Thanks For Gold Elite Status–Mi Tocaya

Early in my career, I tried to learn Spanish. I got pretty confused with French words, which I hadn’t realized I’d known, popping into my head instead of the Spanish as I tried to converse with a classmate…she had the same trouble with Italian. Oddly, we were having quite a conversation with full comprehension until the instructor overheard us and got annoyed.

I learned the rudiments of Spanish and still remember some of it more than 20 years later. One word that I learned from my Columbian instructor, which I found so novel that I’ve saved it in the back of my brain for just such a time as this, is tocayo…tocaya for the feminine. It is a word that is used to indicate that another person shares your first name.

For years now, I’ve lived a half-mile away from a woman with not only my same first name, but also my same last name. I’ve gotten her mail, gotten her vote (she got mine, not to worry), and been confused for her at the bank, pharmacy, and even doctor’s office. Once, the electric company combined our accounts thereby putting my Social Security number on her account. I met her one time at the polls where we were standing next to each other in line. I’ve not seen her since, although we go to the same church and obviously shop in a lot of the same places.

Altogether it has been something of an annoyance to have this particular tocaya. The other day, however, I got Gold Elite status at Marriott. It seems that she forgot her rewards number and when she called to find out what it was, she was given mine. I called Marriott a couple of years ago when I started to get e-mail reminders of “my” upcoming stays. Other than securing my account with a PIN and removing my credit card information, there was nothing else they could suggest. They did not offer to call the other Laura and inform her of the mistake.image

Meanwhile, she does quite a bit of traveling and all of her rewards points flow into my account where they are automatically converted to frequent flier miles. And now I’m Gold Elite. I feel like planning a trip to take advantage of the perks of Gold Elite, whatever they may be. Upon investigation, the perks are room upgrade, lounge access, and internet upgrade. There are a few others that are probably not useful to me like discounted long-distance and fax.

As you can see from the photo, this perk only lasts until the end of the year, so I need to plan fast! Alas, my problem is my child…not a problem child, just that I am tied to home lately. I used to travel for business, where I would inevitably stay at a Marriott property since it is a preferred provider to my company. I used to be Gold Elite on a regular basis…not any more. Now, I have a 14 year old daughter and no back-up plan for child, or shall I say, teenager care. I don’t mind asking if she can spend a night or two at a friend’s, but when I travel I like to go far and wide and stay a week or two.

I’d love to return to Quito or Dublin, or (oh yes!) Paris…but if I have to wait a few years while my daughter grows up, so be it. I can dream in the meanwhile.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the pleasure in dreaming!

Do I Know You?–The Rule of 150

I can’t help but feel guilty when I don’t remember someone’s name, or even worse, don’t remember someone at all. It happens to me almost daily. No, I’m not suffering from memory loss, although it sure seems that way, I am just dealing with the rule of 150.

This rule, the rule of 150, is also known as Dunbar’s number after British anthropologist, Robin Dunbar. He derived the number from observation and extrapolation from brain-size experiments. We humans, on average, can maintain 150 relationships. This includes past friends with whom we want to maintain a relationship. In today’s world, 150 friends seems woefully inadequate. Think about it…how many family members do you have? How many classmates from high school, college, and grad school? How many from your work environment? How many “friends” on social media?

The first time I heard of this rule, was Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point. He talked about W. L. Gore and Associates where they limited their factories to 150 employees. Everyone knows everyone else at the plant. If the company gets more business than one factory can handle with 150 people, it opens a new plant. The management has desks in the middle of the plant. Everyone knows everyone. They know their names, they know their personal stories, they care about each other. When a recession hits, the workers cut their own hours so that no one has to lose their job. It was a great business case. Their decision to limit their factories to 150 was based on trial and error, but it also provides supporting evidence for Dunbar’s number.

In my job, I probably interface with several hundred people on a semi-regular basis. Each time I change jobs at work, I am once again confronted with meeting several hundred new people. Having changed jobs about 10 times over the years, I have met, literally, thousands of people. I am not exactly a recluse, so I do have friends and family to remember, too. This is all to say that having met thousands of people in my life with whom I needed to have a relationship with for at least a short time, it is not so surprising that when an old business colleague pops up after many years, I generally have no idea who they are without a few hints. This is more true of people outside of my own organization, but even within my functional organization, there are about a thousand people.

