## What are the Odds?

1% of nothing is nothing. It’s a universal truth. If you have 1% of nothing, then you have nothing. So if that is true, then the opposite of that must also be true. 1% of something, then is something! But really? Is it really something? Ask a 30 year old woman who found her first gray hair, or a 15 year old boy who found his first chin hair! They will tell you. 1% can actually be something! We can see that relativity and perspective come into play. We could just leave it as 1% of something is something and be done with it, but our human brains, emotions, and intellect suggest otherwise.

If I told you that you had a 99% chance of winning the lottery, you would play. Of course you would. But if I told you that you had a 1% chance of winning that lottery you probably wouldn’t. You still have a chance of winning, but here is where intellect weighs in. Your choice, when it comes to playing the odds can definitely just be a numbers game. Where is the threshold of those percentages when it comes to choices and decision making? Is it 90/10? Is it 80/20? Those seem to be fairly easy. But what if it was 60/40? Now you’re a breath away from what a friend of mine called a coin flip. Heads you win. Tails you lose.

Here’s where I think numbers are no longer the leading factor, or at least cannot be looked at in a vacuum. What if your odds of getting the lead role in a major motion picture was 60/40. You’d try out, right? I mean, you virtually have a 50/50 chance of getting the part! It could be the choice of a lifetime! What if your odds of burning down your house by leaving a candle lit were also 60/40? You’d probably not take the chance and would blow the candle out before leaving the house.

This time we see that circumstance factored with the numbers plays a role in helping us to make decisions. But it’s not always that simple. There’s also the element of emotion and faith. I am a religious person, but you may not be, so faith for you may simply mean faith in yourself to be prepared, and do your homework so that you can nail that job interview.

Bear with me with some more religious examples, if you will. I promise they are not too painful. Are you like Abraham, who through blind faith was willing to sacrifice his son as a sign of obedience? Or on the flip side, are you more like the hiker begging for God to save him, but doesn’t have enough faith to cut the rope? Do you know these stories?

Here, let me just catch you up really quickly.…..

Abraham was told by God to bring his only son to the altar to be sacrificed. Abraham obeyed. Brought his son to the altar, even made him carry the firewood, and was prepared to slay his son in obedience. But God, seeing Abraham’s willingness said, “Yeah, nevermind. You’re good. Thanks for playing and obeying. You win!” Son was saved (but probably really pissed.)

The other story goes like this….

There is a hiker who is looking to make camp and it has already grown very dark. He loses his footing and falls off a cliff. After falling and falling for what seems like forever, the rope he was carrying catches in the face of the cliff and jerks him to a stop preventing him from hitting the ground. It’s pitch black by this time and he has no idea how far he has fallen, or how far down the ground is. He calls out to God, “Oh God, please save me!” A whispered voice returns to him, “Cut the rope.” He ignores the voice. That’s crazy! I am not cutting the rope! The temperatures began to drop. The hiker calls out again, “Oh God, please save me!” Again he hears the whisper, “Cut the rope.” The hiker thinks there is no way in hell that I’m cutting this rope. It is the only thing that is saving me and keeping me from plunging to my death.

The next day, the rangers discover the hiker suspended from his rope.   He has frozen to death over night. They proceed to cut his body down just 5 feet from the ground.

Ok, do you have that blind faith of Abraham or are you more like the hiker? In Abraham’s mind he had 100% chance that he was going to have to kill his son in order to remain obedient. In the hikers mind, he had a 50/50 chance of cutting that rope and continuing to plunge to his death. God did not tell him cut the rope and you will have a 100% chance of survival or even a 90% chance.

So here we are. Now the numbers, and the circumstances, and faith are all throwing their hands in the mix. So let’s go back and look as some situations. The lottery again. What would be your threshold to play? 80/20? Would you play at 60/40? What about applying for a job? At 60/40, would you send your resume? Now what if it was cancer. 60/40. Do nothing and there is a 40% chance that you will develop cancer. Would you play? Would you cut the rope?

