The Pool Float Flounder, A Workout For Lazy People

float 2

By Vicki Hughes 2013                Posted June 17, 2013

I recently spent some very serious lazy-time on my favorite pool float, reading a book and doing my favorite form of exercise, The Pool Float Flounder. This particular float is made in two sections, so when it’s on land you can fold the leg section underneath the butt section and it instantly becomes a sort of seventies style chair. This is great because the moment you decide it looks really stupid sitting on the deck, you can grab it and fling it back into the water where the dogs can’t pee on it. Very convenient.

In a sudden burst of redneck, “Hey y’all, watch this!” I wondered to myself if I could sit on the float, in its folded up state, in the pool? I imagined myself perched up there, a la Cleopatra, and wondered if I could get John to fashion me some sort of shade awning out of palm fronds. I folded up the float, drug it over to the pool steps, gingerly tested it with both hands, pressing it down in the water to ensure its seaworthiness. Once my rigorous scientific testing was complete, I took an over-confident hop and sat my ass down on it, and I was promptly bucked off like a rookie bull rider at the PBA finals. My cowboy hat flew off and everything.

As I came sputtering to the surface I realized I’d narrowly missed knocking out a couple of teeth on the side of the pool. I took a mental pencil, and added this to an ever growing list of things to never try again. My list includes: roller skating, walking in the snow in nothing more than slippers and a bathrobe, coloring my hair anything other than some variation of blonde, using the “cheap beans” in chili, doing my own pedicures and helping acquaintances get their lives together by offering them a place to stay “for a week or two.”

You live, you learn.

I decided to be mature, and simply use the float according to package directions, which, I assure you, I never read. Roughly forty-five minutes into what I call The Pool Float Flounder, it dawned on me that I may be on to the next internet craze. The Pool Float Flounder is just as idiotic as say, Prancercize or Gangnam Style.

Here’s how you do it: On the side of the pool you place your beverage, your book, your cell phone, a journal and a pen. Be sure to place your phone in a shady spot so it won’t get a heatstroke and cause the ominous Temperature! warning to come on. That is bad, so I’ve been told. Now, bring the float over to the shallow end, and raising one leg, attempt to straddle the float. Do not attempt to look dignified. That will only slow you down and lead to low self-esteem and bitterness. Expect to resemble an oiled up Michelin Man getting into a rubber canoe.

Now, once the rocking and rolling settles down, use your hands to paddle yourself back to the side where you’ve left your relaxation paraphernalia. Contemplate the wisdom of taking your cell phone away from land, consult your recent memories of stupid things not to do again, and then opt to leave it relaxing in the shade of a potted gardenia. Grab your beverage and your book with the ruffled pages. Fun fact: in the humidity books get curly hair just like people do.

Make sure your straw cowboy hat is someplace on your head, and then with your foot, launch off from the side. At this point, you’re doing great. You’re afloat, you have your drink, which is not exactly as cold as you’d like, but there’s no going back for ice cubes now. Your book will have damp thumbprints and a few smeary lines of text. This is normal. Your body will be making these hilarious, squeaking gunshot noises every time you wiggle around to get comfortable. Also normal.

When you realize you are schlumphed down like an eight pound newborn in a big boy carseat, you will need to position your feet on the lower portion of the float, getting just enough traction to push yourself back, carefully lifting your butt and skootching backwards. This is important in case anyone shows up with a smartphone and wants to take pictures, and you’d like to have fewer than forty seven chins.

Take a deep breath. You’re doing great.

At this point, if you’ve timed your Pool Float Flounder workout correctly, there will be someplace in the pool, preferably along the side, where there will be a smidge of shade. Paddle towards it. You will need to rest quietly for a few moments.

When you determine that the level of shade you are enjoying is perfect and that you’d like to float quietly, this is when the real workout begins. You must try to use either a hand or a foot to create a mooring to the edge of the pool. Your success rate will be sketchy. This is normal. You will suddenly feel your inner engineer kick in, contemplating a series of ropes, canvas straps and bunji cords that should be installed poolside. At the very least, you’d like to see docking slips for people who have finally found the perfect spot but cannot maintain it for love or money.

