Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy Leap Year!

Happy Leap Year! The faster I go, the behinder I get! While recovering from colds and maladies, continuing to unpack and set up our new happy home, on Friday we attended the official opening of the Alta Vista Culinary Sciences Lab. You all know that Mason spent 18 months raising over $26,000 to improve the kitchen at his (former) elementary school, well it took another 14 months for the school district to get the equipment installed, floors redone, and all the accoutrements purchased and here we are, the kids in grades K-5 are learning to cook. The ribbon cutting luncheon was "A Taste of Asia" and all the kids made the food that was served; crispy fried won tons with a spicy Thai dip, beef skewers, Thai noodle salad, lemon cheesecake for dessert and a Thai iced tea. It was incredible! I have to say, I always knew we would reach our goal, but I didn't realize this project would turn out as special as it is. I was emotional listening to Mason's speech about how happy he is to make a donation to the program from his Chopped Junior winnings and how proud he is that kids are learning to cook. Here is the clip from Fox40 News who did a story on the project on Tuesday.…/23/cooking-local-boy-wins-chopped-junior/ 

Over the weekend Dave and Mason spent the day in the bay area gaming and I made progress on unpacking. Sunday we all went out for target practice with friends on some lovely private property. What a fun day! Shooting different kinds of guns, a fire blazing, snacks and lots of laughs. 

Now it's time to get our butts in gear for another very busy week. Mason has two speeches on Tuesday, one at 7 AM for the Chamber of Commerce and again at noon for one of our bigger Rotary clubs. Then on Thursday Mason is cooking for the annual Celebrity Chef fundraiser. This is cool as two years ago, Mason's kitchen project was the recipient of the grant from the Lions for this event. It's a nice way to give back. I'll share more about these events next week. Happy Monday!

Monday, February 22, 2016


It's Monday again (not really, I'm so far behind, it's really Wednesday).  It's been a wild ride, the Partaks have been under the weather to different degrees at different times since a week ago Friday. It started with me on our way to Tahoe feeling not quite like myself. All weekend long I was a bit lethargic, feeling a familiar unwelcome sensation, and losing my voice. I nursed my cold with cough drops and drank lots of cranberry juice, yeah, I added vodka, and on Monday a trip to the urgent care confirmed I had a cold and a urinary tract infection. I made my way through the week and as I was feeling better and sending Dave off to S. CA for work, Mason made a visit to my bedroom at 4 AM crying with ear pain. Since it was Saturday, the only option was the ER and that confirmed a double ear infection. We got the antibiotics going for Mason only for Dave to return home on Sunday having spent 3 nights at an Embassy Suites that had an infestation of bed bugs. Yes, I'm sure that's what it was as his body (armpits to mid-thigh) is covered in bites that look a bit like little sores, and he says they hurt. We made it three for thee to the urgent care/ER for the Partak Team and Dave was diagnosed with a cold and yes, lots of bed bug bites. The good thing about bed bugs, if there is a good thing, is that they don't typically stay with you, they bite you, enjoy the feast and then stay in bed. Of course, any kind of "buggy" thing related to bed makes all those around you suddenly feel itchy and the need to scratch just happens. Thank goodness it was clear to us (Embassy Suites denies that they have an issue) that this is where they were as Dave used his personal vehicle for the trip and only stayed at this one place. We sanitized all of his clothes including his shoes even though it's not likely that he brought them home. Although, they could hang on I guess, how do they get to hotels? Isn't it funny, I'm itching as I write this and I know we don't have them here at home. The power of suggestion is alive and well!

I have so much more to share but I am just not up for the telling of the tales. I will get to writing on my Intentional Winning blog as I set my new years resolution to write 365 posts this year and I am sorely behind. I keep making notes of the things I want to write about, but I underestimated how much time moving would take and how tired and uninspired I would be to write. I will catch up and I will meet my goal. I will. Happy Monday! Okay, it's not really Monday, but in years to come, will anyone know or remember that I back dated this post? I don't think so. ;)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Driving through North Lake Tahoe there are a handful of old motels, hotels and Inns along the lake shore. Most have been updated with new signage but they still reflect the vintage feel of the place. One thing that jumped out was the sign that advertises, "Color TV." Really? Is there any place you can stay today that does not have color television? Do they even make black and white televisions anymore? I don't think so... let me look. Okay, it looks like you can still buy one on Amazon, but it's absolutely not the norm! Laughing! Would a sign advertising color television in your room make you want to stay there? Things that make you think.

Monday, February 15, 2016

No School Again?

How can it be that Mason has ANOTHER week off from school? I don't remember having so much time off, but I do recall my mom thinking I did. It seems that there is PLC Monday, which means school gets out an hour early every Monday of the school year, regular holidays like President's day, summer vacation, winter break over Christmas, this week off in February, spring break is coming at the end of March, sheesh! I can't beat it so I might as well make the most of it. We had Mason's birthday at a local mini gold place and there were some issues. They ended up giving me 9 passes for laser tag so I think I'll take Mason and two friends to play this week and maybe Mason and I can go see a movie. I know he needs to get some work done on his science fair project so this week should just fly right by.

In other news, we are getting moved in and slowly, the boxes are going away. Don't get me wrong, there is still LOTS to do but progress is being made. Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentines Day and Orange Roses

I don't think my Flower David knew this when he brought this gorgeous arrangement home for me, but it's safe to say I have a new favorite flower. 
Orange roses: "With their warm, vibrant tones, orange roses symbolize enthusiasm and desire. If you're looking for a way to express admiration and attraction - with an underlying message of passion and excitement - then send a bouquet filled with these fiery blooms.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Chicago Was A Blast!