On the eve of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I honor all of the women who have suffered from this horrible disease.  I honor all of the women who have suffered through the choices that they are forced to make.  And I honor all of the husbands, families and friends of these women for enduring the potpourri of emotions right along side.

## PERSPECTIVE

I’ve been writing this blog for over a year now. Early on, I would write about local (and sometimes not so local) entrepreneurs and creatives to get their perspective on what they do and why they do it. I’m fascinated by their guts and bravery to chase after a dream especially when the dream has components that just aren’t that exciting or perhaps are even risky.

I’ve also written a lot about my perspective on travel destinations. From a European vacation to the Caribbean, and the West of the US, I’ve shared each trip with you. Sometimes in great detail and sometimes just as an overview.

I’ve shared my perspective on color, design and…um…scented candles (#truth). But I found myself recently wondering how my perspectives measure up to others. I’m not talking about right and wrong, I’m talking about differences and similarities. So I’ve decided to run with this pondering and pilot a new segment called “PERSPECTIVE”.

In these posts, I will share with you a single topic, but from the perspective of women from 10-80 something and every decade in between. I’m excited to see how different we are. I’m equally excited to see how alike we are. I think that there is so much value in hearing from all ages. “From the mouth of babes” is for real. And I want to especially consider the perspectives of our more mature members of the group. Each person’s perspective is colored by their history that they have earned or that they lack!

I will caveat this whole project by saying that this first collection of women are not random people. They are my people. People that I know, people that I may even be related to, but ladies that I have a relationship with in some manner. Remember, this is just a pilot. I’d love to have women from all demographics participate. That is what the comments are for!!! Don’t be shy.

And fellas, I am not excluding you here. I just wanted to have some controls in place for the initial group. I look forward to getting the menfolk involved for future topics.  And guys, please don’t hesitate to chime in with your two cents.

There is so much to be learned from one another. My hope is to open minds and hearts with this little experiment. Wish me luck, and please, feel free to share your perspective.

## DENVER

I had no real preconceived ideas of what Denver was going to be like.  I imagined a lot of brown as I always do whenever I equate something with the “Wild West”.  With the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, I was concerned about the state of its inhabitants.  Were they mindless, smiling zombies shuffling through town wearing pot leafed shirts, faded flannel, Birkenstocks, and their hands stuffed into a bag of Doritos to stay off the munchies?  And I admit that Denver has never been tops on my list of places to go.  I mean, it’s Colorado, so it must be freezing, right?  I think it’s well established that this girl hates to be cold.  The weather couldn’t have been more perfect.  Not cold in the least.

But off to Denver we would go.  Primary objective?  The fulfillment of a bucket list item for my husband.  It has long been a dream of his to attend a concert at Red Rocks.  As luck would have it, his favorite band, O.A.R. was on the roster.  He was so excited and I was excited for him.  Me?  I was more like, “Meh.”  I was more interested in some much needed alone time with my husband.  And I would go anywhere for that.

Off we went.  Left the kiddos under the capable, watchful eye of Grandma, hopped on a plane and entered into this adventure with a giant check mark poised and ready for Chris’s bucket list.

The ride from Denver International Airport to the city is not glamorous and really doesn’t give much away as to what to expect from downtown.  I was super surprised to see a multitude of prairie dogs along the roadway.  They would appear like tiny statues sunning themselves in the setting rays.  Prairie dogs?!  I thought they lived in the prairie?  Or in zoos?  Denver is in Colorado….um, Mountain Standard Time..???  It’s “The Mountains”.  What?  Boy was I a moron.  Denver might just be the flattest place I’ve ever been.  FLAT.  (Try telling that to the poor pedicab driver who had to pedal us “uphill”. Really?  It’s flat.)

Anyhoo, I clearly had a lot to learn and now I was excited.  (Ask any mom how excited she is about leaving for a trip.  It’s almost not worth even going for all of the work and planning that needs to take place.  Generals could learn a thing or two from us moms about logistics, advancement of troops, and planning for worst case scenarios.  I digress.) Moms don’t get excited until they actual reach their destination, or at least the airport.