All your wiggling around will have made you thirsty, so you will need to hydrate and take a few sips of your room temperature beverage. You will find it pressed between your thighs. At this point, your hat should be properly askew and in danger of falling off the back of the float. Once you readjust it to keep the sun out of your eyes, you may attempt to read your bedraggled book through the holes in your straw hat. This should not continue for more than seven minutes, or you will feel yourself growing tense while floating in a pool.

Should a light breeze come up and magically blow you over to the pool’s sweet spot, stop whatever you’re doing: re-adjusting your swimsuit, grimacing at your flattened thighs, flicking gnats off of your drink. Stop everything and relax. Enjoy the moment and soak it in. Because now you have to pee.

© Vicki Hughes 2013



First day of school, me and my Daddy


John and The Girl circa 1989

It’s Father’s Day. I am most thankful that my Daddy is happily spending his day enjoying beautiful Bend, Oregon. I am blessed to have him here, where at any given time I can pick up the phone, and hear his voice, and touch base, share the latest news and just feel that lifetime connection. It’s a blessing, and one I don’t take lightly.

Today is hard for many people, those whose dad’s are no longer here, and those who have never known or been close to their dads. One thing I know, growing up under the same roof with a father is no guarantee you have a Daddy.

To my way of thinking, a Daddy is a man who has a genuine love for, and interest in, the short people under his roof, eating all the food, leaving expensive shoes outside for the dog to chew on, and accidentally deleting the sporting events he meticulously set the DVR to record. A Daddy does more than provide the necessities. He provides the security, the perspective, and the occasional bear growl that kids need, to know when to get it together, now. He demonstrates adult behavior with love, while retaining some childish qualities that make kids feel like they can relate to his strength, and bigness. Daddy’s can basically do anything, and they take care of stuff, usually behind the scenes, without fanfare or glory.

Today, I salute the two best daddies I know, my own Daddy, Al Portune and my husband, John. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for making life great for both me, and The Girl.

A peek at the two greatest Daddy’s I know

© Vicki Hughes 2013

Self Service is For The Birds


By Vicki Hughes     Posted June 4, 2014

About every five years I decide to do my own pedicure and then I remember why it’s been five years. They say a cobbler’s kids go without shoes and they should say that a salon and spa manager goes too long without a root touch-up or a pedicure. That’s because I end up surrendering my appointments to customers during business hours and I am loathe to ask anyone, least of all myself, to come in early or stay late to do my “maintenance.”

So I stick with a low maintenance blonde that isn’t a far cry from my natural color and I have learned the art of a messy up-do with a strategically placed hairpiece. Womanhood is all about smoke and mirrors. I’ve also developed a pathetically predictable relationship with one toenail polish color, Cajun Shrimp. This means that rather than do a pedicure when needed, I can simply add one more coat when a minor toe decides to slough off it’s corally lacquer in one complete piece, leaving my foot with a surprised, gap toothed look.

This morning it became impossible to hide my toes of shame. We’ve arrived in full blown sandal season. I cannot blend in, by wearing cowboy boots or clogs when it’s 89 degrees in the shade. As I slipped on my open toed wedges, I stared down with a mixture of shame and resignation. Today must be the day. The travesty must not continue.

I arrived at work and dutifully put my own appointment on the book. I planned. I resolved to not give it up even if The Queen of England needed it. Then, as my appointment neared, I realized it was so not going to happen.

I felt the desperation clouds gathering. I spent the rest of the day strategically hiding my feet from people and then as I left work, I grabbed a bottle of base coat, a new color (same coral family, but with sparkles!) and the mother of all top coats, Seche Vite. I made an oath. Tonight we polish or we die trying.

After I staggered through my front door with my arms full of flimsy white bags full of all sorts of doo dads from Wal-Mart, I realized the one thing I lacked was polish remover. Before I allowed myself to begin keening and renting my clothes, I texted my Mom to see if she had some, and of course she did. She’s the human equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife.

Feeling marginally less inept and ill equipped, I immediately shunned my pants, and exchanged them for a tennis skirt with the little built in shorts underneath. I took my slightly sweaty, very tired, and medium-level, cranky self out to the patio. I was armed with a paper towel, my borrowed polish remover and the tri-fecta of polishes, along with grim determination. Oh. And nail clippers. Don’t forget the nail clippers.

