What We’d Do with a Day at Home, in 6 Words

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photo credit: Reiterlied Dewback Kiss via photopin (license)

I was thisclose.

6 words graphicI had it all mapped out for today. Ferris Bueller-esque. Minus the crumpled sports car and parade-float karaoke. Today, Nov. 30, is Stay Home Because You’re Well Day. Disc golf and a library trip would’ve filled mine. So, too, frozen pizza and Elizabeth Banks.

Elizabeth Banks movies, anyway.

Then I got the email notification, at 8:10 p.m.: A 10:30 a.m. work meeting. Required. Holy hell. Oh well. I can still get in a round of disc golf,  toss a Totino’s pizza in the oven, and Liz will wait for me. Right?

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How This Latino Thing Has Become an American Thing

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EJP

Sometimes, my Latino shows up in droves.

I felt all Brown Power after a weekend spent doing things a Latino guy should know how to do: Extracting a headlight casing from a junkyard Pontiac, and, less than 24 hours later, planting a magnolia tree. Dang, I told a friend. I feel Hispanic.

She cringed. You’re not supposed to say that! she hissed, apologetically.

We set up these months to recognize those things unique and beautiful about a culture. But the mention of them – skills proudly associated with my people, mechanically and horticulturally – is perceived by some non-minority as a slap in the face to the minority.

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#GirlsRock: An Interview with Crossfit Trainer Dana Mather

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photo credit: kurt.stocker stormtoopers via photopin (license)

In all of the uniform fitting nights for all of the soccer clubs in America … she walked into the uniform fitting for the soccer club I’d been coaching for.

cd-interviewsShe’s Dana Mather, Crossfit trainer. That night, though, she was Dana Mather, matchmaker. As her sons tried on the club’s new kits, we talked soccer. Pay attention, and you can learn volumes about someone in a single, initial conversation.

My impression of Dana: Optimistic, energetic, in all the way in all she did.

Dana carries a quiet confidence that falls short of swagger, mostly because of her humility. A mom, wife, and athlete, Dana surprised me by asking lots of questions about my own coaching. That night, my coaching future was uncertain.

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Tooting Our Own Horns, in 6 Words

You don't have to be a star, baby, to be in my show. (Snowtrooper jubilation at Mill Mountain Park, Roanoke, Va.
You don’t have to be a star, baby, to be in my show. (Snowtrooper jubilation at Mill Mountain Park, Roanoke, Va.

Sometimes, you just have to represent.

6 words graphicYourself, that is. None of this ‘aw shucks’ stuff. No, “no one reads my blog. I just mess around with words” business. It’s not usual fare for a blogger to boast (or is it?), so this month’s challenge proved … challenging to most.

I compile a post called 6 Words. Ernest Hemingway inspired it when he said any story can be told in six words. I ask bloggers, friends, strangers, and a few strange blogger friends to respond to a prompt every month.

October is National Self-Promotion Month. In six words, tell us something good about your blog. 

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Time to Take a Stand on this whole Kneel Down Thing

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Taking a stand on a gorgeous fall day in a Roanoke park.

Dear Mr. Kaepernick,

First, I’m a little late to this party, I admit. If you could see my inbox, you’d understand. I also could use a haircut. But who am I telling? This letter, though, has little to do with my hair and unanswered emails.

It has everything to do with the movement you’ve begun, by kneeling during the National Anthem before kickoff.

I happen to be a minority here in the USA. I’m the people you’re doing this for. First, I kind of appreciate that, Colin. There’s lots of hashtags out there for minorities, but generally, the ones for my people mostly have to do with #CincoDeMayo.

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How to Win (Even if You Haven’t Actually Showered)

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A snowtrooper, on a coin-operated iron binocular, atop Mill Mountain in Roanoke, Va.

I sat, at a crossroads.

An uncomfortable, unshowered, unshaven, ball-cap-covered crossroads. In the middle of a conference room, at work, among the showered, shaven, and non-ball-cap covered. Smart, pretty people.

Important words, by important people, were being said about a project my team poured tons of work into.

Should I stand, and speak, risking the scrutiny of colleagues – some of whom I promised I’d even wear a dress shirt to this meeting – and possibly the question of “did Eli sleep on a park bench last night?”

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Where We’d Go and What We’d Do, in 6 Words

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photo credit: DocChewbacca #26 Let’s go surfing II via photopin (license)

Passport awareness to me means knowing where the dreaded thing is.

GAD GRAPHICIt’s a viable fear, losing my passport in another country. Not that I jet-set. Were it not for Red Ventures’ annual company trip, the extent of my worldly travel could be summed up in a drive down Charlotte’s Central Avenue, with its Mexican bakeries and Mediterranean restaurants.

I compile a monthly post called “6 Words.”

Ernest Hemingway inspired it when he said any story can be told in six words. I ask bloggers, friends, strangers, and a few strange blogger friends to respond to a prompt. September was National Passport Awareness Month.

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The Challenge of Blogging Now (Even When You Don’t Blog)

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photo credit: valiant aja First Order Stormtrooper via photopin (license)

Blogging happens even when I don’t blog.

Take the week that was. I met deadlines and commitments. I found myself at midnight, ready to write and read, yet short on midnight oil. One can’t burn what one doesn’t have. Off to sleep. The writing mind kept sentinel, though, when my waking mind could not.

Strife swirled all around.

My city caught fire. Fellow citizens rose up and spoke out. Those of us who didn’t, wanted to. We felt, perhaps, shame in our voice. Undeserved shame. All voices warrant value. I held words in and wore my Broncos cap and saw connections between strife and tension.

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Go Ask Daddy About Spicy Commercials, Reserved Parking and the Home of the Demon Deacs

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I think I remember you from my teenage years …

Long before Kesha and Jennifer Lawrence, way back on the timeline before Ingrid Michaelson and Laura Linney, in a time Hope Solo, Sue Bird and Paula Creamer were just youth-league cuties … there was the MCI girl.

GAD GRAPHICGuys, this is Jean Louisa Kelly.

Her cute but creepy ad for the soon-defunct MCI became all sortsa Dream Weaver for me.  She resurfaced in Mr. Holland’s Opus, as star-dreaming Rowena Morgan in 1995. In 2000, you could see her in Yes, Dear, married to a dude even dweebier than yours truly.

I thought she’d disappeared after that feeble TV show.

Then I watched 1,000 to 1: The Cory Weissman Story. I resisted, invoking my “No Movies That Star Kids From Disney Shows” clause. But … Cory’s mom looked, so sweetly familiar. The curls were now straight; her lipstick less pow than fire-engine red.

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15 Amazing (and Simple) Things For a Happy Life

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Happiness glows from within one. Or from directly behind one.

Oy, happiness.

It’s there. We must practice patience. It’s like a Taco Bell burrito. Sometimes, they’re made incorrectly. All the cheese or sauce or sauce and cheese get tucked into the final fifth of the burrito. One must endure dry beans for a while, but eventually you’ll get the cheese.

Or the sauce or sauce and cheese.

Laura writes the blog Riddle from the Middle. It’s real life, as she says, with a side of snark. She’s a lover of family, words, and music, and really, with proper snacks, isn’t that what we all love? She writes a thoughtful, enlightening blog I hope you’ll check out.

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