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Suits and Sneakers Challenge

January 21, 2014

Who knew that six letters and two syllables could turn your world upside down?

In January 2009, while home from law school over Christmas break, I was out at a bar celebrating with friends when my phone rang late in the night.  The caller ID read, “Home,” and I remember thinking, “That’s weird.  My parents never call this late.”

Despite how loud it was in the bar, I picked up the phone. All I could make out over the loud music was that my Dad was crying.  The toughest guy I knew was crying.  And because I was somewhere so loud, I couldn’t figure out why.  In all honesty, what I made out was, “I’m being arrested.”  This only added to my confusion.

Hearing my dad cry and thinking he was being arrested only led me to do one thing:  Cry.  I burst into tears in the middle of a crowded bar.  And when my friends asked me what was going on, I said, “I don’t know.  I’m really confused.  Can somebody take me home?”

I spent thirty minutes on the drive to my parents’ house in shock and confusion thinking that my Dad was being arrested.  It didn’t make sense.  My Dad is a good man with a good job with no real vices.  Arrested?  For what?

When my friends pulled into my parents’ driveway to drop me off, I didn’t see any cop cars, which only added to my confusion.  My dad greeted me at the door, obviously shaken up.

It turns out that what I heard as, “I’m being arrested” was actually, “I’m passing blood in my urine.”

In that moment, I was strangely relieved.  My dad wasn’t going to jail, after all!

That relief was short-lived, though.

I said, “Well, that doesn’t seem normal.  Neither of us is doing anything.  Why don’t we head up to the emergency room?”

I drove my Dad the five miles to Lutheran Hospital in the early hours of that morning.  We waited for a short time in the waiting room and then got moved back to see a doctor.  The doctor ran tests, gave him some medicine and handed him a phone number for an oncologist to call at a more reasonable hour.

Within the week, we got the diagnosis that nobody wants:  My dad had cancer.

Six letters.  Two syllables.  World upside down.

Within days and before we knew the seriousness of his diagnosis, I had to drive back to California to return to law school for my last semester.  My dad was the biggest motivation in my life for my pursuing a law degree.  I spent all 1,000 miles wavering between tears, anger and confusion over the thought that I didn’t know if he’d make it to my graduation that May.

Each of us has a cancer story.  A mother.  A father.  A grandpa.  A 26-year-old sorority sister who cancer took away to heaven too soon.

As a writer, there is nothing I love more than telling a story.  Cancer, though, is a story that must end.

It is because I want the story of cancer to end that I have partnered with Coaches vs. Cancer in their Suits and Sneakers Challenge benefitting the American Cancer Society for this month’s #Sports4Good campaign.

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Here’s how it works:

On Monday, January 27, basketball coaches and employees alike will be lacing up their sneakers for work.  Whether your work wardrobe is a suit, warmups or pair of jeans, by donating $5 or more to the campaign, you earn the right to wear tennis shoes to work on January 27.  All donations benefit the American Cancer Society and are tax deductible.  You can make your donation by clicking here.

Will you wear sneakers to work with me on January 27?  Will you encourage your friends and co-workers to wear sneakers to work, too?  Will you skip a latte or a beer or eating just one lunch out so that you can donate $5 to put the story of cancer to an end?  Will you share your story of why you want the story of cancer to end?

To keep up with the campaign, be sure to follow the hashtag #Sports4Good on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  There, you will be able to see who is lacing up their shoes to kick cancer where the sun doesn’t shine.  And while we may not all agree on sports teams or who will make it to the Final Four, I think it’s safe to say that we ALL can get behind that!

$5.  That’s all it takes this month.  And given the stories we all have about cancer, I think it’s safe to say that it would be $5 well spent to end this story.

Don’t Wait

January 6, 2014

I’ve been spending a lot of time on Pinterest lately.

It started in the “Quotes” section, where I’d pin inspirational messages on a board aptly titled, “Inspiration.”

Then I maneuvered over to the “Food & Drink” section.  There, I convinced myself I was the next Rachael Ray, pinning away everything that looked somewhat delectable and as my mom pointed out, a lot of cookie recipes.

From there, my Pinterest sessions took me to places most other women probably frequent on the social media site:  “DIY & Crafts,” “Holidays & Events” and “Weddings.”

