Monday, March 2, 2015

My friend Alex.....

This weekend was a pretty great time for me.  Back in 2007 I heard a song that became one of my all time favorites.  I can still listen to it and get that little feeling inside.  It came on Pandora one day and I immediately had to find it and buy it.  That song is called "I Will Keep The Bad Things From You" by The Damnwells.  You can check it out yourself here:

Years later through a random chain of events the lead singer, Alex Dezen released an album for the Getty Owl Foundation and I got a chance to meet him.  Since then I have seen him in concert a couple times including last year in New York.

Recently Alex posted online that he wanted to do some house concerts and would any West Coast people be interested.  I think I responded in 10 seconds and a couple weeks later Alex and his girlfriend Amber were staying at my house.

The performance, amazing.  It was a night that will go down for me as one of the best memories of my life.  I spent time with friends listening to someone that I greatly admire as a musician and also genuinely like as a person.  It doesn't end there though.  Later that evening, when I went to pick Leyton up and bring him home, he discovered that Alex had a guitar and wanted him to play for him.  When we got home Alex was on board to play Leyton a couple songs and even jumped on the offer to play them while sitting on Peanut's lap.  Leyton was enthralled.  So much so that between a song us crazy adults got the idea that we were going to talk about something and Leyton chimed in with "Can you just play another song already!"

The next day, after Alex and Amber had headed off on their next adventure, Leyton and I were driving in the car.  We frequently put on Spotify and listen to our favorite songs shuffle.  One of the songs that Alex sang, The Great Unknown, came on.  Leyton's eyes got huge and the conversation went like this:

Leyton: Mommy, this is Alex!  How did my song get on the radio?
Me: well bud, Alex is a musician.  He has albums and plays concerts for people.
Leyton: Whooooaaaaa!  Can you put his songs on my playlist?

It was such an incredible moment where I really got to see how special this single moment became for him.  A memory for him that will also last a lifetime.  He listened to that song at least 10 times yesterday and if anyone was in ear shot of it he would say to them, "This is my friend Alex!  He sang this song for me last night!"

Thanks again Alex, you are by far Leyton's new best friend.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Paying it Forward

Today I completed paying it forward 5 times.  Guess I should have picked a higher number, but here's the's pretty easy for me to do.  Paying it forward can be done in soo many ways.  Sometimes it's enough to just make someone smile, other times you can pay it forward and literally change someone's life.  Paying it forward doesn't even have to have anything to do with paying.  I try to do whatever feels right at the time.

I had to go to the mall today to have a watch sized.  While I was there a woman in an electric wheelchair was in the line in front of me.  After she paid she just hung out at the register area for a while and no one seemed to say a word to her.  I finally asked if she needed something.  She asked if I could put her shopping bag in the bag attached to the back of her wheel chair.  Simple enough.

On my way out I went into Nordstrom to check out the sale shoe rack.  I ran into the lady again.  She jokingly asked if I was following her and then we started to chat about shoes in general.  Wearing flats, how much heels hurt and especially for her how expensive shoes are now compared to when she was my age.  We were chatting so much the lady that worked there thought we were together.  I happened upon some Halogen shoes that were marked down to $24 and I knew she liked them.  All the other Halogens were over $50 and she mentioned how much I scored on finding the one really marked down pair.

At that point we parted ways and I sat waiting for the sales attendant to bring the match to the shoe.  Once I had both shoes I tried them on, they were perfect.  I kept thinking though about this lady as I watched her not find another pair she liked.  So, I walked over to her and handed the box to her and told her I thought she should have them.  You know what?  It made her day.  I didn't have to buy her anything, but in some small way I gave her a gift.  It felt so good and see, that's the thing about paying it forward.  It makes the day of everyone involved.

Try it sometime, you just might find that it becomes a regular occurrence for you too.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Time for an update!

Getting back into blogging has been hard.  The one problem is, part of my 40 list was to write/journal during the year.  So I have come up with an alternative option.  The blog I will write on when I have something to say or some update to give.  I don't want to do it if it feels forced.  Each week though I am keeping a little journal for Leyton.  I found this book at a store a little over a month ago.

