adventure

Sin City

I took a trip to sin city with my mom recently. It was a trip for the memory books for sure. Seeing the city and how it’s changed through her eyes was amazing. I can’t include all the highlights as there were too many but I can jot down a few of my favorites. The photo below looks like a postcard. However it’s just a shot from the parking lot we parked in on our first night. 

Let’s start with what’s that smell? From the constant aroma of marijuana in the streets to what seemed like raw sewage seeping through the ground at times on the strip. Then there was the clouds of smoke that casted smells of cigars or cigarettes of all kinds when moving throughout the casinos. I even think she noted the smell of burnt toast each morning going to our condo elevator. However there was a pleasing scent of gingerbread and pine needles in the Bellagio hotel while immersed in their holiday display. Clever use of the HVAC system I’d assume. Too bad the nice smells can’t overpower the gross ones. Oh, the smells that created giggles galore.

We took a trip to old Vegas or Fremont Street which had changed so much since her last visit. This area was revitalized. She was mesmerized with the laser show above her head set to today’s hit music. See photo below. In a corner she also enjoyed a DJ playing upbeat music while dancing and entertaining the crowd with her fancy hula hoop moves. 

Of course there were other sights she wasn’t as fond of, like the barely-dressed young girls dressed with feather plumes bearing their butt cheeks. Some had whips but all were looking for men she said. To hear her recount this was hilarious. She also saw the rougher side of life gone bad. The homelessness of the city. From those asking for money when you left a restaurant to those sleeping in the streets with signs looking for beer money. Very sad to see. I would drift off thinking about what got each person into the state of homelessness.

There is another side to sin city many may not ever visit. Maybe it’s a short car ride to see Seven Magic Mountains. Maybe it’s a unique visit to the Container Park. For this blog I will talk about the day we took a trip to Valley of Fire State Park. The history and experience was impressive. The rock formations were amazing. The colors of the rocks tied in so well with the sky. Pictures are great memories but somehow don’t do the experience justice. We also got a glimpse of some cool wildlife as an added bonus. 

Taking the scenic route always adds value to any trip. The photo ops. The time together. The soaking in of all nature has to offer. These are the priceless moments.
We can’t end this post without a good damn story. Thus we close with the damn experience. The Hoover Dam that is. A short drive from Vegas. You will start in Nevada but end up in Arizona after a short walk. A great little way to say you visited both states. The walking bridge was a hit for us this trip as it was constructed after my mom visited many years ago. She had a new viewpoint. A new experience. It was fun to hear her reminisce on what it looked like before for travelers. For one there wasn’t a security checkpoint similar to the airport or military installation. That was the first wow moment upon arrival. Nonetheless the beauty of the area didn’t disappoint.

Signing off from sin city.

challenges, perspective

A Life Cut Short

Recently, someone in my daughter’s close friend group experienced a great loss. A tragic accident. A death, completely unexpected. Not his fault. A shock out of the blue.

I had met this young man a couple of times. I have photos of him, since he was in the group for my daughter’s high school dances. I had been introduced to him once. Still, such a sudden loss makes every parent in the community shudder.

My kids laugh at them when I tell them to be safe. Don’t drink (and if you do, don’t drive). Don’t do drugs. Stay alert. Make good choices. Check in when you get there. Leave early. Slow down. Assume everyone else is drunk or not paying attention. This young man probably followed every single one of these rules and still, he is gone.

In most cases, you may not know the last words you’ll say to a person. A loved one. A friend. Every time they leave you, every time you hang up, every time you text it could be the last time. Stop and think of the people who mean the most to you. How have you left it with them? Yes, right now. Today. Sure, saying “I love you” to a friend all the time may seem foolish. Maybe you just aren’t that way. But how can you leave things so that you’d be content with those being your last words with them? Think about it. Do they know how you feel? Do they know what they mean to you?

Memento Mori. One of the tenets of stoicism. Remember your death. To some this might seem morbid. Too heavy. Honestly, it is useful for me. It means pay attention to what matters. Keep your shit in order. Don’t drown in the trifling details. Don’t waste time on petty arguments or people who are just not meant for you. Invest in what is meaningful. All you have is now. Don’t waste it.

I watched the beautiful slide show for this 20 year old young man. I saw his smiles. His family vacations. Trips to the university his family loved. The dinners with friends. The light in his eyes when he looked at my daughter’s friend. I wept for him and what everyone who loved him lost. All the dreams that would go unfulfilled. The awful anniversaries that would come over and over and over again. I wept for the life cut short.

