Friday, November 2, 2018

Seventeen Again

I came across this letter stored in the Werdsmith app on my phone. I wrote it for my son's 17th birthday last winter. It's sappy as hell but I'll blame it on the jet lag.
Dear Son, 

I am traveling to Japan today and you have been on my mind. The significance of my trip is big. I’m celebrating my 50th birthday this summer and I am taking a bucket-list trip to Japan with your aunt. I loathe that expression — bucket list. It feels trite or like some silly meme, but I suppose it’s the human condition to have things in this lifetime that you want to see or accomplish. Life goals, amirite? On our drive to the airport, we had a conversation about you. We both agreed that we each have a connection and big love for you and the incredible person you are. I always like to write you and your sister letters to commemorate each birthday, and it’s crazy to me that you’re seventeen. I was looking at a picture of you and your sister that was taken about four years ago...and I was struck by how much you have changed. Dude! You were almost unrecognizable in the photo — you were just a little guy, but now you hold the distinction of being the tallest person in our family. It’s all kinds of awesome. 
Dressed up for lunch with Poppa. 2011

G's college graduation. May 2018
This past year has been a really crazy one for our community. Between the intense fires right before Christmas to the devastating mudslides that shut our city down, it felt like the holidays were almost an afterthought. You missed a month of school and we were evacuated from our home for over a week. The novelty of staying in a hotel was short lived, but we made our own fun spending a day in Solvang, visiting Ostrich Land, going to the movies and having dinner at a hipster restaurant in Buelton (charcuterie, anyone?). I was happy to have the dogs along with us — it went a long way toward boosting morale. Yeah, I’m not going to lie...dressing Riley up in leg warmers was pretty epic.
[obligatory Flashdance reference]
'Just a steel town dog on a Saturday night...'

All of that coincided with an invitation for you to join The Caverns. They are a fun band with a big local following, and it’s so awesome that you’re getting paid for gigs now. You have been diligently saving Christmas and birthday money towards buying a car, so it’s neat that you’re earning money playing in a band as well. And, if you weren’t already motivated or busy enough as it landed your first real job as a skate shop last week. Taking names and kicking ass.

The Caverns at Figueroa Mountain Brewery
It’s bonkers that you’re a few months away from finishing your junior year in high school. In a few weeks, you and dad are headed off to look at a colleges. It’s such an exciting time! Due to the timing of this trip, I’ll be too wrecked to travel across the country less than 48 hours after returning to the States, but I’m looking forward to touring University of North Texas together later in the school year. 
Grammy Camp 2018
This photo hadn't happened when I originally wrote
this letter...but it's my blog and I can take
time-travel liberties if I want to.
You are one of my very favorite people to spend time with, and I am looking forward to taking a few vacations this summer as a family. I am beyond proud of you.



Couch to Active

I have been a fitness ambassador for FitApproach #Sweatpink for almost 4 years. Sweat Pink is a group of fitness influencers with an online presence. I really love their philosophy of fitness and health, and the founders have been nothing but responsive and kind to me in the several interactions I've had with them.

Recently, I was given two Couch to Active workbooks - one to keep and review, and one to giveaway on social media. Written by Lyn Lindbergh, she has a practical and no-nonsense approach to fitness. It's like having access to a motivational speaker who also cuts to the chase: exercise is vital and not some unnecessary luxury.

I created daily prompts through my Instagram stories that such as myths about exercise or 'stretch' exercises (we want to try) out of our comfort zones. Spoiler: mine is one of those aerial classes where your are suspended in the air using strips of fabric or 'silks'. Crazy cool, right? 

I added that cool sunglasses IG filter to Lyn's
cover photo. I hope she doesn't mind terribly :)

Mine would be taking an aerial class.
They look beautiful and crazy hard!
Have you tried one?
Congratulations to Kashmira G. for winning my giveaway! She answered each daily prompt with thoughtful and positive comments. If you are ever in San Diego, check out her indoor cycling classes at Carmel Valley CycleBar. She received the Couch to Active workbook, as well as a few extra goodies from me. 

Congratulations Kashmira!

Monday, September 24, 2018


Okay, I don't suck -- it's just been a long time. A really long time!

Here's the thumbnail of what I haven't blogged about: 

1. my son's drivers license 

2. my daughter's college graduation

3. numerous birthdays

4. my first tattoo 

5. (for our) 25th wedding anniversary 

(except we got them on our 27th wedding anniversary)

(are you keeping up??)

