Day 74: Heavy Metal Band Roadie Walks!

Yesterday was  Day 74 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge.

My husband and I volunteered to be “roadies” for our son’s heavy metal band, Raiju, for aRaiju Tour being their roadie. August 28, 2013 leg of the band’s tour that includes Los Angeles. That’s right, in our 6th decade on the planet, we’re livin’ the rock ‘n roll dream!  (See picture of my husband with the band members at right.) Because we’re on the road, I have to fit in Papa’s Walks wherever I can.

We loaded our van with the drum kit, guitars – and a pool cue.  (Seems the bass player plays pool wherever he goes and carries his own customized stick.) Anyway, we set out early in the morning for the six-hour drive to The Joint in Los Angeles (located next door to a medical marijuana facility that is very near Beverly Hills, 90210).

We drove down I-5 and stopped at Harris Ranch to stretch our legs. We noodled around the gift shop and then took the time to walk around the perimeter of the huge parking lot, before getting back on the road.

Raiju at The Joint LA   August 28 2013  (3)Despite getting a little lost on the way, we managed to get to The Joint a few minutes before the band’s loading time at 6:00 PM.  After dropping off their gear, we had a few hours to kill before the show started. My husband and I decided to go to Lawry’s restaurant for dinner. The restaurant originated in 1938. The owner developed a seasoned salt that became the cornerstone of Lawry’s Seasonings, which was eventually bought by McCormick. Not only did the owner invent the seasoning, Lawry’s restaurant popularized the idea of serving salad before the main meal – and they invented the doggie bag!

After dinner, we headed over to the Beverly Center, a shi-shi, upscale mall, to walk off our meal. The mall is gigantic and we walked the length of several levels intrigued by the window displays of the designer stores like Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Gucci, Prada, Ferragamo, Tiffany, Versace, etc. (We were agog at the prices!)

By 9:30 PM we were back at The Joint. It was fun to say, “I’m with the band,” to gain entrance to the venue.  We watched three bands tear it up: Rad, The Battle Royale, and Raiju. Raiju. The Joint,  LA.  August 28, 2013.

Raiju played the last set and by midnight-thirty we were loading the van with the band’s gear. We received many warm hugs of appreciation from the heavy metal musicians. They left to couch-surf with friends, while we opted to return to our mild-mannered senior citizen status and stay at The Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City.

We will resume our roadie status on Friday, when we deliver the band’s gear to the next venue, Loaded in HollywoodIf you’re in SoCal, come join the fun!

Day 73: Anniversary Walk!

Tuesday, August 27th, was  Day 73 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge. Papa and Jan - Wedding Day

My husband and I celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary with a moonlight stroll around the neighborhood. Papa was married to my mom for 66 years.  I’m not sure we’ll be able to match that record, but we look forward to whatever our journey together brings.

By the way, in the photo to the right, you’ll see Papa and my mom on their wedding day, December 30, 1945. They are the couple on the left. 🙂


Day 72: Sounds of the Suburbs!

Today is Day 72 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge.

As I left my home for a walk, I was assaulted by the sound of a jack-hammer being used by a water Turn It Downdepartment crew to repair sewer pipelines. I turned the corner and had to dodge the leaves, dust, and dirt being blown into the street by a gardener with a deafening leaf blower.

Once I got past the leaf blower the real wind kicked up and I listened to the sound of leaves rustling in the trees above me.

I also heard a father talking with his little girl, someone talking on a cell phone, a  man watering his front lawn with a garden hose, cars driving down the street, and the sound of brakes screeching.

Here is a list of the other sounds I heard: 

(Note: Click on the links to hear the sounds they make.)

On almost every block I encountered a leaf blower or lawn mower, and as I neared home I passed a tree trimmer using a thunderous wood chopper.

What do you hear on your walks?

Day 71: Lemonade Stand Walk!

Today is Day 71 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge.

