Feel Good 5 Friday … On a Saturday … The Decade

15 Jan

The last time I got a trophy or ribbon, or some kind of recognition was that standing ovation at festival for my play a few years back. I remember the feeling of accomplishment and feel-good vibes of standing up on stage and being recognized as they introduced the writers. I enjoyed the feeling of my work connecting with people.

Prior to that I think it was an athlete award back in my Aquanet and Levis Jeans days.

Somewhere in between then and now, I’ve tried to celebrate little victories here and there, because you get no trophy or ribbon now, not during parenthood/adulthood. Not unless you’re at the Olympics. So, when I get a chance to high-five myself, I do. I make it a point to celebrate.

Normally I recognize these moments first. I keep an eye out. But this time around my buddy Clay over at Making the Days Count congratulated me before I even patted myself on the back.

Congrats on starting a new decade … he said.

Holy Cheeseballs.

A decade.

The Lion King and Cats lasted more than ten years.

Sesame Street, Happy Days, The Jeffersons, and Law and Order, 10 years easy.

Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks. Ten years plus!

Coach K with the Blue Devils. Pat Summit over with the Lady Vols in Tennessee. Ten classy years most definitely and then some.

Clayton Kershaw and The Dodgers. Ten years most definitely.

The Guat, The Wish Factor, and Word Press. Ten years.

491,403 words.

That’s something. That’s definitely something and I’m grateful for the reminder.

I joined the ranks of ten and I have yet to celebrate. It hasn’t fully sat with me yet. It’s sinking in, though. 1,154 posts. All those stories. It took me a minute there; I had to sit and take a knee and digest the 10 years. All the experiences and stories, they add up to a multitude of pieces making up my existence. A small peek into the window, to see what’s behind the curtain.

It started off as a personal project, get my writer mind flowing, fine-tune my voice and get that Random House publishing book deal in the works 🙂 It started off as a personal goal to put some of my stories out there. Just click “publish” and see what happens. Then it turned into a collection of pieces that could be read by my kids when I’m no longer around. A treasure chest of anecdotes giving them an insight on how their mom used to be, what adventures we took, memories of their grandpa and great uncle. Pieces of our lives they could look back on when they don’t have pictures or photo albums to look at.

And it was during all these stories that I found support from the community of creators. I was able to give a voice to stories from my childhood, remembered life in the people I had lost, connected and laughed with stories others had written, escaped through beautiful photography, and learned lessons from others and their lives. There haven’t been many people that stuck around this long, but I appreciate the few who got on the ride with me and experienced the ups and downs of adulting, parenthood, 70’s and 80’s music, coaching, and a writer’s life. THANK YOU. Thanks for the kind words, support, and encouragement. Thanks to the regulars who pulled up a stool and sat down. The Wish Factor decade gets a high-five. A high-five and some dark chocolate.

That’s totally about to happen.

So, cartwheels and high-fives to me. I got the feel-good songs to celebrate 10 years of learning, curiosity, and growth. Hoping the stories, music, and photographs that come next continue to be Schlemiel Schlimazel Hasenpfeffer Incorporated good-time-noodle-salad-sunshine-and-Katrina-and-The-Waves moments, worthy of a Kodak capture.

Buen Camino …

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The Oogum Boogum Song — Brenton Wood

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Life’s Been Good — Joe Walsh Live From Daryl’s House

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America — Los Tigres del Norte

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And She Was — Talking Heads

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The Joker — Steve Miller Band

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Feel Good 5 Friday for a New Year on a Saturday …

1 Jan

In fuzzy pajamas waking up to the Rose Parade, followed by a run and blueberry pancakes.

I’m off to a good start … after a rocky ending. I mean with an old friend passing away and then Betty White, the year definitely did not end on a high note.

But the new day started with a new vibe.

And I was feeling the good vibrations of a New Year and the whispers of my inner ‘Yes You Can’ to gain strength from the bumpy roads of last year. Filled with gratitude to be out and walking on sunshine set the tone this morning for a positive outlook and an excelsior kind of feeling.

