A to Z Challenge: L is for Learning


Leonardo da Vinci once said learning never exhausts the mind. We’ll see about that.

For the A to Z Challenge today, L is for Learning. My friend Kelly at Just Typikel blog challenged me with the Mustache You Some Questions blogging game.

It came in handy as the letter L made its pass through in the A to Z Challenge orbit.

You’re about to learn more about me than recommended by the Surgeon General. Thank Kelly!


Juan Pablo Montoya, Daddy, Coach and !@#$%!. I even wrote a post about it.

photo credit: jing.dong via photopin cc
photo credit: jing.dong via photopin cc


I’ve mongered fish and written obituaries. I’ve been a grocery stocker and low-man on a two-man totem pole at an afternoon newspaper. Guess what?

I blogged about these jobs, too, on Tamara (Like) Camera.


photo credit: Just Wall•E via photopin (license)

THE SANDLOT | Ever want to know what it’s like to be a boy? This movie is it.

WALL-E | The greatest love story of them all.

FIELD OF DREAMS | Way cool to see all those players on the field at once, especially Archibald “Moonlight” Graham, a North Carolina native.

Playing catch with your dad, though?

Can’t beat that.

STAR WARS | The original. Not the one with extra scenes, not any of the new movies, and definitely not anything Disney has its paws on. I used to recite Greedo’s speech in the cantina, in impeccable Quechua.


sun also risesI wrote about three for Diary of a Word Nerd. I’ll add a fourth.

SUN ALSO RISES, ERNEST HEMINGWAY | This book comes with me on every trip I take. Every time I read it, it tells me something new.

THEY CALL ME COACH, JOHN WOODEN | His influence on me as a coach and as a man will stay with me so long as I call myself a coach – and dad.

CALL OF THE WILD, JACK LONDON | Harsh reality, love, and loyalty – I learned these lessons in the first big-kid book I ever read (no pictures, no choose-your-own-adventure ending).

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST, KEN KESSEY | The chief’s strong silence left an impression. I loved it more than the movie. And the movie was good.


photo credit: _MG_4637 via photopin (license)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. | Elise’s birthplace. It’s an eccentric, colorful city, where hippies and old-guard rich white folk live in harmony. I miss the sound and sights of thunderstorms approaching from a valley away at night.

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. | I felt more at home in the Florida Panhandle than anywhere on earth. A quick trip from Alligator Point, and home to incredible Cubano sandwiches.

GREENSBORO, N.C. | Marie’s birthplace. I moved here to be closer to dad as he battled leukemia at Duke Hospital. The crew at the News & Record showed me a love I’ve not known in another workplace.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. | Grace’s birthplace. I worked hard to return to Charlotte after college, although the newspaper gig didn’t work out. This place has barbecue joints, disc golf, and my heart belongs here.


photo credit: Hotel Sivory - Punta Cana via photopin (license)
photo credit: Hotel Sivory – Punta Cana via photopin (license)

PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC | My favorite work trip destination. I felt a world away. Constellations were in different places in the sky. Then there was the UFO sighting.

RED FEATHER, COLO. | Dad took my sister and me there to cut firewood. It felt like it was on top of the world. No radio signal. No grocery stores. Stellar jays ate bread right off our palms.

GETTYSBURG, PENN. | Dripping with unsettled spirits – over even Savannah and Charleston, which have known their share of misery. We stayed in a hotel next to a battlefield and didn’t feel alone!

MYSELF | I want to spend more time there. You’d think such a central location would be easy to reach. It is not. I’m determined to find my way back.


photo credit: cheesy cheese grits! via photopin (license)
photo credit: cheesy cheese grits! via photopin (license)

GRITS | My heart might reside in the south, but I’m a Colorado boy.

VEAL | I’m all carnivore, but this just seems like a lousy idea.

MENUDO | It’s the stew of my people, but we’ve moved past that, haven’t we?

TOFU | Just, no. There’s no circumstance in which this would be a great idea.



PIZZA | So much discourse on the Lord’s Friday Meal of Choice. All hail.

