beautiful, yet wet snowflakes. We eventually got off, but the lift was broken down. We headed over to the Take Four lift. The three of us lined up and sat down, but only two of us made it on to the chairlift.

Mar took a scary tumble off the lift and faced planted into the fresh powder. I screamed, Bill jumped off and Mar shouted, “I’m OK mom!”

The lift operators were there immediately, got her up and checked out and the lift was going again. I got off at Midway and waited. No Mar and Bill.

I called Bill (thank goodness for cell phone service on the mountain) and they weren’t coming. Mar was too scared to get on the lift.

I couldn’t blame her.

I skied down and found them, skis off at the bottom of the run. Mar wanted to go home. I wanted to go home.

But the snow was awesome and we had just got there.

I pulled myself together and gently encouraged Mar to get back on the bunny-hill lift which was running once again.

She resisted.

But not for too long and we skied on over to the lift. We got on and that led to a fun day of schussing.

I’m so proud of her. So suck it, fear!

There’s always going to be illness, broken down lifts and missing gloves. But our days and our lives, for that matter, are what we make of them.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Discounts and giveaways just in time for Valentine's Day

Ladies, what are you getting for Valentines Day? Men, what are you giving?

A card with a heart-felt note inside is always lovely ... and often enough. But what about when your Valentine is extra special and you want to give her something to show how much she means?

Do you give candy?

In the past, I’ve always loved getting a big box of nuts and chews. But again this year, I am participating in our office’s Biggest Loser challenge (Lose Muffin Tops! Lose!), so candy is definitely off the list of gift ideas for me this year.

I would, however, love to get a sweet SWEXY band instead.

As much as I love the name “Muffin Tops” for my Biggest Loser team, I don’t want to be known as the girl with the muffin top as I lumber around the track at the gym. The SWEXY band absorbs extra ... uh, perspiration ... and hides the muffin top. How awesome is that?

And you know what, you don’t have to buy yourself one (or for your Valentine), you can WIN one simply by clicking here and leaving a comment.

Easy as pie ... uh, maybe I should say, “Easy as getting to the gym” unless that’s not easy for you, then we’ll just stick with the pie.

Afraid that your Valentine doesn’t want work-out gear for the holiday of romance? Then click over here to find out how you can get a DISCOUNT on Cari Taylor’s gorgeous, eco-friendly, hand-crafted Wired Originals jewelry.

I love Cari’s jewelry. Her earrings are all I wear. I now have four pair which are in constant rotation. I never get bored of them and they go with everything.

And I’d still love to have more. HINT, HINT, Bill!

I’d love to add these to my collection. Oh and these. OK and these, too.

Who am I fooling? I’d love to have one of each pair of her earrings.

So if you want to buy me ... uh, I mean yourself or your Valentine some lovely, locally made jewelry on SALE, click over here by Sunday, Feb. 7.

Believe me, your Valentine will thank you!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Look out below ... er, above

I'm sore. Every joint on the left side of my body aches. I'm even bruised on the palm of my hand.

And I'm irritated, on the verge of angry. But my irritation has come a couple days too late. I guess you could say I'm a slow bloomer.

For once my bodily injuries are not self-inflicted and, no, alcohol was not involved.

I was run over by a teenaged snowboarder ... an unrepentant, teenaged snowboarder.

Sunday, Margaret and I journeyed up to Powderhorn with the intention of honing our ski skills with a lesson and a day on some really nice snow. The day started out great and our lesson was going well. Then Margaret had to go to the bathroom.

I've never been so thankful that she has a pea-sized bladder than I was Sunday.

While she trudged down to the restrooms (why are the bathrooms so far away?), I made a run with our instructor down the bunny slope. I was practicing making parallel turns (more French fries and less pizza!) and doing well when all of a sudden I was tackled by a speeding dimwit and went sprawling down the hill.

When I combobulated myself, I turned to see a teenaged snowboarder complete with stupid droopy pants and the pathetic start of a post-pubescent beard looking a bit dazed and annoyed as he sat in the snow. My instructor spent a good amount of time sternly explaining to the young man the rules of the hill and stressing upon him that if you can't stop, you shouldn't be on the hill. He assured her that he could indeed stop, but could give no reason for why exactly he chose to me as to impede his forward motion.

I found that I was OK and inelegantly got myself up and ready to continue. My first thought in my head was, "Thank goodness Margaret was in the bathroom."

That careless kid would have seriously injured her or worse.

It's those thoughts that make a mama shudder.

And while I assured my instructor that I was OK and I just wanted to continue my lesson, I was a bit shaken. OK, scared. There are't many situations where you get plowed into by a human being speeding down hill faster than gravity intended and even fewer times where you put your kid into that danger. But life isn't without risks and even sitting on the couch has certain dangers.

I didn't want my fear to ruin my day nor scare Margaret so, I finished my run, Mar and I finished our lesson and we spent the next couple hours practicing our parallel skiing again and again down the bunny slope.

Now, two days later, I sit in pain with a bruise the size of New Jersey decorating my left leg and wishing that I had taken the opportunity to "accidentally" smack that kid in the junk with my ski pole.