Shannon Ingram's Place

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Location: Orange County/CA

Musings of a woman who left her corporate career to become a caregiver for elderly parents, wrote a book and found her way back to corporate - with love, instead of fear, leading the way. Now working at my Alma Mater, UC Irvine, as Marketing and Communications Director for the School of Biological Sciences.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wait for the Miracle

Several years ago, I found a little framed poem in a gift shop in the Cherry Creek area of Denver. I don't usually buy stuff like that, but this poem resonated with me. It still sits on a table in my living room. For some reason it seems really appropriate today to share it with my friends and readers because so many of us have been through mighty tough times recently.

Last Sunday, my wonderful minister/friend, Sandy Moore, encouraged all of us to hang in there. When so much yucky stuff is happening all around you and your life is a mess, you may feel compelled to quit. Sandy said, "Don't quit before the miracle." I went home and re-read my little poem by that excellent author, "Anonymous." Here it is:

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Easter is all about miracles. Hope you manifest a miracle this weekend!

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Blue Collar Weekend

My favorite weekend activities this lifetime have mostly involved the beach, the ocean, the spa, the theatre and the latest trendy gourmet restaurants. My nirvana has been all about sitting on a warm sandy beach under an umbrella reading a novel, taking a bay cruise or sailing to a nearby island like Catalina, getting a massage and a facial at a relaxing aromatic spa, seeing a fabulous Broadway show or even a great new movie and going to a trendy Top Chef restaurant then talking about it with friends the next day. And of course, I have always wanted to do those wonderful things with my lover, although I also enjoy being in the company of girlfriends.

Obviously I would have been a great match for a "metrosexual" type - a guy who likes to get manicures, wear crispy starched shirts, drive a Beemer, and who sports a perfect spray tan. But no, instead I fall for guys who like to work on engines - boats or helicopters or cars. I pick someone who prefers wearing jeans or shorts instead of suits, who is more comfortable in a man cave watching football or auto-racing than a theatre watching a play. So is it any wonder that I spent a recent weekend at a nearby casino resort seeing "Larry the Cable Guy" on Saturday night and going to a NASCAR race at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana on Sunday? The only wondrous part is that I actually enjoyed the entire weekend, immensely.

At the NASCAR race, I was surprised to meet a lovely, petite blonde woman, probably in her early 70's, who looked a bit like Shirley MacLaine. She asked if she could sit with me at the round plastic picnic table under the bleacher seats that I had staked out for lunch. I motioned her to join me and she set down her hot pretzel with cheese sauce. I was already enjoying a Pink's hotdog. She wore a black jacket emblazoned with patches that blared "professional gear" - Dunlop, PepsiCo, DuPont, Quaker State, GMAC and a gazillion others. Around her neck was a well-worn lanyard carrying a plastic holder for her pit pass. She told me she was alone and that she lived near the track. She loves to drive and she loves drivers. She knew the Unser's and other famous NASCAR names. When my husband joined us, they talked as if they'd known each other for years. I couldn't believe such a refined lady existed at a NASCAR race, let alone one who knew all there was to know about the history of auto-racing. She had a great laugh, too, and I could tell she had many other stories to share about lifelong adventures.

Alas, we never shared our names, so I don't know who she was. But she made a huge difference in my life that day. She was an angel sent to help me suspend judgment and just enjoy myself in a new world. And that I did. It was one of the most exciting sporting events I've ever been to, especially the second-to-last lap when Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick passed Kyle Busch, who had led the entire race. Then Harvick sped around Johnson to win after leading only that last lap. I was jumping up and down and screaming along with everyone else!

After the race, we topped off our blue collar weekend with a visit to Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga. It just doesn't get any better than that...until next weekend when I get back to the spa.