Ugly Sweater Party

Y’all have it easy nowadays regarding Ugly Sweaters! I’ve seen them everywhere: Fred Meyer, Target, Wal-Mart, etc. There’s all the peripheral items too. Back in my day of parties, if you didn’t find a way, you MADE the way.

Several years ago, I received a party invite from a friend I hadn’t heard from in a minute. The invitation was for an Ugly Sweater Party during the holidays. If my memory serves, I couldn’t attend even though I had every intention to do so. Later on, I saw pictures of the party on #Facebook. It sure seemed like it was a blast. Even more glaring …

I needed a new sweater!

Ugly Sweater Party
Ugly Sweater Party

Up until this invite, I’ve never heard of purposely finding an ugly sweater to wear, let alone go to a party with others dressed as badly. So I was on a new adventure: to find the best ugly sweater ever! Six years ago ugly sweaters weren’t in high demand therefore extremely difficult to locate.

My girl at the time was a ginormous fan of discounted clothing stores such as #Goodwill, #ValueVillage, Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx. After an exhaustive store by store search, we were successful in finding an ugly sweater for each of us.

Ugly Sweater Party

Now we needed a party idea, more so than just wearing ugly sweaters.Then it dawned on me that from the various get-togethers we’ve had as the Brew Crew, we had an extensive collection of hard alcohol in our inventories. So I hosted an Ugly Sweater Party + Vodka Tasting Party.

It was brilliant! Bring your not-full bottle of alcohol, preferably vodka, and wear your ugliest sweater that you could find. In fact, the #fuglier the better! Before you know it the day of the party was upon us. I MacGyver’d a photo booth to document these knitted horrors.

Then my guests started to arrive for the Ugly Sweater Party. After I felt most of my party goers were there, I suggested to take photos in the booth before we are no longer sober enough to use the Digital SLR I had out.

And yes, I still have the photos to this day. And no, I won’t post them here.

We killed bottle after bottle of vodka. The natural progression of events was to play the many board games we had on hand. The last game was the most funny because it involved catapulting plastic monkeys into a plastic tree. The first player to make 3 hang on won the game. It didn’t take long for the monkeys to be tossed. Or then there was the game pieces – ha, ha.

And that, my friends, was my first and only Ugly Sweater Party – nowadays the market caters to this idea. I might attend one this year! I wonder where I stored that ghastly thing …

Until next time, and as always, be good like you should, and if you can’t be good, be good at what you do!

Mic drop *bOoM*

‘los; out

White Elephant vs Gift Exchange Parties: How I Was Tricked!

It’s that time of year again… And invariably, some host / hostess will incorrectly title their intention of their party. In my humble opinion (IMHO) there’s a GINORMOUS difference between White Elephant vs Gift Exchange Parties. I was tricked into thinking I was attending a workplace White Elephant Gift Party. Granted, the co-worker that invited me was a troll with #ERBF (Epic Rest B**ch Face) I was horrified to figure out it was a GIFT EXCHANGE PARTY. Basically, I fell into the trap that this troll knew how to host this kind of party when she didn’t. Here’s what happened…

White Elephant vs Gift Exchange Parties: How I Was Tricked!

White Elephant vs Gift Exchange Parties: How I Was Tricked!

Let’s start this conversation with the difference between the two parties! I’m confident there are some in the reading audience that have (and still do) confuse the ideas. The first time I ever heard of White Elephant was in 1995 at Payless Drug Store. A young lady approached me in the aisle I was replenishing with merchandise. She simply asked, “Where do you have white elephants?” I answered, “We don’t sell that here. Why do you need that, because white elephants don’t exist?” She was immediately embarrassed and quickly departed.

Even at 19 years old, I knew she was on a fool’s errand. And most likely, she was attending White Elephant vs Gift Exchange Parties. First of all the idiom of white elephant refers to the legend of the King of Siam. He would gift rare albino elephants to courtiers who displeased him, as they might be ruined by the animal’s upkeep costs. It’s an extravagant gift but burdensome to the recipient.

To me, White Elephant vs Gift Exchange Parties is the intention of the gift. To be funny, gaudy, or odd, versus a gift you would like to have if no one else likes it. Alternatively, a Gift Exchange Party is simply that. A minimum dollar amount (usually $20) is set, with the same rules of “stealing” and “freezing” a gift after a number of “steals”.