That morning song that sets you in the right direction, with its beats, and ability to travel through time and help you remember how to get your groove back, or just add that extra sauce to your strut, yeah … that helped today. That was the key. Just rode that vibe to another sporty adventure.

Pickleball.

I know, right? I had not heard of this pickleball, but apparently it is big and taking over tennis courts here and there. The sport is getting close to Gatorade levels.

Totally mixed-tape worthy.

We try something new every first day of the year … something outdoors if it’s possible and after a week-and-a-half of rain the sun was like time out. You’re up.

And so we ventured outside to the pickleball courts in the neighborhood with our borrowed racquets and took a shot.

This is totally our game.

And my son and I found it by chance. We happened to drop off my daughter at a soccer camp right before the storm hit us last week and hung out for a bit at the park. We discovered a full-on league of AARP posse engaged in this thing called pickleball. We stood there staring long enough that the team captain came over and asked if we had ever played and if we were interested he could show us the basics.

Between ping pong and tennis … we found that’s our sweeeeet spot.

They let us borrow some racquets to take home and hit balls against the wall and practice some basics. Today, however, the kids were like let’s hit the courts. We went to a nearby court and learned that keeping it in play proved to be more fun than smashing it down the line. So much so that when we got back from the courts, we ordered our own racquets and they played in the driveway.

Day One was good and that was a good start. Thinking of resolutions and words of the year and promises to help improve life, that’s still in progress. Forward is still my direction. Day One was filled with cool jams, fun times, smiles, me-time, and breathing moments. Deep breathing in the pockets of sunshine.

Buen Camino …

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I’m Coming Out — Diana Ross

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El Año Viejo — Tony Camargo

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Hot Stuff — Donna Summer

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Taking It To The Streets — The Doobie Brothers

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Here I Go Again — Whitesnake

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Words on Wednesday …

29 Dec

Thinking of La Vecindad just last week when Chente passed away, and then I find out that someone from La Vecindad had only a few days left to live and it hit me again.

All the memories flooding in from my childhood with Doña Maria, her caring and easy-going nature, and some of best pozole I ever tasted.

She lost her battle to cancer a few days ago and I felt that saddened pained heaviness in my heart. She’d met me when I was in diapers, and knew me through my first communion, TrapperKeeper and PeeChee folder days all the way until high school graduation. I’d seen her almost everyday. She’d been part of all the carne asada and Vencindad parties. She’d been there my entire childhood watching me grow and now she was gone.

In peace, I hope. No longer suffering the hurt that comes with cancer.

I was lucky enough to see her a few days before she had passed and I mentioned my favorite story …

Being a latch-key kid growing up, it was super important not to forget or lose your your key. I happened to forget it on one occasion and I had no other choice but to sit on the steps and wait. Cold and cloudy. I waited for someone to come home.

Doña Maria’s husband, Don Chuco, coming home saw me sitting there, like a stray dog and invited me to come upstairs and wait until my parents came home. We walked in and the first thing I noticed was the smell of something savory coming out of the kitchen and the giant painting of The Last Supper hanging near their dining room.

Doña Maria came out and smiled.

Ven mija.

Mija.

That’s what she called me. It felt warm and fuzzy.

Sit down, sit down, what were you doing outside waiting, you know you could have come up here and waited inside. Come sit down, we’re gonna eat some soup. I was part of their family. In La Vecindad we were all family.

She served me a bowl of warm soup and I joined them at the table. As we began eating they both grabbed tortillas from the basket, but I just kept eating my soup. Then they grabbed another, but I just kept slurping away.

They looked at each other and smiled.

Don Maria asked if everything was all right and I said it was fine, tasted good. Don Chuco shook his head and in his big deep booming voice said …

Oyes que no sabes que con tortilla se llena la gente …”

Roughly translated it meant … Don’t you know that tortillas help you fill up? Eat up.

They laughed. I smiled. I took a tortilla from the basket.

She let me watch cartoons the rest of the afternoon, by the window, so I could see when my parents came home.

When I told my dad later that night about the Last Supper Painting, the soup, and the tortillas, he chuckled. Said we should probably buy more tortillas then …

Doña Maria smiled at the story as she sat up on the bed wincing in pain.