Now, when I say I “gave myself a pedicure” let me use this disclaimer: This was more of a hoof trim/polish change. There was nothing relaxing or girly or mildly spa-like about what was about to unfold. I seated myself in an Adirondack chair on the patio, because I figured they are low to the ground, and my feet are all the way down there. Closer is better.

I dosed the paper towel thoroughly, as if I was about to chloroform a large man, and began to rub away the polish on my left big toe. And I rubbed. And I rubbed. I checked the paper towel to make sure polish was in fact coming off, and it was, but so slowly I actually had time to contemplate the origins of nail polish, nail clippers, the possible need for a sandblaster, and a brief mental list of just how many coats may in fact be involved. At one point the fumes gave me an actual flashback to applying Compound W to childhood warts, and watching them turn a chalky white.

I’m not sure if I was holding my breath or having a near death experience, but I’m pretty sure I saw a white light. There comes a point, when bending over at the waist to do anything pertaining to one’s feet, is riduculously uncomfortable. Examining a callous for a jabby sliver of glass, attempting to fasten the microscopic buckles on very cute, profoundly uncomfortable strappy heels, or hypothetically, removing polish from one’s toenails, it’s just not pretty.

Suddenly every single pound you wish would go away and never come back, suddenly leaves your chin, your upper arms, your butt and boobs, and quickly relocates to your midriff where it all attempts to kill you via suffocation. You have very stern, earnest conversations with yourself about the need for Pilates or yoga or immediate liposuction.

It makes you think of a time when you were twelve and you could fold up your leg and fully examine every crease on the bottom of your foot. Of course at twelve, you couldn’t pick out a good pinot noir, so there’s that. But still, when you are in a position to see what the hell you’re doing with your toenail polish, you are also in the sad position of looking directly at your inner thighs, pressed together like dinner rolls. This is disheartening. Dignity has left the building. You have to focus, and get back to the job at hand.

I decided I needed to quit screwing around and get serious, put some elbow grease into it. I kept rubbing. I was having a hard time not losing heart over the fact that I was now smearing Cajun Shrimp all over my toes, grinding it deeply into my cuticles, callouses and the sad, sad edges of my toenails. I felt the panic rise as I considered an amputation, and then doggedly continued. I was starting to feel like those old women with the smeary red lipstick all around, but not quite on their lips. I thought, “This is how it happens. You just get too tired to continue, and you buy a pair of those brown vinyl shoes to hide what you’ve done to yourself.”

I started to blame the industrial grade top coats we use in the spa biz. Then I blamed the slack, over the counter strength polish remover. The purple kind, “with gelatin and unicorn feathers to strengthen your nails.” I thought to myself, “I need pure acetone, like Sherwin Williams in a metal can, with the skull and crossbones. This Barbie Kool-Aid stuff couldn’t remove a coffee stain!”

I had to sit up and get a few gulps of air to clear my head. Finally, about a half a bottle of remover later, I dosed a second paper towel and moved on to the next toe. This was disturbingly satisfying, as this nail only had a few sad remaining color crumbs on it. Also, I had unsheathed the tiny textured nail file from my nail clippers. You know, the one they are afraid we all might use the next time we want to hijack a plane?

I manage a day spa, for criminy’s sake. I should own an actual nail file. But I don’t because I manage a day spa. I flipped my mini nail file out, like a switchblade, vainly attempting to get a decent grip on the clippers as a handle. I began slashing across the surface of my current victim, thinking I could either buff my way down to the inner crust, where the molten lava lived, or that somehow maybe all the friction would force those polish nodules to just give up the ghost and fall off, like the polish on the toe right next to it had already done without my permission.

How does that happen? They are all polished the same, yet some seem to be affixed with marine grade epoxy, and others are held on with vague promises that we’ll “do lunch sometime.” Suddenly I saw a loose edge. I felt my heart do a tiny skip of joy. Using my fingernail, I pried the edge up and pulled that polish flake flat off. In my mind I did a little Indian whoop of victory. Okay, it wasn’t just in my mind. Whatever.