So ERFB tells me it’s a White Elephant Gift Party with a $10 minimum. I set out into the world of retail therapy to buy a real train wreck-y gift like something directly out of an informercial. I traveled to the nearest Wally World (i.e. Wal-Mart) I dragged along my little sister to assist. We found the “As Seen On TV” end cap in the middle of the store. To this day, I can’t remember what I purchased but it was so terrible it was funny, at least to me. Finally, it was the day of the party. The numbers were drawn for order of selecting the first gift. The person holding number one walked up to the pile of wrapped gifts as directed by rule and opened it. To my absolute horror, it was a beautiful candle set from the warehouse. I wanted to stand up, walk over, select my gift and leave for the best unexplained #micdrop and walk ever. Round after round another person would skip over my cheesy-tried-and-true-WHITE-ELEPHANT gift. My “turn” was finally up, as it seemed to take forneverness. I promptly walked up to my donated gift, unwrapped, and kept it. Thankfully, no one “stole” it either. I mean-mugged ERFB the entire “party”. What a troll for tricking me! I unintentionally made a mockery of this gift exchange. I gnashed my teeth together. I vowed to NEVER allow this to happen to me or anyone in my orbit that I care about ever again. That, and … never talking to ERFB again. So, Spaceship Earth, have you confused this issue? Were you tricked like me? Lemme know in the comments below. Until next time, be good like you should, and if you can’t be good, be good at what you do.

Mic drop *bOoM*

‘los; out

Christmas Cards Are An Endangered Species

Ever since the Digital Age started, many traditional institutions such as mailed letters have been in a state of decline. In fact, it’s extinct. Well, at least, Christmas Cards Are An Endangered Species with young adults that don’t know how to properly address an envelope. There’s an app out there available that you can mimic hand written notes, have them digitally created, then the company will complete fulfillment for a small fee. It’s called Bond. That’s right!

Christmas Cards Are An Endangered Species

Christmas Cards are  an endangered species

Christmas Cards and the family newsletter included is (was?) a time-honored tradition to divulge details of trials and tribulations and successes, too. But with the immediacy of social media of announcements, cry for help and everything else, there’s few reasons to carry on the tradition of Christmas Cards.

Right? Wrong.

I want to lead a paradigm shift back to those days of pad and pen. Not as a backlash of technology, or trying to be a #hipster, but as a re-centering of the human condition.

Connecting each soul by written word and consumed through a paper medium to complete the tactile experience. Seriously, though.

Nothing is more personal than reading a hand written note by your loved one, family or friend on folded paper. Even if the news was old, at least it’s being told to you from their perspective in their hand writing.

I remember my mother opening her address book of family and friends to send out her cards. It was a turquoise blue with brass rings. And she would tell me to put up a string so all received cards can be displayed over the mantle. This Christmas task always seemed daunting, labor intensive, and tedious.

I digress.

Besides, we’re in such a hurry nowadays, Christmas Cards are an endangered species. They are discarded in favor of the widespread reach and quickly with a tweet or a Facebook post or Instagram photo (see what I did there?)

I’m gonna challenge myself to return to the days when I painstakingly wrote a personalized message in each person’s card and hand wrote the address on the envelope. Christmas Cards are an endangered species which I strongly believe can be brought back to prominence. Whatcha think Spaceship Earth? Are you up to my challenge?

And no, Jib-Jab doesn’t count. Neither does Shutterfly-esque photo Christmas card with Happy Holidays on it. Until next time, be good like you should and if you can’t be good, be good at what you do!

Mic drop *bOoM*

‘los; out

Dream Job

I grew up in the 80’s therefore I identify myself with the Generation X group. So my parenting, coaching and societal conditioning all pointed towards seeking an education and/or training for my greatest strengths and interests to “land my Dream Job”.

Well at the awesome age of 42 – I have not obtained that necessary education and training beyond 2 year college degree. I didn’t pay an institution to receive this or have a expensive piece of paper that has a “degree” on it stating that I earned it.

Never felt an overwhelming need for it. To me, it seemed silly.

In addition, I don’t possess a God-given talent that Americans are willing to pay for, as in sports, art, music, or other.