After walking for about a mile today, I came across two young brothers (about 7 and 9) who had set up a lemonade stand in front of their home on a no-traffic, quiet corner of their neighborhood. I asked them how business was, and they said they hadn’t sold any lemonade yet, but they hoped to make some sales as the day wore on. I didn’t have any cash with me and was disheartened that I couldn’t buy their lemonade.Lulu Lemon

I felt sorry for them. I knew their mom was probably happy to have them set up shop outside her kitchen window where she could keep an eye on them. But as any successful entrepreneur knows – when you pick a site for your business, it’s all about location, location, location! Go where the customers are located!

If they had moved their lemonade stand just two short blocks north, they would have been positioned on a thoroughfare and attracted many more thirsty patrons. (Or, they could have put a sign on the thoroughfare pointing the way to the location in front of their home.)

Papa encouraged my brother, sister, and me to be entrepreneurs, and he was always our best customer when we set up a lemonade stand.

There is an organization called Lemonade Day that encourages children to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs by setting up a lemonade stand. You can get free downloadable instructions with tips for running a successful lemonade enterprise at their website.

I co-wrote an ebook, Learning with Little Lulu Lemon, that has all kinds of exciting, hands-on learning activities that parents can do with their children. All of the activities require the versatile lemon – and it includes a terrific recipe for homemade lemonade. Learn more at

Day 70: Pelican Walk!

Yesterday was Day 70 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge.

My friend, Jackie, and I took a long walk along the Pacific Ocean at the Half Moon Bay State Beach.

pelicanBrown pelicans were everywhere!  They were flying in vee formation and diving into the surf to catch some fish for lunch. The birds are sort of odd and clumsy looking, but they are amazingly fluid and agile as they soar over the surf.

Pelicans have a pouch under their long bill. When they catch fish, it is scooped into their pouch along with up to 3 gallons of water! They tip their bill downward to drain the water before swallowing the fish.

The birds thrilled us with their fly-by antics, and several paused to rest on the beach cliffs near our walking path.

Click here to visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website. It has some terrific information about Brown Pelicans and some great pictures as well.


Day 69: Blooming Trees Walk

Day 69 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge.

DCrapemyrtle Tree (Tonto)ay 69 was on Friday, August 23, 2013.  My friend, Gina, and I took a two mile stroll through the neighborhood and were delighted to see so many trees in bloom.

Several blocks had Tonto Crapemyrtle trees planted in front of the houses – and they were displaying bright pink, fuschia-colored blooms. Learn more about them at The United States National Arboretum website.

Gina took a picture with her phone (see photo on the right).  Breathtaking!


Days 66, 67, & 68: Stress Reduction Walks

Days 66, 67, and 68 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge.

Days 66, 67, and 68 fell on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, August 20, 21, and 22, 2013. Those days were a whirlwind of paperwork, emails, phone calls, and text messages with an investment company, real estate exchange agent, title company, attorney, accountant, and my partners (who happen to be my brother and sister).Stress Free Zone

You see, one of Papa’s Pearls was to, “Buy real estate.” My partners and I recently sold three commercial real estate buildings that Papa had acquired. To continue his legacy for his grandchildren and great grandchildren we decided to invest the proceeds from the sales into a package of residential income properties. The learning curve has been monumental, and the amount of documentation that had to be reviewed and signed was exhausting.

To alleviate the stress, I walked each day. I didn’t focus on the environment as I walked, I just used the time to let my thoughts drift.  It helped clear my head and lowered my blood pressure. Click here to learn 5 ways walking helps reduce stress.


Day 65: Job Walk (No College Degree Required)

Today is Day 65 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge. Only 300 more days to go!  🙂

As I started my walk today, I noticed a plumbing truck parked in front of a house. Papa was a plumber (see picture of him at right) Papa Plumbingand I recognized the plumbing snake in the back of the truck used to clear a stoppage. (Watch this video tutorial on how to snake your own drain.)

As I continued walking, I saw a real estate associate setting up a sign announcing a broker tour of a home that was just listed for sale. Then, I saw a Fed Ex delivery person.

I began to think about the different jobs people have and kept my eyes open for other workers. Over the next two miles I saw a variety of people doing jobs and marveled at the fact that none of the positions required a college degree.