6. perimenopause (you're welcome)

7. running and not running

8. starting a podcast

8. Japan (you’re not getting off so lucky on this one — definitely blogworthy)

8. general daily shenanigans

So, what was important enough to bring me out of my blogger sabbatical?

Marco Polo Motel. Nice rooms. 


Yeah, that. 

I visited Seattle last summer with my best girl. It was an emotional trip that I won't go into for reasons, but it was also incredibly special.

Pike Place Pig. Who doesn't love alliterations??
When you wait 45 minutes in the sun to get into the
first ever Starbucks, they give you umbrellas. #mybestgirl

My snaps are woefully few and far between anymore.
Snapchat still has the best filters, though.


PREPARE TO DIE. - Inigo Montoya

Hair game strong.
If you haven't been to the Museum of Popular Culture (formerly known as the Experience Music Project), it is incredible. I have visited the museum when it was the EMP, but the exhibits have expanded into, well, popular culture. We didn't have nearly enough time to see everything properly -- their Infinite Worlds of Science fiction installation is fabulous. Your girl LOST HER FUCKING SHIT over the Blade Runner exhibit. Complete with pages from the screenplay and the actual clear raincoat and boots that Zhora wore...before being gunned down by Harrison Ford's Deckard. It was so unexpected and amazing that I may or may not have actually cried a little. 

Do you think I'd be working in a place
like this if I could afford a real snake?

If TV or movie pop culture isn't your thing, the music 
exhibits at MoPOP are very cool and totally worth the visit. Also, the ratty sweater Kurt Cobain's wore on MTV Unplugged lives there. (See what I did there? FULL CIRCLE, BITCHEZ.) We didn't have enough time to see anything beyond the fantasy and science fiction exhibits. I cannot wait to go back.

I promise not to be a stranger for so long next time. Pinky swear!

Monday, April 3, 2017

How Sweet It Is

Dear Son,

You turned sixteen weeks ago. Of course, this entry was supposed to be fully written to go live on your actual birthday - but life has a way of sneaking up on me anymore. So, there’s that.

Having teenagers is nuts, but not in the way that most people think it is. I have actually enjoyed this parenting stage as much as any other. That is not to say being a teenager doesn’t come with it’s own share of mini-dramas, but what stage in life doesn’t? When I say nuts, I’m talking about fever-pitch activities and the time management required for being a teenager nowadays.

I don’t think I would have graduated from school with the requirements you face. Throw social media into that mix, and it would have been a bad outcome. Maybe I'm not giving myself enough credit - although, admittedly, I did a lot of stupid shit - just ask Zaydee. Wait. On second thought, don’t ask your grandmother. She would gleefully dish out details you would never want to know about your mom.

You have lived your life around the presence of social media and the immediacy of having world-knowledge at your fingertips. I’m still tripping over the ability to see and talk to your sister remotely on FaceTime.

Anyway. All of this is to say that you are a champ. Obviously, I’m biased.
That jacket is sweet.
However, I’m not just talking about your incredible accomplishments as a musician, or your wickedly funny sense of humor. It’s bigger than that. Dad has described you as an old soul on more than one occasion. He’s completely right. You have a calm and a wisdom far beyond your 16 years. We aren’t a religious family, but I have always believed in karma and kindred spirits. From the moment I held you the first time, you were mine and I was yours. It was as simple as that. It could be how all parents feel about their children, but there is a connection between us so profound that I am overwhelmed by it.

Ew, right?? Not really. #sorrynotsorry

 Kauai 2012. You always have my heart. 
As one of the other parents from your jazz combo recently noted: you no longer sound like a rock drummer trying to play jazz. You have continued to develop your chops as a musician and have truly found your voice as a jazz drummer. There are few things that give me more joy than watching you play music.
Boys & Girls Club fundraiser, August 2015
You passed your written driving test and began driving a few weeks ago. While these milestones are sweet, it is the reminder of how quickly you’re growing up. Both your dad and I are always talking about it. Older people wax poetic about that kind of stuff all the time.
Sharp dressed man! Jazz Festival, March 2017
Year after next, you’ll begin applying to colleges. Although I’ve been through that with your sister, it’s not going to be any easier when you leave for college. Regardless, I have great faith in the man you are becoming. I know you’ll go out and do great things...because you already are great.

