live Tag

life outside the drone zone

I went to the dentist today for some needlework. I don’t like the dentist. I’m not usually a nervous person, and I’m not sure the last time in my whole life I felt truly scared, but being in the dentist chair is so not fun for me. I told them I felt more at ease when I jumped out of a plane. My body gets cold chills, I feel hot and sweaty…I just don’t like it.

Recently I made a first visit to this highly raved about and recommended new dentist for the usual x-rays, cleaning, etc. (Don’t tell Mom but it’s been a while.) Go figure, because it had been a bit of time, that one “on watch” possible cavity had come to fruition, one needed to be replaced, and even better news; I needed a crown. Yippee! I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend a few thousand bucks on teeth instead of you know, a trip to Italy for 2 months or something? Adulting is such a bummer. So in I went today for the first in a three part series we will call project drain Diane’s travel fund, but you only have one set of those teeth, so you better take care of them! 

My new dentist and her lovely assistant were the best. I mean, the best. (Like a mom with a rockstar reliable babysitter, I refuse to share any contact information for this amazing tooth care goddess in fear you will all call, book her up, and I’ll have to go back to that psychotic creepy old man that ripped my mouth apart last time adding buckets of fuel to my already flaming I fear the dentist bonfire.) This new bright shiny office and all of it’s help were kind and attentive. They listened to my past dental horror stories to genuinely learn what I needed, then got to work; numbing gels by the gob full, then one needle, and another, and another, and another. Did I mention another? They kept asking if I could feel this and that to ensure I was fully in numb la la land before starting to drill. When I could finally (sort of) feel the right side of my face nearly sagging to the ground, this ever so patient woman said “Well, I guess we’ve found out that you are very hard to numb!”

HA! Isn’t that the truth. Story of my life, sweet, gentle lady.

Back to why I need a crown:

A couple big cavities on a back tooth I’ve had for years are now cracked/damaged along with the tooth itself. Why? Because I spent a good portion of 2015 and 2016 not sleeping even though I tried desperately. You could say I had a torturous run of getting my heart ripped to shreds. (Picture it’s 1985 and a seven year old on Christmas morning turns animalistic assuming his wrapped box is a Nintendo.) Apparently on the rare occasion I did actually sleep, I was a gold medal champion jaw clencher and teeth grinder as I tossed and turned dreaming of things you don’t want to hear about. Break goes the tooth. (This is not a case of she just doesn’t brush or floss. With the Nutella habit that I have, I’m a nut…no pun intended…about my Sonicare, floss, and Listerine routine.)

If you really do give a super duper flying you-know-what about anything or anyone, you’re bound to feel intense pain when that something or someone isn’t so peachy keen. During those couple years when this deliciously gorgeous and abusive life was swirling around me, I didn’t rest much. Not because I was restless, but because I was ALIVE. Obviously too alive, too conscious, too un-numb. I now wear extra wrinkles at 38 proudly because I’ve come out breathing on the other side.

In 2003 after reading Roadtrip Nation, my 25 year old self was in love with these authors, and everything they were doing. Their book and manifesto were a big encouragement for me to continue my road warrior habits. I needed to discover. They get it! I thought. Life! It is supposed to mean something. What you do for work can and should matter! Purpose! Yay! I want to find that! I remember writing to Mike & Nate asking for advice on best ways to discover what kind of work I wanted to do. I will never forget what Mike sent back to me via email:

“YOU JUST HAVE TO FIND SOMETHING TO GIVE A SHIT ABOUT.”

And here we are.

I probably give two shits (by that I mean 2,222) about way too many things and far too many people. My heart is filled with that kid in a candy store joy more times in a day that I can usually count, then broken again a few minutes later, and all too often. I stay in touch with/put a lot of effort into/love a lot of human beings and that makes me happy. People are my jam, my priority. I feel like I live in an over the moon utopia of lucky awesomeness because I am able to share with so many other different, interesting, funny, kind, quirky, entertaining heartbeats.

I don’t ever want to be numb. Even if that means I could get raked through the coals a million more times.

The price tag for giving a shit is VERY expensive. There are HUGE needles involved. I will pay the bill and take the pinch every time. Life outside the drone zone might hurt more than existing in the safety zone, but every bit of pain is worth it. I hope until my very last breath, even if I’m stuck with a billion needles, I’ll keep moving towards the finish line still being able to feel every bit of everything.

What makes you feel alive today?

