Sunday, August 17, 2014

100 Happy Days...Part 3

Day #21
So this one a small Mexican my hotel room...this photo of kittens hung on the wall in a nice gold frame. What on earth do you think these little kitties were listening to that prompted the one to forcefully cover the others ears? It made me laugh then and it makes me laugh now. Cautions and perhaps very sensitive kitten ears are happy thought.

Day #22
Much to my surprise and delight...two YouthCity all stars stopped by to say hello. These man-boys are forever in my heart. Does my heart good to see these once squirmy boys turning into grown up men. 
 — with Jacob Cornia and Sam Moody.

 Day #23
I never grow tired of watching the creative process – especially with children. This summer, I am teaching a few art classes at YouthCity and without fail every time we create mask the same thing happens. Once the masks have been made, shaped, sculpted, enhanced and painted we pull out boxes and bins and bags full of random stuff. A colorful array of pipe cleaners, googley eyes, beads, glitter, fabric and ribbon scraps, buttons feathers, etc…we arm the children with glue guns and set them loose. In time, they individually dive into the supplies and the room becomes full of a creative hum of energy. Some kids work on their masks while others are distracted by the delicious possibility of “…what if…” and in time new and interesting items are paired together to make something magical. This may be my favorite part of the whole process and it amazes me every time. Yesterday, this terrific kiddo whom I will refer to as Mr. T, quietly and carefully created these little creatures while the paint on his horse mask dried. It’s not just the end result however cool a pink flamingo made entirely of pom pom’s and pipe clearly is…it’s the undying sense of wonder and accomplishment that was dripping from his sweet face. When he showed me his first creation he timidly asked,”…do you really think I’m an artist?” OH…YES! YES! YES, I think you are a terrific artist! He took a breath and this new sense of confidence washed all over him. He quickly inspired a few other kids and has since not stopped creating. In a matter of a few hours this quiet kid found a new place within his peer group and he’s been holding his head a little higher ever since. THIS…this is what creativity coupled with courage can do. It’s not the little creatures…it’s what they represent. It wasn’t the praise or accolades that he received…it was the sheer enjoyment of creating something out of nothing, even if its only out of bits and scraps…the creative process feeds the hungry soul and its a critical aspect to finding happiness. God bless sparkly pom poms! God bless pipe cleaners! God bless googley eyes! And God bless the endless creativity of children!




Day #26 and Day #27 
Days off. Sleeping in well past the alarm. Lazy relaxation. AC. Hamburgers on the grill. Iced beverages. Laughing with siblings. Patio parties. Holladay City firework show enjoyed from the comforts of the end of our driveway. Excited almost five-year-olds. Merica’. Trifle is the perfect level of refreshment. Birthdays. Family reunions. Sisters-in-law Melinda RichBird BathMelissa Wirthlin RichNatalya Rich) rule! Well stocked salad bars. Pizza. PJ’s. God bless holiday weekends!

Day #28
“Doctor Marvin! Doctor Leo J. Marvin!”
“I’m sailing!”
“Good morning, Gil. I said, good morning, Gil.”
“You think he’s gone? He’s not gone. That’s the whole point! He’s never gone!
“Baby steps to four o’clock. Baby step to four o’clock.”
“What if I’m looking for a bathroom, I can’t find one, and my bladder explodes?”
“Oh, Fay, this is so scrumptious. Is this hand-shucked?”
“Death therapy…”
What about Bob? is one of THE best films ever made! Richard Dreyfuss, Bill Murray, hilarious writing AND Lake Winnipesaukee? What more could a girl ask for?

Day #29...and the finished products... Love me some YouthCity mask making....

Day #30 Being Aunt Liz is not a bad gig at all...even when it's 100 degrees outside. Love these sweaty faced kiddos!

100 Days of Happy...Part 2

Day #11
Check this out...inside a hanging flower planter on a friends patio lives a very hip mama bird who is determined her little chicks begin life surrounded in beauty and color. If I were a mama bird this is totally how I'd roll. 

The NPR smarty pants are not the only ones who do a little science on Fridays. Happiness is watching a handful of kiddos apply the scientific method as the explore the properties if buoyancy. A role of tin foil, a hand full of pocket change, a tub of water and there you have it. "The bigger the boat...the better it floats..." Nothing like sneaking in a little learning in the back door. 


Day #13
Before my Dad died, about 25 years ago, while browsing treasures at a near by thrift store he scored a Kitchen Aid mixer. With a little tinkering and time he rebuilt the motor and this baby has worked like a charm ever since. Hundreds of batches of bread and thousands of cookies have are the result. They don't make this color anymore and knowing that it sits ready on my counter makes me happy. 

Day #14
Paint...and specifically in primary colors. A little red + a little blue + a little yellow + a tiny bit of white blended and mixed and swirled then blended one more time = happiness. 



Day#15 Dragons that snap. 

Day #16 
Some may think that this enormous structure was funded, designed and erected to house the award winning University of Utah football team…but let’s get real…the best use of this beautiful building is to provide a safe space for pre-school soccer games. As luck would have it, today I got to watch my darling and may I say very talented almost five-year-old nephew play in his first soccer game. GO BEE’S! There were parents and giggles and juice boxes and high fives a plenty…a few confused looks and a few alligator sized tears. Best part was watching the swarm of kiddos hover around the ball kicking and jumping and squealing without a solid sense of direction while three little girls, also team members and BFF’s, twirled, hugged each other and held hands as they ran the length of the mini-field. Loved the excitement. Loved the effort. Loved watching my brother-in-law and his mini-me share in the sheer joy of the game. Pre-school soccer games can easily be considered happy thoughts. GO BEE’S!

