#AtoZChallenge: F is for Finally, he’s writing again (Thanks Cheryl Strayed!)


So, it’s been a minute.

And by a minute, I mean a month. Holy hell – how did April get outta here so fast? Everyone’s wrapped up their #AtoZChallenge, and I’m still stretching my hamstrings. Yes, I’m on the letter F. And there’s plenty to post about.

I have a guest post from Madison, even, that she sent me as a PDF and why do post-millennials do things so differently than we do?

I also have a guest post from Lauren Mayhew that you’re going to love. And the rest of my posts about looking for my next job. I got plenty of words: What I don’t have is plenty of space in the day to write such things.

I’m getting better, though.

This is a 10-minute writing challenge on prompts from author Cheryl Strayed, who wrote Wild. Love that girl. The prompt: Write about a time when you’d dressed inappropriately for the occasion. So, here goes.


Aw, dad …

No boss, no church, no neighborhood watch has deemed my clothing inappropriate. (That I know of.)

My kids, though … they’ve disapproved of many things. Star Wars socks – pulled up to my knees. Roughed-up Colorado Rockies caps. Most means of facial hair and 100% of Warby Parker models I’ve tried on.

It should come as no surprise that today’s ensemble – my dad’s Panama Jack hat and a Swiss national team football shirt that Tamara of Part-time Working Hockey Mom sent as a gift – would raise equal ire from my squad of sisters.

I picked it out to go Tiger hunting – Woods, that is. You know,. Eldrick, the golfer, the former toast of the town turned roast of the planet. He committed late to the PGA Tour stop in Charlotte, but I got passes from work.

No, no, no … Camdyn said when she emerged from her room to find me hatted up.

Then, she took my dad’s Panama and plopped it on her own head. Granted, she was 31 times cuter than me in the battered old hat, but still. A dad’s got a right. And I’m not saying I’m ready to rock the kind of clothes Macklemore wanted in Thrift Shop, but …

The clearance aisle (and Goodwill!) have been very, very good to me.

Free stuff = dad magnet

Madison and her boyfriend were busy chasing Tiger when I got to Quail Hollow Club on the first day of the PGA Tournament. While they jockeyed to see the legend tee off, I got diverted to a tent giving away free stuff.

Because to a dad, free stuff is right up there with hats that make our kids cringe.

I like your hat, Kaehla said in the freebie tent. Her opinion counts. She’s Floridian, working for the company that let me play a life-sized version of Operation, and gave me a prize even though I lost in such a way that I’d have been in litagation faster than I could say Water on the Knee.

A cool hat is a great way to get the conversation started.

Finally, I got to see this Tiger Woods guy tee it up. Sort of. See, even in a cool hat, I’m still a short guy. I found daylight between a sunburned dude and a girl on her phone, but another sunburned dude got in my way.

I turned to the woman next to me – also struggling to see a damned thing, and also cool enough for a straw hat, but of a more refined nature. I guess.

Me: I’m just going to climb that tree and watch.

Her: (stifling an involuntary laugh.) I’d like to see that.

Me: I’ll be on the news. You’ll never forget me.

Her: Or you’ll be on the ground. And on the news. And Tiger will never forget you.

Me: Maybe I could stand on your shoulders.

Her: Negative. Just, no. Bad idea.

Me: I have lots of ideas. Some of them are really awful.

(Wearing this hat was definitely a great idea. As was watching Eldrick Woods tee off in that girl’s phone screen instead of climbing the tree.)

I wound up with video of El Tigre making a putt in the sun (behind another dude – this time a golfer – who stood in my way.)

I got swag, including a Chick-fil-A coupon and a skeleton-shaped ice pack.

Not to mention one whispered conversation that went wrong very fast.


There were tacos and no sunburn and time with my oldest watching sports. And wearing my dad’s hat, it was like I took him along for the ride. Maybe someday Madison will wear this hat with her kids.

Because it was her dad’s hat, also.