In each of these sections, I saw things that I fancied.  Beautiful chandeliers.  Candle lit celebrations.  Gold, sparkly adornments.

As a single woman, or someone who is in the early stages of a relationship, society warns you of not coming on too strong.  You are told not to discuss marriage or children too soon for fear of running a man off.  You are taught to let him pursue you and to put your desires on the back burner until he decides that he is ready to make a move.  You are encouraged to let him make the move related to one of the biggest moments of your life, and propose marriage.  As women, we are taught to wait.

I must admit in embarrassment that I subscribe to all of these notions.  I’ve never wanted to come on too strong in a relationship for fear of being seen as pushy.  I’ve held back stating what I want in a relationship for fear that I wouldn’t be seen as feminine.  I’ve waited.  Time and time again.

It’s for these reasons that when I poke around on Pinterest and see things I’d like to be present at the wedding I someday hope to have, I don’t pin them to a board excitedly called, “My Wedding!” Rather, they get stuck to one vaguely called, “Event Planning.”  The dreams held on that board are disguised by more than the board’s name.  I’ve gone far enough to ensure that it’s vague by adding pumpkin decorating ideas and birthday cakes.  Society has taught me that I need to be secretive when it comes to one of the greatest desires of my heart, that yes, indeed, someday I hope to get married.  And at my wedding, I want to have twinkly lights and hanging chandeliers and long tables filled with friends clinking champagne glasses.

So, I guess now the secret is out.  The cat is out of the bag.  And hopefully I can land a date in 2014.

In mid-December, with the lull of finals and the excitement of the holidays around me, I found that I had a lot of time to spend on Pinterest.  During that time, I kept coming back to these beautiful parties with glitter and gold and sparkles and happy friends.  And I kept wishing and dreaming that someday I’d meet my Prince Charming and that someday, we’d get to have a party just like that.

In the midst of all of this dreaming, though, a little voice began to whisper to me.  And that little voice said, “Don’t wait.”

Don’t wait to have fun.  Don’t wait to celebrate friendships.  Don’t wait for happiness.  Don’t wait to drink champagne in a room filled with glitter.  Just don’t.

So, I got to planning.  I created a new Pinterest board, appropriately called “Sparkle.”  And onto it, I began pinning every sparkly, glittery, festive thing I could find.  I began pulling up recipes and researching champagne cocktail ideas.  I worked on putting together a guest list and finding the perfect date.  I called my friend Megan, and asked if we could throw a “Sparkle Party” at her house in Denver the first weekend I got home for the holiday break.  She said, “Yes!”  And we didn’t wait.

In the days leading up to the Sparkle Party, I collected every vase I could find.  I sprayed adhesive on them and then proceeded to glitter the living daylights out of them.

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I was taken back by beautiful, golden tables that served as champagne bars.  So, on the day of the Sparkle Party, we filled Megan’s table with glittered vases holding perfectly pink roses…

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and festive mini balloons.

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And we lined up bottles and bottles and bottles of champagne accompanied by perfect mixers and petite fruits next to sparkly pom-pom swizzle sticks that I spent an afternoon making.

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I used Pinterest to find inspiration for how to decorate for a Sparkle Party.  We lined one wall of Megan’s house with a golden sparkle backdrop surrounded by gold and black balloons.

And as Megan and I scurried to get everything set up, the best thing happened:  Friends started arriving.  And chatter began.  And laughter.  And music was playing.  And we were all so happy.  We didn’t wait.

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Most people would tell you that when it comes to life, I’m a go-getter.  There are some very clear areas in my life, though, where I’ve been waiting.  I believe in being patient in finding “the one” and being hopeful in the possibility that that kind of love really can and will find its way into my life.

At this age, though, when I’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid eight times, it becomes very easy to begin to want to quit waiting.  It begins to become very attractive to succumb to the idea of, “Well, maybe that’s just not for me; maybe I’ll never get to have my fairytale day.”  It becomes too easy to build Pinterest boards called, “Event Planning.”

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While the man of my dreams and that wedding day still awaits me, what I’ve learned, is that life doesn’t.  You don’t have to wait for the perfect relationship to find happiness.  You do not have to wait for a wedding day to have a celebration–sparkles, glitter, champagne and all.