After I got the final smears removed, and a fresh coat of polish on all ten toes, I felt like I’d completed a marathon or exited from a sweat lodge, or both. Doing your own toes is a job that belongs solely to the professionals. I have seen the white light.

© Vicki Hughes 2013

The Geniuses at Bonnie Bell Cosmetics

By Vicki Hughes    Posted May 27, 2013

 I am convinced that in the seventies, there were marketing geniuses at work for Bonnie Bell Cosmetics. They systematically talked me out of my folded money and quarters I’d earned from rubbing my Dad’s feet. I was in the fifth grade, and spent most of my time with my best friend Chrissy.

Fifth grade girls have a hardwired need for a best friend. It’s when we start noticing the extreme differences between ourselves and other girls, and the ache of that sends us out on a hunt for that other girl who makes us feel safe, and happy, and un-weird. She’s the person you can talk to about nothing or everything in the five minutes you wait for the bus. She’s the person who knows why your hands get sweaty in the lunch line when a certain blonde-haired boy gets in line in front of you. She sits on your bed and looks at album covers with you, while you fold a paper fortune teller out of a sheet of notebook paper.

Chrissy and I lived on the same street in sunny Arcadia, California, home of Santa Anita racetrack, at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. We rode our bikes back and forth between our houses, and to the shady, green park at the end of our street to watch her little brother Jeff play little league. There, we sat on bleachers, in an aromatic cloud of cooking hotdogs and dust from the boys running bases. We would systematically nibble on our candy necklaces, biting carefully into the centers with our eye teeth to keep from getting the dreaded “sticky neck.”

A few short blocks from the park was a shopping center where those Bonnie Bell geniuses pedaled their wares. There was a record store, Jackpot Records, a McDonalds, where we anxiously awaited the spring arrival of the Shamrock Shake, and pooled our Monopoly pieces to try to win stuff. And there was Save-On Drugs, home of my very first addiction to cosmetics, the Bonnie Bell Lip Smacker.

The geniuses at Bonnie Bell knew a thing or two about pre-pubescent girls. Primarily, they like to collect things and they like to put stuff that tastes good on their lips because they are imagining kissing boys if they can ever quit giggling. These marketing geniuses figured out that if they kept their price point reasonable, girls would part with their foot rub and car washing money in order to own the latest and greatest flavor they could come up with, no matter how disgusting it might be.

I had a collection that included watermelon, black cherry, caramel corn, sugar plum, Dr. Pepper, and green apple. There was also one in a dark green tube that was so “gross,” I had to hide it in a bottom drawer, but still somehow couldn’t throw it away. This may explain the fourteen lipsticks I own today, but never use.

I saw some Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers at the store the other day. I noticed a couple things that had changed, and it made me wonder if their sales were down compared to when I was a regular customer. First, the tubes are smaller, meaning they are the same size as a regular tube of Chapstick. In the throes of my addiction, they were big, maybe two to three times bigger than the regular lip balms. They were so big they never ran out. You could use one to lube the chassis on a Chevy Impala and still have plenty left over. Now, they don’t stand out from the crowd. Today they’re packaged on a cardboard backer with a clear plastic bubble over the front. You can’t even smell them. I know, because I tried but that plastic bubble was in the way. It was the smelling that always sucked us into the deal.

The lady behind the counter at Save On Drugs, did double duty, dipping ice cream cones, and like a savvy carnie at the local fair, called out to those of us passing by, by simply jiggling the keys to the sliding doors of the glass display case. Inside that glass lived our beloved Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers. We’d stand there, shifting from one foot to the other, contemplating the new arrivals. Oooh! Candy Apple! “Can we smell that one, please?” And then, as if she were pulling out a black pillow bearing engagement rings, she would present us with the goods. Slowly, she would remove the cap, and waft it back and forth under our noses. We’d stare at the sheen at the top of the tube, unused, perfect in every way. And then we’d dig our hands down into our jeans pockets to make sure we had enough cash, after french fries, to make the deal.

