On a day with my girls at the auto fair, it kind of felt like dad was there

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photo credit: DocChewbacca Back to the past via photopin (license)

All my dad needed was a glimpse of a tail light.

He could tell you the make, model and year, just from that. Just from a red glow, a glance of it. That’s when cars had cool names, like De Soto and Falcon and GTO. Not Prius and Altima and Cruze. Those aren’t even words, let alone cars.

Dad and I picked out a 1962 Buick Skylark for my first real car.

Maddie was white with red interior. Full-bodied, four-door, hardtop sedan. Sleek lines. We installed glass-pack mufflers with dual exhaust and low-profile tires with sweet chrome rims. She shined brighter than Grace Kelly, Debbie Boone and Brooke Shields.

Combined.

Continue reading “On a day with my girls at the auto fair, it kind of felt like dad was there”

Weekend Reads II: Partnership, Peace and Parenthood

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It’s not so much what I’m going to do this weekend that stirs the soul.

It’s what I’m not going to do. I won’t put in more seat time than a NASCAR champ. I won’t pry my eyelids open after another late night and early morning wondering when in the hell I’ll get to write on this blog again.

No, there will be seat time – on the couch, with the laptop, watching football, though.

I’ll throw golf discs and I’ll grill. Also, I’ll read. I want you to read too. This long holiday weekend, wherever you are, check out these posts. Each dropped a mic to some degree as I found them (has it really been three weeks?) and you’ll love them too.

Continue reading “Weekend Reads II: Partnership, Peace and Parenthood”

Sunday Reads II: Records, Discomfort, and Mama’s Boots

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It’s actually Sunday morning, now.

My goal for this Sunday post feature is to finish it before midnight Saturday night, so i can go to bed and hope for those of you so inclined can open a link or three and read something good I discovered during the week.

Not to be up another night of the week fending off sleep to finish a post.

(Did you know that sometimes, I read my posts the morning after, and it feels as if that’s my first go through? It’s true. I’ve found the same photo in twice, or sentences that jumble together, and once I even found that I forgot to title the damn thing.

Continue reading “Sunday Reads II: Records, Discomfort, and Mama’s Boots”

#GirlsRock: An Interview with Sports Wanderluster Alicia Barnhart

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I don’t care for some of the stuff I find in press boxes.

cd-interviewsOthers, I love. Krispy Kreme donuts, for instance. Some places have those! I also love people I meet, like Stacey Dales and Jackie Servais and Alicia Barnhart. Stacey is my favorite NFL Network reporter (and a Coach Daddy reader.)

Jackie, a former volleyball star and an intern with the Carolina Panthers when we met, now works for the University of Mississippi.

Continue reading “#GirlsRock: An Interview with Sports Wanderluster Alicia Barnhart”

Go Ask Daddy About Pizza Placement, Tropical Trappings and Straight Shooting About Strawberries

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photo credit: M’sieur Sub ! Photo de famille via photopin (license)

We have this silly rule, the kids and me.

GAD GRAPHICIt’s instituted because, 100% of the time, winter, spring, summer or fall, at night and by day, from school, from training, from detention (no, they don’t actually get detention), the girls, each of them individually and together, enter my car and my day with two words:

“I’m hungry.”

If there’s something on the way home, we’ll stop. (As long as we haven’t slumped into overdraft yet.) Grace has begun a subliminal campaign (whispering QT, for QuikTrip and their slushies and donuts, when she gets in the car with me.)

Continue reading “Go Ask Daddy About Pizza Placement, Tropical Trappings and Straight Shooting About Strawberries”

#GirlsRock: An Interview with Photographer Beatrice Pitocco

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“Life sometimes dulls us; it confuses us, it makes us question things that are basic, like love.” – Beatrice Pitocco

I first picked Beatrice Pitocco for an interview on a blog for work.

cd-interviewsOne question into my interview with her, I knew she was a better match for #GirlsRock – my interviews with women who do cool things. Although the tools Beatrice uses as a photographer are inherently technical, that’s not the main element in her work – or her life force.

Beatrice, like many artists, is a feeler.

You’ll see that in her words here, raw and honest. Beatrice is also a consultant for companies and individuals. I believe you’ll see some of your own life stages in her words today. Through thick and thin, Beatrice lives by a simple credo.

Continue reading “#GirlsRock: An Interview with Photographer Beatrice Pitocco”

Go Ask Daddy About The Olympiad, Stuffed Animals and How Many Horses One Dude Really Needs

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photo credit: Reiterlied End of a Trip via photopin (license)

Mexico isn’t known particularly for its ultra-fast Wi-Fi.

GAD GRAPHICAt least, not in room 101 of the Fiestamericana Resort, and it’s 4 a.m., and you’ve just questioned the wisdom of having just called room service for a bacon cheeseburger. You root around your email and answer blog comments, but not much more.

Not at the end of a day that you’d kind of wish would never end.

Some moments in life can become transformative before you even realize there’s room to transform. During our company trip, leaders challenged us to #challengewhatspossible. Although that sounds an awful lot like business speak, there’s more to it than that.