So, although it is awkward, I generally re-introduce myself to people I haven’t seen in a long time or whom I know but can’t recall their name. I once said this to a mother of one of my children’s classmates to be slapped down with a “I know who you are, we’ve met, like, a thousand times!” This was done complete with an eye roll and then she turned her back on me for the rest of the event. Oh well. At work, when I re-introduce myself, I usually get a smile and a re-introduction from the other person. Sometimes I get a look of disappointment and even rarer, a deadpan response of, “we’ve met before”.

From now on, I’m not going to let it bother me. I do not need to know a thousand people and I don’t need to remember most of the people I’ve met only a handful of times. My circle of 150 is rich with family, friends, and people whom I’d like to get to know better.

Find the Joy in the Journey…




The Ten Year Plan

I think it’s about time for me to have a ten year plan. I’ve spent the last few years trying to figure out how to be a happy and fulfilled person. I’ve stumbled along the way and I’m still working on that project. I’m ready, though, to also start working on the end-game. By end, of course, I mean a new beginning. Or perhaps I will characterize it as my second adulthood. In any case, I’m already starting to plan.

I started by getting my affairs in order. Boring, a bit expensive, but a good foundation. I made a will, set up a trust for my kids, and made the (currently value-less) trust the beneficiary of all of my property, which mostly consists of my life insurance and retirement funds. I also designated a health advocate and created a durable power of attorney.

Next, I hired a financial planner and took the next steps, also boring and a bit expensive. I wanted to know when I could likely retire without having to work again. I crossed my fingers (not a proven method) and hoped for an answer of five years. The planner came back with a ten year plan. So, time to put that plan into action and see what I can do to shorten it.

Now that I have my foundation settled, I just need to revisit it every year or two to ensure it is still appropriate and to measure how well I’m doing at staying on track. So, if one of my kids wins the lottery, I can adjust my estate plan. As my kids get older, and more self-sufficient, I can think of other things to do with my money than use it to ensure they have a good start…I can direct it more towards charity. If I suffer a financial set-back, I can adjust my life-style or plan to work longer. If I get a financial windfall, I can speed up the plan.

So, with that set, I turn back to my 50 by 50…which I should perhaps rename as my 60 by 60! By reading back through my entries and going forward to try new things, I can fine-tune what I want to do here and now, and once those ten years, give or take a few years, have gone by. I’ve learned at least a few things along the way.

I like to be physically fit, but I really don’t enjoy training for half-marathons; three to six miles is a perfect run for me. I like running in cool weather. I’d like to live somewhere with an hour or two a day of temperatures between 50 and 70. I love to swim (ok, I’ve known this since I took my first swimming lesson at three years old), but I really don’t like to share a lane…too many bad experiences with that. I want my own lap pool…preferably indoors, or at least one of those treadmill-type pools.

I don’t need a big place (I have a big place right now…which was great when six of us lived here, but not so great with just two) and I certainly don’t need so much stuff. I have an attic and basement full of who-knows-what…I’ve tried to de-clutter it away over the last few years, and I’ll probably be struggling with that for years to come (need to include that in the ten year plan!). I’m not one for apartments (i.e. shared walls), so I’ll have to think about the possibilities.

As you can see, my ten year plan is a work in progress.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the Joy in a new beginning!


Of Feathers and Flu Shots

I am a big proponent of vaccines in general, and flu shots specifically. I once was sick for three months with a variety of ills, including two separate instances of the flu. I was horribly miserable. Ever since, I have gotten a flu shot every year. Sometimes my company offers on-site flu shots and this year they did. I could have gone to my doctor, who offers drop-in shots; no appointment required. It still seemed a bit easier to get one at work, so I scheduled an appointment and waited.

When the day arrived for the flu shot, I drove over to the building where the nurses were there in force with the shots. The parking lot was almost full. Inside I saw two people that I work with. It was a popular time, just around lunch time. I got my paperwork and started to fill it out. It was a bit tedious, with old-school “bubbles” to fill in with a number 2 pencil. Then I got to a few yes or no questions. Have I ever had an adverse reaction to a flu shot? No. Am I allergic to eggs? No. Am I allergic to chicken? No. Am I allergic to feathers? Why, yes, yes I am!