CHEESEBURGERS | A burger with no cheese is like a 70s party without Earth, Wind, and Fire.

ENCHILADAS | Cheese, please. I’ll even order them in Spanish – tres enchiladas de queso. Arriba!

SANDWICH COOKIES | Doesn’t even have to be Oreo.

I love the ones half white, half dark.

Like my kids.


MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE | Would life with three boys look like this?

M*A*S*H* | When we were kids, the M*A*S*H* theme signaled we’d pulled the wool over the parents’ eyes and stayed up until 11. That was even after the news! I still love the show, and Radar O’Reilly is one of my favorite philosophers.

LEAVE IT TO BEAVER | What? Beaver Cleaver is another of my favorite philosophers.

GHOST ADVENTURERS | It takes cojones to sit in a ghost-riddled building in the pitch dark with digital recorders and shit-talk the spirits into speaking up.



Watching a few more weeks of my girls’ games

Playing hooky from work to watch some day baseball, with a hot dog and a scorecard

Developing stories with Grace for our book

Very wow hopes and dreams


WHERE’S SHE GOING WITH IT? | Mostly on the soccer field, when the other team has a goal kick, but it comes in handy in everyday life too.

GREAT GAME, LOVEY. GREAT GAME | After every outing. Complete with a kiss on their salty foreheads.

IT’S GETTING LATE AWFULLY EARLY! | I said this often on deadline in the sports department, but it also applies to late-game situations when the other side has more points than us.

WHAT? | I sometimes have a hard time hearing what you’ve said. And sometimes, I just want to hear it again, that’s all.




  1. roweeee says:

    Eli, your L for learning goes with my L for Life Lessons and in particular: Life Lessons for My Kids. I have learned so much on the A-Z challenge and am currently exploring The Galapagos Islands and Africa. Hard work but also great fun!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It would be cool to put together a bunch of the letters for the challenge in one spot. I’ve found new blogs to read and learned about stuff I’d never have found without this challenge.

      The Galapagos Islands sound cool. The best things in life take a little work, don’t they? But it’s worth it.

      1. roweeee says:

        Ditto, Eli. You’re right about the hard work. It certainly pays off.
        I’ve had trouble with finding WordPress blogs but Ronovan told me to search the tags. Haven’t tried it yet but intent to.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Have you visited five blogs a day for the challenge? I’ve been close to that – missed a few one day.

        It’s slowed down my visits to blogs I know but it’s cool to see new pages too.

      3. roweeee says:

        I’m a bit inconsistent. I tend to read a couple of days in a row per blog. I found a blog I liked about Africa the other day and I read all the posts up to about N in one night. It is hard to keep up but I’m trying.

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        The world should stop every day for 90 minutes so we can just read blogs and eat cookies.

      5. roweeee says:

        Love it. I need that with the A-Z Challenge. Caught up on a few today. It is a pleasant struggle, isn’t it!!

      6. Eli Pacheco says:

        It is! I just wish I had more time to read more blogs … including more of yours.

      7. roweeee says:

        Me too. I hope to take in a few more next week when we’re home from holidays and school goes back. That said, I have a lot waiting for me!!

      8. Eli Pacheco says:

        I do too – and it seems like new hits from the challenge link have dried up in the past several days.

      9. roweeee says:

        I haven’t gone back to the challenge link site ebcause all the blogs I went to were with blogger and I couldn’t find WordPress ones and I’m looking at building ongoing links…not one offs. I also have bloggers I know well participating so I want to read theirs every day too. I’ve received about 10 new followers lately.

      10. Eli Pacheco says:

        That’s not bad! I found one that I couldn’t open at work. Actually, maybe two.

      11. roweeee says:

        My blog is slowly gaining momentum. No doubt if I just posted photos, kept it brief or wrote about pop culture, I’d do better but it’s important for me to be authentic and I actually prefer to read a story.

      12. Eli Pacheco says:

        Slowly is the way to go. If a blog isn’t authentically the writer, why bother?