Mason and I have been in Chicago for the last four days and we've had a ball. I can't share all the details yet but suffice it to say, we have more excitement on the horizon. Mason participated in a cooking competition of sorts and when we weren't working, we got to visit the Shedd Aquarium, did some shopping on Magnificent Mile where Mason purchased some cool gold football cleats, we had two kinds of deep dish pizza, and we visited a ramen restaurant off the beaten path - it was phenomenal! Speaking of the pizza, we all know that Chicago style pizza is heavy on the toppings and deep dish style but what I didn't realize is that the crust is croissant like. It's lighter, flaky and quite buttery. My next question to the locals was, "Do Chicagoans eat cold pizza?" I'm thinking no because it's so thick, it would be like eating cold lasagne, just too much cheese to eat cold. The only thing that could have made the trip better is if Dave could have come with us.

I keep thinking what a gift it is that Mason's culinary talents are taking him on these awesome adventures, and he's only 12 years old! He's been to NYC, CT, IL, and of course many counties in CA. I have no doubt he will see the world because of his ability to cook and entertain.

Now I have to see what I can get unpacked and put away before we take off for Lake Tahoe this Friday. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Why Not You?

I am certain we are always harder on ourselves than other people are on us, but let me ask you, how much confidence do you really have in yourself? Watching the Super Bowl a few years ago, Russell Wilson said (and the story was told about him many times that day) that his dad asked him, “Why not you Russell? Why not you?” He could have said, “Because I’m too small, because my arm isn’t strong enough…” he could have said to his father all the things his critics were telling him, but he didn’t. He held on to his dream and let his father’s voice echo in his head, “Why not you Russell?” This in turn became, “Why not me?” To his team, “Why not us?” So who are you? Are you like Russell Wilson or are you the one who caves in to the critics. Dave suggested that some people succeed to spite their critics. Okay, I suppose the "Tell me I can't and I'll show you I will!" isn't a bad thing, but why are we not all simply lifting each other up? I preach to Mason almost daily, "Are you a friend people want? Do you lift your friends up by encouraging them, or are you being the kid who will say, "Yours sucks, mines better!" Well, the truth of the matter is, he's a boy and a very competitive boy at that, he has to work to remember to not compete but to lift his friends up. It is my hope that by starting this message with him now, by the time he gets it, it will have shaped him to be someone who lifts others up and encourages them to ask, "Why not me?"
I’ve been the one who listens to all the people who say things like, “You can’t be an actress, you are not the right type, you are not tall enough, you are not thin enough, and you are not like a model.” “College isn’t really for you, eh, er, I mean, you are not really the college type.” “It would just be good if you could follow something through, you never follow through.” “Oh no, she has an idea, you know what that means, it’s gonna cost me money.”  Where does one find the strength to not listen to those naysayers while still loving them, and still have the gumption to ask, “Why not me? I can do it, I can be it, I’m enough.” Do you feel like you are enough? I don’t. I also don’t think that many women do, especially women who are wives and mothers. As women who feel so much responsibility for the lives of others, it is incredibly difficult to focus on anything else. Heck, truth be told, we can’t focus on any one thing because there are so many one things to do, how is it possible to focus on just one at a time? From keeping up with the housewifery, the kids school work, after school schedules, medical and dental appointments, grocery shopping, in my case, real estate that I am trying to do more of while working for another top producing agent, and more…so I’m told to drop some of these things and focus on me, my business, what I want. Really?
And where does talent play into this equation? Dave brought up the example of the people who audition for American Idol, the people who can not sing. Is it a good idea to encourage these people and set them up for failure? I would say in life, this example is more an exception than a rule. We live in a society that is not one of encouragement but of competition and the belief that we can make people stronger by continually knocking them down - some people, yes, others, no. And to the singing point, certainly not everyone can sing, as I well know! But could we encourage one to sing for pleasure yet say, "Singing may not be your professional calling - how can you craft a career around music so you can be in the environment that you love and feel successful?" Again, it's all in how it's done, and keeping the message positive.
So let me be very clear, I am not complaining. What I am hoping my message will come across as is this, if we really see big things and lots of potential in someone, why don't we focus on growing that? Let's not focus on the failures, or what appears to be shortcomings, let's focus on continuing to encourage the ideas for success - no matter what someone else might judge or evaluate. Many will say without failure, success is impossible. I don't know if that's true, but I can attest to plenty of failure. Russell Wilson held on to the voices that were encouraging him and he dismissed those that told him he wasn't good enough, big enough, strong enough, or enough enough. Let's all take a moment today to first acknowledge that we are enough and can be anything that we want, and second, find someone else to lift up and encourage - really make it matter, touch them, look them in the eye and make sure you have their attention and lift them up. Be the voice they can hold on to next time someone tells them they are not enough.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Boxes Everywhere!

We. Are. Exhausted. We spent this last week and weekend finishing our move from the rental to the new house. Why is it when you move that the last day it seems like there is more little stuff than what fills the whole house? The last bits of paper, rags, cleaning products, yard tools, and more. More what? I ask because I wonder if I even need this stuff. It doesn't matter, now I need to focus on all the boxes that are surrounding us in the new house and start figuring out what of our old stuff works in the new house.

In addition to unpacking, Mason and I are preparing to leave for Chicago for a cooking competition and then we will return home only to visit Lake Tahoe the next weekend. The question is, will be we able to relax and unwind knowing we have so much to do at home, home sweet home.