Ay mija.

She smiled.

I smiled.

She passed away five days later and I felt sad. Still do. Hard to picture strong, kind, salt-of-the-Earth people that I knew, that were part of my life, part of La Vecindad no longer being here.

🙂

I send her light, love, sunshine, and waves.

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Buen Camino …

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Feel Good 5 Friday on Saturday … Chente Edition

18 Dec

Presence is a big thing.

You notice it when it’s missing. I mean when it’s there in the crowd or group you see it, but when it’s gone that void is there. You feel the heaviness of it.

This week my people lost a big voice.

Big.

Irreplaceable.

Chente.

Or as people who didn’t know him … Vicente Fernandez.

Had the presence so big and voice so powerful that he pulled off the one name. In my household seeing how my family is Guat, we listened mostly to cumbias, marimba, and merengue. However, when you live in something called “la vecindad” everybody be hearing your music. From the morning sounds of Apartment 6’s “I’m Your Puppet,” to Apartment 3’s “Hungry Like the Wolf,” to Apartment 9’s “The Dream Team is in the House.” However, when it came to these carne asadas where everyone was considered family, the sounds of La Sonora Dinamita and the rest of the Sonoras dominated the cassette players or record players, but towards the end of the night, when most of the Budweisers were gone, Chente would come on the loudspeakers. There would be other rancheras, but Chente’s voice was accompanied by a chorus of neighbors singing. And singing. And singing.

In this neighborhood we had birthday parties, first communion parties, baptism parties, graduation parties, all kinds of parties, where every family in the building participated. You got everyone’s 1970’s orange flowered and avocado green linoleum kitchen chairs out in the large patios, with the large Sanyo speakers connected through multiple chords. The drumbeats, the trumpets, accordions, saxophones, keyboards, everything blaring and everyone dancing it up. But as the night ended there would be the deep, smooth voice echoing through the party and everyone sitting there feeling the mood of the song and the feelings in his voice. And they’d raise the cans in another toast.

As soon as I heard the news that Chente passed away, I thought of “la vecindad”. I thought about my childhood friends, I thought about red-light-green-light, tag, I thought about the food, the pinatas, I thought about the impromptu karaoke at the end of the night, and Budweiser cans raised in a toast. I thought about the parties and how the memories are some of the best ones to this date. And how along with La Sonora Dinimata, and Johnny Ventura, Chente was also very much present during the soundtrack of my childhood.

I got a chance to see him twice in concert when he came to town, and I was glad I did. One of the best shows I’ve seen. Definitely will be missed by me and even more so by la vecindad.

Buen Camino …

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Volver, Volver — Vicente Fernandez

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El Rey — Vicente Fernandez

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Me Voy a Quitar de en Medio — Vicente Fernandez

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No Me Se Rajar — Vicente Fernandez

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Aca Entre Nos — Vicente Fernandez

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Feel Good 5 Friday … On a Saturday

11 Dec

The mood in a rebounding situation varies on a daily basis as recharging my Duracell capacity requires a combination of multiple variables. Most of the time you’ve got to do it yourself. 

I heard someone say … we woke up today, might as well be badasses.

And I was like … yeah … Totally.

I mean hanging out at the Metamucil aisle at the CVS, after getting your cholesterol tested doesn’t seem badass, but you may hear that Bee Gee soundtrack when the results come out with positive numbers and you’re crushing it. Or you may hear Seven Nation Army blaring as you tell yourself you’re gonna kick some ass and get those numbers down because it’s what you got to do.

Running. Outdoors. Music. Creativity. Girls Day/Night Out.

These are the outlets contributing to recharging the battery, and this week proved to be better than most, as I had on as my music jams, meditation, and running providing the needed soul therapy required to operate. There are indeed some factors that were out of my control but focusing on that, I’ve learned, just brings the average vibe down.  I woke up a badass, remember?  Got to concentrate on what can be done bit by bit. And since I had to hit pause on my previous project, I picked up my Canon this week to see if I could continue improving on my beginner skills.