Despite this, I am a tax-paying, law abiding, somewhat happy, healthy, productive member of American society. I say somewhat because I’m not holistically happy and content in the work realm. I never have. Er, rather I have yet to feel that way.

Each and every job I’ve ever held, at some point, I’m asked: “Los, why are you here?”

I’m confused. I reply, “What do you mean? This is my job, it’s what I was hired to do.”

‘They’ will quip, “I understand that, but you don’t belong here.”

The first time I’ve had this conversation I was hurt. I have integrity, determination, a grateful attitude, and always seeking ways to improve myself or the results I produce.

But that’s the rub. “They” are speaking about the intangible. I’m a man that’s not in the correct time or place.

The reason why I’m not is simple: it’s not my Dream Job. What is my Dream Job? Up until today, I’ve searching for it.

I’ve built myself a life that most would be content with. I have job security with a company that is progressive, I purchased a house that’s being developed into a home with love and attention, and network of friends and family where I feel loved, and cherish, and at the very least I have a positive impact on my interactions with anyone.

Yet?

It’s still not enough. Why, you ask? Because it’s not my Dream Job. Again, as I said, I haven’t found it. Today, after speaking with a relative stranger, I realized I have no Dream Job.

Dream Job
Dream Job

That’s right – it simply doesn’t exist. At least for me. What I’m doing currently is surviving. I’m counting my days towards access to my 401(k) at the early age of 59 1/2. I just don’t think I was put on this planet to commute back and forth at a job, only to pay bills, try to eek out a life, retire and then die within 5 years of retirement.

That’s not right – again, at least for me.

So if I’m saying there’s no Dream Job for me, in addition what I’m doing is only surviving, what are my next steps?

With my new, self-proclaimed business consultant, I was asked this morning, “What would your Dream Job or business look like if you had to describe to me?”

And for the past 509 words, you know I’m not a loss for words to deliver my message. I couldn’t answer her inane question.

I joked, “I’m story teller. In any medium I dive into whether it’s writing, photography, videography, or in-person I seek to deliver a message through helpful, relevant information delicately blended with my anecdotes, experiences, and thoughts. I would love do that daily, yet get paid to do it.”

Her reply is succinct, but resonated with me, “Let’s work on that.”

I continued to joke as an automatic self-defense mechanism, “Could you imagine that? I’m interviewed for a #TEDtalks segment, or be something like Tony Robbins.”

“As a matter of fact,” she paused, “that’s exactly what I had in mind. You have that potential. That je ne sai quoi as you said to me earlier.”

We eventually hung up with the agreement that will be speaking on a regular basis. As I sat there in a comfy chair at the local Starbucks, I started thinking.

Since I don’t have an ideal job, because I stated before working someone else or a large institution doesn’t seem to be my best fit, what would be an ideal day for me? What would an ideal week? A year? A decade?

The key to most American business is duplication and scalability. Can you duplicate yourself, and your vision? Furthermore, can you expand it without it collapsing on itself. For example, the very damn Starbucks I was sitting in.

The corporation figured how to successfully duplicate itself, and expand globally.

In the same conversation, I joked with Catherine, “Instead of having to drag myself outta bed, drive to this coffeehouse, and get my own coffee, I dream that a nice personal assistant named Ashley/Brittany/Lindsey would bring me French press coffee, and an itinerary of tasks that I should be completing. Just like Tony Stark, minus the alcoholism, of course.”

My ideal day would be:

  • Waking up without an alarm
  • Working out
  • Having a sensible breakfast
  • Performing an outdoor activity such as working on my house, or playing geocaching
  • Consuming a keto-based lunch
  • Interacting with friends and/or family a positive way with a phone call or in-person meeting
  • Continue to work on projects that make noise or require interacting with other humans
  • Cooking, and creating a dinner that’s nutritious and delicious
  • Walk into my home office, and fire up my computer to work until bed time

My ideal week would be:

  • 2-4 days of my ideal day
  • 2-3 days of self care

My ideal year would be:

  • 40-45 weeks of my ideal weeks
  • 15-17 weeks of traveling the world learning new ways to better shape my ideal day which is the building block to this vision

My ideal decade would be:

  • 1-7 years of focused work on projects
  • 3 years of self-care whether that be relaxation, or perceived relaxation, and/or fun

That seems to me to be my Dream Job. Who knows, it could be my nightmare.

Keep digging, as always,

‘los

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