#AtoZChallenge: U is for Unconventional Loves

stormtroopers four.jpg

I’d wanted to write, during this A to Z Challenge, about my girls’ stuffed animals.

UAll three have one that has meant something to them over the years. Haven’t we all? I had a stuffed dog I found in a park when I was a boy. I named him … boy. I loved him until he fell apart.

One of my girls loved a German Shepherd, so big she could use him as a pillow.

Another slept with a bear named Daddy. I last saw him tucked behind her headboard. Unceremoniously. A third girl kept a rasta monkey I won her at her bedside. I scrapped the idea, although to read the first four paragraphs here, you wouldn’t know it, right?

Instead, I’ll talk about unconventional loves.

We all have them. Maybe these animals – the bear, the German Shepherd, the rasta monkey – could be deemed unconventional loves. Just because my girls are such fierce girls today.

10 unconventional things I love

1. Kesha

photo credit: 600full-katy-perry_1 via photopin (license)

I nearly gave her up after it was reported she drank pee on a reality show. But I love her brand of brilliance. And I’m not even sure she really did do it. For as much as I love Diana Krall and Norah Jones, Kesha remains my unconventional musical love.

2. Email

In an age when texting and Snapchatting became the norm, I prefer old longhand. Well, longhand in the digital age. There’s something to be said for an email exchange. It feels more personal. Also, I have a bigger keyboard to work with than texting.

3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

teenage mutant ninja turtles
photo credit: JD Hancock Mutant Turtles Unite! via photopin (license)

See, they came into vogue long after my childhood. But, I still took to them. Maybe it was their artist’s names – Donatello, Leonardo, Michaelangelo, and Raphael – or their love of pizza. They became my unofficial posse.

4. Kim Possible

kim possible

Again, just an era outside my youth. Kim Possible represented all the coolness I wanted my daughters to have – long before I ever became a dad. Maybe she just showed up before her time. I love her, though.

5. Stormtroopers


My father one year came late to my birthday party because he had to work late. He brought me two Star Wars figures: Han Solo and a Stormtrooper. He’d taken the figures out of the packages and put the guns in their hands.

The best memory of that birthday was the thought of my dad fumbling around in his truck to do this. Stormtroopers here are in tribute to him.

6. Late nights AND early mornings

I work best when everyone goes to bed, up until and sometimes past midnight.I fall asleep often as I write, as a price to pay for that. I also love the early mornings, that 6 a.m. hour before everyone gets up. It’s when I write best, those two times.

7. Random generators

I wrote my first small fiction piece with the help of random generators, from personality types to names to places. I used them to formulate the premise for my next fiction endeavor, about a woman who strengthens her Christian faith through Buddhism.

8. My girls’ scraps


No, not pizza crusts, although those … those should get a spot on this list. Drawings the make, and discard. Clay figures. Craft projects that went awry. I keep them when I can. To me, they’re precious.

9. My Pontiac

car damage

She’s got lots of miles, chipped paint, and becomes petulant when I ask her to gear up to second on a cold morning. My mechanic says she’ll be good for another 75,000 miles if I take care of her. I will do all I can. I love that car.

10. Long commutes

I once used them to think. I then spent the time learning about the world on NPR. Then, the world, at least as the media fed it to me, lost my interest. Now, it’s filled with audio books or, even better, conversations with my daughters.

11. Meat-free Mexican food


When I go to restaurants, I’d prefer cheese enchiladas, with rice and beans, and a flour tortilla or two. I am a proud carnivore, but when it comes to my people’s food, I prefer the tastes of avocado, mole, cheese, beans, and rice. Delicious.

12. Solitude

solitude me

I love to coach, I love to converse with writers and my daughters. I love my family. I also love being away from it all, on a disc golf course, on a long ride, in moments of meditative reflection.

13. Myself. Just a little


I’ve come a long way. I’ve a long way to go. I find love and beauty in so many things, the least of which is myself. I’ve found grace in quiet moments, but still feel deep-rooted angst and discord. Gravity sometimes works against me.

I want for better. I want for happiness and peace. I want for knowing. I want for forgiveness, and forgiving. I notice the absence of these things at times. I hope that those of you whom I love will know that I do, always.