Other posts in the A to Z Challenge

A is for Approachable Stranger in Target

B is for Boy without a job

C is for Courtney Wright, guest blogger

D is for Designer, as in graphic, as in #GirlsRock: An interview with Amber Lorine

E is for Is he EVER going to catch up?

quotes milligan father


  1. Nix says:

    Welcome back.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Right back at you, Nix.

  2. Love your look in the hat, Eli! Love even more that it was your dad’s hat. Great post and fun. I can’t think of when I dressed inappropriately of late. *scratches head* that I’m aware of anyhow. 😀

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Lisa – feels like I’m that dude in the Dos Equis commercial. Dad really rocked it. Glad you liked the post – I felt i needed a kickstart, and Cheryl’s prompt did the trick.

      The beauty of dressing inappropriately is that usually we don’t realize it’s inappropriate.

  3. So. Much. Fun. Eli, you never disappoint! 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad you liked it, Carrie! I disappointed at least three times:

      1. When I put salsa in the hamburger meat (the girls hated the tomato chunks)

      2. When I turned up for soccer training in my loafers (I forgot my Nikes)

      3. When I turned up for soccer and forgot the balls (but had a steak and cheese sandwich -well, half of one, anyway – in my pocket.)

  4. Welcome back! I loved Wild. It made me wish I was more adventurous. When I was a kid, I had a Colorado Avalanche hat that I wore EVERYWHERE. (Except to school because it was against the dress code and the teachers kept taking it from me.) My parents hated that hat. They said that hats are for keeping ticks off your head in the woods. They’re not for restaurants and fancy parties. I disagreed.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m not fully back until I make it to your place, Aj, but thanks! Wild was awesome, wasn’t it? I saw the movie only, admittedly, but maybe it should be my beach read.

      Oh I need to see a pic of you in the Avs hat! That’s my team, you know. Magenta and blue should be in every school’s dress code.

      Who says there are no ticks in restaurants and fancy parties? That’s all I’m saying. I had a Rockies cap my girls hated. It was a mess but I loved it. I left it on the back of my car unexplicably when I was gassing up one day and now it’s one with the universe.

  5. Gee, April did kind of run away from us, didn’t it? I had to take most of the month off from blogging, too, and it’s going to take me a little while to get back into the swing of things, I think. (Sorry about never responding to your 6 Words email, btw. Time also made a mad dash on me toward the end of March.)

    And I love the way you tell your stories. They’re always entertaining, but there’s always something profound lying underneath. Sometimes the little things (or, rather, accessories) that mean a lot to us can catch another person’s attention, or make what began as an ordinary day an unforgettable one instead. 🙂 Love your dad’s hat, btw!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      April was in and out like a thief, Sara. They say blogging is like eating tacos – even if it’s been a minute, you never really forget how.

      (No worries on the missed email – but if you still have it, hit “respond” and let me know what’s going on in your world!)

      Thanks for the kind words. If I can find entertainment and profundity in every day, it’s been a good one, then. There’s always room for unforgettable.

      My dad also had a hat that looks like it came from Indiana Jones’ closet. I should wear it soon, don’t you think?

  6. That hat… great hat! I have my (step)dad’s denim shirt. I wear it all the time as a jacket. Only my hubby knows where it came from. I love it and I feel him near me when I have it on. It is hard to believe he has been gone over 16 years. Such a special man! I miss him terribly. My bio dad is still alive and I have a good relationship with him as well but it isn’t the same. I didn’t grow up with my father. He didn’t raise me. My mom did… my special stepdad didn’t come along until I was married and had my own child, but he was a wonderful person and I feel ever so blessed to have had him in my life. I have his tennis racket and 101st airborne wings. I would take nothing for any of these things. ❤

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Courtney! My sisters and I have some keepsakes from our dad. His sister made teddy bears out of some of his shirts for my girls.

      So sweet about your special stepdad. Takes a great man to fill that role. My dad has been gone about as long as yours – and yet I still see some of him in things my daughters do.

      1. Teddy bears? Oh how wonderful!! Those are very special. I would love to have one of those from my dad!!

  7. joyroses13 says:

    LOL!!! Fun post! Great hat and quote! 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Ha! Thanks. The quote seemed as fitting as the hat.