When I took my paperwork up to the nurse, she told me that they could not administer my flu shot. She further told me that her company didn’t give flu shots to people with feather allergies. No matter that I’m not allergic to eggs, I eat them daily, or chicken, which I eat a few times a week. No matter that I’ve always been allergic to feathers and never had an adverse reaction to the flu shot. I asked if I could change my answer. She shook her head with a rueful smile and told me, quite sincerely and staring into my eyes, that even though she could not administer the vaccine, I should still get one. So, I drove over to my doctor’s office a couple of miles away and got one there. I didn’t have to fill out any paperwork, although I did have to answer whether or not I was allergic to eggs or chicken. No mention was made of feathers and I kept my mouth shut.

I am still shocked by the weird non-correlation that the company offering the flu shots had between feathers and flu shots. Either they are overly concerned with imaginary liability issues, or they want to limit coverage. Neither makes any sense to me. I looked online for an explanation and found, resoundingly, that feather allergies are not related to egg allergies and therefore should not prevent someone from having a flu shot. From the CDC Website, I found this comment about what to tell the person administering your flu shot:

 If you have any severe, life-threatening allergies. If you ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a dose of flu vaccine, or have a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine, including (for example) an allergy to gelatin, antibiotics, or eggs, you may be advised not to get vaccinated. Most, but not all, types of flu vaccine contain a small amount of egg protein.

Nothing is mentioned of feathers, or even chicken. The wording is also about severe allergies…makes me wonder how many people skip a flu shot, or are denied one, because of minor allergies.

So, I’ve done my part for herd immunity for the year. In addition to protecting myself, I help to protect the immune-compromised individuals in my community. It’s a simple enough thing to do.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and don’t let a few feathers stop you from doing what you set out to do!

The “Mom” Playlist

The day started out like any other lazy Sunday, until the power abruptly went out. It was a calm, sunny day today, so no obvious reason for it to go out. There were storms a couple of days ago that knocked out power in hundreds of thousands of homes, though, so I wasn’t hopeful of a quick fix. I could tell that the neighbors lost power too.

Meanwhile, my daughter was missing one of her middle school friends and asked if I’d drive her to the friend’s to spend the day and then come back and pick her up several hours later. I had no real plans, so I agreed. Her friend lives about a half hour away, it was an hour of my time to take her. She took her iPad with her to charge it, even though it was already 97% charged…she has to have it for school and  isn’t allowed to charge it there.

Back at home, I did something I haven’t indulged much in lately…I read a book. No electricity was required and the sun provided lots of natural light. I was happy that I’d done all of the laundry yesterday, so no worries about the work/school week…surely the power would be back on soon enough. Five hours into it, however, I thought I should call the electric company and find out when the power would be back on. I learned a thing or two. First of all, no one had called in the power outage in my neighborhood…no one. Second, the electric company knew about the outage and its likely cause (a fuse). When the power came on two hours later, I learned a third thing…they didn’t bother with the outage until someone complained.

I got through the book, then it was time to pick up my daughter. I drove out to get her and then stayed for a few minutes to admire the videos the girls had made on their phones. We were about five miles on the way toward home, when my daughter got a text from her friend…she’d left her iPad behind. At this point, my happy nature took a turn for the grumpy. As I found a turnaround and headed back to her friend’s, I complained about how I didn’t like spending all of my free time in the car so that she could enjoy a visit with her friend, and forgetting her iPad meant that I was spending well over two hours all together.

Just then, Neon Lights by Demi Levato came on the radio and I was instantly a bit happier. I smiled and started singing along. Then I got suspicious…I asked her if she had put the song on because she knew I liked it and she said yes. Then, I got annoyed and said I didn’t appreciate being manipulated. She explained to me that she played it because she knew I was upset, not at her, but at the situation, and she wanted me to feel better. That was when I learned that she has a playlist called “Mom”.

There are only three songs on “Mom”. Neon Lights is oneThe second one is Lego House by Ed Sheeren. These two songs I’ve heard many times because my daughter plays them a lot. They are not in any playlist of my own, but if I started a playlist of songs my daughter plays that I like, they’d be on it. The third song turned out to be Build a Bird House In Your Soul by They Might Be Giants. This is a song that I was trying to get her to remember recently. I told her I liked it and my radio station used to play it a lot, but not anymore. She couldn’t recall it, so she downloaded it. Then she remembered it and apparently, with no where else to place it, she put it in the “Mom” playlist.

So, there I am. I’m not sure if I want “mom” to expand and take on more of a true reflection of me, or if I’d rather see how it grows organically. I’m thinking the latter is more interesting.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the knowledge that the journey doesn’t always take you where you plan to go, but a good playlist can make any journey more enjoyable!