Life–and happiness–awaits you right now.  And in this New Year, it is my resolution to cherish that notion and to believe in it with all of my heart.  And perhaps, to throw some more really, really awesome parties as a celebration of it.

So, my friends, cheers to a New Year!  May you find it to be your happiest yet.

Faith Over Fear

December 16, 2013

This past spring, I visited the Denver Press Club to have dinner with the club’s president.  As we sat there, I told him about a big media opportunity that was knocking on my door.  The thing, though, was that I needed more TV reps to have a better chance at getting it.

He said, “So, what are you doing to get those reps?”  I told him I had emailed every contact I could think of in TV.  I was grateful for the opportunities these people offered me to come and be on their shows.  In all honesty, they were all so generous.  Still, though, I didn’t have enough reps for the great opportunity at my door.  Explaining this, I said, “I’m a very religious person.  I have faith that what will be will be.  As long as I have done the best I can, that’s all I can do.”

He looked befuddled.

Some six months later, I still stand by that response.

What will be, will be.

And won’t, will not.

I’ve been questioning my own faith a lot lately.  I’m on the cusp of some big decisions.  There are some big things, too, that I’d like to happen in my life.  The last year has been challenging.  It’s been filled with goodbyes and hellos and one cross-country move.

Last night I laid down to bed with my heart spinning.  I can feel so much waiting at my doorstep, but none of it seems to be coming in.  I’m in the frustrating spot called flux.  It’s enough to drive someone crazy.  And if you’re me, crazy means tears. Ugly, tired, painful tears.

I’ve decided, though, that’s where faith comes in.

Faith is the place where you stop fighting.  Faith is the point you reach where you hand over the reins and say, “I cannot control this.”

Faith is not being idle.  Faith is not refusing to take action.  Faith is not expecting things to happen without your participation.

When I think back to the points in my life where I’ve felt this collision of chaos where life felt uncertain, one thing has always rang true:  Life worked out.  Not only did it work out, but it worked out in a way that far exceeded any expectation I created for my life.

One of my favorite quotes is a Bible verse.  Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.”

That verse is so powerful to me, because it re-instills in me the belief that if there is an honest hope in my heart for something, faith will give me an answer for that hope.  That answer may not be the thing I hoped for itself, but may come in the form of something that is better suited for me.

So today, I’ve decided to make a big, bold step.  I’m choosing faith over fear.  I’m powerless to fear.  Yet, faith defeats fear.  Its powers are limitless.

How would your life improve if you chose faith over fear?  And what will it take for you to hand over the reins?

Start Now

December 11, 2013

In just three short weeks we will be ringing in another new year.  Is it hard for anyone else to believe that 2013 is coming to an end?

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays comes another added stress:  creating a New Year’s resolution.

Lose weight.  Find love.  Get a better job.  Travel more.

Resolutions can be any number of things.  In all honesty, though, I often feel like New Year’s resolutions only scratch the surface of issues each of us needs to address and improve in our own lives.

My question, though, is why wait until New Year’s Day to get started on improving in these areas?

What would starting now do when it comes to your chance of actually upholding your New Year’s resolution?

Starting to work on your New Year’s resolution now, in my eyes, does one major thing:  It improves the chance that you will actually incorporate your resolution into your daily life and achieve whatever goal that resolution is aimed at addressing.  21 extra days is an eternity.  They say that habits can be formed or kicked in 28 days.  By starting to work on your New Year’s resolution today–three weeks before New Years Day–by the end of the first week of 2014, your resolution will no longer require resolve, but will be a habit.

What are your resolutions for 2014?  I’ll let you in on one of mine:  Balance.

I need to slow down.  I need to learn to say, “no.”  I need to let some opportunities pass by.  I need to be my own caretaker.

From a professional standpoint, 2013 has been amazing for me.  I was credentialed for events I never dreamed I’d be invited to.  I landed a dream job at the University of Miami.  Earlier this month, a surprise hit, when I was asked to become the Director of Media Relations for Sportsdigita.

I traveled 9 out of the first 13 weekends of 2013.  I’ve flown close to 100,000 miles this year.  It’s been awesome, but it’s taken a toll on another side of my life that is dear to me:  My relationships.