Life outside the drone zone

The above screen shot is part of a text conversation that happened as I was starting to write this. Perfect, right?

#LoveFinishesFirst #FeelIt #NeverNumb

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the pivot of the strong mojo

Today is Monday which is technically a work day for all of us adults, but it also happens to be one of those work days I have done very little to make actual money. As much as money is a necessary thing, I realize once again on days like this, there is absolutely nothing that could ever make me feel richer than the time I have with all the amazing people in my life, and doing work that makes me proud. I’ve spent my entire day on a project that has meant more to me over the past several years, than I could ever put into words. A few photos from our 2016 summer event:

BLR Play It Forward 2016

BLR Play It Forward 2016

BLR Play It Forward 2016

BLR Play It Forward 2016

BLR Play It Forward 2016

BLR Play It Forward 2016

The original idea for BLR Play It Forward, was to have a travel scholarship that would be gifted each year during our alumni reunion event, to a deserving soccer playing student at my hometown high school in support of them participating in either a language exchange program, a Gap Year, or an adventure travel trip for personal development. The first few years we had great luck with finding deserving students and programs. I don’t think there are a lack of those anywhere. The adults are the problem. (Always:) Let’s just say after this amazing force of nature we created, happening year after year, with all it’s amazingness, we found out that if there are hundreds of people yelling, YEAH! over here, and one or two people pretending they don’t see you over there, you’re better off barking up the tree that wants to actually participate.

So this means a shift for our annual Play It Forward give back.

Starting this year instead of attempting to partner with the school, we are partnering with the community as a whole and we have plans for a VERY exciting gift that will be a permanent fixture in town. All is in the works and will be a big surprise revealed on event day, July 8th.

The point of this post is to say, when you find what you really love, that thing you feel in every ounce of your bones that means so much to so many people, don’t ever give up. The student travel scholarship portion of my perfect dream for BLR Play It Forward worked for a few years at first, and we have incredibly impressive students who were recipients. Raheema is one of them and she’s pictured above. I’m hugging her in the photo at the registration table last summer. She is now a college athlete and we could not be more proud! We’ve watched her grow up and become every bit of the awesome we knew she would be. Now my perfect dream has shifted for this event and where raised funds go, and that’s Ok. The most important goals will always remain the same. There will always be Strong Mojo. No one could ever stop that.

I hope you will mark your calendars for the weekend of July 7th, and join us in Southern Vermont for this weekend of all things old friends and neighbors coming together, with all the new people in our lives, too. We are an all-inclusive kind of crowd, because love rules on this Blue Lollipop Road. Everyone is welcome!

Here’s to the indefinable essence of something magical coming together. 

#RememeberCelebrateLive #PlayForwardGiveBack #DoGood

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lessons that remain the same

I sat at the counter reading a book today at a yummy little spot for a late Sunday brunch. Veggie scramble; onions, tomatoes, peppers and white cheddar hot and melty paired with a biscuit and potatoes. The happy place. That relaxing time on a weekend day in no rush. I Googled “Blue Lollipop Road read these books” on my phone looking for this link to a post I wrote last summer, so I could send it to a friend who was just gifted one of the books on my favorites list. I suppose by the power, algorithms, or whatever other technological thing that works to populate things on each of our phones like they are reading our minds, this video popped up. I made it 5 years ago today on 9/11/11 during my Honda sponsored road trip:

Wow. I feel like I look like a kid, a much younger, more innocent version of myself. Whoa nelly…if I had any idea what kind of news, terrorism, or hardships that were about to come in life- I’m not sure I would’ve looked halfway as fresh and excited as I did.

When you’re someone who goes through tremendous loss at a very young age, the ache in your heart goes deep and stays there. You learn to live with it and carry on as happily as possible, but on days like today when you just know so many other people in the world are missing that person they loved so much- It’s like there’s this automatic three ton weight on your chest for the strangers who you will never meet.

Countless beautiful and wonderful things have happened since I made the above video. I’m sure you can look back at the past 5 years and say the same. Moving forward the pendulum will swing a billion times to good and bad again. It feels thrilling and terrifying all at the same time. Let us be reminded; there is no time to wait to start living. There is no good time or bad time to start, be, do go – whatever we want to. In order to do something we have to start doing it first.

Go out there, kick some ass, take some names, and lay a big wet smacker on someone you love. Don’t put up with bullshit for longer than it takes you to gain a lesson, don’t be afraid to switch things up or quit what’s not working, high five a stranger, and eat some chocolate after your run.

