Tuesday, July 17, 2012

{Survived}: my weekend in pictures

I saw this weekend coming for weeks...
on paper, in my calendar, it looked manageable. 
 It would prove to test my limits, but it was so worth it. 

It was jam-packed full of: family, friends, food, 5Ks, personal achievements, music, mishaps and detours, many, many miles and oh so many memories.

Earlier this week, I announced that I had some craziness coming at me like a runaway train,
some of you wished me well,
maybe a few of you prayed that I'd make it through in once piece. 

Thank you, thank you. 
I survived, barely any worse for the wear {ok, maybe a few lbs extra, but I'll work those off in due time}.
If I didn't get a chance to see you in the last few days, here's the storyboard:

My official weekend began on Wednesday, the only day without out of town plans, I was overdue for a visit to my Grandparents.
It's tradition to grab tacos from our local taqueria and sit and catch up for a couple of hours. 
This time, we each had unexpected, belated gifts to exchange. 
Really though, just hanging out with Grams & Gramps is a treat in itself. 

Thursday was left to appointments, bills, some time with my Uncle Mick, and a 10 hour shift-trade that lasted well into the AM hours.  Enough to keep a girl plenty busy.  I just drove around town and gave my money away, but there's this thing called ownership and that other thing called functioning utilities.  Meh. 

{bills, bills, bills...but then I got to go to lunch with this sweet ol' guy!}
Friday, the day that pushed the limits. 

{cousins are as cousins do, my younger crazy bro, my cousin, and me}
{we wait, we make faces, we stand, we make faces, we take pictures, we make faces}

After about 2.5 hours of sleep coming off of my Thursday night trade, I was up at 6am and getting ready to be in Sacramento for 2012's first graduating class of the California Highway Patrol (hoo-rah!), my cousin, Mike, being one of those proud, new officers.
{The Class Motto: "Blessed are the Peacekeepers"...for they shall be called the Sons of God. It is and has been one of my favorite Cop verses/sayings for years now. 
It made me happy to know that this graduating class of 67 men and women began their careers with that as their motto and their direction for their future. 
God Bless the Peacekeepers}

I've been the law enforcement black sheep in my family for about 15 years, to know that there would be someone else in this profession with me in our family now -  knowing the climate of these political and criminal days lately, knowing what it was to take that oath, and put on that badge, knowing the stress of training, shift work, not just the physical stress, but the emotional one, knowing that it's a sacrifice of the entire family when you have someone in a uniform, in a vest, on the side of the highway, behind a gun and a shield, in the service of others and willing to sacrifice everything that comes with that...to know these things is bittersweet.  It is humbling and proud all at once.

I just sat there in that gymnasium and listened with pride and tears in my eyes as I heard these words said over and over again from various speakers: 

you are all public servants, we are the muscle & bone of government
you are warriors, peacemakers, and now you know that you are more than the sum of yourselves
know that you have the authority but now the responsibility
stand proud, noble, upright, humble
remember you are and remember who stands next to you
May God be with you all

Leaving the gradation after the badge pinning, I headed straight over to this Capitol adjacent office to talk politics and political strategy game plan for the upcoming local election campaigns. 
Yes, this is what I do in my "free" time as the 8-year+ Secretary of the Police Officers Association.
I wear a lot of hats and crack a lot of whips.

Back in high school, there were two things I said I knew (I was 17, I knew tons of s#!% yo!) that I just didn't want to "sit in front of a computer screen all day" or "work in politics".
Adult Lauren, meet 17-y/o Lauren, she jinxed you. 

{Friday the 13th, the day when Scratchers, nude peep toe pumps, and purses ride shotgun}

No rest for the wicked, the rest of my day was tied up in traffic, errands, and trying to figure out how to intravenously inject caffeine into my system and wondering if I just poured it directly into my eyeballs would it be more effective? 

{Gallery showing/fundraiser for Rwanda for Justice, an NPO operating to educate Rwandan law enforcement and medical professionals to treat and counsel childhood victims of sexual abuse}

Home with just an hour to nap and change again, I headed off to an art showing for my good friend, and well she might as well be a little sister, Kerri, who had her first art showing.  She said "yeah, it'll just be a few pictures up on a wall. Oh ye of little self-confidence.  This was a showing of beauty, compassion, grace, talent, and pure God-given talent.  So young, so nervous, this girl is incredible, humble, and talented beyond her years.  This is just her beginning.  Someday I'll say "I knew her in her infancy, she was my second shooter at a wedding one time and now her portraits are in international art galleries."

Between the graduation in the morning and the gallery showing at night, it was just a day to celebrate personal achievement and applaud the compassion and dedication of the human spirit.

{my always-ready passenger, Uncle Mick, came with me - he just likes to get out and have a good time, and it comes easy for him because he is truly one of the friendliest men you will ever meet - we shall mark this photo "pre-incident"}

The actual "incident" involved a high curb and some gravel.  Let's just say it as a big monkey wrench in the long day that was Friday, but we literally rolled with the punches.
{we are 1 more incident away from an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) issued by Adult Protective Services (APS), me being the "restrained party" (R/O)...
I swear, it's just a coincidence that I'm always there for the falls.}

I busted out the EMD assessment with the quickness, gathered some first aid supplies, applied a few rusty, old  EMT skills and had this guy all patched up in no time. 
 Our cover story: teaching some local kids at the community center  what it was like to box back in the days of Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier, things just got a little too real, yo!

