My Two Dads

Reminiscent of the late 1980’s U.S. sitcom, I have been blessed with “My Two Dads”.  My relationships with each are as different as they are.  For the many reasons that makes them each unique, I wholeheartedly love them both, and am thankful to have them in my life.

Many things that I love about my dad can be categorized by his zest for life.  He likes things bright, bold, and a little zany.  Here’s what I mean — his favorite color is orange, and I don’t mean some muted burnt sienna orange, or a light pastel orange, I’m talkin’ neon, calling your attention, bright orange!  He drives what we call “The Blue Bomb” — it is one of the easiest cars to find in the parking lot and one of the easiest to follow on the freeway — it truly striking in its hue.  From all the places my dad visits — near or far, there are two items he must have to commemorate his travels — a shot glass, and a bumper sticker.  He loves all foods spicy, flavorful, and always followed by chocolate.

A graphic word cloud created by "Wordle" using  dad-related words
A graphic word cloud created by “Wordle” using dad-related words

To make my dad’s Father’s Day card I employed the use of Wordle, one of my favorite free Internet tools for creating graphic word clouds.  I basically did a free word association with all things “dad” – and for those words that I wanted to appear larger, I repeated them.

The result was a word cloud graphically represented in my choice of colors, font, layout preferences, etc.  I printed the image on dark green card stock, punched out several squares and then used a glue stick to arrange them over a textured wheat-colored card stock.  I punched out two gift tags, stamped “No. 1 Dad” and attached the tags with an orange eyelet, and stuck them on with a double-sided 3D foam adhesive.  Inside I used an Autumn Leaves “You are Amazing” stamp.  The result – a masculine and personalized card acknowledging the truly amazing dad that I have.

Number One Dad Father's Day card

Handmade Father's Day Card using Wordle

When I think of my Papi, I think of his love and fascination with all things scientific, historical, and indigenous.  As he is himself a mix of French and Incan, the interest in native people from his native Perú (and all over the world) totally makes sense.  The Nazca Lines have always intrigued him — how did they get there?  what do they represent?  what can we learn from them?  — all curious questions.  In addition to his insatiable appetite for knowledge and learning, my Papi also likes to stay below the radar.  This can be chalked up to humility, or simply attributed to his desire for a simple contented life.  When I hear my Papi’s voice in my head, his rant and rave will forever be “hay que preservar el castellano” — he never referred to us speaking Spanish, it was always “el castellano”, which can be literally translated to Castilian (but refers to Spanish) — but this has always been his way to remind us that we didn’t merely speak Spanish, but “castellano” — big difference!

In honor of Papi, I chose a bright pattern, highlighting geometric lines often associated with Native cultures, made sure to choose stamps bearing good news in “castellano”, and kept is simple and below the radar with a small, but honest, “Happy Father’s Day” message.

Handmade Father's Day card for my Papi

Papi's Father's Day card

To both of my dads, I love you, I am grateful for you, and wish you a Happy Father’s Day.


Mission Accomplished!

The Mission, if accepted: Complete a 5k on Sunday, June 6th, 2010 (motivated by the Weight Watchers 2010 Walk-It Challenge)

My Personal Goal: Walk/Jog said 5k and complete in under 45 minutes (i.e. 15-min miles)

The Contender(s): Me, and my beloved team of support (AKA my husband and friends)

Location: The Pasadena Rose Bowl – site of the famed Rose Bowl Tournament and the Tournament of Roses Parade — complete with a perimeter pedestrian path of 3.2 miles (5k)

Front view of the Pasadena Rose Bowl

The Pasadena Rose Bowl, courtesy of

The Lowdown: At 6:40-something on Sunday morning I hear my husband’s alarm going off, knowing I now have about ten more minutes before my back-up alarm goes off.  I greedily relish every second of half-sleep, peeping one eye open every other minute or so to see how much time I have left.  Finally at about 6:50-something, about three minutes before the alarm time, I get out of bed, left leg, right leg, and out…realizing that I’m awake.  Teeth brushed, bananas sliced, cereal poured, milk waiting, workout clothes on, I wait for my hubby to join me for a healthy, somewhat hearty (but not too heavy) breakfast together.  We lace up our shoes, make sure we have all we need, even grab the camera, and head out by 7:40 to the Rose Bowl.  Although it’s supposed to heat up to a smokin’ Southern California 93 degrees by mid-day at 8-ish in the morning it’s sunny and cool — perfect for a nice 5k jaunt around the Rose Bowl.

Picture of Proposed Updates to Pasadena Rose Bowl Pedestrian Path

Image of Proposed Updates to Pasadena Rose Bowl Pedestrian Path courtesy of

Upon pulling into the arena area and driving towards our chosen parking lot, we notice the proposed updates to the pedestrian path have now become a reality.  Roads have been paved, clear pedestrian and car lanes have been drawn, areas shaded, and new white lines have been painted — it looks great and incredibly inviting.  As soon as our friends join us we take a quick before picture, and head off to join the many other walkers, bikers, and runners.

Continuing in the interval format, my friend and I start off with a 5-minute walking warm-up, then progress to intervals of 3-minute jogs and 2-minute walks.  We pace ourselves, and manage to carry on conversations, but bring on the activity enough to break out a sweat and get our hearts beating.  The slight up and down grades are manageable, and the sight of fellow exercisers, plus a refreshing breeze keeps us going on our merry way.  Although I will still firmly say, “I am NOT a runner!” I do admit that the bump in activity, the stretching of my legs in a non-walking way, and the amazing feeling afterwards is enough reward, that I will confess to being an interval jogger.  Slower pace, shorter intervals, manageable level of activity — this I can do.  About 40 minutes and 50 seconds later (inexact due to user and stopwatch miscommunication) we reached our goal and completed the 5k.  With a little rounding-off that makes for less than 14-minute miles (getting close to 13.5) — in a very good pace.  More Math – adding up our intervals means we jogged for about 21 minutes of our 40 minutes, meaning we jogged for more than half of our 3.2 miles.  For me, non-runner, hater-of-running, the fact that I jogged for 21 minutes is awesome!  And the fact that I felt comfortable in our pace and our activity – great!

Mission Accomplished!  Words of encouragement to the fellow non-runners out there.  If I can do it, so can you.  So go ahead, choose a goal that is seemingly impossible, break it down to the manageable, and go for it.  And then, share your stories?  What’s your goal?  How’s your journey?  How’s your mission?