I have been writing in it every Saturday.  My goal is to do this until he moves out of the house.  The nice part is they are just short little paragraphs to sum up the day and so far it is fun and feels easy enough.

That said I thought it was time for a list update!  You can see my updates in blue.  When I finish I will highlight in red.

1. Fire a gun. Handgun style in a shooting range.
2. Take a hip hop dance class.
3.  Reread Hamlet. - Purchased on Kindle. 4.  Visit Yosemite.
5. Skinny dip. - Planned for Palm Springs!6. Take a guitar lesson. - Have guitar, lesson book and online course.  Now just need to schedule time to practice.7.  Write a letter to five people that have influenced me.
8.  Go wine tasting in Napa.
9.  Cook a 5 course meal for friends.
10.  Take an improv class. - Eight week course starts on March 24th.11.  Knit 10 items.
12.  Go to New York with Bill. - Scheduled in July13.  Take a solo overnight trip.
14.  Keep a blog for the year. - working on it.15.  Take Leyton to Modoc County. - planned for August during fair time.16.  Put $100 on one hand of blackjack.  - planned for Vegas birthday.17.  Bake Christmas goodies.
18.  Organize Leyton's crafts.
19.  Get a tattoo for my Dad. - first session complete, next session March 3rd.20.  Have a Halloween costume party.
21.  Participate in a fun run.
22.  Take Leyton to Disneyland. - scheduled in June.23.  Swim the Donner Lake open water event.
24.  Visit Humboldt.
25.  Go dancing with girlfriends.
26.  Join a book club. - First meeting is tomorrow night!27.  Go whitewater rafting.
28.  Get SUP certified.
29.  Write Bill a love letter.
30.  Pay it forward at least 5 times. - I have completed 4.  I know I will hit more than 4 on this one.  I will write more on this when 5 complete.31.  Put my Grandpa's recipes in a cookbook.
32.  Take Leyton to a live concert.
33.  Go ice skating.
34.  Organize a Christmas program at elder community.
35.  Volunteer for Alzheimer's Association. - Application filled out, will submit this week.36.  Sit by campfire on the beach.
37.  Read at a stand up poetry event.
38. One no buy month. - Tried in February and failed, will try again another month.39.  Ride in a helicopter. - Passes purchased while in New York in July!40. Celebrate my 40th in Vegas with friends!!!

I figure 15 out of 40 are at least started which isn't bad at all!  My plan is by April to have 5 more started and at least 5 finished!

Sunday, February 1, 2015


I know it has been over a week since the last post. We've had some illness run through the Ball house and at various times we were all down for the count. At the start of February I'm so happy to say I've made some GREAT progress on my list. Organizing helped me out a TON. It has made it very easy to keep track of what is happening when and steps needed to get to the finish line. 

When I created the list there were a couple items I already knew were happening and are already booked and scheduled. Those items are: go to New York with Bill (July), Take Leyton to Disneyland (June). Then there are just other things that happen around a certain time, ie: Christmas, Birthday, etc. 

The past few weeks I was able to start or schedule a couple more!!!  Skinny Dipping will happen in Palm Springs. Get ready Stagecoach ladies!!  The tattoo for my Dad is beginning on Feb 12th. I will share more info on that later. Take an Improv class was one I thought would be tough, but I found a Groupon and a friend and I are signed up starting in March. It's an 8 week course and I'm soo excited! I took joining a book club up a notch and started one myself! There are 10 of us and I have already started reading the first book and we are set to meet at the end of the month. Last week I had the opportunity to pay it forward twice, but I will also talk more about that later. Through a friend I also found out about a local open mic event that happens each month in Sac and I hope to finish that by the end of this month. Another that I thought might be tough was a guitar lesson, seeing how I had no guitar....until now!

Introducing "Randy." He's a magical glittery hand me down a friend was getting rid of. Next step, find a lesson!