  2. 1jaded1 says:

    Love this…and it goes without saying…pizza! :0).

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Me listing pizza as a favorite food was the biggest foregone conclusion since Hillary’s thing Sunday.

  3. brittabottle says:

    Tofu is definitely an acquired taste. I don’t mind it, but it’s not my first choice of food. 🙂
    Also, Leave it to Beaver is one of my favorites. I used to watch reruns of it on TV Land at my grandparent’s house going up. One time in class, one of my professors asked if anyone had heard of the show before and I’m pretty sure I was the only person that raised their hand. These twenty-first century kids are missing out!
    Great post, too. I enjoyed the read.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I can’t think of a thing I’d trade to acquire it though, Britta. Not even my warped glasses or drawer full of pants that don’t fit me.

      I love it and I’m not surprised you watch the Beav! They might not have had laptops or smartphones or hell, even a TV, but the Cleavers were awesome.

      I used to think Beaver’s teacher was the dreamiest, too.

      Thanks Britta!

      1. brittabottle says:

        You’re most welcome!
        Gosh, now I want to go binge watch Leave it to Beaver for a good few hours. If only it were on Netflix. 🙂

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        It is on Netflix, though! That’s how I binge.

      3. brittabottle says:

        Well, shows you how often I go on Netflix. 🙂 I’ll have to do that one of these days!

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        A Leave It To Beaver marathon seems like a great idea.

  4. I am still stuck on Menudo and totally need things to be repeated at times, too!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Menudo just smells awful – I understand back in the day tripe and bits were all we got from The Man to cook with, but we’ve come a long way, baby!

  5. Lyn says:

    You won’t eat tofu or gritts but you’ll eat tripe? Ewwww to all three! I’m with you when it comes to Beaver and M.A.S.H. As a matter of fact, M.A.S.H. is still on TV over here. There are so many wonderful lines to remember. Margaret: “Just a minute, isn’t that Frank’s bag? ” Trapper: “I thought you were Frank’s bag, Margaret.” and you can’t forget “Frank Burns eats worms” or “You tell em ferret face” 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      No no … no tripe. I’d sooner eat grits. The writing in each of those shows puts today’s shows to shame. I’m not even just bashing Disney Channel, but have you tried to sit through an episode of “Tow and a Half Men?”

      I could feel my brain cells fizzling out.

      I love when Colonel Potter asked Klinger, who was going a Potter impersonation, “You all right? You sound like a donkey in heat?”

      Or this:
      Father Mulcahy: “Klinger, I thought you were an atheist.”
      Max: “I gave that up for Lent.”

      1. Lyn says:

        Watch “Two and a Half Men?” Ugh! No thanks, I’d rather go to the dentist.
        LOL or that episode where the bomb lands near the hospital and they’re all waiting for it to explode… “We may need to evacuate.” Hawkeye: “I think I just did.” or…
        Frank (into walkie-talkie): Attention all Allied personnel: There are only about half a dozen stars visible, sky-wise: I am directly under the brightest one.
        Hawkeye: Very good, Frank.
        BJ: They’ll start looking for us in Bethlehem.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Mindless drivel, that show. But Rose (played by Melanie Lynskey) was kind of appealing on a base level.

        I could do this all day, Lyn.

        “My lips are made by strativarious.” Remember that one?

      3. Lyn says:

        You want to go on a MASH quote binge, try this… http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/M*A*S*H_%28TV_series%29

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        I nearly got lost in that fabulous rabbit hole …

  6. Rhonda Albom says:

    Amazing how little we have in common, except I don’t eat three of those foods either (I eat tofu). As for books, Call of the Wild is fantastic, but probably wouldn’t have made my top 4. Great post, it was fun to learn so much about you.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      so we could have lunch then and discuss our differences. Thanks Rhonda!

  7. laurie27wsmith says:

    Well there’s a whole new side to you that I’ve discovered Mate. A great read, well worth the look.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I have so many sides, mate, and those sides have layers. I’m like an onion.