I realized the weather and sunshine were super helpful on my continued quest to find perspective this week. I have to get used to the camera and telling stories visually, instead of with words, at least for a little bit, until this break is over. Probably will help with storytelling and settings. Angles. Perspective. I’ve found that the soundtrack I play on my headphones also helps see the morning differently. The beat and the words pulse through altering my rhythmic vibrations. Don’t think that it’s making me a better picture taker, but the vibes are better.

Since we’ve been indoors most of the time, taking snapshots outdoors is my first focus. The light is better, and apparently, I have to pay attention to light a lot more now. Depending on where it lands, the light, the story says something different. Just that one aspect of a scene, changes the direction of your visual storytelling. Where the sun hits it, how it’s reflecting off the surface, what kind of colors or glow is it enhancing. Light … what a trip.

Happens with everything else in life too, just one shift makes the day different. I think that’s why I currently enjoy running, when in fact I hated running as a kid. I mean it was … ugh … dreaded. But I realize the power of the shift running can have in my mornings, the power to help frame the day into a badass state of mind and as the lady said you woke up, might as well be a badass.

So, I’m a badass … a badass with a playlist, wearing Saucony’s, sweatpants, and a baseball cap, with a fairly new Canon camera, still figuring out.

Buen Camino, my friends …

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Celso Pina – Cumbia Sobre el Rio Suena

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Vicki Sue Robinson — Turn The Beat Around

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Jon Bon Jovi — Living on a Prayer

Kool and The Gang — Get Down On It

 

Joe Cocker — With A Little Help From My Friends

 

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Making a Comeback … On a Tuesday …

30 Nov

It never occurred to me that I could lose it … but I did and now I’m just coming around to finding it again.

Sort of …

I’m at square one.

It’s hard to be a storyteller and not quite be able to tell stories. But it happens and you get sad about that. You hang onto what you got and try to ride it out, which is where I found myself these last few weeks, clinging onto that surfboard during the big wave. And it was in the midst of that ride that I wiped out.

I lost it for a minute there … but I’m resurfacing, catching my breath. It’s hard taking a tumble. You feel beat up and worn down.

Takes a lot determination to try again, to see it through, to finish the goal, to be who you said you’d be, to accomplish what you said you would, takes a lot of something to be anything really.

Doctor. Architect. Lawyer. Teacher. Engineer. You follow the course and eventually with enough steps in the right direction. It happens. You reach the point where you are doing what you set out to do. You are it. The goal, reached.

Storytellers’ journeys are not that linear, or at least my sidewalk wasn’t, I was zigged and then zagged. It’s a roller coaster road. I’d been successful before, but with this new project everything was harder than I thought it would be. No connections, and low budget, means a lot of grit and hustle while I figure it out.  I failed to finish one of the biggest story-telling projects on my list, so I needed a minute there to regroup. I’d been working on it for a while when things fell apart. My subjects changed their mind and then I couldn’t find people who wanted to be part of the story.

So, I’m back to square one, looking for subjects and collaborators with the multitude of parenting and Wish Factor adventures that have followed me along the way. It was hard to regroup after this one. But I’m inching my way back. I took a step back from the project and found a different creative outlet … for just a minute.

And that helped.

I bought a camera.

I had no idea what ISO, aperture, or white balance was, I didn’t know about all the gadgets or tricks, but I learned quickly. Still learning. During this little creative growth adventure, I learned to rebound through an alternative way of telling stories. I admire a lot of picture-taking peeps and the way they communicate through what is captured, either black or white, or color. I like to see the story through the lens. It’s a different way of telling a story and I’ve enjoyed the learning process so far. It might help me with my original project. I learned to find what to center, what to keep in, what to leave out. I’m learning what perspectives looks best and what I want to feel when I see the picture, whether it’s the kids, a game, or the landscape. I want to feel the feeling. Just like with words. And I’m liking the new outlet.

These bits and pieces have been helpful. Building confidence and gaining voice back serves as a building block for a comeback, because after all … a setback is nothing but a comeback in disguise, and mannnnn was it hidden there for a minute. Incognito. But I’m working my way back.