Continue reading “Go Ask Daddy About The Olympiad, Stuffed Animals and How Many Horses One Dude Really Needs”

Guest Post From Another Jennifer: 6 Life Lessons From Driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

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Today, I’m handing the clipboard to Jen from Another Jennifer blog. You’re in capable hands. I mean, these hands once steered the Wienermobile. How cool is that?

I found out about Jen’s jealousy-inducing summer job out of college, and just had to have the story on my page. I mean, this is a blog about fatherhood, futbol, and food. The last is the final pillar of the holy trinity of my pages.

Check out her work at Another Jennifer. I’ve said it before – she’s not just another Jennifer.

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My first job after I graduated from Syracuse University was driving the iconic Wienermobile. I was a Hotdogger, to be more specific.

I traveled the southeastern part of the United States with two other recent college grads and auditioned kids to be in the next Oscar Mayer commercial. We mainly visited zoos, amusement parks, military bases and baseball parks.

As my classmates prepared for their fancy management training programs in corporate America (the economy was much better back in 1998), I had a week to dump my stuff at my parents’ house in Massachusetts and make my way to Madison, Wis., for my own two-week corporate training program, Hot Dog High. (For those interested, I am a Hot Dog High XI graduate.)

When I look back on the experience now, I realize how incredibly lucky I was to even be offered such a job. I actually read in an article that it’s statistically easier to become President of the United States than to become a Hotdogger. The experience most certainly set me up to become the entrepreneur that I am now.

I probably learned more in that summer than I have in all my other years combined. Here are six life lessons I took with me from driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile:

1. Be yourself

My first interview with Oscar Mayer was more of a random conversation than an actual interview. I left the room in the SU Career Center thinking there was no way I would get past the first round, which I was told included more than 1,000 resumes.

I got a call two days later telling me they’d like to fly me out to Madison for a second interview. In that interview (which lasted two days), I sang on camera in a conference room and talked about my most embarrassing moment.

You can’t prepare for an interview process like this. My resume got me in the door. Being comfortable with myself got me the job.

2. Don’t take life too seriously

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When your primary mode of transportation is a 22-foot long hot dog, it’s hard to let the little things bother you. There’s no such thing as a quick trip to the store to buy deodorant, and when you break down you have to explain where to find the engine to the mechanic.

Our old Wienermobile, Bologna, was steaming hot (pun intended) and the radio barely worked. We worked long hours, seven days per week. Do you think we complained? Heck no. We were driving the freaking Wienermobile while our friends were at their “real jobs” working in air-conditioned cubicles.

3. Drink lots of water

photo credit: Ice and Water via photopin (license)
photo credit: Ice and Water via photopin (license)

I’m a New England girl. I’m not used to the heat of the south, which is where my team was stationed for the summer. The heat index, along with the fact that everyone wants to buy drinks for the drivers of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at the end of the day, taught me the importance of having a large bottle of water with me at all times.

(Note: We had a stipend for cab rides so we could go out sans hotdog in the evenings we didn’t pass out from heat exhaustion.)

4. Break the rules every now and then

The kids were supposed to have a limited time to sing either the “Wiener Jingle” or the “Bologna Song.” That’s it. We often had big lines and needed to keep things going. But when a 4-year old triumphantly grabs the mic and belts out a five-minute version of “I Believe I can Fly” or when a 7-year old girl messes up the words and sings “Cuz if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener, everyone would be making love to me,” you let that go.

Sometimes the experience is more important than the results.

5. Always look on the bright side of things

photo credit: Wienermobile! via photopin (license)
photo credit: Wienermobile! via photopin (license)

We weren’t alone in our travels that summer. PETA actually sent out protestors to most of our events around the country. And my team happened to have the route that included a stop in the town where PETA was headquartered.

Instead of being intimidated, we looked on the bright side. They got extra media coverage for us, helped reinforce our theme of “food, family and fun” (not really their intention, but that’s what happened) and the kids got a kick out of the protestor dressed up like a pig.

Thanks, PETA! (Note: Yes, I got to see how Oscar Mayer makes hotdogs and bacon. Yes, I still eat it.)

6. Human interaction is good

When I drove the Wienermobile, there was no Twitter or Facebook. We weren’t blogging. We had a cell phone that we only used to make calls when we broke down or to check in with Madison. Most of our media and event calls were made in the hotel. By today’s standards, we weren’t very “connected.”

Yet I probably connected – really connected – with more people in that one summer than I ever will again.

People still don’t quite get what I did that summer. And that’s fine with me. Perhaps the most important life lesson I learned that summer is to grab an opportunity when it presents itself. Because you may never get that chance again.

What’s the craziest job you’ve had?

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Jennifer Barbour is a copywriter, blogger, aspiring author and new media consultant. She aims to inspire, to entertain and to make you think. Her passions are writing, philanthropy, her awesome family and bacon, though not necessarily in that order. You can find out more at anotherjennifer.com.

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