Going Back To High School–Parent Night

My younger daughter started high school two and a half weeks ago and it’s time for Parent Night, known in other schools as curriculum night. My other daughter graduated from the same school and I never once made it to Parent Night. I think that when she was a Freshman, I was just clueless and missed it. The next two years, her dad agreed to cover it, but he ended up bailing out due to traffic or some other excuse. Her Senior year I was all set to go when I thought, why? It seemed too late to get in on the plan. But with my youngest, I want to start off doing all the right stuff…so I went.

After a long day of work, I went home and made sure my kids had dinner before leaving for the half-hour trip to my daughter’s school. At Eight Mile (yeah, *that* eight mile), the skies opened up and the rain came crashing down. I continued on. The traffic grew worse, likely the other parents heading to the school through storm and road work. I arrived just in time and hurried to my daughter’s advisor group.

My daughter, in a burst of exuberance (her normal state) had not only printed out a map of her school with hand-written notes about where all her classes were, but had printed maps to get me from each class to the nimageext, expecting much (or little?) of me. In the end, the one, overall, map was all I needed. After all, I am an engineer…map-reading skills kind of come with the territory.

I worked my way through her schedule. She goes to an independent, all-girls, Catholic, college prep school. We had little time between classes and only ten minutes per class. My daughter knows several of her classmates, girls from several spheres of her life, and I *kind of* know their parents. So, as much as I tried to absorb her schedule and get to know her teachers, I was looking around for familiar faces just like a Freshman going to an all new high school.

I started in advisor group. There I learned that the girls have a check-in and check-out point. We waited a bit longer there as the thunderstorms had knocked out a major traffic light and delayed many parents. I looked around at the parents, one smiled and I smiled back. I didn’t know anyone there. When it was time to go to first hour, I checked my map and saw that I had to high-tail it all the way to the other end of the school to the gym. At the gym, I found one of my carpool families. We didn’t know the other woman in our carpool, but mnaged to find her and introduced ourselves. We thanked one another profusely…the carpool is saving our sanity.

For second hour I only had to cross the lobby and find the drama studio. I imagined that my daughter would enjoy her Acting 101 class as she’s done quite a lot of acting over the last several years.  The teacher was enthusiastic, an alumnae of the school, and talked about getting the girls to unzip themselves and step out into a new self. She wants to help them past that awkwardness. I didn’t think my daughter needed that, but later she told me that it is awkward…doing improv and acting exercises is not the same, she tells me, as getting a script and working on a play.

Third hour came fast and this time I had an even longer walk. All the way to the other end of the school and beyond…down a long hallway and down into the basement…way off the map. I was expecting a dreary room, but instead was delighted to find a wall of glass at the back of the room which looked out onto a peaceful wetlands scene. Too bad only the teacher gets to face it. I only had to backtrack halfway through the school to get to my fourth hour class, and was glad fifth hour was right next door. But just as fourth hour ended, an assembly was called and off I went to the auditorium for some pep speeches.

I made it through the rest of the “day” and even saw one of my own friends, one whom I rarely see…just to smile, clutch hands, and then be pulled apart by the parents streaming by. Wow, school is so stressful! Fortunately for me, my daughter is comfortable in this environment. She is thriving and  I couldn’t be happier…despite the  carpool/commute.

Find the Joy in the Journey…Sometimes the Joy is in helping a loved one find the perfect start to her own Journey!


No Time To Be Tired–Time To Train!

I have been struggling to keep myself on track with my training choices. I am signed-up for a half-marathon in mid-October, and although I’ve been running, I haven’t been training or even running on any consistent schedule. Instead, I’ve been focused on how tired I am trying to keep up with my youngest child who just started high school miles from home and work.

Last night, I came home from work, put on my running gear..and ran. Just the 5k circuit through my neighborhood, but enough. I didn’t feel like doing it. I didn’t particularly enjoy it while I was doing it…but, in the end, it was good. As I walked back home, Eye of the Tiger came up on my iPod. As adrenaline rushed through me, I thought of a different tiger, one on a cereal box…yes, I felt GREAT!

Today, I finally looked up the Hal Higdon half-marathon training plan. It’s what I used for my first half…which I extended to three half-marathons last fall. I also used it to train for a half-marathon this spring. But, this last one, I hadn’t bothered to follow any plan…I was too busy. I counted out the weeks until my race, which is on October 19th…five and a half weeks. I looked down at the training plan to see that I should already have built up to eight miles for my weekly long run. This past Saturday, I set out to run six miles, but due to the heat and a poor hydration strategy (strategy: I don’t need to bring water for a run under 8 miles), I ran out of steam after four miles. I did run six miles the prior two weekends, so I’m not completely behind, but I do have some catching up to do.