Today is the day. What are you waiting for?

#RememberCelebrateLive #JustDoIt #Choices

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blr play it forward 2016 kicks off one month from today!

What happens at Play It Forward, you ask?

All awesome things like friends, families, and neighbors, coming together (new and old), lots of socializing fun, honoring people we love who are no longer with us, and gifting scholarship dollars to deserving high school students to help support their travel goals. Doing good and p(L)aying forward to give back, makes everyone smile:

BLR Play It Forward 2015 Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 11.23.12 AM

We are all hands in for our community kind of gals! So what’s in the hopper for this year? Well check out our event poster:

BLR Play It Forward 2016

…and mark your calendars to join us!

If you can’t join us in some way for this great weekend in Vermont, maybe think about what really matters to you, and make your own community give back wherever you are. Our Play It Forward theme; Remember. Celebrate. Live:

*Remember where you came from

*Celebrate the memories you have

*Live like today is the day

Pretty good rules to live by, right?

Let’s all go and put some more love into the world by being Strong Mojo Warriors. Here we go, year 5!

#RemembercelebrateLive #PlayForwardGiveBack #Community

*(A shout out and huge thanks here to Nicole Sauer for her great photos from our 2015 event, and Tracy Bushee-Boudreau for her continued fabulous logo and poster designs each year!)*

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get your give on

Hello, Monday!

Today is May 9th. This means exactly 2 months until our 5th Annual BLR Play It Forward Event & BLR Memorial Travel Scholarship award, July 9 2016 weekend. (FIVE years!)

We’ve been doing good on our Remember, Celebrate, Live promise since 2012 and couldn’t be more proud. We love playing forward to give back.

Inspired by us? Well thank you…but we wouldn’t be able to do it without YOU! So how do you get involved?

1.) If you’re MAU Women’s Soccer Alumni, you can register here for just a $35 donation to play in the game, Saturday July 9th at Willow Park in Bennington, VT. 100% of registration fees go to the scholarship fund.

2.) Get an event shirt for yourself or your kiddos here. Shirts come in blue and pink, youth and adult sizes.  Just 20 buckaroos donation! 100% of that loot goes straight to the scholarship fund.

3.) Rally your friends, family, neighbors, former teachers, coaches, strangers on the street, or anyone else you like, to come join/hang out/socialize for our Friday night (July 8th) open Welcome Back Party, and Saturday day and night (July 9th) Alumni game, scholarship announcement, and Celebration Cocktails.

4.) Sponsor! We’d love any sponsorships, and promise if you do, we will give shout-outs and love on all print & social media, along with on the BLR website here and more. (We’d especially like to to find a jersey & t-shirt sponsor this year to cover that huge cost. Please call 804.339.6514 or Diane(@)BlueLollipopRoad.com if you’d like to sponsor.)

5.) Donate! 100% of all donations go straight to the Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Travel Scholarship Fund. This fund supports deserving high school students to travel and do community service work. (Wha?! Yep, students doing good while getting a chance to see outside their everyday world. Exposure! Service! Character building! Building a badass next generation! Super awesomeness:)

If you’re a regular reader or BLR follower, you obviously know this Blue Lollipop Road is my life, my passion, my everything, and Play It Forward is by far the work I’m most proud of. I can’t do it alone, so I present a challenge to you readers who I know and strangers I don’t:

Donate $5 now! 

I figure $5  for 5 years of playing forward so we can give back is not too much to ask. Everyone can afford 5 big ones. Won’t you support what we are doing? Click here to donate through PayPal, it is secure, easy, (and dare I say, fun?), or send a check made payable to:
Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship Fund
PO Box 34661
Charlotte, NC 28234

…or

…simply pass this post on! My Christmas wish is that some one, some where, some day, who’s big time, will notice what we are doing and say “Hey! You are spectacular BLR Play It Forward! Here’s some ginormous media and/or a million bucks for your scholarship fund! What you’re doing with your event & scholarship fund is like…totally awesome!”

(Hey- it could happen. It WILL happen.)

So won’t you send some love and spread the love? Oh how important it is, to…

Remember where you came from.

Celebrate the memories and time you have have together.

Live like today is the day.

BLR Play It Forward

BLR Play It Forward

BLR Play It Forward

BLR Play It Forward

BLR Play It Forward

Image

Boom-chicka-boom!

Together we can do so much good.