I’ll be picking up that other project, looking for other subjects to interview and getting the story told.  Takes a minute to start the engines and build up steam. But once you start typing away on the keyboard hope finds a way of sitting next to you, ready to be your co-pilot again. I got to remember that.

So, thanks to my buddies for checking in on me.

Buen Camino ….

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Monday Moments … Duct Tape Adventures

6 Sep

I don’t have many of these opportunities left.

I remember the veteran parents letting me know, it’s gonna be quick. Happen in a blink. Before you know it they’re gonna be going to college.  At times it didn’t feel quick. The long days when I was struggling by myself, sometimes I got help, other times I did most of the heavy lifting. So it didn’t seem to be going quickly. The tough days lasted so long and the fun happy ones seem to be so short.

Perspective was difficult to find until I was able to slow days down with gratitude and find pockets of time that stood still throughout the day.

Now I feel it slipping bit by bit again. I still got a ways to go until the empty nest days, I know I’ll be a wreck, but I got time. And until then, I try my very best to have patience, but whenever I ask for the ability to have more, it just backfires and I get situations where I lose it and frustrations bubble over the top. There’s no patience. Zero.

And then I feel bad.

I breathe. 

I hit reset.

And start over again.

I realized I need to stop asking for more patience, because all that gives me are situations that require more patience than already have in the tank. The universe gives me situations, not patience itself. Instead of giving me more I’m just overwhelmed. So now I ask for other things.

Times that I can remember when I’m older and having my kids remember good times when they look back. I hope for that, for them to look back and remember the Kodak moments with smiles and feel good vibes. Good-Time-Noodle-Salad moments.

That brings me to our Duct Tape Adventures. Ever since I found out about it, I got the kids jazzed up about the cardboard boat race and went all out. Every year since my son was six, we’ve ventured into the chlorine-filled pool and done our best to splash our way home in the Hannah Barbara Wacky Races inspired adventure. I always enjoyed those races and the personalities of each car as it zig-zagged its way toward the finish line hoping to be first. These are some of the times I hope they enjoy and remember when they got gray hair.

It takes one to two weeks to build and create a floating vessel of some kind, where I do most of the building and they put in the details or add some rows of tape. Each year the kids alternate and get to choose what the theme for our boat will be, and they look forward to the big day. The excitement of the race, will we finish first or last, what other boats will be there, what will people create, which boats will float and which ones will sink.  The day is something we all look forward too.

After a year of hiatus, you know, because the pandemic was attacking Earth, we were able to come back. Vaccinated and masked up people created and participated, and I was able to bring some Wacky Races fun back into our household. Thank you duct tape.  I was a little worried as my son, who is a lot older now had that competitive edge driving him forward, while my daughter just wanted make it to the finish line without flipping over and having to swim across, dragging the boat to the end. I had to remind my son that this day was about fun, about enjoying the moment and not getting burned out if his sister wasn’t an Olympic caliber member of the crew team. I also had to remind my daughter that she had to work as a team with her brother and that competition is part of the fun.

Balance. They both just needed to see the other side. 

In the end they both enjoyed the day of sunshine, with smiles, splashing, intense rowing, cheering, and hugs as they won their consolation bracket. High-fives all round as the boat remained one of the last ones still afloat.

Gorilla Duct Tape … You. Are. Awesome.

Feel Good 5 Friday … On a Saturday

21 Aug

Sometimes seeing old friends helps you remember who you used to be.

And the music that blasted through with The Weekend Top 40 with Casey Kasem hits you with a kaleidoscope of memories filled with your Nike Cortez days and TrapperKeepers in that JanSport backpack. As is with everyone these days, it’s been difficult to see people and old friends. But sometimes you find moments where it can happen. You make every effort to be cautious, get outdoors, and you get some sense of good vibes that can carry you.  

Visiting with someone that knew you way back when brings out your highlight reel and you start to think back of where you were in your life and who you used to be back then. Sometimes those are good memories, other times they may not be, depends. But this particular meetup made me think about how this person contributed to my growth as a person and that meant a lot, especially if you just want to go and say thank you to someone for making such a positive impact. She knew me during both difficult and positive times, and made life better.