So, my New Year’s resolution that I started working on today is to begin balancing out my life.  I want work to account for 1/3 of it.  Sleep to count for another 1/3 (I firmly believe in getting 8 hours of sleep a night, and generally do a good job of it).  And the other 1/3, will be devoted to me–whether that is exercising, pursuing hobbies or catching up with old friends and making new ones.  It seems simple, but over the last year, work encroached upon this third area, and it’s time for me to push it back.

When it comes to succeeding in New Year’s resolutions, a lot of it depends upon retraining your mind.  By retraining your mind, you can form new habits and find success in endeavors.  One thing that I need to work on mentally is erasing the belief that not taking an opportunity might mean failure for me later down the road.  I need to do a better job of recognizing that what is on my plate is enough and to focus my energy on making what’s on my plate the best it can be.  The rest of my energy should be focused on improving myself–whether that be my health, intellect or social life.

In all honesty, starting now on my New Year’s resolution is daunting.  It’s daunting because I am in the midst of one of the busiest times of the year.  Final examinations and the storylines associated with the college football bowl season make for a hectic time for someone who is a professor and covers sports.  At the same time, though, this is the perfect time for me to get into my new groove.  It’s a perfect time for me to look at the time I have to spend on work and decide where exactly I’m going to spend my energy.

It’s also a good time to reevaluate certain things I am currently engaged in.  That being said, after the New Year I will have a couple big announcements.  They involve taking some risks, but overall, the risks are necessary to maintain my happiness and that resolution of balance I’m working towards.

So, what about you?  What is it that you could be starting now to make your 2014 better?  What is it that your life needs to find a little more happiness?

Thank You

December 8, 2013

I’ve always been a sensitive person.

When I was in first grade, I came home in tears.  When my parents prodded me to find out what was wrong, I told them that one of my classmates forgot his lunch money.  Rather than just spotting him a lunch, the lunch lady just shoved some juice and crackers at him and refused to give him a warm, filling lunch.

For some reason, seeing that really bit at my 6-year-old self.  It hurt my feelings to see this classmate of mine being treated differently.  My young head spun wondering why he didn’t have his lunch money.  Did he really forget it?  Or, perhaps, could his mama not afford it like mine could?  I wondered if he was hungry.  These thoughts hurt me so much, that by the time the bell rang, I had no choice but to cry.

As my parents wiped away my tears, they could’ve done two things:  Nothing or something.

My parents probably don’t know I remember this, but one of my earliest memories is of them going to speak with my elementary school’s principal after this event took place.  Two things resulted from that conversation.

First, my parents provided my elementary school with some money, so that if another kid forgot–or didn’t have–lunch money, he or she would receive a hot lunch.

More importantly, though, by doing something, my parents taught my six-year-old self one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned:  When you have the choice of doing nothing or doing something, you always do something.

As the holidays approached this year, my dad began asking me, “So, Leesh, what are you going to do?” “What do you mean, what am I going to do?” I’d retort with.  He’d say, “Well, you had quite the year in 2013.  Maybe it’s time to give some of what you got back to others.”

He was right.  I wasn’t a “newbie” in the sports world anymore.  It was time to take my name and use it to do something.

With the thought in my head, I began brainstorming ways I could use my platform to give back to others.  In mid-November it clicked:  I wanted to publicize sports nonprofits that many people don’t know about and also fundraise for them.

What happened after my idea was born, is perhaps one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever witnessed:  People began supporting the idea.  And I began watching the sports media life I’ve lived over the last 2.5 years come full-circle.

It started with a simple tweet seeking out a graphic designer.  From there, I met Quinn Carr–who literally, was the greatest person to work with.  Chances are, I wouldn’t have found Quinn if I hadn’t covered a fantasy basketball camp at the University of Miami two months ago and written a story about it.  It turns out, that Quinn’s brother played in the camp and followed me on Twitter, and as such, Quinn saw my request for help.

With a graphic designer in tow and a design in progress, I knew that the ball was rolling.  It was time to find sports nonprofits to support.  Again, I turned to Twitter.  What resulted, was finding six sports nonprofits that I think the world of.  I learned these organizations’ stories–which ranged from spreading joy to wounded warriors and encouraging children’s cancer patients to eradicating Atlanta’s enormous dropout rate and giving underprivileged children positive memories to hold onto.