All my love,


Tuesday, March 14, 2017


I’m so behind in my blog posts, you guys. I was honored to be featured on Sparkle Athletic's blog in January. I know. Here it is, mid-March and I’m just now telling you all about it.

If you’re not familiar with Team Sparkle, they are as awesome as they sound. Sparkle Athletic was founded by three friends in 2010. A few years after their company was established, I ran the Warrior Dash with my daughter and a group of friends. We established a team of runners, some of whom were friends of friends. That's the beauty of running: you make connections with people that you might not have met otherwise.

One of those friends was a woman we met at the race with her now-husband then-boyfriend and their dog Frank. I obviously liked Brenna right from the start: anyone who has a dog sidekick named ‘Frank’ that also happens to be a Labrador has to be amazing, right?? Brenna had a bunch of ‘dress up’ stuff for us to wear: glitter skirts, striped sleeves and visors. I asked her where she had gotten the loot, and she casually explained her aunt Kelly owned a company that sold athletic wear.

This certainly wasn’t like any athletic wear I had seen before. I still own the skirt and sleeves Brenna give me that day, and I have worn my black and silver sparkle skirt to races several times over.
Believe it or not, I was actually able to salvage my
#teamsparkle outfit. I have laundry skillz, y'all.
Holy crap, were we ever muddy. Good times! I count my lucky stars we didn’t get hepatitis.

Anyway! It was an incredible honor to be a featured runner on their site. Many thanks to one of my favorite social media runners Carlee McDot for reaching out to me and making this happen.

Monday, February 13, 2017


I was thrilled to be a featured on the  #RunAlways Instagram account in January. Like the name implies, it's an account designed to inspire and connect the global running community.
A RUNNING STORY ------------------------------------------ I am an addict/alcoholic. Running is a huge part of my recovery and it has turned into a form of meditation; my head is quiet when my body is moving. . I was 35 years old when I began running. It started out of necessity because my son wouldn't stay in childcare at the gym. I ran 3-4 days a week pushing a baby jogger, but it took a full year before it was something I looked forward to doing. . I had heard you could get high from running. At age 38, I decided to run my first full marathon. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I ran my second full marathon on my 40th birthday. . Two weeks afterward, my entire right arm went numb during a run. I thought I was having a stroke or heart attack, until I realized the sensation stopped immediately when I began walking. I was diagnosed with bulging discs in my neck. My doctor said I had to stop running. . Against his advice, I slowly began running again. I made some corrections to my form and gave up road cycling. Three years after my injury, I ran my fastest half marathon and finished the course with a PR of 2:05. My glory was short-lived. During the race I felt a small tug on the back of my leg, but I had so much adrenaline onboard that I was able to shake it off and finish strong. . I tried running a few days later - the tug had become a sharp pain at the top of my right hamstring. I was diagnosed with bursitis. Despite seeing my chiropractor weekly, it took nearly four months of no running for the injury to heal. This coincided with some thyroid issues and I quickly gained 25 pounds. . Over the last 5 years, my relationship with running has changed and so have my expectations. Last November, I ran the same event, only to finish one hour and forty-five minutes slower than my PR. It was enormously humbling. . Running is a fickle thing. Injury has taught me to be resilient, and it is a part of my success as a runner. I always surprise myself when I persevere. - Featured Runner: Brea McInnes @babydoll_brea / California ~ It's not just about inspiring pictures, it's also about inspiring stories. _ Tell us yours: run-culture@run-always
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The account is run (no pun intended) by several administrators, one of whom goes by the pseudonym Runnermarx. I discovered his account years ago, and he now has over 6.5K followers. Mark is a lifelong runner with a true passion for the sport. He's a great guy: outgoing, smart and incredibly knowledgeable. And yeah, it doesn't hurt that he starred in a beer commercial that aired during Superbowl halftime. Just sayin'. 

Anyway! It was an honor to be chosen to share my running story. Check it out and let me know what you think. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Star Wars Half Marathon 2017: The Light Side

I ran the Star Wars half marathon in January for the second year in a row. You might recall the general bedlam of last years race: how I nearly missed the start of the race and my brush with the notorious 'balloon ladies'. I had wanted to run the 10k this year and pick up a third medal for running two consecutive days, but it was completely sold out. I should have purchased the Rebel Challenge packet when the race was first announced, but I was cranky and didn’t pull the trigger when registration opened. Oh well.