I hoped she would remember all those times, but it may have been difficult considering she was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It was sad to hear that happened to my old coach, my mentor. I know she was looking forward to retirement and traveling with her family, enjoying the rewards of all her hard work. But this major curve ball got sent her way and it hit me in the pit of my stomach. 

Don’t know if she’d remember all the pieces of advice she gave me on and off the court, the lessons in leadership, the lessons during a loss, during season-ending injuries, during wins, during championships and of course beyond school and into the “real world”. She wouldn’t remember coaching us and everything she contributed. That’s the part that made me sad. She was such a big part in everyone’s life and here she was sitting a few feet away unsure of what the future would bring now that she’d have to live with this new life, different from what she imagined.

I don’t know how fast it will progress but I hoped for the best, I hoped for her memories to last a little bit longer. That’s what I wished for her as a sat there looking across at her and I reintroduced myself. I wanted to talk to her but didn’t want to overwhelm her with too many memories. Too much too soon. We all took a beat to slow it down. 

I stopped thinking of what she might lose and just tried to talk to her and make her smile. Enjoyed the conversation that everyone was having, picked up on the bits and pieces of their lives, and found comfort in taking a trip back to the past. Talking about old times and cracking up at our old ways and old game stories. Thanked her for being able to come, just to see her and get a chance to talk to her. I know she probably changed the lives of many girls, girls who grew up to be leaders, teachers, mothers, CEO’s, coaches, or writers.  I drove off hoping that she’d remember today and even if she didn’t remember all the details of the conversation, maybe at least she’d remember the feeling of being there and the comfort of knowing that she inspired so many people to become better versions of themselves. And being there reminded me of who I used to be and who I wanted to be. It was a good feeling. A good flashback, followed by a good soundtrack. 

Buen Camino …

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The Romantics — What I Like About You

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Technotronic — Move This

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Los Hermanos Flores — La Bala

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Rob Base — It Takes Two

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UB40 — Here I Come Baby

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Feel Good 5 Friday on a Saturday Morning That Turned Into Sunday Because WordPress Did Something … Collage of Hopeful Somethings

7 Aug

I never liked using them because I thought it would just remind me of what I hadn’t done. 

Didn’t really feel that would be inspirational. You know, failed attempts staring at me in the face.

That’s what I thought of vision boards. 

But after a year of looking at it on a weekly, if not daily basis, for what I think is my third year now of trying these vision boards situations my perspective changed. Instead of looking at it as failures or never-beens, I see it as project reminders, asking me, what are you going to do today to get a little closer? Is what you’re doing helping you get there?

Totally surprised myself.

Some pictures are of future adventures with the kids, like heading out to the wilderness, some are Zen moments featuring beaches I have yet to visit, some are dream chasers encouraging me to finish telling the story. Words of wisdom I find inspirational or pictures of great-looking meals I want to try, or images I feel when I hear feel-good songs. Every picture helps center me, and focus on going forward. A collage of hopeful somethings. 

With July just finishing I take a pause and check how I’ve been doing and I still got a ways to go. A lonnnnnnnnnnng way to go. Limits outside of my control … you know … like a pandemic still going on and resurging. But I’m able to inch my way forward on projects or go on mini adventures, like buying a new camera (like a real adult camera, not the one on your phone, the kind that has a strap and something called ISO that I needed to look up), taking an online class, traveling to a new nature spot, hitting up an aerial obstacle course in the woods, discovering and sticking to yoga on Sunday’s virtually with Ross or Denis whoever is teaching that day, bringing music to my days, and expanding my culinary pallet  by trying fried pickles. 

Dude.

Duuuuuuuuuuude.

It’s good to have goals.

Fried pickles can be a goal. It’s something new and if you like dill pickles, a Vlassic lover, I strongly recommend a side order of fried pickles from your favorite fried chicken spot. It will make you dance, without music, it’s that good. 