  8. ksbeth says:

    i love cheryl ,love the quote, love the hat. love reading your posts whenever they come out.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks for all the love, beth. i love actually having something to hit ‘publish’ for! and i love it when you’re here.

  9. https://my30somethingadventures.wordpress.com/ says:

    April flew by far too quickly.
    That quote is brilliant!
    So cool that the hat belonged to your Dad – I like the way you say it was like you took him along for the ride.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      April, this week, hell, 2018 has gone by in a blur. Breakfast this morning, in fact. I loved the quote (and am glad you did too) and knew when I saw it that it fit perfectly.

      i have a few things from my dad. Other things, it has felt right to let go of. You know it when you feel it.

      I sometimes take him along, and don’t know it until it’s time. My soccer team had a playoff game against a tough opponent this week. During the anthem, I closed my eyes and felt the sun on my face and thought, “dad, be with me today.” I think he was. He never got to see me coach, actually.

  10. mocadeaux says:

    This is a great story to go along with a very special hat. I think you should print out this post and keep it with your dad’s hat until such time as you are ready to pass it down to Madison.
    Also, those sunburned dudes blocking your view would have done well to sport a hat of their own!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I love that idea, Mo! And the thing about strangers … there’s no real good way to offer to rub sunscreen on them. I don’t think.

  11. stomperdad says:

    A bad day of golf is still better than a good day at work. Unless your work is golf then it’s just a bad day. Thanks for the story!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      That’s how I feel about grilled cheese sandwiches too, Eric!

  12. John Holton says:

    Hey, just keep going. You’ll finish eventually. 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, John! My goal: By the time you call for the theme reveal in 2019!

  13. Susan Taylor Brand says:

    I love Cheryl Strayed too, in spite of myself — I read Wild and then feeling dejected to have nothing to read, started over and found it was just as good the second time — the very mark of a excellent book. Where did you find her suggestions for writing prompts?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m that way with Hemingway, Susan – especially Sun Also Rises. It feels like something new every time I read it.

      Here’s a link to the prompts I found for this post. I know there’s another that pertains specifically to Wild:


      I found it! I like this list even better, and wish I’d found it for this post. But then, I wouldn’t have had this post, would I? Check it:


      1. Susan Taylor Brand says:

        Wow those are so cool. You wouldn’t mind if I used them as a basis for a post on my own blog, would you? I feel like I’m stealing … but then who was the writer who said “Steal Like An Artist.” I’m on his blog’s mailing list, but his name slips my mind … Austin Kleon. And I had to look it up.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I wouldn’t mind a bit. That’s what they’re there for! Send me a link when you post. I’d love to see what you come up with!

      3. Susan Taylor Brand says:

        Thanks I sure will!

      4. Susan Taylor Brand says:

        Hi Eli, I finally got that Cheryl Strayed blog post done … wanted to share the link with you and thank you again for the the prompts! This has been my most popular blog post this month. https://susantaylorbrand.wordpress.com/2018/06/26/cheryl-strayed-people-who-leave-you-at-the-worst-possible-moment-and-two-links-to-writing-prompts/

  14. Cristina says:

    It sure is a struggle to find time to write. Still… you’re doing a great job Eli! Welcome back! 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thank you Cristina! I’m trying to be more purposeful in my writing time, so hopefully, that will show in more frequent posts.

      I need to get back to your place soon!

  15. Kisma says:

    April was seems like a lifetime ago and now May is almost over too! Great post my friend, always good to see you around here.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Holy smokes before you know it, it’ll be Christmas, Tiff. Thanks for the kind words!

  16. How i love your writing, your sense of humor, and i approve your sartorial choices. If it makes a kid cringe, it rocks!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      There should be a patch of honor for kid-cringing capacity, shouldn’t there Meems? I love your kindness and support.

  17. Laura says:

    Free things. YES.
    I don’t understand — doesn’t everyone love all the Free Things? The cringeworthy feature is just a bonus.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Hell, I even get can coozies, and I NEVER use them. I think for a little while, in your teens, you become averse to the free things.

      Cringeworthy is often the final arrow in our quill as parents.

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