Friday still incomplete without making pasta for 50 people, a night of cooking was still in store.  Let's say that tired cooks, sundresses, and boiling water do not mix.  Pasta is pretty forgiving, the cooking gods smiled down upon me and I prevailed just before the stroke of 2am.
{Childhood memory: my mom used to spank me with these wooden spoons when I was a kid...a few years later, she was talking to the neighbor over the back fence.  He told her that he found half a dozen wooden spoons thrown over the fence and was she missing any?  Uhhh...so slick us younguns thought we were.  So slick.}

Saturday ushered in yet another celebration with the entire family to celebrate our new Officer's accomplishments.  I just watched their faces, their reactions at the training video, the questions they had filled with wonder about what they had seen on COPS, how bad the new "beat" was going to be...perception vs. reality.  I just smiled at my cousin with the look that said "I've got your back."  He's part of the Police family now, a different breed, the one that bleeds blue and runs into danger while everyone else is running out.

{20 minutes in the sunshine on the edge of the pool watching the youngest generation of my family float all their childhood troubles away - remembering when a bathing suit, a pair of goggles and the awe of being able to do a headstand underwater was all it took to create bliss}

Earlier this year, I made it a goal to walk/run/participate in an organized run once a month for a year.  I started in March and haven't missed a month yet...this month made 5 for 5.  Of course an epic weekend wouldn't be epic without some kind of physical challenge.  Just the sheer distance between the Bay Area and Davis, CA in a jam packed weekend was enough to count as a physical challenge, but nonetheless, I got myself home, in my house for a quick change and off to the Moo-nlight Race along with what could have been half of the population of Northern California.

{these are the real runners...the marathoners, they came at us like hoards of zombies...we were walking, but I felt like we were slowly going to be overtaken by "walkers"...note to self: couch to 5-k, get on it so next time you won't become a speed bump for people in lycra and duty belts full of hydration bottles}
I could stop here and tell you that after the "run" I went home and went to be early, but I'd be lying. 
There was a post-party for the retirement party I missed while stuck in Davis traffic, so I ended up out on a ranch just east west of town and caught up with old friends in loooooow places {channel your inner Garth Brooks, go ahead, I know you just sang that lyric}. 

And then...Sunday came. 
I had been counting down the days to Sunday for months. 
Named The BEST Day Ever (part duex) 2012 edition, Sunday belonged to two of our favorite guys:
Kenny & Tim
You see, I am just a little bit more country than rock and roll.

{supplies .99 at a time, we got some looks standing in line...proof that our crazy day plans were already working}

{party supplies...we were prepared to make friends and have fun, this was round 2, we tried this technique 4 years ago with great success, people will do just about anything for free booze lemme tell you!!!}

{What Would You Do For A Jello Shot?!  Would you hula-hoop?  Would you limbo?  Would you strip down into a bikini top and grass skirt and do a little dance?}
{2008...who could say no to this band of merry Jello shot do-gooders?  No one, that's who.  No one.}
{girls, horns, and camera phones...we be making memories all day long}
{I call this an oasis...you call it what you want, this is a County Music fans Mecca}

{just happy}

{Kodak moment meets the tour bus}

{The clear day rolled out with the sunset and the Bay Area fog bank rolled in, just in time for a light show to put on a dance over our heads.  As I looked up singing along, I whispered  wishes and hellos to loved ones far and wide, the people that I thought of as my favorite songs floated out across the Coliseum.  Music always takes me to my favorite places, my favorite people, and my favorite times.  Music makes my world go 'round.}
Oh, how was the concert?  It was awesome!!!  I have a not-so-secret love affair with all musical things Kenny Chesney.  He loves what he does and it shows.  He's not singing to throngs of fans, he's putting on a show for all of his friends.  I'm a regular concert goer, and my musical taste runs the gamut.  There is nothing more disappointing than paying good, hard-earned money to watch someone put on the light and smoke show and a half-assed lip-synced show.  You'll never get that here. 

In the words of Kenny Chesney himself  "Music is one of the most powerful forces.  It speaks to our hearts, our minds, our souls...it takes us back to places we've forgotten and memories that have faded."
{We danced.  We sang.  We drank.  We smiled into the night...
We took pictures,  we made new friends, but above all else, we had fun, we made new memories, and we didn't worry about the to-do lists, family concerns, and job responsibilities, even if just for a few hours.}

I leave my weekend with a kitchen sink full of dirty dishes, an empty gas tank, an iPhone full to capacity with videos and pictures, an always increasing appreciation for my friends & family, a letting go of feeling like this place I call home is suffocating me, and a heart full of memories. 

I could tell you that it's easy for me to remember to be grateful and thankful all the time, but I'm not. 
I slip into wondering if the things I really want will ever happen for me.
Yeah, it's not all concert-stubs, sappy blogs, and photo challenges.

I can tell you that I sometimes think I'm addicted to staying busy, that when things slow down, I don't know what to do with myself because I've programmed myself to fill my days with meaning and purpose, or entertainment and hobbies.

I can make all kinds of comparisons about what it isn't, but what I will tell you it is
is that I am always making an effort to take advantage of the days and find time
for the people who I hold dear to me. 

I will tell you that the effort is worth it and you can always get some sleep tomorrow.

I will tell you that it's not the days we remember but the moments. 

If you were part of any of these moments of mine in these last five days, thank you for being part of my life.

~ Lauren


  1. Wow! That looks like an awesome, eventful week!I'm stopping by from the GFC Blog Hop and am now a new follower:) Would love for you to stop by Crazy Mama Drama!

  2. I'm all for Crazy Drama...I'm headed over!