The next day at school was our opportunity to be everyone’s best friend. It was the thrill of having a new Lip Smacker, which good manners dictated we let all the other girls smell at recess. As we all know, you only let your best friend actually use your Lip Smackers, because she clearly does not have any cooties. If one of the other girls was so crass as to break the code, right there in front of you, well, then you were forced to give her a dirty look and scrape the top layer off in disgust. I mean really. No one can be quite as condescending as a fifth grade girl. It’s in the handbook and everything.

© Vicki Hughes 2013

Books Will Change You



By Vicki Hughes    Posted May 24, 2013

There is so much to be said for the value of books. They really are among the greatest treasures we will ever enjoy in life. They belong with:





Our Five Senses



Books are pure magic. They provide travel to spaces, places and times we would miss without them and their enchantment. Books reach out a hand to us wherever we are, and pull us up and out and over, to another place, sometimes so suddenly that our breath catches.

How did I come to be here? To believe this? To see it this way? Suddenly a book linked it’s hand with mine and showed me a different path than I’d been on before.

Once on the new path, we may never remember which path precisely brought us to this new place of thought, but we seldom forget that the new place we’ve discovered exists.

It’s hard to not think about a penguin in a bowtie after someone calls it to your attention. Books call so many things to our attention, and then those ideas take up their tiny picket signs in our minds and remind us, at appropriate and inappropriate moments, that we saw…we heard…we now believe.

Books will change you.

© Vicki Hughes 2013

What I Have Learned (So Far) About Gratitude


By Vicki Hughes  Posted May 15, 2013

In December of 2009 I broke by leg. Badly. Not that there’s a great way to break your leg, but I snapped both bones just above my left ankle, and had to have a small hardware store installed to put it back together again.

Part of the misery was that I was also about eighty pounds overweight at the time, which ruled out crutches for getting around. Enter, The Walker. If you would ever like to know how it feels to be eighty or ninety years old, try relying on a walker to get around. It’s educational to say the least. My orthopedic surgeon forbid me to place weight on it for six full weeks, and thus began a spiral of events that sucked, not to put too fine a point on it.

Let’s see…during my recovery process, I was fat, broken, John’s work was a misery to him, and was financially unpredictable, I was out of work, the snow that had caused me to break my leg in the first place, continued to fall for the next several months, and each day, while John was at work, and I sat around with my left leg in the air, our three goats would break out of their pen, and stand on the table on our front porch and try to break the front window of the house with their hooves, hoping to come inside and play with me.

I was having a hard time feeling thankful. I was feeling a tad unthankful. But one thing I was thankful for was the new laptop my Dad bought me (to replace the one that BLEW UP a week after I broke my leg!) Somehow, in this shitstorm of unhappy circumstances, I decided that the only thing that might keep me from taking my walker into the kitchen and sticking my head in the oven, was figuring out a way to refocus on the things that were good in my life. I vaguely knew they existed, but I was having a hard time remembering any of them. Between the pain pills and the crappy circumstances, I was having a challenge focusing on the good stuff.

It can be hard to feel thankful when you can’t take yourself to the bathroom, or bathe yourself without help, while you worry about losing your house, and it snows in your face. It’s hard, but not impossible.

And so I began an experiment. I created a group on Facebook called Life Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to be Thankful. Several years earlier, I’d been reading Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book, Simple Abundance, and I had been intrigued with her suggestion to create a Gratitude Journal. I had dabbled with that, and found it to be very encouraging. I thought that creating my own Gratitude Journal online, in a setting where I was putting it out there daily, might be the ticket to becoming more consistent. It turns out, I was right.

I invited a few of my friends and family members to join in, and they did. Some of them knew how challenging it was for me to find things to be thankful for at that point in my life, and some didn’t. Some people thought it was easy. It was not. It was necessary, and therapeutic, but it was hard. Sometimes I would sit there all day, trying to think up five things I could honestly feel thankful for. And then one of my online friends would post their five things…and I could remember again.

Here is what I have learned so far about belonging to a community of people who try to focus on what they are thankful for.

a) It’s contagious. You will cause other people to feel thankful to.

b) There is so much to be thankful for, you could never write it all down, even when life seems really crappy.

c) Tapping into gratitude opens you up for good things to begin showing up in your life, while ignoring the things that are wonderful shuts down the process

d) There are lots of people going through lots of challenges, and they still manage to share the good stuff, and that’s valuable.