Do the important things now. Make a list. Start checking it off. Do them with the people who matter to you. Time is ticking and we don’t get it back. Not fun to think about. But let that motivate you to embrace life NOW. Not next year. Not when you have more time. NOW. Live big. Love well. Embrace life.

Now.

challenges

Decisions, Decisions

This year end has me faced with many decisions. Many things I really don’t want to deal with but have to because I’m a responsible adult.

Decision one involves updating the will and other legal documents for the family. I’m pretty sure this was on a to-do list before the pandemic so scratching it off the list is a good accomplishment. However the process of it is still a bit morbid as you are planning for what happens after you are gone and I’m not really ready to go anywhere so to speak. Just all around blah but a necessary step.

Round two gets more complicated. Of course anything involving people can be messy. Add negative environmental conditions and the plot thickens. I need to define my parameters for supporting a person rebuilding their life. I know what I should do but then emotions come in to play. I also can’t ignore the background noise of those who cast opinions on me.  It’s almost seems like I’m doomed no matter which path or decision I make on this one which is probably why I don’t want to deal with it! I also want to not look like an ATM machine while feeling like a doormat.

Next up is the birthday bash plan. Do I stay local? Do go regionally? Do I head off into the sunset for a grand adventure? I’ve been on the road a lot making travel seem meh at best but it’s a milestone birthday which has me leaning towards go big. Decisions. Decisions. I have just a short window to decide and I don’t want to rush my thoughts on this one. 

I also have many little decisions to make as well. Each decision is small in size yet intertwined with other little tidbits of life magnifying the complexity of the choice. My head is like a flowchart, decision tree, or maze thinking about the impact of each decision. I know I’m not alone in this arena but decisions are on my mind thus I wrote about the topic.

Hoping you had a great holiday season no matter how you chose to celebrate. Keeping it real in 2022 on this blog.

challenges

Just Show Up

Life is hard, lifey, challenging, et cetera.

We all know this. We are in it.

Right now, what keeps coming up for me is one small thing:

Just show up.

The first step on the path to success is just showing up.

When a friend calls, overwhelmed with life, just show up.

When you need to get to the gym to start your day the right way, just show up.

When there’s an issue at work that needs addressing, just show up.

When you’re not sure what to do, just show up.

If you’re as exhausted as many of us are, it can be so tempting just to hide away from problems, tasks, anything that needs to be done. Life is too much. Why bother? Nothing matters. Do you ever feel that way?

Still, in the face of it all, here’s the challenge: show up. Does showing up solve the world’s problems, or even my own? No…but it does set me on the road to solutions. If you don’t show up, things can’t happen. If you don’t show up, progress doesn’t get made. If you don’t show up, you lose the chance to be good, to be great, to even contribute.

How I show up is a matter for another post. Today, start by just showing up. Do what you need to do. Get there.

inspire

Recent Spark

I had a recent spark in creativity. Oddly enough it appeared during the chaos of life. On the day many would feel defeated I felt energized. Somehow I channeled the negative around me into positive production. Almost like stepping in a bucket of shit but coming out smelling like roses. A funny statement a sibling says to me often. I accepted the sign of creativity and began setting the groundwork for my next purpose project.

The ball is in motion. The creative juices are flowing. The map is outlined. Resources are allocated. Sometimes amidst the crazy there is a calm. It might be hidden like a diamond in the rough, but it’s there. You must awaken all senses to see the hope. The dream. The vision. It may take some time to find it but it’s there. Let the excitement build as the journey is beginning to unfold.

Over the years I have come to realize I enjoy the creative outlet. The rare find. The golden nugget of sorts that nobody seems to care about but me. The building of something, somebody, of substance. The validation point. After all the steps of the process there is a natural handoff. When no more visionary work is needed, I am on to the next big thing. It’s how my mind works and it’s what fuels my soul.

I usually have partners or find great like-minded individuals to share in my purpose work. The power of numbers. The magnifying of resources. The value of human capital and mind sharing should never be underestimated.

Much like growing a garden or nurturing flowers from seeds, life is about growth. Sometimes it’s your growth that is visualized. Other times is the growth of those around you. Whichever is natural at the time, I always celebrate growth.

For today I am celebrating the start. A new beginning. A fresh outlook on the undiscovered or rediscovered. An outlook for somebody in need. A chance. A chance for success. A chance for failure. Either option allows for growth. The growth is the goal of the project for the many involved.

Some may leap at the chance to partake while others may say no not today. A choice. An option. Solution to one. Hard work for many. Signing off today from creative land.