#RememberCelebrateLive #GetInspired #TodayIsTheDay

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things that fill my heart

Today is March 9, 2016 and that means it is exactly 4 months until the 5th Annual BLR Play It Forward Event in Vermont.

WHOOP! 5TH ANNUAL! 

In 2011 when we (a couple of my amazing alumni soccer soul sisters from back in the day) came up with the idea for an alumni soccer game which then turned into a full-scale community event and scholarship fund, I spent months in my Old Town Chicago apartment, floor 23 overlooking The Second City entrance, in my pajamas trying to figure out how to make it all happen. I remember some days I’d go to the gym for an 8 or 9am class, come back home all sweaty and yucky, wrap myself in a towel intending on getting in the shower, and start working only to find it to be 8 or 9pm and myself sitting there, 12 hours later stinky, starving, and still working. It’s kind of amazing how time flies when you’re in your zone working on something you’re so incredibly passionate about. I’d eventually shower, and often times take the elevator downstairs to Chipolte (which was in the same building as The Second City across the street), get a veggie burrito, sometimes a beer and by 10pm be eating my one meal of the day on my couch in quiet. Rinse and repeat this is how those few spring months of 2012 went before our first big event happened on August 18, 2012.

Check this out! I just found a photo of my little desk area in that great high rise apartment I had:

BLR work space

Small work space that cranked out some dreams. I can’t even remember what I used for a chair! Not fancy. It didn’t matter. Boy those are good memories. This scene is where Play It Forward was born. To this day, my best work and what I am most proud of.

I’ve got buckets of photos from 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 – but I will share just one from each year for space sake for today.

2012, balloon release in honor of our friends to kick off the inaugural event:

BLR Play It Forward 2012

All hands in before game, 2013:

BLR Play It Forward 2013

The Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship award, 2014:

Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship

Me and “Mr. B” last summer, 2015 – one of our most loyal fans and supporters, cheering us on each year in his same white t-shirt:

Mr. B and I

(That sweet guy was my 6th grade teacher!)

There’s no way I could share here, all the photos and words I have that would illustrate properly the amazing impact we make. This day is so special you have to be there to believe it. (I hope whoever you are reading this, you will join us this summer in some kind of capacity!)

On July 9, 2016 we will once again come together to reconnect, reminisce, play soccer, cry together, laugh together, and give back. I already know it will as usual, be my favorite day of the year. A bittersweet day in this “brutiful” life, where nothing else matters other than coming together to remember, celebrate, and live.

What do you do, to make sure you never forget where you came from?

#RememberCelebrateLive #PlayForwardGiveBack #StrongMojo

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stop screwing, start doing

This TED Talk popped in my inbox this morning. (Thanks, M!) I watched it as I sipped my coffee on the porch, cheering YES! and laughing through the whole video.

This woman is awesome. I’m a big fan of people who cut straight through the bs:

TED Talk

This makes me think of one of the books I just wrote about in my top 5 read this now list; The War of Art. I wholeheartedly agree with the theory that every single one of us has incredibly special things about us and unique ideas that can change the world.

Let’s all keep forcing the covers off to spend our days going for what we want.

“Get outside! That’s where the magic is.”

#Jump #CarpeDiem #BeMoreThanJustFine

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lucky me to have held this hand

This weekend brings a sad ending, but inspiration for new beginnings, too. I have so much to write and share here, about a very special person. This is just a preview…

Sam was my boyfriend years ago. I saved this photo, through many iPhoto edit sessions when clearing my computer, even though we never stayed in touch after we parted ways. I never knew if I would ever talk to Sam again even though I stayed in touch with some of his close friends. I never knew if he and I would reconnect in any way, but this photo always made me smile so I never deleted it:

Sam Shelby

Boy am I glad I kept this. I will cherish this photo forever. I’ve had a Sam Shelby blog post brewing for months now, and it will come, very soon.

It’s beyond surreal that I will attend a service for this man on Sunday. Lung cancer is a nasty, nasty, bitch. It took this super healthy, non-smoking, happy-go-lucky person who we all loved so much- out of nowhere, and so quickly.

It is so hard not to curse and hate this world, sometimes.

Please, as soon as you read this, go hug, and get all love-y, up on anyone you think is amazing and tell them what they mean to you. Love hard, don’t be afraid to speak up and say whatever’s on your mind, and take a chance on anything. Let Sam’s sweet, big smile, be your inspiration.

#YallRelax #MojoWarrior #ThankYouSam

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