In these organizations’ stories, I found hope.

I found a hope that, sports could in fact, change the world.

On Thanksgiving morning, I woke up at 4 a.m. more nervous than I’ve been in a long, long time.

Thanksgiving meant that it was time for the campaign to begin.  That morning, I put the finishing touches on the campaign page and hit the “launch” button for the t-shirt sales page.  The jitters in me that morning were palpable.  What if nobody bought a shirt?  What if nobody clicked on the link and read about these great organizations?  What if nobody cared?

In the midst of my nerves, things got good.  Really, really good.

You all did something.

Yes, you bought t-shirts (which I am incredibly thankful for).  More importantly, though, you shared.

You talked about how sports changed your world.  You talked about your hopes for this world.  You mentioned what you can do to better this world.

And people listened.

Because of you, six outstanding organizations have new supporters.  They not only have new donors, but those willing to roll up their sleeves and volunteer.

Because of you, the internet knows that sports can change the world.  Thousands of eyes have seen your tweets, Facebook statuses and Instagram pictures.  These eyes, in turn, have researched the campaign.  That research has led more people to think about how sports can change the world.

Because of you, these “12 Days of Giving” (as I initially called the campaign) have turned into the #Sports4Good Movement.

You did something.

People often gripe about the media.  They say, “Why is the media so negative?”

Before I joined the media world, I wondered the same thing.  I often thought of the athletes I knew and the good things they were doing and wondered why more people didn’t hear these stories.  However, now that I’m on the other side–as a member of the media–I know why you don’t hear those stories.

You don’t hear these stories, because the media gatekeepers think that nobody is interested.  I’ve been told by editors when pitching stories about athletes giving back that nobody cares.  Or that it doesn’t matter.  Or to find something worthwhile.

Over the last twelve days, though, you’ve done something to prove those media decision makers wrong.

People care.  It does matter.  And it is the most worthwhile story there is to tell.

I’m a sensitive person.  And as such, there are tears flowing from my eyes right now.  I’m so grateful for the support all of you have shown others throughout this campaign.  I’m so grateful to know that what I thought before is true:

Sports can change the world.

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite organization until 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, December 9 by clicking here.

And if you haven’t yet, $25 gets you a #Sports4Good t-shirt!  Click here.  The shirts will only be sold until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, December 9, so get them while they’re HOT!

Sports Can Change The World

November 28, 2013

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People often ask me, “Alicia, why do you like sports so much?”

If I were to be completely honest, my love for sports comes from my realization that sports can change the world.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a sports fan.  I’ve never been big on following stats or looking at the intricacies of plays.  Rather, I’ve always watched sports to see the stories of human perseverance that unfold on a court or field.  These stories speak to me in a way that nothing else in my life has.

I’m blessed in the sense that I’ve been able to make my passion my job.  I’ve made it an emphasis of my sports writing career to highlight stories of athletes, teams and leagues giving back to their communities.  Why have I made this an emphasis?  Simple:  Because nobody else is really doing it.  These stories need to be told.

Since I launched RulingSports.com on July 1, 2011, I’ve had the great opportunity to interview hundreds of people to find out how sports changed their world.  More interesting to me, though, is finding out how these people are using sports to change the worlds they live in.

The first athlete I interviewed in my career was Rafer Johnson, the 1960 Olympic decathlon gold medalist.  Rafer, who is African-American, grew up in a segregated Texas.  It wasn’t until his family moved to California that he was given the opportunities in sports that would build him into one of the greatest athletes in history.

On a summer day in 2011 when I sat down to interview Rafer in Manhattan Beach, CA, we not only talked about his impressive athletic feats, but how he had used sports to give back to others.  A close friend of the Kennedy family, Rafer was one of the founding members of the California chapter of Special Olympics.  At 78-years-old, he is still heavily involved in the organization.

When asked why he’s still involved in Special Olympics, Rafer said to me, “I’ll always be involved with the program, because I came up as a youngster in a very small town in California and that’s what I think provided the basis for the rest of my career:  that somebody helped me be the best that I could be.”  Sports changed Rafer’s world.  And now, through sports, he’s changing the worlds of others.