In an unconventional sort of way.

The rest of the A to Z to this point:

A is for Addiction to Devices

B is for Burgers (3 Lessons I learned During a Month Without Them) Plus 3 Random Smartphone Pics

C is for Interview with a Cat

D is for Do What I Do and Eat What I Eat

E is for Eight Things I’ve Left Behind

F is for  Foods That Bring Me Comfort

G is for #GirlsRock: An Interview Mental Health Care Advocate Kitt O’Malley

H is for Halfway There

I is for Ice Cream

J is for Justification for the Blog Life

K is for 7 Women I’d Sing Karaoke With

L is for Last 3 Blogs I Read (and Why You Should, Too)

M is for Men I Forgot to Be

N is for the New Plan

O is for One Day From Payday Spicy Chicken Skillet

P is for Too Many Projects, Not Enough Time (a Guest Post from Kathy of The Second Half of My Life)

Q is for Quote Challenge

R is for Blogger Recognition

S is for Six Words

T is for Teenagers

unconventional love quote



    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Neel! Good to see you brother.

  1. hilarymb says:

    Hi Eli – a good selection there … many pass me by … but good food, fresh and tasty … a stuffed toy – I had a doll .. but she was hard and I guess somewhere along the line bit the dust so to speak … my mother in her latter years was besotted with Hardwick a very aged wire-haired fox terrier … that was so real – people asked if I could take him out of the hospital! In fact he happily sat with my mother … and now I’m rather fond of him .. and want to write his stories one day … he pops up occasionally on the blog – Hardwick’s nose is the best one …

    Wonderful to see the happy family time you have with your wife, your daughters and yourself – just being you … that’s what leading and coaching is all about … listening and being … cheers Hilary


    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I want to hear more about Hardwick! He sounds as if he could almost have his own blog.

      I adore my family above anything else. Even cheese.

  2. Liam says:

    My daughter has recently started making little beds out of shoeboxes to put in her bed next to her for her cheetah, rabbit, and Mickey Mouse.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      That’s beyond adorable, brother. My girls used to use my baseball caps as baby beds. #girlsrock

  3. Cristina says:

    Such a great list Eli 🙂 Love it !

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Cristina – I’d love to see a post with yours listed, too.

  4. vinodinii says:

    Good to know a bit about you. I always had a stuffed toy to hug in my bed. Still do, even after I’m much beyond the age of keeping stuffed toys. Since a few years now, it is a teddy bear who cuddles up with me. It was gifted to me by my son. It has a caption on its tee which says ‘I Luv You Mum.’ 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Vinodini. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know what our favorite bloggers kept as stuffed toys as kids? (Or, as adults!)

      Gifts from our kids are the best. We held onto a multi-colored duck my oldest first set over her shoulder and patted like her mom patted her.

    2. Lyn says:

      In my opinion, you’re never too old for a stuffed toy Vinodinii 🙂

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        Or cookies. Definitely cookies.

      2. Lyn says:

        Definitely cookies 😀 Especially chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies with walnuts 😉

      3. Eli Pacheco says:

        I love how you dream big, Lyn.

      4. Lyn says:

        I started making those cookies when I was twelve. That means I’ve been making them for 57 years 😀

      5. Eli Pacheco says:

        And yet I’ve never had a bite.

      6. Lyn says:

        LOL If I lived closer, I’d make you a batch.

  5. Wow, you started light, airy, maybe a little silly and ended with a bang of emotional and spiritual truth. What a ride!
    Perspectives at Life & Faith in Caneyhead

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I really didn’t mean it that way, but the truth has a tricky way of making its way from my soul through my fingers, Barbara. I just go with it.

      1. That’s a good thing!

  6. juliemtms says:

    Great read…I have similar wants in life. I love silly memes my friends and I share, my sons artwork, my daughters little beaded jewelry, and dessert, preferably chocolate!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Great minds, Julie. Those little things come up big.

  7. Oh, my God. I love Kesha so much. I don’t care who knows!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Why hide it, right? She knows I love her.