Instead of exhausting and frantic, my excitement took on this strange form of relaxation and open mindedness.  Like sitting in a comfy chair and opening up a book that you’ve been dying to read.  Contemplating on it now, I think it was the lack of a schedule and responsibilities that really let me relax in a way I’ve never experienced before.  Of course, it could have been the high altitude and the pot smoke contrails from some of the people, but what evs!

We checked into our gorgeous hotel and decided to start walking toward Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies.  What I noticed straight away was that Denver is a super clean city, with wide streets, and plenty of sky.  Sure you had your ultra modern glass skyscrapers, but they were not concentrated which allowed a lot of sunshine in.  I am a self proclaimed architecture nerd.  I geek out over the different styles and workmanship.  I had to train my eye, in Denver, to spot the little gems of ages past.  I found most of the buildings to be very square.  What the city lacked in old world charm, it made up in clean lines and a peaceful uniformity.  Another feature of Denver that was striking to me was that the streets were not teaming with people and cars.  There were signs of life everywhere, but the city lacked the hustle and bustle and congestion of the Northeast cities that I’ve become accustomed to.  These people, now me included, could really enjoy this city in leisure.  Rat race?  What rat race?

And let me just take a moment to discuss the humidity.  Keep in mind that we had just left the Northeast that was experiencing the longest, highest humidity and heat wave that I can ever remember.  Weeks of 95+% humidity.  Weeks!  But here!  Here it was 41% humidity.  (And that’s apparently high for the area!)  It was the first breath of fresh air that I had taken in months.  It was spectacular.  And my hair!!!  Well, that could just be a whole ‘nother post!  Spectacular.

We decided just to do some bar hopping for the evening.  Something we never do.  We spent our evening sipping cocktails and craft beers and eating bar food like we were 25 again.  The bars were hip and the people working there even hipper. (I don’t think that’s an actual word, but let’s go with it.) We blended right in.  Sort of the Goldilocks of the crowd…not too old…not too young, but juuuust right.  Young enough to have a good time, but old enough to afford it.  I think our first stop had been an old west brothel in it’s previous life.  (Say what?!)  I had an herby cocktail there and sampled my first cheese curd all while watching a rerun of Soul Train. Yep!

The next bar prided itself on it’s infused vodkas and whiskey’s.  House specialty was a pickle juice unfused vodka shot with a dried up scorpion in the bottom.  You earned your stripes by doing the shot and consuming the scorpion.  Yeah, no.  We’ll leave that to the young ones.  After leaving that bar we made our way to the stadium.  I was too tired to sit through the baseball game, so we opted to make our way back to the hotel.  On our way, we stumbled on a super find; in collecting circles, a well known old school arcade and bar called 1 Up.  My husband, being an avid pinball and arcade game collector, was in his element.  When he saw the sign, I think his eyes lit up like the star eyed emoji.  Of course we went in!  We got a round of drinks and a fistful of quarters and played all the games that we didn’t own in our collection, including the world’s largest PacMan.  We ended the night with a few rounds of skee-ball and me playing some really dismal games of Centipede.  It’s been a long time old friend.  A long time.

Saturday arrived..um..early.  (MST, remember?  I was up at 5:15 am). We were meeting my cousin and her husband for lunch (shout out to Erin and Jeff!), but hadn’t locked down our plans for the evening.  Well, not to worry!  The city was teeming with events for the weekend.  I think every pro sporting team had a home game on their schedule and there were oodles of concerts happening in the area.  We narrowed down our choices to seeing Boy George and the Culture Club, B52s and The Thompson Twins and their 80s revival or Bruno Mars.  WE PICKED BRUNO!!!!  We were able to score sweet 4th row tickets and were treated to the most entertaining performance I’ve ever seen.  24 karat magic in the airrrrrrr🎵🎶.

Anyway….we had done a fair amount of walking during our short time in the city and quickly realized how absolutely pedestrian friendly it is.  Really easy to navigate, we could walk everywhere and to most everything.  And the 16th Street Mall provided an oasis of stores, restaurants and coffee shops to break up the walking.