What if we all could use sports to help others become the best they could be?  How different might our world look?

This holiday season, I want to introduce you to six amazing sports nonprofit organizations who through sports, are changing the worlds of others.  To learn more about each organization, click on the link below:

City Kids Wilderness Project

First Ascenders

L.E.A.D.

Operation Warrior Wishes

SkiDUCK

Vs. Cancer Foundation

In getting to know these organizations, I was blown away by how much they are able to accomplish on very limited budgets.  Learning this fact got me thinking:  How many more peoples’ worlds could these organizations change if they had more money?

Whenever I write a story about athletes, teams or leagues giving back, there is one question I always ask:  “In your role in sports, do you have an obligation to use your platform to help others?”

The answer I receive to this question, while worded differently, always reaches the same point:  YES.

And this holiday season, it is my obligation to see to it that these organizations have the resources they need to keep changing the world.

To help the six organizations above, I have organized the Sports Can Change The World campaign.  The campaign has several components.  It is my hope that each of you will find at lease one way to become involved in the campaign.

1.  T-Shirt sales:  To raise funds, I have created a t-shirt campaign.  The t-shirts cost $20 with a $5 shipping cost and will arrive by Christmas.  They come in adult and youth sizes and are printed on very, very soft t-shirts.  All profits from sales of the Sports Can Change The World t-shirt will benefit one of the organizations listed above.  You can purchase your shirts between now and 11;59 p.m. ET on December 9 by clicking here.

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2.  Social media:  In order for the Sports Can Change The World campaign to make the biggest impact, word needs to get out about it.  Will you share this link with your friends so they can learn about these great organizations?  Will you post the link to the t-shirt campaign on Facebook?  Can you tweet about how sports have changed your life or upload a picture on Instagram depicting how they have?  Be sure to use the hashtag #Sports4Good, so we can show just how many worlds sports have changed!

3.  Voting:  As mentioned above, one organization will receive the profits from sales of the Sports Can Change The World t-shirt.  That organization is the one that receives the most votes between now and 11:59 p.m. on December 9.  After clicking on the links above to learn what each organization does, cast your vote on the poll at the bottom of this post.  Voting runs between  now and 11:59 p.m. ET on December 9.

Sports can change the world.  Will you support the Sports Can Change The World campaign this holiday season to change the worlds of those in our communities?

When It Rains

November 19, 2013

A couple of months ago I went on a first date.  In terms of first dates, it went relatively well.  At the end of the night, the guy walked me to my car.  As we were standing there, he literally said, ‘Wow.  I thought someone who does everything you do would have a nicer car.”

A few weeks later I stopped at CVS to pick up some odds and ends.  When I walked out, my car looked like this:

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I’m no car expert.  I’m a lawyer.  Turned writer.  Turned professor.  So when I saw this, I promptly texted my friend Nick and said, “Um, what do I do?”  He promptly responded with what everyone else has responded with, “What did you hit?”  To which I said, “I swear, nothing.”

Realizing that I was on my own when it came to fixing this debacle, I marched my irritated self back into the CVS.  The young guys working there said, “Did ya forget something, ma’am?”  “Yea, duct tape.”

In the Florida humidity, I spent the next 10 minutes of my life utilizing all of the engineering skills I garnered in my four years at the Colorado School of Mines to do this:

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As I stood up to admire my feat, a fireman drove by in his firetruck.  I’m a woman, so when he quickly backed up, I thought, “YES!”  However, he just shouted down from the window, “Duct tape fixes everything!” and drove on.  Traumatic.

Today I drove to work at the University of Miami in my duct taped Honda Civic.

When I was in college, I was a nanny for two girls.  They lived in a wealthy suburb in the Denver foothills.  One of my responsibilities was to pick them up everyday from school.  At the time, I was driving a 1998 Saturn that was on its last leg.  At one point, the stereo was broken (and/or possessed), as it would randomly turn up in volume.  When I say, “randomly turn up in volume,” I mean, “randomly turn up in ear-deafening-uncomfortable volume.”  Somehow, it would also always find a way to change stations to Christmas music or Spanish music.