Finally, February starts no buy month. This means no buying anything for myself or family for the entire month. No clothes, toys, makeup, accessories, magazines, books, etc etc. I can only purchase things we need. I'm also taking this opportunity to try and clean out our fridge and cabinets so I'm not frivolously buying groceries either. I have a friend participating with me so we can check in daily and see how we are doing. 

Overall I feel like I'm off to a great start and enjoying it all along the way!

Monday, January 19, 2015


When I decided to create the 40 Before 40 List, I knew that the key was going to be being organized about it.  Organization is not always one of my strong points and sometimes I can be a little fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to life outside of the office.

I figured the easiest way to do this was a create a book, a book that is just for my 40 before 40 items.  I wrote the main list in this book and then have assigned each number to its own page.  On those pages I can write in the details.  This could be the research that I'm doing for a particular item or the date something is scheduled.  I thought this would keep me organized and would be almost a journal of this journey.  I'm happy to say that I already have about 5-10 items that are in the works.

I also got an awesome response from friends who wanted to do certain items with me.  So, if someone said they wanted to join I wrote down their name on the page for that item.  It was the easiest way to know I wouldn't forget someone and perhaps help them do something on their wish list. 

One that got a lot of response was a book club.  I've wanted to be part of a book club for a long time but the hardest part has been finding a club.  When so many local women said that they wanted to do a book club too I figured I would take it a step further....start a club!  I'm happy to say that there are about 10 people who are going to join in the book club and we should have our first book picked this week and our first meeting at the end of February!

Happy reading!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My family

Sometimes there is a picture that is just so fantastic I can't stop looking at it. I was lucky enough to capture one today. 
This photo slays me to the deepest part of my heart and soul. It is so filled with happiness it's impossible not to smile when you look at it. 

I fell in love with that man when I was just a 23 year old girl. It's crazy to think how young I was and yet for the first time I really knew this was the man I would spend my life with. Now, almost 17 years later I could not feel any more certain about that. 

Then there's that little boy we made. I dreamt about him before he even existed. Although, he didn't make me quite as crazy in those dreams!!  When he smiles and laughs and tells me he loves me, well no dream was ever as good as that feels. 

I'm so happy to be the Belle of these Balls. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The List

I decided that I really wanted to make a list of 40 things to do by the time I'm 40. Some are things I've never done, some are things I haven't done in a long time, others are just to do list lingerers. 

Here's the list in no particular order. If there's anything you want to help with or participate in let me know. 

1. Fire a gun. Handgun style in a shooting range. 
2. Take a hip hop dance class. 
3.  Reread Hamlet. 
4.  Visit Yosemite. 
5. Skinny dip. 
6. Take a guitar lesson. 
7.  Write a letter to five people that have influenced me. 
8.  Go wine tasting in Napa. 
9.  Cook a 5 course meal for friends. 
10.  Take an improv class. 
11.  Knit 10 items. 
12.  Go to New York with Bill. 
13.  Take a solo overnight trip. 
14.  Keep a blog for the year. 
15.  Take Leyton to Modoc County. 
16.  Put $100 on one hand of blackjack. 
17.  Bake Christmas goodies. 
18.  Organize Leyton's crafts. 
19.  Get a tattoo for my Dad. 
20.  Have a Halloween costume party. 
21.  Participate in a fun run. 
22.  Take Leyton to Disneyland. 
23.  Swim the Donner Lake open water event. 
24.  Visit Humboldt. 
25.  Go dancing with girlfriends. 
26.  Join a book club. 
27.  Go whitewater rafting. 
28.  Get SUP certified. 
29.  Write Bill a love letter. 
30.  Pay it forward at least 5 times. 
31.  Put my Grandpa's recipes in a cookbook. 
32.  Take Leyton to a live concert. 
33.  Go ice skating. 
34.  Organize a Christmas program at elder community. 
35.  Volunteer for Alzheimer's Association. 
36.  Sit by campfire on the beach. 
37.  Read at a stand up poetry event. 
38. One no buy month. 
39.  Ride in a helicopter. 
40. Celebrate my 40th in Vegas with friends!!!

Ready, set, GO!