  8. messymimi says:

    My Bigger Girl is 24, and still has Spot, her unconventional love. Every couple of years she opens his seam, washes the socks she stuffed him with when he first came open and his regular stuffing fell out, and sews him back up. If she ever doesn’t want Spot, i’ll take him.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      A girl needs her unconventional love, and sometimes she doesn’t outgrow it, which is fine, right Mimi? Now, that’s dedication. Spot has a spot in the hall of fame.

  9. ksbeth says:

    okay, i have some of the same: early mornings (no late nights), long commute with books, music or npr, mexican food (any), my girls’ scraps, my old grand am (now gone, the red devil), solitude, and throw in flamin’ hot cheetos, caramel and milk chocolate, hockey,pasta, crosswords, reading and writing and sting. in no particular order. )

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I know about just about all those things, Beth, which tells me we’ve been friends a while. The hockey (wrong team, but that’s okay) and hot cheetos and everything, even the old Grand Am (God rest her soul.)

  10. That is a fun list of unconventional loves …
    I share some of them in my list: (solitude, late nights, myself…)
    Thanks for sharing
    Virtue Of Respect
    Best Wishes!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Those are pretty awesome unconventional loves, Karnika.

  11. Lyn says:

    What a great list, Eli. I still have a teddy bear I sleep with. His name is Joshua and he wears jeans and a t-shirt with the New South Wales Police Force logo on it. For trips, he adds a denim jacket to his wardrobe 😀

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Lyn. We probably never outgrow teddy bears and Coco Krispies. At least that’s my hope.

      Your bear’s on the cutting edge of fashion and doing fine in making blokes like me look shoddy.

      1. Lyn says:

        LOL I love coco pops and always have them when I’m on holidays 😀

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        It’s frosted flakes for me, Lyn. Holiday or no.

  12. Mexican food is one of my biggest loves in life. I’m not Mexican, but I live in a place with a large Mexican population. I don’t know how people survive without warm tortillas. I also love solitude and have a small obsession with random number generators.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Mexican food loves those of us who love it back with such passion, AJ. You’re in a blessed region.

      My grandma would have warm tortillas on the stove at all times, and a pot of beans. I imagine heaven like this. I did read about your random-number-generator thing. I have an untold obsession with lots of random generators. A reliance, even.

  13. I think we all have unconventional loves, Eli. It’s part of what makes each of us unique. 🙂 My greatest unconventional love would be my tastes in music, because they’re so open and eclectic. One of my iPod playlists has a mix of new age instrumentals and metal bands. I kid you not.

    I also share your love of solitude. And TMNT!! I had an interesting mix of toys when I was little: Ghostbuster and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figurines along with Barbies, My Little Pony, and Disney characters. My parents must have given one another strange looks whenever I played with them. XD

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I hope the prevalance of unconventional loves doesn’t make them conventional, Sara. It is part of our soul’s DNA!

      My Pandora station is kind of like yours, I believe. Maybe we’ve forged our own genre – although it should remain unnamed.

      Solitude is sacred, and TMNT aren’t far behind! Imagining the imaginary conversations between Donatello and Pinky Pie. If those are the characters who brought you to where you are now, I must thank them.

      1. Not at all! I probably have more unconventional loves than the one I listed, too. I just couldn’t think of others. 🙂

        Pinky Pie didn’t exist when I was into My Little Pony. In fact, I was a toddler during MLP’s Generation 1 phase, back in the 80s. So Donatello was having imaginary conversations with Applejack and Gusty instead! XD

        As for our individual “genres” of music, I just call my playlist “Sara’s Music.” Why not name it after ourselves, right? 😉

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I have tons of unconventional loves. This was just the highlights! I had no idea the MLP timeline was so detailed.

        I do know, though, that the emergence of Bronies was probably in the modern era. Am I right?

        Maybe I should name this playlist Sara’s Music.

      3. “I had no idea the MLP timeline was so detailed.”

        Neither did I. I had only Googled MLP to name one or two ponies from my era – and then I learned how much that franchise has changed since I was a girl. *lol*

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        Well, I remember there were eight Star Wars figures when I was a kid. Eight!

  14. Hmmm….solitude, late nights, myself – sounds just like a cat! LOL! (,,^・⋏・^,,)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Except I can’t scratch my ear with my back leg. Oh, and I don’t lick myself!

      1. LOL! o(=´∇`=)o

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