What was notable about the possessing of my Saturn, was that it would only happen right before I would pick up the girls.  The school bell would ring and kids would scatter out to hop in their mom’s Cayenne or their dad’s Mercedes.  I would see my girls with their heads down, kind of chuckling as they approached my jalopy.  Deep down, they were certain of what awaited them.  They’d put their little hand on the door, and they’d be greeted with, “I WANT TO WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS!….FELIZ NAVIDAD!!!”

I told them this was a character building experience.

And everyday for the last month, I’ve held onto the hope that it is a character building experience for the professor to hop out of her duct taped car when her students roll up in Land Rovers.

When I got to work today, one of the first things I did was take my personal laptop to our IT guy.  Last night when I was trying to catch up on old episodes of Homeland, the blue screen of death erupted across my screen.  I figured it must’ve been terrorists.  Our IT guy, though, said it was my hard drive.  He suggested I call Dell to see if my computer was still under warranty.

When I got back to my office this afternoon, I called Dell.  I was nicely surprised when I wasn’t put on hold for eternity and when the guy who answered my call spoke perfect English.  He and I had fun together for nearly two hours as he ran an insane number of tests on my computer system and I continuously kindly reminded him that someone had already done this for me.  Not only had someone already done this for me, but someone had already told me what the problem was.  I was just calling to ensure my computer was under warranty and to have them send me the parts necessary to fix the hard drive.  “But Miss Jessop, we just need to run one more test to see what’s wrong with the computer.”  “You’re the expert, man.  Do your thing.”  Two hours later my new friend said, “Well, Miss Jessop, thank you for your patience.  The problem is with the hard drive.  We’ll be sending you a new one.”  Luckily for this guy, I value new friendships, so I appreciated the chance to build a new one with him as we painstakingly re-identified the problem.

I have a lot of work to get done that involves using a computer, and generally, the blue screen of death would cramp that plan.  However, the University of Miami bought me a nice iBook earlier this semester.  So, when I left work, I packed that baby up and planned to go home and work my little heart out.

In August, I moved into a new condo in Miami.  The cable guy came a couple days after I got here.  He was really flirtatious and as he spewed cords across my condo in the name of bringing TV to it, he said, “Miss Alicia, I am really going to hook you up!”  I said, “Ok, that would be appreciated.”  He said, “Miss Alicia, I am going to give you wireless for free!”  I said, “I thought I was already paying for that?”  He said, “No Miss Alicia, I take care of you.  Just don’t tell them I am doing this.”  As I was mostly confused as to what in God’s name was going on since I ordered a wireless router, I just nodded in agreement.  He said, “Ok, I’m going to set your password for you, so you can enjoy wireless for free!”  I thought nothing of it, like for instance, that I cannot call my cable provider to find out what my wireless password is should I do what I always do with my wireless password:  forget it.

When I got home tonight, I plopped down on my couch looking forward to watching some college hoops and finishing my work.  I turned on my cute little iBook and quickly realized I do not know my wireless password.  So much for being “hooked up.”

So now, I sit here with this finagled set-up:  In case you can’t tell, that’s a short USB cord stretched from my cable box to a haphazardly placed kitchen chair.

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On my drive home tonight, it started raining.  When I got home, I realized that the rain had washed away my car’s duct tape job.  The fender is once again hanging on by a string.

I’d die to know what that guy I went out with thinks that says about “someone who does everything I do.”

I am a firm believer that the universe sends situations into your life to see how you respond to them.

When frustrating things happen in life, the quick response is often, “woe is me.”  I like to look at frustrating situations as opportunities for character growth.

What kind of patience am I exhibiting towards others when I am undergoing these types of situations?  What value do I place on material objects and how big of a role do they play in my life?  How kind am I to others when I am in a stressful or annoying situation?  The frustration that today could’ve turned into, in all honesty, brought me a lot of laughs.

They say that when it rains, it pours.  We all have days that start out perfect and end up hilariously disastrous.  Life is about perspective, though.  The best perspective, I’ve found, is to laugh when life sends you a rainy day.

And if laughter isn’t enough, you can do what I did tonight:

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Yup.  That’s Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough for dinner, baby.

Let it rain!

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