But I still dance with music and this week’s feel good tunes as I was doing a personal inventory check, kicked it up a bit, extending the feel of my smile for a couple minutes extra even after the last beat, this was especially helpful when the outside world sometimes tried to do the opposite. 

Buen Camino!

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Olympic Theme Song — John Williams and Leo Arnaud

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Lose Yourself — Eminem

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Cancion del Mariachi — Antonio Banderas

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Finally — CeCe Peniston

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Jive Talking — Bee Gees

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Words on Wednesday

28 Jul

It’s not always easy celebrating someone’s life while at the same time remembering someone who passed away. It’s an anniversary you’d rather forget. 

July becomes a test of mental and emotional strength every year. Finding the right balance of happiness for kids getting older and reaching milestones and fighting back the sadness because grandpa’s gone and he’s missing out on life he would have enjoyed living. No advice on how to tackle that, how to feel happiness and joy, while sadness lingers in the back and creeps up on you when you don’t expect it. You just take it as it comes and give it what you got.

Finding the happiness in kids turning double digits.  That’s 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 10! Remembering Harold and The Purple Crayon and Goodnight Moon like it was last week. Play-Doh and bubbles. Pictures drawn in Crayola Crayons and paints that come in plastic jars. Rainbows, puppies, snakes, flowers, and smiling stick figures. Now she’s using colored pencils and practicing her best Bob Ross skills on sketch pads and easels with fancy paper. Hitting home runs, watching Bear Grylls, jumping off diving boards, and learning everything about penguins. That’s what happens when kids turn ten.

Then you get a kid turning 13. Yup. The teen begins. Random clerks at a store chuckling and shaking their head at you saying ‘oh, 13, that’s gonna be a fun year for you.’ Like they know something, a parent secret, but not telling you because you’re about to find out in a BIG way. 

13.

Sounds ominous.

I don’t remember it being that way.

But then again I was the 13-year old. Not the parent of one. 

Here we go. On a new roller coaster ride and I don’t know where the turns are, but they’re coming. 

Now no more TV shows with animated characters, they got shows with people and issues. Got my own Wonder Years experience going on here with questions about getting cell phones and driver’s permit. Hang on a second! This one is a to be continued … and those three dots right there, that’s what’s gonna make it interesting. 13 and in 8th grade. I imagine a lot of goings on will be going on. It’s puberty. It’s transition. It’s voice cracking, stinky socks, and peach fuzz on the upper lip about to become a full Magnum P.I. style mustache. It’s funny. But it’s not.

But at least sports is still a common denominator and I still rock as coach and trainer and they come to me for guidance and I can give advice and they’ll listen. Through sports I can still teach life lessons, even without them fully knowing it. It’ll sink it.

I hope. 

13 and 10.

I’ve become a life coach to kids in double digits. It happens to every parent, I know. I’m just realizing it’s happening to me while at the same time celebrating someone that would have been 73, but was taken away too soon.

I imagine a lot of untold stories went with him and I feel bad about that, about not hearing the rest of them, about the unfinished life he had and the years as a grandpa robbed from him. It’s sadness and joy. He probably had so many more memories and pieces of life to share with me, about when he was 10 or 13, or the parent of one. But now I can only hold onto what I got. That’s the tough part. Knowing he had more but we never got around to it because unexpected sickness happened and that sucked. 

From one day to the next. Celebrating your kids to grieving your dad. It’s a state of funk that’s difficult to navigate. But you get up and keep moving. That’s July for me. The world keeps moving even if you want it to stay still. It moves with or without you. 

So I found myself celebrating and being happy one day, sad the next, and bumping it up again the following week. 

No rules on how to do it, just finding ways to live through it.  So even though this writing hiatus was unplanned it was probably needed. Sometimes the words just don’t come out and it was probably for a reason. Settling in and coming off my own birthday as well, trying to turn the page and get the creativity going. I got another 365-day journey around the sun, so it’s a good time to start again. So I went off on an outdoor adventure, away from people, away from the city and tried something new.

Sometimes the Outdoors sprinkles a little magic and you feel different. Sometimes not. 

But luckily that day the cloud of funk lifted and the getaway brought perspective.

 

Buen Camino!

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