This year was more even fun than last year, if that’s even possible. I was in a much better headspace (read: I actually trained for this event) and I even planned an outfit.

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The race coincidentally fell the same weekend that I needed to pick Girldoll up from the Long Beach port. It worked out to be a bonus because we got to spend the night at my SIL’s house and visit with my niece and nephew. The kids are always such good sports and came with me to pick up my packet at the Disneyland Hotel. The only hiccup was that I was supposed to pick Girldoll up at 10:30AM, but she wasn’t ready to go until well past noon. This ended up pushing everything back so that we didn't get to until a half hour before it closed. I had hoped to browse longer -- no one does an expo like Disney -- but time was too short.

Part of the problem was getting into Downtown Disney itself. Security was INSANE. In all the times I have been to Disneyland, I have never had to wait in any sort of security line to access the area surrounding the park. It is a sign of the times that security has become a necessity during travel or entering concert venues, but it definitely stole some of the magic visiting the resort. I’m not talking about a quick look inside backpacks, either. We were subjected to a full search of our belongings as well as being required to walk through a metal detector. Bummer, man. The only thing I could attribute the high security to was that Trump had just officially taken office as POTUS, and there were a lot of people in Los Angeles who weren’t happy about it. (You can count me as one of them. No surprise there.)
What has two thumbs and the best nephew ever??
This girl! Johnny and Lego Hulk at Downtown Disney.
This backdrop coordinates nicely with my glasses.
Of course, anything blue does...but whatevs.
By the time we got to the Disneyland Hotel, we had barely enough time to grab my bib number and pick up my race t-shirt. I quickly bought some anti-chafe Glide from an expo vendor and we were on our way. It was probably the least amount of time or money I've ever spent at an expo. Girldoll and I treated the cousins to a late lunch, and then we enjoyed a nice evening with family.

Of course, I took an obligatory Flat Babydoll photo. It was so cute that my niece reminded me to post the photo on social media; she had remembered me talking about the phenomenon of laying out your race day clothes and taking a picture of your race bib and outfit. The stuff kids remember!

Orange is the new black!
I got lots of compliments during the race on my excellent on the BB8 skirt I found on Etsy. Although there are all kinds of things that could go wrong running thirteen miles while wearing a knit beanie, I was totally fine.

The race was so much fun. 90% of the runners were wearing a costume or Star Wars themed embellishment. My personal favorite was a couple who dressed as Leia and Chewie wearing Belle and The Beast costumes. It was so meta! The spectators did not disappoint, either.

I decided I would live stream the half marathon on Facebook while I ran through Disneyland. I started in narrating my way through Tomorrow Land and filmed an epic lightsaber battle among cast members. I also caught some really fun footage of my hand as I high-fived a dozen Disney employees who had lined up along the course. I ran through Fantasyland and shared my favorite ride with Facebook (Storybook Land, in case you were curious) before the pièce de résistance: running through Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

After I crossed the drawbridge, I went to stop recording the video...only to discover I had never started recording in the first place.
Rachel doesn't use that word lightly, either.
I'll be honest: it took me the next mile to shake it off. For whatever reason, I fixated on my disappointment of not getting the video to work and had trouble letting it go. I'm charming that way. 
Right after this photo was taken, the key fob
to my car fell out of my Flipbelt. Someone
literallyran after me with it in their hand.
I mean, can you even imagine?? #bulletdodged
Fortunately, we were hitting the streets of Anaheim and it was time for me to focus and get my game face on. Since the rest of the race is through business and residential areas before finishing at the Downtown Disney parking lots, sections of the race on the streets feel like it starts to drag. That is, until the cosplay spectators start lining the course. It is truly an incredible experience seeing all the elaborate costumes and props.

Red Leader was all smiles and thumbs up.

I kept lapping these guys. I'd stop and mug for
photos along the course and pass them. #redleader

This was one of the most clever
costumes on the course. I love Greedo!

This couple finished the race together. How
her hair stayed perfect after running a half
marathon is one of The Force's mysteries.

Poppa Stormtrooper and Baby Stormtrooper

We had a moment. #BB8

There was something slightly despondent about
this ghetto Death Star. 
Done. Eye on the prize!

In addition to the half marathon next year, I really want to run the 10k for a chance to earn three medals. I know I said the same thing last year...but it's worth putting out to The Force, anyway.