I also should be running three consecutive days during the week and should have built up to five miles on the second day. So, with a three-mile run under my belt from last night, I set out for a four-mile run tonight. I could feel the stress on my legs by the end, which I take as a good sign. I’m getting prepared for the long run on Saturday. I’ll have to modify the rest of the plan a little so that I can train to the best of my ability by the race. So, I won’t be running any smaller races, I’ll instead progress over the next five weeks to run eight, nine, ten, eleven, and twelve miles for my long runs. If that proves to be too difficult, I’ll train to a maximum of ten miles. Either way it’s a little daunting, but it serves me right for being lazy about my training.

I have time to catch up, I just need to do it. Now that I’m adjusting to my new schedule, it’s starting to get easier. My runs over the last two days have reminded me that I feel better when I run on a regular basis. So, even though tonight I had to squeeze in the run after work, before errands, and before a late dinner, it was worth it.  Now if I can just get back to the gym.

Find the Joy in the Journey…

Exhaustion–Labor Pains, Jet Lag…and Carpool?

Anytime that I have to make a big adjustment in my schedule, I end up exhausted during the change. This applies to starting a new school year, starting a new position at work, and other such big adjustments. This time, however, the change is due to my younger daughter starting high school. All of a sudden, my schedule is shifted. I need to get up an hour early so that I can take my daughter to school. Actually, if I consistently got up an hour earlier, I’d probably be ok by now, but instead, I joined a carpool. Carpool is a lifesaver…well, at least it is a job-saver. From a sleep perspective, I’m all over the map.

As a single, working mom, it’s probably insanity to send my youngest to a school thirty minutes away from home (and job…which is by home). Thing is, I can’t limit her options to something narrower than what I offered her older siblings. I just refuse. I know my circumstances are different, but that’s just who I am. It may take more sacrifice, but, hey, I’m her mom. When her sister went the same high school, I got lucky and found an upper-class woman to drive her to school the first two years. I didn’t have to do a carpool.

So, I’m supposed to be in the middle of my half-marathon training so that I can survive the Detroit International Free Press Half-Marathon in October…ok, I’ve done four other halfs in the last year, but seriously? I trained hard for the first and then ran two more while still at my “peak”…then my work buddies paid my registration for a Spring half to keep me motivated…that required training from scratch…as does this next race. Sigh.

So here I am. I’m dealing with some un-named (sorry!) stressors that should be over within a month and I’m starting this new, carpooling schedule. It’s all relative, it’s all soon to be over, adjusted-for, managed. But in the meanwhile, I…am…so…tired! Running is at the bottom of my list…writing has fallen even more by the wayside. I am distraught at falling behind in so many areas of my life. But, in the meantime, my main focus is getting my youngest to school as she starts high school.

There are other consequences to sending her to a school so far away…her friends are scattered across southest Michigan…and…she…can’t…drive. Sigh. She and a couple of friends want to cheer on a boy they know at his first soccer game…a worknight. His school is even farther away than hers. She wants me to drop everything to get her there. I am looking ahead and cannot see spending all of my evenings getting my child to social events beyond even her own school events.

So, my girl and I have many things to navigate. Partnering with other parents is my new mantra.  I currently have a boomarang child at home…so he is being called in to provide transportation too. I’ll manage. I must.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Overcoming the Odds…Loving Life!

So, I haven’t written much lately, even though my mind is as active as ever with blog ideas. I struggle to decipher what has changed in my life…I am under a lot of stress, the kind that isn’t easily dispersed or even explained. But then I look back to a year ago and, well, I had similar things going on in my life. A year ago, I was lamenting that my hair had been falling out, my nails thinning, my eyelashes non-existent…all signs of stress. Today, my hair is luminous, my nails strong as, well, nails! My eyelashes are back in full-force. So, despite suffering the same or worse stress today than a year ago, my body is telling me that things are going to be ok. So, why am I seemingly unable to manage my life as well as I did when I was under the kind of stress that caused my body to rebel?

A year ago I was publishing my blog every other day. I was heavy into the Hal Higdon Half-Marathon training. I was doing my thing, reading, writing, and running. I was on top of my children’s lives, sending my middle child off to her first year of college, letting go of my oldest to try a year of independence with no guarantees, and supporting my youngest in exploring her world before she started high school.