Some people come and read what others post, and they don’t ever become part of the conversation. That’s okay. I believe they will join in when the time is right. It blesses me to know they stop by, and get a dose of gratitude, like a multi-vitamin to strengthen them through the day.

Other people tell us a little something now and then, and it’s like getting a card in the mail from an old friend. It reminds me that they are still there, still connected, still a part of this adventure with me.

And some people are actively helping me create what I consider the happiest place on Facebook. They tell us the big and the little blessings, five things at a time, that they recognize as the icing on the cake. And all of these 548+ people make me realize every day, that out of a really bad set of circumstances, you can make something really amazing. To all of you who are a part of the goodness, thank you. You are at the top of my list, everyday.

© Vicki Hughes 2013


What’s The Plan?

Crossing out Plan A and writing Plan B on a blackboard.

By Vicki Hughes   Posted May 3, 2013

Have you ever heard words come out of your mouth and then wondered how exactly your mother was living inside of your larynx? It’s a phenomenon we really can’t explain, but it happens. Tiny versions of our mothers take root in our voice boxes and occasionally broadcast some long-standing motherly statement.

Some are standard issue, sort of the ten commandments of mother talk:

-If you sit that close to the TV, it will ruin your eyes

-Have you finished your homework?

-Where is your father, and why are fourteen of your friends here?

-What is that smell?

-Roll your eyes at me one more time, and let’s see what happens

But some of them are unique to an individual family. A phrase gets started, and it just settles in to become a staple. Ours is: What’s The Plan?

This seemingly simple phrase is a catch-all for times when we want to know all the details and have a full sense of control of all variables, and an iron clad guarantee that everything will be perfect, and nothing has been overlooked or will go awry.

When I hear myself say this, I don’t even hear it in my own voice. I hear it in my Mom’s voice. It’s like looking at a picture of George W. Bush with a funny quote of his over it. You end up reading it to yourself in your best George W. Bush impersonation.

What’s The Plan? (You just read that in George W. Bush’s voice, didn’t you?)

In my growing up years, I soon learned that this common question was going to require some actual, factual answers. To reply, “I dunno,” was a one way ticket to, “Well then, you’re not going.” I quickly figured out that details, and the more details the better, were the magic pixie dust to getting my way.

The Plan must include, in no particular order: Where am I going, a list of all attendees, a brief, colorful description of those people, their background and how I know them, what time the festivities will begin, what time preparations for leaving for the festivities will begin, what will I be wearing to the festivities, is it ironed, will I need a snack before I leave in case the food doesn’t arrive in a timely fashion, will the food be spicy/garlicky/salty/raw/Cantonese/jiggling, what time will I leave, how many miles is it to the place where I am going, which route will I take, is it the safest route in case of a tsunami/tornado/flash flood/Sasquatch attack, do I have my driver’s license, an emergency road kit, my AAA card, a snake bite kit, and emergency whistle, and bottled water in the car, and the mandatory, CALL ME WHEN YOU GET THERE!

All these years later, as a mom, I realize that the quiz about The Plan is an automatic, knee jerk response that mothers develop as a way to feel some tiny bit of okay when our children leave the imaginary safety of being in our line of sight, where we believe nothing bad is ever allowed to happen. Knowing The Plan feels like the antidote to bad ju-ju. It’s how mothers cope.

Unfortunately, no amount of knowing The Plan is ever as effective as we imagine. Things change, life is unpredictable, and even if we know The Plan, it almost always changes. It can be frustrating to not have a Money Back Guarantee that all will go as planned, but it rarely does. We have to learn to roll with the punches, adapt, and re-route when necessary. But you still need to call me when you get there.

© Vicki Hughes 2013





What if….

hokey pokey

By Vicki Hughes    Posted May 1, 2013

It occurs to me that there’s a reason folks used to say, “Idle hands are the devils’ workshop.” When we aren’t busy, actively engaged in something, our minds often go rogue and turn against us.