  8. Tamara says:

    Grace is writing a book? How cool is that? Proud Writer Daddy 🙂

    Tell us more about that place “myself” and why you feel you have gone astray?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It was a wonderful suggestion from someone who loves us both. Grace started right away but her iPod broke, and she lost everything she’d worked on.

      I just think life and circumstance blows us off the course of ourselves sometimes. You just have to find a way back.

  9. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Is “!@#$%!” Q*bert-speak?

    Bless you for knowing Greedo’s speech and language 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Yes! With that disturbing clunk when he falls off the grid.

      My sister and I knew Greedo’s last stand by heart. Thank you HBO reruns.

  10. Rea says:

    Ahhh PIZZA! Of course! I can eat it all day, all week! No questions asked. LOL.
    Dominican Republic sounds like an interesting place. I’ve always been curious about it.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Ever had breakfast pizza? It marked a turning point in my life.

      DR was incredible. It felt a world away. I missed American food, though.

  11. Kim says:

    OH, The Sandlot – one of the best movies ever!!!
    I’m with you on the favorite foods except sandwich cookies. And no tofu ever thanks!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Sandlot is right up there, Kim. I feel like I lived it a little! Ginger snaps and jelly beans were in contention, too. Never ever was tofu. Like, ever.

  12. Ginny Marie says:

    We bought The Sandlot for the kids in California when we discovered our rental car had a DVD player. It’s a great movie! And I laughed out loud–literally–about pizza being the Lord’s Friday meal of choice! So true!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Pretty sure the Lord’s Friday meal is in the bible. If not in Leviticus, then in Delicicus.

      I was probably more like the narrator of the story but I wish I was more like Squints.

  13. ksbeth says:

    i love your 4-packs, eli. funny, i have always considered 4 to be my lucky number, once it was me and my 3 girls )

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      thanks beth. it was all kelly mckenzie’s idea. 4 was a former crush’s number in volleyball, but for me, multiples of 3 are luckiest.

  14. tamaralikecamera says:

    I would never eat veal. I did once because I didn’t know any better and it was terrible anyway.
    I love The Sandlot. I was just thinking today about the first and only time I saw Field of Dreams. It was certainly an interesting experience. No one died during it, but it came close.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I ate it once, too. Never again. Whose idea was that, anyway?

      The Sandlot is classic. It encapsulates what it means to be a boy. What happened with Field of Dreams? Want to talk about it?

      1. tamaralikecamera says:

        Yes. I did love the movie!

  15. mocadeaux says:

    Although I love lots of gooey cheese on my Friday night pizza and on my enchiladas, I just can’t get behind the concept of a cheeseburger. I take mine with lettuce, tomato, ketchup and mustard. Hold the cheese, please!
    Good luck finding your way back to yourself. When you do, could you please write a post about it and let me know how to do it?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Huh. It must be like me ordering onion rings with a burger, but hold the onions on the burger. (Then I put the onion rings on the burger.)

      I hope when I find myself I still have the password to my blog!

  16. reocochran says:

    Eli, have to agree with your list of foods I don’t wish to eat again. Have tried them, no thanks! I took a brief tour of your ABC’s and have a play date calling me away into the 77 degree weather soon! Had a 3 mile hike with my youngest daughter before buckling down in the library for a ‘fast ride’ of blogging. Will try to play more ‘catch up,’ next time!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Once is enough, right? There are some things I don’t even need to try once. It was a gorgeous day here too – the younger girls and I went fishing.

      I’ll save your spot! I need to get back to your place, too.

  17. Rorybore says:

    I can’t wait for my son to read Call of the Wild! My daughter has just stated Anne of Green Gables — naturally that’s a big one up here. And hopefully they will move on to Hemingway when they are older. I am not the best influence sometimes — since I came home with 3 comic books today. oopps. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      My kids’ school doesn’t assign the same books mine did. I wish it did. I never read Anne of Green Gables, though.

      I wonder what my girls will think of Hemingway. And I’ve always believed that comic books are reading, too. It’s words, a story, and some imagination.

      Who knows how many people have Marvel and Chaucer on the same shelf.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.