Looking back, I don’t know how I did it. I don’t know how to “do it” now…But I know that I want to. I want to engage with people who are important to me in my current life and to re-connect with those I’ve lost touch with. I’m willing to reach out with no guarantee of return…to put myself out there. I want to re-connect with lost opportunities. Sometimes I look back, and Facebook is a prime conduit, to people I didn’t know well back in the day. It may seem counter-intuitive, but I shared so many things with the people I grew up with. To me it is not important whether or not we were friends or enemies or just indifferent to one another. What matters now is that we went through the same experiences together.

If you were in my Kindergarten class and remember passing the jar of whole milk around the circle for a half hour until we learned, by experience, that we had made butter. If you were in my first grade class and watched our teacher open an egg every week to share the wonders of chicken growth (now I wonder at the barbarism, but I sure learned a lot). If you were in my fourth grade class where I took home the baby gerbils from the class gerbil couple only to have my cat eat them. If you were in my sixth grade class where I learned absolutely nothing and got straight A’s the quarter I spent at home being ill and then pretending to be ill beyond all reason.

If you were my classmate back then, then maybe you know more about me than I recognize in myself. Maybe I observed some things about you that you lost track of. I don’t know All I know is that I lived a life. I lived it with you. We fought, dirty and fair. We lived, despite our differences. We loved and lost. We did it apart, but together. Like family, you were there…for me or against. Does it matter anymore? Together we have a shared history and today I honor that.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the recognition of the value of friends, classmates…everyone who witnessed our growth.

I Love America–The Band

I do love America…but I’d never seen them in concert. I also love Bread, but I missed the boat on that band…two key members died of cancer shortly after they did their 25 year reunion tour in 1997. As you know, I’m 50…so I was just a child, between 6 and 7, when America hit the airwaves, three American boys with British moms in England…they named themselves America so no one would think a bunch of British kids were pretending to American musical roots. I call their music, and that of Bread and CS&N (or CSNY), American Folk Rock. I love it. I love the stories, the melodies, and the sweet, melodic rock. I love America.

Detroit puts on a series of riverfront rock concerts each summer. Last year, I learned about these concerts at the end of summer with the last of the concerts, America. I wanted to go, but had no one to go with. I thought of taking my kids, but was still intimidated with the endeavor…I have a night-vision problem and when you combine that with taking an unfamiliar path to an unfamiliar place…well, I chickened out. That night there was a huge thunderstorm, and the next day I learned that the concert had been canceled. At least, I thought, I didn’t miss anything.

This year, I looked over the summer concert schedule, but with my younger daughter’s travel basketball and travel softball schedule, I would certainly miss most of the concerts. Additionally, I hadn’t addressed my concerns with driving downtown in the dark by myself. I semi-resigned myself to not going. Then one day, I mentioned it to a friend of mine and she told me she was all in! Not only that, but she offered to drive.

Suddenly, going to the America concert was a reality. In the end, three of us went. Although the concert was free, a restaurant on the riverfront offered an inexpensive buffet with “VIP” seating. We were too late to get reservations, but we did get reservations at the same restaurant “on the patio”. This turned out to be temporary sidewalk seating. They were pleased to let us sit there for hours so that we could enjoy the show.

I learned a lot, to be utilized next summer. Eating on the patio was pleasant, but quite expensive. Next year, we’ll get the buffet tickets (although they are inside). We had access to the restaurant’s restroom…highly desirable compared to the port-a-john alternative. The VIP seats that went with the buffet appeared to be right next to the stage. Truly VIP seats! We also discovered the best parking…validated by the restaurant for a 40% discount and just two quick turns from the highway home.

The concert? It was ideal. America has been playing a hundred concerts a year for 44 years…talk about knowing your stuff! They’ve long passed Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours to mastery. I taped Ventura Highway on my cell phone. The video portion was lackluster, but the audio is great. Two days later, when I woke up after my younger daughter had gone to the One Direction concert with her dad, we traded recordings. She played a selection which featured a lot of screaming girls with a song in the background. I played her my recording and she marveled that it sounded like I was playing the radio.

The best part of the concert was staying until the last encore was over…a luxury I’ve been denied for decades. So, let me leave you with that song, A Horse With No Name. It tossed me back to my youth…ROCK ON!

Find the Joy in the Journey…A journey that never ends!