I never seem to spend much time worrying about anything when I am super-busy (most of you know, that is most of the time!) I have too much to do to worry! I’ve got to roll. All the activity is good for me, and keeps me making progress. If I’m idle too long, my mind slides over into “what-if mode.” I’ve discovered that “what-if mode” never suggests things like, “What if all of my bills got paid off mysteriously?” or “What if I live to be 100 in perfect health, with the wit of Betty White?” or “What if everyone I love has the best year ever?” Nope.

“What-if mode” tends to concoct lots of scenarios, most of which would make excellent horror movies or at least really bad country songs. “What if my house caught on fire while I was stuck in the bathroom with food poisoning, and all of my clothes burned up before I could grab something to put on?” Hmmmm? What then? “What if an asteroid hit, and there was a tsunami, and I don’t have a life raft, or one of those little flare guns and bottled water…will I have to drink my own urine while I bob around in a watery wasteland, and will my cell phone even work under those conditions?” We don’t know. It’s a conundrum.

“What-if mode is heavy on the problem and light on the solutions, and works extremely well at 2:15 am, when you are in no particular position to solve the quandary you are being challenged with. I have learned to avoid watching overly dramatic, or traumatic subject matter before bed, and always attempt to put myself to bed on a funny, happy note. I consider it preventive maintenance, to provide my brain with a cheat sheet of good stuff to draw from, so that my subconscious doesn’t need to rifle through the horror drawers to amuse itself while I sleep.

And when I am awake, the best thing I know to do to stay happy is to keep rolling. Stay busy, stay productive, keep moving. The more I do, the better I feel, because my “what-if mode” stays a lot quieter, and then, when I fall into bed at night, I’m just thankful to feel the sheets, and get horizontal for a few hours.

© Vicki Hughes 2013

Water Warrior

Drop of water

By Vicki Hughes      Posted April 22, 2013

Chelsey has been working non-stop for a solid month to make our annual Earth Month charity event at The Fairhope Salon & Spa a big hit. We’re co-hosting a Water Warriors Crawfish Boil at Fairhope Brewing Company, with live music, a cornhole tournament, a bachelor auction and a drawing for a complete spa day. It has been quite a project.

The stories she has heard in the years she has worked for Aveda have imparted a heartfelt calling into her. Her passion is to plan ongoing events for clean water projects, including but not limited to this year’s beneficiary, Gulf Restoration Network. She wants to work with other groups such as Wine to Water, and Global Green Grants. If you have never heard Doc Hendley’s story about Wine to Water, you need to. We had the honor of hearing him speak at Serious Business in New Orleans in January, and it was life changing. I will never look at a glass of clean water the same way again.

When your children really get on fire about things, it makes an impact. Watching her immerse herself in this passion, self-teaching herself about building websites, obtaining grants, the ins and outs of non-profits and fundraising, and event planning, I realize how driven and amazing she is. I see a lot of me in her, but I also see lots of her, in her own right, too. Your kids may be influenced by you, but the come pre-wired too.

From me she got that impulsive, “let’s do it” thinking, that is full of ideas, and a little light on thinking through how much actual time and work each idea requires. We both secretly believe Smurfs will show up and make lots of stuff happen, and then we go out and recruit lots of Smurfs to help us when we start to panic. Let me say, thank God for all of our Smurfy friends!

She’s persuasive. We can both move people to action when we talk about ideas we’re passionate about. We share our excitement easily, frequently and boldly. If you don’t want to know what we’ve been up to lately, you best not ask.

She loves anything social, by nature. A party, an event, some music, anything that sounds fun. She was the kid who hated bedtime because she was afraid she’d miss something good. If we put her to bed, and she heard John and I laughing in the other room, she’d holler, “No fair having fun without me!”

She is tenacious when she gets an idea into her head, and as John would say, once she gets a bug up her butt about something, it’s all or nothing.

She is constantly learning, moving, and changing. Interestingly, she is a Pisces, a water sign. She is just like water: Beautiful, powerful, persistent, constantly changing, unpredictable, life giving, and will move anything that gets in her way. I think it’s destiny that her passion is to provide clean water for people who need it most. I for one, know better than to get in her way.

What are you passionate about?

© Vicki Hughes 2013