Day #17 
Yesterday morning, on my way into an appointment, I was stopped in my tracks by this very determined garden snail. How rare is this image? How bold! How brave! Oh, the determination and courage demonstrated by this valiant creeping creature. This little guy has been on my mind ever since. I’m not entirely sure of the actual brain size of your ordinary garden snail…and for that matter…do they actually have conscious thoughts? Did he know where he was going? Did he know what he was risking? Had he planned out his trip? Had he said goodbye to his next of kin never knowing if he would return? Had he weighed the pro’s and con’s of his journey and decided…”what the hell! I’m going for it! I’m going to make my way across a sidewalk in the light of day….a place where human walk mindlessly…and I don’t even care who watches! Sometimes you’ve just got to take action!” This brave little garden creature taught me a bit about being bold in the face of possible danger. As I stopped to watch him make his way from point A to point B, I could not help but marvel and celebrate the sheer willingness to venture out into the unknown towards…progress? lunch? home?....or perhaps just something or someplace different. The older I get the more I realize that it takes guts to do hard things…to venture out…well done, little snail….well done!

Day #18

This afternoon, while talking with a good friend, she shared the following statement that should be meme-ed or toll painted or vinyl-ed or cross-stitched or something-ed somewhere…since I’m not into those other forms…I’ll post…“A flower does not look sideways, it just blooms.” 

Utah Arts Festival. Perfect weather. Perfect company. Decent carnival eateries. Excellent people         watching. Endless creativity. Perfect Friday Night.    

Day #20
One trip to Costco, one trip to the grocery story, two movies streaming on Netflix, a sink full of dishes and five hours later we created twenty-four crock-pot freezer meals. Each one measured, labeled and ready to go. Today was an exercise in the domestic arts and time well spent with Alaura Robinson. Here’s hoping the Lemon Garlic Chicken, Chicken & Gravy, Fiesta Chicken Soup, Pepper Steak, Cubed Steak & Carrots, Balsamic Steak, Chicken & Dumplings, Marinated London Broil, Honey Romano Pork chops, Green Chili Pork Tacos, Beef Stroganoff and Taco Soup turn out. If we’ve done our math right…we just created around 72 meals for around $3.00 each. Quick and tasty meals are happy thoughts. 

100 Days of Happy...Part 1

Day #1
And….we’re back! It’s been years since my trusty Altima rolled into Liberty Park on a Monday morning in preparation for the YouthCity summer camp...the sun was shining….my NPR BFFs were sharing the latest and greatest news from around the world…my blue Nalgene water bottle iced and ready to go….the shadows from the sun peaked through the leaves creating flashes of light that welcomed me....home....all as I rounded the duck pond, took a quick right and parked in my normal spot. All things have returned to normal. First day was a dream. Morning meeting full of introductions….lots of wiggly excited anticipation...loved every second of it. Met some new kiddos and we started mask-making class. Does it get better? I left the park and made my way up the canyon to my favorite swimming spot for an afternoon spent in the restorative waters of the Cliff Lodge…yes, please! Oh, how I love the smell of sunscreen….soaking in the pool below a stunning display of snow capped mountains standings resolute and without effort simply reminded me that God is good and kind and generous….add in some heartfelt conversations with trusted girl friends and we have successfully kicked off Summer 2014! Perhaps not perfection for all but for me…today was evidence that moving back to Salt Lake City was in fact one of THE best decisions we’ve ever made. I am amazed at how different I feel today compared to last year at this time. So grateful for the opportunity to change. Will forever love our years in Dallas but nothing beats a summer in Salt Lake City. Flip flops and sunscreen for days! Feels good to be home. Feels good to be back in Liberty Park. Feels good to feel good.‪#‎100HappyDays‬

Day #2

Day #3
Just in case you were curious...a hot iron placed on a plastic table will burn...evidence of one of my all time favorite days....‪#‎100HappyDays‬

Day #5
Late lunch at Eva’s Bakery in downtown Salt Lake City with a girl friend feasting on a Croque a.k.a. fancy pants name for open faced grilled sandwich. Crusty bread, thinly sliced tomatoes, broiled Gruyere cheese, a perfect amount of basil and green onion…dee-lish a.k.a. happiness on a plate…we split a chocolate croissant on our way out the door and I can’t recommend this treatment enough… next time you are in my home town check it out…….‪#‎100HappyDays‬

Day #7
Lots of talk about fathers, and fatherhood, and fathering today. Lots of good men doing the best they can to love and serve and provide the best they can. Today my happy thought is this photo of my father at age five or six sitting triumphantly on a pony and tricked out like a cowboy. When I'm really honest there is more I do not know about my father than that which I do. He had an unquenchable curiosity and a brilliant mind. He was terribly creative and hardworking. He was complicated and kind. He liked to know how things worked and he made a mean potatoes salad. He loved us and like so many he did his best to protect and provide. One thing I do know, that can be evidenced by the photo below, he had happy child like moments and some were even on a horse...and today that is good enough.‪#‎100HappyDays‬

Day #8
Sunflowers. Plain and simple sunflowers make me happy. ‪#‎100HappyDays‬

Day #9
Shot outside my kitchen window with my cell phone and no filters. No more words necessary. ‪#‎100HappyDays‬

Day #10
What did you do at work today? Mask making with a great group of kiddos makes me very happy. ‪#‎100HappyDays‬