Having recently read an article in Rolling Stone magazine by Matt Taibbi about The College Loan Scandal, making a living without the “benefit” of a college degree was on my mind.

When I got home, I decided to visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website to look up the annual mean wage (in the San Francisco Bay Area) for each of the jobs I identified on my walk. I found most of them, but not all. Here they are:

  • Plumber $66,000
  • Real Estate Sales Agent $52,280
  • Delivery Truck Driver $45,000
  • Tree Trimmer $45,000
  • Waste Collector (aka garbage man) $58,620
  • Gardener $42,000
  • U.S. Post Office Mail Carrier $52,920
  • Brick Mason $97,580
  • EMT (Emergency Medical Technician/Ambulance Driver)  $66,460
  • Day Care Provider $30,560

I couldn’t find information for these occupations:

  • Parks Department Maintenance Worker
  • Furniture Mover
  • Junk Hauler

None of the jobs above require a college degree, although some require trade school or extensive training and experience.  If you’re interested in this topic, you’ll enjoy reading Blake Boles’ book, Better Than College: How To Build a Successful Life Without a Four Year Degree.


Day 64: Walking with Foot Pain

Yesterday was Day 64 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge.

The night before last, I stubbed my right toe (second toe, next to big toe) when my foot accidentally rammed a dish of cat food into the floor board beneath the cabinet in the kitchen. My first mistake was that I had served the cats’ dinner on a clear glass plate. Because they had scarfed every morsel, the clear dish blended in with the hard wood floor, and I just didn’t see it. To make matters worse, I was barefoot.bare feet

My toe swelled up to twice its normal size and was numb for several hours. Since then,  there has been a dull, continuous pain near the base of my toe which makes it uncomfortable to walk.

By the time I decided to walk yesterday, the swelling had subsided somewhat and I could get my foot into a shoe. I decided to take Papa’s oft-repeated advice to “roll with the punches.” I took a couple of aspirin, waited for it to work, and then went for a walk. I only hobbled about two blocks before I had to turn around and come back. (It was the shortest “Papa Walk” to date.) When I got home, I put my foot up and iced it. That seemed to help.

Here’s the thing, I have always had bad feet. I was born with bunions on both feet. I had a bunionectomy when I was 17 years old. (If you’re not too squeamish, you can watch bunion surgery on YouTube.)

Having bad feet didn’t stop me from dancing (jazz and tap) in my teens and twenties. However, dancing took its toll on my feet, along with ill-fitting shoes (in my youth), and a clumsy penchant for stubbing my toes frequently. The hideousness mounts with ingrown toenails, callouses, and hammertoes. At this age, I think arthritis has settled in a few joints as well. All of this shinfo to say that I think it’s time to see a podiatrist so I can keep on doing the “Papa’s Walk Challenge” without foot pain.

Day 63: Celebration Walk!

Today Is Day 63 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge.

Early this morning I was notified that my book, Papa’s Pearls: A Father’s Gift of Love and Wisdom to His Children and Grandchildren won BOTH a Gold Medal (highest honor) in the Global eBook Awards in the category “Parenting/Family Non-Fiction,” and it won a Silver Medal in the “Men’s Issues Non-Fiction” category! Papa's Pearls Ebook Award Gift

Our friend, Gabe Gross (founder of,  heard the news and stopped by with a congratulatory bouquet of flowers and a bottle of champagne. (See a picture that my husband, Cliff Keith, took with his smart phone at right.)

As I headed out on my walk, my head was spinning with ideas for how to use the awards to promote the book and get Papa’s heartfelt advice and loving customs into the hands of as many parents, fathers, grandfathers, etc., as possible. I spent most of my walk thinking of the possibilities. (Please feel free to share YOUR ideas for creating book buzz here.)

Near the end of my walk, I noticed a group of happy 8-10 year-old girls gathered on a front lawn with festive birthday balloons tethered to trees and bushes everywhere. I wished the smiling honoree “Happy Birthday” as I passed by.

Isn’t it cool to know that there are celebrations taking place every day of the year?

As Papa would say, “Fantastic!”

What are YOU celebrating today?