Sunday was the big day for Chris.  We unexpectedly slept really late, so we ordered room service and hung out watching the NFL season openers before we had to head out the Red Rocks for a VIP experience of watching the band’s sound check.  Red Rocks is a quick 30 minute drive from downtown Denver.  The park itself is spectacular, but the concert venue is even more so.  It is huge, but nestled between the massive rock formations feels really intimate.  Once you make the bun burning climb to the top, the venue is really amazing.  I loved it.

The band was awesome as usual, delivering another quality show.  And the warm up, Matt Nathanson was so much fun.  Momma got her groove on.  Lol.

Friends, put Denver on your must see travel destination list.  You will be welcomed by kind people, and oodles and oodles to do.  Be prepared to walk, but I promise, you won’t mind a bit.  I actually think I could live there.

## Mean Girls

First off, I never saw the movie, so I’m not going to even pretend to know anything about it or quote it. But sadly, I do know a thing or two about mean girls.

Having grown up female (and still remaining female to this day LOL), I have lived through, and still live through mean girls. Not much rattles my chain like someone being unkind just for the pure sake of being unkind. To publicly make someone the butt of a joke, to point out physical flaws as a punch line to the latest stinger, to tear someone down just for who they are or what they look like; these things make me physically sick.

Meanness isn’t often forgotten either. Anyone who has been subject to ridicule or cruel embarrassment can most likely recount the scene as if it just happened. I can remember moments from elementary school, junior high school and beyond. Each stinging memory can replay like a well preserved mixed tape stored in air conditioning so as not to melt and destroy its contents forever. (Said in homage to this crushing heat wave that we are enduring.)

I was raised never to make fun of someone for how they looked. The best thing that my mother ever taught me was that everyone is someone’s baby. That someone loves “that person” more than anything in the whole world and therefore, that person is deserving of love, and respect, and kindness.

Of course I have survived the verbal assaults of mean girls from the past, but now I’m having to watch my daughter live through them and that breaks my heart. And this \$h!t started young…first grade???

It’s a terribly hard lesson to learn. I’m certain we’ve all endured it. And I mean that. We have endured. And I will hold my daughter’s hand through this walk and we will come up with strategies for what to say and how to act in the event that Miss Mean Girl du Jour comes sniffing around (and we all know she will). And I know that these moments are building character and maybe even strengthening bonds between my daughter and me, but these mean girls have got to stop.

I don’t believe that we are born knowing how to hate or be unkind. I believe these are learned behaviors. Are these girls being mistreated or ignored at home? Why is their own self esteem so fragmented that they feel the need to attack? What are they gaining? What are they really gaining? Animosity.

I find myself feeling sorry for them. We’ve all heard the adage that they are unkind to make themselves feel bigger or better.  This history must stop repeating itself.  I think that we are taught to attack back to defend ourselves.  Meet blow with another blow.  Match insult with insult.  I recognize it sometimes in myself and I pray, and work, and practice to stop.  This crap has got to stop.

In the era of women empowerment, we must stop being each other’s worst enemy.  In the wake of countless suicides as a response to bullying, we must teach our children and each other that it’s not ok. Even when my own kids are teasing each other and fighting amongst themselves, I remind them that we should not be tearing each other down. We should be building each other up. Girls, we need to do this for each other. To get kindness, be kind. In the face of a little jerk who’s going after you, be kind or at the very least be silent and get the heck out of there.

I’m not saying we have to like everyone and be sickly and unnaturally sweet.  I am saying to keep your disparaging comments to yourself.  Stick with your friends.  Give your energy in positive ways to your circle.  Make yourself stronger by making the people in your life stronger and leave those that you don’t connect with alone. Friendship and kindness can be mutually exclusive.

There is always hope that the mean girls will outgrow whatever is fueling their unkind nature and will find kinder ways to feel better about themselves. I’m grateful that my daughter talks to me and shares these moments with me. I’m grateful that I can comfort her and reassure her that she is perfect just the way that she is. Sadly, I know these verbal abuses will be remembered. I hope for reformation for the mean girls out there, but in the mean time, just do us all a favor and leave us alone. We have no time for the unkind.